Zen Of Design

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Mark Kern Really Wants GamerGators To Be Able To Yell At Harassment Victims

Today, Mark Kern is fighting a heroic battle to force the people who have faced withering online harassment and abuse to sit there and take that abuse or quit Twitter, rather than having access to tools that allow them to protect themselves.

I realize it’s been a couple of weeks since we talked about Mark Kern, the former Team Lead of World of Warcraft who would later grow to distrust the press because they had the gall to investigate crazy rumors and write articles about his magical crazy expensive bus.  Mark Kern recently reappeared on the landscape 4 months after GamerGate started, and since then he’s been a real peach of a human being:

  1. Blaming the games media for Gamergate when in fact they’ve mostly been ignoring it,
  2. Arguing that getting the media to stop talking about harassment of developers is more important than getting that harassment to stop,
  3. Airing baseless propaganda as something worthy of discussion,
  4. Encouraging an internet flash mob to brigade the social media of the most important conference of his chosen profession,
  5. Wringing his hands because a room full of GDC attendees were an enthusiastic audience to Tim Schafer and his prepared sock.
  6. Complaining that he can’t blog or get press access, while simultaneously turning down offers allowing him to post blogs or do press interviews. 

As you can tell, Mark Kern is at this point a parody of delusion  -if he showed up on a Sitcom, you’d dismiss his unique brand of ignorant obstinance as too unrealistic to be believable. In today’s episode of ‘Mark Kern tilts at windmills then declares he’s oppressed’, he is desperately fighting for the right to be able to yell at people who have actively declared they don’t want to hear what he has to say.


GamerGate has a fun tradition whenever someone gets in their crosshairs, and that is to have everyone on the #gamergate hashtag know about it quickly and efficiently, and have all of those people fill the target’s Twitter feed with so much crap that Twitter ceases to be a useful tool, and where your first reaction is to go hide under the covers of your bed with the lights off.  In many cases, the crap filling your feed is innoculous questions, or feigned offense (‘well, I never!’). These people will insist that harassment ISN’T actually happening, and that they’re just being civil and exercising their free speech.  They ignore the fact that in many other cases from OTHER more enthusiastic and less civil gators, it takes the form of insults, beratement, veiled job threats, death and rape threats, roundabout questions about your family and friends, and even doxing and gorror porn.

There are many names that have been thrown around for the practice – brigading and Sea Lioning – but ‘dogpiling’ is probably the most accurate.  And GamerGate is by no means the only group that dogpiles – those opposing gamergate are far less organized and focused, but still have been known to unleash their targeted wrath at times as well. Still, GamerGate is more effective at dogpiling than most.  A few months ago, the collective community performed #OpSkyNet (GGers don’t take a dump without a snazzy Operation name), where all members of Gamergate made an active attempt to follow each other on Twitter.  I should probably point out to college kids looking for thesis ideas – there is good evidence that this had some extremely wacky social dynamics as a result.

For starters, it turned the hashtag into even more of an echo chamber than it already was, for example, by increasing the % of your feed that was now wholly supportive of GamerGate.  It made it impossible for casual observers to follow the feed at all, due to the massive number of retweets flooding out good content (I weeded out about 90% of the gators in my feed to get it back to readable again). The close-knitness of the community also resulted in vicious dogpiling attacks happening at astonishing  speed.

I got to be the target of a good ol’ dogpiling a couple of times during the last few months.  The most notable was when I proposed that GamerGate could do some good if they’d lay off the harassment and form a consumer organization.  And yet, I know that what I got was mild compared to many women, which I have documented here.   For those needing reminders, here’s Zoe talking about her harassment.  Here’s Anita showing some of the very worst of one week of harassment.  Here’s Sarah Butts describing the systematic attempts to make her online life hell.  Here’s Jenn Frank with video of her twitter feed being hit so hard that she decided to stop writing about games for a while.

GamerGaters defend their right to do this as defending their free speech.  This is an insult to people who actually understand what free speech is and why it’s important – it is more accurate to describe these actions as a calculated and deliberate attempt to sabotage the free speech of their targets.  What they are attempting to do is to yell so loudly and negatively at people who disagree with them that those people choose to shut down their opposition and leave.  It is an attempt to chill the free speech of people, especially in this case those who may have feminist or SJW points of view.  These are the people that Mark Kern and co. are fighting so earnestly for.

Fortunately, #OpSkyNet also had the accidental result of also making Blockbots work much more effectively on #gamergate than they otherwise would have.


The GG Autoblocker is a relatively simple beast.  It simply is a script that scrawls through exposed Twitter data, until it finds accounts that follow any two people from a very short blacklist of people – accounts like @Nero,  @FartToContinue and @RoguestarGamez.  These are accounts who have a history of, whether accidentally or intentionally, unleashing dogpile attacks on people who catch their ire.  Put another way, they have VERY ENTHUSIASTIC followers.  Anyway, if you follow two of those people, you’ll end up on Randi’s block list.  Which for 99.999999% of all twitter users, means absolutely nothing.

Mark Kern is on the block list.  Until yesterday, so was I.  Getting off of the list is actually a relatively straightforward process if you’re not a douche – send a mail to the appeals board.  They’ll look at your posting history and if your posting history isn’t full of harassing or dogpiling behavior, probably let you off the hook.

But here’s the thing – the only way you will be blocked by the autoblocker is if someone has signed up for the block service.  This is a very small number of people – probably in the low thousands.  These people have all actively declared they want less speech.  They are all people who have opted out of gamergate discussions.  They don’t want to hear it.

Mark believes its an abridgement of his right to free speech that he can’t talk to these people.

Many of these people were convinced to install the blocker after getting a taste of the GamerGate dogpiling experience.  Elizabeth Sampat – a vocal opponent and favorite target of Gamergate – at GDC described the experience of turning on the blocker as a godsend.  Once they discovered she’d been laid off, her twitter turned instantly into a toilet of awfulness.  The blocker returned Twitter to a functional communications forum for her – useful, because she’s a writer, and communication is a core part of her job.

For this story, I asked Randi Harper if there were notable spikes in the use of the Autoblocker.  She said there was one huge spike – GDC, when Mark Kern and co. were urging GamerGators to brigade the GDC hash tag – and they did, with all sorts of appalling filth.  This maps well to my experience of being stopped in the halls of GDC by people wondering where they could find that thing I’d blogged about.  Put another way, pretty much everybody who has installed the blocker has, in the past, encountered what GamerGate has to say when it has free speech, and decided they never want to hear from it again.  Free speech had its chance for these people.

Mark Kern wants to sue to shut down tools like these, so that these people will be FORCED to hear the message of him and his allies.  It is the height of myopic arrogance, and it’s appalling.


No one would argue that you should be forced to read mail from the people who want to sell you penis enlargement pills.  No one would argue that you should be forced to read all traffic from all reddits if you read any reddit.  And no one seriously believes that the Do Not Call list – a filtering list run by the freakin’ government, for christs sake – seriously runs afoul of first amendment rights.  Penis enlargement companies and telemarketers have a right to the microphone, however, they do not have the right to enslave every possible listener into their audience to hear their insipid message.

The best way to think about these blockbots is that they are just spam filters, only instead of blocking out penis enlargement creams and offers from Nigerian princes, they block out name-calling, gaslighting, rape and death threats, creepy inquiries about your family, and the occasional spicy bit of gorror porn thrown in there for fun.   Yes, sometimes a good tweet gets lost in the mix.  Guess what – that happens with email spam bots too.

Dogpiling is spam.  People have a right to defend themselves from spam, ESPECIALLY when it seeks to attack or terrorize them.

The denizens of GamerGate – who simply insist that this well-documented dogpiling does not exist – beg to differ.  Grimachu ( author of several… boundary-stretching games) has sent Randi a laughable letter of intent to sue.  Mark Kern also started to talk about getting lawyers and/or the EFF involved.  Which led to this highly amusing conversation on Twitter.

Yes, it turns out that the EFF believes that freedom of speech includes the ability for people to be able to use the internet without fear of being harassed or intimidated.  Which makes sense.  Once you understand the power that is earned from being able to communicate freely without fear on the internet, then fighting harassment and abuse on the Internet quickly becomes one of the defining civil rights movements of our time.  Far more so than ensuring that every troll has a right to bury your feed in a river of sea lioning and toxic hate.

Mark and others fighting to preserve the right to harass unwilling listeners believe they have discovered an end-around – by claiming that people maintaining these lists are effectively libeling those on it as harassers.

It’s not a very good end around.


Lost in all of this debate about what is legal and what isn’t is the fact that Twitter is, still, a private network, and as such, they get to dictate what is acceptable speech and what isn’t acceptable speech.  They have, in the past, been incredibly lax on addressing the issue of harassment — something that the CEO recently acknowledged and declared as a company mission to fix.   They have, on the other hand, welcomed and encouraged tools like BlockTogether that help fix these inefficiencies.

Sadly, we probably have to hope that more celebrities like Ashley Judd and Curt Schilling’s daughter receive more well-publicized abuse, and put pressure on Twitter to get their house in order.  Until Twitter cleans up their own house, we have user created tools like the block bots as the only thing that keeps Twitter from being utterly poisonous except to whichever faction of debaters can aggregate the loudest, angriest, and most shameless group of posters willing to go all out to destroy their opponents.  If nothing changes, the only way that this path can end is with Twitter being a nuclear wasteland of horribleness, as all reasonable people flee to places where they can debate the issues of the day without seeing necro porn (yes, the gorror porn did, in fact scar me for life).  If Twitter just lies back and waits for that to happen, then Twitter will die – and it will deserve to do so.

There are concerns with the block bots.  One key example is that block statistics probably factor into Twitter suspension and banishment decisions, and thus being included in someone’s block bot can put your account into a more frail space without you realizing it.  Also, the block bots aren’t integrated into the service, which means that they’re hard to find for the harassed and hard to understand and get off of for people who feel wrongfully placed on them.  Twitter should be putting in better tools for filtering and blocking in themselves.   Until then, though, people who have been put through the ringer on these blockers have only these simple tools.

Whether or not Mark Kern has more noble goals in mind, it is a lie that these tools somehow inhibit his right to free speech.  Whether or not Mark Kern has more noble goals in mind,  opposition to the block bot really is, at it’s core, demanding that harassment victims sit there and take what’s coming to them.

That may not be what Kern is consciously trying for, but it certainly is what the trolls want.  Combine that with their insistence that victims also not talk about or report their harassment, and the agenda becomes very clear.  The opposition to the block bots is this virulent for one simple reason: they are very effective at what the harassed want them to do: stopping incoming dogpiling and abuse.

 

 

 

125 Comments

  1. “It is the height of myopic arrogance, and it’s appalling.”

    Yeah, that sounds like him.

    • The hidden face of dipshittery and fact-free internet drama:

      #Gamergate

    • Generalissimo Killt

      March 18, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      That’s the blogger that’s currently trying to get Harper reported to the IRS for somehow committing fraud at an organization that isn’t yet a 501(c)(3) or any other type of non-profit. She is not a good source.

    • Michael Lindsay

      March 19, 2015 at 10:17 am

      What would that change it were true? If this person is such a terrible harasser of your little group then surely the ability to create blockbots is a blessing for you and if they don’t want to talk to you then they’re less likely to harass you, right?

  2. “sealioning and dogpiling”? lol gamergate is the most entertaining thing happening in gaming right now

    All this hand-wringing over what is essential a bunch of people getting twitter notifications.

    • Yeah, all its all about notifications.

      And the rape and murder threats.
      And the doxxing.
      And the swatting.
      And the showing up to workplaces, saying they’ll bring friends and a knife next time.

      Glad you live in a world with empathy has no place. The rest of us live on earth.

      • How is any of that helped at all by a blocklist?

        The blocklists as they are currently implemented do nothing to stop threats because they can be circumvented in less than a minute by simply creating a new account. In fact, most experienced trolls already use burner accounts for anything as serious and legally risky as death threats, usually also using TOR or a proxy server to disguise their IP address.

        Now there are potential ways to deal with the burner account problem: TotalBiscuit has suggested that Twitter could add a feature that allows users to automatically block Tweets from accounts that are younger than a specified age. Apparently, he implemented that on his subreddit and it cut down trolling massively over there. But that’s not what is under discussion here.

        But even if you could block every single person who could ever harass you, that does nothing to help doxing, since doxing is telling other people your personal information.

        Obviously nothing anyone does on Twitter is going to prevent someone from making a fake phone call to the police or stalking people in real life.

        • John Henderson

          March 18, 2015 at 6:31 pm

          Twitter could do a lot of things. They just haven’t, yet. And yet people still want to use it for some reason.

        • Fixing swatting would have to involve fixing caller id.

          “Now there are potential ways to deal with the burner account problem: TotalBiscuit has suggested that Twitter could add a feature that allows users to automatically block Tweets from accounts that are younger than a specified age. “

          Twitter would never want that feature–it’s basically telling people to stop signing up for Twitter, Twitter is only for existing users. The day that feature was proposed, there would be a massive number of new fake accounts so that harassers could “start the clock” on as many accounts as possible. Therefore, everyone would keep adjusting the specified age older and older, so they can continue to block that massive wave.

          Tadhg Kelly proposed letting people turn off all @ mentions, or only see @mentions from people you follow, or only from verified accounts. There are more ideas too, but John is right–‘Twitter could do a lot of things’. Twitter almost seems like it’s designed to encourage abusive behavior, even worse than email. Without blocking tools, it’s too easy to turn targets into captive audiences.

          • Twitter isn’t designed to protect people. It literally is yelling in a public forum.

            Which is why I wonder why people use it. If you want to create a echo chamber, Facebook is right there. Tumblr is right there. Instagram, ello, google+,hell MySpace is right there.

            I can only imagine the little endorphin hit people get when they tweet is just to strong

          • It is not literally or legally comparable to yelling in a public forum. It’s controlled by a corporation, there are terms of services, there are places to report abuse. Twitter’s lawlessness is de facto, not de jure.

            That said, I also wonder why we use the social tools we do, but a key part of the explanation must be network effects. When I use Facebook, it’s certainly not because of any particular feature Facebook has, it’s because that’s where all of my family is. People are using Twitter because other people they want to talk to or hear from are using Twitter, even if other tools might have been better. Explaining why people use particular social networks is probably less a matter of individual psychology and more a matter of collective sociology and business strategy.

            That means that addressing the problems of a particular network–whether by cajoling the network’s owner into changing the network, or signalling to competitors that there is an opportunity to grab market share–requires collective effort. The first step to fixing a collective action problem is to publicly call attention to the problem.

          • Damion Schubert

            March 19, 2015 at 5:18 am

            I’m a relative newcomer to frequent Twitter usage, but I think that most people who use Twitter over other platforms are primarily addicted to the speed of feedback and input. If you go back to facebook after spending some time on twitter watching the GamerGate tag, the rate of updates is positively glacial.

        • Better question, how is any of that hurt by a blocklist?

          It may not be able to stop all the badness, but even reducing the scope of it and filtering out the lowest level but highest quantity level of spam should help make coping with Gators easier.

          • In theory, it could prevent or delay you from noticing if your dox gets posted by someone on the blocklist.

            But regardless, this in response to someone trying to claim that this issue is more serious than “twitter notifications” by listing worse forms of harassment – which a blocklist would do nothing to stop, meaning that yes, this really is about twitter notifications.

            Because if someone really has it out for you, they aren’t going to be deterred by having to spend 30 seconds creating a new Twitter account. Which they would be doing anyway if they had an ounce of sense and intended to do something that could get them arrested.

            And even their utility in filtering out “low level spam” is limited by the fact that lots, in fact likely the vast majority, of youtube comment level mud slinging on the internet comes from total nobodies, often teenagers with nothing better to do, who would slip below the radar of any politically targeted blocklist. For example: http://i.imgur.com/hZ1SITC.jpg

            And make no bones about it: these blocklists are politically targeted. Their creators go out of their way to include GGers and “anti-feminists,” but have ignored or even whitelisted notorious trolls like Teridax, the GNAA, and the BWC. To be clear, I have absolutely no problem with wanting to filter out political opinions you don’t like. It’s your internet, you can do whatever you want with it. But don’t expect me to buy it when you claim that doing so is a great step forward in the fight against internet harassment.

        • Damion Schubert

          March 19, 2015 at 4:46 am

          When you’re dogpiled by a GamerGate dogpile, the attacks are literally coming so fast that blocking them all manually is a tedious, time-consuming activity that is massively overwhelming. Randi’s block bot is very effective at slowing those messages to almost nothing. I speak from experience.

          Once the rate of overall dogpiling has slowed, it becomes fairly trivial to use traditional one-off blocks to get rid of people who are making sock puppets to get past the block bot. It could theoretically by bypassed by people en masse working together and coordinating with fresh accounts. These instances have been relatively rare.

          In short, the block bot is effective, and many users of it are willing to testify to that effect. No, it does not stop every possible attack angle, but it does stop one of the most common one that GamerGate employs, which is why GamerGate is so vociferous in attempting to stop it.

      • I live in a world where people can distiniguish real life and the internet.

        “Oh no someone said something mean on twitter. Their using a blockbot. Their downvoting me. Call the police. Alert the media”
        Hillarious

        • *They’re

          Hilarious.

        • If only everyone could distinguish between real life and the internet as well as you. Then we could understand which rape/death threats were fake and which ones were being issued by people who…aren’t quite as savvy in the ways and means of reality as you perhaps are. It’s not as if anyone would possible drive by anyone’s house or walk up to their place of work and then post pictures online with threatening tones or messages, right? It’s not as if anyone would call a university or a conference and threaten to kill people or bomb the building if a particular speaker were allowed to talk, right?

          Yeah, we should completely ignore those threats online, because as we know, it never actually materializes into action, right?

          That is, until it does. Then what? THEN we take it seriously? Why bother trying to get people to act civilly toward one another at all, online or otherwise, right? I mean, fuck manners and courtesy, right? Those threats aren’t really real, right? Just some internet trolls in it for the lulz, right? kekeke

          It’s not about “someone said something mean”. It’s about “someone just specifically threatened my children, by name, next to a picture of my house” or “20 people just emailed my boss at my job demanding I be fired because of something I wrote online” or “2,000 people just spammed my employer’s social media accounts over and over again demanding that I apologize for my personal opinion”. Not quite the same thing, but I can see how you might have trouble distinguishing the difference.

          Yeah, I know…not the same thing as reality, right? Until it is, of course. I’m sure you meant that.

          • John Henderson

            March 19, 2015 at 9:21 pm

            For an example: Jace Connors/@parkourdude91/deaglenation/Operation Wupocalypse. Totally fake, but freaked the hell out of his targets. Turns out it’s the guys from Million Dollar Extreme.

            http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/24/8099531/gamergate-jace-connors-threats-comedian-hoax

          • It’s pretty easy to distinguish real threats from fake ones. The real ones actually happen. So far, no one is in jail, hurt, whatever from the past few months.

            This idea that we love in constant paranoia over our twitter handle or Facebook profile is laughably dumb. It’s not like the internet was just created last year.

            You’re video proves my point. Who, in their right mind, would think that is a serious threat? A comedian trolled the internet because everyone is living in fear, not of their shadow, but their twitter feed. You would think that would call for some reflection.

          • John Henderson

            March 23, 2015 at 3:19 pm

            “It’s pretty easy to distinguish real threats from fake ones. The real ones actually happen.”

            Except, when they “happen,” they’re not merely threats anymore. And trolling isn’t justifiable if they’re actually threats of bodily harm. Most states have laws against terroristic threats for a reason. It’s criminal.

    • John Henderson

      March 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      Must be nice having that much contempt for other people and their peace of mind, or lack thereof.

      • People are mildily uncomfortable. Clearly this is the civil rights moment of our time. Right up there with passing anti-lynching laws

        • Obvious troll is obvious.

        • Damion Schubert

          March 19, 2015 at 4:49 am

          Fuck mildly uncomfortable. Go read about Kathy Sierra, and how dedicated trolls worked (and succeeded!) in driving her off the Internet and out of her high level job in Silicon Valley.

          Kathy was the one who pointed out that the trolls seem to materialize and try to go for the kill whenever notable feminists start to get an audience. Such as Anita. The attacks thrown at Anita also go way beyond ‘mildly uncomfortable’. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either trolling, or an idiot.

  3. Hey Damian,

    I disagree with you on quite a few things, but from all my understanding, the issue being pursued legally with the ggautoblocker, and the blockbot, isn’t that it blocks people. The main issue is that rather than say “Hey, here’s a tool to block these people I think are annoying on twitter.” It called them (specifically the blockbot) abusive bigots. Again, this was the issue with the EFF if I recall correctly, not the actual blocking of people.

    I honestly don’t care who someone blocks from their social media account, nor do I think there is inherently anything wrong with doing so, but I can see people wanting the language in question changed or removed. Who you allow to contact you, or who you contact on social media is purely your business.

    I’m also not sure how much in the spirit of anti-harassment it is to effectively call large groups of people who you disagree with sheeple and stalkers. In addition to that, people requesting to be taken off the block bot can and have been subject to having their request e-mails shared and mocked. Again, super anti-harassment right? Throwing the term bigot and stalker around about a group of people (most of whom don’t warrant it) could be construed as a form of harassment itself.

    “For starters, it turned the hashtag into even more of an echo chamber than it already was, for example, by increasing the % of your feed that was now wholly supportive of GamerGate. It made it impossible for casual observers to follow the feed at all, due to the massive number of retweets flooding out good content (I weeded out about 90% of the gators in my feed to get it back to readable again). The close-knitness of the community also resulted in vicious dogpiling attacks happening at astonishing speed.”

    On this note, those are certainly side effects, while I don’t think you are meaning to ascribe intent, it is almost implied. Additionally though, it gave people supportive of gamergate a quick and effective means to distribute information at a rapid pace, and find like minded folks they could talk to.

    • It called them (specifically the blockbot) abusive bigots.

      This is interesting to me as I hadn’t seen that at all – and it doesn’t seem to be within the code, or even within Randi’s (admittedly snarky) GitHub description. A quick Google search seems to show something similar originating from one of the many mouthpieces that seem only interested in attacking her than actually reporting facts. The worst thing I can find in the code is “get a list of idiots”, and the EFF make it perfectly clear that calling someone an idiot online does not (in their opinion) meet the criteria of a factual assertion.

      So where did this originate from, if not from these sources? I’m tempted to put it down as yet another case of Chinese Whispers within GG, where these things get misread, amplified, then spat out again.

      • I’m not finding the designation “abusive bigots” either. I’m willing to believe it’s there; please show.

    • Art art! [clap clap]

    • It called them (specifically the blockbot) abusive bigots. Again, this was the issue with the EFF if I recall correctly, not the actual blocking of people.

      If you really think that’s the issue, then you are being misled by somebody. Damion correctly identifies the real issues – that the tools are effective in stopping the dogpiling.

      Just look at Mark Kem’s own comments. He constantly whines about his “freedom of speech” being restricted by the blockers.

    • “It called them (specifically the blockbot) abusive bigots.”
      You know that’s not something you can win a lawsuit over in the USA, right? You guys really need to either quit the drugs, or buy better quality ones.

      • The Blockbot was made by someone in the UK, and UK libel laws are much, much more broad than the US. So much that laws were recently passed to cut down on “libel tourism” from foreigners becoming residents of the UK solely so they could sue someone for libel.

        Still, if the suit actually goes through, I’d take it more as a sign that the UK libel laws are in desperate need of reform.

        • Even if a suit on those grounds somehow succeeded, all they’d have to do is change the wording of the list. It wouldn’t dissolve the list.

          Meaning it would accomplish next to nothing.

        • I think Randi Harper (who made the blockbot) lives in the Bay Area, but Grimachu/Desborough is suing in the UK because that’s where he resides, and all material on the internet is “published in the UK.” (And also, of course, because it has much stricter libel laws than the US.)

    • Damion Schubert

      March 19, 2015 at 5:09 am

      The movement that uses Encyclopedia Dramatica in order to create references for utter bullshit falsehoods for their political movements accusing anyone else of slander or libel is fucking laughable. Also, every spam filter in existence uses user recommendations. The Blockbot includes a storify that allows players to view reasons and/or tweets that caused the suspension.

      Calling people names is one thing. Dogpiling them until Twitter is no longer a functional communications platform is quite another.

      As for OpSkyNet, I do think that the intent was to allow #gamergate to spring into action and act as a unified front at a superhuman pace. The net result, however, was dogpiling. Which many in the #gamergate movement think of as exercising their free speech to effect change. However, it’s dogpiling.

  4. EscapeVelocity

    March 18, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Free Speech is OVER!

  5. Mark Kern is an interesting fellow and I’ve had discussions with him that led to this exact thing. He put up a statement saying that Right to Reply was both a legal and personal choice for websites (When he said VG 24/7 were denying him his). I questioned this and he said some countries had adopted it legally and so had some sites (he cited the BBC). I told him he was operating on a technicality as Right to Reply is only legally binding in Brazil (where VG 24/7 most certainly is NOT) and only adopted by very few websites as a specific policy (and VG 24/7 do NOT have that policy). SO he was claiming his rights were being breached based on laws and policies that had no bearing on VG 24/7.

    Mark then opened his replies up to the horde (by cleverly using the . before them as he always does when losing an argument) and I then got countless people jumping into my mentions to insult and belittle me, claim I was wrong etc etc. While Mark never answered his incorrect assertions and stepped away while I fended off his goons. It’s his typical behaviour really, having watched him since then.

    I did ask him, on this matter, if he was going to put as much effort into defending the countless people that GG themselves have slandered and libelled (and Breitbart would be a great place to start) but he was oddly silent on the matter……..

    What a shock.

    • Damion Schubert

      March 19, 2015 at 5:10 am

      Right to reply is a legacy of when the media was a harshly limited resource. Mark Kern could have a voice that was far broader than VG 24/7 if he wanted to, but has opted instead to try to intimidate people into not writing bad stuff about him.

      The internet has no real history of right to reply, because column inches are infinite and the airwaves are virtually free.

      • Indeed, he could freely write a response of his own, or on any number of pro-GG sites and such. I believe Totalbiscuit even offered him the chance to go on his show – but when TB also said that he would be asking Mark about some of his, shall we say, dubious past with regards to getting ousted from his own company he decided not to go ahead.

        Mark merely seems to highlight and attack people and places that he knows are already disliked be his followers. I actually think that, more than anything, Mark just seems to really enjoy all the interactions, retweets and general fawning he gets from gamergate supporters in his twitter feeds. It’s as simple as that.

        Saw his response today. Which is laughable in itself as he claims you have made a lot of factual errors but then he simply doesn’t have the time to address them. Then he claims you were factually wrong about him targeting the GGautoblocker, but he actually only said he wasn’t targeting that after he tried to contact the EFF and Randi told him directly that they were involved with her blocker. Then he backed down and targeted the A+ blocker as it was based in the UK and he felt that was a softer target due too the fact our libel laws are different to the US. As for his claims that he doesn’t want the blockers taken down entirely:

        https://twitter.com/Grummz/status/577646080877268992

        Yet another rile, as he clearly advocates getting it taken down. Not to mention his interactions with Grimachu who tried to send a legal letter to Randi and failed spectacularly. He has since backed down as well claiming that he didn’t want to stand on the toes of people seeking a more amiable solution – ha ha ha, which translates as “I have NO legal footing to proceed and have been told as much, but to save face I will claim that other reasons prevent me from looking like a fool in court with a case I cannot win”. Grim also seems to claim some direct credit for the A+ blocker making slight changes, when I doubt he had any bearing at all.

        These guys just seem angry and delusional, so tilt at windmills to make themselves feel better – as by default they will be encouraged and supported by the GG horde no matter if they have zero credibility or legal standing.

        • Oh, and a third party contacted the UK ICO yesterday to ask if there were any Data Protection breaches as a result of the Block Bot on Twitter. He was told no – so another of Mark’s claims sputters and dies.

          See here: https://twitter.com/sugarandsplice/status/578125619680034816

          • He seems to have this idea that because I live in the UK the servers must be in the UK, or were there… Sorry Mark, I set @TheBlockBot’s servers up in AWS in the US, they’ve always been in AWS in the US. The UK Information Commissioner told me personally as well that I don’t need to register as a data controller, therefore the DPA does not apply!

  6. Last I saw, Kern was making not a free speech claim, but a privacy claim. Still absurd (“you are violating my privacy by telling others I may be annoying! “), but different…

  7. I have no problem for a blocklist being used by those whose hashtags have become unreadable due to others use of them. i.e GDC

    I also understand why the adherents of identity politics dont want to have to deal with a 1000 replies from people they don’t know opposing identity politics, the content of some of the tweets is not appropriate for some personalities, and the sheer volume can be intimidating.

    However Blockbot blocks Professor Richard Dawkins for the following reasons: “‘racist’, ‘gross’, ‘rapeapologist’, ‘childabuseapologism’, ‘transphobia’, ‘youradick’ ” which points me towards it being subverted as a political tool, and I’d be interested to hear your views on this.

    • Eh, there is exactly one reason I would find plausible for political block bots not becoming a thing in the future. Namely, that people are already so good at isolating themselves politically that there’s very little isolation from opposing view points that a block bot can add without also hitting targets the prospective user base might still want to hear from.

      After all, we’ve had partisan news papers for decades. Ever since the cable explosion, news channels have been picking out certain bits of political real estate for themselves. The internet is great at letting a person self select a suite of news sources that fit within their world view. It is becoming easier and easier to surround oneself with media that reflect ones own world view, and to never see media honestly reflecting the view points of politics that one disagrees with.

      Besides, to be brutally honest, “subverted as a political tool”? Everything is political. If someone is trying to sell you something they claim isn’t, then they’re trying to take advantage of you.

    • Oh yeah, no one thinks Richard is anything but perfect outside of the people adding to the block bot! Oh wait, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/richard-dawkins-sexist-atheists-bad-name

      In fact the TERFs you defend below would likely agree with him being added for his rape apology and all around crappyness when it comes to feminism and sociology in general.

  8. GamerGate Developer

    March 18, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    “tools that allow them to protect themselves.” What tools, explain

  9. I think xkcd summarized the issue well.

    http://xkcd.com/1357/

  10. Great post, but I think this goes to show why we shouldn’t broaden the use of the word ‘troll’ to mean harassment and general trouble making. Advice like “don’t feed the trolls” only makes sense when ‘troll’ is narrowly defined as someone making inflammatory arguments just to get people angry at them. A troll seeks negative attention from their target. But that doesn’t seem to be how the current wave of harassment works at all–the goal usually seems to be a combination of silencing the target or impressing fellow trouble-makers.

    Clearly, dogpiling doesn’t fit the old model of trolling at all. A good heuristic for a successful troll is the ratio of their typing to to how much their baited targets type in response. Dog pilers collectively (and sometimes individually!) type much, much more than their target. A troll wants their target to talk more, a dog piler wants their target to talk less. To the extent that attention-seeking is involved at all, positive attention from fellow dogpilers is sufficient to sustain it.

    • “A troll wants their target to talk more, a dog piler wants their target to talk less.” – This is an excellent distinction. I think you’ve made a very important point. We must not categorize harassment and threats that are meant to silence a person as trolling. They are two very different things.

      If you’re out fishing and not getting any bites, you will move on to a new spot. (Don’t feed the trolls.) If you’re trying to beat someone into submission and still see signs of resistance, you’re only going to hit harder. (Uh… don’t feed the trolls?)

    • John Henderson

      March 18, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Gaming invented trolling. But there was a phenomenon that well predates trolling and the Internet in general — people who couldn’t appreciate anyone else’s business without making it their own, even if they didn’t have a stake in the means or outcome, and didn’t really care except for the sake of someone else caring about that business.

      That phenomenon got us busybodies and gossips.

      Not everyone in GG is a troll. But there sure are a lot of busybodies and gossips. Contemptuous people breed more contempt, to the point where no one wants to take anything anyone has to say at face value, and all is chaos and noise.

      It can be avoided, though.

    • Posts like these make me wish upvotes or likes existed here.

  11. The blockbot blocks very few actual harassers. Calling it an anti-harassment tool will never not seem silly to me. AyyTeam isn’t even on there. GNAA isn’t either. Hell, Teridax, who encouraged death threats multiple times, was whitelisted. The tool has nothing whatsoever to do with harassment.

    The tool’s only use is to shut down discussion. Whether it’s a discussion you’re interested in having or not, that IS what censorship is; limiting exposure to competing ideas to prejudicially benefit those which aren’t limited.

    • John Henderson

      March 18, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      Do you think Twitter should be a means by which anyone should be enabled to communicate with everyone, without moderation?

      Your definition of censorship is flawed. Censorship isn’t about discussion at all. It’s about silencing individuals before their speech can be heard by anyone else. If someone else chooses to restrict the speech they read from others, even by means of an imperfect tool, that is not censorship. That is a choice of imperfect moderation over chaos and noise.

      • The point that I find interesting is more
        why is a known harasser, who offered a monetary reward if people sent death and rape threats
        being whitelisted while accounts which have never done anything negative are being labeled negatively?
        The only arbiter, in this case, doesn’t seem much more trustworthy than the GG crowd, to be honest.
        Can someone make a blocker that actually identifies harassers?

        • John Henderson

          March 18, 2015 at 8:15 pm

          Sounds like the tool is imperfect. You should totally block that guy. He sounds like a jerk.

        • Damion Schubert

          March 19, 2015 at 5:19 am

          People are working on improving these bots. However, bots that are 80% effective are better than bots that are 0% effective.

          • An alleged anti-harassment tool that deliberately ignores some of the most prolific internet trolls and harassers known to currently exist is “imperfect”? What would it take for you to declare it a failure?

            I repeat, it’s not that the bot missed Teridax by accident. It caught him, he sent in an appeal, and Randi whitelisted him. Teridax, if you don’t recall, is a guy who once Tweeted an offer to pay money to people who send death threats to Zoe Quinn, and was spotted on a GNAA chat log discussing their efforts to troll both sides: http://theralphretort.com/wp-content/uploads/1413928823975-1.png He’s been suspended with the help of the GG Harassment Patrol more than 10 times.

            An anti-harassment tool that deliberately and specifically lets that guy through (sure blocking him would a token gesture given that he’s surely no stranger to sockpuppeting, but at least it would be something) isn’t worthy of being called an anti-harassment tool.

            And I honestly have no problem with people creating a tools to block people with particular political affiliations (and I think the libel suit is a silly overreaction). Plenty of people don’t like engaging in political arguments, especially on Twitter which like David Auerbach says is like trying to conduct a cocktail party where everyone has a megaphone. But don’t tell me that your blockbot blocks harassers and expect me to believe it when anyone can look at the list and see that it only contains Democrats, or Tea Partiers, or feminists, or Evangelical Christians, or whatever.

          • Note the irony in that some GG are complaining that the blocklist is defaming them as harassers, while other people, like you, are complaining that it fails to block non-GG harassers. This irony is not in two groups of people believing different things, but that each group disproves the claim of the other–it’s not defaming them all as harassers (although a great many of them are) because it’s not blocking all harassers, and it shouldn’t block all harassers because it’s not intended to.

            Yes, it’s true, Good Game Auto Blocker was written for use in filtering out the majority of GamerGate supporters. You don’t need a conspiracy theory to prove that, it says right here “In this particular case, the tool was written for use in filtering out the majority of GamerGate supporters.” http://blog.randi.io/good-game-auto-blocker/ You could use the code to build your own blocklist if another mob with a social structure similar to GG was harassing you, but the explicit purpose of Harper’s list is to block most GG.

            What you don’t get is that if someone happens to be the target of particular political faction, then from their perspective a politically targetted block list simply is an anti-harassment tool. It won’t work against all harassment, but it will work for relieving some of the particular harassment that some particular people face.

            It’s not even clear that a globalized harassment blocklist that blocked anyone who had ever participated in dogpiling broadly defined would necessarily be a good idea. It would certainly be much worse for GG–as it is, GG auto blocker offers people who have already been hounded by GG some respite, but if it were a generalized anti-harassment block list, a lot of people would start using it even if they had never heard of GG in the first place! Be careful what you wish for.

    • Did you try to follow GDC without the block tool this year?

      Nobody from GamerGate has ever tweeted at me, I’ve never been a part of any discussion. But I had to install the blocklist purely as a passive observer simply to make it possible for me to follow the GDC discussion this year.

    • You have a foundational definitional problem with your argument here, Greg. It is not “censorship” to actively choose not to engage in a debate. That is all the blocklist does — anyone who signs up for it is affirmatively stating their choice to reject what Gamergate has to say and declining to engage in a fruitless “discussion” with an endless series of sea-lion trolls. It is called “freedom of speech,” not “freedom of being heard” for a reason. The blocklist does nothing to stop you or anyone else from speaking. You have no right to be heard.

    • um, if I shut my eyes am I censoring this webpage?

      If I buy a sheet of paper to put in front of the screen, is the paper company censoring this webpage?

    • Another way to look at it: censorship implies both that I’m not allowed to say something, AND that you’re not allowed to say something. If you have the option of turning the filter off, and the only consequence to turning the filter off is that you have to receive everything that was previously filtered (as opposed to the App Store where “turn the filter off” means “buy an Android phone instead”) it’s not censorship.

      The xkcd definition of censorship is too narrow–if Facebook decided to block all GOP posts, most of us would call that censorship even if the First Amendment wasn’t involved. But I don’t see how you can define censorship so broadly that it includes ggautoblocker but doesn’t include spam filters or even just just me changing the channel on my own tv.

      • “censorship implies both that I’m not allowed to say something, AND that you’re not allowed to say something”

        Ugh, that’s a horrible typo. The second “say” should be “hear”–I was trying to say that censorship must simultaneously restrict speakers AND listeners. It’s not censorship if I choose not to speak or or not to listen.

        Sorry, this pair of posts I just made is really confusing. 🙁

    • It’s an empirical fact that the blockbot blocks a torrent of abuse, insults, libelous statements, and unsolicited personal attacks. Keep in mind that this empirical fact can easily be demonstrated in real-time to a judge if it somehow came to that.

      Private parties opting-in to a filter that blocks out unsolicited communications isn’t anywhere in the same galaxy as censorship. The entire global Internet would literally break down overnight without the ability to filter lists of communications found to be abusive.

    • Damion Schubert

      March 19, 2015 at 5:14 am

      The people who install the blockbot and use it beg to differ. It effectively cuts down harassment related to gamergate down to a minimal amount that can easily be handled with the standard ignore features of Twitter. So yeah, your entire point is invalid.

  12. Is there a benefit to twitter using a ‘block’ system rather than ‘ignore’ — when I block spam, I don’t care if the spammer knows the message was blocked, I just want it out of inbox so I can use email productively. But people seem to take offense at being blocked and it ends up escalating tensions. I’d much rather just silently ignore people like my spam filter.

    • John Henderson

      March 18, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Limitation of Twitter functionality, and also a desire on the part of the blocker creators to keep the blocked list public, ostensibly so people can appeal if they care to.

    • Part of blocking someone is that they CAN’T read your Twitter timeline. So they can’t, say, link a tweet of yours to their timeline and incite people who aren’t blocked.

      • Unless they log out, read the Tweet (assuming the account isn’t set to private), take a screenshot, and log back in to post it. Or just open another browser and not bother to log in on that one. So this functionality basically works on the honor system.

        • Damion Schubert

          March 19, 2015 at 5:15 am

          Adding friction to harassment is typically hugely effective at blocking huge masses of harassment.

      • But practically speaking, being ‘blocked’ seems to incite people. I use the blocklist and I’d rather just silently ignore the noise of GamerGate.

        • John Henderson

          March 19, 2015 at 5:37 am

          It’s a waste of time to infer the conviction of people who are behaving like trolls, busybodies and gossips. With few exceptions, those who end up on block lists are there for a deserved reason. You’re not wrong, but any sort of attention that isn’t enabling is going to potentially “incite” such people. It might be possible for someone who gets blocked to get introspective, but given how many times I’m reading about how blockers are imperfect because there are both people who deserve blocking but aren’t *and* those who supposedly don’t deserve to be on the list, makes me think introspection isn’t a priority.

          Noise and chaos are the priority, therefore blockbots are overall good.

    • Dogpiling tends to lead to more serious harassment (because dogpiling paints targets on people, and guarantees an audience to whoever is willing to be most transgressive in going after the target.) Blocking takes some of the fun out dogpiling. Simply ignoring the mob, while it might be just as good for your immediate sanity as blocking, could mean the mob is still out there riling itself up against you.

      It’s worth noting that although mobbing and dog piling are by no means isolated to GG, GG mobbing tends to be coordinated in ways that make it uniquely vulnerable to blocking as a counter-measure. They organize around a very persistent hashtag, and they tried to follow each other as much as possible as a strategy to game the system. Thus it’s easy for form blocklists. Their modus operandi is to send angry messages to targets who might possibly be receiving them, and competing with each as to who can send the angriest, most annoying messages. This makes blocking uniquely effective at sucking the fun out of the process.

  13. Read two article from this guy and neither were factually accurate or actually provided the truth.

    No wonder someone like Chris Kluwe, who either lied about statutory rape claims or is covering them up supports this writer.

  14. So the lords want to silence the peasants rebelious so they declare peasants dangerous subversives. This has all been done before and it’s quite the opposite of social justice. To declare the cause of protecting your mentions the civil rights movement of our day is the height of arrogance. We the people deserve better from you and those in the press who’ve lost sight of their obligations to the public.

    Look to history. We are not sheep. We are not yours to control. Respect us or we will fight you to the end. That’s how we came to be free people in the first place.

    • True.

      One of the root causes of the American Revolution was when someone who wasn’t in the English government gave us the option to not have to read newspapers that we didn’t want to read, or read the ones that we did want to read if we felt like it.

      Sometimes I switch over to my unfiltered account just to see if the people on the blocklist are still being abusive, bigots spreading bizarre and defamatory conspiracy theories about people they don’t like and the answer is always “Yup”.

    • John Henderson

      March 18, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Who is “We”? Who are “you”?

    • Peasants. lol

      It doesn’t stop being funny. It really doesn’t.

    • What was that meme you lot were so fond of only a few months ago?
      Oh, right:
      RESPECT IS EARN, NOT SHRILLY DEMANDED

    • You are free to shout whatever nonsense you want in the streets.

      just as I am free to close my window and turn on some music and not pay attention to your delusional ass.

    • I love it when GGers decide to get dramatic. They always whip out these speeches like they’re in the last act of an epic movie. “TODAY! IS OUR! INDEPENDENCE DAY! FREEEEEEEEDOM!”

      Fuckin’ idiots.

  15. I, personally, am horribly offended that Mark Kern is censoring me by not following my twitter feed. His refusal to follow me is censorship of the worst sort: The kind that’s against ME PERSONALLY.

  16. > Send a message to the appeals board and have them look at your posting history?

    You sir, are literally, stupider than a hunk of shit and more cowardly as well.

  17. At the start of Mr. Kern’s debut to the public sphere of discussion, I engaged in two discussions with him that I then made public (with his understanding going in that our conversations would not be private; he was “on the record” when speaking to me). I was immediately taken in by a portrait of a man unable to muster a proper response to the affairs he believed were occurring.

    Examples of this are many: when asked if my need to call the police was because of bad press towards gamers or because gamers were in the process of attempting to dox me, he spewed conspiracy theories about Brianna Wu and chemical weapons. When asked why, if he had so many issues with Ben Kuchera, he had not attempted to privately contact Ben (something which Mark confirmed; he had not tried to contact Ben), Mark answered that his petition was his means of contact and that he was owed a right of reply on various websites. I pointed out that he had plenty of venues to write his thoughts, from personal blogs to GamerGate sympathetic enthusiast sites. Mark again did not have a reply.

    The only time there was progress with Mark was when we discussed what an “ethical press” might entail and we both agreed that disclosure regarding gifts/travel costs/et cetera from publishers was something we’d like to see. Pressed further, he could not tell me what else was necessary. Indeed, he seemed more concerned if Anita Sarkeesian was really a “gamer” or why people weren’t paying more attention to his petition.

    Having dealt with GG and seen peers publicly attacked under the auspices of the hashtag, I did what I could to explain that the issue was not merely bad press but bad behaviors. The press, in my estimation, has not overstated the harm of GamerGate. In fact, the press has been milquetoast for the last few months while plenty of people still deal with the hoard. Mark maintained neutrality, a dangerous position that implies GG has a point worth considering that hasn’t been irrevocably tainted by their actions and then…..proceeded to speak with individuals like Slade Villena and go on to encourage people to flood the GDC 15 tag.

    It is no understatement for me to say that in speaking to Mr. Kern and observing his behaviors, I have encountered the more ridiculous person of my life thus far. Bereft of self awareness, enraptured by what meager cult of personality that he’s built up, and disingenuous to the point of either being deliberately obtuse or, worse, genuinely *that* lacking in common sense.

    I gave him more time than he was worth and all I got in return was the portrait of a bizarre, terrifyingly supercilious man who wouldn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. A snake oil salesman who didn’t even know the poison he was slinging. A dangerous fool with no proper reply to any criticism he faced. A perfect fit for GamerGate’s brand of self adulation.

  18. Because manually blocking people is too much to ask for, right? No, instead of that, let’s go for overzealous arbitrary calls on people deemed unfit for SJ consumption. Of course it’s not hindering free speech, no! It only labels anyone who happens to reside on it an MRA, a bigot, harasser, rape apologist, etc etc, essentially discrediting their “free speech” and their integrity altogether. Why? Oh, someone followed the wrong people! And people still pretend the blockbot doesn’t carry heavy connotations.
    People using the blockbot are essentially just avoiding the issue, not remediating it. What they rather ought to do is,. report threats and abuse to the competent authorities.
    “But the police does nothing, the FBI is full of machos, authority is riddled with MRAs, noone EVER does anything to save this snowflake from trolls! So we HAVE to help this poor soul, guide him/her/it to the light, shield it from critical thinking. Because, as seen in Russia, criticism is so problematic.
    So we shall praise our mighty overlords/ladies/leeple, and ignore the fact that they repeatedly do the ‘evil’ things (which, by the standards applied to our ‘enemies’, would instantly get them onto the blocklist)! Their ‘evil’ is necessary, because the ends justify the means!”

    My oh my. So much fun to be had with you guys.

    • By what authority do you presume to dictate to me the technological means by which I may or may not select the voices I am interested in listening to and which voices I have no interest in?

    • ” So we HAVE to help this poor soul, guide him/her/it to the light, shield it from critical thinking. Because, as seen in Russia, criticism is so problematic.”

      The funny part is that this is exactly what GGers think. They can’t stand criticism of their words and actions. They can’t handle socially minded critique of their precious games.

    • “People using the blockbot are essentially just avoiding the issue, not remediating it.”

      Yes, exactly. They don’t *care* about your “issue”. They don’t *want* to “remediate it” (whatever that entails.) You don’t like their work, don’t read it. Cause they sure as hell don’t want to read yours.

  19. You seem to have missed the point of the libel thing, it was about how the site had identified anyone on the blockbot as (iirc) abusers and bigots. The UK has pretty stupid laws on libel so there’s a non-zero chance they have a point (though I peg it as quite small). Blockbots are for maintaining ideological bubbles but I don’t see any issues beyond a personal flaw.

    That being said:
    “fighting harassment and abuse on the Internet quickly becomes one of the defining civil rights movements of our time”

    lmao get off the internet for 5 minutes if a bunch of anime avatars are yelling at you, jesus, that goes for anyone involved in this stupid GG affair. You can come back. Better yet, don’t respond to them and just look at the section on Twitter to see if someone you actually care about notified you. None of this is an issue on par with anything pertaining to civil rights and it is absolutely hilarious that anyone could be so deep into this that they could write the above sentence about a blockbot.

    • Damion Schubert

      March 19, 2015 at 5:27 am

      I didn’t miss the point of the libel thing. It’s a weak case in the UK at best, and is wholly unenforcable in the US due to the SPEECH act. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPEECH_Act I have yet to see someone provide a coherent reason why this lawsuit isn’t more coherent than a fart in the wind.

      As for the rest: get a fucking clue. Being able to write and share ideas on the Internet is increasingly a vital part of being part of the 21st century economy. The ability to share and collaborate on the Internet unlocks major doors in terms of research, access, cooperation, innovation, and career advancement. People who have the ability to write and share ideas on the internet without fear have a huge advantage over those who have been chased off by trolls.

      The internet is bigger than Gaming. The Internet is how the world communicates now, and limiting those who get to take part to the subset who have thick enough skin to put up with death threats, rape threats, and threats against their family is doing a disservice not only to these thinkers and innovators, it’s also doing a disservice to humankind.

  20. Blockbot is being used by its creators to block feminists and lesbians they dont like. It has gone beyond its original remit

    This is problematic. I dont believe anyone here supports silencing feminists and activists and others who would naturally oppose gamergate yet that is exactly what is happening.

    • Ive been thinking, linking to Ms Brownworth directly brings her unfairly into an argument she doesnt know shes involved in, and i dont think she would want to be used to support gamergates argument

      please delete (although if this is interesting to you Damion, please write it up yourself)

      • Damion Schubert

        March 19, 2015 at 4:49 pm

        I do find it interesting. Because of this comment, I have removed the links from your earlier response.

        • UriahOlathaire

          March 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm

          I didn’t want to mention Ms Brownworths name*, as this is a schism between 2 separate feminist schools of thought and clearly not GG related, but oh well, all out now.

          Johns suggestion to use Ms Harpers bot is a perfectly acceptable solution. Blockbot contains baggage from a previous identity politics flame war from Atheism+ i believe. The comments on Dawkins make sense. I think I mixed it up with Ms Harpers bot.

          There is so much cross-factional infighting from the identity politics devotees , it does get confusing!

          *er Jenson is some random name i made up for the comments form, i forgot i’d already posted here.

    • Name one feminist or lesbian blocked because people “don’t like them”, rather than their raging transphobia. Any of the community of 20-30 blockers (not me as I’m just the techy) can veto an addition to @TheBlockBot. I’m sure they’ll want to know who has been added for this seemingly petty reason…

  21. It is now apparent that Blockbot is being used to block numerous feminist and lesbian activists who the blockbot owners/creators do not personally like.

    I did link this directly in a post I asked Damion not to approve as it unfairly linked directly to the activists in question (who wont want a bunch of crowing gators “supporting” them) but he can confirm this is happening. The activist is stating up to 1000 women being blocked, and it is not the case they are all gators/sockpuppers/notyourshield.

    Is everyone comfortable with blocking feminist and lesbian activists? Does anyone find it problematic that this is a tool used both to protect abuse on some subjects, but a tool for abuse on other subjects?

    I would say large scale automated solutions are not solutions if they arent working as intended, or as advertised, or if they are being used to silence and libel feminist activists.

    • John Henderson

      March 19, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      You could use Randi Harper’s tool instead! Read all the feminists!

    • If it blocks most/all of the GG-flood, then it’s working as advertised. It’s really quite clear about how it works, and it accomplishes what it claims. (It does not, however, do what the IGDA thought it did.)

      Yes, there are a large number of false-positives. Yes, some of them are not part of the sea-lioning; they’re merely those who match a fairly simple profile of what the sealions look like. (All elephants are grey; not everything grey is an elephant.) But it’s mostly okay, because people in general don’t turn it on unless they need it. All GG has to do is stop people from needing to block them out.

      Unlike what some people believe, though, it doesn’t try to block individually harassing messages or people; it is not meant to stop harassment in general, but just GG-related outrage-flood TDOS attacks. False positives are much better than false negatives, for that purpose.

    • That is a blatant lie, the “lesbian feminist activists” you talk about are trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs). Who are extremely abusive towards trans people, especially women. (http://theterfs.com/) … As for them being “libelled” and “defamed”, ha, the storify for @VABVOX, who was making this claim, doesn’t even feature on Google results for her name or nym at all. However on the first page of google results this comes up … http://www.transadvocate.com/for-the-last-time-victoria-brownworth-is-not-a-transphobe_n_9841.htm

      Seems rather more “defamatory” than a Storify stored by @TheBlockBot that only links to her and others public tweets. Shame that the truth is an absolute defence against claims of defamation though!

      Also would like to know where you get your “1000 women” being blocked from? I run the servers for @TheBlockBot (Not the service itself) and there have been 100-200 TERFs added at most.

      • UriahOlathaire

        March 19, 2015 at 5:36 pm

        Yes I know about TERFs, and No Platforming and the internal schism between various schools of thought.

        I also know about the 5000 abusive tweets and death threats sent in 72 hours to Peter Tatchell and the co-signatories who published the letter objecting to No Platforming in the Observer.

        I guess someone will need create a bot to protect the activists of the 70s and 80s from you guys.

          • Utter rubbish, it was pointed out there was one person who tweeted they’d hope to tweet about Peter T’s death and that was it. This person was not a “trans activist” as far as anyone could make out and no one condoned what they said. Check the stories about this torrent of abuse, they all reference that one tweet. Rest was people astonished at him supporting a letter with an obvious ulterior motive and criticising him. I’m sure it ended up as a pileon his end which is not at all pleasant. But it is an outright lie to claim people threatened him, let alone that he got “5000” abusive messages, also reported by him as “2000”… But when counted on Twitter it came out as a lot less people criticising him.

            For example, he claimed block bot blocker and trans activist @auntysarah (Now stepped down due to the harassment she has received, including having to get the police to issue a harassment warning against a GamerGate’r) – sent him “abusive” tweets… Well it is all public record. You decide ..
            https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=from%3Aauntysarah%20to%3Apetertatchell&src=typd

        • John Henderson

          March 19, 2015 at 8:27 pm

          Sounds like a political issue that Twitter will absolutely not solve. I wish those groups well, and hope they can resolve their issues, though they appear to run very deep.

  22. Ashamed of You

    March 19, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    You know, the major problem with this argument is that Damion is supporting a very small group of people which is primarily made up of white guys. He is no protecting anyone but a small group of friends who are abusing the industry to make tons of money at the expense of MINORITIES, WOMEN, and MANY game developers who LOSE opportunities to make it in the industry because they are MISLEAD by groups like the IGDA and the IGF into thinking they even had a chance, when in reality the Phil Fishes of the industry get awards,

    Welcome to the reality, Damion Schubert. You are being used, and you have painted yourself into a corner where you cannot come out and say it without making yourself look like an idiot, and it shows.

    • The major problem with your group’s argument is that literally nobody believes your claims and that your group’s most notable actions have been vicious, abusive and unrelenting harassment targeting a couple female indie developers, a female media critic and those who have spoken or acted in support of those women.

      In reality, it’s Gamergate that’s painted itself into a corner, unable to present anything resembling a coherent argument, much less a coherent platform for change. As Damion pointed out back at the beginning, a “movement” comprised of anonymous denizens of the Internet’s ugliest and least-respectable corners is not destined to develop beyond mindless trolling and nonsensical abuse.

      • You don't know jack

        March 22, 2015 at 12:36 am

        “nobody believes your claims”

        Some do some don’t if no one did we wouldn’t people using the #gamergate hashtag or anyone using the subreddit. Notable actions… again is decided by the media. The media which constantly get things wrong or believe convienent theories to discredit the other side of politics. Both left wing and right wing media do this. How are we meant to decide what is happening or not when the media benefits from the narrative that describes a group of people who disagree with them as misogynists with very little evidence and without a chance for people to reply. No one checks the validity of claims for average level stories in terms of controversy.

        If you think your side of the debate has presented reasonable arguments well i am going to have to disagree. We had early on cherry picked out of context irc logs presented as fact. The raw logs paint a different picture. We had accusations of #notyourshield being all sock puppets and actually are all cis white men. When the motiviation was precisely women and minorities being told they are white cis male and thus their arguments are not valid and it was all misogyny and racism.

        I could go on and on pointing out how the official narrative goes against the evidence when viewed in full and how utterly absurd it is. GG is bad because its conspiracy theorists and to explain what is really happeneing here is a vast conspiracy about 4chan irc trolls harassment etc. Its hard to argue with people about the validity of claims when there are so many lies about what is happening that people beleive. If you are hated because of a lie and every attempt to disprove that lie basically confirms every suspicion because they refuse to see the evidence in a unbiased way it causes frustration and anger. The media’s presentation of how things are is so absurd its silly.

        The reality is though is that this sort of mass delusion perpetuated by the media has happened before. Small exaggerations or misunderstandings that explode in to some great injustices. Look up satanic ritual rape abuse. Dungeons and dragons being labeled as promoting witch craft. How you see things is very easily manipulated. The small picture is to take media reports as gospel.

        • tl;dr.

          The number of people using the subreddit or hashtag, at this point, is probably measured in the low four digits, if even that. That’s close enough to “nobody” to be a rounding error. The number of tweets using the hashtag dipped below 15,000 yesterday, per Topsy. Yes, there’s a devoted core seemingly spending their whole lives endlessly repeating the same debunked nonsense, but nobody else is listening to them. The “movement” has devolved into “investigating” Peter Coffin’s marriage license and claiming that users who block annoying people on Twitter are guilty of “censorship.” If you think those “issues” are going to win you any sort of broader Internet fame or public support, you’re delusional.

  23. Hey, Damion. Don’t know if you read these, but just in case you do, I have a question for you.

    I read your piece re: Brad Wardell. Brad’s story is really the thing that got me “caring” about any of this. He apparently had enough documentation that he convinced you that, at least, HE was right, even if you didn’t agree with his ultimate siding with GamerGate.

    My question is this: You see the narrative still repeated that Brad is an absolute monster. You know, first hand, that this is not true, and have yourself seen the evidence that shows it is not true. Does this not at least *crack* some of the rhetoric? Give you *any* pause before simply saying “YES” to what else is said?

    I understand that people get invested. But when you get so invested that you become a zealot, don’t you think that’s a bad thing? The thing we learn in law school isn’t the law, but how to be able to maintain rationality and neutrality in any debate.

    I’d be more than happy emailing you if you’d rather, or tweeting, or however you’d want to chat, if you’d rather not talk here.

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