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.