Open Codex HISTORICAL entry

2011 Dec 05 | Infocide Definitions

Even when one puts aside mediated or facilitated death, terms related to infocide might speak of (a) attention seeking, (b) getting oneself banned (intentionally or not), and (c) and the purposeful retraction of one’s presence and contributions from the Internet.

Attention seeking behavior is central to the Urban Dictionary’s first definition of Internet suicide: “When someone in a forum, newsgroup, etc. says they are leaving (sometimes ‘and never coming back’), but actually wants to see how people react to their leaving. Usually as the result of drama” [Shawnyshawn20071is]. However, this dramatic aspect is less ambiguously identified as a flounce at Encyclopedia Dramatica:

A flounce post is when one must proclaim that they are leaving a community forever. These attention whores are nearly as amusing as those who use “deleting your LiveJournal” for attention. Rather than quietly leaving an LJ community, they feel they must leave a long ass, boring, nonsensical post explaining why they are so much more highly evolved than anyone else in the community. [Dramatica2011fce]

Behavior which is likely to get oneself banned is identified in the second definition of Internet suicide at Urban Dictionary. While infocide is usually spoken of as a voluntary and self-enacted practice, this definition speaks of annoying others such that they are the ones that enact the retraction: “The act of intentionally getting yourself banned from a website or forum.” The provided example does not follow this connotation exactly as it implies that the term is used in a sense that mirrors the “real world” declamation that a particular behavior is risky and may result in an unintended consequence: “Man, you can’t go around posting the f-word everywhere, that’s internet suicide!” [Dude20092is]

Finally, retracting one’s online presence is captured in the definitions of infocide and digital suicide at Urban Dictionary:

infosuicide/infocide: Disengaging from the Internet via the deletion of all your publicly available information. Kquadhome20111ii]

digital suicide: Deleting all or most of your information from the internet namely social networking sites such as your facebook, twitter, xanga accounts…. “[For example, Frederick] committed digital suicide when he applied for a new job”. [shitastic20101ds]

This sense, of retracting one’s online presence, then has varied Web-site specific variations including Twittercide [rtil20092t], Wikicide [Dramatica2010wde], and Facebook kevorkian (“A person who assists a Facebook user in committing Facebook suicide (deleting their account), especially with regard to deleting all information and data” [beagle20111fk].

Open Communities, Media, Source, and Standards

by Joseph Reagle