Trolls Gonna Troll: when online doxxers (try to) come get you

I just saw this come up on Twitter:

I remember when the LIS Microaggressions zine stopped coming out – I had no idea that this kind of political trolling was part of the reason why. But in this piece, Elvia does essentially talk through a lot of the steps that Eva discussed today, and actually ends with concrete suggestions for how to handle the threats.

The exact same thing happened to my partner but the story was never picked up by bigger media outlets.

Sorry to hear that this also happened to your partner @librarianbryan. 8chan’s /pol/ board tried to dox me last year, too. Here’s an archived link of some of it (not all – it went on for another week or so after this): (content warning – harassment, death threats, anti-semitism, and a whole lot else)

Thanks for sharing this @kellymce. I’ve been planning to cover doxing here in later weeks, so I’ll incorporate these folks experience into what I cover. What happened to them is sadly quite typical, and unfortunately the best defense against things like this is basically good offense…taking steps to protect yourself BEFORE it happens. And that isn’t very easy to do, because how do you know that you’ll become a target? We’ll talk more about this when we cover doxing, and I’ll share more about my own experience, and what I think made the attack less severe than it could have been, and what I did afterwards to change my threat model.

They were not doxxed in such a horrible way, but a partisan blogger used a FOIA request for work emails and then wrote about how library / city was partisan and biased for sending them to a conference. Ironically, the conference and travel was paid for by a grant and not the city.

Oof. Just seeing this now. This part of the article broke my heart:

This incident made me think twice about publishing on open-access platforms like Medium. I know this is pretty contradictory of me to write this on a Medium article, but I’ve cooled off Medium since the first article I published on here. The protections that traditional scholarly publications afford through paid subscriptions allow for protections against general audiences that are looking to find you for malicious reasons.

You do what you gotta do, but thinking about how often I wish people published open-access and how this doxxing stuff intersects with it is something I hadn’t thought of before. The pay/subscription walls actually help in this scenario :frowning:

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I totally understand this person’s thinking and I think people should do what makes them feel safe, but I think “OA or safety” is actually a false dichotomy. First, unless the persons only online presence is behind a paywall, this method won’t actually protect them. Tweets, Youtube lectures, or other public posts that reveal their beliefs could get them in the crosshairs of 4chan or whatever. In my experience, the best defense is to live your beliefs openly while also making sure to take anti-doxing measures (locking down accounts and access to personal data) to make sure that if you are doxed, they can’t harm you or your family. We will talk about this in-depth in one of the coming weeks. Oh and also, if you are someone who is so heavily targeted that publishing anything is risky, a carefully maintained pseudonym is a good way to publish safely. Of course, that means it won’t be credited to your name, so that creates its own problems, especially for marginalized people who especially need readily available published work. But yeah, we will talk about all of these issues when we get to doxing.

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