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I am raising public awareness about an emerging phenomenon -- amusing yet disturbing -- intellectually stimulating for this social psychologist -- something that might also seize the interest of anyone interested in group psychology and technology. I am talking about the risks of participating in unmoderated news groups, news groups available through the front pages of most ISPs and most prominently through Google. For example, many psychology department web sites and blogs include the psychology "news groups" in their comprehensive list of resources.
These tastefully-named "news groups" have become home to gangs of anonymous stalkers seeking to harass individuals who contribute unconventional wisdom or complaints to the Web. These gangs are comprised of academics, practitioners (i.e. professional shills) as well as non-degree holding supplicants, and tech-savvy belligerents with criminal and/or psychiatric histories.
**Products of flame wars and defamation in these news groups end up vandalizing Wikipedia and the search engines (especially Google), raising questions about the credibility and educational value of these resources.**
To offer some insight into the scope of the problem, I composed a series of related reports about the self-described "cabal" operating out of unmoderated sci.psychology.psychotherapy. The reports are offered in the spirit of civic responsibility, social science, and also to entertain its readers while striking a note of caution.
I hope you enjoy them. The main report is the following:
with links to related reports in the right navigation bar, including reports that illustrate how Web Resources (e.g. Google, Wikipedia, Amazon.com) are abused or vandalized for the purposes of harassment and defamation:
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