Bullies are everywhere.
Sadly, they seem to be a constant fixture in any social group. It does not matter what age we are, what job we have, where we went to school, what we own, or what we know. If we participate in any social group, we are bound to meet some bullies.
Not all bullies are equal. Some are more vicious and effective than others.
Not all social groups are equal. Some attract more bullies than others.
The workplace, for example, is a frequent bully hangout. This is because bully strategies are often encouraged and rewarded in the workplace.
Online forums are also a breeding ground for bullies because of the same reasons. Learn more about why hurtful words from a bully can be so painful.
What is a Forum Bully?
Bullying is about power and dominance. In online forums, bullies use words to intimidate, isolate, and degrade their victims.
Bullies are generally easy to pick out. Here are some common forum bully traits –
- Bullies use unsubstantiated personal attacks to denigrate their victims. Often, they make fun of their victim’s intelligence, get everyone to laugh at him, and in doing so isolates and degrades their target. In this way, their victim is neutralized, and serves as a strong reminder to everyone of the bully’s power. Bullies rule through fear.
- Bullies usually attack weak or new targets. The best way to get yourself into a bully’s little black book of horrors is to appear weak, uncertain, and emotionally vulnerable. New members to a social group are also a bully’s favorite because they are new, unproven, and do not yet have a support system. They are alone – and therefore easier to hunt-down and kill.
- Bullies hate being challenged and they hate losing. Another quick way to get yourself into the black book of horrors is to publicly challenge a bully, especially a head bully. A bully’s power rests in his ability to control others through fear. If they are challenged and they lose, it will significantly erode their power. As a result, they will use excessive force to defeat public challenges.
- Bullies usually hunt in packs. There is safety and strength in numbers. As we said before, bullies hate losing, so they try to go for a sure kill.
- Bullies are afraid of strength. If they spot strong new members to the community, they will first try to recruit them. If that fails, they will usually leave them alone. Strong targets are risky and usually end up costing the bully more than he gains.
- Bullies are in-love with themselves. They have little to no empathy, and are only interested in their own activities, and their own power. A bully may help others who are in his gang, or help other respected members of the community, but only for his own advancement and glory.
Why Be a Forum Bully?
Bullying is popular in online forums, and other online social groups because –
- The internet is largely anonymous. Studies show that when we are anonymous, we feel less inhibited. For example, when we wear a costume and cover up our face with a mask, we feel more free to take risks. The internet allows us all to easily put on a mask and outfit. Being anonymous creates more freedoms and removes judgement based on physical appearance, race, income, and more. However, it also allows us to escape responsibility for our actions, including verbal abuse and bully behavior. Many forum bullies use the internet as a release mechanism for their real-world anger or frustration. Since they cannot shout at their boss, co-workers, or neighbors without real-world consequences, they take their frustrations out in an anonymous online forum, where there are no real consequences for their anti-social behavior.
- Negative interactions get more attention. Human nature is such that we respond more quickly and more strongly to negative comments. In this way, forum bullies are the ones that get the most attention and the most followers. This online attention positively reinforces the bullying behavior, which causes more bullying to occur. Today, many people are trying to make money online through advertising. Getting forum attention generates more buzz, this gets them more traffic, which translates into more money.
How to Fight Forum Bullies
Our instinct is to fight fire with fire, to fight the negative by returning it in kind. However, that is a losing battle.
One of the key reinforcers for the forum bully is attention.
It does not matter to him whether it is negative or positive attention as long as it is attention. By responding, we are giving the bully what he wants. In addition, by giving an emotional, negative response, we are letting the bully know that he has gotten under our skin.
1. Do not let forum bullies affect you.
Forum bullies are the scum of the Earth and they deserve nothing from us – not our attention, not our time, and certainly not our emotional well-being. One of the best ways to deal with online bullies is to hit the delete button. If we cannot delete their comment in fact, then simply delete it from our consciousness and move on.
Forum bullies are after attention so they may try to egg you on by further calling you names, calling you a coward, and raging on in a negative fashion. They will try to bring you down to their own sad level of existence.
Delete, ignore, and a bully will shout himself out, like a young child throwing a tantrum. Hopefully, he will learn from this experience and find more productive activities with which to fill his time. Otherwise, he will simply continue to fritter his time away in negative pursuits, which will hurt him a lot more than it hurts us.
2. Report bullies to the forum administration.
The best way to create a healthy social environment is to report bullying behavior to the administration. In this way, the bullying is quickly stopped, and we can all get back to productive and constructive discussions, that actually involve the exchange of information.
We want to stop bullying and pointless personal attacks because it will quickly ruin a perfectly good online community. If the community forum gets taken up with mostly tit-for-tat type shouting, nobody in their right mind would want to visit, much less participate.
Many people act as if reporting bullying behavior is somehow cowardly, or is a suppression of free-speech. That is not the case at all. Bullying should be stopped because it is bad for the health of a community, and it clogs up the information channels with useless, pointless, and negative bickering. Bullying and personal attacks are not free-speech, rather it is verbal abuse. If we care about the community, we should all do our part to stop forum bullying.
We are often very affected by our surrounding social environment. The more bullying there is, the more bullying it will attract. If we create an environment that is unfriendly to bullying, then these online thugs will go somewhere else to spread their particular form of decay and rot.
3. Fight fire with water.
It is a big waste of time to interact with forum bullies. However, if we feel compelled to converse with our friendly online thug, then the only way to fight negative verbal attacks is by dispelling it with humor and positive energy. Rehabilitating a forum bully will take a lot of patience and a lot of positive energy. There is little point to it unless we are applying for Sainthood.
Are You a Forum Bully?
Most of us do not think of ourselves as bullies. We are all heroes in our own minds, and a bully is no exception. In fact, many bullies see themselves as a fearless fighter for God, Country, and the path to Righteousness. The truth is, there is a forum bully in every one of us.
- Sometimes we get angry, and we lash back at others.
- Sometimes we get hurt, and we lash back at others.
- Sometimes we are busy, and do not realize that we have said something hurtful or negative.
The key though is to recognize those negative actions and to take steps to correct them. When we commit negative acts and bullying behavior, we not only hurt others, but actually end up hurting ourselves most.
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.—Matthew 5:38–42, NIV
Today, many of us see nonresistance or nonviolence as a weakness. After all, if we turn the other cheek, we may just keep getting slapped. Therefore, we are encouraged to slap back and show strength. Bullies try to turn everyone into their likeness by calling us cowards for not resorting to verbal violence.
I used to think that “turning the other cheek” was a weakness. After all, why should I spare pain to a bully when he seems to have no concern for me or others. It was not until later that I realized that “cheek turning” is not really for the bully, but for me.
Negative energy infects, and bullies carry negative energy like plague ridden fleas. The way to combat this particular plague is not by spreading more negative energy. Rather, we want to dispel the negativity with positive energy or just ignore the flea and use plenty of repellent.
It may not be the most recommended way to fight back but what I do is bully them back by wasting as much of their time as possible while using as little of mine.
If they write a long diatribe, I’ll pretend I don’t understand some part of it and quote it while asking “why? Plz explain.” Like if they say I’m stupid, then I’ll ask “why, please explain why I’m stupid.” I’ll reply with these low effort but highly open ended questions till they give up in exhaustion.
I don’t comment much but I am constantly reading other comments. I wanted to ask if anyone had a favorite safety app that they use? So today I saw something VERY disturbing. When I was picking up my son from middle school I saw a group of kids surrounding one boy, then one of them from the group came from behind and punched the single kid 3 times in the back of the head before slamming him to the ground. I saw this happening from my car and ran out there filming and calling 911. I have this app called iWitness and it lets me record video while at the same time calling the police so I didn’t have to miss filming any evidence. My heart was pounding so hard and I was nervous confronting all those middle-schoolers but if that was my kid getting bullied I would hope that another parent would do the same. The victim immediately started crying and wobbled away clutching his head. I can’t stand to see this type of sickening bullying. I gave all of my video evidence to the police when they arrived. I’m so glad I had my safety app ready to go when I needed it. So my question is what is everyone’s favorite safety app? I’ve tried a few different ones but have settled on iWitness. I even put iWitness on both of my children’s phones so if they ever see any altercation happening or if they are in a bad situation, they can easily get help. Just wanted to share that story because it happened on Anti-Bullying Day.
For many cyber bullying affects their everyday lives and is a constant source of distress and worry. With mobile technology being so freely available it is an ongoing issue and one that is relentless. Not only does it go on after school, college or work has finished, but it then carries through into the next day and the cycle continues. It has been well documented that cyber bullying has resulted in tragic events including suicide, and self-harm and clearly, more needs to be done in order to protect vulnerable children and adults from online bullying.
I am the moderator and a few members have been ganging up on me. The admin just told me to ignore them and refuses to remove them from the site even though they have harassed other members until they left. Then the admin wonders why member growth hasn’t been great lately… I guess the only thing I can do is lay low and refuse to feed the trolls. I’m not allowed to block or remove them.
Edit: I just wanted to share my experience because someone mentioned a moderator bully. This isn’t an uncommon thing! A lot of mods are jerks, but those of us who aren’t get picked on by rude members.
Nicole, tell your admin to go do some research on the negative effect that unchecked bad behaviour can have on the health of an online community. Broken window theory for starters. If the admin is happy for the online community to become a toxic environment then there’s not much you can do but move on from that role…
What really annoys me is when I see a moderator bullying another user. I can’t report them and I can’t block them/ignore them. There is one site I belong to where two of the moderators are always mocking people and calling them names, especially if they don’t agree with their opinions. I rarely post on the site because I don’t want to be put in their crosshairs but I can’t even lurk on the site anymore without feeling uncomfortable. I like most of the users and learn a lot from their posts but these two moderators are horrible. Usually, when I see a mean user, I can just block them and/or report them depending on the post. I can’t do that with a mod. It’s frustrating.
Carole Leclerc says
I also experienced intimidation when I was in high school (exclusively for girls, so they were very mean to each others). Today I am 40 years old so it was a long time ago and at the time the medias didn’t talk about bullying (cell phones didn’t existed, etc). But nowadays,the subject came up again everywhere and it reminds me of what I experienced myself at school (insults without reasons, mockeries, crying hidden in the bathroom, suicidal ideas, etc.)
In short, I am not here to tell my story but because I would like to advise you a book I have read and which gives good advice to young people to how survive from bullying (this is the title of the book and that’s what attracted me).
My children are still young (5 and 8 years) but I intend to do everything to prevent them from living what I experienced so I am documenting myself a lot on the subject.
I share their website with you, there is a list of the chapters inside the book, I found it really good!
Good luck for those who still endure this, or for your children if you are parents here. 🙂
Thank you for your post. It’s amazing but I did not experience bullying until I was in my mid 20s at the workplace. Bullying happens across all age groups in different social settings, but we can win in my many positive ways. Here is a video I enjoy for myself and share with others
Thank you for the post. Learned the hard way with forums too. I just started staying away from them. Verbal and emotional abuse is harmful, especially continued for long periods of time. It will drag you down. I never spent a lot of time on forums, but I went to a spouse caregiver support forum after my husband of 28 years had a serious traumatic brain injury and had to start living in a facility and I felt overwhelmed. Some of the replies were supportive, but I also got statements like “why do people stay married to someone after that, for the money?” What…? There were bad experiences on some other forums before I quit them. I decided it was better to swear off of forums in most cases. I’m glad to hear there are some who report the cyber bullies.
Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me . Thats what we learnt as kids and to ignore.
Nothings different really – just people type things instead of saying them behind your back.
A part of learning social skills and life is to learn to ignore these types.
Stop making such a huge deal over some nasty words-
Get out join a sports club — where yes people will still by nasty but join the real world.
There are many nice people out there too.
Yes, I find it very sad and disheartening when you have another type of opinion, but people can’t seem to agree to disagree. In life were going to all have different opinions, but it surely doens’t call for cyber bullying.
I was bullied on a forum called babycenter.com. Its a very large site with lots of users. I made a few comments about a mens clothing line that I don’t care for. I was immediately attacked by dozens of the other moms on the site, who were personally offended because their children wear this brand of clothing. They kept posting to me over and over again, called me all kinds of names, used profanity and for whatever reason, took the time to post pictures of themselves wearing the clothes on the thread we were on to further prove their point. I tried to explain it was just an opinion, but I was attacked repeatedly. I emailed the moderator who told me that profanity was allowed on their site, it was okay for other posters to curse at me, and also that I wasn’t “allowed” to ask another poster to leave me alone. She said that asking someone to leave you alone was a “TOS violation”. Unbelievable. She also implied that as a new member of their board, I should know my place (or something to that effect). It became clear she was already friends with these people. I am still waiting to hear back from the website regarding this, however I have requested that they delete my profile because I am afraid of some of the posters there. One of them started digging up other posts I’d made elsewhere on the site and responding to those. My real name is not there, but I revealed some personal information I shouldn’t have. This experience honestly makes me wonder about the other adults I meet in real life. Would they be like this on an internet message board?
OMG, I just had a similar experience on baby center.ca. No profanity but use of scare tactics and searching my other posts for personal identifying info! I just requested my account be removed. Frigging weirdos…lol.
I have no idea why so many people bully online. I’d mainly attribute it to an unhappy home life or other situation. However, it’s not an excuse. The bullied should never become the bully. I have compassion for people cause so many people seem to be going through so much, but as I said it’s still NO EXCUSE for trolling and bullying innocent people.
What I’ve been most baffled by lately is either the moderators or the developers of Opera Browser and Pale Moon Browser troll and cyber bully users for not understanding information or suggesting(in a kind way BTW) that they make moderate improvements to the site.
For example, a friend of mine was confused as to why she couldn’t find Ublock Origin in the Opera webstore. It was listed under regular Ublock. She was bit frustrated by it and gave the PRODUCT, not the developer, a one star review.
She was then told by a user named “Videogame57” that she needed to “use her brain” before she went around giving one star reviews. It was totally unnecessary.
He made it obvious he was most likely one of the developers of the product. People give one star reviews all the time. No one at Chrome or Firefox has ever blasted, humiliated or insulted me for not being pleased with a product. It’s not like reviews are meant to be hateful or personal.
The moderators at Pale Moon are just as immature and highly unprofessional. A “user”(most likely moderator) came down on her for telling them that she had issues using the browser after downloading it. Nothing insulting at all. She was then scolded for creating a forum account “just to complain.”
My cousin finally got fed up of the abuse and sent both Opera and Pale Moon a shout out on ComplaintsBoard.Com. 😉
David shane says
Be careful do not sign up for any movie site that are free such as prime wire ag /1channel or movie kingdom/ vodly / solar movies these site abuse there members for pleasures., they abuse people in there chatrooms in there forums and the comment sections , and who ever they attacking are the same people they have abused prior who come back to the site to engage in this crazy site but they will allowed the person to mingling and gain trust and engage with the fake friends you have built on the site then gain information to do there smear campaign all these sites have a connections and primarily primewire ag no person is to be trusted on that site. what they do is a character assasination they trolled and bully there members after they have the person hooked up, by watching free movies for a particular time they attack depending . on which one they jealous of and those who they attack which are mostly anyone who don’t belong to there clique of mafia gang, they have karma points or yeah.,,. so if you don’t add friends they deduct points and if you add them they will betray you at the end of the tunnel when the moderators want to just have fun , because they jealous of that certain individual who is actually seem to be a threat to their crew those are the ones they target or if they feel the person is very beautiful as well they cut all the beautiful flowers as a member exposed privately, they attack all the girls which are beautiful.. or guys that are a threat may it be intellectually or looks wise . or gaining to much information of there site . just idiotic stuff.. that take place in forums but this site is by far very dangerous..
they have a technique where each person has a profile .. where you can place pictures ,wall posts they have a forum for discussions on the movies or books and partake in there games of nonsense which are actually trolling who ever they targeting.. and oh they say its the wonderland movie site for free but remember nothing in life comes for free there always a catch to things… movie site to cyber path,,, individuals a game.. for sick owners of this pathetic low life forum,,which the poor members sign up without knowing what the game is about.,,, they would be falling into these sociopaths predators trap . so the sole purpose of the site is to gain as much information by what ever you share with the friends or lets just say so called fake friends to help ruining the members lives..and actually expose where the person lives and have all types of stereotypes and gossips.. they do smear campaign and also use social media for the sociopath to gossip to the programs on TV so be warned and other sociopath and psychopath technique .. gang stalking thugs are not to be taken lightly.. and this site who ever the owners are the moderators and admins should be arrested because when it comes so far in trying to destroying innocent people lives online for pleasure then it should be banned ,,,
they also have minors in these sites and the adults are all intermingling.. which its quite fishy.. others thing they try to do is recruit so be careful recruiting to participate in there illegal activities .. posting links is illegal so don;t partake in anything in these sites.. if you so the same things they doing stalking people remember you are partaking in illegal activities and that is a felony so dont do it… when anything is free there always a cost to it.. be warned they associated with mafia so stay away from the site, sad how people use forums to abuse people ..
sadly these forum place need to be banned off the internet as they can easily take the youngster and cause more damage then good.. they also have soft porn on there site.. no one to be trusted on this site. they track the members ip address and expose any thing for there vampires attacking adrenaline sociopath crave they savour at expense of decent people devouring the person mind trying to lead them to insanity..
be aware do not trust no one on that site.. they have a groups of thugs.. and they partake ills activities and it dangerous… to members, these piracy sites need to be taken offline.. sadly many people don”t know ,,so remember buy the movies.. go to the theater and help the actors these people who have piracy sites are dangerous…
I’m guilty of being a bully fighting. I have always hated bullies so ce I was a kid and would even fight weak kids battles after school.
Cyberbulling is shit!, my mum died 2 months ago and I’ve been seriously bullied both online and IRL!.
I truly hope the user who wrote this is still active.
Today on a tech forum I just said my disliking for some cable operater, I didn’t insult anyone and backed up my clames. Someone out of the blue said my head is retarded. He didn’t get punished.
btw the admin also harassed people! I am really depressed by this
This is why you should avoid tech forums!
Thank you for posting. I am finding it helpful. I am a newbie on a forum and no matter what I say, I get targeted by rogue moderators accusing of distrupting the forum when I havent done a thing. When try and tell them that I havent they go for me more. They are really singling me out and they go on to every thread I go on and have a go at me if I post anything – usually in polite response to another user flaming me. I have been accused of going off topic even though others have, told to stop doing some thing that I havent done and sworn at and get a traid of rude comments etc…no matter what I write all the users just attack me and then the moderates step in and attack me more accusing me of going of topic. Every single time I try and post after a while a moderate comes on and attacks me and makes rude comments and accusations. I am so sick of it. I dont know if its just the forum or me not doing well on the forum – I just cannot seem to say a thing without a moderator barking at me and breathing down my neck for nothing. I just dont know whether its me or them.
Sorry for posting twice. I have simply havent got a clue why they all hate me and want to attack me all the time. All the moderators just gang up on me and some of the users. Eventually I will always get picked on. I am at the end of my tether and I was so of them of them picking on me I basically said “leave me alone” but I kind of think that it has give them bait to attack me more and bark at me for every minor thing. I am so stupid. They got what they wanted – rip of me. The adminisrator is even worse towards me if I complain.
Aya Hajime says
I think there are many websites and forums today who are trying to get people to participate and visit. They are the ones who are in need of visitors. 🙂
I usually observe a forum first. After a few days or more, I decide if it has a culture that I am comfortable with, before I participate. There are many to choose from, so I only spend time in places that are rewarding to me.
I sense some BIG changes coming in terms of cyber bullying laws. On a radio show it was reported many trolls are actually being paid to go onto blogs/forums to cause distractions so nothing of true value can be gained as part of the New World Order.
There are 45 goals for a complete communist/Marxist dictatorship rules and over half of them have already been fulfilled. http://rense.com/general32/americ.htm
I believe this is all designed so that when Martial Law comes it will be easier to lock down the internet. We are seeing small signs of it already with Obama hiring Czar type thugs to monitor EVERY thing you type or say including but not limited to email/telephones bank accounts.etc
i have personally given up on internet forums or blogs because of the bullying. I either get ignored or spammed depending on the mood of the said forum.
I seem to have a *troll* magnet in me! LOL.
I sure hope I don’t get trolled here!