Sometimes it’s good to pause and take stock.
Earlier today, we posted about some of the victories we’ve seen as we’ve followed the Hampstead hoax. Now we’d like to take stock in a different way, in response to a provocative question posed by commenter Tom from the blog SpyCulture. Here’s part of what he says:
Put another way: at what point do you stop? At what point (realistically, not some fantasy where these cunts are thrown in the clink and exposed on national primetime) do you decide to call it a day, say you’ve done what you could do and move on to other things? Because if you’re still doing this in a year then I have to wonder why – is it about them, or you? The longer this goes on, the more it seems this is about you. You can’t let go. You feel compelled to keep on stalking these nasty idiots. That doesn’t speak highly of your mental state. When all’s said and done, they’re just a small band of fuckwits making untrue allegations in a world full of people making untrue allegations. It’s not like a war got started off the back of their lies.
We find this a very interesting question too, Tom.
While we don’t agree that all we’re doing is following people around and pelting them with stones, we’ve asked ourselves the question, “When will it be enough?”
We’ve been at this for the better part of a year. Contrary to the accusations from the hoax-pushers, we’re not paid operatives (nor are we Ricky Dearman, whom none of us has ever even met). We have lives outside Hoaxtead: families, jobs, practical and social obligations—things that have nothing to do with this case. As Danielle G. pointed out in her comment this morning,
Before this blog came into being, all of us were working away in our own little ways, daring to question this blatant hoax – in the face of unprecedented hostility, slander, abuse and threats – and getting multiple videos removed, including ALL of the original ones that started it all (courtesy of Henry Curteis, who’d uploaded them at Sabine’s request, even though she’s since desperately tried to deny it, despite irrefutable proof of her complicitness).
This blog isn’t just one person bleating about a perceived injustice. It’s a lot of people, from many places and many walks of life. Some of us might have little in common with others, were it not for our shared dedication to opposing Hoaxtead. Some of us have formed firm friendships as we’ve worked together. But always, the work helps cement us as a group.
Are we doing any good?
In short, right now we think the good we’re doing makes our work here worthwhile.
We’ve assisted in a large number of activities that have helped to slow down or halt aspects of this hoax. We’ve reported countless videos and blogs. We’ve forwarded evidence to the relevant authorities, and have seen this bear fruit in the form of arrests, injunctions, and police cautions. We’ve helped facilitate a discussion that counters the hoax’s dominant narrative, and has helped equip people to defend themselves against those who make false allegations.
We’ve also created a space in which those who oppose the hoax—and more important, those who’ve been directly affected by it—can feel safe expressing their views. Yes, sometimes those expressions involve low humour or even (gasp!) silliness. Sometimes they involve slagging people who’ve put themselves forward as Hoaxtead pushers. Sometimes they involve ‘outing’ would-be vigilantes who think it’s okay to make terrible allegations against innocent victims from behind a mask of anonymity. (And no, it hasn’t escaped our notice that many of us use anonymous online personas as well, though perhaps that’s a discussion for another day.)
Tom is quite right that in the grand scheme of things, Hoaxtead is just a small corner of the network of lies and conspiracy theories out there in the big world: “When all’s said and done, they’re just a small band of fuckwits making untrue allegations in a world full of people making untrue allegations. It’s not like a war got started off the back of their lies”.
This reminds us of a story of a small boy, wandering down the beach and picking up starfish one by one, tossing each one back into the ocean.
A passerby asks him, “Why are you doing that?” to which he responds, “The tide’s going out. If the starfish stay up here on shore, they’ll die”. The passerby says, “But there are so many starfish! What does it matter?” The boy says, “It matters to this one”.
Right now, we do this because it matters to the people affected by Hoaxtead. They’re still being harassed, their families still feel the effects of this hoax. We aren’t foolish enough to think we can rescue everyone, but we do like to think we make a difference, one starfish at a time…and so far, we’ve haven’t heard differently.
So. When will we stop?
The best answer we can give, for now, is that we’ll have to make that decision as we’ve made all our decisions so far: as a team, with input from our readers. Until then, we’ll keep throwing those starfish back into the ocean.