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The Internet Science

Internet Sites Biased Towards Supporting Suicide 358

Believe It Or Not, I Care About You writes "According to a new study in the British Medical Journal which examined the search results for various suicide-related search terms, the most common results supported or encouraged suicide. Wikipedia was one of the most prevalent sources of information, particularly on suicide methods, although the Wikimedia Foundation itself does not encourage suicide. Other studies have shown that media coverage has an effect on suicide particularly with respect to influencing the method chosen. Interestingly, this study notes that suicide rates actually decreased with increased Web usage in England, perhaps because support is readily available to anyone who wants it."
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Internet Sites Biased Towards Supporting Suicide

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  • Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greyhueofdoubt ( 1159527 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @05:39PM (#23049326) Homepage Journal
    Well, look at is this way: You have suicide, and then the opposite of suicide, which is "going on living."

    Most of us are familiar with the idea of 'going on living' and have no difficulty in breathing, eating, etc. All it takes to 'go on living' is to sit there and do nothing. It is not an interesting topic nor does it raise very many interesting discussions except for 1000-level philosophy courses.

    Suicide, on the other hand, is an action with immediate and also long-lasting effects on the person (of course) and society. Suicide is something that has affected me very personally several times; I can tell you that even 5-10 years after the fact, the families and friends are still having a hard time coping. So it is clear that suicide is something that warrants a fair bit of attention.

    As for the question of bias (pro- or anti-suicide) based on these web searches- I think about it this way.
    There are many websites out there that will tell you how to build a bomb, or repair a boat hull, or repoint masonry. A huge portion of the internet is devoted to graphic images of sex that most people find repulsive (furries...). I don't think that it's been shown that simply viewing and thinking about a subject makes a person more likely to partake in that subject, unless that person never had any exposure at all previously. Suicide is not a new band or a potato gun or a case mod. People know what suicide is from a very young age. Anyone who has every thought at all has thought about suicide before, even if only intellectually and not as a solution. It is a myth that bringing up suicide and discussing it will push depressed but stable people over the edge.

    Depressed people and the people affected by depressed loved ones can find a tremendous amount of information and support on the internet. I'm not sure what the point of this slashdot article was, but I believe that any and all information about suicide ought to be public.

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @06:44PM (#23049738) Homepage
    Entirely true story (I still have the photographs) - my Dad used to be a photographer for a newspaper in Scotland called the "Daily Record", back in the 1960s. One day he and one of the journos got sent off to cover a suicide in the East End of Glasgow. Seems some poor chap had put his head in the gas oven, turn on the gas, and of course the building had to be evacuated and a man from the Gas Board sent to turn off the gas and check everything was safe.

    Now, at the time, British Gas were pretty forward thinking, and were signwriting their vans with the advert slogan of the day. So there, beside the ambulance and the police cars, is a British Gas van (it wasn't British Gas and I can't remember exactly the name right now), with on the side the company logo and "IT'S QUICKER WITH GAS!"

    Yes, I know there's an urban legend about this. I have the photos. It really did happen.
  • Re:Out with a bang. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @12:15AM (#23051620)
    Funny: Yes.

    But brings up a real question: in the minds of the bomber, Is it really suicide?
    Or is it on par with the (not suicidal) soldier that throws him/herself on the grenade to protect is platoon?

    /AC wants to know
    //knows this is unlikely to be responded to
  • by bipbop ( 1144919 ) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @02:10AM (#23052156)

    While I agree with the parent in almost every way, you should note that recommending advil as a way to die is most assuredly NOT telling them "how to do it less painfully". That's a rather painful way to go. (Tylenol is worse.)

    Personally, I'm glad people told me how painful, for example, a tylenol overdose would be, when I was younger and suicidal. It was probably the most persuasive thing anyone could have told me at the time to keep me from doing it. If my friend hadn't told me about that, I'd have gone through with it, and either have my stomach pumped or have died in agony, neither of which was what I wanted as an annoying, angsty, suicidal teen.

    Suicide, in general, is pretty messy and painful, hard, and most methods tend not to kill but only make life much, much worse when you survive. I think telling people this is a good thing, because most suicidal people want to *end* pain, not cause themselves more of it, so the facts can help dissuade people. On top of that, simply talking about suicide (rather than getting angry and trying to censor discussion of it) can allow suicidal people to vent and maybe take off their tunnel-vision goggles, and makes it more possible for them to seek help.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:30AM (#23052650)

    Maybe if we didn't have so little tolerance or care for people suffering of depression, maybe, and that's a big maybe, maybe it could save a few students from going into a shooting rampage and taking away innocent lives.

    What would save some lives is if the people going on the shooting rampages turned the gun on themselves first.

  • by baboonlogic ( 989195 ) <anshul@ba b o o n l o g> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:47AM (#23052722) Homepage

    And here is another TED... Sherwin Nuland: My history of electroshock therapy []. Here is what an extreme case of depression looks and feels like. I hope it gives you some perspective.

"It might help if we ran the MBA's out of Washington." -- Admiral Grace Hopper