Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In Small Towns, Gossip Moves to the Web, and Turns Vicious

But of late, more people in this hardscrabble town of 5,000 have shifted from sharing the latest news and rumors over eggs and coffee to the Mountain Grove Forum on a social media Web site called Topix, where they write and read startlingly negative posts, all cloaked in anonymity, about one another.

And in Dee’s Place, people are not happy. A waitress, Pheobe Best, said that the site had provoked fights and caused divorces. The diner’s owner, Jim Deverell, called Topix a “cesspool of character assassination.” And hearing the conversation, Shane James, the cook, wandered out of the kitchen tense with anger.

His wife, Jennifer, had been the target in a post titled “freak,” he said, which described the mother of two as, among other things, “a methed-out, doped-out whore with AIDS.” Not a word was true, Mr. and Ms. James said, but the consequences were real enough.

Friends and relatives stopped speaking to them. Trips to the grocery store brought a crushing barrage of knowing glances. She wept constantly and even considered suicide. Now, the couple has resolved to move.


  1. Sounds much like the JBlogosphere (including this one.)

  2. No one is forcing "Ben Torah" to be here if he objects to the content of this blog. And how is he allowed to be al pi Chofetz Chaim if he really holds it is full of slander as it would also be assur to read it.

  3. You mean he should leave the baalei loshon hora here unchallenged?


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