Another week, another woman in gaming forced from her home by doxxing followed by threats of rape and murder. And, as usual, you have the chorus of idiots going on about how this is “really” about a real issue in games journalism.

Ignore the part where it was specifically set up as a misogynist harassment campaign to drive various people out of tech – we know this, we have the chat logs to prove it – ignore all that, because it’s “become something else…” that happens to achieve exactly the same effect.

And here exactly is why you can’t argue with the useful idiots. #GamerGate true-believers are the anti-vaxxers of the online world.

Seriously, come with me here. Anti-vaxxers are basing everything on the authenticity of a vaccines and autism paper written with a plan of knowing and intentional fraud. It was a lie, with a goal, and the perpetrators are in jail. But none of that deters the horde of fools and morons who are causing the deaths of tens of thousands of people through easily-preventable diseases worldwide.

#GamerGate true believers are basing everything on the authenticity of an online campaign created with a plan of knowing and intentional fraud. It was a smear, with a goal (of driving women from tech) – although in this case, the perpetrators are not in jail. Part of their documented strategy was to drag in a lot of useful idiots who would fall for it and bulk their numbers. And none of that deters the true believers who are doxxing and threatening women with rape and murder across the internet.

It’s exactly the same thing. And just as with the anti-vax movement, it needs to be taken seriously, because it’s causing real and lasting harm. It needs to be fought. Just don’t think you’re going to get through to them, because you’re not. Like the anti-vax fools, they’re locked in; any argument or discussion with them merely entrenches them further in their beliefs.

What you can do is make this shit trigger some fallout. Right now, it still doesn’t. Until it does, nothing will change. And since you can’t change their minds, you have to make damn well sure that these actions have some serious goddamn consequences. Lock them out of your dealings; lock them out of your businesses; lock them out of your events; lock them out of your lives. Because while there certainly is no law, there can damned well still be effects.

Some people are doing this already, but it has to hit a critical mass before it can take effect. Basically, it’s up to everyone who isn’t them and isn’t a direct target. Which is to say – it’s up to us.

eta: Hey, look, guess who got a bomb threat again, this time at GeekGirlCon. And there’s another harassment account already set up just for this.


This is one of a several posts on Sexism and Racism in Geek Culture.