Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When Will My Daughter Receive Her First Rape Or Death Threat?

My wife says before she's a teen, I fear she's right. Even if I keep her off social media, someone might find a way to threaten her because of something I've said. There's enough of that going on.

And while the catalyst for my thoughts is GamersGate, this isn't about the primary first causes of debacle, per se.

Instead, it is about the ugly side, the trolling, doxxing (posting personal information, such as address/location), death and rape threats that seem to be present any time a woman posts anything that is remotely controversial.

In the past, I've passively supported some horrible people who have done some horrible things by not speaking out clearly enough. By not calling them on their shit. And that is done, I regret, on some level, it took looking at my daughter to motivate to change my stance, but so be it. So if you are a troll, whether for the lulz or great justice, I'm done with you in my social circles.

If you support the people who do these sorts of things, expect me to call you out, I'll do it privately because no one reacts well to being publicly called out.

If you associate with various forums online that generally promote/generate/originate these behaviors, I'm going to be wary of you.

The only way to eliminate activities is to make it socially unacceptable to engage in them.

That is my goal - to make this behavior online as socially unacceptable as casual racism - I don't believe I can stamp it out, but I can eliminate it from my social circles. And that will have to be enough.

I need to apologize for my part in assisting in that culture - and it is thanks to a post by Kathy Sierra who was apparently a target of Weev's tender ministrations. Yes, that Weev. Internet folk hero for his time in jail, and general internet asshole. I knew him before he was an internet darling, he went to the same college I once attended, and we were at the same gatherings. I socialized with him, not closely, but enough I knew what he was like online.

"Eh, he's just an asshole online," I used that to shrug off comments, plus I wasn't close to him.

And that enabled him to some degree. No, there's nothing I could have done to restrict him or stop him. My friends speak admirably of him in someways, but always with the caveats "well he is an asshole and a troll online." And you know what? While I am content that justice was done in case, in my opinion, but I'm done lauding him in whatever small fashion I did. No more posting articles where he shows up. No more commenting on other people doing the same. This may be a bit of closing the barn door after all the animals have fled, but it is what I can do at this time.

If someone is an asshole and troll online? They are an asshole and jerk. The extra caveats aren't needed. We spend enough of our time interacting online that there should be no difference in our expectations of our behaviors online and on the street.

Some of this is fighting rape culture. Some of this is fighting the culture of online anonymity. No, this won't come easily, it won't come quickly. But it can be done. It will take a lot of effort. It will take community action.

So this is my start. Keep me honest.


  1. Agreed. weev is worse than that. He appears to also be a white supremacist. May I link to this?

    1. Go for it, no complaints of you share this.