Why I’m Okay with Doxing

A few months ago, people were very angry at me for “doxing” Dr. Eliza Sutton, a prolific troll who uses pseudonyms online to harass feminists. “Doxing,” or “doxxing,” is the act of publicizing otherwise secret personal details of someone online. In the case of Sutton, she released her own details on a public blog post and then I linked to the story at Pharyngula, so I can’t be said to have doxed her in any way.

That said, if I had somehow obtained her real name and occupation from a private source, I doubt I would have hesitated to publicize it the moment she libeled me and PZ by stating that he got an STD at my conference.

Gasp! Horror! What good Internet citizen could possibly defend that most heinous of acts, the doxing?

Me. I seriously would not care.

I’m frankly tired of the black and white thinking that goes along with any discussion of doxing, as though an aggressive act is inherently evil regardless of who the target is and who the perpetrator is. Doxing is one of those acts that can be used for good or for ill. Like punching.

Remember Bart Sibrel? He’s the conspiracy theorist who doesn’t think humans ever reached the moon. One day, he confronted Buzz Aldrin as he was leaving a hotel. Aldrin asked him several times to leave him alone, but Sibrel followed him closely, calling him a liar and a thief, and asking him to repent for having said he walked on the moon. After a minute of this, he got in Aldrin’s face and called him a coward and a liar. Aldrin punched him in the face. Here’s the encounter:


I’m a nonviolent person. I think violence rarely solves any problems and more often only makes them worse. I’m anti-war. I’m anti-gun. And in many cases, I’m anti-punching. But god damn, did Sibrel ever deserve that punch.

Had it been the other way around – had Sibrel followed Aldrin around, harassing him for a minute, before Sibrel punched Aldrin in the face – I would vehemently condemn the act. Does this make me a punching hypocrite?

No: it makes me a person who understands that for some acts, the context matters in determining whether it’s a good or a bad thing.

So it is for doxing. The #gamergate bigots and losers who dug up and spread around Zoe Quinn’s home address and phone numbers were disgusting and wrong. They did it to frighten Quinn and give teeth to the people who were threatening her life, all because Quinn made a game they didn’t like and was accused of sleeping around by her ex-boyfriend.

Meanwhile, the GamerGate crowd over at Reddit are crying because Anita Sarkeesian occasionally publishes the harassing emails they send her, without blocking out their email or IP addresses. I do this, too: if someone sends me a threatening or harassing email, I see no reason to protect their identity.

I am, morally, 100% okay with this. Feminists owe these pieces of human garbage absolutely nothing. And while they go out of their way to investigate us, to find our addresses and publish them because we have the temerity to exist on the Internet, they can easily protect their own identity by simply not emailing us threats and harassment.

So, let it be known that I am a filthy doxer. If you harass women online, calling them slurs and threatening to rape and kill them, and if I find out your real name, I will publish it. If you tell me to kill myself on Twitter and I can link it to your Facebook, I will tell your uncle:

And if you follow me around calling me a liar and a coward, I will punch you in the face.

(Note to self: learn how to punch.)

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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    1. That would be one question I have about this, from a purely definitional standpoint…

      Even then, though – say someone sent Rebecca a threatening message, and she dug up the person’s real name, is that wrong? I don’t think so.

  1. I’m pro punching when it comes to conspiracy theorists and sexist asshats. Seriously, I wouldn’t be able to resist if it was me in either situation. I’m not a violent person, but some people are just beyond consideration.

  2. I’m pretty confused. What happened to Zoe Quinn was textbook doxxing, and you admit it’s horrific, but…the title says you’re okay with doxxing? I don’t think doxxing is a context-based thing like you assert. It’s done with malice, with the intention of frightening or causing the victim harm. I don’t believe there is such a thing as “good” doxxing, which leads me to believe that what Sarkeesian did was simply…not that. Maybe I’m just still reeling from the title — because I initially interpreted it as “I’m okay with people posting personal information about people they don’t like in order to scare them into hiding” — but I really, really don’t think “doxxing” is the right word in most of your scenarios (especially the Aldrin one…there’s a reason I didn’t touch that in my comment).

    1. You’ve defined “doxing” as something inherently bad, and pull a “no true scotsman” when someone points to an example of it being good. You’re welcome to define words in any way you wish, but I included a definition at the top of my post for a reason.

      Also, you appear to have not read very carefully (or at all) if you think that I was presenting the Aldrin example as a case of doxing.

    2. If someone sends me a threatening email and I publish it, email and IP address uncovered, how is that wrong?

      I can’t imagine any way that this is wrong.

  3. I agree with everything except this part “I am, morally, 100% okay with this. Feminists owe these pieces of human garbage absolutely nothing. And while they go out of their way to investigate us, to find our addresses and publish them because we have the temerity to exist on the Internet, they can easily protect their own identity by simply not emailing us threats and harassment.”

    And I only disagree with that because I think you limit it too narrowly to just feminists. Anyone receiving harassing threats, be they feminists, LGBTQ, PoC, or allies, should feel free to highlight the harassers.

  4. I usually agree with Rebecca, but here I have to protest my reservations on the subject. Sure, those people in this article might have had it coming, and nothing illegal was done, but I think that ‘doxxing’ is a tool that can very well be used for ‘evil’.
    I was a social media manager for a large franchise where I live, and I saw several attempts of people to take vengeance on employees of ours for personal or political disputes they’ve had with them. In one case the rallied an entire forum to flood our social media and emails with requests to fire that person – which eventually our stupid C.E.O. did just to reduce the attention (that employee, by the way, did nothing wrong. It was a political disagreement on another forum and he never identified as an employee of ours – it was revealed through ‘doxxing’ which in turn caused people to target him through his employer).
    What I’m saying is that it’s too easy to ruin somebody’s life with such techniques, and while some people might deserve it – the internet usually doesn’t care. The internet (outside of skeptic circles, perhaps) doesn’t investigate, the internet doesn’t care for the motives of the people instigating ‘social outrage’ as it were against individuals or the circumstances that led them to be doxxed. The internet see red, the internet thinks itself the protector of all that is right and just – and oftentimes with GOOD intentions, the internet become a mob of angry villagers with immense power that can often be used against the undeserving.
    The bottom line is, I guess – be careful who you rally against. We’re all skeptics here, we all know to take a step back and look at the facts and investigate things and decide for our own, but even we sometimes succumb to anger and lose our senses. I’m just saying – the concept of ‘doxxing’, while it can be used for good, can also be used for malicious purposes, so be careful who you stand behind and against, and don’t just “be Okay with doxxing” – it’s a rash and extreme action. Be skeptical.

      1. I might have not been clear that my disagreement is not with Rebecca or even this article, but with the subject matter in general. It’s my general opinion on the subject at hand, not a direct reply to any of Rebecca’s words or actions.
        It’s just – generally speaking – a course of action that can very easily go very wrong very fast, and unlike punching someone in the face – the consequences and effects last more than a couple of seconds, and you don’t get assault charges.

      2. He’s advocating caution, which is fair enough, not disagreeing with the article, at least that’s what i read into the comment.

    1. “I’m just saying – the concept of ‘doxxing’, while it can be used for good, can also be used for malicious purposes”

      You’re “just saying”? Why? I thought Rebecca already stated all this in her article, except less wordy and better written?

      Why did you feel the need to explain what she’s already written pretty clearly?

  5. People, please RTFA before commenting. Rebecca didn’t say doxxing is an unqualified good. She specifically said it can be good or bad depending on context and went into great detail with examples and details and colors and arrows and shit. Read– the article, not just the title– THEN comment.

  6. So the long and short of this is that there are no bad tactics, only bad targets? And that you are a good arbiter of what targets are permissible?

    That where this gets funny, because people who disagree with you on various issues can simply claim that they are arbiters of who it is OK to dox, on exactly the same standing.

    This applies even in the case where the “reasons” that someone might be deemed a good target for doxxing are ones you agree with. For example, 4chan once (as a means to attack both someone they hated and the “SJWs” as they call them) made a fake blog posing as their target and saying various offensive things, specifically to *provoke* the target being doxxed by the social justice crowd. From you perspective, he would have appeared to be a “good” target, until after the damage was already done.

    That is why destructive or endangering tactics like doxxing are *never* OK, unless you can be absolutely certain that your target is at *least* as bad as you think they are.

    1. “That where this gets funny, because people who disagree with you on various issues can simply claim that they are arbiters of who it is OK to dox, on exactly the same standing.”

      This is the crux of the matter. Once you say a loathsome tactic is okay, then it will be used against you, and other people, regardless of merit. Because there’s always some arsehole – like the guy who doxxed me and other women commenting here – who will use it and claim justification.

      I’m sorry, this is my bright line. Never, ever. Report to the police. Tell their mother. Warn your friends in private. But doxxing is the nuclear option. It’s too dangerous, and too often used against those who will suffer the most from it, not the people who you want to punish for egregious arseholery.

      Context or no context.

      1. Any action is appropriate in certain circumstances, and not in others. A hug is a great example. Even with the same two people involved, it can be either appropriate or inappropriate. Everyone has to come up with their set of moral standards, and then do their best to live within those standards. If you feel that doxxing is inappropriate in all circumstances because the danger or harm is too great, that’s one thing, but to feel that it is not okay in any situation because it can be used for ill is letting other people’s behavior dictate yours.
        Please also remember that white hats not doxxing will not prevent black hats from doing so.

        1. “Please also remember that white hats not doxxing will not prevent black hats from doing so.”

          No, but the *only* thing that gives them pause at all is the possible moral opprobium. The gentleman above in this convo who doxxed me has spent the last five years vehemently denying and defending his doxxing of another woman, and is a pariah in our online community as a result. It didn’t *stop* him completely, but it did mean there were consequences which gave pause to others who might follow his example.

          As soon as the ‘good guys’ use the same tactics as the ‘bad guys’ for whatever justification, the ‘bad guys’ will use that justification as a defence and argument against any backlash.

          Good guys don’t dox. Bad guys do.
          Good guys don’t blackmail. Bad guys do.
          Good guys don’t issue death or rape threats. Bad guys do.

          I guarantee the said gentleman and his would-be gamergate chums will be using Rebecca’s article to justify their actions – I bet they already have. I want ‘my’ side to have clean hands. Nothing will stop them. But we *can* have moral force on our side.

          ” it is not okay in any situation because it can be used for ill is letting other people’s behavior dictate yours.”

          I’m sorry, as a victim of doxxing, I feel I have skin in this game, and this is how I feel. It’s not letting other people dictate a bloody thing. It’s about being able to live with myself.

          1. I’m very sorry that happened to you.

            I do think that we need the ability to show people what other people believe and say to people like Rebecca. They are using anonymity as a shield, and I think it is appropriate to roll that shield back.

            I might feel differently if it had happened to me, though, so I’m going to think it over some more.

          2. In part, I agree with Somerville: tactics always matter. No matter how you justify something, you are what you do. For example, torturers are torturers, no matter how good their intentions. So a doxxer is a doxxer, and doxxing should never be done lightly.

            On the other hand, Somerville is leaving out some key elements when she tells her story and mine.

            In my case, a woman who goes by Coffeeandink was recording things done in a flamewar, so I recorded them too. At the time, Coffeeandink was using her legal name in public posts on her LJ, so I used it too. Coffeeandink declared she had been pseudonymous all along and I had outed her, and then she made the public posts private—effectively, she claimed retroactive pseudonymity, a concept that’s nonsense. This is much like Watson’s version of what happened with Sutton: you can’t out people who have outed themselves. (There are people who say Sutton was more pseudonymous than Watson claims, but that’s another issue.)

            As for Somerville, she says I outed her because I shared a story that Somerville had outed someone else—effectively, Somerville claims I doxxed her for doxxing. And, more specifically, Somerville is on a campaign to dox the people who run http://www.stopthegrbullies.com. So clearly, Somerville’s objection to doxxing is not as strong as it may seem.

            As for Somerville’s community, their history of doxxing people goes back to 2008, when they doxxed a young woman who went by the name of Zathlazip. They tried to get her fired from her job, expelled from her school, and at least one of them left threatening unsigned notes in the woman’s office to terrorize her.

            Having had to think long and hard about doxxing, I’m come to these conclusions:

            1. If you haven’t tried to hide your identity from google, you’re not pseudonymous.

            2. If you are pseudonymous and you’re not doing anything illegal, you shouldn’t be doxxed.

            3. If you are pseudonymous and the illegal thing you’re doing involves consensual activity—such as homosexual acts by adults in places where homosexuality is illegal—you shouldn’t be doxxed.

            So I agree with Watson that “do not dox” is a guideline, not a rule. But it’s a rule that should never be broken lightly.

          3. Interesting thing about your drawing a hard line regarding tactics like that as it applies to the whole GamerGate mess — by that reasoning, there are precious few good guys, and no good sides.

            I can say that I personally haven’t doxxed, blackmailed, or issued rape or death threats to anyone. Ever. There are examples of people on my side of the whole GamerGate mess who have done those things, and there are examples of people on the other side of the line who have done the same.

            To anyone who believes otherwise, all I have to say is that confirmation bias is a hell of a drug. So is tribalism.

          4. Wise words. Add confirmation bias and tribalism to the fight-or-flight instinct that arises in wartime (which includes flamewartime), and it’s a miracle humanity has survived this long.

    2. So the long and short of this is that there are no bad tactics, only bad targets? And that you are a good arbiter of what targets are permissible?

      Apparently the long and the short of it is that you can’t read, don’t want to, or are simply abysmal at it.

      RTFA this time. Then try again.

    1. Oh so yet another person who didn’t RTFA, eh?

      I mean last I checked, harassment and threats were, oh, you know, CRIMES.

      I suggest going back and re-reading the article. Slowly.

  7. Normally I would say two wrongs don’t make a right. In these situations, though, there really isn’t any other recourse. Appealing to the law? They don’t care about, or indeed even understand online harassment. Appealing to the decency of the average internet denizen, trying to create an online culture where that’s not accepted? Actually that’s a laudable goal–but a long-term one with an uncertain outcome.

  8. This is so brilliant that I want more. What if you’re dealing with someone who does not have an employer or any friends who seem to care if they are a liar, hypocrite, harasser, etc, and everyone already knows their real name, anyway? What should you do in this case?

  9. Reminds me of when Alanah Pearce contacted the mothers of the little shits who were threatening to rape her.

    Is that doxing, technically-she revealed their real identities to their mums.

    Is it wrong? Fuck no!

  10. It’s amazing
    People will come up with the most pulled out of their imaginary and completely impossible scenarios to “prove” that rape and a Person with uterus’s right to bodily autonomy are NOT moral absolutes and that we must not see these things as black and white but look at the greater good. Maybe it’s because the victims of rape and the people who seek abortions are predominantly identified as female.
    But doxxing, that’s the ONE moral absolute and the victims of abuse, harassment, actual libel and threats should just take it in good spirit and protect their abusers from consequences that are the result of their actions*
    *and not the result of their identity like being trans* or LGBTQ

    1. I understand the punch. I don’t know if I agree that the guy “deserved” it — a single punch can actually hurt someone pretty badly, even kill, — but I also understand why Aldrin punched the guy. People aren’t perfect, and we all have our limits.

  11. I’m reminded of a recent storify about how anonymous culture shapes Gamergate’s interactions with non-anonymous social media[1].

    I think a lot of the blanket “doxing is bad” sentiment has seeped into the Internet from this culture. Posting home addresses and the like was always obvious harassment, but unmasking sock-puppets is a tradition as old as Usenet, and email addresses have never really been considered private information beyond the old “don’t put them where a spammer can parse them”.

    In the anonymous culture described in the storify, though, an attack on someone’s anonymity is an attack on their membership of a group where _everyone_ is a sock puppet. The often abusive behavioural norms of social media where anonymity (or easily disposable pseudonymity) is the default are impossible once identity is exposed, so being identified is a form of being ostracised.

    This also leads to the obvious corollary that anyone who is not part of the in-group is fair game, because if they don’t belong there it in the first place how can they have it taken away from them?

    [1] https://storify.com/a_man_in_black/how-chan-style-anonymous-culture-shapes-gamergate

  12. I think Anonymous has done some good things with doxxing. It is also a great exemplar of how dangerous it can be. The biggest danger, to me, is that of a false accusation, which can really mess up someone’s life/safety. This is why Rebecca’s doxing is far more reasonable: There’s minimal possibility of false accusations. Unless someone is spoofing/hacking someone else’s account, she’s just publishing publicly what the people named said to her. It is certainly an unreasonable expectation of privacy to expect that harassment, threats, and abuse directed at someone should not reflect upon you.

  13. I completely agree with Hanoumatoi that it is reasonable to email the employers of people who, on low-traffic websites, make nasty jokes that involve knowledge that has anything to do with their job. I completely agree that it is unreasonable to expect that reasonable people will not do this. But, again, I’m still lost as to what to do to people who don’t have either a job or friends who would care about any of this.

  14. I have written a response to Rebecca’s post here


    Which links to a post I made in 2012 on the same subject. There is also a link on a recent report I made about Shetterly and his activities over the last few years to stalk, abuse and dox women and people of colour for daring to speak in public.

    I don’t really want to engage Shetterly as he invariably uses it as an excuse to ramp up his attacks. His accusations about me are false, and he knows them to be false. I have not attempted to dox anyone (including the owners of that site he links to, which I would warn people not to click on as this site *does* dox, collect IP data and abuse people – sending traffic their way is a typical dick move), and he claims I am part of a community to which I don’t belong – ie fandom – to false allege I support a 2008 doxxing (something of which I was only peripherally aware and certainly never participated it) because to him, anyone who believes in social justice is a social justice warrior and must be slammed.

    He has recently tried to flog his book boasting about his doxxing exploits to Gamergaters, with whom he claims common cause. He’s no friend to this site, or to women. He is in fact an excellent example of how shame is one weapon we have against people who dox and abuse within a community. But you will note that he proudly uses his real name. Many of the worst abusers do, in fact.

    1. Oh, as for Somerville and her friends’ claims about me, I answer them here: http://sjwar.blogspot.com/2014/12/how-i-became-misogynist-white.html

      My apologies to everyone who thinks Somerville’s been derailing this discussion. I suppose I could ignore her, but a surprising number of people are willing to accept allegations without investigating the facts, and that’s especially true of a community that promotes notions like “believe the victim” rather than “support the accuser while investigating the truth”.

      1. You intentionally use the term Social Justice Warrior to insult and minimize people, and oppose critical race theory. Your own words damn you pretty effectively. I’ve read your words, and they tend to lead me to believe your critics. I say this as someone with no experience on either side until yesterday.

          1. I think you’re confused about how confirmation bias works. I sought out information on both sides, and noticed that you don’t understand the importance of intersectionality and critical race theory. That’s not confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is noticing only that some racists dislike someone, and assuming that person must not be racist, while ignoring the evidence that that person doesn’t have a working explanation for why black people keep getting shot by white cops.

          2. You’re on the side that accepts Critical Race Theory and intersectionality, the identitarian approaches to justice that were developed and promoted by bourgeois folk at schools for the economic elite. It’s no surprised that you prefer to believe people who are like you.

            Essentially, you understand power the way Malcolm X did in 1963 while he was a minister of Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam. I, on the other hand, prefer his thinking in ’64 and ’65, when he renounced NOI’s racist ways and said, “I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think that it will be based upon the color of the skin.”

            I also prefer Martin Luther King’s thinking in ’67, when he said something that’s still true today: “In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.”

          3. I agree. In fact, I would say that “equality with no thought of fairness” is neither equality nor fairness. But identitarians have many special meanings for words, so it’s possible I’m missing your implication. Can you unpack that a little?

          4. If you don’t recognize that there is institutional racism, and that systems of discrimination intersect in meaningful ways, I don’t think I’m going to be able to persuade you to think outside your narrow viewpoint, but hey, I’ll give it a go anyways.

            Your definition of SJW is a “No True Scotsman” fallacy. Your use of Martin Luther King Jr. is a classic appeal to authority. You realize that any skeptic is going to have issues with both Malcolm X and MLK due to their belief in a higher power, right? Your use of the MLK quote about there being twice as many poor white people as black people in the United States demonstrates not only taking quotes out of context, but using a questionable statistic which merely reflects the balance of the two populations, which happens to be 50 years old. There are more poor minorities in our country than whites, by a fair margin. (source: http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/#) Ignoring the ways that the current system acts to disadvantage specific groups is foolish, especially if you care about systemic critiques, which as a self-identified socialist, I assume you would.

          5. A Scientologist would say, “If you don’t recognize the existence of Xenu and the need for auditing, I don’t think I’m going to be able to persuade you to think outside your narrow viewpoint”

            Here are the 2012 statistics on poverty: 18.9 million are non-Hispanic white, 13.6 million are Hispanic (of whom about 90% identify as white), and 10.9 million are black. So if you only include non-Hispanic white folks, there’s a little under twice as many white folks in poverty as black. If you include Hispanic white folks, there’s almost three times as many.

            As a socialist, I look at the problem and see the same solutions for all poor people: housing, jobs, education, etc. King’s solution was Basic Income, which is not a socialist solution (it does nothing to redistribute wealth), but is a step that socialists can support.

          6. No, I don’t think so. I’ve got better things to do then argue semantics with someone who incorrectly equates identitarians with loaded ideas about “social justice warriors”.

            I know the type and I’m not going there.

          7. I’ve noticed that identitarians turn abusive quickly. When you don’t have history or science on your side, insults are all that remain.

            I’ve also noticed that insults tell you more about the person giving the insult than the person getting it. You would do well to read more about race, gender, and class. I recommend starting with Adolph Reed Jr. and Thandeka. Then you might try David Harvey’s book on neoliberalism. Good luck!

          8. Abusive, seriously? You are identifying me with a racist movement that I have nothing in common with and me calling you a fool is abusive?

            Do me a favor and fuck off!
            Oh, and don’t go doxxing me on the way out.

          9. You used a word that I was unfamiliar with and the first few definitions I found were the European version, so yes that was the one I was speaking of.

            But, having read (part of, I’ve got shit to do) the article you linked to and some of your blog it appears you have decided that SJWs are the equivalent, and nothing more, then teenagers on Tumblr and that everything can instead be boiled down to a colorblind version of economic justice, and nothing more.

            Fair enough, however it is just as cartoonish to believe that race matters not and backing that comfortable position by using Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. as talisman to ward off claims of racism. How can I be racist when I quote Brother Malcolm and Dr. King?

            Working towards economic equality is a noble pursuit but doing so without also addressing race/gender/sexual identity/ability/etc. is a nice idea that is a fairy tale, like clean coal or trickle down, that are not based in any sort of reality.

            This is the reason I had no interest in engaging you. You have decided into which hole I fit (ironic considering your disdain for over-identification) and yet here I am, wasting my time trying to get you to stop.

            I don’t care what you think I am, I don’t have time to read the books you recommend just so that you can grock where I’m coming from, and I really am tired of the condescension to be honest. Congrats, you read a couple of books and took a class or two, doesn’t make your thinking magically better, it just allows you to disregard those who disagree and still believe that you are the more open. Or in other words, to be comfortable in your incorrectness.

            To quote A Fish Called Wanda
            Otto West: Apes don’t read philosophy.
            Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it.

          10. No, I don’t think race and gender are irrelevant. I’ve never said that, and I never will. I think that in a capitalist society, race and gender fit within the greater system of class, which race and gender reductionists ignore, perhaps because they’re content with their class privilege. I know of no socialists who ignore race and gender, and in the fight against those forms of oppression, socialists have always been at the front: the word “feminism” was coined by a male socialist, and Marx noted, “Labor in white skin cannot emancipate itself where it is branded in black skin.” This isn’t to say all socialists have been enlightened in racial and gender issues, but their record overall is good.

            I strongly recommend one very short piece by Adolph Reed Jr.: http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Antiracism.html I agree with all of it.

            As for condescension, it seems rather thick on your side. Interpreting tone on the internet is often difficult.

          11. How can you look at a system which produces poor people in Hispanic and black populations at ~2.5 times the rate it does in the white population and deny that there is some sort of endemic systemic racism there? Further, if you want an example of confirmation bias, combining the numbers of whites and Hispanics in poverty to deny systemic racism is a perfect example.

          12. I haven’t denied racism, and as for that stats, I’ve given you the option; if you want to leave out the Hispanic folks who identify as white, you can, and there are still twice as many white people in poverty as black. Now, it seems kind of racist to not let people identify as they wish, but if you want to say those Hispanic people are wrong to think of themselves as white, that’s your call, of course.

            The reason for racial disparity is historical racism. The disproportion hasn’t changed since the civil rights era because class mobility in the US is awful for everyone. Identitarians don’t offer practical solutions, but Martin Luther King did: Basic income would end poverty for everyone.

  15. If Somerville hasn’t deleted the post or made it private, you can find an example of her doxxing at her blog: http://blog.logophilos.net/index.php/2012/08/the-unbearable-unravelling-of-sockpuppetry/

    Whether Somerville’s doxxing is accurate, I don’t know or care. The owners of the site in question deny it: http://www.stopthegrbullies.com/who-we-are/

    But whether Somerville’s accurate or not, what’s clear is she thinks doxxing is fine when she’s after someone she doesn’t like.

    As to whether I’m a “friend to women”, the feministsf wiki said my “work features strong women characters and people of color”, which is good enough for me.

  16. Rebecca Watson, you took the words right out of my brain. Can I be on your team? I’m non-violent but when the situation calls for it, I know how to punch. Also how to bitch-slap, for those occasions when punching just isn’t humiliating enough.

  17. Perspective people, exposing sock puppets is not doxxing and neither is exposing people who threaten you when they give you their particulars. It’s not the right word, period.

    And @Will Shetterly, you might get more traction for your claims if you didn’t wave around the inflammatory term “social justice warrior”, especially since you seem to not understand what the term actually entails, but then I suspect that you will simply write me off as an SJW so that is convenient for you. From what I can tell your beef with @Ann Somerville boils down to “but she was mean to me and won’t apologize”.

    1. Technically, “exposing sock puppets” is doxxing: a pseud is a pseud, and people who use pseuds often have more than one.

      As for using “SJW”, I’m a great fan of social justice workers like Dorothy Day and Dom Helder Camara, people who treat everyone with love and respect as they work to end poverty. I’m not a fan of the “social justice warriors” who appropriate the good name of social justice to rage, flame, and dox online. I wish the SJWs had a name for themselves, because I believe in using the names people prefer when those names are precise. But for now, the best I’ve found is SJW, and it seems a number of SJWs have accepted the name much like suffragists accepted the mocking name of suffragette.

      As for Ann Somerville, check the timestamps to see who attacked who first here. My sin is that I’ve researched the beliefs of angry identitarians and failed to be converted by them.

      1. Saying that pseud X is the same person as pseud Y is NOT doxxing, especially since holding two pseuds simultaneously is quite often against forum rules.

        And “well she started it” proves nothing of who is right.

        1. Ah, I see what you’re saying, and I agree about two pseuds in the same forum.

          However, Somerville’s doxxing involves a woman whose legal initials are, if I remember correctly, MD, and Somerville’s attempt to dox her as the person behind the stgrb web site is entirely about legal identities, not pseuds.

          And, yes, who started a fight has nothing to do with who is right, but it still has to do with who started the fight. The attacked always have a right to defend themselves. And, yes, that principle can be abused horribly, but nonetheless, those who hit first never have the moral high ground.

          1. I’m going to fundamentally disagree with your final statement. Striking the first blow in a fight between an unjust power and those oppressed is righteous if you are oppressed.
            In addition, saying “she started it!” is ignoring the fact that you weren’t identified in this thread until you showed up and self-identified. I say this because I was reading the thread and didn’t know who you were until you told me.

          2. Most of the bad things done in the world are done by people who are convinced they’re righteous.

            And yes, Somerville decided to share her notion of who I am once I showed up. So?

  18. I note people are seeing why Will Shetterly is banned from so many online places for being a pest, and because he’s a racist, sexist abuser with a hate on for ‘SJWs’


    But enough about him. I should clarify my remarks about doxxing. If Rebecca simply publishes the emails and the name of the sender, I have no problem with that. I have no problem with people exposing sockpuppets set up by an established public figure to harass (note, that is not the same as people using different online names in fandom or to comment on blogposts, with no intent to harass or stalk.)

    Even what Shetterly did to CoffeeandInk originally in Racefail was outing, not doxxing as such, although what he’s done to her since is full on harassment and abuse, and in as much as he continues to provide personal information about her with the intent of causing her distress and fear, is actual doxxing.

    What he did to me, is actual doxxing, because he has repeatedly linked to a source with RL info and an invitation to harass. And note, this wasn’t because I had done anything to him, any more than CoffeeandInk had done. We both simply recorded and linked to his egregious behaviour. No doxxing, no harassment, nothing beyond documenting, and in her case, warning her friends ‘DO NOT ENGAGE’. For this, she’s endured five years and more of harassment from this man.

    My problem lies with using real email addresses (not addresses used by sockpuppets to send anonymous hate), and in particular IP addresses. If you give identifying information, a method of sending harassment or a way of finding a person’s location, that makes you no better than they are. Inviting harassment and unwanted and threatening intrusion into RL space is what the gamergaters, the Slymepitters, the MRAs do.

    What P Z Myers did on his blog post agreeing with Rebecca, to one of his commenters, is also doxxing, and completely wrong. Ban the person, if you want. You don’t have to expose him to harassment. People commenting on a blog give personal information for the right to comment. That does not give a blog owner the right to misuse it for revenge.

    1. Sigh. You and Coffeeandink made your histories of events that were conducted in public on the internet. In response, I’ve made mine to show what you’ve omitted—that’s how history is recorded. Unlike you, I have not banned anyone from pointing out my mistakes of fact or interpretation; anyone’s welcome to comment at my sites, and I welcome corrections and alternative interpretations.

      I will stress this: Nothing I’ve ever posted was taken from private sources. If Google didn’t verify it, I didn’t share it. I continue to disapprove of doxxing in general, and I’m inclined to agree with you about P Z Myers, based on what little I’ve read so far.

      1. “You are outing me after having claimed you would stop. You are outing me after people have told you it is wrong and dangerous. You are outing me knowing nothing of my circumstances. You are outing me having been warned it could expose me to physical violence, sexual abuse, personal harassment, and professional and personal hardship.”

        That’s one of your victims speaking, Shetterly. That’s a woman you have terrorised for nearly six years.

        You are a liar, a doxxer, and a threat to any woman who dares to speak up about you. You’re attacking me because I have dared report on your behaviour, and you attacked CoffeeandInk for doing the same.

        You’re not just an idiot, but a coward. A coward who only goes after women, and who is happy to use others to do your dirty work.

        Run back to your gamergate friends. They understand you. No one else wants to touch you with a ten foot pole.

        1. Those are the words of my “victim” who, at the time, was using her legal name on public posts on her LJ, and whenever she went to a convention, she announced which panels she would be on, using her full legal name, so anyone who could Google could easily find her. The notion that she was afraid is very silly—she was trying to damn me by making it look as if she could have been someone for whom pseudonymity mattered, but if pseudonymity had mattered to her, she wouldn’t have connected her name and her user name so cavalierly.

          Sometime after declaring I had outed her, and after making her public posts private, she admitted to Justine Larbalestier, “I am mostly just fighting a losing battle to prevent my mother from finding my LJ via Google.”

          You can find the full story (except for her last name) if you google “The Retroactive Pseudonymity of Micole “Mely” Coffeeandink”. I noted there, “I will always have trouble believing her mother didn’t know how to type her daughter’s name into Google, but perhaps Coffeeandink had the most internet-incompetent mother ever.”

          As for the notion that I’m a coward, to her credit, Coffeeandink linked to my response to her post after I asked her to. You have not even had that much integrity.

          1. “Sometime after that, I got this anonymous comment: “Coffeeandink should really take the “Do not engage” post down. Because every time someone links to that post and dredges up the issue yet again, her name and identity come up again as well. And if she really wants to remain anonymous (though half the internet knows her name by now), constantly dredging up her “outing” again and again doesn’t help.

            I emailed her to ask if she wanted to take the post down, and she didn’t respond. So, in 2011, I stopped playing by the warriors’ rules and played by my own: I emailed Coffeeandink and said she had a week to choose between restoring her posts that used her legal name or removing her public claims that she had been outed. While I waited for her decision, I amused myself by posting about the situation. Was her charge that I had outed her slander? It had hurt my career, and she could never defend the idea that she had been outed in court: the law does not let us retract anything we’ve made public.When she didn’t respond after four days, I got bored and posted this:

            Dear [redacted], go in peace

            I’ve restored your name to the posts where I used it before and I added it to my account of Racefail 09. I suggest that you restore the many posts where you used your name in public on your LJ, but that’s entirely your decision, of course.If you ever truly wish to be pseudonymous, let me know, and I’ll delete your name again. Ain’t no big.If you’re content with things as they are, go in peace.”


            “[redacted] [redacted] is coffeeandink.Here’s why I’m outing her. I originally hadn’t known [redacted] was hiding her last name, because she uses her first at Coffeeandink. Last week, I got an email from her asking me to delete her last name from my posts. I thought it was funny that she would ask me to shield her while she attacked me, but I did. What can I say? I guess I’m a bit sexist: I usually protect women when they ask me.You can read about that at “well, I think it’s funny.””

            Both quotes from “How To Make A Social Justice Warrior”
            By Will Shetterly

            “2. When C&I asked me to remove the name I had used in ignorance, I did. I only “outed” her intentionally on March 3, when she sicced people on Katharine and me without mentioning that what we had done was in ignorance. Yes, doing what you’re accused of is incredibly stupid. Nonetheless, at that time, on Google, she could not possibly have been more out than she was.

            3. Yes, what I did was malicious, but that does not mean it was immoral: I did not reveal anything that she had not been revealing in public posts on her LJ for three years.”

            Comment by Will Shetterly, here http://dearauthor.com/features/letters-of-opinion/whos-rulin-who/#comment-195467

  19. Ann, you are bullying Will Shetterly and you don’t even realize you’re doing it. The fact that I know who you are at all is a freak cooincidence and proves we live in a very small world.

    In the book world, you’re infamous for your bullying and harrassment of other authors. Maybe you don’t have that kind of reputation among your friends here, but when I was reading this article for completely unrelated reasons, I saw “Ann Somerville” and thought, No way. There’s just no way.

    Sure enough, the kinds of sneaky bullying you do that makes it look like you’re not actually bullying but BEING bullied: that is what you’re doing to Will Shetterly.

    You intentionally use language that plays up your adversary’s wrongdoing in an attempt to get a “call of arms” going and get people to attack that person.

    I’m not even saying I agree with everything Will writes here. I’m only saying that what you’re doing to him is bullying, and it is unbearably cruel, and you should stop.

    1. “Ann, you are bullying Will Shetterly and you don’t even realize you’re doing it.”

      Oh for fuck’s sake.

      “You intentionally use language that plays up your adversary’s wrongdoing in an attempt to get a “call of arms” going and get people to attack that person.”

      I am describing his wrong doing. Any ‘playing up’ is in your imagination.

    2. Good grief, the owner of STGRB is actually using the name of someone they harassed as their sockname:



      “Kevin Weinberg” is apparently an author they targeted back in May this year (I know nothing about him except from the crap they’ve posted about him, but on past form I’m going to guess he’s nothing like what they say he is.) So using his name to post a defence of STGRB’s owner is particularly nasty, and clearly intended to blacken his reputation.

      Rebecca/Skepchicks, are you going to let this post be the outlet for this kind of thing? Comments are serving no purpose now except to feed egos and let an unconnected individual be smeared.

  20. Will: I know Melissa. She is a sweet, kind woman, and I have seen the kind of damage that these people have done to her.

    I don’t care what the ideological differences are, to be honest. It makes no difference to me who believes in what cause. What matters is how people go about their disagreements. And the harm that Ann’s post did to an innocent woman is to the extent that it borders on misogyny. Because only someone with a hatred of women could be this cruel. Melissa is not a bad person. She is not the owner of that website. I’ve spoken to her personally. The owner of STGRB is a woman named Athena. They are not the same, and yes, there is some circumstantial evidence that is the result of a gigantic coincidence.

    I only bring it up because you linked it, and because I wanted to assure you it’s not true

    1. I completely agree with you about ideological differences. Somerville and her community want a world in which everyone thinks alike—their definition of diversity is only skin deep. I want a world in which people are able to think differently and still treat each other with respect. I’m fond of Malcolm X quotes, so here’s another, from after he left NOI: “Since I learned the truth in Mecca, my dearest friends have come to include all kinds — some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even atheists! I have friends who are called capitalists, Socialists, and Communists! Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists — some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!”

      The range of my friendships is not quite as great, but if I’m lucky, it will be, someday.

    2. “Athena Parker” is a sockpuppet and was admitted to be such on the site when it first opened. Whatever that site is saying now, makes no difference.

      And god, could you be any more obviously a sock for the actual owner of STGRB? The same person from her location who spent hours poring over my blog posts about her yesterday?

      Christ, how stupid do you think I am.

  21. @Will Shetterly – I am finished with your strange ideas of identity politics, social justice bloggers are some of the most open people to fluid identities that I know of so trying to brand them with the race and gender reductionist label is just bizarre, and I don’t want homework assigned by the head of the long dead and longer irrelevant socialists club. This will be the last time I tell you to leave me alone.

    And I would suggest to you and @Ann Sommerville as well as the newly arrived @Kevin Weinberg take a good look at the Comment Policy because to my thinking you are all violating multiple points by bringing your outside beef here.

    I don’t know who is right and who is wrong in your little slap fight, and frankly I don’t fucking care, but this is not the time or place for it and I strongly suggest you get back on topic or take it elsewhere before you get banned.

    1. “I don’t know who is right and who is wrong in your little slap fight”

      Nice. I see not only is Rebecca happy with doxxing, but so is her commentariat. No wonder victims of abuse have so much trouble being heard. ‘Little slap fight’ over someone who’s another Eron Gjonji, only with a smaller audience, indeed.

      I am done. It’s become ridiculous. But if you think your comment adds anything to the discussion, you’re mistaken. It’s truly distressing to speak as a victim of what Rebecca is so enthusiastic about, and then be subject to abuse in the comments from the usual suspects and from the regulars.

      BTW further reading leads me to believe the ” newly arrived @Kevin Weinberg” isn’t a sockpuppet, but one of the STGRB’s owner’s useful idiots.

      Please, do invite your moderators in. They should have stepped in much earlier.

      1. No, I don’t care because you two obviously have a past that I do not have the time to look into, I literally do not care about this case. But I can see you are just as quick to jump to bullshit conclusions as your sparring partner, your initial comments were on topic and furthered the discussion but it quickly turned into a he said/she said that no one here asked for details of.

        Rebecca showed that she is okay with exposing the e-mails of those who directly attack her and exposing sockpuppet accounts when they are being used to gang up on people, I’m not even sure that doxxing is the correct term for that. You are not okay with that and said as much, you stated your view and you had a couple of descent points and I’m truly sorry if you were doxxed. it’s not that I don’t believe you it’s just that there are two contrary claims that I am not personally invested in and I don’t have time to play internet detective to find which of the two people that I had never heard of less than a week ago is correct. If that makes me sound callous then so be it, I don’t care.

        You are welcome to your opinion of Rebecca, myself or the commentariat but don’t fool yourself into thinking I care whether you believe my comment added anything, it wasn’t meant to. It was meant to get the thread back on topic instead of fighting over an off-topic case. Period.

        1. You know what? You’re right. It was a horrible mistake to post about this here. Because now that woman is making fun of me and calling me an idiot and a fool on her blog, and all I did wrong was disagree with her here. I didn’t think I’d be put up for public ridicule just for disagreeing with her one time on this website. So you’re right: never should’ve posted any of that here.

          I was just defending my friend who she keeps making fun of on her blog day in and day out. So now she’s insulting me, Will, Rebecca, and my friend all in one post, while in the same breath she jumps on Miss Watson’s back for her “doxxing.”

          I’m not a cyber criminal. All I did was disagree, and now she’s trying to ruin my reputation!

  22. I think you have rationalized, cleverly, defensive uses of doxxing. Nothing wrong with that. But doxxing has one purpose: to harm the person you are outing info on. What you’re doing is simply describing through anecdotes where such retaliation is justified. The examples of violence by Aldrin, gun use etc. are also in that realm.
    FWIW, I think the stance is fine, it is not hypocritical at all. Dox on those who bully us, when they do not obviously care.

    What could be hypocritical is to be anti-gun or anti-violence as a general principle. We rely on the cops to use their guns and resort to violence should our life or limb be threatened. However ineffective they may be, this is not disputable. Self-defense sometimes requires violence. That aspect applies to doxxing just as well.

    Sometimes, tit-for-tat has the best outcome for some game theory applications.

  23. No doxing is not ok and here’s why.

    Basically you could say your comparison at first makes sense, you punch someone who won’t leave you alone although you tell them to fuck off in order to make them back off, you doxx somebody who won’t leave you alone. However it’s not the same, and the comparison actually does not fit, a comparison would fit to you blocking a person, and just in real life if that doesn’t help you report it to the police.

    The difference between punching someone in contrast to doxing them is that when you dox someone you do not have any control of what’s happening to them anymore, you don’t know how others will react to this person and they could recieve a lot more than they actually deserve. The actual comparison to buzz aldrin doxing the guy harassing him would be to go to a large group of people with this guy, display the harassment he’s getting and shout out about it, people could be beating the shit out of the harasser, break his arm, cut off limbs, rearrange his face. He does not the deserve that much, the punch was fine, it worked and it made the harasser stop, it ended there, just like it could end with blocking somebody harassing you. If you cannot understand that, you need to think long and hard about it until you do.

    1. Good point. Some doxxers hope doxxing will result in a mob making their victim’s life horrible, but most doxxers, I suspect, are caught up in the moment and don’t realize that the psychological consequences of mobbing are horrible—so horrible that you shouldn’t wish them on your worst enemy. Depression is a common result. Some people who’ve been mobbed have killed themselves.

      I wrote a little about the consequences of mobbing here: http://shetterly.blogspot.com/2014/02/mobbing-drives-people-littleor-lotmad.html

  24. OK, stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Take one regular step forwards. Turn your front foot slightly inwards; raise the heel of your rear foot.

    Bring your hands up in front of your face (you should be able to touch your cheekbones with your thumbs). Keep your elbows tucked in towards your ribs, with about a 90′ bend.

    Keep your hands relatively loose at this stage.

    Now, extend your lead arm directly forwards like a piston. At the same time throw your shoulder forwards and rotate so your hip goes in the same direction (most of the power is generated from below the waist.)

    Don’t over extend so your elbow locks but at the extent of your reach tighten your fist (“The thumb goes on the outside Niles!”)

    Bring your arm back in a straight line (don’t drop it) so your hand goes back to its original position in front of your face.

    Now repeat but with your rear hand.

    Aim to strike a few inches beyond the target (in essence ‘striking through’ the target.) It helps if you think about withdrawing your hand as quickly as possible (as if you were plucking something from a fire).

    Practice slowly at first until you get the motions, then speed up and add more power as you get used to the technique.

    There you go; now you can punch.

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