Denial of Service (DOS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks take down servers by distracting them with meaningless traffic until basically they can’t take it any more. Scientology, Westboro Baptist Church, and others like them have been hit, and if you look at the coverage of these events, the descriptive words “attacks,” “violent,” and “weapons” are telling. The way we talk about the result of a software program reflects the way we view “online”, and the value we place on its content, be it the FBI homepage or cat videos on YouTube. But what does it do to our comprehension when we lump violent acts online with real life physical violence?

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