Was It a Virtual Stoning?

There was an interesting piece in the Washington Post yesterday, about a woman in South Korea whose dog pooped on a subway. She refused to clean it up, much to the consternation of other passengers nearby (what the hell is a dog doing in the subway anyway?).

One passenger took a digital photo and put it on a citizen journalism Web site, and then all hell broke loose. Everyone started calling her the “Dog Poop Lady” and chattering back and forth online about how awful she is.

Bloggers joined in, and the search for her identity began (her face was obscured in the photo).

Eventually, her name was made public because of her dog and the bag she carried, and the story hit the Korean national media. The woman ultimately had to quit school because of the public shame she’d endured.

You have to understand, shame is still a big value in Asian cultures.

Now, granted, she was nasty in the first place, and a lot of people probably think she deserved the hassling. But the Post asks the question, “how far is too far?”

This incident showed a cyber-mob in action. After a while, the mob wouldn’t be satisfied until there had been retribution.

I don’t know what the solution is, or where to draw the line between “enough” and “too much” citizen journalism.

But damn, she never shoulda taken that dog on the subway. I bet she never does again.

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