When I come home to find a window broken, when I find my car has been keyed, I doubt my reaction is much different from anyone else's - disbelief and disappointment. When I edited one of my nodes today and discovered that malicious softlinking had gone on, I was upset.

My first reaction, to reach for anger, was tempered by the realization that in this case, anger is a useless emotion. It will neither repair the damage nor do anything other than reward the culprit, whose most likely motive was to anger me. Moreover, who is really the victim of this person's behavior? I can shuffle the softlinks around and move the important ones back to the top. I can replace the window, and my life will go on unchanged. The vandal, however, will live either with a lastingly shameful memory, or with the equally lasting acid that eats from the inside. In either case, s/he will suffer more than me.

This is not to say that I think such behavior should be overlooked. There is a great deal of discussion in the E2 FAQ about community, and it's no different than the community I live in, in that it is the attitudes and contributions of the residents that determine whether Everything2 will stand or fall. I believe that in an environment such as this, where we are in fact only virtual colleagues, it is more important than ever to remember that the person at the other end of that sig is a person when you click the blab button.

I'm still a newbie for a few more days here, and I'm hoping to hear from others in this community the extent of concern, if any, experiences to share, if any, and suggestions to remedy, if any, regarding vandalism. I don't know if this is the right forum, but I will trust the Gods to tell me if it's not and dispose of this node appropriately if necessary. (O)v(O)

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