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Fighting Harassment with Open Source Tools

Engineering a Solution for Social Problems

Have you ever wished you could actually replace a troll with a very small shell script? Maybe you can. It's time to take charge and work on solving these situations from within the open source community.

The internet is full of trolls. We know that this always been the case, but in the past year, the harassment coming from some online communities has become international news. There have been death threats, SWAT attacks, threats of sexual violence, hacking attempts, and many other tactics used against those most vocal against the harassment.

We're going to talk a little bit about issues regarding diversity. It's no surprise that most of the people being targeted are women, and it can be a difficult thing for many to understand precisely what this harassment looks like. I'm going to show examples of what I personally have dealt with after releasing my open source project to combat harassment. The question is often raised as to why there aren't more women in open source. To answer that, everyone needs to be aware of what a female open source developer can face. Warning: there will be some graphic language.

Law enforcement doesn't have an adequate way of handling online harassment. The sites being used as a method of communication don't have an adequate way of handling online harassment. Terms of Service are created not to protect the users, but to protect the interest of the companies that wrote them.

However, not all is lost. With open APIs, we can work at creating safer spaces for those being targeted. I'll discuss the initial release of ggautoblocker, the problem it solved, and the roadmap for development going forward. There are many other tools that are needed. There are many ways to contribute to helping mitigate this problem.

This is a new approach to an old problem, and a lot of commercial companies are already looking at ways to sell a solution. The ability to be safe should be open to all and not come at a price.

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Fighting Harassment with Open Source Tools

  1. 1. Fighting Harassment with Open Source Tools Randi Harper <>
  2. 2. No cameras. No social media.
  3. 3. sysinstall is easy social stuff is hard
  4. 4. too many feelings make words difficult.
  5. 5. GamerGate has nothing to do with ethics in gaming journalism.
  6. 6. that’s a nice career you have. sure would be a shame if something happened to it.
  7. 7. (weev)
  8. 8. Adam Baldwin is not a Baldwin brother, which might be why he’s such a dick.
  9. 9. cultural marxism?
  10. 10. I worked on old sysinstall, hello?
  11. 11. cultural marxism?????
  12. 12.
  13. 13. (weev)
  14. 14. the only thing kevin mitnick is famous for is getting caught.
  15. 15. hacker news supporting a post about sexism in tech is the eighth sign of the apocalypse.
  16. 16. probably the best tequila story ever
  17. 17. sorry, KFC. auto-followback is a stupid marketing move anyways. and your chicken kind of sucks.
  18. 18. Good Game AutoBlocker
  19. 19. making perl more relevant than it’s been in years
  20. 20. current subscriber count: 5000+
  21. 21. got an award for being awesome. still not in the TIME 100, fml.
  22. 22. lolsuits
  23. 23.
  24. 24. (sorry)
  25. 25. I’ve saved hundreds of comments just like those
  26. 26. learning c is a lot less effort.
  27. 27.
  28. 28. police are not equipped to deal with online harassment
  29. 29. 8gb of redis means it’s time to find something that is not redis.
  30. 30. no text analysis. just account metadata. 96.8% accuracy.
  31. 31. that code is not open source because i broke the dev policy in a bad way. shhhhhhh!
  32. 32. still waiting for my honorary degree in troll hunting.
  33. 33. gosh, i sure will miss writing puppet manifests.
  34. 34. GamerGate is not known for having a strong grasp of cause and effect.
  35. 35. Patreon: <36k/year DevOps: >36k/year
  36. 36. 8chan: anonymous message board
  37. 37.
  38. 38. tequila + perl = groundbreaking gin + ruby = ?????? (let’s find out!)
  39. 39. Twitter, why are you not paying me for this?
  40. 40. 84% of the data we manually verified as targeting women.
  41. 41.
  42. 42.
  43. 43. Carlton is the name of Hindsight, a Marvel comics superhero.
  44. 44. more data means a better understanding of the social issues creating these environments
  45. 45. alcohol + angry is probably the origin story of so many open source projects
  46. 46. don’t be me.
  47. 47. ask me about OSCON :( (but not when there’s a microphone present)
  48. 48.
  49. 49. Everything is shit. It doesn’t have to be.
  50. 50. resources/Q&A • blog: • personal github: • OAPI: • OAPI github: • donations: