≡ Menu

Online Bullying, Part 5: Doxing The Trolls (Or “Denying the Privilege of Anonymity To Trolls Who Threaten People”)

I respect Rebecca Watson.  She is the founder of Skepchick.org and while I don’t agree with everything she writes, Watson is a principled person. Despite personally hating Monsanto, she nonetheless wrote a scathing criticism of the “Round-Up Causes Cancer” study that recently made the news.  So when she wrote about doxing in a post titled “Why I’m Okay With Doxing”, I paid attention.

Watson, like many online personalities with an opinion, has been the target of threats, harassment and cyberbullying.

What good Internet citizen could possibly defend that most heinous of acts, the doxing?

Me. I seriously would not care.

I’m frankly tired of the black and white thinking that goes along with any discussion of doxing, as though an aggressive act is inherently evil regardless of who the target is and who the perpetrator is. Doxing is one of those acts that can be used for good or for ill. Like punching.

If someone sends me a threatening or harassing email, I see no reason to protect their identity.

I am, morally, 100% okay with this. Feminists owe these pieces of human garbage absolutely nothing. And while they go out of their way to investigate us, to find our addresses and publish them because we have the temerity to exist on the Internet, they can easily protect their own identity by simply not emailing us threats and harassment.

So, let it be known that I am a filthy doxer. If you harass women online, calling them slurs and threatening to rape and kill them, and if I find out your real name, I will publish it. If you tell me to kill myself on Twitter and I can link it to your Facebook, I will tell your uncle.

You should read the entire article.  Watson’s comment about “punching” as an act used for either good or evil is a reference to a story she tells of how astronaut Buzz Aldrin belted conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel outside of a hotel after Sibrel refused to leave Aldrin alone as requested.   Watson is a “person who understands that for some acts, the context matters in determining whether it’s a good or a bad thing. So it is for doxing. And if you follow me around calling me a liar and a coward, I will punch you in the face. ”

“Ignore the troll” has been the often advised, defacto remedy for dealing with online bullying and harassment but as people have discovered over the decades, it is an ineffective and unsatisfying resolution to the problem that ultimately stifles free speech of the victim.  And so comes the urge to reach through the Internet abyss and — metaphorically — smack the trolls back.

Victims are taking it to a new level.  Doxing their harassers isn’t enough.    I found numerous cases of people exposing the identities of their harassers and then contacting family members as a method of applying even more pressure on the harasser.   Rebecca Watson  mentions having contacted the uncle of one of her harassers.   Mary Beard  rallied her followers to contact her harassing trolls’ mothers;   Pennsylvania state lawmaker, House Rep. Brian Sims,  hit back at an internet troll who called him the n-word and a “fa—-” by calling his grandmother and telling her what her grandson had done.  Leo Traynor wrote a fascinating article about confronting his harasser who had terrified him and his wife…it was a friend’s 17 year old son.  Amanda Kleinman is the subject of a Washington Post article, “There’s no good way to deal with trolls, so you might as well tattle to their moms”, describing how she contacted the mother of a harassing troll.

Contacting family members is not the only weapon in victims’ arsenal.  There  is a 9% chance your co-worker is an internet troll according to recent surveys.   Accessing social media, like Facebook, for personal use while at work and misusing company resources while engaging in harassment is a violation of a company’s code of ethics or internet usage policy which can result in employment termination with just cause.  Even an employee’s off-duty social media activity may reflect poorly on the business and ultimately cost them their job.  The cyberbully employee is too much of a liability. In the United Kingdom, employers can be liable for the actions of their employees on social media that has been accessed using company equipment on company time.     Since cyberbullying is a power game, knowing your harasser’s name and place of employment shifts the power to the victim.

If your harasser lives in England or Wales, there may be even more avenues of remedy available to you.  In 2015, the Malicious Communications Act was updated with a new law, Criminal Justice and Courts Bill which quadrupled the then maximum six-month sentence for “crude and degrading” abuse.  Justice Secretary Chris Grayling : “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life.  No-one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media.  This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob.  We must send out a clear message – if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years.”

So what are the contexts are we talking about whereby doxing is a good thing?   Watson already supplies one parameter:  It is good to dox people who send messages that threaten rape, death, or harassing emails.

Few, if anyone,  thought Curt Schilling’s doxing of the nine men who posted very vile comments about his daughter Gabby was a bad thing to do.    Schilling, a former Red Sox pitcher and ESPN analyst, had tweeted the news that his 17-year old daughter had been accepted to a college and would be playing on their softball team.   What transpired next in the comments section of Schilling’s Twitter account was nothing short of vile, evil wretchedness as nine men posted violent sexual comments and threats (using baseball bats as a sexual device) aimed at his daughter, Gabby.   Schilling reacted like any dad would do in this kind of situation:  He doxed the hell out of the two worst offenders and encouraged all other outraged readers to hunt down the rest of them.  Here is an excerpt from Schilling’s blog post:

My daughter comes to me beyond upset. She didn’t do anything, she never said anything, yet she’s now receiving personal messages with guys saying things to her, well let’s just say I can’t repeat and I’m getting beyond angry thinking about it. Her boyfriend, a wicked good hockey player who has a fighting streak I absolutely love is going out of his mind to be let off his leash but unlike the athletes tweeting this stuff he understands the potential consequences of his actions and knows the time and place will hopefully come when he can make it right on his own terms.

These boys have yet to understand one of life’s most important lessons. In the real world you get held accountable for the things you say and if you are not careful that can mean some different things.

You want to know the scariest part? Some of their idiot friends, as I am sure some of you, are contacting me with “Dude lighten up, they’re just joking” and “Why are you saying things that might ruin someone’s life”?

A mistake is tweeting once and saying “damn, I’m an idiot” and taking it down. These guys? They’re making conscious choices to cyberbully an amazing and beautiful young woman on the internet, that none of them know by the way, because they don’t like her dad or they somehow think saying words you can teach a 5 year old is tough?

Both doxed men suffered severe reputational fallout: one was fired from his job with the New York Yankees, and the other was suspended from his community college.  Schilling knew the remaining seven men’s identities:

“Worse yet, no less than seven of the clowns who sent vile or worse tweets are athletes playing college sports.  I knew every name and school, sport and position, of every one of them in less than an hour. The ones that didn’t play sports were just as easy to locate.”

Schilling appears to have contacted those seven athletes’ coaches/schools as well:

“I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via e-mail from a few athletes who’d been suspended by their coaches,” Schilling wrote. “Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the ‘I’m so sorry’ apology used by those only sorry because they got caught.”

It should come as no surprise that I consider doxing children and/or threatening them with injury and death to be yet another parameter to define what “good doxing” would be.

Marco Arturo is an articulate 13-year-old kid on the autism spectrum.   He self-made a video that was pro-vaccine and which debunked vaccines as the cause of autism.   The reaction by the anti-vac people was harsh.   Dr. David Gorski documents the actions of one “particularly odious antivaccine warrior”, a female blogger who uses the name “Levi Quackenboss”, who, under the cover of anonymity, attacked Marco.   Marco himself documents this harassment in a Facebook post citing that his full name had been doxed, his parents’ full names, their address, his father’s place of employment, birth dates, photos of his family including his 1-year-old sister.   “She is not just another troll, she is doing something that’s illegal to try to keep me silent.”   What followed after Quackenboss’s blog post was a torrent of abuse and threats, including death threats, from anti-vaxxers who have written such things as:

“This kid should have been aborted.”
“This kid deserves autism.”
“I want to throat punch this kid.”  (This would be a death threat since this action can kill someone.)
“Does anyone know who this kid’s parents are so we can get to them?”
“I want to punt Marco in the jugular.”
“I want to punch this kid in the face.”

Marco asks the obvious question, “Since when is it morally acceptable to dox a kid and his family?”

But notice that Marco says he knows Levi Quackenboss’ real name.   He doesn’t reveal it but the implied threat to dox her is there.   Within days of Marco’s Facebook post, Quackenboss deleted all five blog posts about him.

Curt Schilling’s advice applies:  “In the real world you get held accountable for the things you say and if you are not careful that can mean some different things.”




Comments on this entry are closed.

  • LizaJane April 22, 2019, 8:01 am

    These people are despicable. I don’t know why such people believe they should get to enjoy anonymity because they’re on the internet. They wouldn’t expect it anywhere else. Or maybe they would.

  • BellyJean April 22, 2019, 9:13 am

    Thank you for sharing. I have to admit – I didn’t quite understand the definition of “doxing”, so I absolutely appreciate this breakdown. I was under the impression that “doxing” was not only revealing someone’s true identity, but the systematic breakdown of their reputation and a campaign of harassment. Now knowing that it’s simply (or not so simply) the revealing of someone’s identity, I can understand why someone would do this to their harassers.

    • admin April 22, 2019, 2:19 pm

      The definition of “doxing” is fluid depending on who is doing the doxing. Anonymous, nasty trolls who reveal real names, addresses, phone numbers, photos and issue threats believe what they do is social justice, not doxing. Reveal their real names and like true crybullies, they shriek they’ve been doxed.

      A very good article to read is “I was the mob until the mob came for me” https://quillette.com/2018/07/14/i-was-the-mob-until-the-mob-came-for-me/. An excerpt:

      “In my previous life, I was a self-righteous social justice crusader. I would use my mid-sized Twitter and Facebook platforms to signal my wokeness on topics such as LGBT rights, rape culture, and racial injustice. Many of the opinions I held then are still opinions that I hold today. But I now realize that my social-media hyperactivity was, in reality, doing more harm than good.

      Within the world created by the various apps I used, I got plenty of shares and retweets. But this masked how ineffective I had become outside, in the real world. The only causes I was actually contributing to were the causes of mobbing and public shaming. Real change does not stem from these tactics. They only cause division, alienation, and bitterness.

      Then one day, suddenly, I was accused of some of the very transgressions I’d called out in others. I was guilty, of course: There’s no such thing as due process in this world. And once judgment has been rendered against you, the mob starts combing through your past, looking for similar transgressions that might have been missed at the time. I was now told that I’d been creating a toxic environment for years at my workplace; that I’d been making the space around me unsafe through microaggressions and macroaggressions alike.

      Social justice is a surveillance culture, a snitch culture. The constant vigilance on the part of my colleagues and friends did me in.

      The social justice vigilantism I was living on Twitter and Facebook was like the app in my dream. Aggressive online virtue signaling is a fundamentally two-dimensional act. It has no human depth. It’s only when we snap out of it, see the world as it really is, and people as they really are, that we appreciate the destruction and human suffering we caused when we were trapped inside.”

      • rindlrad April 22, 2019, 5:56 pm

        “The social justice vigilantism I was living on Twitter and Facebook was like the app in my dream. Aggressive online virtue signaling is a fundamentally two-dimensional act. It has no human depth. It’s only when we snap out of it, see the world as it really is, and people as they really are, that we appreciate the destruction and human suffering we caused when we were trapped inside.”

        I love that quote. Shows that at least one SJW grew up and joined the real world where people are a mix of good and bad. Nobody is without sin or error, including SJWs.

  • Catherine St Clair April 22, 2019, 10:06 am

    I just read a post from someone who complained that those who write vicious things about Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are being called out for their racist and hateful posts. His thinking was that it is none of anyone else’s business and those folks have every right to be hateful. My thinking is that it is the duty of a decent person to call out folks out on what they post. It reminds me of the old poem that says something along the lines of, “First, they came for the socialists, and I said nothing. I am not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I said nothing. I don’t belong to a union. Then they came for the Jews and I said nothing-I am not a Jew. And then they came for me, and there was no one left to say anything.” To stand back and do nothing when someone threatens or tries to harm an innocent makes you part of the problem. That’s not what you want on your tombstone-Here lies a coward.

    • Kassianne April 23, 2019, 7:58 am

      Here’s my take on the “I have a right to post this”.

      You absolutely do have a right to say what you want. But you also better be prepared for the consequences of your actions.

  • JD April 22, 2019, 11:02 am

    It sounds like a steaming dish of justice was served to those cyber bullies. I’m going to read that article!

  • Gena April 22, 2019, 11:25 am

    I agree with all said above. However, I have a problem with people posting personal information, and then complaining that comments are negative, etc. Curt Schilling should not be tweeting his daughters personal information to what are apparently strangers.

    Years ago, my DD broke up with a boy who did not handle it well. He was constantly still calling, texting, trying to find her so he could hang around, etc.

    One night DD called me from the bowling alley, in a panic because ex-BF showed up. Now, DD NEVER goes bowling, so it’s not like he knew “hey, she goes bowling every Sat night, I’ll show up there”.

    So, I asked, how on earth did he know your were going bowling? Oh, I tweeted it out she said. I replied – this phone call is over.

    • admin April 22, 2019, 2:07 pm

      I agree about Schilling. I would not have published that kind of data to the whole world. However, his mistake in doing so does not justify the sheer ugliness of the comments made by disgusting young men.

      • Gena Salvaggio April 22, 2019, 4:33 pm

        Absolutely not. I was certainly not taking the sides of the trolls, just pointing out the pitfalls of sharing personal information.

        • Margo Agtha April 25, 2019, 12:41 pm

          I would like to say that the ex’s behavior is unacceptable with the constant texting and phoning after the break up as well as trying to meet up with her to “hang out”. If he hadn’t behaved in this way in the first place he wouldn’t have scared your DD by showing up. I don’t use twitter but have used Facebook before and if a friend tags you in something like “going bowling on XXXX date with XXXXXXX and XXXXXXXX” then a silly ex or worse a stalker could use this information unbeknownst to your DD until it was too late. I would put the onus on the ex in this situation not to stalk.

    • Trisha April 26, 2019, 10:53 am

      I don’t agree; I see this as another form of victim shaming. In sharing good news (hey, my daughter is going to college and playing on a softball team), there should not be concern that people will respond with sexual violence against anyone. If he was upset at getting messages like, “who cares?” Or “Shilling, you suck.”, or “your daughter is beautiful”, I could see it being, well, what do you expect. But sexual violence or really threats of any violence should be not, “well, what did you expect sharing information about your 17 year old daughter.”

      • admin April 26, 2019, 5:11 pm

        Good point.

      • Girlie May 1, 2019, 2:58 pm

        Trisha –
        You have formally introduced the hammer to the head of the nail, and I thank you.

  • Caverat April 22, 2019, 11:35 am

    So I get the premise and in the circumstances above, it seems fully reasonable to let these people face the consequences of their actions. The problem I see with it is that there are a lot of people who think disagreement = harassment and bullying and believe that it justifies doxing. Ultimately it makes them become the harasser instead and the cycle continues. I’m thinking about things like Rep.Waters calling on people to publicly harass conservatives (in a format that easily spread virally). it’s a vague, self-righteous order that can lead to further harm. Similarly, telling people to contact a troll’s mother is all well and good until those people take it upon themselves to threaten and insult as well. Mob mentality makes doxing a terrible idea, even where there are situations in which it has been beneficial. I’d take all available alternatives first, I think.

    • rindlrad April 22, 2019, 6:03 pm

      Agreed. The problem with fighting fire with fire is that sometimes you lose control and end up with a conflagration that burns everything to the ground. I understand that premise behind “doxing the trolls.” I suppose the part that bothers me is who gets to define who the trolls are? I can agree that someone who makes rape or murder threats should be called out publicly and held to account for his / her word and poor judgement.

      What about more nuanced situations? Like doxing adults who disagree with you politically? I think there are people who would say that that is completely ok – in fact, I know there are. I disagree. So, who gets to decide who is a troll and who is not?

    • Calli Arcale April 22, 2019, 6:15 pm

      Well said. I’m leery of doxing anyone because it can get seriously out of hand. And where is the line between okay doxing and wrong doxing? Some things may seem easy, but just like a punch in the face, one must be extremely sure before doing it. Mr Aldrin was taken to court over the punch. He won, because it was clear in the video that the much larger and younger man Sibrel was trapping him and his daughter, which would’ve appeared threatening to anyone in that situation. If Aldrin had punched him earlier in the sequence, it would not have been as easy to call.

      Interestingly, another one cautious of doxxing is Dr Gorski, who gets mentioned in this article, despite the fact that he himself is routinely doxxed — though frankly, he finds the doxxing more funny than threatening, since he doesn’t exactly hide his identity and his employers and family are all well aware of his online activities. He does not allow doxxing in the comments on his blog, and he expresses a low opinion of those who use the tactic. Telling the police about a threat is entirely reasonable, but telling the Internet? Doxxing isn’t just having a quiet word with a troll’s mother. It’s publishing the person’s personal information with the hopes that the Internet will unleash its fury upon them. Once you’ve done that, you have no more control of it, and some people on the Internet may go much, much too far. If a person tells you to go jump off a bridge, and you retaliate by publishing their address, and someone on the Internet decides to SWAT them and somebody gets killed, that’s going too far, even though the initial doxxing may have felt like it passed Watson’s standards of acceptable doxxing. Worse still — what if you attempt to dox someone, but end up putting the wrong person’s identity on the line? That has actually happened.

      Bottom line: use only when absolutely necessary and be very, very careful.

      • admin April 23, 2019, 12:42 am

        Are we reading the same Dr. David Gorski? He outed “Frau Heather” as Heather Murray in this blog post: https://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2016/04/01/an-antivaccine-activists-explains-how-she-uses-facebook-reporting-algorithms-to-harass-and-silence-pro-science-bloggers

        Nor does he believe the harassment he and other scientists have received is “funny”. Read https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/how-low-antivaccine-warriors-will-go-attacking-a-12-year-old-and-abusing-facebook-harassment-reporting-algorithms/…the section titled “Harassment and SBM” in which Gorski writes:

        Longtime readers know that I myself have been subject to online harassment by antivaccine “crusaders.” For example, in 2010, Jake Crosby wrote a deeply dishonest post about me for Age of Autism that insinuated a conflict of interest. (There was none.) The result of that was an e-mail and phone campaign in which antivaccinationists contacted my dean, my department chair, and even Wayne State University’s board of governors in order to complain and demand my firing. Fortunately, my dean stood by me, and the campaign eventually blew over. More recently, I wrote a post critical of “atavistic oncology” as delivered by Frank Arguello. As a result, Arguello sent numerous e-mails to one of my deans, to my department chair, and to the director of the Karmanos Cancer Center. He still sends me obnoxious e-mails every now and then. (In fact, he just sent me one yesterday.)

        Most recently, in April and May, as a result of posts I wrote elsewhere about Robert De Niro and the antivaccine movie by Andrew Wakefield and Del Bigtree (VAXXED: From Cover-up to Catastrophe), Mike Adams, who runs the one of the most trafficked alternative medicine (and conspiracy theory) websites on the internet proceeded to launch a campaign of slime against me. Adams, as you might recall, gained notoriety for his Monsanto collaborators website, which read basically like a hit list. In any case, since April 18, Adams has posted 22 articles accusing me of all manner of horrors (you can go to Adams’ website and search if you’re really interested, as I refuse to link to him here), from the aforementioned conflict of interest that Crosby accused me of to having worked with Dr. Farid Fata, an oncologist convicted of Medicare and Medicaid fraud to the tune of tens of millions of dollars for administering chemotherapy to patients who didn’t need it, some of whom didn’t even have cancer. He is someone I despise. Adams has also posted fake unflattering patient reviews and openly asked if I was brain damaged from too many vaccines. Worse, there has been an intentional effort to attack my cancer center, an obvious tactic to harass me at work and get my cancer center to tell me to knock it off. Fortunately, that hasn’t worked. (Indeed, this week my promotion to full professor was announced. Maybe I’ll send a copy of the certificate to Mr. Adams.)

        Imagine, though, if I were not working in a university setting, where freedom of speech and academic freedom are highly prized. If I were working for a private company or part of a private practice, I could well be faced with a choice of either shutting up or risking my job and livelihood. Moreover, his torrent of libelous abuse left me with a horrible choice: sue for libel, with the attendant expense and the certain Streisand effect suing would entail, with not a great chance of winning against someone with deep pockets who, like a pig in mud, would enjoy the wrestling, or let it slide. Even in my relatively privileged position as faculty at a university, explaining who Mike Adams is to my cancer center director (and to the occasional colleague who came across one of Adams’ posts) was not a fun task. Fortunately, Adams made it easier by being unable to restrain the crazy in his posts. The next time, I might not be so lucky in who tries to attack.

        • Calli Arcale April 24, 2019, 2:36 pm

          Yes, we are. He prohibits doxxing on his blog. I am surprised you missed that. You are correct he does not find doxxing funny in general; he finds it *specifically* funny when they try to dox *him*, as it proves the doxxers have no idea that it’s a waste of their time.

          But in general, he considers doxxing a weapon of absolute last resort. He has made an exception or two over the years, but it is extremely rare. I know you’ve had run-ins with anti-vaxxers; I’ve been subjected to my own suite of Internet trolls as well. It’s never fun. But I don’t think that means we should adopt their means lightly. All I’ve said is doxxing should be used extremely cautiously, because it can backfire spectacularly.

          • admin April 26, 2019, 5:43 pm

            I missed nothing. His comment policy does not mention doxing: https://respectfulinsolence.com/commenting-policy/ I especially like his attitude: “Remember, this blog is not a democracy. It is a (mostly) benign dictatorship that has functioned well since December 2004. Don’t like how things are run around here? Start your own blog!”

            As for the other blog Gorski writes and is the senior editor, there is no mention of doxing in the submission guidelines (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/about-science-based-medicine/submission-guidelines/) nor in the Help page (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/about-science-based-medicine/help-with-logging-in-commenting/) nor in the website terms of service (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/about-science-based-medicine/website-terms-of-use/).

            I have not had any run-ins with anti-vaxxers that I would consider to be threatening, however my personal “suite” of trolls have been discussed with a legal team, I’ve been given a double thumbs up to publish all pertinent data on them that the blog and forum software has collected as well as Facebook screenshots. In the past when I have “doxed” particularly nasty people who have taken online disagreement into real life harassment creating consequences, each time it was vetted by a lawyer and it has not backfired on me to have done so in this way. I would counsel anyone being harassed to seek legal advice before doing anything but once having done so, it can be quite satisfying to smack the living hell out of people who are inherently ugly.

  • Lanes April 22, 2019, 7:21 pm

    This is the internet age of “if you wouldn’t say something to a person’s face, don’t say it behind their back”.

    We need a license to drive, lest we ruin someone’s life. I feel like we need a license to internet…

  • LizaJane April 23, 2019, 4:28 pm

    People are making some very good points about doxxing.. some people need to be outed, but what if you got the wrong person?

    I actually like the idea of contacting those young “mens'” coaches. Boys have always talked…and told each other lies, but there was a time when the girl’s dad or brothers would feed them a knuckle sandwich and that was that.

    I’m not saying that was always good, but it wasn’t always bad. A fat lip might make you think twice, but it didn’t ruin your life.

    • Amethyst Anne April 23, 2019, 9:32 pm

      The idea of outing the wrong person is scary to me. There was another Amethyst Anne in my small town. It’s true that she and I had the same first and last names, but we were very different. Her middle initial was A, mine was L. DH and I had great credit ratings. She had a big problem with always being in debt and seriously behind in payments. So behind in debt that debt collectors would be calling me about my supposed late payments.She was a divorced mother of 1 DD, me a long-time happily-married mother of 4, I was also about 10-12 years older than she was. It caused a great shock when the other Amethyst got cancer. I had an eye doctor appointment, and the doctor asked how my cancer treatments were going. :O

  • Margo Agatha April 25, 2019, 3:12 pm

    My goodness! Dud you have the same doctor? Big mistake that. I am surprised that the doctor and debt collectors got you mixed up would imagine they’d double check that especially as you had different address and date of births.

    I think it depends on the situation with doxxing. If someone does it to highlight abuse they receive from the troll. A little taste of the medicine is one thing: to drown someone in it is different.

    • Doryna April 26, 2019, 4:00 am

      A lot of people tend to latch on to a name first; anything else is an afterthought for checking. My mom and I have the same first and last name, but a different middle name/initial. In one case, I started going to the same medical clinic my mom’s been seen at for years. The nurse called our name, and looked surprised to get me because she was so used to seeing my mom instead; my identity had been verified by the person checking me in, so she had no reason until that point to look at the age or birthday. We get mistaken for each other all the time in minor cases, like church directories or picking up prescriptions, because people are looking at the birthday to verify that it matches the one she or I gave them, not to figure out our ages and which one we are.

      Given my situation (and the one of Amethyst Anne above), I can see how doxxing can go horribly wrong, regardless if the person is the original target or returning fire against a doxxer. There have been cases of people being harassed or doxxed who were unfortunate enough to have a name that was the same or similar to their target. Sometimes the situation gets cleared up, but sometimes it doesn’t and an innocent person gets to bear the brunt of the anger.

      • admin April 26, 2019, 5:48 pm

        The wrong person being doxed is quite unfortunate. But I guarantee that the person making the incorrect doxing has not done so under the supervision of a lawyer.

        • Margo Agatha April 29, 2019, 4:17 pm

          That’s a good point.

      • EchoGirl May 22, 2019, 8:12 pm

        Yeah, unfortunately, people aren’t always very good at picking these things apart. It’s not just average people, either; I used to work for a nonprofit law firm, and we had a case where the state agency was insisting that our client, “Mary Jane Smith Jones”* was the same person as a previous applicant “Mary Ann Jones”* who happened to have a similar DOB. We ended up having to take them to a hearing and get a formal decision from a judge because they just latched onto the idea that both Mary Jonses were the same person, and no matter how much evidence we presented to the contrary, they refused to see the light. Even at the hearing, after we presented our evidence, they continued to insist they just didn’t know who our client was because of the “inconsistent applications”. Thankfully, the judge had more sense (and, to be fair, came into it aware that there was a dispute); she actually gave the agency a pretty stern virtual tongue-lashing in her ruling. If a state agency with mounds of information in front of them can get that twisted around, I have little faith in the general public, with less information, to do better.
        *Not their real names

  • Margo Agatha April 29, 2019, 4:13 pm

    I’m sorry I did not mean to sound victim shamy. I was trying to make the point that it is the ex who is at fault for behaving so badly and not leaving the lady alone in question. I’m so sorry for not explaining myself very well.

    What I was trying to say is it could be very hard for someone to try and avoid their whereabouts being advertised on fb if they get accidentally included in a post by a friend. The onus is on the creepy ex to behave and NOT stalk in the first place.

    An ex bf on mine was obsessed with me cheating that I ended it with him and he took that badly. I’d given him fair warning about what the consequences of his actions would be: if he can’t trust me then it’s over. After I ended it he wouldn’t leave me alone constantly asking me if I had someone else and if he had a chance. When I said there wasn’t a chance and no one else he kept on and on and on.

    I had tried to be polite but it got to the point where I blocked him on fb and told him to leave me alone or I’d report him to the police. I blocked his number which stopped calls but not texts on the phone I had at the time.

    He left me alone for a few years but started texting saying how sorry he was and how he needed money. This was very distressing. I sent one text: “leave me alone I’m reporting you to the police”. Which I did. They took me seriously. As he had moved I didn’t know his current address so the officer took ex bf’s number and rang him to tell him to leave me alone. When ex bf kept texting me still I rang the police and said I was going to change my number which is what they suggested I do. Now I have a phone which blocks texts and calls.

    I really cannot stress enough how sorry I am. My intention was not to blame the victim at all. If an ex is constantly texting or calling you after a break up because they can’t let go it can be very scary.

    • Tricia May 1, 2019, 7:07 am

      Margo Agatha – sorry my comment about victim shaming wasn’t directed at you but at the comment that you replied to (it’s just how this commenting thing works, every reply shows up under the original comment replied to.

      Their comment was “Curt Schilling should not be tweeting his daughters personal information to what are apparently strangers. ” Like I said, I don’t agree. We should be able to share good news without the threat of violence (especially such extreme violence) being the expected result.

      • Margo Agatha July 21, 2019, 11:25 am

        Thank you for clarifying that. Sorry for the late response. It made me really think about what I had written so that could be a very good thing!

  • Spuck May 8, 2019, 8:14 pm

    This isn’t all about doxing, but John Oliver did a good over all video about internet mobs titled: Public Shaming: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

  • EchoGirl May 22, 2019, 8:19 pm

    I know I’m slightly late to the party, but I’ve had some thoughts along these lines throughout the series. Many things that come into play in cases of public harassment do have a legitimate role in society. Take public shaming, for instance. There are cases, including one I can think of on this very blog (“Scorn For The Worst Neighbor In The World”), where public shaming becomes a tool to punish behavior that is socially unacceptable but not illegal. I’m not implying that Admin had the wrong ruling on either case; I think it’s pretty clear that in the neighbor’s case it was justified, while in the realtor’s case it was not. The question becomes, where does one draw the line? It’s difficult because people’s perceptions of situations vary so widely; what seems like no big deal or even acceptable to one person can come off as a major misdeed worthy of “punishment” to another.

    (I’m not saying I have the answer; I just think it’s worth considering the question.)