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#1 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (3791 posts) -

Well this is pretty disgusting. I didn't even know when over the past week this happened. But it seems that writer Jennifer Hepler's children got death threats, that they would get killed while right after they get out at school.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7955-Im-Going-To-Murder-Your-Children

Metro UK: BioWare writer received death threats to family

No embed, gents.

‘I was shown a sample of the forum posts by EA security,’ says Hepler ‘And it included graphic threats to kill my children on their way out of school to show them that they should have been aborted at birth rather than have to have me as a mother.’

I liked Dragon Age 2. And I'm certainly looking forward to Dragon Age 3. But well shit I dunno. This shit is just beyond fucking wack.

#2 Posted by Quarters (1885 posts) -

Ridiculous. Yeah, stuff like this is what I was talking about when the Phil Fish stuff happened. It makes it no less awful, but he was definitely not the only person receiving stuff like that.

But on topic, I just can't believe the amount of vitriol people will throw, just because they didn't like a game. This isn't the first time she's had this type of crap hurled at her(I believe she had an earlier incident closer to DA2's release). Just wish people would grow the crap up.

#3 Edited by probablytuna (3832 posts) -
#5 Edited by Animasta (14730 posts) -

To be fair, Dragon Age 2 threatened to end my life first.

Also taking death threats seriously on the internet, what year is it 2001.

rofl, excuse me? she (and her parents) was getting calls about it.

there is no excusing it

#6 Edited by Brodehouse (10138 posts) -

Jim's line about "I shouldn't have to say that sending death threats to kids is bad, but I do" ... no, you don't. It's not a case of people going "what, death threats are bad, I didn't know" it's a case of people going "death threats are bad and that's why I'm sending them". Stop pretending whenever anyone behaves immorally or illegal it's because they're too stupid to understand it's immoral or illegal. This line of thinking says that murder happens because people aren't aware that it's wrong, not that they know it's wrong and don't care. By doing this, by pretending that it's all just a problem with society, you are merely shifting responsibility away from the person doing the bad behavior. It's not that they decided to do something illegal under full knowledge that what they're doing is illegal, it's that they don't know right from wrong and our society is ending and hand-wringing, hand-wringing, hand-wringing.

And that's not even getting into the problem of taking any "I'm gunna kill you so hard" nonsense you read on the internet, and taking it as a credible threat. There is a difference, ask a police officer. While clearly she and her family have suffered harassment with the phone calls and social media bombing, attempting to portray their lives in serious danger is absolutely disingenuous. If there was a strong trend of violence committed against video game developers for failing to put out a good sequel, I would of course change my mind, but that's not where we're at yet. We're at the point now where we take anonymous threats of violence from strangers on the other side of the country more seriously than actual violence. Actual violence is hysterical "Florida man" reddit posts that we use to lighten our day, and ridiculous, comic-book villain threats of violence are treated like legitimate damage.

Seriously though, more people have been killed or attacked for doing good in multiplayer sessions than have been killed for "I don't like your product". And yet I bet that the next time someone threatens to come to your house and burn it to the ground because you shot them in CoD, you're probably not gonna call the police. Because there's a difference between credible threats (which are assault) and stupid shit people say.

#8 Posted by Animasta (14730 posts) -

@brodehouse:

@animasta said:

@lordxavierbritish said:

To be fair, Dragon Age 2 threatened to end my life first.

Also taking death threats seriously on the internet, what year is it 2001.

rofl, excuse me? she (and her parents) was getting calls about it.

there is no excusing it

And?

It's just stupid kids being stupid kids. Kids do stupid shit all the time, or maybe it's grown men acting like children but that isn't the fucking point.

It isn't news, it isn't important, it isn't even exclusive to video games. Celebrities and major organizations get death threats all the time, but no one pays attention to it because it isn't worth the fucking air. The only reason this is even getting attention is because it's vidya gamez journalism where nothing happens for months on end and everyone is always looking for something new to shout at.

So? Kids just being kids is not an excuse. I was a teenager on the internet and I managed not to threaten anybody's life, funnily enough.

and no one pays attention to... who, exactly? Who are these people getting multiple death threats and it not being reported on? This isn't just one person doing you know. Even before DA2 came out there was a campaign to attack this woman for silly but ultimately harmless statements.

#9 Edited by Viking_Funeral (1917 posts) -

The Metro is a rag that misquotes other articles in order to create controversy and generate views/hits. The actual article they stole from is on Polygon:

Original Polygon Article

Now Jim is linking to this new article, instead of the original, in order to create more controversy? I can't imagine that he's ignorant of the original source. It's like a bad game of telephone, except everyone is complicit in obfuscating the message.

Not that what happened to Mrs. Hepler is great or anything, but let's try to keep a reasonable head here.

@animasta said:

rofl, excuse me? she (and her parents) was getting calls about it.

Source?

I would love to see an actual source for this that isn't just someone mentioning it on a forum. I mean, how would they even get the number in the first place, and secondly, it's very easy to trace phone records these days, and death threats over the phone are easily prosecuted in court.

#10 Posted by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

@animasta: It isn't right, but Brodehouse is correct in that this isn't behavior exclusive to video games. The more public and famous gam designers, writers, and the like become, the more they're subjected to the scrutiny, idiocy, and insanity of the public. It's a side of life that public faces in the industry need to adapt to, which again, is unfortunate, but not unexpected.

#11 Edited by Brodehouse (10138 posts) -

@animasta: Every celebrity gets death threats, and most of the time they're not reported unless there's motive and opportunity shown. Opportunity as in "is the person making the threat even capable of following through?" And finding motive is based on precedent, so there has to be something of a history of crimes being committed to the ends of the motive. As in "X killed Y because Y is sleeping with X's spouse" has precedent. "X killed Y because X was disappointed by Y's latest video game" has no precedent whatsoever. Worrying about the threat of people killing others because their latest piece of art is disappointing, is like worrying that people are going to bomb the Burj Khalifa because they don't like asymmetry. If someone said that, would you take it seriously?

When people get killed for making art, it's not because the art disappointed the fans, it's because someone was offended to the point of planning murder. Salman Rushdie receives legitimate death threats because people who have never seen his work are offended by it even existing, not because fans of his work wish that it had a better denouement. Maybe in the future, but not now.

The truth of threats is that Justin Bieber is in more danger from people who love him too much than he is from people who hate him too much.

#12 Posted by Milkman (17342 posts) -

@animasta said:

@lordxavierbritish said:

To be fair, Dragon Age 2 threatened to end my life first.

Also taking death threats seriously on the internet, what year is it 2001.

rofl, excuse me? she (and her parents) was getting calls about it.

there is no excusing it

And?

It's just stupid kids being stupid kids. Kids do stupid shit all the time, or maybe it's grown men acting like children but that isn't the fucking point.

It isn't news, it isn't important, it isn't even exclusive to video games. Celebrities and major organizations get death threats all the time, but no one pays attention to it because it isn't worth the fucking air. The only reason this is even getting attention is because it's vidya gamez journalism where nothing happens for months on end and everyone is always looking for something new to shout at.

The fact that people want to cast aside things like this as "lol internet" is a pretty fucking disturbing result of the completely noxious and disdainful attitude that the internet has created. This is not okay.

#13 Edited by EXTomar (4951 posts) -

You see this behavior in other areas that are more "serious" but even there that is inexcusable. No one should put up with that crap. No one should make excuses for people who behave like that either.

#14 Posted by Darji (5293 posts) -

Yes the writing was terrible and she was one of the one resposible for this mess but that is no reason for these kind of attacks. Internet wouuld be fine since these are total assholes but the other stuff is just cruel and the police or FBI needs to get these people. Joke or nor.

#15 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4833 posts) -

Holy fucking shit. This has long since gone way beyond being overly passionate about a hobby and is now well into the territory of literally insane. Real talk, whether it was some fucked up joke or not, whoever did this deserves jail time or house arrest or some shit. Anything. This shit ain't okay.

That said, I would love to talk to the person who did this because I need to know. I need to know what fucking drives someone to threaten the kids of a writer (or the writer themselves, whatever) because you were unhappy with a video game. I cannot even begin to fathom even getting close to that level of anger. It makes zero sense. I get mad. Shit, we all do. But to go this far?

And sure, people have done worse things than just send death threats. I get that, but still...fuck.

#16 Posted by Demoskinos (15180 posts) -

@milkman said:

@lordxavierbritish said:

@animasta said:

@lordxavierbritish said:

To be fair, Dragon Age 2 threatened to end my life first.

Also taking death threats seriously on the internet, what year is it 2001.

rofl, excuse me? she (and her parents) was getting calls about it.

there is no excusing it

And?

It's just stupid kids being stupid kids. Kids do stupid shit all the time, or maybe it's grown men acting like children but that isn't the fucking point.

It isn't news, it isn't important, it isn't even exclusive to video games. Celebrities and major organizations get death threats all the time, but no one pays attention to it because it isn't worth the fucking air. The only reason this is even getting attention is because it's vidya gamez journalism where nothing happens for months on end and everyone is always looking for something new to shout at.

The fact that people want to cast aside things like this as "lol internet" is a pretty fucking disturbing result of the completely noxious and disdainful attitude that the internet has created. This is not okay.

Exactly, and its the same reason people like these asshats making the threats can't get through their skulls that what they are doing is fucking affecting peoples lives for REAL. It doesn't matter if its on the internet a threat is a threat no matter if it is in person, over the phone or written in crayon on a piece of construction paper.

#17 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1609 posts) -

@demoskinos said:

@milkman said:

@lordxavierbritish said:

@animasta said:

@lordxavierbritish said:

To be fair, Dragon Age 2 threatened to end my life first.

Also taking death threats seriously on the internet, what year is it 2001.

rofl, excuse me? she (and her parents) was getting calls about it.

there is no excusing it

And?

It's just stupid kids being stupid kids. Kids do stupid shit all the time, or maybe it's grown men acting like children but that isn't the fucking point.

It isn't news, it isn't important, it isn't even exclusive to video games. Celebrities and major organizations get death threats all the time, but no one pays attention to it because it isn't worth the fucking air. The only reason this is even getting attention is because it's vidya gamez journalism where nothing happens for months on end and everyone is always looking for something new to shout at.

The fact that people want to cast aside things like this as "lol internet" is a pretty fucking disturbing result of the completely noxious and disdainful attitude that the internet has created. This is not okay.

Exactly, and its the same reason people like these asshats making the threats can't get through their skulls that what they are doing is fucking affecting peoples lives for REAL. It doesn't matter if its on the internet a threat is a threat no matter if it is in person, over the phone or written in crayon on a piece of construction paper.

@lordxavierbritish could have made his point better, but you're missing it. Of course this is bad, but there's a very real difference between a miserable 13-year-old making threats on a message board to get attention and the kind of threats law enforcement consider credible. Do you really think anyone would follow through with attacking a video game writer's children because they were disappointed by their work? Is there any precedent for it at all?

Again, this stuff is awful, I completely empathize with those affected by it being scared (I would be too), and I think the police making a few examples might go a long way to make people think twice before doing this, but when I hear about a story like this, I picture a 14-year-old whose dad abuses him and has thought about committing suicide and does this as a form of cowardly bullying, not someone who's going to murder someone's children. This isn't a problem with video games, and it's not really even a problem with the internet -- it's a problem of society and human psychology.

@brodehouse pretty much nails it.

#18 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

First I was gonna write that this here's internet land and assholes will be assholes. But then I thought, what if I had kids? And what if someone sent them death threats? And now I'm really fucking pissed.

#19 Posted by Hunter5024 (5981 posts) -

I remember reading her say: "I just figure they're jealous that I get to have both a vagina AND a games industry job, and they can't get either." and just being shocked that anybody could be so supremely idiotic, that they would insult a group of people who were already livid with her just for the sake of looking clever for a minute. Sorry Jennifer Hepler, even though I don't like your writing either, I certainly don't think you deserve this at all, but what the fuck did you think was going to happen? Would this internet mob just say "Guys... She really got us with that sick burn. Let's crawl back to our lair and never mess with her again, otherwise her sharp wit may cut us once more!"

I still feel bad for her, but I feel bad for her in the way that I would feel bad for someone who poked a rattle snake with a stick. Maybe I'd feel a little more sympathetic if I believed she was in any sort of real danger, but if this woman or her kids actually get hurt over this, I will eat my shoe.

#20 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

Kojima got death threats towards himself and his family after announcing that he would never work on another MGS again(after MGS3). You know what he responded with?

"I'm alright."

#21 Posted by Marokai (3153 posts) -

What Brodehouse said.

#22 Edited by CrunchyPickles (94 posts) -

Kojima got death threats towards himself and his family after announcing that he would never work on another MGS again(after MGS3). You know what he responded with?

"I'm alright."

I think Japanese developers in general don't really care as much about this stuff, because they know it's just childish shit from anonymous people trying to sound edgy on the Internet. Kamiya gets a ton of this shit too and he often just makes fun of them.

Also yeah, nobody should be trusting the metro article, or anyone that cites it. Read the polygon article.

#23 Posted by joshwent (2353 posts) -

Internet threat =/= Real life threat

It really bugs me that this shit gets press, and people start writing articles about how violent and cruel current "gaming culture" is and how we need to do something immediately. Receiving this kind of hate is awful, but it's bullshit spewed by a fraction of a fraction of a percent of gamers, 99.999999999% of would never even think of doing something like that.

People do this for attention, and the more press it gets, the more it'll happen. These are hate trolls, and they only go away by ignoring them.

#24 Posted by AlexanderSheen (5105 posts) -

Dragon Age 2 wasn't even that bad.

#25 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3925 posts) -

The fact that 99.99% of the people who make these threats would never think of nor have the ability to actually follow through doesnt change the fact that its disgusting. This idea that "hey man it's the Internet" is some sorta cap to the discussion is stupid. I know there's not a lot that can be done but I can still be annoyed by trash of every age who think a computer and anonymity is a license to act vile.

#26 Edited by Giantstalker (1729 posts) -

It's only the most naïve and sheltered who still take any degree of outrage from this.

Try actually facing violent people before treating internet - INTERNET - threats like these as some kind of capital offense.

Brodehouse was totally on the money here.

#27 Posted by RollingZeppelin (2118 posts) -

Why are people so juvenile in this industry? Sometime's I just want to throw my arms up and say fuck it, I'm not associating with these fuckwads anymore, videogames are over!

But then an awesome game comes along and I'm like "fiiiiiine, I'll come back."

#28 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

Dragon Age 2 wasn't even that bad.

OOOOH NO YOU DIDN'T!

#29 Edited by ShinjiEx (625 posts) -

So the trolls won?

I liked Dragon Age 2 and how your character had a soul and the varies acts and how they played out based off your choices

Jennifer Hepler should of put her foot down and stayed with BioWare continuing to work DA3

#30 Edited by jimmy_p (278 posts) -

Is that the woman who confessed that she has no interest in actually playing games and wants a fast-forward button to the dialogue? I need more of that shitty fanfic level writing in my vidya

#31 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3509 posts) -

Games, movies, music, TV, what-ever: it's fucking pathetic how many people think we should just ignore this behavior and that all our creative types need to grow thicker skin yadda yadda yadda, typical adolescent don't-be-a-pussy attitude. Sorry the internet's not as cool as you, must be the giant swinging dick you have. Stop quoting percentages of good people vs. bad people, stop pretending you have even half a clue what *any* hate-receiving developer lives with. Such a fucked up world we live in where half the population thinks people "get what they deserve" for expressing an opinion or making a joke online or god forbid, being themselves. I guess everybody forgot the golden rule and the old eye for an eye adage. There's a really serious wave of censorship coming to an internet near you and frankly I welcome it with open arms because the online world I look at today barely deserves to exist. I, for one, welcome the ghetto twitter where all the shit heads will soon be corralled and the ign.com's that use instanced chat to lump assholes in their own virtual universe.

#32 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

@jimmy_p

That's her. She is the sole reason why ME3 had a 'Story-difficulty' which made every enemy die with a few hits and the reason why every single character wanted to fuck your MC's brains out in DA2.

If you play video games for the story, you're doing it wrong.

#33 Posted by Brodehouse (10138 posts) -

The fact that 99.99% of the people who make these threats would never think of nor have the ability to actually follow through doesnt change the fact that its disgusting. This idea that "hey man it's the Internet" is some sorta cap to the discussion is stupid. I know there's not a lot that can be done but I can still be annoyed by trash of every age who think a computer and anonymity is a license to act vile.

There are plenty of people who are completely odious and reprehensible, that is an absolute truth. Whether or not we should spend valuable police resources to prevent them from being odious and reprehensible is a completely different argument, as is whether or not being odious and reprehensible in words is a justifiable reason to imprison someone.

Credible death threats make public safety difficult and require police action, and action from an already overburdened justice system. Stupid, illegitimate shit said on the internet requiring police and judicial action only decreases the amount of resources being spent on actual threats to public safety. Every police officer who has to spend time investigating a completely incredulous threat is incapable of investigating real crime and real violence and real threats from real criminals, and that actually results in real victims.

In some ways, I don't blame Jennifer Hepler for believing stupid shit said on the internet, since every major news corporation's modus operandi is to pump as much fear of imminent death lurking around every corner into the market as possible. This is why despite crime spiralling since the mid 70s, despite objectively being safer than ever before, people feel more insecure and threatened than ever before.

#34 Edited by joshwent (2353 posts) -

Also, Polygon is horrible. I hope the irony wasn't lost on them that their article about how extreme opinions causing harm is called:

Plague of game dev harassment erodes industry...

It's this kind of unbridled hyperbole that confuses this relatively simple issue into a fucking media-wide panic. Nothing better than the "Is your child on DRUGS?!?" shit that local news does every night.

#35 Posted by stryker1121 (1591 posts) -

Whether you like DA2's writing or not is far besides the point. Death threats, credible or not, should be taken seriously, at least to the point where that kind of OTT "humor" is not tolerated. Name and shame, ban-hammer from Live/PSN, generally just go after the trolls who think this kind of thing is OK. The "It's only teh Internet LOL" attitude is what helps give these assholes the power to keep being assholes.

#36 Edited by Darji (5293 posts) -
#37 Posted by joshwent (2353 posts) -

The "It's only teh Internet LOL" attitude is what helps give these assholes the power to keep being assholes.

The existence of the internet is what gives these assholes the power to keep being assholes.

#38 Edited by Kidavenger (3629 posts) -

I don't understand why she keeps making a target of herself, nobody would know who she was if she didn't continually make this bullshit public; send it to the police and shut your face because it's obvious she's doing nothing more than feeding the trolls.

#39 Edited by EXTomar (4951 posts) -

I'm not comfortable "blaming the victim". She didn't do anything wrong. She shouldn't have to correct her behavior.

#40 Posted by McGhee (6075 posts) -

@darji said:

@alexandersheen said:

Dragon Age 2 wasn't even that bad.

You're right. That's not bad at all. It's fucking amazing.

#41 Posted by Kidavenger (3629 posts) -

@extomar said:

I'm not comfortable "blaming the victim". She didn't do anything wrong. She shouldn't have to correct her behavior.

She did do something wrong, she engaged them and she made it public; giving stuff like this exposure isn't going to fix it, someone that threatens to kill your kids isn't going to be shamed or learn anything until there are real repercussions for doing so.

#42 Posted by Hunter5024 (5981 posts) -

@shinjiex said:

So the trolls won?

I liked Dragon Age 2 and how your character had a soul and the varies acts and how they played out based off your choices

Jennifer Hepler should of put her foot down and stayed with BioWare continuing to work DA3

She says her departure had nothing to do with the harassment. There were other projects she wanted to pursue.

#43 Edited by falserelic (5407 posts) -

Just some fucked up people, sick, stupid, crazy, all kinds of fucked people in this cruel hopeless world.

#44 Posted by Oginam (447 posts) -

@kidavenger said:

I don't understand why she keeps making a target of herself, nobody would know who she was if she didn't continually make this bullshit public; send it to the police and shut your face because it's obvious she's doing nothing more than feeding the trolls.

People need to know this is happening and that it is not acceptable behavior. Getting death threats against you and your children is also not "bullshit". Trolling is used way too widely as a scapegoat for bad, often illegal, behavior - death threats never equal trolling; nor does racism, threats of violence or rape, or anything that would otherwise be punished legally if it happened in real life and not on the internet.

More people need to take hard, vocal stands against this kind of behavior not "shut their faces".

#45 Posted by Kidavenger (3629 posts) -

@oginam: Go to the police.

Telling the internet that there are mean people on the internet is fucking retarded.

#46 Edited by Darji (5293 posts) -

@mcghee said:

@darji said:

@alexandersheen said:

Dragon Age 2 wasn't even that bad.

You're right. That's not bad at all. It's fucking amazing.

I am not even transexual and get offended easily but even I am offended by this.

#47 Edited by Hunter5024 (5981 posts) -

@oginam said:

@kidavenger said:

I don't understand why she keeps making a target of herself, nobody would know who she was if she didn't continually make this bullshit public; send it to the police and shut your face because it's obvious she's doing nothing more than feeding the trolls.

People need to know this is happening and that it is not acceptable behavior. Getting death threats against you and your children is also not "bullshit". Trolling is used way too widely as a scapegoat for bad, often illegal, behavior - death threats never equal trolling; nor does racism, threats of violence or rape, or anything that would otherwise be punished legally if it happened in real life and not on the internet.

More people need to take hard, vocal stands against this kind of behavior not "shut their faces".

What would that accomplish? She took a stand against this, it made everything worse for her, and things aren't any better than they were before. If she hadn't said anything, this whole situation probably would have been behind her a long time ago. Nobody actually thinks this is acceptable behavior, but they accept that it will happen no matter what you do. Murder isn't acceptable behavior, we still acknowledge that it will probably never go away.

#48 Edited by Seppli (10250 posts) -

Hell, I vent a lot of vile shit aloud while playing games. For the most parts I'm content with mumbling these obsceneties into my beard. Sometimes I vent on unaffiliated forums like this one, if whatever disturbs me persists past the playsession. Some of the more colorful language I may have used over the years may have been over the line too. I was pretty upset with Mass Effect 3's mystery box unlock and microtransaction scheme, which becomes exploitative as fuck given a sufficient time and/or money investment.

That said, targeting and terrorizing individuals online isn't just venting anymore. It's a crime and should be prosecuted as such. The *Hamburger Hepler* incident started as a delightfully mean-spirited, but utterly harmless meme, and then somehow devolved into death threats and worse, like going and trying to traumatize her kids with targeted threats. Jeez! Disgusting and deeply disturbing. Law and order is working hard to get a handle on the internet, and before anything, most basic civility is what should be enforced first.

#49 Posted by Marokai (3153 posts) -

The way Jim pitched this video, as if it "needed" to be stated, is what chaps my ass about this. No it didn't. Everyone here knows death threats are fucking stupid and you shouldn't do it, and I certainly didn't need a seven minute video of someone preaching to me about it to know that. Nor would, I'd wager, every single person in Jim's audience.

I'm sick of all the preaching and shaming these days. Does the games press really have that little to do these days? What, are they salty that forum-goers and people on twitter break more news than they do, anymore? I get it, death threats and cyber bullying is bad. I'm gay; I already know that shit. What am I supposed to do about it? Feel ashamed about it, or some shit?

Bad people exist and will always do stupid things and there's just going to be a tiny fraction of a percent that aren't going to listen to reason, no matter what you do. The articles "calling people out" and this Jimquisition are just cheap shots at low hanging fruit that do nothing except stir more resentment among people who aren't doing anything wrong but are tired of the constantly guilting and self-loathing that they're being barraged with on a regular basis these days, whether it be on this topic or "sexism."

@joshwent nailed it by saying this is the equivalent of all of that "IS YOUR CHILD ON DRUGS?" or "HOW SAFE IS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD" shit you see on the local news to stir up trouble and keep the gullible and easily offended watching. There's some serious audience-separation going on here. Nobody watching this Jimquisition is learning anything and he's not doing the world any kind of fucking service that he apparently thinks he is.

I'm tired of the sexism preaching. I'm tired of the "death threats are ruining the industry!" alarmism. If Patrick or Polygon were going on some sort of crusade against homophobia in the gaming community I'd be sick of that too. These problems go beyond gaming and are far above their pay-grade to solve. At this point I just want the games press to actually report on games.

#50 Posted by CrunchyPickles (94 posts) -

@oginam said:

@kidavenger said:

I don't understand why she keeps making a target of herself, nobody would know who she was if she didn't continually make this bullshit public; send it to the police and shut your face because it's obvious she's doing nothing more than feeding the trolls.

People need to know this is happening and that it is not acceptable behavior. Getting death threats against you and your children is also not "bullshit". Trolling is used way too widely as a scapegoat for bad, often illegal, behavior - death threats never equal trolling; nor does racism, threats of violence or rape, or anything that would otherwise be punished legally if it happened in real life and not on the internet.

More people need to take hard, vocal stands against this kind of behavior not "shut their faces".

I'll agree that "trolling" is a drastically overused term these days, but in this case it's pretty much what it is. People saying stupid/shocking shit to get a rise out of someone. Do people take it too far? Obviously, otherwise this conversation wouldn't be happening. But call a spade a spade. The Internet has its share of asshats that will gleefully say mean/scary things if it means a chance at making someone uncomfortable. This is the inevitable drawback of such an open platform for communication. Some people want heavy censorship, but I say fuck that. I can deal with some stupid idiots saying "IMMA KILL UR KIDS OMG" on twitter if it means communication remains open to everyone. That doesn't mean I don't care that they roam free, ideally people wouldn't switch off their "tact" and "civility" functions under anonymous conditions, but this isn't a case where a few bad apples spoil the bunch.