"Hey Anna, do you like pizza?"
February 2, 2015 5:00 PM   Subscribe

Anna Merlan received both online and physical world trolling after writing a Jezebel article about 4chan manipulating a Time poll. She has described the experience, along with her attempt to work with the police: "The cops don't care about violent online threats. What now?" (The Guardian has some related musings: "Can emojis really be used to make terror threats?")
While not causally related, a few days after the article was published Brianna Wu received a death threat from a mentally-ill individual. She has contacted the police and has stated that several congresspeople have also been concerned.
posted by Going To Maine (77 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
A good reminder that "the people you influence are an unedited version of you."
posted by michaelh at 5:07 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Seems like a trigger warning might be a good idea.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:14 PM on February 2, 2015


Yes, but hasn't referring to "4chan" already become a shorthand version of "trigger warning"?

Apparently, making death threats to women is the new test for True Manhood.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:23 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


One of the comments deserves elevated attention: 'when I was 15 I was raped and it was posted to 4chan'.

burn it all down.
posted by Dashy at 5:25 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


A despairing piece today on Model View Culture by a target of a large online attack: Coordinated Online Terrorist Attacks.
posted by metaquarry at 5:27 PM on February 2, 2015


It's pretty shocking to me that Twitter isn't taking an active role in policing user behavior. It's in their best interest not to continue to show up in articles where they seem to be doing nothing, and it's really frustrating. Twitter's early legal team was famous for fighting NSA and FBI over-reach, and I think they could take the lead on this too.

Basically, find a jurisdiction that is favorable to prosecution. A state or a county where there are good anti-harassment laws and sympathetic judges. Then dig up some death threats made via Twitter from IPs in those areas, and make an example out of someone abusing the service to threaten others. I bet these kinds of daily threats I read about constantly would drop like a rock, close to zero if people knew there were consequences for it.
posted by mathowie at 5:35 PM on February 2, 2015 [24 favorites]


he'd uploaded a video threatening to "kill her Assassin's Creed style" with a knife

Is the gawker story an elaborate trolling attempt?
posted by benzenedream at 5:41 PM on February 2, 2015


> Apparently, making death threats to women is the new test for True Manhood.

Only if it's real world rather than just online. It's increasingly obvious that online death threats are only 2-5% as threatening as real world death threats, hence the devaluation of their True Manhood rating.
posted by jfuller at 6:00 PM on February 2, 2015


Why is it that the police can fairly easily track down people threatening them in YouTube comments, but seem unable or unwilling to do so for other people being targeted?

This bit of Merlan's article really struck me. She gets slow-rolled at the local precinct while the NYPD cyber squad will swing into action when a cop is a potential victim.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:00 PM on February 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


"Elaborate trolling"... yes, that's what attempted murder comes down to in the Internet Era. Successful murder, now THAT will be "World Class trolling".
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:02 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I remember long ago, when a seventy year old font named Archie, from Texas, traveled all the way to Vancouver Island to surprise meet a young woman he was a'courting in an online community. It was a huge surprise. The net seemed real back then, not so much now. Maybe newbies to live web, fresh out of childhoods playing violent video have some reality adjustment period.

If you work the web, you can't turn it off, if you play, you can. I guess what is also not discussed as much as government surveillance, is how we are all set up in one way or another by the direct route the web can take to our doors. Anyone can pull data for a small fee, pay more, get more data. The many permutations of this are horrible, in fact the nice hack is even more scary. Say, they are not an obviously crazy fuck, but they have checked out your financials and your weaknesses, and after a few hot chats, they are invited to your door, they are your new SO.

The police apathy is frustrating, but I wonder about the numbers of people who have horrifying encounters? Are the police swamped? Can rough web organizations who thrive on inflicting abuse be targeted by the law as terrorist organizations? Well, or we just gonna have to put up with Fox News?
posted by Oyéah at 6:03 PM on February 2, 2015


the NYPD cyber squad will swing into action when a cop is a potential victim.
Hasn't the NYPD already told the world that their only job from now on is self-protection?
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:04 PM on February 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


I think we need to provide law enforcement with specialized staff, laws, policies and training to be able to handle these incidents in a quick and professional manner. Twitter isn't supposed to be responsible for deciding which tweets were death threats or violated a restraining order. I think this is the realm of police, prosecutors and judges. It may be a lack of motivation or no caring; but I don't think it has been shown that the prerequisite training, laws, budget and processes have been put in place.
posted by humanfont at 6:09 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Twitter is, however, capable of enforcing their own TOS. They've abdicated doing so.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:12 PM on February 2, 2015 [24 favorites]


"Anyway, these are Canadian phone numbers" deserves to be memed.
posted by idiopath at 6:17 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mathowie: It's pretty shocking to me that Twitter isn't taking an active role in policing user behavior. It's in their best interest not to continue to show up in articles where they seem to be doing nothing, and it's really frustrating. Twitter's early legal team was famous for fighting NSA and FBI over-reach, and I think they could take the lead on this too.

The issue here, to my understanding, is that America's uniquely litigious nature winds up creating a situation wherein Twitter stepping in and trying to police behavior could be then construed as a past failure/refusal to do so, and could wind up coming back to bite them in the ass.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:18 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Why is it that the police can fairly easily track down people threatening them in YouTube comments

The youtube guy was already a suspect in a crime, who was being investigated for that crime, and put up a youtube threat to the officer investigating him.

It wouldn't take the Pink Panther to figure out who pulled that off.

Not to defend the cops, because, yeah, cops. But, it can be really, really hard to track down harassers on the internet. I've been doing IT networking shit for 20 years. Degree in Electrical and Computer engineering. When my ex was pulling shit like this - CL postings and so on - I knew who was doing it, and how they were doing it, and even then it was basically impossible to get records to prove it. Companies will ignore subpoenas, or give incomplete or incorrect records if they do bother to respond. My ex didn't bother using a VPN, or a proxy, or even a clean VM and a Starbucks Wifi connection and it was all in one tidy jurisdiction - and I was never able to hand the cops enough information that they could do anything about it.

And look at how much trouble the movie studios have prosecuting file sharers - and they've got the cooperation of the ISPs more often than not.

There is no good technical solution to this behavior, unfortunately. Internet services should be better about providing tools to curb harassment - FB does pretty good at this - Twitter is... shitting the bed in a big way here. But even that won't stop the swatting - of course, making cops a little shy of just charging in guns blazing might be a net gain.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:18 PM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


There DESPERATELY needs to be an Internet 101 type of thing in police academies and there has been for some time.

I used to hang out in yahoo's groups in the 90's, and one group I'd poke my nose in was the vampire groups - it attracted an interesting group of sci-fi fans instead, but every so often got some kid who was claiming to be a vampire for realsies only to get laughed off by the rest of us. Or there were trolls.

One day I saw a post from someone claiming to be a doctor in Virginia, and claiming that they killed animals and babies to feed their hunger or whatever. I'd have rolled my eyes - it was obviously a guy with a grudge - but the guy posted the doctor's name and office address. I Googled it -- and it was accurate. Then five minutes later I saw another post with the same stupid claims, the same name, and another address which they were claiming was a home address. I called the doctor to warn them - fortunately the "home address" was just a second office address, but the receptionist took down my name and number and said she'd pass on my message anyway.

And an hour later I got a phone call from a detective in the doctor's home town. "So, the doctor said you saw these things and you were scared for her. So she...wanted me to check on this."

"Sure, how can I help?"

"Well....let's back up," he said, sounding embarrassed. "Because I'm not sure what it is that's happening, I'm not really a techie."

And I had to explain to him:

1. That yahoo was different from AOL.
2. That I didn't know the name of the person who made these threats, only his online handle - and that yahoo was the only entity who may know the name.
3. That message boards were different from email.
4. What a "URL" was.
5. How to find the exact link for the posts in question. (I couldn't email them to him as he didn't have email, I had to spell out the URL verbally.
6. The purpose of a message board.
7. That yes, this was all public.

Now, that kind of cluelessness made sense in 1995. To hear someone is just as clueless 20 years later is RIDICULOUS.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 PM on February 2, 2015 [37 favorites]


I don't mean to minimize the difficulty of forensics and attribution - and I'm not saying the NYPD should have a backdoor to user data on a site like Youtube. Nevertheless, the cops seem more concerned for some victims over others.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:30 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Twitter is, however, capable of enforcing their own TOS.

I'm not sure that I believe this. They might have the technical ability, but I don't know that they have the appropriate organization to deal with the number of users they possess.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:35 PM on February 2, 2015


That's not to say that they couldn't work on developing that capability to manage their userbase - just that they've been choosing for a long time to devote their efforts elsewhere.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:37 PM on February 2, 2015


It's pretty shocking to me that Twitter isn't taking an active role in policing user behavior. It's in their best interest not to continue to show up in articles where they seem to be doing nothing, and it's really frustrating. Twitter's early legal team was famous for fighting NSA and FBI over-reach, and I think they could take the lead on this too.

It's not just the Feds that overreach. Think bogus DMCA takedowns.

And why is it Twitter that ends up with the hot potato? I thought this was a job for law enforcement with their drones and tanks and cybershit.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:50 PM on February 2, 2015


A while back it was refreshing to find Intelius placing me on a corner where regularly, a guy waves a Pizza Pizza sign, fifty miles from my cave. I keep a PO Box, and use it during business hours. I am also unknown and unimportant. Some protection there.

I don't know if it helps to erase threatening comments, since they serve as a warning. It is a little like Minority Report, future crime arrests. Threats and video of threats are certainly grounds for complaint. As with the gun nuts in the office of that Texas legislator, blazing crazy is the new thing on the cyber horizon.

The guy attacking Ms. Wu, seems like a child, crashing his mom's car, I bet he is his mom's daily nightmare. She'll be taking him cookies in the slammer for a long time to come.

You would think there is an algorithm to note frequent threateners.
posted by Oyéah at 6:53 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure that I believe this. They might have the technical ability, but I don't know that they have the appropriate organization to deal with the number of users they possess.

They may not have it, but I think the bigger point here is that a company with a market cap of nearly $24 billion ought to. And most certainly could. If they cared.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:57 PM on February 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh, no disagreement there.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:16 PM on February 2, 2015


And why is it Twitter that ends up with the hot potato? I thought this was a job for law enforcement with their drones and tanks and cybershit.

Shifting law enforcement duties to private entities is one of the ways we get to the mildly dystopian libertarian sci-fi future.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:13 PM on February 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


The police in this country have absolutely no concern at all about protecting people from crimes. Our law enforcement and criminal justice system is completely corrupt and nihilistic. People have sent you credible threats to rape and murder you? They don't give a shit and won't investigate. You've actually been raped and try to report it? They don't give a shit and won't investigate. You've been robbed? They don't give a shit and won't investigate. A dead body shows up somewhere? They'll write it off as "probably drug related" and won't investigate.

It's totally understandable that a lot of police officers, like a lot of people, wouldn't understand the internet very well, and wouldn't have any idea how to track down people sending threats on-line. But there's no reason police departments can't have detectives on staff that do understand how to investigate these kinds of threats that people reporting on-line threats or harassment could be directed to. The reason they don't is they don't give a shit. Merlan and Wu have just run into the same attitude of complete contempt that almost every American runs into when they try report any crime to the police or need to deal with any government agency in any way at all.
posted by nangar at 8:58 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


For those of you shocked at the police ineptitude: I routinely, every day I work tech support talk to at least a few 20 year olds who can barely turn their computers on and off. There's a certain segment of the population that is completely useless with technology. What a pity they still expect to reap its benefits.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:24 PM on February 2, 2015


Juggalo war criminal Tyce Andrews is brought to justice and forced to pay for Eli's XBox One, which he Rightfully deserves to pay for.

Jesus Christ this is straight up Nice Pete territory.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:57 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


The other day in a conversation on G+ I brought up the fact that Gamergate and company were not just a small group of isolated nutters, but that they were organized, enthusiastic, and had backing from a not-small segment of the online community. And that this was unlikely to resolve itself anytime soon. I was accused of being a supporter of Gamergate.

The thing is though, we are pretty much in a situation like the late 1860s, when the Klu Klux Klan formed, or maybe 1920s Germany. Except there's no organized opposition, no political or legal solution, so the nascent terror movement can pretty much do what they want. They basically have free reign to impose their political and cultural ideals on the internet, so basically, things are going to get much, much worse. It's probably going to be at least a decade before this is ended, and one way or the other, what survives of the net will look different afterwards.
posted by happyroach at 11:02 PM on February 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Basically, find a jurisdiction that is favorable to prosecution. A state or a county where there are good anti-harassment laws and sympathetic judges. Then dig up some death threats made via Twitter from IPs in those areas, and make an example out of someone abusing the service to threaten others. I bet these kinds of daily threats I read about constantly would drop like a rock, close to zero if people knew there were consequences for it.

It's happened here in the UK. I wish it had made a difference, I don't think it has.

Peter Nunn jailed for Twitter abuse of MP Stella Creasy
posted by Helga-woo at 11:29 PM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't see how it's deniable that the violent fantasy content of games themselves is fueling the violent behavior (and psychopathy lake Connors') >of some of these nuts. Yeah, chicken/egg, they're the sort of wannabe macho warriors who are drawn to Call of Duty etc, not actual military service, etc. but I basically don't trust grownups who spend hours at a time pretend killing people not to have a screw loose.
posted by spitbull at 4:03 AM on February 3, 2015


Literally millions of "grownups" do this all the time without turning into drooling sociopaths. Are we really still having the "violent media makes people violent" argument about games?
posted by Doc Ezra at 7:07 AM on February 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Begun the Juggalo War has?
posted by biffa at 7:46 AM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is some drama on the Reddit KIA (pro-Gamergate) board about upcoming rules changes to Reddit that will seek to take a firmer stand against harassment. According to one of the Reddit co-founders the rules are currently being drafted and reviewed by various lawyers, moderators and activists. Even though the rules havnt been published or finalized, it is telling that just the suggestion that something might be done has the gators flipping out.
posted by humanfont at 8:12 AM on February 3, 2015


. They basically have free reign to impose their political and cultural ideals on the internet, so basically, things are going to get much, much worse.

However bad GG has been to its victims, I think you vastly overstate how effective they have been at achieving any of their goals, such as they are. In fact, in every measure they've been an abject failure.

I mean, Intel promised 300 million dollars to get more women and minorities in Tech - and a big chunk of that is going to Literally Who Anita Sarkeesian's Feminist Frequency. GG succeeded in making Anita a household name and bringing more attention to feminist issues in the MSM.

Meanwhile, Literally Nobody has done shit about Ethics in Games Journalism or whatever.

GG is like the KKK - a joke of a movement that is as transparently stupid as it is obnoxious. They're annoying and troublesome - but also completely unable to achieve thing on of any of their stated policy goals.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:20 AM on February 3, 2015


That Model View Culture article, my god:

Everyone is pretending like these attacks are a few isolated incidents; “concerning” and pointing to “culture problems”… aka spawn for think pieces by media organizations that do not give a fuck. Many people in the tech and gaming communities right now think they are safe because they think they don’t stick out enough as a target. Actually, these attacks have been going on for years and they are massively increasing in the level of organization, the scope of the attacks, the number of targets, the malevolence of the techniques used, the lack of accountability, the level of financial support available to terrorists, and the apathy exhibited by literally every community, company and industry capable of mounting a real response to this. These hate groups have been evolving exponentially and have been literally practicing their techniques while we have averted our gaze and abandoned their victims.

We are in no way prepared for this, and this is just the beginning.


This makes my skin crawl, and makes me want to take down all my fanfiction, hide in a hole, and pull my dog in after me. I know Anita Sarkeesian a bit, socially, and the description in this article makes it clear I had No. Fucking. Idea. what she's going through.

God.
posted by suelac at 9:33 AM on February 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


However bad GG has been to its victims, I think you vastly overstate how effective they have been at achieving any of their goals, such as they are. In fact, in every measure they've been an abject failure.

Um, there's one thing they haven't failed to do - "make women afraid". They've been resoundingly successful at that - hell, over on AskMe right now there is a question from a woman who is so spooked about online harrassment that she is questioning whether to even admit to her own gender online.

That is entirely due to the success of the unspoken goal of Gamer Gate - to Shut Women Up. And the fact that you don't even acknowledge that this is a goal of theirs in your tally of their successes and failures is yet more proof at the totality of their success in this goal - not only are they succeeding in that, they are succeeding in pulling the wool over your eyes about whether they even are attempting to do that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on February 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


GG is like the KKK - a joke of a movement that is as transparently stupid as it is obnoxious.

Both stupid and obnoxious but the KKK killed and maimed a large number of people and made a lot of others suffer through a climate of fear which restricted their movement, their freedom of expression, their employment opportunities, their voting rights and in many other ways. GG is nothing like on that scale but they have created a climate of fear, not just for the high profile women we hear about but for those who do hear about those cases and pull back from the public forum. Do you honestly think GG isn't causing some people to think twice about what they publish? Or in some cases where they live or can travel to or speak? With impacts both on them and on our wider culture? That's not a joke.
posted by biffa at 9:47 AM on February 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'd say that the Model View Culture piece sounds a bit overblown, but then, it also sounds like the author is seriously panicked and is going through something I've never experienced - and that plenty of people have told her the same thing. Can't we get something like a bill of rights for humans on the Internet? Honestly, my dream is that Randi Harper takes her patreon monies and makes the tools for monitoring Twitter that everyone who wants find trouble makers needs. Things that help you file police reports, submit bad tweets, identify duplicate accounts, and about a thousand other things. (The fact that Rogue still has a Twitter account continues to stagger me. He's been banned about a dozen times. How can Twitter lack the tools to automatically ID accounts likely belonging to repeat ban evaders?)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:49 AM on February 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Quinn has started an Online Anti-Harassment Task Force called Crash Override. It's mentioned at the end of the article, but I thought I'd put it here, too, for people who missed it.

The KKK is not a joke. It murdered people with witnesses and took pictures and threw parties around murdering people. They may be more of a joke now (unless you interpret police murder of black men as outsourcing of KKK lynching, and incarceration of black people out of step with other racial groups as the New Jim Crow) but that seems to honestly be more of a distancing maneuver of 'we're not really racist like those joke people are racist' than anything that actually helps black people.

Likewise, dismissing internet misogynists just gives them more room to isolate, terrorize, and I fear eventually murder explicitly targeted women. Calling them a joke, minimizing their actions when one literally flipped a car on the way to Brianna Wu's house while asking a friend with a shotgun to come with him (thankfully the friend refused) is demoralizing to me. I'm afraid that even when one of these men overtly associated with Gamergate kills a woman that it will gain as little attention to the seriousness of their anti-woman movement as the mass murders in Santa Barbara and Canada over the past few years.

Both racism and sexism are way too easily dismissed. Calling racist and sexist people "jokes" is a way of dismissing their actions and making people of color and/or women less safe.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:23 PM on February 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


"Have Juggalos ever been involved in raising funds for charity?
posted by clavdivs at 4:22 PM on February 3, 2015


The thing is, Empress Callipygos is right: the primary goal of GamerGate has been to terrorize women online and attack anyone they regard as a social justice warrior. They have been very successful at that, and have faced no consequences for their actions. And frankly, as long as we have easy online anonymity, they are going to be free to continue their actions.

The bottom line is I have a number of friends who are scared, and are pretty much dropping out of online activities for fear of harassment. I talked the other day to a woman in tech who has had to get a Twitter account to catch work announcements, and she said there was no way she was going to post on it, or use her real name. That's the present. Other responses I've seen have been to start creating "walled garden" communities.

We do have a model for a time in history when a group was kept in oppression through threats of violence, and occasional actual acts of violence, enabled by authorities that didn't care or looked the other way. Say, the American South, from about the 1880s to the 1960s. I honestly think that the current nature of the internet, along with lackluster government response and the stupidity of activist groups like the EFF is creating a similar type of situation. If things don't change radically, it may last as long.
posted by happyroach at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Insightful comment from Ghazi:
I've been pondering for a while about the sort of choose-your-own-reality environment that anon/chan boards intentionally foster. It's a direct consequence of the "trolls trolling trolls" or "pissing into an ocean of piss" ethos embodied by /b/, for instance.

The basic idea is that if you go on /pol/, or /gamergate/, or /v/, you know that some percentage of what you see is trolling. The question is, how much, and which posts?

The beauty of the freewheeling anonymity is that you, the reader, get to decide for yourself. You're a gamer and a good person, but you're familiar with chan culture and thus not naive.

Well then, for you, that post right there about journalistic conflict of interest is serious, but these comments about Literally Who being a "whore" are trolling -- this is a chan, after all, so it's to be expected. Nothing to take seriously, and it's certainly not "muh soggy knees" like SJWs keep screeching about. There are some particularly bad ones, but they're so obvious and overblown that they're clearly outsiders trying to troll so they can take screenshots and post them on Twitter for sympathy.

Or perhaps, for you, the accusations of whoredom are entirely legitimate (you are, after all, wily to the ways of women). Phrased to be inflammatory, of course, but that's just chan culture. The underlying point is good and is to be taken seriously. Now, all of the anti-trans hate, that's obviously trolling. Nobody really wants to kill trans people; it's a joke about the kind of people who say that, and/or the kind of trans people who think everybody is out to get them. You even make those jokes yourself from time to time, and you don't want to actually kill anyone, so that proves they shouldn't be taken seriously! It's not transphobia, it's self-aware irony.

Or perhaps you're on board with all of that. It sure is nice to hang out with some people who don't fall for that "trans" bullshit, and who appreciate (as you do) that they deserve physical violence for attacking your sexuality by trying to make you call them "women". These guys don't take anything too seriously! For instance, those hilarious memes with Le Happy Merchant. Not that you have anything against the Jews, personally, but that's what makes it funny. Plus "goyim" is an inherently funny word, so why wouldn't you use it every chance you get? It's just an in-joke that SJWs will never understand because they don't "get" the internet. That, incidentally, is precisely what gives them away every time they post pretending to be a GamerGater just so they can tone-police the movement.

Or perhaps you're a literal fucking Nazi who naturally uses anti-Semitic memes like most people use commas. Etc., etc.

The key thing here is that everyone involved gets to decide what's real and what isn't. Everything you like about GamerGate is the core of it; everything else is a joke that only a fool would take as truth. You know what GG is really about, which makes it trivial to distinguish between actual GamerGaters and outsiders. The real gamers are the ones saying the obviously true things (and of course trolling internally for fun), while the obvious bullshit and actual harassment is clearly from third-party trolls. You can tell they're trolls because they sound exactly like the trolls constantly posting the same sort of thing on /gg/ itself, who you can tell are trolls because they're talking about things that GamerGate isn't about.

It is, in many ways, the ultimate echo chamber.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:45 PM on February 4, 2015 [7 favorites]




This just in from Twitter CEO Dick Costello
We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.

I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd. There's no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing.

We're going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.

Everybody on the leadership team knows this is vital.
Followed shortly by
Let me be very very clear about my response here. I take PERSONAL responsibility for our failure to deal with this as a company. I thought i did that in my note, so let me reiterate what I said, which is that I take personal responsibility for this. I specifically said "It's nobody's fault but mine"

We HAVE to be able to tell each other the truth, and the truth that everybody in the world knows is that we have not effectively dealt with this problem even remotely to the degree we should have by now, and that's on me and nobody else. So now we're going to fix it, and I'm going to take full responsibility for making sure that the people working night and day on this have the resources they need to address the issue, that there are clear lines of responsibility and accountability, and that we don't equivocate in our decisions and choices.

Dick
Them's strong words. Let's hope he makes good on them.
posted by alms at 7:40 PM on February 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Amazing! Great job, gamergate. You did it. You are the change I can believe in.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:17 PM on February 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:08 PM on February 4, 2015




I assume this massive shift in corporate policy is a sign of Matt's secret control over the Internet by deciding what the best of the web is all these years.
posted by humanfont at 11:13 AM on February 5, 2015


There are some other things [besides an MRA] that Max is proud to be. He is an outspoken atheist and an active Libertarian. The contours are the same: a proactive anticlericalism and a distaste for regulatory apparatus couched in a vague sense that this distaste constitutes a moral stance.

That second sentence is a killer.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:15 PM on February 5, 2015 [4 favorites]








February 11 update from Brianna Wu.
posted by alms at 6:02 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


So apparently there was a Gamergate-themed episode of Law & Order SVU the other night, and no one was pleased.

OTOH, it seems KiA has embraced the fake website mentioned in the episode. Yeesh.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:18 AM on February 12, 2015


And Hotwheels apparently redirected the website mentioned in the episode to 8chan. I guess that's because he thinks that there's nothing like blatant misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, threats against federal judges, and child porn to rally the L&O: SVU demographic to your cause?
posted by zombieflanders at 8:21 AM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm just surprised the showrunners didn't lock down that domain when they had the chance. But then, that implies a level of thoughtfulness and concern for the real world that I would not associate with SVU.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:20 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anne Thériault: Let’s Call Female Online Harassment What It Really Is: Gender Terrorism
We continue to refer to these occurrences as "harmless threats," and blame women for not being willing to engage in "robust debate." The idea of free speech is often invoked, and women who are targeted are often told that if they can't take a joke, they should get off the internet. People will often say that men experience just as much online harassment as women, an argument which completely ignores the violent, gender-based threats that women receive.

"When we call it terrorism we are clearly stating that the harm to women online creates a democratic deficit for all of us," St. Lewis countered. "Women's citizenship and entitlements to dignity and respect do not stop at the virtual border of the internet. The word 'terrorism' should make people sit up and pay attention. It calls for acknowledgment of a serious problem, quick action, resources and accountability. These are all overdue in this area where the trolls and cyberbullies thrive."

This type of terrorism needs to be treated with the same type of gravitas that we give other forms of domestic terrorism. There needs to be accountability, and there need to be swift and just consequences. Above all, there needs to be a recognition that these online threats are neither random nor harmless but rather part of a systematic effort to terrorize women.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:38 AM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


And as if to drive her point home, now gators are threatening Thériault and her son, who is 4 years old. No, you're not reading that wrong, they are threatening a child who's not even in kindergarten.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:34 AM on February 18, 2015


But but it's really about ethics in oh fuck it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:15 AM on February 18, 2015


In fairness, the field of oh fuck it has just been rife with corrup-to hell with it.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:07 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Michelle Goldberg: Feminist writers are so besieged by online abuse that some have begun to retire
Part of what’s different now is the existence of organized misogyny, with groups of men who are angry at feminism gathering under banners such as the Men’s Rights Movement and Gamergate, a diffuse network of video-game enthusiasts furious at attempts to curb sexism in the industry. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, “the mainstream culture of the media was more anti-feminist. That was when you had all that ‘feminism is dead, all women just want to get married’ kind of stuff,” says columnist Katha Pollitt, my colleague at the Nation. “But the men’s rights people, Gamergate, that’s new. There is this cadre of incredibly enraged men who have all found each other.”

Perhaps, Pollitt says, it’s “a sign of our success” that the anti-feminist backlash is mostly digital. But when online misogynists decide to target a particular woman, they often have access to an unprecedented amount of personal information about her. “Back when everything was just in print, you wrote your piece, but you didn’t have photographs of yourself up everywhere,” Pollitt says. “People didn’t know where you lived, they didn’t know anything about your private life. It’s very qualitatively different now.”

Once a woman is singled out by a men’s rights group such as A Voice for Men, the misogynist Reddit forum The Red Pill or even just a right-wing Twitter account like Twitchy, she is deluged with hatred. The barrage, in addition to scaring its target, serves as a warning to onlookers.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:55 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a form of terrorism focused on women trying to keep us from being publicly successful.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:17 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]




* golf clap *
posted by benzenedream at 10:54 PM on February 23, 2015


On the other hand, the obvious counter-argument is that these guys' schtick is never actually meaning a word they say, and the only sources in the story appear to be Jan Rankowski, Sam Hyde, and a forum thread connecting the dots between the two of them and parkourdude91.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:07 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


or more exactly a forum thread connecting the dots between Sam Hyde and a guy who looks and sounds like parkourdude91, without the name Jan Rankowski showing up
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:10 AM on February 24, 2015


Sorry for triple-commenting, but having read the thread more, they do connect the dots between the two of them and parkourdude91.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:18 AM on February 24, 2015


Part of Brianna Wu's response to this turn of events:
"It's going to be tremendously damaging," she says. And so, she says, "If this person thinks they can throw up their hands and say, 'Woah, woah this is just a joke, people, I'm sorry,' this isn't Grand Theft Auto. You can't threaten to murder people and think there are no consequences and you can take it back. My suggestion to him is to lawyer up."
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:56 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Good. Fuck him. Terrorism isn't funny.
posted by rorgy at 11:02 AM on February 24, 2015


So let me get this straight -

He's actually trying to use "it was a social experiment" as a defense in the real world?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:17 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised Jezebel mentioned the TEDx talk but didn't mention Sam Hyde's standup bit where he just did a deadpan reading of some virulently anti-gay tract and then posted a video lulzing at the audience getting angry with him (not going to link it, but it's easy to find). It seems basically of a piece with this. Characterizing either as satire would strike me as pretty generous (and even then the target of the satire wouldn't be primarily homophobes or gators); it's really just trolling, in the sense of saying whatever you think is likeliest to get a rise out of someone.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:54 PM on February 24, 2015


Ugh, I hate that sort of bottom-tier "trolling". "Ah hah, I was only pretending to be a noisome idiot! You are the fool for believing me to be as much of a stupid jerk as I- wait, where are you going?"
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:08 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Rustic Etruscan: "Sorry for triple-commenting, but having read the thread more, they do connect the dots between the two of them and parkourdude91."

Though one knock-on effect of GamerGate is that I'm even more suspicious of internet detectives making spurious connections than I was before.
posted by RobotHero at 9:46 PM on February 24, 2015


I Demand You Listen To Me
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:58 PM on February 25, 2015


Is "Nah I was just kidding" a sound legal defense against making a series of public threats against someone?
posted by humanfont at 7:30 PM on February 26, 2015


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