Puerto Rican with 300 Twitter accounts accused of harassment

I’m sharing this on my account for a couple reasons. One, to further demonstrate that harassment is bad, and excessive harassment is increasingly getting punished via law. Two, because of the number of accounts he used.

This is a guy who created 300 Twitter accounts for the sake of harassing other people. 300. Social media like Twitter and Tumblr makes it INCREDIBLY easy to make multiple accounts, and extremely devoted people can and will be heavily active with a slew of them to make themselves and what they’re doing look bigger and broader than it really is.

I’m saying this because I’m extremely familiar with fandoms and social media use. I know there are some great, amazing people out there who get bombarded with hate in this fashion. Without having experienced it over a long period, it’s easy to think all that hate is a wide swath of people and you did something horribly wrong to deserve it. In reality, a lot of the time, it’s one person with multiple accounts and a mission or vendetta of some sort.

“How can someone maintain 10 or 20 fairly active accounts? This can’t all just be one person.” That’s the most common thought, and this article is proof that a single person can definitely maintain that many active accounts. If this man could maintain 300 accounts, what’s 10-20?

Puerto Rican with 300 Twitter accounts accused of harassment

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I normally don’t post about GamerGate on here. I leave that almost exclusively to my Twitter account, which is also why I’m not as active on Tumblr as I once was: I put more focus on dealing with GamerGate. However, some things have happened that require me to post here.

I strongly urge not going to or supporting SXSW. Or at least, not SXSW Interactive.

https://twitter.com/randileeharper/status/658742655652909056

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/sxsw-has-approved-a-gamergate-panel

I don’t expect everyone reading this to know or understand GamerGate or what’s going on, so here’s the gist of things.

GamerGate started as an abuse campaign against Zoe Quinn under the excuse of “ethics in games journalism”. They conjured up false claims about sex for favorable game reviews, and over time, they’ve attacked anyone else who either won’t let them bully others or who they see as “deserving” in some way. Their targets are always feminists, usually women, and usually ones with a promising career either currently or ahead of them. They make false claims about their targets to “justify” their attacks, claiming pedophilia, bestiality, etc in hopes of ruining reputations and lives.

The second link above explains how a panel SXSW accepted is tied to GamerGate.

The first one is far more important, and the reason I’m making this post: SXSW canceled Randi Harper’s panel. Here’s what the panel was going to be about.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/54068

The panel was going to be about overcoming harassment in games. SXSW canceled it due to threats of violence, after having accepted the GamerGate one.

They’re permitting a group that has doxxed, SWATed, hacked and harassed many people to have a presence at SXSW, while kicking out a panel headed by people that group has attacked, a panel focused on dealing with those attacks. They’re essentially saying that all it takes is a false veneer of good intent (”ethics in games journalism”) and threats of harm for SXSW to reward abusers and punish abuse victims.

I’m not demanding anyone reading this to take an action they don’t feel comfortable with doing. I absolutely encourage doing searches, looking around, discovering things for yourselves to decide if you’re making the right decision. But I needed to make this post in light of everything currently happening.

If there are any important updates, I’ll reblog to add them.

I mentioned I’d reblog for any important updates. I have important updates.

http://www.sxsw.com/news/2015/sxsw-statement-hugh-forrest

This is the statement SXSW put out. It’s also archived here, if the archive becomes necessary: https://archive.is/NBXId .

They canceled the GamerGate panel, which is good. But, they also canceled the harassment panel. And their “logic” for this is that they wanted both panels for “an exchange of ideas”. We’re already seeing awfulness out of SXSW when they equate one panel that’s a cover for an abuse campaign and another panel that’s about stopping abuse as “two sides” of a debate.

SXSW has sent a message that if a mob threatens violence, it can get a panel shut down that’s about how to deal with the kind of behavior you’d see in a mob that threatens violence.

Here are news articles written so far on this issue.

http://tech.blog.austin360.com/2015/10/26/sxsw-interactive-cancels-two-2016-panels-due-to-threats/

http://www.polygon.com/2015/10/26/9618362/sxsw-cancels-gaming-related-panels-in-light-of-threats

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/sxsw-cancels-gaming-panels-due-to-threats-of-violence

http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/26/9618086/sxsw-gamergate-harassment-panels-cancellation

http://fusion.net/story/221657/sxsw-cancels-gamergate-panel/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialshare&utm_content=desktop+top

Another update.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/27/this-is-not-a-game-how-sxsw-turned-gamergate-abuse-into-a-spectator-sport.html

These are new details about the situation.

I highly suggest reading all of it. SXSW is disgusting, and at the absolute bare minimum, has proven it is not safe to attend. If threats of violence are enough to make SXSW cancel panels rather than beef up security, that means they’re completely incapable of keeping their convention safe.

Yet another update!

SXSW’s decision caused a lot of blowback. BuzzFeed and Vox Media/The Verge threatened to withdraw from SXSW if the panels aren’t reinstated, and Representative Katherine Clark sent a letter to SXSW urging them that it’s important not to silence the discussion of dealing with online harassment that those threatening violence sought in making their threats.

http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/27/9621414/sxsw-2065-anti-harassment-panel-cancellation-vox-media-statement

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tasneemnashrulla/buzzfeed-threatens-to-withdraw-from-sxsw-over-canceled-gamin#.ob3aAP2dpW

http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/27/9623034/representative-katherine-clark-sxsw-anti-harassment-panel-complaint

There were also tons of articles chastising the decision at Washington Post, Salon, Slate and many others.

SXSW since put out this announcement saying they understand the frustration and are looking into options: http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/news/2015/safety-top-priority-and-so-your-voice . One site, re/code, is saying they heard from exclusive sources that SXSW is considering a day devoted to the issue of combating online harassment as an answer and apology: http://recode.net/2015/10/27/exclusive-after-gamergate-misstep-sxsw-weighing-an-all-day-forum-on-online-harassment/ .

Hopefully, everything taking place comes to a good conclusion. A day dedicated to combating online harassment sounds like a good one to me, it’s increasingly becoming one of the most important issues in online and tech culture.

Another update. There’s both good news and bad news.

SXSW is bringing back both panels they canceled, and even dedicating an entire day to an online harassment summit.

http://www.sxsw.com/news/2015/sxsw-announces-march-12-online-harassment-summit

A summit on online harassment is a great idea, and clearly needed given SXSW’s incredibly poor handling of the situation.

However, there are two problems. 1) SXSW is including the GamerGate panel as part of the summit, and 2) they didn’t even speak with the panelists of Level Up, the panel about online harassment, about SXSW including the GamerGate panel in the summit.

https://twitter.com/randileeharper/status/660135591133114368

https://twitter.com/randileeharper/status/660145625757974529

SXSW announced the Level Up panel’s return, but because SXSW isn’t actually addressing the panel’s safety concerns or conferring with them about these things, whether or not the panelists actually go ahead with the panel is up in the air.

Meanwhile, this is an archive of what the GamerGate panel was about.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:WB9ouO-tJ2MJ:schedule.sxsw.com/2016/events/event_PP57734+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

None of the GG panel was about online harassment. They claim it’s about “the social/political landscape of gaming”, “integrity of gaming journalists”, and other video game topics, but not one bit of that is about online harassment. There is literally no good, logical reason whatsoever for that panel to be part of the online harassment summit.

At this point, I’m hard-pressed not to think the worst about SXSW. Either they’re grossly incompetent, trying to exploit the situation for attention, deliberately trying to make things worse for the Level Up panelists, or the organizers just don’t care at all about anyone or anything other than themselves. Not even the conference they run.

Even in the nicest, most accommodating view of GamerGate, it doesn’t take more than one second’s glance to look at the GG panel’s purpose and think “Okay, we’ll bring it back, but it needs to be a different day since it doesn’t fit the summit at all.”

I normally don’t post about GamerGate on here. I leave that almost exclusively to my Twitter account, which is also why I’m not as active on Tumblr as I once was: I put more focus on dealing with GamerGate. However, some things have happened that require me to post here.

I strongly urge not going to or supporting SXSW. Or at least, not SXSW Interactive.

https://twitter.com/randileeharper/status/658742655652909056

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/sxsw-has-approved-a-gamergate-panel

I don’t expect everyone reading this to know or understand GamerGate or what’s going on, so here’s the gist of things.

GamerGate started as an abuse campaign against Zoe Quinn under the excuse of “ethics in games journalism”. They conjured up false claims about sex for favorable game reviews, and over time, they’ve attacked anyone else who either won’t let them bully others or who they see as “deserving” in some way. Their targets are always feminists, usually women, and usually ones with a promising career either currently or ahead of them. They make false claims about their targets to “justify” their attacks, claiming pedophilia, bestiality, etc in hopes of ruining reputations and lives.

The second link above explains how a panel SXSW accepted is tied to GamerGate.

The first one is far more important, and the reason I’m making this post: SXSW canceled Randi Harper’s panel. Here’s what the panel was going to be about.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/54068

The panel was going to be about overcoming harassment in games. SXSW canceled it due to threats of violence, after having accepted the GamerGate one.

They’re permitting a group that has doxxed, SWATed, hacked and harassed many people to have a presence at SXSW, while kicking out a panel headed by people that group has attacked, a panel focused on dealing with those attacks. They’re essentially saying that all it takes is a false veneer of good intent (”ethics in games journalism”) and threats of harm for SXSW to reward abusers and punish abuse victims.

I’m not demanding anyone reading this to take an action they don’t feel comfortable with doing. I absolutely encourage doing searches, looking around, discovering things for yourselves to decide if you’re making the right decision. But I needed to make this post in light of everything currently happening.

If there are any important updates, I’ll reblog to add them.

“there are bad and hypocrite people who like to discredit characters and you seem to be one of them“

Yeeeeeah, maybe try not introducing yourself with the fan equivalent of “I don’t like what you said there, therefore YOU ARE LITERALLY THE EMBODIMENT OF HITLER.” That’s an insta-block. Especially because it’s now an M.O. I’m very savvy to.

I actually kind of have mixed feelings about being targeted like this. On the one hand, I don’t really want to be a big known name of anything, if I did then I’d have a real blog with featurettes and regular output and such. That was never my goal.

On the other hand, if we’re to the point where a person or group of people is trying to harass and smear me like this, it means progress. People don’t typically launch attacks against fans of obscure nobody characters, they’d see it as a waste of their time.

So much progress has been made for Polaris since I discovered her and started campaigning for her back in 2009. We went from a character hardly anyone knows, who never got to lead a team in her own right, never had her origin story told, whose status as a mutant AND as Magneto’s daughter was up in the air, to the Lorna of today.

She has an origin story, after over 40 years without one. She led her own team in All-New X-Factor. She’s her father’s daughter again. She’s a mutant again. She’s getting tons of cameos as AU versions during Secret Wars, including a big role for her House of M counterpart. It’s becoming more common for people to actually know who I’m talking about if I mention Polaris, and there are all these wonderful pieces of fanart and cosplays coming at least once per week for a character who once had hardly anything.

We’ve come so far since 2009, and the days when people would argue against Lorna being restored as Magneto’s daughter or insist she should remain in space limbo and “out of the way.” Not just fandom, but even awareness and acceptance of her as a meaningful character has really grown, and I’m so happy to see it.

I didn’t really expect to become a target of harassment in the process, but if that’s a necessary sacrifice, I’m willing to make it. I’m not going to stop pushing for Lorna just because some guys decide to smear me for my efforts six years into it, especially with the progress that’s been made for her.

“True Fans,” Fandom, and Gatekeeping

If you’ve been active on social media at all, or even taken part in something that would get a lot of spread on social media, you know how volatile people have become.

A lot of people are getting their names and reputations dragged through the mud, receiving harassment and death threats online, and some have even been SWATted (where a fake threat is called to police to get a SWAT team to raid someone’s house – which can result in actual physical harm and threats) and essentially chased out of their homes.

All of this activity can ultimately be traced back to one thing: the concept of a “true fan”, and attempts to dominate fandom and control who is or isn’t considered a fan.

As much as I’ve been active on Twitter, I haven’t been nearly active enough about this on Tumblr, and it’s time for me to say something here.

There is a lot of loaded language wrapped up in this concept, so there’s no perfect place to begin. We have to just jump right in and elaborate from there.

We’ve seen a lot of volatility as of late in fandom everywhere. There’s GamerGate, full of people who insist they’re fighting for ethics in games journalism – when really, the language of most GGers is stilted in things like “fighting the SJW menace” and “exposing <insert female critic, developer, research, etc>’s lies.” Many GGers insist the people they target are “not real gamers.”

When the Batgirl cover referencing the Killing Joke came out, and many people complained and criticized it (I believe rightfully so), many people insisted demands to pull the cover amounted to censorship… and some of the people who demanded the cover be pulled received harassment and death threats, and calls that they weren’t “true comic book fans” or “true Batman fans.”

I’ve experienced this first-hand, of course. Nowhere near to the same degree as so many others have received it. But practically any time where I’ve criticized a company or product or shown concern that something bad might happen to something I love, there will be someone who comes along with this insistence they’re a “true fan,” and that I’m not because I said something they didn’t like.

So here’s the critical question in all of this: what makes someone a “true fan”?

If I buy absolutely anything and everything a company makes, even if they openly insult me as a consumer and all the things I care about – am I a true fan?

If I buy absolutely nothing, never have and never will, and say something needs to radically change into something else before I’ll buy it – am I a true fan?

We know the dictionary definition of a fan, but there are so many individual, personal semantic definitions. One person thinks you’re not a fan unless you defend a company and what it does to the death, no matter how bad it is. Another person thinks you’re not a fan unless you mercilessly criticize everything and show no appreciation. Still another person thinks neither route is correct, that you need a mix.

Or is it something else? Are you a true fan if you play X number of games or read X number of comics featuring something? Are you a true fan if you paid to commission fanart, or write fanfiction?

Depending on your definition, who counts as a “true fan” changes.

Suddenly, a person who’s read comic books about their favorite character for years and bought countless comics and art commissions isn’t a “true fan” because they’re willing to complain about the company that owns that character’s rights.

Suddenly, a woman who makes experimental video games or cares about better representation for women in video games isn’t a “true gamer”, while a man who’s never played a game before and has regularly insulted gaming as a whole is an “honorary gamer” for supporting certain people and playing a little bit of one video game.

Suddenly, people who deeply love and respect something “don’t count” as “true fans.” And here’s the reason: power.

Fiction has cultural power, and whoever has the loudest voice gets the most say in its shape. Whether explicitly or implicitly, most people are starting to realize this.

Want a character to get raped? Silence all dissenting voices, and it might happen.

Want a certain person to quit the video game industry? Send him or her enough death threats, make up things like “she has sex with dogs” or “she’s a rapist”, hack his or her bank account, all sorts of nastiness, and it might happen.

That is the shape “fandom” is increasingly taking right now: smear jobs, character assassination, real life harassment even to friends and family just for being associated with the intended target.

It’s all gatekeeping. It’s all an attempt to take possession of the keys, and then dictate who’s allowed to have them. “You’re not a true gamer unless you accept games as they are.” “You’re not a true Batgirl fan unless you accept her being presented first and foremost as Joker’s victim.” “You’re not a true Polaris fan unless you never complain about Marvel and never worry they might do something bad to her.”

And while it looks recent, this has actually been going on for years. Probably far longer than I’m even consciously aware.

When Anita Sarkeesian launched her Tropes vs Video Games Kickstarter in 2012, she received a wave of harassment and threats simply for the IDEA of criticizing video games through a feminist perspective, suggesting that as great as they are, they can be better.

When a woman working for Bioware said video games should permit a “skip gameplay” option to be able to enjoy only the story, also back in 2012, she received a swarm of harassment for daring to suggest games don’t need gameplay.

This behavior looks new, but it’s not. It’s been a very gradual escalation across several years. It only looks new because most people weren’t watching the horizon and what was slowly spilling over it.

The more people who think this is the right approach to fandom, the more extreme people will become when they get desperate. Right now, GamerGate laughs off the idea that any of the people they target will ever get killed. But is it really so laughable? In the span of 3 years, we’ve gone from internet harassment and some online death threats to women like Anita Sarkeesian, to people getting SWATted, and smeared as supposedly being rapists or fucking dogs or selling their kids for drug money.

All in an attempt to become the gatekeepers of fandom, and terrorize and chase out anyone who disagrees with them. If 3 years is enough for people to turn out like that and think it’s perfectly acceptable, what will 3 more years bring us?

Any time you see the words “true fan”, always, ALWAYS ask: who’s using them, how, and why. We can’t afford to not ask those questions when lives are on the line – right now, professional lives, the ability to actually get a job. But perhaps some day, the ability to continue living at all.