Curt Schilling 1, Internet Trolls 0
March 3, 2015 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Curt Schilling's tweet congratulating his daughter on her college acceptance was met with the usual assortment of congratulatory replies from friends and fans, some light-heated "can't wait to date her" messages from current students at her future school, and a few seriously vile and offensive responses. The authors of the latter group probably regret their actions today.
posted by COD (199 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
The article, if you're having trouble, is the handful of scanty paragraphs in between " Kourtney Kardashian Flaunts Bikini Body You Have to See to Believe (PHOTO) " and "Jessica Biel's Pregnancy Style".
posted by Wolfdog at 1:18 PM on March 3, 2015 [22 favorites]


If you'd rather not visit usmagazine.com, here's Schilling's blog and the post that the article is referencing:
https://38pitches.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/the-world-we-live-in-man-has-it-changed/
posted by bizwank at 1:18 PM on March 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


Sorry - I use an ad-blocker and didn't know the US Magazine page was over-loaded with ads.
posted by COD at 1:21 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Schilling of course is the guy who ran game development startup 38 Studios into the ground with about $115 million of Rhode Island taxpayer money. Looks like they're still sorting that out. So I'm sure he's not a lot of people's favorite guy.

Nice job on this though.
posted by Naberius at 1:22 PM on March 3, 2015 [24 favorites]


The protective dad trope is often pretty negative, so it's nice to see it being deployed for some good.

Never let it be said, though, that Curt Schilling isn't an asshole.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:22 PM on March 3, 2015 [27 favorites]


"These boys have yet to understand one of life's most important lessons," Schilling wrote later in his blog. "In the real world you get held accountable for the things you say and if you are not careful that can mean some different things."

Unless it's asking for a $75 million loan from the taxpayers of the state of Rhode Island to prop up your videogame business, in which case accountability means what again exactly?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:23 PM on March 3, 2015 [57 favorites]


Good for him. Let the assholes learn a valuable lesson about accountability.
posted by zarq at 1:23 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Good for him.

"In the real world you get held accountable for the things you say and if you are not careful that can mean some different things."

Ha. Maybe that's something he learned only after he arrogantly tried to start a video game company, which then disastrously failed and left Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for $75 million.
posted by Melismata at 1:24 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Normally I'm firmly in the "don't feed the trolls" camp--and on top of that you automatically assume that dad-goes-after-internet-whippersnappers-teasing-his-daughter is going to end badly; but this sounds like some fairly sweet justice. These guys behaved like utter asshats and are facing some prompt, real-world consequences. Nicely done, Mr. Schilling. And the fact that Curt Schilling was the one making it happen should give a little pause to the "grrrr feminazis don't understand humor" camp. To the extent that camp is capable of being given pause...
posted by yoink at 1:24 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Jinx all!
posted by Melismata at 1:24 PM on March 3, 2015


Curt Schilling isn't a perfect person, but he's pretty damn awesome today. I think we should focus on that. If anything needs to be criticized, it's that the police can't be trusted to handle online harassment and threats.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:24 PM on March 3, 2015 [75 favorites]


Yeah, as a Rhode Islander this pushes SO MANY buttons. He is a terrible guy who cost a lot of people a lot of money and was disingenuous enough to claim he didn't ask the government for help, but on the other hand his behavior here is above reproach.

I also think it's appalling that Twitter and law enforcement can't be trusted to deal with this and that we have to have a celebrity adult step in to protect his daughter as the only way to cope with appalling behavior. Seriously, it's cool that he did this and I'm really, REALLY glad SOMEONE did SOMETHING but the fact that we need a famous man to take personal action before there are repercussions to horrifying threats to women is effing terrible.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:26 PM on March 3, 2015 [57 favorites]


Curt Schilling isn't a perfect person, but he's pretty damn awesome today.

Yeah, he did good work here. Other days, he's a dumb asshole on Twitter himself.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:27 PM on March 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


(And also to be critisized is that women and girls can face the most vile, extreme harassment simply for existing, example number ten billion.)
posted by Drinky Die at 1:28 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unless it's asking for a $75 million loan from the taxpayers of the state of Rhode Island to prop up your videogame business, in which case accountability means what again exactly?

So what are you saying, are you saying that his daughter should have just sucked it up and let people talk about raping her on Twitter?

Dude, if I my life was in danger and I was being threatened, and someone actually helped me, I wouldn't care if it was David Duke or whoever, because they were helping me when I needed it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:28 PM on March 3, 2015 [38 favorites]


Dude, if I my life was in danger and I was being threatened, and someone actually helped me, I wouldn't care if it was David Duke or whoever, because they were helping me when I needed it.

Fair enough but in this case you shouldn't need David Duke to help you because:

1) The people threatening you shouldn't be so sure that there will be no repercussions that they are comfortable saying all kinds of horrible stuff.

2) If they DO feel comfortable saying all kinds of horrible stuff, there should be systems in place to handle it that are not "Lone Voice of Protection for One Woman".
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:31 PM on March 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


Other days, he's a dumb asshole on Twitter himself.

There seems to me to be a yawning, unbreachable chasm between "politely saying things that happen to be scientific nonsense on Twitter" and "making rape threats against a specific person on Twitter." Being wrong on Twitter is everybody's right; making sexual threats on Twitter is nobody's.
posted by yoink at 1:32 PM on March 3, 2015 [122 favorites]


I think the point about the 38 Studios episode is that he played kind of dumb -- "I am just an unfrozen caveman lawyer a humble former ath-e-lete and don't understand the video game business" -- when everyone wanted to know about where the state's money went…yet here he can be all Liam-Neeson-"I-will-end-you" when he wants to.

I am a dad, and find this demonstration of There Will Be Consequences to the world's meatheads delightful -- but I wish Mister Super Sleuth had shown up in Providence (two blocks from where I type this) a couple of years earlier.

In conclusion, Curt Schilling is a land of contrasts, and I contain multitudes.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:33 PM on March 3, 2015 [27 favorites]


So I just get an "access denied" error on the post link.
posted by octothorpe at 1:33 PM on March 3, 2015


Are there any countries that have developed good models for law-enforcement response to this kind of thing, by the way?
posted by yoink at 1:33 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Two-dimensional asshole hits one out of the park, becomes three-dimensional asshole.
posted by echocollate at 1:34 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


[Folks, I think the point about the Rhode Island loan has been made, so maybe we can let that one rest, even though I know it's confusing to find oneself on Schilling's side.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:34 PM on March 3, 2015 [41 favorites]


Fair enough but in this case you shouldn't need David Duke to help you because:

1) The people threatening you shouldn't be so sure that there will be no repercussions that they are comfortable saying all kinds of horrible stuff.

2) If they DO feel comfortable saying all kinds of horrible stuff, there should be systems in place to handle it that are not "Lone Voice of Protection for One Woman".


You're right that I shouldn't, but if the scores of articles about GamerGate haven't already convinced you:

1) More often than not, there ARE no such repercussions, because more often than not, the authorities are really bad at policing this kind of thing, and

2) There indeed should be "systems in place to handle this", but there aren't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on March 3, 2015 [21 favorites]


So what are you saying, are you saying that his daughter should have just sucked it up and let people talk about raping her on Twitter?

That is not even remotely what Melismata's comment said.
posted by ripley_ at 1:35 PM on March 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


Glad everyone is pitching in to expose his past wrongs -- I'm sure I wasn't the only one under the delusion that people are either 100% hero or 100% villain.
posted by BurntHombre at 1:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [54 favorites]


That's right, I said pitching in.
posted by BurntHombre at 1:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [73 favorites]


As a fan of both the Red Sox and Schilling the pitcher (but not Schilling the young earth creationist failed software tycoon), I find it immensely amusing that the guy fired was a Yankees employee. Curt Schilling - still making Yankees fans miserable, from retirement.
posted by COD at 1:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [38 favorites]


There's a part of me (a small, bitter part) that is half expecting to see a bunch of people dismissing his actions against the guy with the tie to the Yankees by saying "well, he's a former Red Sox guy, of course he's just got a grudge". Absolving said guy with the tie to the Yankees for having harrassed someone, of course.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:37 PM on March 3, 2015


I wish Schilling's daughter all the best, and I hope she is able to live a happy and successful life free from both Internet harassers and her horrible father.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:38 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


I was hoping he'd actually show up at their doors like at the end of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:42 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


There seems to me to be a yawning, unbreachable chasm between "politely saying things that happen to be scientific nonsense on Twitter" and "making rape threats against a specific person on Twitter." Being wrong on Twitter is everybody's right; making sexual threats on Twitter is nobody's.

Absolutely no one has disagreed with that. Or would, I suspect. I'm not sure if you were honestly unclear on that and just wanted to check, or if you were stating the obvious as a reflexive response. Either way, rest assured.

I know it's confusing to find oneself on Schilling's side.

This is all I was saying. Curt Schilling is not a person I expected to find myself congratulating for his good work on Twitter.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:42 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I find it super odd that Us Weekly censors "crap" but not "rape".
posted by ODiV at 1:43 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wish Schilling's daughter all the best, and I hope she is able to live a happy and successful life free from both Internet harassers and her horrible father.

Do you think reading this statement would make her feel any better than reading those tweets?
posted by selfnoise at 1:43 PM on March 3, 2015 [25 favorites]


You're right that I shouldn't, but if the scores of articles about GamerGate haven't already convinced you:

Yes, I do know that these problems have not been solved, and I think it's great that Mr. Schilling stood up for his daughter, but my concern is that the focus on "what a great dad/guy he is!" makes this seem like the solution is "more celebrity men protecting their daughters" and not "serious systemic change".

That this happened is good because, as I said above, I'm glad someone did something, and if this becomes a "wow this shit really does happen to women a lot even when they're not 'asking for it' let's all solve this problem" story, great, but it's super easy for this to become a "one man speaks out on behalf of his daughter the day has been saved" story and that's kind of how the original article read to me, like it was gushing over him being super-Dad and not recognizing that the actual problem is that it's necessary for him to be super-Dad.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:44 PM on March 3, 2015 [21 favorites]


Consequences will never be the same.
posted by squorch at 1:44 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


The point of talking about things people do isn't always to determine whether they're a Good Person or a Bad Person. This seems to be an especially contentious point in conversations that take place online, for some reason.
posted by clockzero at 1:44 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was hoping for more cleat-to-ass action, but I guess this is a start.
posted by peeedro at 1:45 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do you think reading this statement would make her feel any better than reading those tweets?

What? Yes! Of COURSE! I have family members who have had bad stuff said about them very publicly and I didn't like it but I would much rather have a stranger on the internet say something generically bad about my father on a website I wasn't reading than BE THREATENED DIRECTLY AND PERSONALLY.

Leaving the thread now because I feel like I'm participating too much but yeah, these are very different things.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:46 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


If they DO feel comfortable saying all kinds of horrible stuff, there should be systems in place to handle it that are not "Lone Voice of Protection for One Woman".

Yeah, on the day that gets done, I'll throw a party. Twenty one trombones. In the meantime, I'll take what we can get.
posted by corb at 1:46 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure if you were honestly unclear on that

The "Other days, he's a dumb asshole on Twitter himself" framing suggested that there was some kind of moral equivalence between Schilling's behavior on Twitter and that of the people he was criticizing (I clicked on it expecting it to show him making egregious sexist comments of some kind on Twitter). I'm glad to see that you recognized that there wasn't. I remain unclear what the relevance of his creationist beliefs to the FPP is supposed to be.
posted by yoink at 1:48 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]




I have belatedly, reluctantly, and sadly come to the conclusion that the Internet is ruining society.
posted by spitbull at 1:51 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've been an online adult since 1994 and I still don't get Twitter.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:53 PM on March 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


There's literally 0 input from his daughter in the article, which I found interesting. I mean she doesn't have to comment, obviously, but I have literally no idea how she feels about any of this or if she'd wanted her dad to react in such a public way, etc. I haven't read the linked blog though, so maybe there's something in there.
posted by ODiV at 1:54 PM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


I remain unclear what the relevance of his creationist beliefs to the FPP is supposed to be.

Today, a person more commonly prone to making Twitter annoying instead used Twitter to make the world a slightly better place. It's unexpected, is all. As a baseball fan, I glanced and saw "Curt Schilling" and "Twitter" and immediately thought, "Crying out loud. What now?" It turned out better than those words usually do. That his previous asshattery on Twitter was not a speck on these jackasses doesn't negate that confounding of my expectations.

And FWIW, he didn't "politely" mention his beliefs; he berated all comers in a snotty, insulting fashion for five hours. It was a "by the way, I feel _______" situation. He was lecturing and hectoring the "morons" who disagreed with him. Still nothing on threats and abuse, but assholery all the same. ESPN writer Keith Law engaged with him and got suspended, despite giving no worse than Schilling was giving him. But you know: don't piss off a star.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:56 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


I thought of metafilter when I read about this yesterday, because I feel like metafilter is one of the few places where I've seen people complaining about the systemic issue. And I was hopeful that this high-profile case where consequences were finally being seen would help spur more discussion elsewhere.

In the Boston.com version of the article it notes that his daughter tweeted that he was her hero for speaking out.
posted by ldthomps at 1:56 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


There's literally 0 input from his daughter in the article, which I found interesting.

His daughter has been retweeting all the articles today, and they have joint interviews tomorrow on the various morning shows. So whether she is really happy about his involvement, or is making the best of it now that it happened, I don't know. But she isn't in hiding.
posted by COD at 2:00 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Are there any countries that have developed good models for law-enforcement response to this kind of thing, by the way?

No. Even where law enforcement understands the problem (and they usually don't - see the US response to Gamergate), they tend to focus on educating people how to protect themselves (here's how you block someone!), rather than on tracking down harrassers.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:00 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


...her horrible father.

W-what?
posted by destructive cactus at 2:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Today, a person more commonly prone to making Twitter annoying instead used Twitter to make the world a slightly better place

I still find it weird that you're framing Schilling's creationist tweets as if they're somehow of the same ilk as rape threats--just less egregious: like comparing a slap on the wrist with a broken arm. They just seem to me unrelated altogether. It's not abusing Twitter to use it to promulgate beliefs you (and I) happen to disagree with. It is abusing Twitter to use it as a vehicle for deliberate harassment. I just think it's trivializing that harassment to put it on the same spectrum (however widely separate on that spectrum) as "saying things I personally disagree with."
posted by yoink at 2:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


WaPo: Student suspended for awful tweets about Curt Schilling’s daughter
One of the people who tweeted vulgarities and insults about the daughter of former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has been suspended by the college he attends and is under police investigation.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


On the one hand, yay him! Anything that holds harassers accountable is great as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, I'm not sure that she would have been able to get the same degree of redress if she hadn't had a famous father, and that's an issue. Women shouldn't need the support of powerful male relatives in order to be safe from harassment.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [31 favorites]


I still find it weird that you're framing Schilling's creationist tweets as if they're somehow of the same ilk as rape threats

I still find it weird you think I'm doing that. I also never accused him of "abusing Twitter." I just said he was being an asshole.

Just as I can say "there are potatoes on that truck" and it may mean two or two thousand, I can say someone is an asshole and be placing them at any point on a wide and multisplendored spectrum of assholery.

Being an asshole isn't binary. There are many, many levels.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:08 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


And she's still not safe from harassment...she only got some satisfaction from the result of the callout.
posted by agregoli at 2:08 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure that she would have been able to get the same degree of redress if she hadn't had a famous father

Of course she wouldn't have. But the publicity and attention paid to this case may (or may not) make people think twice next time.
posted by spaltavian at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


His daughter has been retweeting all the articles today, and they have joint interviews tomorrow on the various morning shows.

Yeah, thanks for your and ldthomps' comments; I was glad to read more. Just found it unsettling that the original article linked only barely mentioned her.
posted by ODiV at 2:11 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Women shouldn't need the support of powerful male relatives in order to be safe from harassment

Yeah, that's my issue. Anecdotal redress is just that, and doesn't address the systemic problems.

And, frankly, is just another exhibit of the kind of privilege that Schilling has, that he can call up the baseball coach at a random college and get a kid suspended. Because if Gabby's father were random no-name Curt Schenkel, no way could he have gotten anything done to protect her (although TBF, she wouldn't have been singled out except for her father's fame).
posted by suelac at 2:12 PM on March 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Just as I can say "there are potatoes on that truck" and it may mean two or two thousand

But that's exactly my point. They're not both "certain quantities of potatoes." One is a carry-cage with two creationist iguanas in it, the other's a supertanker of light sweet crude sexual harassment. It's the "well, these are just different degrees of Twitter malfeasance" framing that I think is unhelpful. But I'll drop this now as I think I've said all I have to say on the topic.
posted by yoink at 2:13 PM on March 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


(although TBF, she wouldn't have been singled out except for her father's fame).
Right, so I think the takeaway might be "don't attack famous guys by threatening to rape their daughters," not "don't threaten to rape people." And while I certainly think it's horrific to attack famous guys by threatening to rape their daughters, the famous guy part is not the main issue.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:16 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yoink... I will strip this to bare bones so there can be no confusion...

Usually: Curt Schilling + Twitter = bad.

Today: Curt Schilling + Twitter = good! Today not like usual!

It has zero to do with drawing an equivalency between what Schilling did/does and the creeps who went after his daughter and everything to do with my expectations of the Curt Schilling Twitter experience having been confounded.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:18 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


But that's exactly my point. They're not both "certain quantities of potatoes." One is a carry-cage with two creationist iguanas in it, the other's a supertanker of light sweet crude sexual harassment.

Sir, your metaphor license is at risk of suspension
posted by clockzero at 2:20 PM on March 3, 2015 [49 favorites]


I just hope that there are more cases like this where trolls suffer consequences, so that maybe women can say things on the internet, and when a person who might troll her is about post, they think, "oh, wait, will this come back to bite me?".

And, yeah, hopefully that'll be the case Even when the women and their families aren't powerful.
posted by ldthomps at 2:22 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Zoink, maybe it would help to know that I wasn't coming at this from a perspective of trying to sum up the entire experience of online sexual harassment. I am a devoted baseball fan all too familiar with Schilling's usual tweets and was just taking note that today they were an unexpected good thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:23 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Women shouldn't need the support of powerful male relatives in order to be safe from harassment."

When that release of some actresses private photos occurred last summer, I googled up on two guys who participated. I wanted to call them out, but was concerned in the case of one loser in particular I'd in turn be hassled.

Is Schilling the guy who named some of his kids with a K (for strikeouts), or am I thinking of another egotistical idiot. Whatever, it's nice to see at least a couple internet losers not only get publicly shamed but suffer substantial consequences as well.
posted by NorthernLite at 2:24 PM on March 3, 2015


Right, so I think the takeaway might be "don't attack famous guys by threatening to rape their daughters," not "don't threaten to rape people." And while I certainly think it's horrific to attack famous guys by threatening to rape their daughters, the famous guy part is not the main issue.

I've been listening to sports talk radio all day, definitely a venue for your male jock types with potential issues with women that come with that. It definitely has been a lot of castigation of any sort of online harassment and abuse and not so much focusing on don't mess with famous people. Radio hosts get this sort of thing because as mini-celebrities they are exposed to plenty of trolls and morons themselves. I don't know if the audience gets it as much though, and ultimately it only takes a very small minority of morons to continue creating the culture of threats. That's why I wish law enforcement would get more involved. Mainstream culture already mostly disapproves of this sort of thing and doesn't want it to happen but it doesn't view it as seriously as it should and the people engaging in it know this. I feel like some sustained serious enforcement could put a large dent in the amount of abusive behavior online because I think a lot of the people engaging it would stop if it wasn't free of repercussions.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:24 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Okay, he's making rounds with his daughter on this. And he includes all of the offensive tweets on his blog, giving them life after they were deleted. I don't mind him redressing the threats, but this public I'm-a-great-dad-just-read-the-vile-things-they-sound-about-my-daughter does not make me want to congratulate him. He could have handled it privately and got the results which punished the Tweeters without making this public.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:25 PM on March 3, 2015


Is Schilling the guy who named some of his kids with a K (for strikeouts), or am I thinking of another egotistical idiot.

That's Roger Clemens with the K_____ children.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:25 PM on March 3, 2015


That other egotistical idiot is Roger Clemens (kids Koby, Kory, Kacy, and Kody).
posted by Melismata at 2:26 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it is great that Curt Schilling is doing something about this. He has an audience, and it is one that normally isn't associated with fighting against this kind of thing.

Some TV exec should give him a reality show where he is like the social media A-Team:
Curt gets a call from someone who is being harassed online. They do a short profile on the victim and the harassment. To pad things out you could have eggheads explain why the trolling was so bad and the effects it has on victims. Curt could do 2 of these per show. Curt and his group of internet sleuths find the harassers and then he shows up at their door with a camera crew. The harasser has no idea what's going on, and maybe even thinks he's won a prize, why else would Curt Schilling come to his door with a camera crew right? Then BOOM! Curt tells him off for doing whatever trolling he was doing.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:26 PM on March 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


I guess what's needed is some kind of education campaign, akin to Scared Straight and DARE. Like perhaps some of the shitheads who get caught, instead of going to jail, they get sentenced to community service going around schools giving talks about "hey don't be a shit on the internet. Or anywhere else preferably, but on the internet at the very least, otherwise: me."
posted by rifflesby at 2:27 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think this raises an ethical issue with respect to doxing. Many places on the web have been (slowly) coming around to putting rules in place for "Don't release personal information", partly because that info is sometime obtained in illegal ways, and partly because it's impossible to control the outcome of releasing that kind of info to millions of people online, some of them very angry with the person being doxed.

But in a case like this, it could lead to some good. It seems that Schilling did nothing sketchy in getting their info (I assume he didn't have to do much more than look at publicly available info online), and if the result is that these guys get shamed by those that know them, and receive punishments from their jobs/schools, then that seems great, and I hope acts like this lead to less harassment in the future. But he goes on the ask his readers to dox a couple other guys, and that's a real grey area. If people start releasing private info for these people, or escalate the situtation into real-world, illegal, physical acts, is that Schilling's responsibility? Because I'm more inclined to say yes to that when the doxed person is, say, pro-social justice. But I feel a bit uneasy saying in cases like this, "Well, the doxed person deserved it.", and I don't know what the correct policy should be on the matter.
posted by Skephicles at 2:27 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


I could probably find this entire thing more satisfying if I didn't suspect that the public support for Schilling's rage (not so much here, but definitely on places like sports radio talk shows) comes less from any cognizance or concern for the reality of online sexual harassment and more from enthusiasm for the archetype of the dad as owner and protector of his daughter's sexuality. I'd love to give people the benefit of the doubt on that, but I just can't.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:28 PM on March 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


He could have handled it privately and got the results which punished the Tweeters without making this public.

Publicly shaming the harassers and ruining their online reputation is part of the punishment.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:28 PM on March 3, 2015 [31 favorites]


but this public I'm-a-great-dad-just-read-the-vile-things-they-sound-about-my-daughter does not make me want to congratulate him. He could have handled it privately and got the results which punished the Tweeters without making this public.

Handling it privately would have resulted in zero chance of anyone but these particular tweeters learning anything from it.
posted by rifflesby at 2:29 PM on March 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


I think it's probably good to air some of the really awful tweets, because I can imagine the average person who's not aware might think Twitter harassment is basically run-of-the-mill locker room stuff, and Schilling made a point of saying, no this is a whole nother level, there's no defending this kind of thing in any context.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:30 PM on March 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


He could have handled it privately and got the results which punished the Tweeters without making this public.

It seems to me that ignoring the trolls and staying quiet has not done one whit against online harassment and bullying. There are comments on his blog along the lines of "he should have called the police." These people have clearly never been abused online. I'm tired of being told that this is just the internet and that I should just accept it. The more people who hear that this is not acceptable, the more likely it is that it'll be taken seriously.
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:31 PM on March 3, 2015 [24 favorites]


He could have handled it privately and got the results which punished the Tweeters without making this public.

That would not have been an improvement. That's like saying that some rich kid who got unfairly prosecuted for driving while black could always get it quietly fixed without causing a scene - sure, they could, but that wouldn't help all the not-rich people that deal with the same trouble, that wouldn't help shut up the idiots who refuse to believe it ever happens anyway, that wouldn't help society. So he could have, but it is better that he didn't.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:31 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Usually, when I see a phrase like "dad mode," I expect what follows to make me want to barf everywhere. What followed, however, is an account of a couple pissant trolls having their lives wrecked, and that is wonderful.

Did I hear recently that a cable show all about tracking and revealing trolls to the whole wide world was in development or was the just a beautiful dream that I should pitch to FX or TBS immediately?
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:31 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think this raises an ethical issue with respect to doxing.

Is there a middle ground between anonymity and holding people accountable for harassment? I can't see how we can have both.
posted by straight at 2:32 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I could probably find this entire thing more satisfying if I didn't suspect that the public support for Schilling's rage (not so much here, but definitely on places like sports radio talk shows) comes less from any cognizance or concern for the reality of online sexual harassment and more from enthusiasm for the archetype of the dad as owner and protector of his daughter's sexuality.

On the one hand, I do agree. But - on the other, I wouldn't want to let the perfect be enemy of the good, you know? Sure, the reason people are talking about this may be more due to "a famous dad is protecting his daughter," but that's still a damn sight better than people brushing it off, you know?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:32 PM on March 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


I don't disagree, EC.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:35 PM on March 3, 2015


Christ... I think this thread could be pretty digested down to 7 comments:

1 . Yay
2. But Schilling is often bad!
3. Boo and yay
4. Women shouldn't have to rely on $_male to solve the problem/the system sucks
5. Yes but...
6. [random assuming of bad faith]
7. wut?

(I agree with 3,4,5)
posted by edgeways at 2:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is there a middle ground between anonymity and holding people accountable for harassment? I can't see how we can have both.

You're looking at it. Persistent identifiers enable anonymity and enable users to block and moderators to ban bad actors.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:38 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


>> I have belatedly, reluctantly, and sadly come to the conclusion that the Internet is ruining society.
Actually, it's the other way around.
posted by mono blanco at 2:39 PM on March 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


I hate facebook for a lot of reasons, but it seams like when your name is pasted right next to things you say online, you're less likely to make rape jokes.

Is doxing people ok when their jerks? If some crazy person goes out and attacks one of these guys isn't Shilling responsible?
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 2:42 PM on March 3, 2015


No, they're responsible. No one forced them to threaten a young woman with rape because her dad is a controversial person. They did that all themselves.
posted by sockermom at 2:45 PM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Christ... I think this every thread could be pretty digested down to 7 comments:

1 . Yay
2. But boo!
3. Boo and yay
4. the premise sucks
5. Yes but...
6. [random assuming of bad faith]
7. wut?
posted by rifflesby at 2:46 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is doxing people ok when their jerks?

Yes.

If some crazy person goes out and attacks one of these guys isn't Shilling responsible?

No. and anyway, the more likely scenario is that someone attacks Schilling's daughter because misogyny.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:46 PM on March 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


I have belatedly, reluctantly, and sadly come to the conclusion that the Internet is ruining society.
By letting these guys harass a woman they don't know from afar instead of having to harass the ones they know and/or are physically near? Because these guys were not forced to do this by "the Internet".
posted by soelo at 2:53 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is doxing people ok when their jerks?

The idea that doxxing is bad is an idea spread by trolls to protect themselves.
posted by eriko at 3:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Publicly shaming the harassers and ruining their online reputation is part of the punishment.

I have no problem with him making the offenders public or his helping to arrange their suspension from school. I have a problem that he crows about his deeds and that he reproduces on his blog message after disgusting message. He could have handled this without that.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:05 PM on March 3, 2015


Even where law enforcement understands the problem (and they usually don't - see the US response to Gamergate), they tend to focus on educating people how to protect themselves (here's how you block someone!), rather than on tracking down harrassers.
Which is just an on-line version of telling women 'don't dress in a way that encourages harassment'. Because law enforcement everywhere has decided it's easier to blame the victim than to get off their arse and do something about the perpetrators.
posted by dg at 3:11 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


On revisiting the question, my other concern is that Curt Schilling has a huge megaphone that he can use to rile up people and send them after individuals who pissed him off. And yeah, in this instance it was basically in the interests of justice -- but what if he misidentified one of those guys? And some random kid who didn't do anything is getting hounded by thousands of Curt's pals.

That would be the down side of internet vigilantism. Still preferable to Gambergoozle, but it is in effect using their own tools against the trolls.

There has to be a better way.
posted by suelac at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


The better way is for law enforcement to take these things seriously, investigate them, and prosecute. When they don't, I'm all for vigilantism.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:20 PM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


The better way is for law enforcement to take these things seriously, investigate them, and prosecute

True. I should have said there needs to be a better way, because the ways we have now aren't working.
posted by suelac at 3:21 PM on March 3, 2015


Curt Schilling isn't a perfect person, but he's pretty damn awesome today.

You know the cliché about a broken clock? That's this. He's an epic asshole; literally, I will be telling my grandchildren old, widely-heard tales about the scope of his personal repugnancy.

If people made disgusting remarks about your or my daughter on Twitter, we'd be powerless to get a couple of them fired because we never a had a 95 MPH fastball. And 98% of the people reading this are better people than that husk of a human being.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:27 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


I mean [the daughter] doesn't have to comment, obviously, but I have literally no idea how she feels about any of this

I think you can safely assume that she doesn't feel great about all the abusive tweets. Ye gads, I cannot believe we even have to state this.
posted by kariebookish at 3:28 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ye gads, I cannot believe we even have to state this.

I can't believe it, either. In fact, I don't. More likely, the author of the comment was wondering about--as they specifically mentioned in the part you didn't quote--"if she'd wanted her dad to react in such a public way." Yours was a fairly uncharitable, if not altogether nonsensical read of that comment.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hate facebook for a lot of reasons, but it seams like when your name is pasted right next to things you say online, you're less likely to make rape jokes.

If you would think so then you see less of the comments on articles - particularly news sites - using FB commenting systems than I do. The shit people say that is tied back to their personal identities - and which FB might even decide to promote to your friends to look at! - is shocking.
posted by phearlez at 3:38 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


DirtyOldTown, you missed out the little word "or".
posted by kariebookish at 3:38 PM on March 3, 2015


Even taking the first half of that as a nonspecified item, I cannot imagine how you would leap to the conclusion that what goes into that blank was the insane idea that perhaps she wasn't bothered by the attacks on her, particularly here of all places.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:42 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The idea that doxxing is bad is an idea spread by trolls to protect themselves.

I don't agree with this -- because I come from a background where internet anonymity is used to protect oneself, rather than attack others. Since anonymity can be used for good and bad reasons, I think it's natural that doxxing can be either right or wrong, depending on the circumstance. I don't think it's useful to talk about them as universally one or the other.

(But maybe this is what you mean -- that trolls treat it as a universal bad to protect themselves. Which is funny in itself because many of the people who complained about doxxing of people like violentacrez are happy when outspoken feminists are doxxed.)

I don't know what the correct policy should be on the matter.

I'm pretty happy with saying that once you're harassing or threatening someone, you shouldn't expect people to respect your anonymity anymore.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:47 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


The idea that doxxing is bad is an idea spread by trolls to protect themselves.

Like that Twitter form suggests, there's a variety of forms of doxxing, ranging from deanonymizing a person, to posting their physical location, phone number, email address and social security number. It seems like there are situations where publishing a name is warranted, but I see no justice in publishing an SSN.
posted by pwnguin at 3:47 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know the cliché about a broken clock? That's this.

A broken clock is right by chance. This isn't the case here. I have fuck all idea what Schillings character in other, unrelated arena has to do with this
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:49 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


eriko: "The idea that doxxing is bad is an idea spread by trolls to protect themselves."

What would Zoe Quinn say about that, I wonder?
posted by boo_radley at 3:49 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


The idea that doxxing is bad is an idea spread by trolls to protect themselves.

No it isn't. I'm no troll and I don't agree with this.

Doxxing is vigilantism, with all its benefits and all its downsides. It's single-sided amateur calling out and public shaming with no due process. Like other kinds of vigilantism, people leap to its defense with "It's OK because the victims deserved it" but that doesn't make it a morally good thing.

What if Schilling had named the wrong two guys? Is he really the sort of Internet-savvy social media expert who could never possibly make a mistake like that? Are we OK with the blanket assumption that it's OK to fire/publicly harass anyone who someone like Curt Schilling names as a social media abuser?
posted by mmoncur at 3:50 PM on March 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure that she would have been able to get the same degree of redress if she hadn't had a famous father

Of course she wouldn't have. But the publicity and attention paid to this case may (or may not) make people think twice next time.


I doubt it. I'm reminded of a bit from Slaughterhouse-Five:
The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn’t look like much, was actually the Son of the Most Powerful Being in the Universe. Readers understood that, so, when they came to the crucifixion, they naturally thought...

Oh, boy–they sure picked the wrong guy to lynch _that_ time!

And that thought had a brother: “There are right people to lynch.”
I'm sure the lesson many people will take from this is "Oh, boy–they sure picked the wrong woman to harass and threaten _that_ time!"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:53 PM on March 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


I find it disturbing that you are focusing on 'what if ZYX' happened to these poor falsely accused men when the real issue is that men were threatening to rape a child. Priorities I guess.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:54 PM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


kariebookish: My point was that the article not only focused on how her father, a man, reacted and felt, but barely mentioned her at all. I could have worded it better, but I certainly didn't mean to imply I thought she might be okay with abuse, threats, and harassment so I'm sorry if it came off that way.
posted by ODiV at 3:58 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


How did he "track down" the nasty tweeters and "out" them by publishing their names and locations?

If it is easy to find this information, why doesn't this kind of thing happen more often?

Other thought: where do we draw the line on speech (whether blogs, web sites, tweets, instagrams, photo sites, etc.)? Was there a law broken? (Did these people post a threat or an opinion?)
posted by CrowGoat at 4:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The idea that doxxing is bad is an idea spread by trolls to protect themselves.

Those people who Reddit publicly accused of being the Boston bombers sure pulled off an epic troll.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:13 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


In the comments, there was actually an apology from a guy who said he was just trying to insult Schilling and didn't know that his comments were rapey (apparently he'd "only" meant to slut shame her). Yes, some people will only take away "Don't mess with Curt" from this, but plenty of others are shocked at how bad it got and are newly aware. It's rare that something posted on my favorite sports blog makes it to Metafilter, and I've found the response encouraging.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:13 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


What if Schilling had named the wrong two guys?

Actually that's probably the best case you could hope for in such a thing. He has deep pockets and is someone you could get lawyers interested in going after for libel. Odds are good that if he'd misstepped Shilling's ESPN masters would hand down some sanction, however weak-sauce it might be.

If it is easy to find this information, why doesn't this kind of thing happen more often?

I'm sure it does to some extent, but when it's Jane Nobody doing the shaming the reach is smaller. Without the media attention there's a very good chance that most of who sees it are the awful person's awful bedfellows. So rather than getting some repercussions for the crappile you get their fellow trolls just amping up the abuse on the person doing the naming and shaming. Until the culture actually starts to give a shit about women being abused such that folks don't shrug off their bro's crap it's going to be hard to really hold them accountable. Unless you have a huge platform.
posted by phearlez at 4:14 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is public doxing really the best response?
posted by Nevin at 4:30 PM on March 3, 2015


I'm still holding out hope Jose Canseco and his glorious twitter have something to say about all this.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 4:43 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is public doxing really the best response?

Golly, how strange that it took so long for someone to raise that point in this thread.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:48 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


He has deep pockets and is someone you could get lawyers interested in going after for libel.

Curt Shilling may have a lot of things, but deep pockets isn't one of them.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 4:48 PM on March 3, 2015


That's 2.5 years ago. Schilling now is legally barred from filing and discharging debts for another sizable number of years and he still has significant earning potential by virtue of his profile. He may not be Gates but you'd do better suing him than suing me.
posted by phearlez at 4:59 PM on March 3, 2015


The way Schilling's article on his blog assumes a male reader doesn't help the father protects daughter/patriarchy aspects here.

The harassers were suitably shamed, and it sounds like it's doing some good. I'm glad of that. Other the other hand, Shilling comes across as a guy who, even when he's doing the right thing, gives me an uneasiness.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:05 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks to the magic of google cache, I can see that Adam Nagel's twitter handle was Nagels_Bagels, and his twitter profile included a picture of him and a link to the student radio station on which he had a show. I suspect it was not all that difficult to establish his identity. If it was some sort of deliberate hoax or terrible mistake, then that's awful and I'm sure he will be able to establish that fact soon. But I think it probably was his twitter account, and he just didn't realize it would be a problem to publicly tweet crass sexual things about a child on an account that he had associated with his school/ employer.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:05 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: this thread could be pretty digested down to 7 comments
posted by archagon at 5:06 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I forgot to mention the "Only once you've had a daughter can you understand the horrors of sexist harassment" part, ugh.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:07 PM on March 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Is public doxing really the best response?
What are the alternatives? Leaving aside illegal alternatives such as going to their house and punching them in the face (which I'm most definitely not advocating), what action can any one person take in such a situation armed with the knowledge that law enforcement doesn't care the tiniest bit about assault against women?

I'm as concerned as the next person about possible wrong identification, but the situation has been pushed to a place where the rules of justice may need to be flipped on their head to even come close to working - it may just be that one person wrongly accused is the lesser harm when the alternative is hundreds and thousands going unpunished. In this particular case, it's only because the accuser is a male celebrity that the perpetrators have got even the relative slap on the wrist they have.
posted by dg at 5:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Is public doxing really the best response?

Certainly not the best response, but that was about as "say it to my face" as you can get. Personally, I love this story, not the least because it lets me use the word "comeuppance" more frequently.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 5:39 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing is, "one person wrongly accused" has a remedy in a case like this. To sue the crap out of Schilling if improperly identified. Which is as it should be. The reason we should worry about the rules of justice in the case of the government is that the repercussions are so serious and the remedy so difficult to obtain.

That isn't the case with a private citizen like Schilling.

All the wailing and gnashing of teeth about improper identification is just cover for bad people to do bad things. Schilling isn't the state. If he screws up the solution is obvious. And apparently he didn't screw up here. Schilling did good and was looking out for his kids.
posted by Justinian at 5:40 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


In this particular case, it's only because the accuser is a male celebrity that the perpetrators have got even the relative slap on the wrist they have

It's particularly troubling and probably related that the schools involved suspended these students faster for making rape threats online than some schools suspend students for actual rape.
posted by barchan at 5:47 PM on March 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


Seems like Dick 'we at Twitter need to take harassment more seriously' Costolo missed a big opportunity here.
posted by Dashy at 5:58 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing is, "one person wrongly accused" has a remedy in a case like this. To sue the crap out of Schilling if improperly identified. Which is as it should be.
... for those people who live in both the same jurisdiction as the accuser and a jurisdiction where it is practical to take this sort of action.
posted by dg at 5:59 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is doxing people ok when their jerks?

This never would have happened if they hadn't publicly committed aggravated assaulted against a young woman, threatening her with sexual violence and violation. There is no remotely defensible reason to do that, ever. This goes way beyond being a jerk, and the fact that it's so disgustingly normalized is obscuring for some people that it's a sociopathic and criminal act.

As someone mentioned already, ideally, the police would prosecute these crimes; but considering that these men in no way were obliged to assault Gabriella Schilling, that they did it because they just felt like terrorizing an innocent person, they clearly forfeit the presumptive right to privacy which would otherwise apply because that gives them impunity. They've already waived their right to privacy by using it as a shield against liability for committing a despicable and indefensible crime.

Is public doxing really the best response?

No, but the fact that the best response isn't happening isn't the injured party's fault, and the people who did this have no right to do so and thereafter remain anonymous.
posted by clockzero at 6:37 PM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


People have asked how Schilling's daughter feels about the situation. He commented on that today on WEEI (one of his regular haunts).
As for his daughter, Schilling said she was originally mad at him for what he did, but after sitting down and speaking with her, she has a better understanding of the situation and Schilling’s reasons and is doing well.

“She’s doing good,” he said. “My daughter has I’d like to think the intestinal fortitude or whatever you want to call it, that I have in the sense that she was unbelievably distressed and distraught and wanted nothing more of this to happen. Initially she was very mad at me for responding and I sat her down and explained to her as stupid as you think I am — and she thinks I am as stupid as anyone on this planet — there are certain things that can’t ever happen.

“No one is every allowed and OK to talk to you like this, in person or in private, ever. You better know that the opportunities for you out there are no different for you because you’re a woman. People like this are so intimated by you and your potential success that this is the only thing they got. That is one of the reasons why I taught my daughter self-defense. We live in a world that is — look across the ocean — we live in a world that in some cases despises women.”
posted by alms at 6:48 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is doxing people ok when their jerks?


I suspect there's an "I know it when I see it" component there.

I'd be curious to see Anita Sarkeesian's reaction.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good for him, and I hope this changes the response protocols from every authority involved, so everybody else also benefits.

I mean, I empathise with Curt Schilling's daughter, but she shouldn't be the only one to get swift justice because, you know, her dad's Curt Schilling.
posted by kandinski at 7:16 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have belatedly, reluctantly, and sadly come to the conclusion that the Internet is ruining society.

Personally, spitbull I think the internet was great until the rest of society showed up.
posted by cleroy at 7:26 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: a wide and multisplendored spectrum of assholery.
posted by univac at 7:37 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Evidence of Curt Schilling evolving!
posted by Brocktoon at 8:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


> This never would have happened if they hadn't publicly committed aggravated assaulted against a young woman, threatening her with sexual violence and violation.

It’s hard to find the right analogy without getting us on a fruitless tangent, but this strikes me as similar to saying “that guy never would’ve had his arm summarily hacked off with a machete if he hadn’t snatched that lady’s purse.”

Whenever someone tries to commit Internet Vigilantism by Proxy — whether it’s Schilling or some random redditor who doxes whichever woman his stupid subreddit is having their Two Minutes’ Hate about today — they are pointing a firehose in the vague direction of their target and turning on the water full-blast.

We frown on vigilantism because we subscribe to the idea that a punishment should be proportional to a crime, and because the person that is maddest about a particular crime should not get to decide the punishment for the person who committed that crime. Only now it’s not one person, it’s ten thousand angry people, each of whom is exacting punishment on the target with only vague coordination.

> I find it disturbing that you are focusing on 'what if ZYX' happened to these poor falsely accused men when the real issue is that men were threatening to rape a child. Priorities I guess.

Or consider Option B, which is that the dudes threatening to rape a child are just so obviously unredeemable fuckwits that we don’t need to spend 100 comments talking about how awful they are, and we have moved onto other issues.

> The better way is for law enforcement to take these things seriously, investigate them, and prosecute. When they don't, I'm all for vigilantism.

There is a Third Way, and before he updated his blog post, Schilling was a near-perfect exemplar:

1. Person X said really, really awful thing on Twitter about your daughter.
2. You do some digging to find Person X’s real name and profession.
3. You contact Person X’s employer and say: “Were you aware that Person X said this? And do you know how easy it was for me to figure out they work for you? If I figured it out, surely so have other people; do you want this sentiment associated with your business?”
4. For extra credit, be a famous person and write about this incident on your blog, but blur out any personal details of Person X. NOT because Person X deserves anonymity, but because (a) Person X has already been punished to your satisfaction and likely will not do this sort of thing again; (b) now it’s no longer about Person X — it’s about reminding all the other assholes out there that there are consequences for saying awful things to real human beings.

I’ll even cut Schilling some slack on posting unredacted screenshots — his tweet was public and the replies were public, so an unredacted screenshot would only be a tiny speed bump to the Internet Revenge Squad. But the point remains: if you can figure out who the asshole is, then you can make them pay for their words without sending an army of bees at them.

Internet Vigilantism by Proxy is like flinging chaos at a person. It might make us cackle, but it has no value as a punishment.
posted by savetheclocktower at 8:32 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm probably extreme by mefi standards on how against doxing jerks I am but using an analogy of a violent response when the actual response was a public callout is over the top to me. There is potential some nut could do something violent, that is a reality with doxing, but it's a pretty remote one for a situation like this. But hey, analogies are always tricky and imperfect.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:36 PM on March 3, 2015


Schilling said that one of the reasons he posted the names was so that what they did would come up when googling and would forever be internet attached. That does seem to be part of him gaining satisfaction. So it was more then just getting them suspended or fired.

He seemed to know exactly what he was doing and what he was after.
posted by Jalliah at 9:13 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


1. Person X said really, really awful thing on Twitter about your daughter.
2. You do some digging to find Person X’s real name and profession.
3. You contact Person X’s employer and say: “Were you aware that Person X said this? And do you know how easy it was for me to figure out they work for you? If I figured it out, surely so have other people; do you want this sentiment associated with your business?”
4. For extra credit, be a famous person and write about this incident on your blog, but blur out any personal details of Person X. NOT because Person X deserves anonymity, but because (a) Person X has already been punished to your satisfaction and likely will not do this sort of thing again; (b) now it’s no longer about Person X — it’s about reminding all the other assholes out there that there are consequences for saying awful things to real human beings.


You've just made this "vigilantism" even more subject to classism/racism/etc than already exists. Anybody semi-powerful gets it swept under the rug, anyone disposable gets fired. Well done!
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:17 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's no doubt that, in this case, the 'punishment' was not greater than the crime and I'm glad to see that, in this one case, the perpetrators got at least some punishment. But there's no doubt that vigilante action has a huge potential to grow a life of its own and spiral out of control and, for this reason, I don't think it's a great response in general.

But what else is going to happen? Faced with a choice of relying on 'official' channels of justice (ie nothing at best, punishing the victim a far more likely outcome) and taking the risk that someone may be excessively punished for sexual assault of a young woman, I'm comfortable with taking the risk that a putative rapist gets a punishment a bit out of proportion.

Having left this sitting here while I dealt with something else and having the broadcast of the House of Representatives burbling away in the corner of my screen waiting for something I'm interested in to come up for debate, I was interested to hear the members talking at some length about the appalling statistics on violence against women here in Australia. What's the 'official' response to this terrible crisis? It was a bit hard to tell, but I think they might hold a national summit at some point, if the Prime Minister thinks it's a good idea. I'm sure that will be a great comfort to the next few hundred or thousand victims.
posted by dg at 9:25 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Curt Schilling has done many bad things, but this time he did a good thing.

Every little bit helps. When someone stands up against abuse, it doesn't matter who it is, it's a good move.

My 2 cents.
posted by aryma at 9:29 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


>>Is public doxing really the best response?

What are the alternatives?


I don't know, really. My thought was, what if Schilling was wrong about the identities of the trolls? I suppose in an ideal world he would have handled it "privately" but I guess that is just airy-fairy pie in the sky thinking.

While I think the comments and behaviour of the trolls was reprehensible, Schilling's response is representative of another unsavoury internet phenomenon - public shaming and, to some extent, social media witch hunts.

Maybe it's because I come from a country where Charter rights generally override parochial school codes of conduct, and there is no culture of at-will employment that the concept of throwing due process out the window - admittedly however unfair due process often is to resolving these sorts of problems - seems pretty scary.
posted by Nevin at 10:11 PM on March 3, 2015


This is a lot of energy speculating on if the doxxing was misplaced when there is zero evidence that's the case. If anyone has a recommendation for how we could enforce some sort of mitigating pause to determine veracity, I'm sure Schilling would embrace it, because it could likewise be use to stop asshats from posting rape threats about his daughter.
posted by 99_ at 10:44 PM on March 3, 2015


I find it slightly offensive that the dangers of doxxing are dismissed out of hand so easily, and that vigilantism is the best solution. Maybe it's part of the steady shift towards libertarianism and the dismantling of civil society facilitated by Internet technologies and companies, but it seems that if "a lot of energy" were to be spent, it ought to be spent on toughening laws, and enforcement of laws against harassment on the Internet.

However, I guess I am outing myself as a "statist" here, and I understand that there are some people who have no use for civil society, but lots of use for the mob.
posted by Nevin at 10:56 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not dismissing the vigilante issue involved in doxxing, I'm just looking for similar degree of interest in people seeking solutions that prevent people from making violent, sexual threats about strangers that meet the same standard of care. After all, we wouldn't be having this conversation if some random asshole didn't make a rape threat in public.
posted by 99_ at 10:59 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I find it slightly offensive that the benefits of doxxing are dismissed out of hand so easily, and that the status quo of ignoring the constant threats to women is the best solution.

I guess I am outing myself as a feminist here, and I understand that there are some people who have no use for the idea of women being able to publicly exist without being threatened, but lots of use for the status quo.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


This is the first time I've seen ANYTHING happen to punish/stop any dude who sexually harasses a girl online just for existing. Anything. Nothing has stopped HaterGate, cops won't do anything, etc., etc. This is the first good news that's happened. I'm not exactly yay doxing, but hell, this actually did something. Sure, it took a famous macho guy to do it, but something worked. So we know something MIGHT.

I didn't know who the hell Curt Schilling was before this. I gather he is problematic on a good day. But for this alone tonight, dude's my hero.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:15 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Nevin: "I find it slightly offensive that the dangers of doxxing are dismissed out of hand so easily, and that vigilantism is the best solution. ...
However, I guess I am outing myself as a "statist" here, and I understand that there are some people who have no use for civil society, but lots of use for the mob.
"

I'll stand beside you as a 'statist' then. I'm a big believer in justice being administered by the state and due process etc (so much that I choose to work for a regulatory agency) But once it becomes clear 'the authorities' are not prepared to deal with such a serious issue, even though they pretty much universally agree that it is a serious issue, alternatives need to be considered. When the net harm of leaving it to the state is so much greater than that of taking action and where there is no indication that the state will ever have the will to take action, the choice is clear to me. The potential for things to go wrong is terrifying, sure, but not as much as the harm that actually exists right now.

I can't help but thinking that, if this action had been taken by someone that had a history of standing up against wrongdoing in the past, a lot of people that are either critical or on the fence would have been cheering a lot harder. There's a certain amount of dissonance when someone seemingly universally considered to be an arsehole (I'd never heard of him until this thread) suddenly turns into a hero.
posted by dg at 2:31 AM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Did I miss the law that was passed that said that every time there is any pushback or punishment to harassment, it is incumbent upon all women and feminists to account for every possible permutation of how that harassment could have actually played out?

Seconding this:

This is the first time I've seen ANYTHING happen to punish/stop any dude who sexually harasses a girl online just for existing.

And already people are saying, 'what if he is wrong?' like, who gives a fuck at this point.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:16 AM on March 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


it's not "vigilantism" when people take action to settle a personal dispute that doesn't involve a crime or civil claim.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 4:40 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Harassment is a crime.
posted by NoraReed at 4:49 AM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


And Schilling also used more conventional channels (contacting the harasser's supervisors/universities and sending them links and urging THEM to handle it) before talking about it on his blog anyway, so this isn't even "vigilantism" so much as "gloating that you won after the fact." Which may not be attractive, but I also know few people who WOULDN'T do that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:57 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nora I think mrbigmuscles meant that the action used to settle the dispute isn't a crime.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:13 AM on March 4, 2015


I really can't even wrap my head around the fact that so many mefites seem to think that the hypothetical possibility that harm could befall a man is more important than the absolute certainty that harm is befalling a lot of women and girls. What we have at the moment is a situation where online harassers have complete impunity, which is why a bunch of guys thought they would totally be ok if they used a publicly-identifiable account to send graphic harassment and threats to a 17-year-old high school student whose only offense was having a father they didn't like. They had every reason to think they could do that and they would be fine. If you're so horrified by what you see as vigilante justice, then maybe the thing to do is to figure out what concrete steps you can take so that there's real justice and people don't know that their only recourse is to resort to doxxing. Because the status quo is not acceptable. It cannot be that the price of being a woman or girl online is enduring graphic sexual harassment.

And I mean, I'm aware that Curt Schilling is an asshole with vile politics, but how the hell did we arrive at the point where some men think "that man is an epic asshole; I think I will send his 17-year-old daughter rape threats"?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:33 AM on March 4, 2015 [16 favorites]


I really can't even wrap my head around the fact that so many mefites seem to think that the hypothetical possibility that harm could befall a man is more important than the absolute certainty that harm is befalling a lot of women and girls

Who has said that? I must have missed it. Some people have said "doxxing is bad", "doxxing is risky", "doxxing is morally problematic" and "Schilling could have gotten this done without doxxing the perps". But who has said, "what Schilling did is worse than what the harassers did?"
posted by alms at 5:44 AM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


> but it seems that if "a lot of energy" were to be spent, it ought to be spent on toughening laws, and enforcement of laws against harassment on the Internet.

It is also being spent there - see the recent California law making revenge porn illegal - but harassment and threats are already illegal, and yet when you call the cops to report being harassed and threatened over, e.g., twitter, the most common response seems to be "oh well."
posted by rtha at 5:50 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about this quite a bit and I'm not sure that what he did is really what doxxing is. If anything it's a light form of doxxing. He doesn't seem to use any means to find out who these guys are other then looking and connecting stuff that they posted in profiles and in public. Yes he posted their names but as was said up thread it was after he already did stuff with the info. He didn't post their names and tons of identifying info and tell other people to have at it.

Searching through on the digital surface means to find someone is not doxxing. The doxxing that has happen (and happening) during Gamergate involves hacking and gathering info on people that has been purposely kept private or more below the surface. Looking at profiles and doing google searches of handles and seeing what other profiles they're connected to isn't really doxxing.

This guy basically googled these guys and easily came up with what he did. These guys did very little if anything to hide who they are. It looks like most just used their every day twitter handles.

Maybe there needs to be a another word or a variation on doxxing that doesn't result in the idea of 'doxxing' getting watered down to little more then some good googling skills.

The doxxing that people like Zoe Quinn are experiencing has little in common to what Schilling did with these guys. I'm not liking the two being equated so easily.
posted by Jalliah at 5:58 AM on March 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


Who has said that?

OH COME ON. much of this thread is variants of "gee shucks what if the guys targeted were innocent?" "doxxing is categorically bad" "vigilantism is categorically bad" "curt schilling is an ass"
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:58 AM on March 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


savetheclocktower >

This never would have happened if they hadn't publicly committed aggravated assaulted against a young woman, threatening her with sexual violence and violation.

It’s hard to find the right analogy without getting us on a fruitless tangent, but this strikes me as similar to saying “that guy never would’ve had his arm summarily hacked off with a machete if he hadn’t snatched that lady’s purse.”


Formal similarity doesn't equate to substantive similarity. Saying "that tomato looks delicious" isn't meaningfully similar to saying "that building looks delicious."

Whenever someone tries to commit Internet Vigilantism by Proxy — whether it’s Schilling or some random redditor who doxes whichever woman his stupid subreddit is having their Two Minutes’ Hate about today — they are pointing a firehose in the vague direction of their target and turning on the water full-blast.

He's not committing vigilantism, he's just naming the people who assaulted his daughter. It's likely that this will make the perpetrators regret their crime, but it doesn't constitute vigilantism because he's not retaliating, just taking away their impunity. Which, rather obviously, they do not deserve.
posted by clockzero at 6:22 AM on March 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm okay with what Shilling did because it appears he took steps to privately verify the identities before naming and shaming them. The danger with doxxing innocent people is not at all hypothetical. You have things like the Reddit vigilantes accusing innocent people of being terrorists. You have the "Get Racists Fired" site that was exploited to frame people.

There is also a danger where you encourage it in cases where the target is a jerk because people have wildly different versions of what a jerk is. A bunch of conservatives might start a campaign to identify people who support abortion or gay rights and try and get them fired if they work for a Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby or religious affiliated type place. I really don't want to have an Internet where this is an encouraged way to do things.

When it comes to a situation like persistent or particularly vile harassment or threats with law enforcement too impotent to do anything? It's pretty darn hard to blame people for going public loudly and immediately. It's not the path I would advise, I would try every more private method first, but it's pretty easy to understand.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:40 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I find it slightly offensive that the dangers of doxxing are dismissed out of hand so easily, and that vigilantism is the best solution. Maybe it's part of the steady shift towards libertarianism and the dismantling of civil society facilitated by Internet technologies and companies, but it seems that if "a lot of energy" were to be spent, it ought to be spent on toughening laws, and enforcement of laws against harassment on the Internet.

However, I guess I am outing myself as a "statist" here, and I understand that there are some people who have no use for civil society, but lots of use for the mob.


When you look at fiction using the vigilante trope for our hero they are never in a nice and happy society. Their civil society is not remotely civil. Often it's a horrible hellscape of violence and degradation. The strong take advantage of the weak and those who are victimized have nowhere to turn. The official channels of support are deaf to their complaints, or perhaps just ineffective.

In more rare cases you get a slightly more nuanced story where things look not so bad on the surface but it's a facade; the underneath is rotten and victimization is more subtle but no less severe. Powerlessness is still a major theme. Another variation has the powerful or the supposed official channels of justice in secret cahoots with the unkempt forces of chaos.

In almost all enjoyment of vigilantism - fictional or in real life - there is no believe that it's the best solution. It is a last resort, a grab at a solution when there are no other options. Yes, there's an exhilaration involved, but it's the glee of grabbing that very last handhold before plunging off the edge. There's not dismissal of the dangers, either in fiction or here in real life.

In fiction the question of how far and by what means gets examined to death. In reality... honestly, if you want to talk offensive I'd say what's really nose-wrinkling is the idea that anyone who cares about harassment of women online doesn't already spend a lot of time thinking about the dangers of doxxing. People above your comment, including me, spent time talking about the fragility of this approach and the ways that it won't work for the non-famous.

Plenty of people worry about this approach and wish we had a civil society where it wasn't the only resort for much of this BS. Plenty have worked hard to try to create better solutions. But there's still room for glee that someone cared about what had happened when someone shined a spotlight on it. It's imperfect on a lot of levels but it's still a good thing in the current situation.
posted by phearlez at 7:06 AM on March 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


My point was the usage of"vigilante" it's a little overwrought IMO. this isn't exactly some Liam neeson beating up eastern Europeans shit.

Even if what these guys did is a crime in the relevant jurisdiction it doesn't mean everyone involved has to sit on their hands and wait for some bureaucrat to maybe dole out some punishment six months or a year from now. people can and do solve their own problems, that doesn't make them "vigilantes" it just means they are not helpless
posted by mrbigmuscles at 7:14 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the characterization of actions such as getting people expelled and fired and the like as "vigilantism" is related to a lot of the weird mindsets people have about free speech where they think they're being stifled when they get banned from posting on a website or the like; it seems like there's a lot of folks around online lately who think that their freedom is being infringed upon anytime any organization or person does something to them that the government can't do. (I'm not sure if I'm phrasing that well-- I'm a bit out of sorts sleep schedule wise.)
posted by NoraReed at 7:26 AM on March 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think that the issue is that a key tactic of people like the GamerGate assholes is to publish the names and contact information of random women they don't like and then to act all innocent when people use that information to harass and terrorize those women. It's a false equivalence, but there are a lot of people who take away the message that it's wrong to name people on the internet, not that it's wrong to facilitate the act of terrorizing women.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:36 AM on March 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


NoraReed - I think that's part of it, and I think being concerned about what happens when we shine a spotlight on someone is a fair one. If anything it's something we should be more concerned about for the minority position that could be further victimized because of stigma.

But if we're going to hand-wring about civil society then we cannot divorce it from the total lack of protections those people have in those situations in general. If we bemoan the steady shift towards libertarianism and the dismantling of civil society facilitated by Internet technologies and companies then we have to recognize that in such dystopians the people are going to adopt the remaining schemes available to them. See above re: why people like vigilante fiction.

It is an acknowledged issue that this works best for the people already benefitting from this dismantling, and that this is something that Famous White Dude can pull off better is troubling. But that's no reason to refuse to grab a float when drowning.
posted by phearlez at 7:42 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the characterization of actions such as getting people expelled and fired and the like as "vigilantism" is related to a lot of the weird mindsets people have about free speech where they think they're being stifled when they get banned from posting on a website or the like; it seems like there's a lot of folks around online lately who think that their freedom is being infringed upon anytime any organization or person does something to them that the government can't do. (I'm not sure if I'm phrasing that well-- I'm a bit out of sorts sleep schedule wise.)

I think you're on to something here.

About the doxxing, I'm generally opposed to it, but am for it in this case. Anonymity shouldn't give anyone the right to avoid repercussions for viciously attacking or frightening other people. If they were stupid enough to have to learn that lesson the hard way, well, shit happens. Act like civilized people instead of animals next time.
posted by zarq at 7:43 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


It is very off-base to accuse Schilling of vigilantism. Vigilantism is penalizing wrongdoers outside of an effective law enforcement channel to punish them. There is no effective official channel to punish harassing anonymous or pseudonymous tweets.

In many cases, the action (however horrendous) isn't criminal, or isn't believed to be criminal by law enforcement. Even where law enforcement believes there's a crime, they often lack the resources or incentives to pursue the wrongdoer.

And it may seem Neanderthal to all you childless 27 year olds, and all you other people whose mental timeline for all social and moral principles starts at 1968, but ruthlessly defending your daughter's virtue is the essence of civilized fatherhood.
posted by MattD at 7:49 AM on March 4, 2015


and all you other people whose mental timeline for all social and moral principles starts at 1968, but ruthlessly defending your daughter's virtue is the essence of civilized fatherhood.
Gross. I mean, seriously. My "virtue" has never needed "defending."

Ruthlessly defending people's right to live without harassment and abuse is the essence of civilized humanness.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:56 AM on March 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


and all you other people whose mental timeline for all social and moral principles starts at 1968

What the shit does that even mean? This 44 year old parent would really like to know.

I second on the eye-rolling over "defending virtue." Maybe there was a national referendum on the word virtue in 68 that I didn't know about?
posted by phearlez at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2015


Self-righteous curmudgeons can be of any age, I guess.
posted by rtha at 8:11 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's also worth noting that many of the outcomes of doxxing that could be negative (because they were 'undeserved') would result from actions of the same group of people who typically do it, or are responsible for the very circumstances that make it necessary. So there's a lot of 'WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOURSELF' embedded in this argument.

So maybe instead of concern trolling us, offer ideas on how to educate idiot 19 year-olds that the joke 'Yeah, well, maybe she can take after her old man and run their team into the ground' instead of 'blah blah blah [sexual violence]' will probably keep you from being expelled?
posted by 99_ at 8:22 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


and all you other people whose mental timeline for all social and moral principles starts at 1968, but ruthlessly defending your daughter's virtue is the essence of civilized fatherhood.

You mean ruthlessly defending your child is the knee-jerk reaction of any parent, right? One that you learn to temper as your child gets older and more capable?
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:23 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I had some major shit go down and my father stepped in to help me, I'd be more grateful for the help than I would feel slighted. Because even adults need assistance sometimes, and sometimes that assistance comes from relatives. Sometimes it comes from strangers, sometimes from friends, sometimes from co-workers. As long as the help comes, if I really needed it, I generally don't care who it comes from.

And I would hope that if I'm in a serious jam, people wouldn't temper their own impulses to help me out of any fear that "oh dear she's going to think that I think she's incapable of doing this on her own".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:39 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sure. But personally, I think there's something kind of squicky about declaring that "ruthlessly defending your daughter's virtue is the essence of civilized fatherhood."
posted by rtha at 8:46 AM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


and all you other people whose mental timeline for all social and moral principles starts at 1968,

[lightning, thunder] LIBERAAAAAAALS
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:48 AM on March 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've been explicitly working with my dad to get his help with figuring out how to deal with any future harassment I may receive from the kind of writing I do and I'm really glad that he's doing it because he cares about my well-being and because he thinks the idea of having to deal with that kind of sexist shit is awful and not because of some gross bullshit about protecting my virtue.
posted by NoraReed at 8:52 AM on March 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


It’s hard to find the right analogy without getting us on a fruitless tangent, but this strikes me as similar to saying “that guy never would’ve had his arm summarily hacked off with a machete if he hadn’t snatched that lady’s purse.”

But it isn't like that. It also isn't like "This guy's family wouldn't have been tortured to death if he hadn't looked at someone kinda funny" or "This guy's entire ethnicity wouldn't have been entirely wiped out if he hadn't raised his voice that one time."

What it's like is "That guy wouldn't have had unpleasant things said specifically about him if he hadn't said unpleasant things specifically about someone else."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:01 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


You mean ruthlessly defending your child is the knee-jerk reaction of any parent, right?

A far better way to put it, imo.

One that you learn to temper as your child gets older and more capable?

Depends on the age and situation. If your kid is still in high school and being targeted by (presumably adult) anonymous bullies, that still seems like an acceptable time to step in to defend her.
posted by zarq at 9:02 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems to me he's doing everything we ask from bystanders/allies/whatever you want to call men who are looking to help change misogynistic attitudes. The virtue defense crap is coming from the commentariat, I was bracing for it before I read Schilling's blog but his understand is way more nuanced and sensitive.

He's saying violent sexual threats are NOT "boys will be boys" harmless, and that his daughter should be able to celebrate her ACCOMPLISHMENTS (nothing about her virtue) without having to put up with vile comments that use her as a proxy to hurt him. He's coming from a place those asshole trolls respect - jock, famous, tech-savvy, Republican man's man, himself an asshole - and leveraging that privilege to pass exactly the right message in a way that has a glimmer of a hope of sinking in. It's not doxxing to shine light on online abuse that's happening right there in the open, it's holding trolls accountable for their public statements and actions.
posted by Freyja at 9:09 AM on March 4, 2015 [20 favorites]


...vile comments that use her as a proxy to hurt him.

Thank you very much for pointing this out.
posted by zarq at 9:27 AM on March 4, 2015


You know, I can't help but wonder if the target were not a woman, people would be defending their right to violently threaten so loudly.
posted by corb at 9:31 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Has anyone seen any evidence of this story expanding out into a wider discussion of the harassment that women face online, the problems with Twitter, and the specific case of GamerGate? I was hoping it would help raise awareness of those issues in a wider audience, but so far I haven't seen that.

The stories I've seen pretty much just talk about Schilling and his successful smackdown of these specific trolls. There's also been some disgusting (but I guess not surprising) discussion of whether he was somehow "asking for it" by mentioning his daughter in the first place, the implication being that women should just stay inside their homes and not exist in public if they don't want to be threatened with rape.

Has anyone seen any stories pulling these threads together?
posted by alms at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2015


Mrs. Pterodactyl:
Fair enough but in this case you shouldn't need David Duke to help you because:

1) The people threatening you shouldn't be so sure that there will be no repercussions that they are comfortable saying all kinds of horrible stuff.

2) If they DO feel comfortable saying all kinds of horrible stuff, there should be systems in place to handle it that are not "Lone Voice of Protection for One Woman".
I'd like to live in your world of "should", but I'm stuck here in the real world of "aren't", so: yay for protectors, imperfections and all.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:41 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


dances_with_sneetches: He could have handled it privately and got the results which punished the Tweeters without making this public.
I don't agree with you that the perpetrators of abuse deserve privacy.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:50 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


that guy never would’ve had his arm summarily hacked off with a machete if he hadn’t snatched that lady’s purse.

Should a guy lose his arm for snatching a purse? Probably not. But why would you snatch a purse from a woman armed with a machete? So I wouldn't be all broken up about it. And I bet, that that's the end of his purse snatching career. And these guys' trolling career
posted by mrbigmuscles at 9:57 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nevin: Is public doxing really the best response?
Again, we don't live in the "best" world. I don't require that people always take the "best" actions. "Good" is good enough for me. My world isn't black-and-white. Even if the person has often been an asshole in the past: I'm still OK with them doing good.

And mildly punishing evil with a public outing of their behavior is good.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:00 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


The whole idea that has developed on the internet that "doxxing" is OH MY GOD THE WORST THING is nothing but cover for people to do bad things. Piercing anonymity can be good or bad and needs to be considered on a case by case basis.
posted by Justinian at 11:13 AM on March 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Gee, you were a raving, threatening, rape-happy shitstain in public and someone used publicly available information to track you down and point out what you did to people? U MAD BRO? I'm sorry, the violin I would play in sympathy for you is so small that not even the Holometer could pick it up.

Good on Schilling for this - I like things that socialize the idea that flinging threats of rape and other violence around online might - just *might* - cause a problem for you.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:34 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The whole idea that has developed on the internet that "doxxing" is OH MY GOD THE WORST THING is nothing but cover for people to do bad things.

I disagree and think the general Internet taboo on doxxing is one of the more important factors preventing a goddamn all-around bloodbath.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:50 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The whole idea that has developed on the internet that "doxxing" is OH MY GOD THE WORST THING is nothing but cover for people to do bad things.

And also a response to innocent people being accused as the Boston Bombers and innocent women being framed as racists on "The Get Racists Fired" website.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:55 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


According to him it took like an hour to figure out who all these yutzes were. It's not like a bunch of CIA agents had their covers blown. Just because you typed something other than your real name into Twitter doesn't mean people have to pretend you're anonymous along with you. If doxxing means destroying someone's anonymity I'd submit that "anonymity" should mean more than whatever curt schilling can figure out with a little Google searching.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 8:42 PM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


So people who have a good understanding of how the internet works and how to set up truly anonymous accounts are more deserving of anonymity than people who intend to set up anonymous accounts, but fail because they don't understand what has to be done to be anonymous?

It would be nice if it were that easy, but I don't think it's the case that people who desire anonymity for legitimate purposes are always those who competently set up anonymous accounts, nor that people who desire anonymity as a shield for despicable behavior are always those who do a poor job of trying to be anonymous.

It's understandable to want to have a bright clear line between "good" outing of would-be anonymous posters and "bad" outing of would-be anonymous posters. Maybe there is such a line, maybe there isn't, but if there is one at all I think it's a dangerous mistake to assume the line can be defined in terms of the technical means used to find the identifying information. One can't infer the motives of either the person trying to be anonymous or the person providing the identifying information just on the basis of the technical means the latter used to find the information. Whatever that line is — if it can be drawn at all — it's not going to be something like "Google good, Spokeo bad."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:45 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


deserving of anonymity

Who's talking about "deserving"? What does that even mean? The fact is these guys weren't anonymous, that's the bottom line, that's all there is to it. It's Curt Schilling we're talking about, that's who "found" them - some goddamn washed up jock! Not the dudes from Sneakers .

I mean I do understand what you're saying, but that line can be drawn, and it's not "where some meathead can figure it out in less time than it takes to pound a six-pack." That just isn't anonymous and I'm totally comfortable with that. Whatever the edge cases might be, this is not one of them.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 9:56 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


When I posted an AskMe looking for advice on protecting myself from GamerGate I got a lot of people saying I'd already doxxed myself by using my real name, which isn't the definition of doxxing I'm used to using. These dudes weren't really anonymous-- it wasn't hard to connect their real names to their Twitter accounts because they weren't actually trying to hide-- and the personal information that was posted publicly was their school + (large) employer, which is pretty minor on the scale of what kind of doxxing people get. It all gets thrown in the same "dox" bucket, but I think there's a significant difference in scale between posting someone's real name when they're a member of a relatively privileged group (not likely to be the target of a hate mob and they're not, say, a whistleblower of some kind, someone whose government might kill them for speaking, a protected witness, etc) and posting Zoe Quinn's home address, and attempting to classify all of those as the same thing seems like willful blindness.
posted by NoraReed at 10:08 PM on March 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Who's talking about "deserving"? What does that even mean?

It means some people, as noted in NoraReed's comment, have legitimate reason to be anonymous, or if not fully anonymous, at least to keep some personal information private. I am suggesting that some people who have good reasons for keeping that information private may, in fact, not have done a particularly good job of hiding that information from a technical standpoint. In a case like that, I do not believe such poorly hidden information should be made even more public just because it's where "some goddamn washed up jock" can find it in "like an hour."

I agree the case at hand isn't an edge case — but to me it's not an edge case because they were clearly being sexist assholes1. It's not as if their actions were some borderline, morally complex issue. To me, the difficulty of finding their information is irrelevant; they would be just as deserving of their fates if it took ten thousand members of Anonymous months and months to dig up.

1"Asshole" isn't nearly a strong enough word here, but I can't come up with a better one at the moment.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:38 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


DevilsAdvocate: "So people who have a good understanding of how the internet works and how to set up truly anonymous accounts are more deserving of anonymity than people who intend to set up anonymous accounts, but fail because they don't understand what has to be done to be anonymous?"
This does bother me a tiny bit here - basically, it looks like these two arseholes were caught out because they were dumb arseholes, where smarter arseholes may well have got away with it. In this particular case, it doesn't seem like they were even trying to be actually anonymous - they were really just using nicknames because 'that's what you do on the Internet'.

It doesn't bother me much though (about 5/8 of fuck all, if I'm really honest) - there's nothing wrong with grabbing the low-hanging fruit when it presents itself.
posted by dg at 4:09 AM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Drinky Die: And also a response to innocent people being accused as the Boston Bombers and innocent women being framed as racists on "The Get Racists Fired" website.

Sure, but what resemblance does that have to anything that happened here? These guys weren't doxxed, they publicly attacked a family and the family publicly attacked back. They didn't privately say something about Curt Schilling's daughter; they screamed it to the world. Nothing here is vigilante.
posted by spaltavian at 6:21 AM on March 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I posted above my view on the differences.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:47 AM on March 5, 2015




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