On being harassed: a little GF history and some current events

Trigger warning for discussion of and graphic examples of threatening online harassment.

The other day Mary posted Online harassment as a daily hazard, linking to s.e. smith’s On blogging, threats, and silence. I thought I might take the opportunity to talk about my experiences since starting the Geek Feminism blog in 2009, if only as another example to add to the long list we already have.

In early 2009 I wrote a series of blog posts on my personal blog, celebrating the achievements of Dreamwidth and the Organization for Transformative Works’ Archive Of Our Own (AO3), two open source projects that launched into beta around that time, and that had large, majority-female developer communities. Someone at O’Reilly saw them, and in May ’09 I got an email from the organisers of the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) asking if I’d like to give a keynote presentation about the subject.

At first I declined, asking whether, instead, they could find me a regular slot in the schedule. I wanted to talk about the projects and about what we could learn from them with regard to building inclusive, supportive developer communities, but I was uncomfortable with the degree of exposure I was likely to get by doing so in one of the morning keynote slots.

(I remember talking to my boss about it at work the next day, telling him I was flattered but didn’t much relish the negative attention it would get me. He was surprised, and didn’t get it. Later, he would admit that he’d read the ensuing comment threads around the web and was stunned not only by the content of them, but that such responses were expected.)

Anyway, at the end of May I went off to WisCon and talked to a bunch of supportive, inspiring feminists, and when I came back I agreed to give the OSCON keynote. I spent the next two months trying to figure out how to talk about the experiences of women in open source while keeping the message positive — something O’Reilly’s conference organisers had specifically requested.

Here’s the talk I gave. Don’t read the comments. Well, not unless you really need to raise your blood pressure. There were another 250 comments on the O’Reilly Radar post about my talk, and yet more on other tech blogs that linked to it. When I got back to work the week after OSCON, my boss had read them all and said, “Wow, I had no idea.”

What you’ll see there, if you brave the comment threads, are lots of attempts at derailing and 101 style conversations. For the most part, I deleted the particularly vile stuff, but you can bet there was some. After dealing with those comment threads, and those on subsequent related blog posts, I decided to create the GF blog. I wanted a group blog where, when I was exhausted by it all, I could get help from my co-bloggers.

Over the following six months, as my OSCON talk was linked all over the place, and as GF took off, I started to get more nasty email. In September of that year, GF became the target of a guy who goes by the name of MikeeUSA, who had previously targetted the Debian Women and LinuxChix communities. He started commenting here on GF, and sending email to GF bloggers, commenters, and people who linked to GF from their own blogs.

The women of the “geek feminism” movement will be just as effective at excising men from the movement as Nina was at systematically destroying Hans Reiser’s life untill he saw no reason, nothing left in his life, that could hold him back from striking back.

(Nina Reiser was murdered by her husband in 2006; see yatima’s post in memory of her.)

We deleted his comments here, of course. At first we did so quietly, not wanting to “feed the troll” But I was dubious of that traditional wisdom, and worried about other people getting messages from him and perhaps being less able to deal with it. I decided to write publicly about MikeeUSA so that everyone would know what was happening. In October ’09 I posted PSA: MikeeUSA’s hate speech and harassment.

As I was drafting that post — literally, I had the WordPress UI open in another tab — I got an email from a young woman in the open source community saying, “I just got a comment on my blog from this death-to-women’s-rights guy, and I’m not sure what to do about it.” I forwarded her a copy of my draft post, which included the following tips (summarised, but I do suggest you read the full post):

  • Moderate comments on your blog. Your blog is your space, and like your own living room or workplace, you have the right and the responsibility to make it a safe environment for those who gather there.
  • Save copies of all correspondence. Keep a copy of any blog comments, emails, or other correspondence you get from [anyone] who threatens or harasses you. Even if it starts out mild, it never hurts to have a paper trail.
  • Report threats to law enforcement. Threats of violence are illegal, and should be reported to law enforcement. Your first step is to contact your local police, wherever you are. You can call 911 (or local equivalent), or visit your local police station in person.

I would probably write that final point differently these days. Less prescriptively, for starters. Law enforcement is seldom willing or able to do anything about online harassment, and the process of dealing with them can, in itself, be pretty traumatic. That said, if you’re willing and able to do so, it might help, if only by contributing to aggregate data.

In any case, once we had the MikeeUSA thing out in the open, it changed the whole tone of things. The PSA got passed around various women-in-tech communities, and the GF wiki and blog became the top Google hits for his name. Soon, I started seeing him show up in people’s comments and get responses like, “Woohoo, I must have made it to the big time now Mikee’s come to visit!” Rather than each individual woman feeling singled out and alone, privately deleting blog comments or email messages, we started to work on it together. We encouraged people to send copies of their emails to a central repository, and forwarded them all to the feds (who, of course, did nothing with them — *sigh*). Eventually, the whole thing came to a head with Eric S. Raymond supporting MikeeUSA and his “right” to have his hate speech hosted on Sourceforge.net, and, after a weekend’s hacking, this lulzy, pony-filled denouement.

What you don’t see from the blog posts are the effect this had on people’s mental and physical health. I can’t speak for the other women targetted by Mikee, but I know that it affected my ability to concentrate, sleep, work, and socialise. Apologies for the TMI, but my gastro-intestinal system is also fairly sensitive to stress, so I was physically ill as well. I took several days of sick leave and went to the beach for an extended weekend, completely offline, to try and regain some equilibrium.

So far so bad, but I was at least managing to muddle through my day to day work as a technical community manager at a dotcom startup. That is, until I got a second particularly nasty stalker. This one, a Wikipedia troll, had found his way to my employer’s online database and tried to fill it with rubbish. As part of my job, I’d removed it and blocked his account, then mentioned on our public mailing list that I’d done so. The troll was annoyed, and presumably Googled my name, whereupon he found my OSCON talk.

The first I knew about this was when I got an email from a well known technologist asking whether I had any idea why a post on his blog, linking to my OSCON talk, had suddenly attracted a dozen commenters all posting abuse directed at me. I checked it out, and found comments on my professionalism, appearance, fuckability, and so forth. “Fat dyke slut” was pretty typical of the sort of language used, along with criticisms of my work and calls for me to be fired from my job. The IPs matched the guy I’d blocked at work.

The comments also linked to other blogs where similar abuse had been posted. I followed the links and found that it was spread all around the web, and all of it was on third-party sites where I had no control over the comment moderation. I had to contact each of these websites individually and ask them to remove the comments. Luckily most of them did so.

Because this was work-related, I also had to tell my boss. I was, after all, being harassed in relation to something I had done in the course of my professional duties, and my company had a responsibility to prevent that. I also informed the rest of my team, as they were likely to catch some of the side-splatter. Have you ever had to show your male colleagues a webpage that calls you a fat dyke slut? I don’t recommend it. However, my boss — the same one who’d been surprised by the comments straight after the OSCON talk — was extremely supportive, and the company did everything it should have. I spoke to lawyers and we determined a plan of action if the abuse continued. Fortunately, it didn’t. However, the negative side-effects of my “hobby” — feminist blogging — had now followed me to the office, and I could no longer keep the two separate. My chances of being able to relax and do my work without worrying about that stuff had gone out the window.

Not long after, another harasser was causing trouble for the Dreamwidth developer community (which, as I mentioned above, is predominantly female). Among other creepy behaviour, he phoned various people’s workplaces and accused them of distributing child pornography. I had to go to our office manager and tell him that if anyone called claiming to be a minister of religion and accusing me of that sort of thing, to ignore it. Awkward.

That was about nine months after my OSCON talk, and I’d had three separate cases where abuse related to it had negatively affected my professional life. Other women have talked about cutting back on their blogging out of concern for their personal safety, or to protect their children, but I wonder how many other female bloggers have had work-related problems like I did, and cut back on their blogging to avoid having abuse and harassment leak over into their professional lives?

The most recent outcome of this whole process occurred in March of this year. The startup I was working for in 2009 had been acquired by Google, and I’d submitted a talk to Google I/O (their big annual conference) to showcase our APIs. A couple of months before the event, I attended a kick-off meeting in Mountain View, where I sat in a lecture-theatre style room along with all the other presenters.

The senior exec in charge of the whole thing came to give us a pep talk. He told us how big and important the conference was, and what an honour it was to be speaking there. He told us that it was a great opportunity, because we would be speaking not only to a huge crowd in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, but our talks would also be filmed and put on Youtube, where they could potentially get hundreds of thousands of views (and, presumably, a commensurate number of comments).

I had a panic attack. My ears were ringing, my heart was beating fast, and I was shaking. I couldn’t hear what was being said from the front of the lecture theatre, and I just wanted to escape. I managed to get up and leave the room, and once I had found myself a safe corner outside, I got online and talked it through with a friend, then contacted a colleague and asked them to speak at Google I/O in my place.

I presume that most of the people in that room, including the exec who was speaking from the podium, had never had the experience of 6-12 months of very personal abuse after giving a conference talk. If they had, they might realise that the opportunity to have a video of oneself on Youtube, with hundreds of thousands of views and unmoderated comments, is not something everyone would want. (See also: Mary’s excellent series on conference recordings and harassment, accounts of people’s experiences, thoughts on ethics and policy.)

By the time this happened, I’d already decided — like many women before me — to drop out of the tech industry, so it was no big deal for me to turn down a high profile speaking opportunity. In fact, I hadn’t spoken at any major conferences in a year or so, preferring small events and unconferences where I could focus on teaching people about our technology, rather than on any potential harassment.

I’m fairly conflicted about my choice to quit the tech industry. I don’t want to be part of some statistic about retention rates, but on the other hand, I need to do something that feels rewarding and fun, and the work I was doing — which involved lots of speaking at conferences — wasn’t giving me that any more.

I didn’t quit because I couldn’t handle the technology, or because I had a baby, but because I had become fundamentally disenchanted with a “community” (please imagine me doing sarcastic air quotes) that supports the kind of abuse I’ve experienced and treats most human-related problems — from harassment to accessibility to the infinite variety of names people use (ahem ahem Google Plus) — as “too hard”.

That said, I’m still a techie at heart, and I plan to keep working with and on technology in whatever career I have ahead of me. I’m particularly interested in using open tech to preserve and promote independent music, so you’ll continue to see me around in many of my usual tech haunts.

Which brings me to a couple of weeks ago, when I got an email that read:

Hey slut, take your left wing socialist idealogy and go fuck off from ubuntu.

It came from someone calling himself “Markus G”, with email address grandrhino at hotmail, and IP address — a static IP address with the ISP TPG, and a traceroute indicating that he’s probably in Brisbane, Australia.

Luckily, I know I’m not alone. I contacted the GF bloggers through one of our backchannels and asked if anyone else had heard of this guy. Turns out Mary had heard that “Markus” had previously sent similar filth to another woman in the Australian Linux community (she alluded to this in comments on her previous post). In that case, it was related to the Mark Pesce keynote at LCA 2010 and the subsequent discussion on the Linux Australia mailing list.

So, here’s our situation. We have a man (presumably; at any rate he appears to want to be identified as such) in the Australian Linux community, who targets women by sending them private abusive emails from a throwaway address and with a name that can’t readily be connected to any publicly known member of the community. His ISP won’t hand out information about him without a court order, his abuse doesn’t present the kind of imminent threat to physical safety that might interest law enforcement, and despite Linux Australia’s diversity statement and Linux.conf.au’s anti-harassment policies, it’s not clear that there’s any practical thing that either of those groups can do about him.

I have a talk about a tech/music/community project I founded scheduled at Linux.conf.au in January. If I attend — and I’ll freely admit that I’ve been reconsidering it — I’m going to be attending with this on my mind. That is, of course, what “Markus G” wants: for me, and the other women he’s targetted (and I don’t doubt there are more than just the two I know about) to attend LCA in a state of fear and discomfort, knowing that there are people there who hate us and want us to fuck off out of “their” community. And this is one of the better conferences, with an anti-harassment policy and at least one known case where they’ve enforced it.

What are we going to do about it?

30 thoughts on “On being harassed: a little GF history and some current events

  1. Andrew McMillen

    Thanks for sharing this, Skud. As a male, a resident of Brisbane, Australia, and a TPG account holder, I am appalled by Markus G’s behaviour.

  2. Liz

    Thanks for this great post, Skud!

    I like how you bring out the importance of our #geekfeminism backchannels. A bunch of us discussed so many of these things, on irc, in email, in person, on comments on locked journals. I think that step is crucial for gathering support and figuring out how to proceed. But it isn’t enough, because information about harassers and creeps that stays in backchannels stays private, stays in the realm of gossip — which is powerful but only for the people who in a group, and is one big way that women’s history is lost. Yet to document these things in public discourse, to point our fingers even in a group at an IP number, a pseudonym or a person who sexually assaults someone at a conference still reflects worse harm on us than it does on abusers.

    Now, I have been saying this to myself, to everyone, to you, but I see also that it results in harm and damage and to us burning ourselves out. So when we talk over someone coming to us to say, Should I go public with this? We have to say, you can, and we support you, but here are the consequences; 10 or a thousand men on the Internet are going to call you a fat dyke slut who deserves to die, and someone else is not going to give you a job because you’re a troublemaker now, shrill, strident, too sensitive, not to be trusted; what if you’re one of those legendary false accusers? The more intersectional identities we have, and the more we speak out, the more attack surface we present, even though being queer or gender variant or a person of color means our voices are so sorely needed. I’m horribly conscious that’s what happens, and of the damage done to those of us who put ourselves on the line. The more of us who plant ourselves firmly in the public sphere, the more likely it is that we reach a tipping point. And though there is all that I hope we all find power in our numbers and in our honesty. Also, I hope that like with MikeeUSA, we bring the fucking sparkleponies, the code, and the lulz….

  3. Liz Henry

    A further thought, Skud, is that part of what you did with GF is to provide structure, organization, an institution — not just a backchannel. I think that’s immensely powerful and useful.

  4. azurelunatic

    This is one of the reasons I’m reluctant to take the final step and start using this name in my workplaces. I was fortunate that the party harassing Dreamwidth contributors didn’t get enough information on me to take it to the next level.

    One thing that could and should be done is to stop overlooking and excusing it when people we know and like are assholes online. I’m grateful now, though I wasn’t at the time, when a couple of my friends told me I was being mean to a co-worker of theirs and it was over the line. And one of the times I was harassed online was because I called a then-friend out for aggressively trolling in furry communities and thinking it was funny.

  5. Rob Masters

    Alas I, again, cannot think of anything useful to offer in these situations, except to offer sympathy, and to feel, once again, embarrassed to be human and male.

  6. Kathy Reid

    Hi Skud,
    On behalf of the linux.conf.au 2012 team wanted to drop you a line of support and let you know that we’re all very much looking forward to your presentation. If there are any actions we could take as a conference organising team which you think would act as a deterrent to this sort of malevolent and totally unacceptable behaviour, we’d very warmly welcome suggestions. Thanks for the headsup too re: Markus G.
    Kind regards,

  7. Dorothea

    Thank you, Skud, and thanks to all the GF bloggers and wiki gardeners, for this and for everything you do.

    I was very briefly part of the GF orbit, at its beginning. I left because I just couldn’t deal — not with them, but with the external abuse I knew was coming (and this was well before the MikeeUSA incident).

    Let’s be clear: all the negative experiences I’ve had as a woman nearish tech and a blogger have been orders of magnitude less awful than what’s described in this post.

    But for me? That was enough.

    I’m sorry I couldn’t hack it; I wish I had more intestinal fortitude than I do. I am deeply, deeply grateful for all efforts toward fixing these messes.

  8. Yatima

    Skud and I have been friends for almost twenty years. I spent most of a decade trying to persuade her to move to San Francisco, and I was overjoyed when she did. And then all this happened.

    Like Liz, I am passionately grateful, every day, for Geek Feminism and its offshoots: for the institutions Skud put together so well that I have faith they will survive her and all of us. But the human cost has been appalling. I miss my friend.

  9. Mike Conley

    Hey Skud, thanks for posting this– it was an eye-opener for me just like it was for your boss. I wish the internet was a better place, but alas, it is full of people with small lives that have nothing better to do than try to tear down others that are actually doing things. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet you while you were at Google but wish you the best.

  10. Jeremy Nicoll

    I’ve known a few relatively “famous” people who’ve held unpopular opinions. I applaud you for speaking up about the abuse and encourage you to keep doing it. Sadly, it’s par for the course. The more people you touch the more likely you are to piss somebody off. That doesn’t make it right, and you should push back against it – which you are. The most successful people don’t let such things destroy them.


  11. GemmaM

    Does Google know that they risk making life difficult for their female employees by assuming that everyone wants to have videos of their talks online? Obviously, asking you to tell your employer something like that is a big ask, Skud, and if you don’t want to, then, hey, respect for that.

    I do feel like this is something they should know, however. That way they’d at least have the option of reacting like decent human beings.

  12. Kim Curry

    I just wanted to drop a line to say THANK YOU! for forming this Geek Feminism blog. I only found this community about a year ago, and I know I’m not a frequent poster here, but I read regularly and it has helped my life.

  13. oldfeminist

    What “we” can do about it, if “we” includes men in the geek community, is to report it when we see it, to not let it go unremarked.

    If you’re a man who knows who markus g is because he let his guard down in an all-male setting, let someone know. If someone says crap like this in private, let them know it’s not acceptable, move away and encourage others to do the same if it doesn’t stop.

    Put your time/money where your mouth is. Don’t support organizations that let this kind of thing continue, even privately.

    So long as the corruption still prevails in all-male groups, behind closed doors and drawn curtains, it will continue.

  14. Daniel Martin

    If you’re a man who knows who markus g is because he let his guard down in an all-male setting, let someone know.

    I’ll note that shortly after this post, there was only one result on Google for the string “grandrhino” (aside from this post itself). That other hit was the username someone claiming to be a 41-year-old man with a first name of “Mark” living in Brisbane, Australia used on a PUA site in 2009. (PUA = “pick up artist”, an odd and particularly icky subspecies) It isn’t clear from the interface if it means he was 41 in 2009 or is 41 now.

  15. ZeeSpec

    Glancing at the comments in Eric S Raymond’s linked blog post, I notice that while he thinks taking content down from Sourceforge constitutes censorship, harassing a person who says something you disagree with does not. I think he honestly doesn’t see the similarity; as far as he’s concerned, anything short of shutting down the medium of expression, or a credible threat of violence, cannot constitute censorship.

    I suspect this is a common point of view among that segment of hackerdom composed of white males. It’s understandable–they probably *have* been harassed somehow before, but their experience of it is on a much smaller scale than yours; they don’t have to evaluate each threat for its credibility all day; they only hear of these problems when the problem bothers *them* or *their* friends; and the problem isn’t photogenic–there’s nothing comparable to those pictures of people murdered for drugs in Mexico, or getting kettled by cops, or whatever.

    I suspect the only way to get certain key members of the community to take the problem seriously is to get some serious white male nerds on camera talking seriously about it.

  16. Cthandhs

    I too am torn between the idea of getting my ideas out there and getting harassed. My single experience, so far, was getting called names and shouted down was for posting a mild feminist link to a real-life “friends” email list. Upsetting and friendship-ending, but not nearly so bad as this.

    I think putting the word out on these guys helps. I would not be able to deal with this kind of harassment alone, in private, but I feel like it may be surmountable with positive community support. And by community, guys need to be involved directly in this too. A lot of my male friends don’t like to get involved, they don’t feel like they have standing to be upset, and don’t want to be seen as overbearing protectors; but it’s important to frame conflicts like this not as “girls vs. a-nasty-subset-of-boys” but as “our community protecting one of our own.”

  17. Ran Pal

    Hey Skud,

    First off, epic love hearts coming your way for making and shaping the GF community. It’s a resource I visit regularly and send around to people to save explaining the same things over and over again. Also, apologies if my long-winded comment rambles around a bit. : )

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about this exact question : What ARE we going to do? Clearly, the old trope about being polite and not lowering yourself to their level doesn’t work with trolls. And you know what, if someone calls me a fat/bitch/slut/whatever, I don’t really feel like politely asking them to desist. There is also something decidedly anti-feminist about asking a woman to ‘be nice’ or demure and meekly take an insult. Fuck that.

    You can moderate comments, but that still means you have to read those suckers, and we all know how good that is for your mental health. There are only so many slurs, insults and threats you can read before they start taking their toll, however rational you try to be about them. Arguing with trolls is also a dead end. They won’t change their minds, and there is a dogged energy to the men’s rights types which means you could discourse until the *very end of time* and they won’t hear a damn word. By which point your troll will be frothing at the mouth with righteous anger, and your feminist will probably have pulled out the ADSL cable to save what is let of her sanity. If she does disconnect (so she is effectively silenced) there is still the ever present threat of *real life harm* that is implicit in troll tactics when they ‘out’ you IRL. It also alienates women online as we are all reduced to single-handedly running dogged campaigns trying to keep our own area of tech / on-line free from harassment; unaware that there are a legion of women around us all fighting the troll horde.

    So now our hardy heroine is silenced on line, and looking over her shoulder at conferences, and indeed, at her own front door. This is key, the real life threat of extreme trolling – the actual death / rape threats that are meted out almost daily. Even if you don’t credit the fact that someone might actually act upon these threats, the fact that a stranger sees fit to wish such horrors upon you is enough to send anyone running for cover. Hell, I’ve abandoned sites before just because of the misogyny inherent in the hive mind there and *that wasn’t even directed at me*, just ambient hate polluting the channels.

    Threatening behaviour challenges the Ivory Tower arguments of ‘free speech’ that are handed down by upper echelons of FLOSS. Hate speech is *not* protected. I fail to believe that if a black person, or a gay person was experiencing this kind of prejudice online that people would dismiss it with a wave of a hand and mutterings about ‘censorship’. However, when the ‘minority’ under attack is women, it’s no holds barred.

    I guess the issue is finding a way that disarms the harasser, empowers the harassed and is broad enough to support women in all areas of tech / feminism / web. I really like what http://www.fatuglyorslutty.com is doing in combatting online harassment on XBox Live. They poke fun at the trolls, and I think that is an important tool to both disarm the haters and as a coping mechanism for us.

    Another benefit is that it’s good to archive all these instances of harassement, because when any one instance occurs, it is always treated in isolation. You are told how to feel about it, that you are being too sensitive, despite the fact that you bit your tongue 99 times previously. Being able to point to a trillion real-life, concrete examples is a perfect counter-argument.

    Lastly, as oldfeminist so rightly pointed out, we need to engage the men in tech communities to stand next to us and call it out. The tragedy is that the moderate voices never usually bother speaking out, possibly because they just don’t realise how bad it is. Sure, you will get a bunch of guys Mansplaining why you shouldn’t get your knickers in a twist, but maybe we can also get a critical mass of men to realise the daily battles geek women face.

    Whatever the solution, the first step in reaching it is by acknowledging there is a problem, and resolving to work together to fix it. Count me in.

  18. Carrie

    Here’s what makes me sad: This post and the previous one scared me so badly that I considered scrapping all my blogging efforts. I haven’t yet experienced harassment like that, and I really, really don’t want to. And based on these accounts, it seems inevitable that I will, if I persist in having opinions and putting them online. It doesn’t seem worth the risk.

    And then I get angry because they haven’t even hit me yet, and I’m pre-emptively silencing myself and how messed up is that?

    But I still kind of freak out when I re-read this post.

    I don’t know what to do. I can’t come up with a good solution.

    Knowing that authority structures (police, group leaders, HR, etc.) will generally be unable or unwilling to deal with the problem, even when a large group of people are requesting their help, where is there to turn?

  19. André Roberge

    It is sad whenever someone with obvious talent feel that they have to stop doing what they enjoy because of fear of abuse. It is sad that people support “free speech” that is really “hate speech”. “Free speech” should be about ideas, even if unpopular, not about attacking people. As a man, I have been spared most of the abuse that I have seen female acquaintances be subject to. This is not right. And what was done to you is not right. How small and insecure that man must be to feel he has to attack successful women like you.

  20. Jean-Nicolas

    I want to applaud you for the courage you show in adressing publicly the problems you encounter in a man dominated field/community.

    Something similar happenned not long ago in the skeptic/atheist community. At the time, I considered myself a die-hard feminist but the elevatorgate really opened my eyes on the tribulations of women inside male communities. I came to reconsider my positions on what I then regarded as “over the top feminism” and realised that my male point of view blinded me to a large number of problems faced everyday by women.

    I want you to know that what you are doing is having an impact, that one of the key solution to the problem is awareness and that by speaking up like you do, at great price to yourself, you are making the world a better place. You can not be thanked enough for that.

    I also want to say that I am sorry that you have to put up with this shit and that I feel ashamed as a guy and a human being when this sort of stuff happens.

    And do not forget that you are just awesome!

  21. Alex R

    I have never read GF before, and I have never heard of you, but I was linked here from reddit.

    I would like to express my sympathies.

    I will think of this post any time I am hesitant to call someone out on misogynistic comments.

  22. Jevon

    Wow. I really, really feel for you. You’re doing all the right things. Don’t forget that the entire of the tech community supports you. (Your abusers do not, in any way, form part of our community.) It will be sad to see you go, but you are always welcome, or to continue participating under a pseudonym. :(

    Threats, even under the guise of “free speech”, is never OK, and these jerks have really, really crossed the line.

  23. Toby

    Times like these, I’m embarrassed to be male.

    I wonder what I can do, personally, to try and improve this state of affairs? All the people close enough to me to listen and be persuaded are already on the same side.

    On the other hand – maybe things are improving? These misogynists are using nicknames and disposable addresses, presumably because they know even their colleagues and friends would come out against them if they knew.

  24. Sharat Buddhavarapu

    Wow, I thought that my fellow males would grow out of their misogyny after college, but I guess not. I guess the only thing I or anyone could offer is support and an ear. I am sorry women, in tech or otherwise, have to go through shit like this. Keep fighting the good fight wherever you can!

  25. Cait

    Damn. I get so angry with friends who don’t ‘get’ this stuff. I am so bloody angey that you have been driven to a position of panic attacks. I do know what it’s like, having been subjected to attacks in the offline world. being a victim already, I’ve managed to thus far not attract the ire of online mysogynists.

    I want to be able to tell you that you’re overblowing it and so forth but you’re not. and because you run community sites. you are aware that the stuff we build attracts everyone. *Everyone*, and that includes the fuckwits, the dumbasses…. and those who have nauseatic chaos on their minds.
    Is it inevitable? tbh, to a certain extent I have to say ‘yes’ in that, are these knuckle draggers going to disappear? Nope. in which case, we do damn well need a network, informal or no, to increase visibility of these fuckwits, as fast as possible, to as wide a net of people as it can.

  26. Isa

    Please stay strong, you’re fighting The Good Fight. You are an inspiration <3

  27. A.Hooper

    Nothing profound to add but my support for you, and my utmost regret at the words and actions of what I hope is only a small (but impossible to ignore) proportion of my fellow male geeks. Keep the faith, Skud!

  28. Kristi

    Very powerful. You’ve really made me aware of an issue I had no idea existed – I’ve known about the trolls for two decades, but not the stalking terror and threats that it escalated to.

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