doxxing

A slang term (also spelled doxing) from the Gamergate controversy (see below), for “researching and publishing personally identifiable information about an individual” (Wikipedia), in a form of cyber-bullying. The Wikipedia article derives the term from dox, which it treats as a clipped version of document, but it seems more likely that dox is just a re-spelling of docs, which is a clipped version of documents, used here with a specialized meaning.

Now on Gamergate, from Wikipedia:

In video game culture, Gamergate (sometimes referred to as the hashtag #GamerGate) is an online movement which emerged around false allegations of unethical conduct levied against indie game developer Zoe Quinn in August 2014. Some supporters have stated that they are concerned with ethical issues in video game journalism, particularly conflicts of interest between video game journalists and developers. However, Gamergate has become most notable for a series of misogynistic and violent threats and harassment targeting Quinn and other prominent women in gaming, which have drawn widespread condemnation of the movement. Though the harassment is seen as coming from a minority of Gamergate supporters, the movement’s unwillingness or inability to control the attacks carried out in its name is generally seen as preventing constructive engagement. The harassment campaigns against women, combative rhetoric, and criticism of those examining video games from feminist or other minority perspectives has resulted in the movement being widely viewed as fighting a culture war against the increasing diversity of video game culture.

It seems that some traditional gamers, who are heavily male and into fiercely aggressive games, see critiques of their world by women, and the development of other types of games (especially by women), as a threat to this world and have responded with an appalling stream of misogyny directed at individual women. This bad behavior is encouraged by the ease with which people can post anonymously or pseudonomously and otherwise behave in socially irresponsible ways on the net.

A recent skirmish in Gamergate was reported by Lauren C. Williams on ThinkProgress on the 23rd, in “Actress Felicia Day Opens Up About GamerGate Fears, Has Her Private Details Exposed Minutes Later”, quoting Day:

“I have been terrified of inviting a deluge of abusive and condescending tweets into my timeline. I did one simple @ reply to one of the main victims several weeks back, and got a flood of things I simply couldn’t stand to read directed at me. I had to log offline for a few days until it went away. I have tried to re-tweet a few of the articles I’ve seen dissecting the issue in support, but personally I am terrified to be doxxed (having personal information such as an address, email or real name released online) for even typing the words ‘Gamer Gate.’”

In fact, Day was reportedly doxxed within an hour of writing her post on GamerGate.

Other targeted women have fled their homes to escape the abuse (sometimes including death threats).

[Added: Not long after I posted this, today’s NYT arrived, with this excellent pained piece by video game enthusiast Chris Suellentrop, “Can Video Games Survive?: The Disheartening GamerGate Campaign”.]

One Response to “doxxing”

  1. Ben Zimmer Says:

    I included dox(x)ing on my list of Words of 2012, and it showed up on others’ lists for 2013. Look for it in the Fall 2014 installment of “Among the New Words” in American Speech, which includes various WOTY also-rans. (Cites go back to 2010, with the earlier drop dox back to 2008.)

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