It was said about 18-25: that the members of the forum were in pain, that the youth had to express themselves, that it was not so bad or, on the contrary, that it was a manure pit, which should be burned with napalm. Once this layer of tartuffesque indignation, worthy of Pierre Moscovici in front of the Paradise Papers, has been sluiced away, it is clear that there is a lack of intelligent solutions to stop the harassers from committing their misdeeds.  

Forum 18-25: Flashback
 

When you (finally) decide to moderate your forums, severely.

For that is the crux of the matter: a significant proportion of the statements made out of 18-25 are stupid, but stupidity is not yet an offence. If that were the case, half of our political class would be sleeping in Fresnes right now, which tends to prove that we are a very tolerant country.  

However, when a small group incites or participates in targeted harassment of people who have been displeased with what they have said, the category is changed. These actions are criminally and civilly reprehensible, yet nothing happens. 

Public action to absent subscribers

Victims are encouraged to file complaints, but explaining to a law enforcement officer what online harassment is and its consequences is more difficult than putting Patrick Balkany in pre-trial detention. Due to a lack of training, law enforcement is lost in the face of the phenomenon. Add to this the fact that filing a complaint in a police station is more of a Fear Factor than a public service. It is easier for me to go back to the Ministry of Economy and Finance than to the central police station of my city of residence, and once I go through the doors, not seeing his complaint transformed into a handrail strongly resembles the Geneva Convention negotiations.  

I must admit that I am also quite surprised to hear regularly that law enforcement has better things to do than to chase after Internet users. Did I miss a course in criminal law, explaining that some provisions are optionnelles ? Curiously, when it comes to hunting down so-called illegal downloading, we don’t hear this type of argument. 

Let’s say you were successful in filing a complaint and a court hearing takes place. The delay between the moment you have filed a complaint and the moment the facts are judged will be so long that the educational aspect of the sentence loses all its meaning. 

Of course, one can try civil proceedings or turn against the managers of the forum where the actions took place, but the legal response seems to be losing its relevance. 

So, what’s the solution ? 

Banishment

A group of Internet users alerted the various advertisers on this forum, to encourage them to withdraw their ads. At the time of writing, six of them had announced the termination of their contract with Webedia, which is a good start.

For its part, Webedia has made the Internet laugh by announcing the strengthening of its moderation team. However, and I learned this from members of the offending forum, the majority of the moderators are volunteers. We understand Cédric Siré: when you only have 57 453 600 € turnover for the year 2015, you can’t afford to hire a team of professional moderators. It doesn’t stop there: in addition to the additional moderators, a filter system has been put in place. Apparently, if a forum topic contains certain words, it would be deleted. The last joke is the removal of the search bar from the forum. Trembling scoundrels of the 18-25: you will no longer be able to use the word “ féministe ” in your forum topics. 

In short, so many idiotic solutions that show that we may have created a myriad of sites generating a lot of traffic and still have not understood how the Web worked. 

I can hear your question here: So, what do you propose [insert here the kind epithet of your choice] ? 

Like all good Christians: humiliation. 

Sprinkler sprinkler

I do not believe in the socially acceptable label of benevolence, which is nothing but an intellectual swindle, based on artificial social conventions. After having spent five days making you insult me, even Jesus would change His precept to play the Horseman of Revelation the other day. 

 In the same way, I think that when you are “ adulte ” enough to harass or incite others to harass, threaten and insult, you are capable of taking the consequences. For example, the other night, an Internet user thought it was clever to incite me to harass me on his favourite forum. But our little brat was already known to the search engine services. Being of a talkative nature, he himself provided a number of elements to identify him. You can guess the rest of the story for yourself. What was very amusing was his whining, which is a common trait of all people who think they are untouchable. To act badly, to take advantage of the guilty laziness of institutions, then to cry that one is a victim of a system, without wanting to assume the consequences of one’s actions. 

With the exception of a few individuals, the majority of people who come to insult or harass you on social networks do not cross the digital barrier. They are just poor, unimaginative, unimaginative guys who don’t know how to use computers intelligently. Just take one at random, to make an example. 

Make an example?

This type of initiative already exists – we won’t give the names – but I have in mind a very well organised group of people who are fighting bad behaviour in their own way. Pourquoi ? Because justice doesn’t care. So, as soon as they spot a person behaving badly, they post it on their site, look for all the information allowing them to identify him, contact his employer, his school, his entourage, etc. I am deliberately evasive on the definition of bad behaviour that is sanctioned by this group. Just know that this is not freedom of expression, that it is criminally reprehensible and that it is because of the inaction of the justice system that this group was created.  

Let it be clear in the reader’s mind that I am in no way encouraging anyone to take this type of action. I would only note that it can be effective, especially when we hear that criminal justice has better things to do. There is no alternative: either justice does its work or individuals will take justice into their own hands.

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