Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

The Internet, trolls, and women

LincLinc Community InstigatorDetroit Moderator
edited October 2014 in NewBuddhist.com

Background: Kathy Sierra is a true tech luminary (a very intelligent and thoughtful author & teacher who was previously the master trainer for Sun Microsystems, co-creator of the Head First series of tech book, and author of the much-acclaimed Head First Design Patterns) who has had an ongoing battle with trolls attempting to ruin her life. She has unplugged from her Internet accounts to deal with it, and recently came back, but soon left again. She writes about it here: http://seriouspony.com/trouble-at-the-koolaid-point

It's important reading for everyone who talks online.

ToraldrisChazVastmindDakiniHamsakafedericaAllbuddhaBoundWonderingSeeker
«13

Comments

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited October 2014

    Will definitely read! I'm always looking for advice on how to be a better troll. Hope it's worth it or I'll have to leave inflammatory comments...

    LinclobsterReborn
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited October 2014

    I read that whole thing, and it had some good points and info, but the entire time I was thinking "Who is this woman?", and "Why was she trolled in the first place? Why was she targeted at all?". I can't say that either question really got answered by the end.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2014

    @Toraldris said:
    I read that whole thing, and it had some good points and info, but the entire time I was thinking "Who is this woman?", and "Why was she trolled in the first place? Why was she targeted at all?". I can't say that either question really got answered by the end.

    I found it quite difficult to follow due to the rambling style and obscure jargon.

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    @SpinyNorman‌ Oh no doubt it was poorly written, at least by my amateur judgment as an aspiring fiction writer. ;) I just figured if it was important enough for Linc to create a thread about, it was important enough to force myself through reading.

  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator

    @Toraldris said:
    "Who is this woman?", and "Why was she trolled in the first place? Why was she targeted at all?"

    The article specifically mentions the exact mundane comment that brought the first wave of attacks. She was targeted because she was a female thought leader in the tech space. That's it.

    I added some more exposition to my OP regarding her background.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I really struggled with this article because it's about a world I have no understanding of. Phrases like "true tech luminary" and "female thought leader in the tech space" seem like a foreign language, I have no idea what they actually mean.

  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator
    edited October 2014

    @SpinyNorman‌ Understood, and I can't fully give you that level of context, I was just addressing the questions closest to the issue: the how and the why of it.

    She is someone who makes software and presents ideas about that process thoughtfully. For instance, this is from a presentation she created:

    This represents a concept we think about everywhere, including in forum software like this site. The more features you add, the more the users blame themselves for inability to use it, even though it is our fault as the software creator.

    Presentations like this help us coalesce concepts that are difficult to pin down. That's what I mean by those terms of praise.

    mmosndymornNirvana
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I really struggled with this article because it's about a world I have no understanding of. Phrases like "true tech luminary" and "female thought leader in the tech space" seem like a foreign language, I have no idea what they actually mean.

    It means she's kinda important.

    She also states in the very first paragraph that it will be rambling and unedited. I thought it read a little like stream of consciousness - largely unstructured - and I like that style. I've read a couple of her Head First books (the title on design patterns is brilliant) and I know she can write "better" than that blogpost. I don't really care though. If I want Good Writing I'll read Steinbeck or Hemingway.

    I can't say I enjoyed the reading. It's subject that's not all that enjoyable, really. But it is still important and should be taken seriously.

    robotVictorious
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    I completely missed that she's co-author of "Head First" books, and I even have one: Head First Java Second Edition!

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited October 2014

    @Linc said:
    The article specifically mentions the exact mundane comment that brought the first wave of attacks.

    I'm having a little trouble finding it while skimming and I can't read that article from the beginning again. All I could say for sure was that she was attacked and it was bada-boom-bada-BAD! 

    I'll just refrain from further comment on the quality of the article. :D  

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 2014

    @Toraldris said: "Who is this woman?", and "Why was she trolled in the first place? Why was she targeted at all?"

    @Linc said: The article specifically mentions the exact mundane comment that brought the first wave of attacks. She was targeted because she was a female thought leader in the tech space. That's it.

    That's all it takes, for women to catch major flack. Especially in male-dominated fields. In fields like construction, the harassment is aimed at driving the perceived interloper out of a job that's considered a man's job. I don't know if that can be said of the tech field as well, as a motive. But women in the online gamer community report horrific harassment, as well. For no reason other than existing in that space. :( .

    federicalobsterzombiegirl
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 2014

    OK, I read the article. It's written in a stream-of-consciousness style, which makes it more personal; it's not meant to be a hard-hitting analysis in high journalistic style. That doesn't mean her points aren't good ones. I found it quite informative. There used to be some of the behavior like she described on this forum, a few years ago. It's sad that the internet brings out the worst in some individuals, and like the worst of malicious gossip, it can have a serious effect on someone's career, if it gets that far. The internet has so much potential for good. But gets misused by some. Like anything in human life, I guess.

    Bunkssndymornsilver
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator

    @Dakini said:
    There used to be some of the behavior like she described on this forum, a few years ago.

    I like to think I've gotten better at identifying this, but hats off to @federica for seeing patterns like that long before I do. It's an important argument for gender diversity on moderating teams.

    JeffreyDakiniHamsaka
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Sadly, having been the victim of some pretty severe prejudice myself (not here, I hasten to add!!) I can spot it a mile off - but I'm wholly intolerant of any kind of bias, and won't stand for blatant examples of any kind of that shit.

    Yes, I said shit.
    because it deserves it.

    JeffreyWonderingSeeker
  • I'm so grateful for the moderation on this forum! It's such a cozy little place, now! ♥

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    But Rob didn’t do anything wrong. He was saying what he truly believes. What, sadly, a whole lot of people in tech believe. -- from near the end of the OP article, two paragraphs above WHAT NEXT?

    Didn't DO anything wrong? That's a really warped perspective which I hope is not common to most techies. This —along with the Article from The Verge— is really scary stuff. How can people who take time to read and follow this stuff find time to read or follow any of the good stuff?

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited October 2014

    @Toraldris said:
    I read that whole thing, and it had some good points and info, but the entire time I was thinking "Who is this woman?", and "Why was she trolled in the first place? Why was she targeted at all?". I can't say that either question really got answered by the end.

    I suggest that is because those questions obliquely imply she must have done SOMETHING egregious enough to 'cause' what happened. It's no wonder you found no answers because there aren't any that pertain to what happened to her.

    I'm not knocking your intelligence or good heart. By asking those questions, you become one of the 'good people' she describes who temporarily fell under the spell of a dynamic of social engineering bigger than us.

  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Punta Gorda, Florida, USA Veteran

    @Toraldris, she was targeted because she was a woman who understands tech well. So far as I can find out, that is the ONLY reason why. Much sad to see this kind of thing happen to skilled-in-tech women.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    I had a similar experience about two years ago, that had gone on for almost three years prior. Because I am not an important public figure the consequences against my career and social life IRL and our 'virtual' internet social life were temporary, or appear to be. This isn't just a female techie problem, it's a problem of visibility and reputation on the WWW, as Linc says in the OP.

    In a nutshell, I've been a DV advocate for seven years with a variety of forums where I was a moderator (two separate forums). Myself and a few others noted two members who's 'stories' did not add up and they were confronted (off line). Then (sigh) I started a blog and casually, stupidly and to the extent of my scintillating writing style, called one of them, and then the other, 'out'. I didn't even know or use real names at that point. In the meantime, they'd been bouncing from DV forum to DV forum with the same pattern of exploitation, up to and including soliciting money. I had NO IDEA what I'd started.

    After reading that post I have names for what happened to me; doxxing and swatting. I don't think she found my SSN, but she found out everything else and in a much less infectious medium (about fifteen of her own blogs and sock puppet accounts) posted links to . . . well, everything. Just like Seriouspony I was shaken by the obsession with ME. Besides doxxing I got 'swatted', twice, at my previous job, by having this idiot report me to hospital administrators for using their computers to 'stalk and harass' her, which was taken seriously. Corporate techies were put to the task of validating her accusations, which they failed to do, of course. The second time HR just FW me her latest string of emails to 'let me know' what was going on, and by the concern I picked up on, to warn me.

    I was only one of several people targeted, the least 'prominent' and with the least to lose. A woman's career as a fund raiser was destroyed, and a well known writer of books on abusive/controlling relationships fared much, much worse. They sued and won, which is a miracle. What they 'won' was Google taking down the two primary blogs with the most amount of doxxing.

    If you google my real name, which is fairly common and shared by a celebrity, you will find her 'entries' on me, page one, in various 'Don't Date Him/Her' and 'This Person is a Fraud' sites. The Blogger sites (about three) that identically list how I stole narcotic medication from work (a felony) and 'quotes' where I laughingly admit I abuse hospital patients are still out there, but not on the first search page.

    After the lawsuit was won, it took her about two or three months to just . . . vaporize. It just stopped. Maybe she died, or her schizotypal mindset did her in. It's an embarrassing story, and unlike Seriouspony, I DID ask for it -- sort of. My blog, now long dead, was read by DV people, and calling them out was intended to be a general warning, no big deal really. Ha!

    This is already too long. Last point, made in the OP and by Seriouspony; there is a vulnerability and a raft of fascinating examples of cognitive heuristics and cognitive biases that operate so deftly that the best intentioned people are just as easily exploited by a 'master of the craft, aka sociopath' as a 'troll seeking lulz'. It's a dangerous world out there, mister! The consequences of what you say to the 'wrong' person will shock you and rock your world.

    LincVictorious
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    I'm predisposed to be sympathetic, but there is so much jargon in these posts that I don't truly understand what these people do or what exactly is done to them.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Steve_B‌, All you need to know is that Guys in the Field (Technology) have spouted hatred and vitriol because she's a 'Gal' in the Field (Technology). And damn good at it too.
    And they don't like that.
    Hence the hate war.

    That's it. No other reason, except she's damn good at what she does, and they resent it.
    For some brainless idiots, that's reason enough.

    Dakini
  • But, do guys in the field of technology become trolls just because she is a woman? Or are there trolls out there who use her gender as a excuse to go after her for their entertainment?
    There are misogynists everywhere, but it takes certain type of simpleton who will dedicate his time to harassing someone he may have never laid eyes on. To some such people who get their kicks that way, she may represent nothing more than an easy opportunity. What are they up to when they aren't hassling one of the few successful, outspoken women in the industry?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited October 2014

    No. If you were to read the entire story (I think I did, in an article that @Brian posted some time ago on FB) the attacks are from the guys who became trolls simply and purely because she is a woman, in their field of expertise, doing better than they are.

    Dakini
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @federica said:
    Steve_B‌, All you need to know is that Guys in the Field (Technology) have spouted hatred and vitriol because she's a 'Gal' in the Field (Technology). And damn good at it too.
    And they don't like that.
    Hence the hate war.

    It may not even be that noble.

    It could be that the person trolling the writer did so, not out of sense of gender-based outrage, but out of boredom. IOW, trolling is fun. No belief, or real opinion necessarry. Simply tke a position and run with it. You don't have to believe or agree with the position, just take it and see where it goes. It may not matter if she's a woman or the best at what she does. She's merely a target

    That doesn't excuse it and in my mind is even more despicable.

    federica
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited October 2014

    But, do guys in the field of technology become trolls just because she is a woman? Or are there trolls out there who use her gender as a excuse to go after her for their entertainment?

    >

    That said, the circumstances, reasons and foundations for such behaviour are entirely immaterial. That it happens at all, in any sphere, is utterly unacceptable, deplorable and unforgivable.
    I'm honestly surprised you had to have clarification as to the reason.... :shake: .

    AllbuddhaBound
  • mmommo Veteran

    Good example displaying ego, jealousy and lack of empathy from these trolls.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited October 2014

    @Chaz said: It may not even be that noble.

    >
    It could be that the person trolling the writer did so, not out of sense of gender-based outrage, but out of boredom. IOW, trolling is fun. No belief, or real opinion necessarry. Simply tke a position and run with it. You don't have to believe or agree with the position, just take it and see where it goes. It may not matter if she's a woman or the best at what she does. She's merely a target
    >
    That doesn't excuse it and in my mind is even more despicable.

    Yes, I kind of made that point more or less... We posted simultaneously.
    I agree.

  • Both the laws regarding internet stalking and bullying and the technology to track and stop it are way behind the curve. It's great that the internet is so open and uncontrolled (relatively speaking) in most of the world. It's like the wild frontier. But people forget, the wild frontier was a dangerous place where you could fall prey to dangerous people easily with little recourse.

    One of the biggest problems is, the internet is a global world while laws and courts are local. Our lawmakers don't seem to grasp this fact. Even laws against a cyberbully can't do any good if you're in Ohio and the person making your life miserable is in California. You're not going to travel clear across the country to fight a court case that the local prosecutor's office has no idea how to handle.

    Dakini
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited October 2014

    No, but you lucky people got gunz...... :rarr: . :rolleyes: .

    A facetious remark designed to inject wry humour into the discussion, thereby hitting upon another transatlantic contentious issue..... ;) .

    Cinorjer
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Linc said: ...This represents a concept we think about everywhere, including in forum software like this site. The more features you add, the more the users blame themselves for inability to use it, even though it is our fault as the software creator.

    I'm going to print that, frame it and put it on my wall above my computer.
    That way, every time I think of myself as a complete Techno-doofus, I can blame @Linc instead.... :lol: .

  • @federica said:
    No. If you were to read the entire story (I think I did, in an article that Brian posted some time ago on FB) the attacks are from the guys who became trolls simply and purely because she is a woman, in their field of expertise, doing better than they are.

    Weird. That you would reply to my post this way, then in the next breath agree with Chaz when he says basically the same thing thing that I that suggested.
    I was simply taking exception to the remark you made about guys in the tech field attacking her, when it's trolls on the Internet doing it.
    I don't follow Brian on facebook so I didn't have any more to go on than the link that Lincoln provided.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    It seems like another symptom of the us and "them" disease. Some people can't see that we strive together so they build themselves up by knocking others down and gum up the works.

    An extreme example of this backwards mindset is the story of those who shot Malala Yousufzai at 14 for championing education for females.

    lobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 2014

    @robot said:
    But, do guys in the field of technology become trolls just because she is a woman? Or are there trolls out there who use her gender as a excuse to go after her for their entertainment?

    Note that the trolls don't come out in force to bash leading men in the industry. For some reason that doesn't catch anyone's interest as potential entertainment. Any way you slice it, she was attacked because she was a woman. Whether it was for pure entertainment (whatever that means), or because they resented her success or because they felt she was horning in on their turf, is irrelevant.

    What if trolls started mercilessly attacking all African Americans in the tech industry? Why is it seen as acceptable to some people to attack someone by gender?

    person
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator

    @robot said:
    I was simply taking exception to the remark you made about guys in the tech field attacking her, when it's trolls on the Internet doing it.

    Right, but the gender issue is the crux of it. They are trolling from a root of misogyny, not just some generic trolling.

  • @Linc said:
    Right, but the gender issue is the crux of it. They are trolling from a root of misogyny, not just some generic trolling.

    Understood. But my point to Fede was and is that it's not just "Guys in the field" who are turning into assholes in droves because there is a woman at their level in the game.
    My experience with guys and gals in the field is limited to my son who is a software developer, and while most of his co workers are men, has worked with a number of women as well.
    And his girlfriend, who is also a programmer. She makes less than him but that is by choice of jobs and not on account of discrimination. So far I have not heard any reports of harassment of women in the workplace buy guys in the field where these people work.
    So, I'm going to say that while there are probably as many misogynists in the technology industry as anywhere else, in the troll community there are a much higher percentage.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited October 2014

    @robot said: And his girlfriend, who is also a programmer. She makes less than him but that is by choice of jobs and not on account of discrimination.

    >

    Could you clarify this?
    Because there is a huge movement at the moment to eradicate Age discrimination in the UK (bear with me...) and a Representative of the Equal Opportunities Commission stated on radio that this was something that had to be worked on, to convince employers in all industries that such discrimination was unfair and had to be stamped out, and that it can be done because just look at Gender discrimination, and how the employment situation for women has radically changed....

    And I thought, "Yes, all well and good, but women in ALL fields of employment are STILL earning less than their male counterparts doing the same jobs!"

    If women are achieving the same results as their male counterparts and earning less - then they are still victims of discrimination....

    while there are probably as many misogynists in the technology industry as anywhere else, in the troll community there are a much higher percentage.

    >

    The 'troll community' consists of people from all walks of life, fields, careers and industries. Specifically, she is being attacked by trolls in her industry.
    I'm not sure I get your point here.... :scratch: .

  • robotrobot Veteran
    edited October 2014

    @federica said:
    I'm not sure I get your point here.... :scratch: .

    My son works for a private firm that develops and markets their own products. His girlfriend chose to take a job with the college that they graduated from because, I believe, she wanted access to the sports facilities that are there.
    As for my point, yes trolls, not "guys in the... ahh forget it.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Thanks for clarifying.

    And thanks for NOT clarifying.

    :lol: .

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited October 2014

    Could someone clarify what DV means? I've studied these matters presented here to the best of my ability and can understand nearly everything but what @Hamsaka terms DV and the "compleat" lack of Metta some nerds appear to excel in.

    Thanks, @Hamsaka, for the clarification below. (And also for your elucidation above; although I wish it were not so!)

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @Nirvana, I'm sorry, DV is an acronym for domestic violence. Obviously I'm so used to posting in those forums I forget this isn't obvious :) .

  • Some time ago I was stalked for years through the net by somone with mental health problems. I received long posts every day. Only 'malicious' at times.

    At first I engaged, hoping some improvement could be generated. Eventually I found any engagement or non engagement had no effect on their independent fantasy realm.

    I have also come across trolls, whilst supporting Puppy Linux. In the open source community which is loath to censor, these malevolent forms are often present . . . Their cries of innocence are notorious, just another ploy conscious or unconscious. Do not feed . . .

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Thanks, @Hamsaka‌ for your insightful post, and for also teaching me a new word. 'heuristic' is a fabulous adjective (or noun, depending on context)!

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    Never heard of heuristic? I've never quite understood the word, but I've heard it mentioned in regards to virus scanners for ages. I'll have to look it up now!

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    Given the definition I guess it means the ability for a virus scanner to "learn" and identify new viruses that it doesn't have virus definitions for. Neat.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited October 2014

    @federica said:
    Thanks, Hamsaka‌ for your insightful post, and for also teaching me a new word. 'heuristic' is a fabulous adjective (or noun, depending on context)!

    It's one of those words for things that don't usually have words for them :) .

    PS thanks for the validation :) my sitch is a bit off topic in that it did not arise from woman-in-tech hating. Just hating :) The heuristics of hate.

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @Toraldris said:
    Never heard of heuristic? I've never quite understood the word, but I've heard it mentioned in regards to virus scanners for ages. I'll have to look it up now!

    I'm familiar with it in the context of psychology, where it is used to describe kinds of 'mental shortcuts' that are made more intuitively/irrationally/emotionally than by sequential thought and logic. "Stereotyping" groups or individuals is a kind of heuristic, a mental shortcut that gives one a 'solution' without needing a great deal of information. It goes without saying that you can get yourself into all kinds of trouble if the information utilized by the heuristic is wrong (see stereotyping), but a heuristic even exists because it has 'good enough' (subjectively truthful to the person) information.

    How it applies to computer functions? I am not well schooled here, so I can pop in a heuristic that makes parallels between human behavior and how computers 'think' and come up with a simplified 'good enough for government work' idea of how computers work. Heuristics aren't usually deliberate, they are knee-jerk 'instantaneous', and plague human and computer 'minds' alike :D . Kinda fascinating, really.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited October 2014

    Well, the definition I found was:

    heuristic

    ˌhjʊ(ə)ˈrɪstɪk/
    adjective
    1.
    enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves.
    "a ‘hands-on’ or interactive heuristic approach to learning"
    noun
    noun: heuristic; plural noun: heuristics
    1.
    a heuristic process or method.
    >

    Which prompted me to think that Buddhism is a heuristic practice.

    But I find it very difficult to consider technology within the same context...

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited October 2014

    Heuristic sounds like my goal in tutoring. I try to help the student solve the problem rather than give an answer. To some extent I fail and that is frustrating. I feel like the teacher in Ferris Beuler's day off trying to prompt the student to get on the right track in solving their lab report. "Anyone anyone.... voo doo economics... anyone anyone"

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited October 2014

    @federica said: But I find it very difficult to consider technology within the same context...

    @federica Found this for you about "heuristic analysis" (computers/antivirus using heuristics): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heuristic_analysis

    I think heuristics basically means "learning from experience", and any process that enables experience to be used as a means of learning is heuristic. So a computer "trying out" a program to see if it acts like a virus, and then deciding if it is one, fits the criteria. That's my guess.

«13
Sign In or Register to comment.