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The end of kindness: weev and the cult of the angry young man | The Verge

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Greg Sandoval writes about the many cowards who use the anonymity of the Internet to harrass, threaten to rape, threaten to kill, and be jerks to other people:

Twitter and Facebook aren’t much help either, say women’s advocates. Valerie Aurora, the co-founder of the Ada Initiative, a group that tries to make the internet and tech sectors more welcoming to women, said Twitter makes it difficult for harassment victims to get help. "Twitter makes it near impossible to deal with an attack from a lot of trolls [similar to what happened to Sierra and Criado-Perez]," Aurora said. "The only person who can report the abuse is the target. Sometimes Twitter takes months to respond. It’s a total joke."

Why Twitter and Facebook don't police their communities is something I don't understand.

This is a disgusting insight into how badly some men behave online:

In 2007, Sierra was one of the most visible women in tech. She taught the Java programming language at Sun Microsystems. Her books on software design were top sellers on Amazon. Her blog was on Technorati’s top 100, a list that included other blogging pioneers, such as Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington, and Om Malik. Her writing focused on design and coding and included very little that could be considered controversial. So, why would anyone wish her dead?

In March of that year, some visitors to Sierra’s blog called "open season" on the now 57-year-old. Hundreds of commenters on her blog made rape and death threats. "I hope someone slits your throat," wrote one person. People posted photoshopped images of her with a pair of panties choking her, or a noose near her head. She had enraged scores of men for supporting a call to moderate reader comments, which is of course common practice now. Sierra went public about the threats, writing on her blog, "It’s better to talk about it than to just disappear."


But disappear is exactly what she did next. Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, a well-known provocateur, hacker, and anti-Semite, circulated her home address and Social Security number online. He also made false statements about her being a battered wife and a former prostitute. Not only did Sierra find herself a target for identity theft, but all the people who had threatened to brutally rape and kill her now knew where she lived. So, she logged off and didn’t return to the web until two months ago. She gave up the book deals, speaking engagements, and even fled her home. An anonymous internet group had chased her off the web and out of tech, and it finally managed to hijack her offline life.

Despite everything, Sierra says she’s lucky. She told The Verge, in her first interview since 2007, that she knows things could have been far worse. "What happened to me pales in comparison to what’s happening to women online today," Sierra said. "I thought things would get better. Mostly, it’s just gotten worse."

It’s not hard to find support to back that statement. In July, Caroline Criado-Perez — a British journalist who led a successful campaign to get the image of author Jane Austen on one of the UK’s banknotes — received thousands of threats on Twitter. "Women that talk too much need to get raped," wrote someone using the handle Rapey1 in a tweet to Criado-Perez. Another user called Catch-me-if-you-can wrote: "Shut your whore mouth now, or I’ll shut it for you, and choke you with my dick." The threatening tweets were then directed at male journalists who were critical of the attacks. Paul Mason writing for The Guardian said his Twitter timeline became full of threats, and some demanded he "respect free speech." As he explained, "I’ve been treated to graphic descriptions of child rape, outrageous accusations designed to evoke disgust, plus numerous other commentaries on my appearance, professionalism, life."

Greg's article has a lot more:

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