Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nick Mamatas doxxed Requires Hate, and the Three Degrees of Outing in Fandom

Nick must want more traffic at Ello, because he outed Requires Hate there. I dunno how to link to a specific post, but if you go here (Ello | mamatas) and scroll back a couple of days, you'll find it.

I'm not sharing RH's name because I've realized there are degrees of outing, which I will now suggest should be named by their most famous examples in fandom:

1. The Coffeeandink outing. When bloggers use their real name in public posts on their blog for years, then decide they don't want to be associated with something and claim retroactive pseudonymity. For bonus points, they don't delete the evidence from their blog until after the uproar that follows their claim they were outed. See The Retroactive Pseudonymity of Micole “Mely” Coffeeandink.

2. The Zathlazip outing. When bloggers do something pseudonymously on a site where people commonly behave outrageously, but leave a trail of internet cookie crumbs that lets outraged people find them in order to out them. See The Outing of Zathlazip and the Hounding of William Sanders.

3. The Requires Hate outing. When bloggers do something that offends people who hunt for proof for months or years, and finally dox the offenders even though they covered their tracks online.

Now, I still haven't decided whether I was wrong to have "outed" Coffeeandink by using the name she was using in public posts at the time, but it was certainly ungentlemanly of me. If people want to pretend they're pseudonymous, that's their business. I will always regret letting myself get caught up in that flamewar.

But in the other cases, I have no doubts: So long as what's posted pseudonymously is legal, the poster should not be outed. This isn't about legality—outing falls under freedom of speech, after all—so if you think, as Coffeeandink and the other outers of Zathlazip did, that being upset with someone justifies outing them, all I'll say is you're taking the asshole position. And if you say I took the asshole position with Coffeeandink, I'll agree.

Which gets us back to Requires Hate. Like many people who cause a lot of harm, she's young and she thought that she could make a better world through online viciousness. Maybe she'll grow up. In any case, she made an effort to be pseudonymous, so I'll respect that.

Though if you say I'm passive-aggressively taking part in her outing by sharing the link, I can't argue with that, either. But RH's defenders should remember that Nick outed her, so when her enemies use her real name online, they're only sharing knowledge that Nick made public.

To understand humans, you only have to understand kindergarten. Well, with one difference: kids in kindergarten forgive much more quickly.

PS. There's some odd bit of babble about how RH's attackers must've been wrong to have thought she might be a white male American. What this babble misses is a simple truth: Identitarians who go to the schools of the ruling classes talk alike, regardless of their race, gender, or nationality. Check your privilege!

ETA: Why did you out requireshate on ello and not livejournal? | ask.fm/NMamatas