I read this last week on Brunei Times...thought it would be interesting to share this with everyone...just incase you havent read it.
The pros and cons of public humiliation-->Rano Iskander 23-Feb-07
WITH the numbers of local bloggers rising, there's a wide variety of great reads out there. However, in some cases, bloggers may use this medium just to display their angst, accusations or simply embarrass targeted individuals. I'm sure some bloggers have their fair share of disgruntled moments which are poured out online. Some gossips, disses and undesired comments are posted without a sense of guilt. If one does, there is still some degree of discretion and anonymity on the related invidual or parties. But what if one does disclose identities? With reputations on the line, where should we draw the line? We are aware that the Internet laws are still a grey area and it's pretty hard to draw the line of what is acceptable. Ironically the care-free bloggers are protected by lack of authoritative intervention.
Let's give this particular website a shout since it's related. youparkingidiot.blogspot.com, once talk of the town, maintain their vision on sharing with other bloggers/readers on inconsiderate drivers who park their cars haphazardly. Everyone's entitled to contribute and all you need is a camera (phone or digicam) and the Internet. Who knows, your effort may even win you the accolade of picture of the month _ as an incentive measure. Despite its blunt approach considering how small Brunei is, that was an intriguing issue with regard to the displaying of plate licence numbers.
This brings me to my next question. Does it actually make it any less trivial should the plate numbers be blurred before the pictures are published on the Internet? When the website was at its introductory phase, plate numbers were visible to all and sundry. Soon after, it became a debatable issue and even polls were used to determine the outcome. The said website is just one of the websites accessible for Internet readers. There are other websites such as the infamous stereotyping memoirsofapoklen.blogspot.com which defines and provides hilarious observations of a true poklen (a Bruneian slang for a groupie).
Though it falls under public shame, it does draw a fine line and most readers agree with the details given. You might disagree with my views on this. Come to think of it, public humiliation does have its pros and cons.
Let's start with the bright side.
Certain individuals may experience some level of embarassment or shame which will in turn deter them from repeating their wrongdoings. Some bloggers use websites as their tool to express dissatisfaction or in yourparkingidiot's case, the chance to humiliate parking offenders.
I'm no exception to the rule as I have indulged in it at some time or other. The recent Brunei Marathon, for instance, rings a bell for the wrong reasons. There were a dozen of bloggers, including yours truly, who posted negative feedbacks on the chaotic event that put our country to shame in the eyes of many. At some point, even the media joined the bandwagon. Though the complaints were aimed at the organisers, it also indirectly affects the country's credibility.
As for the cons, it basically goes right down to the core _ reputation.
Being a small nation, with gossips spreading like there's no tomorrow, the respective individuals may not take the criticisms lightly. Instead, they become victims of public humiliation regardless of whether it's true or not. One popular web-based forum "Have Your Say" doesn't practice censorship on personal attacks. Does this tell us that we readers enjoy bad publicity of one another?
In conclusion, whether you like it or not, bloggers and forum owners have the upper hand due to the lack of Internet laws. Hence, public shame issue will continue as it is. Unless you are willing to take the risk, remaining anonymous as a blogger may just save you from trouble or being questioned or even being sued.