Woodbury Reports has to routinely deal with assertions or actions that at root are not true, or are attempts to mislead. However, no matter how somebody attempts to excuse or explain away their misleading activities, at root these actions are still a lie.
The latest misleading activity we have dealt with is a manipulation of our monthly poll. On the morning of April 23, 2006, somebody went to our monthly poll on www.strugglingteens.com/news/polls.html, and manipulated it in such a way that the person was able to vote for one selection at least 127 times in one session. This attempt to override the honest expressions of other participants' opinions was designed to create a perspective that did not honestly reflect that of the participants. In essence, this person was lying to everybody.
In our culture, people of good will have revulsion for those who prove to be liars. It seems this revulsion comes from an almost universal ideal. Even a pathological liar will often be incensed when somebody else lies to him or her. In our court system, it often happens that a witness's testimony is completely thrown out if it is proved that they lied on even a matter that had nothing to do with the case. In students placed in juvenile justice or parent choice residential programs, one of the most important issues the staff works with are the antisocial and personal consequences of that child's lying. Hacking is a rather despised activity because it pretends something that is untrue, and laws have been passed that have seen some hackers going to jail. We have even had powerful politicians forced out of office when it was determined they had lied to the public. Lying is one of the strongest taboos in our culture, at least as an ideal, and the revulsion felt by those lied to goes very deep.
Of course, we all know lying goes on all the time from little white lies to the BIG lie. However, the liar plays a dangerous game with potentially severe consequences if he or she is caught. Once caught, the liar has no creditability among honest people of good will.
The details of the manipulation of our monthly poll are as follows.
For months, the average votes in our monthly poll have been about 100 votes a month.
On the morning of April 22, the vote total for the April poll was 54 votes.
On April 23, the vote total rose to 185 votes, with one choice in the poll increasing by 127 votes overnight.
A check of the site log for that page showed that 127 entrances to the poll page in a short time had one IP number (a unique number assigned to one computer during one internet session) shortly before 10 a.m. West Coast Time. Only one category received votes during that session.
At a few minutes past 10 a.m., West Coast Time, on Sunday, an anonymous poster on the Fornits website posted a link to our poll page and said "Heh heh" with a copy of the poll with the results at 173 votes, followed later by approving comments from other participants.
We waited through Sunday and Monday to see what more they would do. The computer with the same IP number, and some other computers, came to the site and brought the count up to 406 votes, almost all for the same category. Fornits is a well-known discussion board that is much more critical of private residential schools and programs than public juvenile justice ones. The site allows anonymous posters to say whatever they feel, often spiced with profanity, vulgarity and sprinkled with four letter words.
We are sending a complaint to the owner of that IP number, pointing out that one of their customers had abused their Internet privileges.
We are freezing the poll and leaving it online for at least the rest of the month with this explanation so the world can see the results of this lie.
This person(s) obviously has no respect for the people who expressed their honest opinions in this poll.
This person(s) obviously has no respect for the public who might be viewing this poll and are interested in learning the honest expression of the public's opinion.
This person(s) obviously is afraid to identify themselves and be accountable for their actions, choosing to hide behind anonymous manipulation and anonymous postings.
Results of this poll are obviously not valid, and only tell us that some people think lying is ok.
I have one question. Do the other people who hob nob with this person(s) on the Fornits website condone lying?