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Thread: "Outing" pseudonymous writers

  1. #26
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    She was spot on in many critiques tbh

    It just got lost in all the acid hurling/shitstain stuff.

    So I gave up after I think three posts.




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  2. #27
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    Just playing devil's advocate here...

    A while back, a guy called Violentacrez was doxxed. For those of you who don't know, this was a notorious troll on reddit who moderated /r/beatingwomen, /r/jailbait, and /r/creepshots. Jailbait was a subreddit where people posted pictures of underage girls. Creepshots was a subreddit where people would take pictures of unsuspecting women in public (underskirt photos, often) and post them online. Beatingwomen was... well, it's probably obvious.

    A reporter found out his name and doxxed him. Because of that, Violentacrez lost his job.

    Now: did the reporter cause Violentacrez to lose his job, or did Violentacrez cause Violentacrez to lose his job?

  3. #28
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Depending on what he actually posted...

    At least the creepshots is illegal. The rest depends on what he actually posted

    But you could easily alert authorities to all of it. And the reporter should have done.
    Last edited by Mr Flibble; 10-19-2014 at 03:57 AM.




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  4. #29
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    That's why I'm ambivalent about (though generally opposed to) outing a pseudonym. I can imagine cases where I'd consider it entirely justifiable.

    I'm not sure Violentacrez is such a case - though I admit, I feel vastly less sympathy for him than I do for RH, about whom I feel only a smidgin of sympathy.

    People need to remember that pseudonyms have no legal protections - if someone finds out your real name, they have no legal obligation not to post it all over Twitter, and no matter how hard you've tried to conceal your real identity, you probably haven't concealed it well enough to foil a really dedicated Internet sleuth.

    Takeaway lesson: do not write words in public that you would not want publicly associated with your real name.

  5. #30
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    I can imagine cases where I'd consider it entirely justifiable.
    Where someone has committed a crime etc, yup I can see that.

    Whether RH did is..probably dependant on the laws where you are.




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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Flibble View Post
    Where someone has committed a crime etc, yup I can see that.
    Indeed. Problem with Violentacrez is that everything he did was just this side of legal. He was a creep and an asshole, without a doubt, but getting someone fired for non-work-related behavior because you hate his extracurricular activities does make me eye the footing on that slope.

  7. #32
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    I don't think that anonymity is necessarily a right. You don't have a right to say whatever you like and be faced with no social repercussions for it.

    It's useful when you can manage it. Any writer who wants to leave negative reviews for other people's books would probably be forced to use a pseudonym, because that writer would face the fury of a thousand suns from that book's author and fans. But you better be damn sure you never, ever get found out. I did it once when I wrote fanfiction, and I ended up giving up the "reviewer" persona. Too stressful. And too odd.

    And I don't necessarily think that RH should have been outed. I wish all reviews were completely anonymous, because then maybe I wouldn't buy so much crap by accident.

    That being said, Bees is not receiving death threats because she was doxxed. Bees is receiving death threats because she wrote that blog.
    Last edited by Viridian; 10-19-2014 at 04:17 AM.

  8. #33
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Indeed. Problem with Violentacrez is that everything he did was just this side of legal. He was a creep and an asshole, without a doubt, but getting someone fired for non-work-related behavior because you hate his extracurricular activities does make me eye the footing on that slope.
    Heh that may depend on which laws you go by. Creepshots are deffo illegal here

    US =/= UK =/= the world and all that.

    But ofc internet makes that harder -- if what they post is illegal here but they post from the US....

    Still, that reporter had an obligation to report rather than vigilante (if he had reported and no one did a thing, fair enough)

    That being said, Bees is not receiving death threats because she was doxxed. Bees is receiving death threats because she wrote that blog.
    And if she hadn't been doxxed, no one would have threatened the Bees account, yes?
    Last edited by Mr Flibble; 10-19-2014 at 04:16 AM.




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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Flibble View Post
    Heh that may depend on which laws you go by. Creepshots are deffo illegal here

    US =/= UK =/= the world and all that.
    I'm aware. But the case we are talking about happened in the U.S.

    Still, that reporter had an obligation to report rather than vigilante (if he had reported and no one did a thing, fair enough)
    If no law was being broken, what should the reporter have reported? (Also, in the U.S. at least, I don't think private citizens, including reporters, are legally obligated to report all crimes they become aware of.)

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Flibble View Post
    And if she hadn't been doxxed, no one would have threatened the Bees account, yes?
    Let's say you find a body in your friend's basement and you turn your friend in. Your friend is sentenced to death.

    Who caused your friend's execution? You or your friend?

    All the doxxer did was cause RH's actions to have consequences. Whether those consequences are okay or not is up for debate, but RH caused them, not the doxxer.

  11. #36
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    No, not everyone is obligated to report a crime

    But I think reporters are -- they are (or should be) held to a higher standard if they want their reporting to be taken seriously. Otherwise the phrase gutter press comes into play. Your actual journalist would note the difference.

    I'll just boggle over here about creepshots being legal shall I? (how can that be? ???)

    All the doxxer did was cause RH's actions to have consequences.
    So you're Ok with doxxing then?

    We'll ignore the whole "extraplotae an example to the nth degree" Is that a straw man. I never know what is and isn't. They didn;t teach this in school damn it!
    Last edited by Mr Flibble; 10-19-2014 at 04:25 AM.




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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Flibble View Post
    No, not everyone is obligated to report a crime

    But I think reporters are -- they are (or should be) held to a higher standard if they want their reporting to be taken seriously. Otherwise the phrase gutter press comes into play. Your actual journalist would note the difference.
    I'm not sure about that - this would tend to limit a lot of investigative journalism, as well as the ability of reporters to protect their sources.

    I'll just boggle over here about creepshots being legal shall I? (how can that be? ???)
    It depends on how you define "creepshot" but the short version is that in many cases, there simply aren't any statutes on the books to cover the unforeseen intersection of small, easily-hidden cameras and the Internet. Some jurisdictions are now addressing that, but they can run afoul of the First Amendment if the law is not carefully worded.

    There is a good article about this on Popehat.
    Last edited by Amadan; 10-19-2014 at 04:35 AM.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Flibble View Post
    So you're Ok with doxxing then?
    I think it's a complex issue. Anonymity can allow people to voice socially unacceptable opinions, which can be great and can be horrible. It can lead to discussion and it can lead to death threats.

    Honestly, I don't have a "right or wrong" stance on this. It is what it is. Sometimes slapping a guy is right, and sometimes slapping a guy is wrong. It depends on who you're slapping and why. Same with doxxing. Without context, actions can't be judged as moral or immoral.

    IMO, it's good that violentacrez was doxxed. It stopped his behavior and discouraged others like him. I feel a twinge of sympathy for RH, though. The RH blog was dormant. No one gained anything from her doxxing.

  14. #39
    Vaguely Bananas Fruitbat's Avatar
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    Among other things, it's a reminder to those of us who use a pseudonym that it's a screen only. Anonymity is never guaranteed.
    Last edited by Fruitbat; 10-19-2014 at 05:04 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Flibble View Post
    I'll just boggle over here about creepshots being legal shall I? (how can that be? ???)
    It's hard to prosecute. The gist of it is: if you're a celebrity with money, it's illegal for people to creepshot you. If you're a regular gal on the street, you can't do shit.

  16. #41
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    I'm not sure about that - this would tend to limit a lot of investigative journalism, as well as the ability of reporters to protect their sources.
    It's a tricky area., But a good journalist would not resort to being a vigilante unless there was no other recourse. Ie they would not dox unless they had to /a crime was being committed and the authorities were not interested. (they may post the artucle after authorities have been told)

    It depends on how you define "creepshot" but the short version is that in many cases, there simply aren't any statutes on the books to cover the unforeseen intersection of small, easily-hidden cameras and the Internet. Some jurisdictions are now addressing that, but they can run afoul of the First Amendment if the law is not carefully worded.

    There is a good article about this on Popehat.
    Here (and I could be wrong but this is my understanding) upskirt pictures could be prosecuted as voyeurism under the sexual offences act. I know at least one person who has had a successful conviction even. Could also probably charge under invasion of privacy? EA: or outraging public decency. It says here - ie people have been charged with that for that very thing

    Ofc, First Amendment(I forget which one that is, sorry) doesn't apply here.

    Unfortunately when I google i get a Texas ruling saying upskirts are fine..even when I specify UK. O.o
    Last edited by Mr Flibble; 10-19-2014 at 04:50 AM.




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  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Flibble View Post
    Ofc, First Amendment(I forget which one that is, sorry) doesn't apply here.
    Yes, I know the First Amendment doesn't apply in the UK. I was answering a question about the US.

    Unfortunately when I google i get a Texas ruling saying upskirts are fine..even when I specify UK. O.o
    The Popehat article I just linked to debunks that very statement (that a Texas court said "upskirts are fine").

  18. #43
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    yeah but sadly that's the first three or four pages of google hits

    *eye roll*

    Anyway, outraging public decency (for creepshots) seems to be a go.

    Still, I would expect a journalist to behave in a better manner than "hey let's doxx this person!"

    You know?


    Unless they work for the Sun, obviously




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  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Flibble View Post
    The big thing for me with RH is (as I mentioned in the other thread in OP that Amadan made) is that her criticisms were often spot in. However...


    I too had problems with The Wind Up Girl frex (RH seems to have deleted that review along with many others....) but I don't think it merits (IIRC - I may be mixing up authors here) a shot of acid in the face.

    We've probably all had a rant at books that ping our buttons. But there's a VAST difference between that and mentioning how nice it would be if the author got raped by dogs. Crit the text, sure. Inferring things about the author from the text has always been problematical however, and then using that inference as a basis to launch what is basically hate speech....
    That's what seems strange to me. I could see wanting to be anonymous when I crit something by someone I know, especially if there are things about it that I don't like. It's the down side of having author friends on FB and Goodreads, then having to review their stories. What if I give someone I love personally but whose book I thought was only okay or not really up my alley a three star review, say, and they feel bad and betrayed, even if I word it in a very diplomatic way?

    What if they're a former critting partner, and I mentioned the same issues when I read their MS?

    Reviews aren't for the writers (once they're published). But they can be useful (Jemisin had a recent blog about how she tries to glean useful information from even 1 star reviews). if someone thought something I'd written had elements of racism, homophobia, or sexism in it, I'd want to know why, for instance (and I'd try to listen with an open mind, then make up my mind about whether I agreed, and what, if anything, I could do better in future books).

    But I couldn't imagine why someone would deliberately try to hurt someone with a review. And saying someone should die in a fire or be consumed by wild dogs because of what they've written...

    I wouldn't even say that about some of the writers I'm pretty sure are consciously and deliberately racist, sexist and homophobic.

    (ETA: And if I were say to ever be put on a panel with RH/Bee I'd be, uh, cautious to say the least. Who are you today? Are either of these personas real?) Because being nice under one name and shredding under another -- hypocritical doesn't go far enough to cover it.
    I understand this completely. Again, it's not whether or not she might like something I'd written

    That RH was outed was wrong (whatever the circs, it's not all that clear yet) imo. Because now she's getting abused -- and abuse is abuse.
    This is also true. Two wrongs don't make a right. Some people want their authorial identities to remain secret for perfectly good reasons. And like I said upthread, I can see why someone might want to do a crit blog under a pseudonym, even if their crits are entirely professional. It can be awkward giving someone you know a 2 or 3 star review, even if it's your honest opinion and you word it diplomatically.
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  20. #45
    Resistance is Everything christwriter's Avatar
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    The issue I have with RH is that the vitriol she used on her blog is MILD compared to what she did on twitter and other people's blogs. She's done exactly this to many, many people for at least the last ten years.

    I am one of those people.

    In her defense, my crime was calling a fictional character a bitch in a review of a book, which I know now is very much not cool and is something I've made an effort to never do again. She linked to my blog on twitter on a near-daily basis for the next six months, calling me (among other things) an illiterate fuck, stupid, hilarious and fun. I have screencaps of days where my blog had ten, fifteen different twitter referrals and I was able to track every single one of them back to RH's twitter account. In the process I also found numerous other people that she was doing the same damn thing to. One of the episodes was so incredibly vile I'm not sure I can discuss it and still have it be safe for work. She never spoke to her victims directly, but the things she said were absolutely horrid and she was very aware that the people she was harassing knew she was doing it. A friend of mine who was a devoted follower of RH stopped paying attention to her when RH encouraged a male rape victim to commit suicide over twitter. There's another documented case of her driving someone else to attempt an OD.

    The breaking point for me was when she belittled a comment I made about rape and accused me of glorifying it. I'm a rape victim, and I'd brought it up on the blog more than once prior to making those comments. I weathered about a day and a half of the twitter comments before I replied to her on my blog, which lead in turn to several of her followers posting directly on my blog and criticizing how I was talking about my own recovery. I was not nice in the blog post, and I wasn't that restrained in the comments, but it happened shortly after my traumaversary and my life was pretty screwed up at the time. Her comments complicated a difficult IRL situation, and the knowledge that someone thought I was so horrible a six-month harassment campaign was justified triggered a severe depressive episode.

    This was last spring. It started in December of 2012, went through to April or May of 2013, and probably kept going for a while after she started hiding her twitter feed. Which made me incredibly relieved. She was still talking about me but at least I couldn't see it anymore.

    What has people so incredibly angry at her is not that she wrote vitriolic reviews of books. It's that she has continually harassed, belittled, criticized and insulted a massive number of people, and more often than not those people were vulnerable and unstable. These attacks were personal, cruel, and way above and beyond anything you'd do in a normal review. These were done in an environment where she controlled the dialogue and thus could not be confronted with how nasty she was. Many of these people don't talk about it because they do not want her back in their lives. Many more people are spreading this information around because they don't want to be associated with someone who has a history of being that toxic, and they want people to be aware.

    Prior to her discovering I existed, I liked and respected her and I occasionally enjoyed her blog. Two months after she discovered me I was literally begging her to leave me alone, and it would be another four months before she finally lost interest.

    Now I understand that she was building her professional author persona at the same time she was harassing me and a number of others.

    That said, I'm sorry that she's going through an awful time in her life and I do hope she makes it through this okay. What is happening to her is unjustifiable. She's in my prayers. I just really wish she hadn't been the one to teach me how shitty this behavior is.

  21. #46
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    That's fucked up. I'm glad you were able to get through it.

  22. #47
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Christwriter, I know damn well she did some awful stuff, and I know some of the people she did it to, and they did not deserve it

    But...But I do not agree with abuse, whoever it is aimed at

    This is why I am conflicted

    I utterly condemn some of the things she did -- there is no excusing it

    But doxxing her...

    *wibbles in conflict*

    I can't condone people abusing her any more than I condone her abusing anyone else.

    *wibbles indecisively*

    I feel like I've turned into Magrat Garlick


    I think it's a complex issue.
    I'm glad you said that

    It is complex, in many ways.

    It's a big o' coundrum right there.

    I am still conflicted and it may take a while before I sort it all out, in my head.
    Last edited by Mr Flibble; 10-20-2014 at 03:29 AM.




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  23. #48
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    I question whether outing someone's pseudonym is really the same as "doxxing" them - the latter implies posting documents with personal information online, addresses, etc.

    Of course, revealing someone's real name can facilitate doxxing, and I've already said I don't think outing Sriduangkaew was appropriate. But your pseudonym is an affectation, not a secret that others are obligated to protect. If someone you trusted outs you, that person is an asshole, but if someone who has no obligation to you figures it out, well, maybe you shouldn't use your pseudonym as a license to be abusive.

  24. #49
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    Stop making me more conflicted by being sensible!



    No, I get you, It's just...she wasn't doxed exactly but...also then again the emails supposedly reviling her were not that and...

    I'll just be over here, with two pencils up my nose and my underpants on my head, k?




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  25. #50
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    From christwriter's story, it sounds like RH might be getting a taste of her own medicine.

    Though death threats and other such things are always wrong (and I would never in a million years excuse anyone who does this, or who outed her with the intent that this would happen), I can see why someone might have gotten angry enough to out her without thinking of the possible consequences. Was the person merely miffed because they got an unflattering review, or were they someone who was being harassed by RH, or were they someone who felt incredibly betrayed by someone they'd thought was a friend?

    I'm not the vindictive type, but I can almost see how a person could get mad enough to do this if they felt they were being harassed or unfairly attacked by RH (not just in the sense of her excoriating their book, which is her right), but if they were one of those people she was telling to kill themselves or to overdose or whatever.

    So maybe it's not so different from outing that guy at Reddit. It cost him his job, and I'm guessing he's getting harassed by people now too. He never broke any laws (at least not in his country of residence), since the courts have ruled that creeper shots taken in public space are legal here (which really ticks me off, but that's another matter). I suspect this will make some people, at least, not want to buy her books. It will probably make some of her fellow authors (as Flibbles said) be cautious about serving on panels with her. I sure as heck wouldn't want to go to a workshop where she was an instructor.

    But maybe some people will be more likely to buy her books or want to work with her because of this. RH was a popular blog, from what I hear, so a lot of people like and admire meanness, even when it's directed at them (kind of like all those people who used to phone into "Dr. Laura's" show in order to be called whores or whatnot). So maybe it will even out?

    So my question is, if outing this author is different from outing that creep at Reddit, how and why is it? Like MrFlibbles, I sort of see both sides here. I know there are all kinds of legit reasons that people want to be anonymous on the web, and my feeling is we should honor those. But there are also people who use anonymity to do horrific things. When it crosses the line into illegality, like stalking or harassing someone, I'd like to see those people outed.

    But what about people who fall somewhere in that dark gray area--legal but possibly not ethical? And did this person cross the line from simply being unpleasant or obnoxious to being unethical?
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 10-20-2014 at 05:46 AM.
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