Thursday, May 5, 2016

MsScribe and the Bewildering Human World

Fabulous, in a sick way:
In the early 2000s, Harry Potter fanfiction authors and readers get embroiled in an apocalyptic feud between people who think that Harry should be in a relationship with Ginny vs. people who think Harry should be in a relationship with Hermione. This devolves from debate to personal attacks to real world stalking and harassment to legal cases to them splitting the community into different sites that pretty much refuse to talk to each other and ban stories with their nonpreferred relationship. These sites then sort themselves out into a status hierarchy with a few people called Big Name Fans at the top and everyone else competing to get their attention and affection, whether by praising them slavishly or by striking out in particularly cruel ways at people in the “enemy” relationship community.

A young woman named MsScribe joins the Harry/Hermione community. She proceeds to make herself popular and famous by use of sock-puppet accounts (a sockpuppet is when someone uses multiple internet nicknames to pretend to be multiple different people) that all praise her and talk about how great she is. Then she moves on to racist and sexist sockpuppet accounts who launch lots of slurs at her, so that everyone feels very sorry for her.

At the height of her power, she controls a small army of religious trolls who go around talking about the sinfulness of Harry Potter fanfiction authors and especially MsScribe and how much they hate gay people. All of these trolls drop hints about how they are supported by the Harry/Ginny community, and MsScribe leads the campaign to paint everyone who wants Harry and Ginny to be in a relationship as vile bigots and/or Christians. She classily cements her position by convincing everyone to call them “cockroaches” and post pictures of cockroaches whenever they make comments.

Throughout all this, a bunch of people are coming up with ironclad evidence that she is the one behind all of this (this is the Internet! They can just trace IPs!) Throughout all of it, MsScribe makes increasingly implausible denials. And throughout all of it, everyone supports MsScribe and ridicules her accusers. Because really, do you want to be on the side of a confirmed popular person, or a bunch of confirmed suspected racists whom we know are racist because they deny racism which is exactly what we would expect racists to do?

MsScribe writes negatively about a fan with cancer asking for money, and her comments get interpreted as being needlessly cruel to a cancer patient. Her popularity drops and everyone takes a second look at the evidence and realizes hey, she was obviously manipulating everyone all along. There is slight sheepishness but few apologies, because hey, we honestly thought the people we were bullying were unpopular.

MsScribe later ended up switching from Harry Potter fandom to blogging about social justice issues.
Oh, the humanity.

This is actually a summary of a very long account you can read here.


G. Verloren said...

Mental illness in action.

But let's still keep medicine and therapy as privatized markets instead of public services, yeah? Our tax dollars are better spent on new bombs, guns, tanks, and planes anyway. Eventually our army will become so overwhelming that even mental health itself will be afraid to mess with us.

I guess we should just be relieved that these people haven't gone out and shot people yet? Small comfort. Many millions of people in this country are physically and mentally ill, and we do nothing. Many millions of people live in homes that have dangerous levels of lead, and we do nothing. Many millions of people are under-educated, under-trained, under-employed, and under-paid, and we do nothing. Many millions of people are violent, hateful, abusive, cruel, cowardly, and selfish, and we do nothing.

The greatest country on earth. Land of the free, home of the brave.

Shadow said...

Fascinating indeed! Human behavior never ceases to amaze. Let's see a monkey do that! Public health and gun policies notwithstanding.