What I’m Reading, February 23, 2015

One Woman’s New Tool to Stop Gamergate Harassment on Twitter, Taylor Wofford, Newsweek, November 29, 2014

Harper admits that Gamergate Autoblocker is more akin to a sledgehammer than a fine tool: She is willing to block out more than 9,000 Twitter users just so she doesn’t have to hear from a vocal few hundred. People who have never tweeted a single harassing thing end up blocked by nearly a thousand people, including many influential decision makers in the gaming industry. Gamergaters are worried Harper’s block list may turn into a black list, and anyone who appears on it will be persona non grata in the gaming industry. Harper attributes this fear to a quirk in her initial code. “The block list was in a file called blacklist.txt,” she says. She has since changed the file name.

Twitter is not the only place where women are harassed online. In a Pew Research poll released in October that tracked online harassment, a group of female respondents aged 18-24 reported experiencing severe harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26 percent claimed to have been stalked online, compared with 8 percent of all respondents, and 25 percent claimed to have been sexually harassed online, compared with 6 percent of all respondents.

Still Here, Part 1: A Memoir, Randi Harper, randi.io, November 16, 2014

This post is dedicated to all of the people that think sexism in tech doesn’t exist, that harassment isn’t a big deal, that trolling is harmless and funny, and that the gender disparity in tech is due simply to biology.


Next year, I will have been in an abusive relationship for 2 decades, and I do not plan on leaving. I love my partner, and even though the situation seems hopeless to some, I’m going to hang in there, because I want to believe that it’s going to get better. Some people think it’s my fault that I’m treated this way. Others don’t think there’s any problems at all, because I’ve done such a good job of hiding my bruises. Some tell me I should leave, but I’ve hung in there this long. If I left, what would I do? Where would I go? We’ve had some good times. Maybe things can change. Maybe if I work hard enough, if I fight hard enough, things will get better. Bruises fade, after all.

I’m in an abusive relationship with tech, and this is my story.

Still Here, Part 2: Call to Arms, Randi Harper, randi.io, November 16, 2014

This is real. This is happening. And it’s not just a bunch of kids fucking around on IRC anymore. Look at my mentions on twitter, and look at the lengths I’ve gone to so I can try to shut down the harassment for other targets because it’s getting worse. You have these shitty fucking adults that have realized they can build out their online fanbase by driving a mob of children that don’t know any better to attack more women. How is this OK? Why are we letting them get away with this? Why are we looking away when children are growing up learning a culture of indifference, apathy, and destructive misogyny?


Are you really so surprised that there aren’t more women in tech when this is the type of environment they have to grow up in, that they still live with 20 years later? Internet culture puts trolling on a pedestal, and women are almost always the targets. You may not have noticed it, and you may think your precious little corner of the internet is exempt, but let me tell you, it’s happening, and it’s everywhere. If you know any women in tech, you know someone that has been a target of online trolls seeking nothing more than the fear, pain, and terror of women.


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