Overcome Online Harassment and Trolling

Or, What to Do If You’ve Been Doxx’d by Trolls [1]

This guide is an resource for victims (and their families and support network) of online harassment, trolling, and particularly DOXXing. Its creation was inspired by the events surrounding GamerGate and the brutal online abuse of Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and Randi Harper, but it is dedicated to everyone enduring this immature, toxic and destructive Internet culture.

Doxxing

There are many forms of online harassment, trolling and abuse - but perhaps the most frightening abuses come in the form of DOXXing: posting (often publically available) personal information online for the purpose of creating embarassment and/or fear in the victim, enabling others to pursue more dangerous forms of harassment, and ultimately to silence the victim by driving them from public life.

The Economist: “The term “dox” (also spelt “doxx”, and short for “[dropping] documents”) first came into vogue as a verb around a decade ago, referring to malicious hackers’ habit of collecting personal and private information, including home addresses and national identity numbers.” [ECON1]

“Typically, as is the custom of those who find pinching and compiling personal information a viable alternative to team sports, it will be released in a massive ‘blast’ post on some obscure message board and linked to on a popular forum” [CPAC1]

“The problem is, they may actually have something on you if they’re a dedicated group willing to spend lots of time posing as a long-lost BFF or that one girl you met that one time down by the wharves. What am I talking about? (And what were you doing down by the wharves?) I’m talking about social media–like facebook, or twitter. If you use them a lot, you’ll probably have your name and location listed publicly, or a friend or family member will. There are a lot of ‘John Smith’s in the world, but if they’ve got a John Smith who lives in Vancouver, Washington, and you’ve listed yourself as John Smith of Vancouver, Washington, the pieces start to come together.” [CPAC1]

The information discosed in a doxxing can and does lead to more destructive harassment, information or identity theft, financial and career damage... the list is long and terrifying.

“Now they’ve got something on you, and depending on how lax your security is, they may be able to go through your life and find the answers to your password security questions like “name of first pet” or “mother’s maiden name”. From there, it gets really hard to tell where the problems will stop...” [CPAC1]

This (incomplete but regularly updated) guide is intended to help navigate this frustrating, frightening - and infuriating - situation.

Sources

[1]From Adria Richards’ tweet series, “If trolls have doxx’d you”.
[ECON1]The Economist, What doxxing is, and why it matters
[CPAC1](1, 2, 3) So You’ve Been Doxed...