Revisiting the Streisand Effect

22 Jan



During the Melinda Tankard Reist defamation threats against this blog (see category Defamation Threats if you’re interested) Legal Eagle wrote this excellent piece on what is known as The Streisand Effect, which she defines thus: The Streisand effect covers those situations where the threat of legal action has brought publicity to the information sought to be suppressed.

It’s arguable that much legal action intended to silence and suppress has the potential to blossom into the Streisand Effect, depending on the defendant’s attitude towards legal threats, and how much risk she or he is willing to take to protect their freedom of speech. Exactly this situation is currently unfolding once again on No Place for Sheep, where a complaint of harassment has been lodged against me, citing as an example the posts I’ve written on Infidelity and Adultery. I have, I’m informed, “Written intimate things all across the Internet” and this is harassment.

Well, I have written intimate things all over the Internet, erotic writing is a long-established genre and if it offends your sensibilities, don’t read it, has always been my position.

I use no names or any identifiers in any of these posts, neither are the people involved in the stories compelled in any way to read them, so it’s an interesting allegation. What is most interesting, however, is that in defending myself I’ve been obliged to supply my statement of events accompanied by umpteen extremely personal and intimate emails and messages sent to me, that obviously have to identify everyone involved, and will soon be on the public record. At the very least, they’re doing the rounds of various legal agencies, so already a whole swag of people know names they would never otherwise have known or probably even cared about.

On the blog, I tell the stories and it isn’t necessary to identify the actors in order to tell the stories. I actually can’t imagine me ever identifying the actors other than myself, because that would be done only out of malice. Identifying the actors in no way enriches the stories, and enrichment of the story would be the only reason to take that course.

In attempting to shut me up they’ve outed themselves, and didn’t this ever occur to anyone?

It’s also interesting from the point of view of the writer, and who owns story, and what we may and may not write about and how.

It’s also interesting from the perspective of what is defined as harassment. If it is indeed writing about events in one’s own life without naming any other participants, that’s going to silence a veritable multitude of voices.

As I did with Tankard Reist, I’ve made multiple offers to negotiate this situation with the complainants, to no avail. It has been and continues to be an emotionally charged situation for all involved, but one that could be resolved with some good will on everybody’s part, and a couple of admittedly difficult, but private conversations. What has been done cannot be undone, and the best must be made of the consequences of actions.

It seems the complainants want their very own Streisand moment. But you really do have to question the integrity of people who claim they are being harassed by being exposed, and attempt to redress this alleged offence by naming and outing themselves as a default position.

There is no way I could possibly bring them as much public attention as they will bring to themselves by this action, so one can only conclude it’s what they must want in some dark, and to my mind, twisted way.


18 Responses to “Revisiting the Streisand Effect”

  1. doug quixote January 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    No, they just want to shut you up and can’t think of any other way to do it.

    Their problem is that because they recognise themselves in the text, they think that other people will recognise them too. There may be a few, a very few.

    But if they want to continue down this path, they will out themselves to the world. And find that the world will give very little sympathy or support to their case.

    They should write to you, unilaterally withdrawing all threats and actions. And request politely that you leave them in peace.

    Enough is more than enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 8 Degrees of Latitude January 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    If it were not a scandalous defamation of pregnant carp to do so, I’d call these people twerps.

    And since on the evidence you present, they’re likely to read this comment, can I just say I’d love to hear from them myself. I have a bucket of shit standing by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson January 22, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

      You know that lovely message you left last night, well there was a big storm, we lost power & the entire post and all the comments vanished.

      But I remember it 🙂

      I didn’t know pregnant carp are twerps. How interesting


      • 8 Degrees of Latitude January 22, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

        I’m sure they’re not, in the colloquial sense. 🙂 And as to the comment last night, keep it in your heart. That’s where it should be.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nickandrew January 22, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

        The post is still in my brain. Should I forget it? I read the links you supplied, too. Should I also forget the conclusions I drew from reading those pages?


  3. paul walter January 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    Called slap suiting..from the USA originally of course and used by the forestry industry to shut down objections to that last pulp mill in Tasmania, the name of which I’ve forgotten.

    One thing worries me a bit above others..this “..obliged to supply my statement of events..personal emails and messages..”

    I won’t ask why you are required to hand over personal details in a non-criminal situation, but this, as the others have said, does seem about thuggery and hazing much more than out of any legit concern involving right, wrong and truth.. there seems an aura of malice involved in the whole saga; sanctimonious, vindictive, tiny-minded people sicken me, particularly people so unintelligent that they bucket themselves trying to bucket someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nickandrew January 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

      SLAPP … Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 22, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      I didn’t HAVE to hand anything over, PW, but I wasn’t going to remain silent under a barrage of false accusations, only one of which I’ve written about here, because it wouldn’t be prudent at this point for me to write about the others, but I will.

      I was advised this is the easiest and best way for me to deal with the situation as it stands, so as I’m not one bit ashamed about the intimacy, I didn’t see a problem in producing it to prove the other side are lying.

      It has nothing to do with truth, which is what pissed me off about the whole thing in the first place. Some people seem to think they can do what they like to other people, as if they and their concerns are far more important, and as you know that attitude pushes all my buttons. I mean, just give me one good reason why one human life is more important than another. That’s rhetorical, BTW. 🙂 I’m still in combat mode.


      • paul walter January 22, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

        First, thanks nickandrew for above refinement.

        Jennifer, I don’t think the people haunting you would have the foggiest bogan idea of what you are about and I doubt whether you would find the space between their ears remotely hospitable.

        On a different note, I am glad I woke up to Stewart’s page.. just finished reading a fascinating thing on Nurse Ratched and workplace bullies.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson January 22, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

          Stewart is a good friend of mine, he lives round the corner & catches fish. His wife Rhonda is one of my besties.


        • Stewart Hase January 23, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

          Thanks Paul. Jennifer’s analysis that I catch fish is a bit one dimensional but I do live around the corner (hoisted on her on petard:)) ).


          • Jennifer Wilson January 23, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

            LOL, I thought PW knew all your accomplishments except that one.


      • paul walter January 22, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

        They dont “get” what you are about. Shame, isn’t it?


        • Jennifer Wilson January 23, 2015 at 9:52 am #

          I guess nobody will ever want to have an affair with me again. LOL


  4. Toni Blackmore January 22, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

    As gently as possible, can I suggest examining the motives of crazy with tools like reasoning and logic is a futile, sanity blunting exercise? The nagging question though, is what she hopes to gain and who she hopes to harm with this new excursion from reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson January 22, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

      Sanity blunting is right. Somewhere in all this are the makings of an unputdownable novel. Maybe a movie.

      It’s a nagging question all right, but one I don’t think I can be bothered with much longer. That’s good, I think 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: