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@elevatorgate harassment and stalking

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@elevatorgate is (at time of writing) a Twitter and Storify user who gathers together large timelines of women's and ally's tweets, in order to make them aware that they are being watched, and/or expose them to others as targets for harassment, together with maintaining a blog with similar material.

In August 2013, Ann Mardoll reported that when women complained to Storify CEO Xavier Damman about @elevatorgate, he included @elevatorgate in the Twitter conversation, thus alerting @elevatorgate to new targets.

The handle "elevatorgate" refers to the Incident at World Atheist Convention, which is commonly known as Elevatorgate (although it's not clear if Rebecca Watson or other feminists in atheism and skepticism use the term, or only their opponents). elevatorgate's behaviour dates from approximately this time (late 2011).

"It's not stalking if the tweets were public"Edit

John Scalzi discussed the issue on his blog, and a number of commenters asserted that no use or aggregation of public data like tweets could be considered to be stalking. Other commenters debunked this, saying that:

As I understand it, it’s not just about the reposting of public information. It’s about using the mechanisms of the Storify service purposefully in a way to make the people whose information he’s reposting feel less safe. — John Scalzi
… this is serious harassment, despite being based on public information, in the same way that receiving an envelope in the mail full of photographs of you going about your day over the course of a month is serious harassment. — Chris Ogilvie
Hell yeah. It’s stalking. Look, you’re allowed to take pictures in public places, right? And you’re allowed to modify pictures to add things like balloons, or confetti, or stars, or whatever, right? But somehow, if you take pictures specifically of someone’s kids, and you photoshop crosshairs onto the pictures, and you send them pictures like that every day, suddenly people freak out. Why’s that? Well, because it’s a threat, that’s why. Sure, it’s an implicit threat, but it is nonetheless a threat.
When someone who has no particular welcome connection to you follows you around recording everything you say, and reposting all of it, and making sure you know they’re reposting everything you say, that is some sort of implicit threat. — Seebs
There’s something called the continuum fallacy that seems to come up a lot in discussions of online stalking and the like. Read the linked wikipedia article for more details, but here’s the short version: even if you argue that there’s not a sharp delineation between stalking behaviour and non-stalking, it’s still a fallacy to say that you can’t meaningfully define stalking. — aetherize

DiscussionEdit

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