Being a woman online is an inherently dangerous act.

Because I’ve dared to speak up, I have been relentlessly harassed. My appearance—everything from my breast size, to my chin dimple, to my under eye circles and the symmetry of my face—has been criticized. I’ve been told I’m the reason that Sharia Law exists. That I should be “dealt with in the street.”

The sad thing is, what I’ve been through is comparatively not that bad. The FBI has visited friends’ houses because of credible violent threats against them. Others have been forced into hiding, forced to move. One has been attacked on the street.

That’s why I wrote HOW TO BE A WOMAN ONLINE. It draws on my research on disinformation and my personal experience, providing a step-by- step plan for dealing with harassment, abuse, doxing and disinformation in online spaces. I hope it will empower women to feel more comfortable making their voices heard.

I’m happy to answer your questions about the book; about how authoritarians use the internet to keep women out of politics; and about what more tech companies can do to curb this phenomenon.

More info: Twitter:

Proof: Here's my proof!

Comments: 558 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

Josh1billion593 karma

When I was growing up, it was considered dangerous to even post your real name online.

Now, it's become the norm to share everything on social media. All the details of your personal life, plus tagging in real-time which restaurant you're eating at, which bar you're drinking at, etc.

LinkedIn is the weirdest of all to me: people think nothing of posting their company and position there, when it's essentially broadcasting to every stranger online "hey, here's where I spend 8-9 hours of my day everyday." In fact, not posting that information can even hurt your career.

How do we move back to a more online-privacy-aware society?

wiczipedia240 karma

I think this is a really smart point and one of the reasons I wrote the book! A lot of people don't know the MANY details of their private lives that are available online-- not only the ones they willingly give up, but those that are bought and sold by ad exchanges. I hope to see some legislation introduced that requires platforms to obtain informed consent from users- that is, informing them exactly what data is going to be used, how, and when. But we also need broader awareness campaigns that educate everyone from children to adults about how social media platforms work- we'd all get taken in a lot less by misleading advertising, disinformation, abuse, and beyond if this were better understood.

BayformersInDisguise170 karma

Does your book factor in the abuse from women towards women? I find in this discussion it’s often left out that much of the abuse of women, especially intense abuse that spurs suicide, comes from women and it feels like a lot of people who take up your position make it all about male on female hate. In my high school, a girl was driven to suicide by a group of girls on Facebook and then the next week people came in to lecture us on misogyny on the internet as though this girl was driven to suicide by boys and that just never sat right with me.

wiczipedia48 karma

This is a good point, and certainly something that deserves more attention. I dealt with my fair share of bullying from other girls in high school (and even some in college, too).

I do talk about the need for women to support each other and amplify each other's work in the book, which is my tacit way of calling for women-on-women abuse to end. I wish we had more stats on how much abuse comes from which types of accounts, but unfortunately, we do have to rely somewhat on how people present/express themselves, particularly on platforms where a real ID or name is not required, so the facts there are a bit murky.

I will say, qualitatively, the worst stuff I've received has been from men/male-presenting accounts, and has been intensely/grotesquely sexualized. I have had some abuse from women, though interestingly, I find that women do tend to engage in more of a good faith debate if you attempt to have a discussion with them (again, qualitatively). Beyond that, I do find that women engage less online overall for both the good and the bad stuff- and that's reflected in user stats, too (Last I checked, the US Reddit userbase was about 30% women).

BayformersInDisguise67 karma

It’s interesting that you make the point about good faith debate, while I do agree I also think there’s a flipside there which is that female users online are a lot more likely - this is just my anecdotal experience - to conflate good faith pushback with abuse or harassment. I’ve never been reported by a male for having an online argument even if heated but I have been reported by female users for some pretty milquetoast discussions and I do worry if maybe in some cases there’s an issue of over reporting. I do think the sexualised stuff and threats are awful and I wish sites would do a better job of watching out for that, and in their defence a number of sites have limits on when and how you can send images to users.

At the risk of sounding flippant, do you ever hear feedback from women and yourself think “on that you could have just blocked them or logged off”?

wiczipedia50 karma

No, I've gotten that advice way too much myself to ever apply it to someone else, haha. :) Blocking can be tricky and even now I tend to be reluctant to do it, because sometimes it can vindicate the worst trolls and inspire a new wave of harassment from high-follower accounts if they post a picture of your block. As for logging off, it can be tough when the internet is your social life and livelihood (though we could all probably stand to do it a little more often). What I would advise some women to do, is just to simply mute/not engage with the trolls when it becomes evident they aren't having a good faith argument/are resorting to insults instead of content-based debate. That's a lesson I learned the hard way....

BayformersInDisguise9 karma

Yeah there are some people I follow on YouTube who unfortunately have a habit of making a huge deal out of everyone who blocks them and wear it as a badge of honour and then the fans brigade them

Understood. I’ve always kept my stuff anonymous, I’m a male and I think the default online is to assume users are males unless you know otherwise, so can’t speak to the female experience. Unfortunately some people online are just looking for fights and attention, and others are just creeps.

I probably wouldn’t agree with you politically but this is an interesting discussion and I’ve known women who do even go as far as pretending to be men to get by online.

Is there any evidence that engaging in particular subjects invites more harassment than others? Obviously politics I can see as being associated with abuse, are there any “steer clear of this online” pieces of advice you give?

wiczipedia23 karma

Interesting question! I wouldn't advise a woman to steer clear of anything online in particular, if she is interested and wants to engage! But there does seem to be a trend with more "manly" professions where women get more abuse- sports, medicine, politics, academia, gaming.

NephilimXXXX19 karma

I wish we had more stats on how much abuse comes from which types of accounts

There were some studies done a while back:

Twitter abuse - '50% of misogynistic tweets from women' - BBC News


wiczipedia45 karma

Yeah, I'm not a fan of this particular study for multiple reasons: It was done on a single platform, it was done over a short period of time, and assumes that someone's self-reported gender is their actual gender. At this point, it's also quite old. 6 years in internet time is aeons. Finally, it's looking at very superficial abuse based on a fairly simple set of classifiers- the things I seek to address are much more vulgar, deep-rooted, and violent.

Svenskensmat10 karma

At this point, it’s also quite old. 6 years in internet time is aeons.

Are you suggesting that the number of male misogynistic tweets has increased more than the number of female misogynistic tweets during these six years? Otherwise I have a hard time seeing what the age of the study got to do with anything.

wiczipedia0 karma

The tenor of the online conversation has changed markedly in that time.

Retro_Audio153 karma

I dont believe I've ever completely lost touch with the idea that there is a very real human being on the other end of the monitor when arguing online but I've definitely gotten into heated online arguments.

Do you think there is a solution to the dehumanization that comes with massive platforms of people strictly arguing with disembodied text?

wiczipedia147 karma

This is something that I think about a lot, and something that kept me from blocking people from a very long time. I've successfully connected to a human harassing me on the other side of the screen once- and it was over the death of my father, who was a disabled veteran. That sort of approach may work sometimes, but it's a huge investment of both time and emotion and unfortunately is impossible when you're dealing with a broad harassment campaign against you.

Some people have suggested that removing anonymity from the internet is a way to bring back humanity online; sadly I disagree as I have received harassment on LinkedIn, where people use their real names and their posts are visible for their colleagues and current/future employers to see! The UK is considering a bill like this right now, and I think it would be a mistake- anonymity is so important for activists, some journalists, and others in really testy situations around the world.

I do think, however, that if anonymous accounts faced more consequences for their violative online behavior (ie, the removal of their content, the locking of their account, all the way up to a ban if they are repeat offenders), then we might see less of this flagrant bad behavior.

mattreyu126 karma

What advice should we give our daughters as they start going online, especially as it becomes more prevalent?

wiczipedia217 karma

It's interesting- when I've interviewed high school and college-aged women, they're extraordinarily savvy abou the dangers of the internet. I'd wager that they have better personal online security practices than many adults do. What scares me, though, is the degree to which they're self-censoring. One of the young women in a focus group I did for my book said "I don't want a lifestyle that public" because she was afraid of what she had seen some of her peers and some well-known women endure online.

So, in addition to making sure they have good cyber hygiene (complex passwords, 2FA), and good operational security (make sure you're not posting pictures of your pet with its tags visible, pictures of your house, real-time posts from your location), and making sure they know how to use the (insufficient) safety tools and reporting functions social media platforms provide, I would encourage them to speak up! I don't want young women to self-censor or silence themselves in anticipation of what might happen- I want them to feel confident they've got the right practices in place so that if they do get harassed, it stops online. If they aren't making their voices heard, we're letting harassers win,

And finally, as parents (I've got my own little one on the way!), we should make sure that our kids know they've got a support network and that they don't need to hide what has happened to them online- that we're here to listen and help them navigate a world that can be pretty horrifying even for adults.

Maleficent-Bridge54671 karma

Who doesn't get insulted on the internet?

wiczipedia42 karma

Sure, everyone gets insulted on the internet, but the quantity and quality of abuse, harassment, and threats that women, especially women of color/intersectional identities receive, is much different than what men get. Often these insults are specific to our sexuality or place in society, suggesting we are only good for breeding/homemaking, and that our place is not in public life, but in the kitchen.

Further, my research has shown this isn't just about "insults"- it's about the way that the systematic abuse of women keeps some of us out of public discourse and public life altogether. It's a phenomenon that has implications for the representation of women in elected office and our broader participation in the democratic process.

Beyond that, many women I've interviewed have experienced credible threats to their physical security, having had to file restraining orders, move houses, and get unannounced visits from the FBI because of online threats to their lives, or their children's lives. In my own experience, I've begun carrying a personal safety alarm after receiving a very violent email to my work address. The men that I know who work in my field have dealt with none of this.

(If you want quantitative evidence, here is a study that looks at abuse against women and men in Congress, again showing that women receive more abuse than their male counterparts, with one exception, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell)

HoldMyJumex53 karma

Can you provide quantitive evidence on this topic (women online) versus public figures such as congresswomen.

wiczipedia34 karma

First, let me say that just because you're a public figure- whether that be a Member of Congress, TV anchor, instagram influencer, or otherwise- doesn't mean that you should simply be required to grin and bear gendered abuse because it is the "cost of doing business." I've spoken with female reporters who byline stories with male counterparts, and they will be subject to all manner of horrific things online, including rape and death threats, while their male colleague receives nothing but pats on the back.

I'm unaware of a study that looks at "normal people" and compares the abuse women and men receive. This is in part because we have a data / sample problem there. "Normal" people have fewer followers, less engagement, and less content to analyze. A lot of normal (non public) people also have their accounts locked, which means researchers can't scrape them, or they mostly use platforms like FB, TikTok, IG, etc, which are inherently quite difficult to work with because they don't have open API access for researchers. All that being said, I'd love to see a study looking at this, but the absence of it doesn't mean that the abuse doesn't exist. High profile women simply have magnified abuse.

(This is not exactly what you're asking, but the Center for Countering Digital Hate recently did a study on non-political, but still high-proifle, women's instagram DMs and the results are horrific.

adish-5 karma

Guess not.

wiczipedia0 karma

As I wrote in a comment somewhere in this thread, I went to bed at 9pm ET last night because I'm 8 months pregnant and staying up to answer Reddit questions is not something I'm willing to inflict on myself at this juncture! I'll answer this question once I've had my coffee, but way to assume bad faith! 5 stars.

OliveBranchMLP27 karma

It’s not a matter of who does or doesn’t. It’s a matter of when, why, for what, what kind, and how often.

Your average man speaking up in a game isn’t likely to get a significant response. He might get insulted, but it’ll be during the course of the game, and often as a direct response to either his performance or something he says. And the harassment will often end once the match is over.

If your average woman so much as utters a single word will often get dog piled IMMEDIATELY, often long before she even has a chance to prove herself, and it’ll literally be for no reason, completely regardless of skill or words. Sometimes she doesn’t even need that; all she needs is a slightly feminine sounding name. And the harasser will often start spamming DMs and back searching for socials so that they can spam the woman with rape/death threats.

People who fall back on “everyone receives insults” fail to account for the scale of the problem, and the scope/intensity/frequency of the harassment.

wiczipedia14 karma


alien_changeling63 karma

I've realized that I've been self-censorsing more and more online over time, and I'm increasingly engaging only in spaces that are specifically nonpublic. My security is probably significantly above average (I do the things you mention plus other things besides), but I still don't trust that I won't be targeted. As I was writing this message, I realized I was self-censoring here for fear that someone would look at this thread for people to harass, so I haven't even asked all the questions I would otherwise. I worry about ceding the public sphere to men, but I don't feel like I have great alternatives. Is there a way to break this cycle?

wiczipedia40 karma

I don't have a great answer for this- it becomes a bit more of a reflex, over time, I suppose. Ultimately, even the women in my book all have different ways of dealing with the abuse they receive. Some have left certain platforms; others lock down their accounts during important/high pressure times (Congressional testimonies, big media appearances, etc). You have to find what works for you and your situation.

In another answer I mentioned the BlockParty app ( for Twitter- this allows you to manage abuse you receive when you feel ready for it, proactively blocking abusive content/accounts and allowing you to tweak your settings as you feel like it. Perhaps a tool like this would help you feel a bit more insulated?

But please keep speaking up- we need you!

alien_changeling3 karma

In your Wilson Center report and above you talk a little about intersectionality, but not much about LGBTQ identities and being out on the Internet: for instance, the incidents of transphobic harassment you talk about are directed against cisgender women. I've noticed that the online environment, particularly in the US and UK, has gotten much more hostile recently for LGBTQ people. Do you know if there's any evidence that backs up my anecdotal impression? Is there anything in particular that helps limit that kind harassment?

wiczipedia26 karma

My anecdotal impression is the same, especially with the Don't Say Gay bill and anti-trans bills in states right now. But beyond that, members of the LGBTQ community receive a *ton* of abuse online, and the women I've interviewed who are members of the community have had to deal with some horrible things. I know I've read a great paper about this but I can't find it at the moment- will follow up if I do!

NecessaryRhubarb4 karma

I don’t know if this is helpful or not, but I try to write in a way where my gender, sexual preferences and status are far less highlighted than my views. I only say this as I regularly default something I read to a gender and race, and unless specified as something else (and therefore different from my assumptions), one’s identity is shielded.

Is that helpful at all?

wiczipedia15 karma

Sadly, if you're a woman in public who is associated with her identity (ie an author, journalist, medical professional, academic, etc), you don't have the luxury of shielding that identity. :(

Pattoe8943 karma

I stream video game content and many female streamers I know use an avatar that replicates their facial movements to represent themselves. They have told me that they wouldn't stream live if they had to use their face instead of this avatar for fear of being judged and harassed.

What are your thoughts on this trend. Are these avatars empowering or is it sad that women feel the need to use them?

wiczipedia69 karma

Wow, I had never heard of this trend (admittedly, I'm not a gamer). I think it's definitely sad that women feel forced to do this, but I can understand why. So many women streamers get horrific abuse. Even those who casual users of these platforms can get dogpiled, turning something that should be fun into a gut-wrenching experience. I wonder, however, if it eliminates the abuse entirely (unless the women elect to use male avatars); I know that in the metaverse, we've seen plenty of abuse against female-presenting avatars, too. Thanks for bringing this up.

Pattoe8922 karma

Unfortunately it doesn't stop harassment. People using these avatars are called 'vtubers' (coming from virtual youtuber) One of these vtubers (called Rushia) recently received threats of violence and doxxing after it was leaked that she may be in a relationship. In that way it seems they face many of the same issues of other online personalities, but using a different name and face (and sometimes even a voice changer) seems make it harder for the abusers to track them down.

wiczipedia29 karma

That makes sense. It's unlikely to lessen the psychological/emotional effect of the harassment, too :(

Pattoe8930 karma

An unintentional face reveal can be quite upsetting too. This can happen when the vtuber is doing a cooking stream and their face is caught in a reflective surface. Viewers will be quick to clip the image and publish it online.

I think you mentioning the metaverse is very apt, a lot of lessons learned from vtubers in the past few years are going to show up there on a larger scale.

Another one is the vtuber having their avatar used in pornography without their consent. Vtubers form a very strong bond with their avatar as part of their identity, having it used like that is very concerning, I'm sure many will form strong identities with their avatars on the metaverse too, and similar issues may occur.

I think this touches on the "deepfake" issue in pornography, but avatars are easier to fake than actual faces.

wiczipedia26 karma

Wow, I'm learning so much from you tonight! I've writte about deep fake porn before, but this is next level. Thanks for bringing this up.

wiczipedia42 karma

Ok folks, I'm 8 months pregnant and exhausted, so I'm going to sign off for the night but will be back in the morning to see what's cooking here! Thanks so much for your great qeustions- it was lovely to chat with you.

TheDildozer1428 karma

I’m curious. Do you feel that companies need to specifically protect women on the internet more than others? Because from what I see no one is really “safe” on the internet. Men get threats of violence and hate as well. There’s always someone who will have something to say no matter what and who you are.

wiczipedia29 karma

First, see this response- we *do* receive quantitatively and qualitatively worse abuse than men.

Second, I'd be very happy if platforms did a better job enforcing their terms of service all around, for everyone. But given how little platforms have invested into making their spaces places where women can speak their minds without fear of retribution that is based entirely on what sexual organs we were born with, I do think they need to think a little harder about how the infrastructures they've created and continue to create affect women and marginalized communities in particular. For instance: last year (I think? time is weird these days) Slack introduced a new feature where any user could cold-DM another user on the platform, regardless of whether they were in distinct organizations, simply by knowing their name or email. Immediately, women who had been victims of partner abuse and stalking spoke up about what a terrible feature this was for them. Slack quickly changed the feature to be opt-in. But these sorts of mistakes don't need to happen. Get more women and POC in the room as features and platforms are being developed to game out how they might be used by those who wish us (and others) harm.

Superbrawlfan25 karma

I don't wanna discredit everything you've done here, but I do feel the conclusions you draw are quite fast. Is there any evidence/research towards why women receive more abuse?

Another interesting thing to see here is how this problem is in different circles and communities.

wiczipedia1 karma

I don't really think we need a research study to conclude that women receive more abuse because in most societies misogyny is endemic and has been been for millenia. It is self-perpetuating and self-enforcing, and until we break that cycle, abuse against women will continue, no matter the platform (on or offline). We can only hope to mitigate it till then.

HoldMyJumex20 karma

Can you go more into detail on what your book is about?

I understand the doxing part, but what exactly do you mean by abuse, harrasment, and especially disinformation? I think you can see how those are very broadly used terms nowadays, so I'm wondering if you can provide more specific examples or definitions of what exactly do these mean in your book?

I'll be frank here, I'm a woman, and I'm trying to see how this is a gender-specific issue, so examples and sources would be helpful.

wiczipedia17 karma

Thanks for this! This is the most in-depth study I've been involved in on this topic: - it deals specifically with the disinformation issue. I described gendered disinformation in another comment that I now can't locate as the thread is getting unruly, but I define it as a sub tactic of abuse and harassment that is false, has malign intent, and often is coordinated.

As for other resources, I would also recomend Sarah Sobieraj's Credible Threat and Danielle Citron's Hate Crimes in Cyberspace for a discussion of gendered online abuse.

I also wrote a little about what you're getting at here:\_source=share&utm\_medium=web2x&context=3

gdprof211220 karma

Hi, Nina!

Thank you so much for doing this! HTLTIW was very insightful!

I have a daughter who's approaching 10. What are best practices for parents with daughters approaching the time when devices are ubiquitous in their lives?

extra_specticles17 karma

Thanks for doing this.

How much do think our reliance on social media seems to create an exaggerated view of women "being available" regardless of reality? What should we parents be doing to counter the pressure for girls (esp. younger/impressionable ones) to use sexuality online to gain acceptance? It seems hard to draw lines between personal expression and an increasing arms race in using more and more sexuality in social media posts?

wiczipedia27 karma

Thanks for this question! I think this is probably an intensely personal parenting choice- and one that has likely always been around to some degree, no matter the medium. (I do worry about the effect of things like filters and heavy photo editing on young girls' self-esteem- though I think that's a bit tangential to this discussion). Maybe this gets back to a broader trend looking at not only sexualization for likes, but doing ever more extreme behaviors—including harassing and abusing—for likes/influence/popularity. Teaching kids how social media functions (on the enraging/extreme/shocking/emotional, not necessarily the worthy/good/beautiful) might be able to encourage them to be more thoughtful about this as they begin to engage online.

believeamorfati15 karma

I really wish this information had been available back when I was young! Thank you for your work. When I was about 11-12 (I’m 29 now), the internet was obviously a very different experience. Especially with chatrooms such as Omegle making sexual exploitation of minors so available. Personally (granted I had a history of csa before this) I experienced being manipulated into giving explicit videos of myself at age 12-16, and i struggle with the fact that they’re out there and I could pass by someone who watched me at that age and never know. I hope there are more efforts, especially with the rise in younger ages using social media, to protect children and teens from this sort of situation. What sort of measures have been taken, and what are your hopes for future safety?

wiczipedia10 karma

I'm so sorry for what you've gone through. I'm not an expert in this particular area, but there are definitely educational efforts underway to raise awareness about the ways minors can be manipulated online. I think this- along with better law enforcement and moderation from platforms- is probably the best we can hope for in this area.

HumdrumAnt14 karma

I’ve seen a lot of comments asking what companies can do, but none about what people can do. As individuals, what do you think can we do when we see a friend or stranger being harassed online?

wiczipedia30 karma

  1. Be an active bystander! Report/block/mute- sends important signals to platforms.
  2. Call out the bad behavior (but don't perpetuate the cycle of abuse)
  3. Reach out to your friend- ask if they need anything! If a stranger, express solidarity.

Witchlight_butterfly11 karma

Are there any "tricks" to not letting harassment and hate online get to you?

In the past it used to be tolerable but with some irl stuff I have going on and the stress of university more often than not I find myself really affected by things I face online.

wiczipedia23 karma

First, I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through. Know that you're not alone, and that it's not silly to feel affected by what's you're facing online, especially as the online environment becomes more interwoven with our daily lives.

Second, some tips for you in this answer:

In addition to those- I would consider remembering that your timeline (/insert whatever platform you use here) is not a democracy- use the tools necessary to block/mute/report, or have friends help you do it if you're in the middle of a big onslaught of abuse. (If you're on Twitter, check out BlockParty, which is an extension that can automate some of this for you.) I also try to shame/build awareness in a responsible—and satisfying!— way when I receive abuse. I'll take a screenshot, delete the avatar/screen name, and post it on my twitter with a sometimes funny, other times serious remark. This way I'm scolding the abuser but denying them any amplification or oxygen, and my followers seem to appreciate seeing the wide array of curiosities women online are subject to.

Finally, if you can talk to a therapist, I've found mine to be incredibly helpful when dealing with abuse. Your friends and family only want to listen to you for so long, but your therapist will always be there to put things in perspective.

Solidarity <3

juiceinyourcoffee10 karma

As an expert, I hope you’ll take the time to answer questions besides soft balls.

Do you believe that it should become illegal to insult people or to cause offense?

Should social media platforms permaban people for jokes or satire that can be seen as offensive?

Should social media platforms permaban people for hurting someone’s feelings?

Is it harassment or offensive to criticize someone, their claims, or their ideas, and if so should it be banned?

Is it harassment or offensive to call someone’s ideology or belief system wrong or repulsive, and if so should it be banned?

If calling a belief system repulsive is bannable depending on the ideology, who or what organ makes such decisions and by what method or system?

Is it harassment or offensive to deny or reject someone’s conclusions drawn from their ideology, reasoning, or lived experience?

wiczipedia55 karma

Well, I've answered every question so far, so here goes :)

Do you believe that it should become illegal to insult people or to cause offense? No
Should social media platforms permaban people for jokes or satire that can be seen as offensive? No
Should social media platforms permaban people for hurting someone’s feelings? No, but that's not what this is about :) I do believe that social media platforms should enforce their own terms of service about abuse, harassment, hate speech, and violent threats.
Is it harassment or offensive to criticize someone, their claims, or their ideas, and if so should it be banned? If we are talking about good faith debate, no. If we are talking about degrading someone on the basis of an intrinsic characteristic (gender, race, religion, ability etc), many platforms already have policies in place that prohibit this behavior.
The last three questions are a bit beyond the context of this discussion, but I have two thoughts based on the whole list:

  1. Social media platforms are private entities, not public utilities, that can make their own rules as they see fit. Unfortunately, as it stands, most platforms aren't enforcing the rules they have on the books, which leads to abuse.
  2. The types of speech-limiting behavior I think you're alluding to above is not the same thing as the abuse and harassment women endure online. We are not criticized for our belief systems or ideologies; we are maligned simply because we are women, and we choose to participate in the public sphere. This affects our safety (in real life, as I've outlined in other answers tonight) and in some cases the work we pursue, as well as our participation in the democratic process. I'm not just talking about what you might regard as silly insults, offensive comments, or sarcastic humor; I'm talking about people who say that a woman should be "dealt with in the street" because she deigns to speak her mind. That sort of stuff wouldn't be allowed IRL, and in my view, it shouldn't be allowed on platforms that claim to be places where everyone can make their voices heard.

Riddle_Snowcraft10 karma

How come "Harassment" keeps getting redefined each year to include increasingly small things that are mildly inconvenient? Petty insults in games, accountability discourse, et al.

wiczipedia12 karma

FWIW that is not the type of harassment I'm talking about, as you'll see from examples in the papers I've linked and writing above.

konrad-iturbe9 karma

Hi Nina, read your previous book, How To Lose The Information War and found it insightful, especially the part about how tech companies deal with disinfo.

Do you see tech companies successfully engaging in curbing targeted harassment or is it another instance of whack-a-troll? Are there concrete and proven steps to mitigate targeted harassment without making "collateral damage" (false positives in flagging, difference in language, etc...)

wiczipedia26 karma

Thanks for reading! So glad you liked it.

Unfortunately, as of yet we really haven't seen good faith efforts by platforms to curb abuse and harassment on their platforms. Most of the affordances that exist put the onus on users to identify, respond to, and report instances of targeted harassment or even violent threats. It's simply not good enough for a problem that affects half of the world's population.

When we did our report on gendered abuse and disinformation at the Wilson Center, we heard from woman after woman that we interviewed that they wanted to see more informed content moderation at platforms-- People with the subject matter expertise and context to make informed decisions about the reports they were adjudicating. (One participant told us, as a disabled woman, she often got threats and slurs that were clearly targeted harassment against the disabled community, but they were rejected over and over, likely because the content moderator didn't understand the context.) So that's one way to make better content moderation decisions.

Another important factor is the introduction of incident reports. Right now, we report one-off pieces of content or accounts, but when you're getting harassed, generally you have been hit by a broader dogpile or campaign that has a few instigating nodes. If targets were able to file incident reports showing the depth, breadth, and coordination of the harassment (which platforms should be able to see even more clearly from the back end), I think we'd see more of these campaigns stopped in their tracks.

Neither of these are foolproof- there might be false positives sometimes, especially with slang in its many uses- but right now there is so little action being taken that women are not reporting violative content, and sometimes even locking down their accounts and thus not engaging in the public sphere. I'd rather have a few false positives (paired with a robust appeals process!) than the silencing of millions.

scruffychef10 karma

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but putting the onus on the victim to report their harassment doesnt seem unreasonable at all. Short of giving big tech a free pass to read our communications, how else would the harasser be identified? You need to speak up if you face harassment, not reporting it, especially in online forums where a ban or block could work, is frankly self defeating. I'm not asking a rape victim to give a detailed account of their fresh trauma, I'm expecting people to use the tools available to report their harassers. If you cant be bothered to even report the problem how the hell do you expect to see it solved?

wiczipedia37 karma

This is reasonable if you are receiving a harassing tweet or comment here or there. But the reality is that when you're in the middle of an absolute sh*tstorm, you are getting hundreds or thousands of pieces of content in many different formats, sometimes on diffent platforms, per hour. From the backend, platforms (which have far, far more resources than a lone individual) can 100% identify when a bunch of accounts that don't normally follow or engage with someone are suddenly dogpiling them and take action, either hiding those replies/comments, or temporarily turning off mentions/comments etc., with the permission of the target. That's from the networked perspective, but platforms also have the ability to detect harassing language or images with AI (it's not foolproof, but it's how, for instance, terrorist content is identified and removed).

The truth is, when I've been in the thick of harassment, it has taken me hours and hours to report and document this abuse. That's hours and hours I could have been working. Here's how Sarah Sobieraj puts it in her book, Credible Threat, which I highly recommend:

"Hours and days are lost weeding through comments, Tweets, and messages. Many women invested time documenting the abuse. They organized screen shots, printed and filed materials, and otherwise worked to create a paper trail at the request of law enforcement or employers—or simply to have evidence on hand in the event of escalation. Going to court, filing reports, blocking and reporting—all these strategies sap time."

Some women have to hire assistants or enlists friends to deal with it. It's a privilege to be able to do it- and it's something that most men don't have to deal with.

DaglessMc9 karma

How would you respond to the pew research center which concludes that Men face more online harassment than any other group?

Shouldn't we be making the internet safer for everyone?

wiczipedia4 karma

I believe you're referring to this survey which is all about self-reported harassment. In my experience conducting interviews and focus groups about this topic, women are reticent to claim they've been abused or harassed online, or they make light of it, even when what they've experienced is comparatively horrific.

ImHereForTheDogPics8 karma

Hi Nina! As a woman in IT, I really, really appreciate you authoring books on such important topics. As an extension of that, I assume harassment & online/ in-person attention has gotten worse. How do you handle the extra (unwanted) attention that comes your way?

wiczipedia27 karma

Thank you! I have gotten better at dealing with unwanted attention, though it sometimes makes me a bit sad. I *like* doing events like this and interacting with people online, but some have made it really impossible. For instance, I can't answer DMs from people I don't know any longer, because some men have viewed a simple "thank you" for a compliment on my work as an invitation to engage with me in very personal ways. Some send me voice notes. I don't open them.

In addition to the "first lines of defense" that I describe in my book (beefing up your security, learning the tools you have access to on platforms, creating a policy to deal with trolls, building a community), I tend to think about other, and especially younger women who I'm doing a disservice to if I disengage or let the trolls win. That helps me keep going when it gets rough. Hang in there!

ImHereForTheDogPics5 karma

Thank you! I suppose I get most discouraged by trolls, bots, and just in general the worst of the worst that feel comfortable commenting online in anonymity. Really gets me down, and it’s just hard to remind myself that those posters are not the general population.

The hardest part for me tends to be interacting with real men in real life, corporate scenarios. I know that isn’t necessarily your area of expertise, it just happens to be what I encounter most. I never know how to react to a sexist boss or dismissive colleague in a professional, competent manner.

But I really appreciated your line about doing this for younger women! There are countless younger women and family members that I think of every time I feel discouraged with our current state, and they are what keeps me pushing forward and demanding better treatment for.

wiczipedia18 karma

Gosh, I've dealt with that too. One particularly humiliating experience was when an older man at a conference felt the need to comment on a dress I was wearing- in these situations it is just so hard to get up the gumption to tell someone they're being inappropriate, and we're often socialized to "not make trouble" so it makes it worse.

In the book I discuss the first time I filed a complaint like this at work- I won't give away the whole story, but essentially, I was really reticent to do anything until a male colleague of mine encouraged me to. Once I did that, I felt a little more empowered to start making similar complaints or speaking up when the situation warranted.

alien_changeling7 karma

How much do you know about the methodology of the adversaries, the places where they organize harassment and doxxing campaigns? Geolocating photos is something you've talked about a lot. What other kinds of avenues of attack do we need to worry about?

wiczipedia23 karma

This is an interesting question and one that needs to be researched more. We tried to look into this a little in our Wilson Center report but unfortunately didn't turn up any huge new blockbusters. But based on studies of other online communities there is definitely an element of organizing that happens "off platform" - in this case mainstream platforms - where networked abuse is planned. In my own experience, I've been harassed by some folks in the Q community during a Congressional testimony I did; this was organized on 8kun, but similar campaigns could be run through telegram channels/whatsapp groups/private FB groups, etc.

In addition to geolocation, think about the other patters of life you establish for yourself online. Cindy Otis, a former CIA analyst and author who is interviewed in the book (and is also a dear friend of mine), spells out how posting a picture of your car, for example, can clue abusers into your bank security questions, as can things like posting pictures/info about your favorite restaurants, hangouts, parks that you walk your dog in, etc. Generally, before I post something, I think about the degree to which I would be establishing a sequence through which someone could potentially show up IRL- and they can often do that even without geolocation, just with the information we volunteer about ourselves.

Carcass16 karma

What kind of data did you work with to conclude that women are more likely to be abused online than men, or rather by men? Do you think you had a bias, based off of your own experience? And what role did females abusing males, or females abusing other females, play a role in your conclusion?

wiczipedia33 karma

There are a variety of surveys that have been done about this, as well as more quantitative research like this report (

I touched on this a little above, but on most platforms (even those like FB which have a real name policy) it is easy to masquerade as the opposite gender if you so choose, and so it's hard to tell who exactly is doing the abusing. In a research context that makes it difficult to draw conclusions like what you ask above.

In the Wilson Center report that I've referenced tonight, which looked at 336,000 pieces of content over 2 months on 6 social media platforms, we saw a shocking amount of sexualized content, a lot of which was quite grotesque. I don't think that being a woman who has been harassed made any of that any less stomach-churning.

arkindal5 karma

Among my friends I have women, and while, yes, they have received some unpleasant messages, they thankfully never experienced threats or other terrible things you mention in your post.

I, as a guy, have received my fair share of unpleasant messages too, and believe it or not, I had someone violently knocking at my door at 2AM because of an argument online.

I'm sure that plenty of men have received their share of unpleasant messages and threats, not to mention being criticized for their appearance and other traits they can't help with.

I hate the guy, but I saw plenty of comments about Ben Shapiro's height and voice.

What I wrote so far may sound like I'm trying to discredit what you're saying or calling you out on a lie, but that's not the case, I assure you. Now for the question, if you're even still answering them this far late:

Why would you say that gender is truly a cause for these treatments and not just having an opinion different from those who send threats and criticize what one writes or how they look? What about being a woman makes all this worse than when a man goes through it?

There's countries where being a woman is factually worse, where women are treated like inferior beings, which is disgusting, and in those places, yes, being a woman is dangerous both offline and online.

I realize that this question may seem very ignorant, and it is, yes, and I'm not ashamed of it, I'm asking to learn so... See? I'm already worried of being flamed here.

wiczipedia12 karma

Gender makes a difference in how women are treated online because the abuse, harassment, and threats we receive is often intrinsically rooted in our gender. Beyond the comments about appearance, which women receive far more than men, and rape threats, which are unfortunately quite common, we also get very specifically gendered threats about our place in society. I am sent pictures of empty egg cartons, which are meant to imply that as a woman in my 30s, my fertility is declining and I should give up this whole writing and analysis thing and get back to making babies (joke's on the trolls, I am expecting my first kid in a few weeks, in a pregnancy that has so far -- knock on wood -- been free of any complications). As I wrote in my original post, I'm told that I'm the reason Sharia Law is a good thing, or an argument for the repeal of the 19th amendment. It's not just about a simple disagreement with a woman; it's about stamping us out of public discourse and public life altogether. I hope this helps you understand where we're coming from.

PS: Tangential, but even in most Western countries, being a woman is "factually worse" than being a man - we are paid less, the healthcare systems don't take care of us the same way, we experience domestic violence at higher rates, etc etc.

Balefirex245 karma

How has writing this book affected your everyday life? Have you been attacked in person for your efforts?

wiczipedia2 karma

So far I've seen less harassment than I have at other junctures in my life (ie during elections), though after interviews I have gotten some of the run-of-the-mill engagement I've come to expect (nasty or threatening emails, comments on social media, etc.). It hasn't been anything coordinated yet, and doesn't compare to what I've experienced before. Just another day of being a woman online. I suppose that is something to be grateful for?

Underhanded-Blitz4 karma

Kids as young as 10 and 11 are now in the internet, and we cannot supervise them 23/7. In your opinion, how do we teach children (particularly girls in this context) to keep themselves safe in the internet?

wiczipedia7 karma

Help your daughters set up their accounts; ensure their privacy controls are set up in a proactive way, get them password managers and ideally 2FA. Teach them about the things people can intuit from fairly anodyne posts online (there are fun geolocation games you can play with them to teach about the basics of OSINT and get them thinking like online sleuths).

Ok_Maybe6274 karma

Hi Nina! Thanks so much for your work. As a disinformation expert, could talk about how and when online abuse and harassment against women intersects with disinformation?

wiczipedia6 karma

Great question. I view abuse/harassment as a large umbrella that sometimes houses disinformation. When a campaign of abuse includes falsity, (usually) coordination, and malign intent, that's how I define disinformation. A good example is the disinformation campaign against Kamala Harris during the 2020 election, that alleged she "slept her way to the top" and included a bunch of nicknames/visual memes. (This is a little sticky in terms of response because of the political speech involved, BUT content-wise it is disinfo according to the definition above).

chaucer3454 karma

Do you have any advice specific to being a trans woman online?

wiczipedia15 karma

Trans women receive horrific abuse online. I think all the advice above applies, especially the advice about making sure you have a support network to hold you up and help you through when the going gets rough. I think journalist Katelyn Burns (@transscribe on Twitter) is a great follow/resource for the trans community.

Kanotari3 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, Nina! Communities like League of Legends and Overwatch aren't known for being kind to gamers with "girly" names or "girly" voices when the mics are on. What is the best way to help a friend being harrassed online? Is it better to confront the harassing parties, to leave, to offer your friend comfort?

wiczipedia18 karma

I think being an active bystander is so important, so all of the above! If the harassing parties feel they lose some social capital for their behavior, they might think twice before engaging in the same behavior again. And yes, DEFINITELY reach out to your friend and ask how best you can support them. They might want to get offline, to watch a movie, or have another request that might help them in that moment, but might feel ashamed to ask- putting an open invite out there to ask for help is always welcome. Thanks for being such a good ally!

circulustreme3 karma

How do you feel about the potential use of natural language processing algorithms and network analysis to detect sexism/gendered abuse/hatespeech/etc on platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube?

wiczipedia16 karma

I think it's really difficult to rely on such algorithms to work to a reliable degree. In a study I did we found that abusers are quite savvy at evading such detection, using what we called "malign creativity—the use of coded language; iterative, context-based visual and textual memes; and other tactics to avoid detection." Based on where the tech is at the moment, I'm not confident it could pick up all the nuances of the abusive posts in all the different social and linguistic contexts it would need to operate in to really help stem the flow of abuse.

circulustreme3 karma

Without solely relying on it, do you think it's something that could be helpful in some ways, or would it do more harm than good?

wiczipedia13 karma

It could be helpful for a first line of defense, but I still think we need human mods with subject matter expertise to catch what the algo doesn't, as well as a robust repeal and adjudication framework for stuff that gets caught up in it incorrectly.

Karthathan3 karma

What do you think is the single most important skill one can have if they want to socialize online with gaming?

What would you absolutely suggest one avoid if at all possible?

wiczipedia13 karma

I wish I could answer this, but I've never done any online gaming myself, so don't feel equipped to give a response. In general, I think for any online activity we all need to be careful about protecting our personal information and patterns of life so that we don't get ourselves into sticky situations IRL.

Ed_of_Maiden3 karma

How much money did you make with a real book in times of the Internet?

wiczipedia18 karma

Haha, I wouldn't recommend writing a book if you want to get rich. This is my second; my first, in the 1.5 years it has been around (and I've seen royalty statements for) has yielded a few months' pay. This one might have slightly better margins but in both cases, I do it because I want to educate and build awareness, not because I want to get rich.

nephilim802 karma

My question would be: is it really rocket science how to protect yourself on the internet?

How to be a woman online: protect your identity and whereabouts, block immediately any attempts from strangers to engage in conversation, avoid posting revealing photos or share them only with trustworthy people (unless it's work related and no, wannabee influencer is not a job), report unwanted insisting contact from a stranger to authorities, block all attempts of bullying.

There, i did it. It's not rocket science. People expose themselves too much on the internet and that attracts unwanted attention. You can't have a public profile where you share all your privacy and expect to draw the attention of only the right people. Eventually it will attract ill-motivated people as well.

Also, people are nowadays too eager for internet fame or clout.They'll do anything for likes, comments and subscribers. If there's anyhting you could do, is relativize the importance of social media and the internet is general. Stop making it your primary source of validation or social interaction.

This works for all genders. And if you think that you shouldn't have to hide or censor yourself because reasons, then you should at least consider that the distinction between private and public life is absolutely vital for the sake of your psychological well being.

wiczipedia16 karma

There's a finer balance if you want to have a public profile, which is what the book looks at. As you admit, there is a certain degree of closing yourself off and censoring yourself if you want to be fully protected. You also say:

And if you think that you shouldn't have to hide or censor yourself because reasons, then you should at least consider that the distinction between private and public life is absolutely vital for the sake of your psychological well being.

I think you're misunderstanding the point of the book and the problem women face. It's not like the aim of the book is to ensure that women can post all their private information online and face no repurcussions; it's to ensure they're not self-censoring from participating in public discourse, pursuing careers that are public facing, etc., because of abuse and harassment. The tips I give (I hope) can help anyone who wants to speak up online feel safer despite all that.

Finally, there are a ton of offline considerations (how to get your employers to pony up when you're experiencing abuse as a result of your job, seeking therapy, etc) that are also covered in the book.

chaygray2 karma

Thank you for everything you do. I have daughters. And your work is so important.

My question: How did you get started in this an what triggered you to start?

wiczipedia14 karma

Thank you for participating! Before I started studying online abuse, I studied (and still study) disinformation, and kept coming across instances of what I called "gendered and sexualized disinformation" being used against women in the former Soviet space. (see article here.) In the interim my own profile grew, I experienced my own harassment online, and saw some of my friends deal with worse than I did, and so started to research the phenomenon and advocate for other women and girls and our rights to online self expression.

nutelalala2 karma

Hello! I’ll be starting my master’s with CERES this fall (nice to see a Georgetown alum here!) and knew I recognized your name! My focus will be on the Caucasus and increasing women’s presence in regional civil society efforts. I know that this isn’t your specific region of focus but I’d still love to hear your thoughts. What is your take on the way this region’s technological disparity between cities like Baku and Makhachkala versus the more remote villages has impacted women’s social and economic progress?

Of course if you have any advice as I start my career that would be appreciated too! I’m so excited that you’re here and thank you!

wiczipedia2 karma

Hoya Saxa! Congrats! CERES is a great program.

When I used to work for non-profits, increasing access to tech in remote villages was a huge part of women's empowerment- it connects them with information and resources they need to advocate for themselves and often encourages them to do things like run for office or start local CSOs. Sounds like a fascinating area of study- good luck!

My advice is to take advantage of all that CERES and DC have to offer- nerd out on your studies, take lots of language classes, do internships, and really take advantage of the many practioners at your disposal at Georgetown and in the city writ large. You'll have a great time.

OliveBranchMLP1 karma

Hi OP, thanks for the AMA!

  • How do we hold corporations accountable for the rampant sexism, toxicity, and harassment that occurs on their platforms?
  • Do you thjnk there’s a scalable solution to the moderator problem?
  • When most platforms have the ability to sign up for free, how do we prevent bad actors from returning to continue their harassment?
  • What are your go-to arguments when a man is dismissive about the scal of the problem, and the scope/frequency/intensity of harassment towards women? “It’s not that bad”, “toxicity is just a part of video gaming”, “you’re getting emotional”, etc.

My questions are mostly inspired by my experiences as a gamer, where I feel like I’ve seen and been exposed to enough horror stories from women in gaming to feel that it is generally just an awful place to be a woman. It’s a male-majority space where toxic, sexually harassing men can not only verbally abuse women, but manifest their abuse in a “physical” representation of their actions. (Teamkilling, teabagging, etc.)

One particularly vivid story that haunts me still is about a bunch of guys in Red Dead Online capturing a 14-year-old player, tying her up, and dragging her to a bedroom at an inn. Another woman came to her rescue and killed them all, but to think that this level of victimization was something she had to experience in a game was beyond the pale.

I wish there was more we could do to make gaming a safe place for women, but it feels like there’s just so much resistance.

wiczipedia4 karma

Thanks for posting! I agree that the video game industry/gaming in general are quite toxic- look what happened in Gamergate when a few women tried to make things better. (Brianna Wu is interviewed in my book). There are also some parallels in gaming with the worries I have about the metaverse. There's been some really interesting work done about how in these situations, where you have an avatar that's an extension of yourself, the abuse is even more visceral than run-of-the-mill online abuse.

How do we hold corporations accountable for the rampant sexism, toxicity, and harassment that occurs on their platforms? Build awareness and talk about what you experience publicly! I've seen a shift in my own time doing this work in the way platforms are thinking about this. It's slow going (often excruciating) but just like the women's rights movement in the 60s-70s, I think we can make change if we keep at it.
Do you thjnk there’s a scalable solution to the moderator problem? Probably some combination of AI + hiring more human moderators. I have to admit, however, I'm not particularly sympathetic toward the "human moderators can't scale" argument from platforms, particularly the largest ones. Right now they treat their mods like garbage, give them only seconds to review horrific content, and wonder why they still have a harassment problem. They can afford to invest more! Let's talk about scale when they've made a good faith effort at that.
When most platforms have the ability to sign up for free, how do we prevent bad actors from returning to continue their harassment? In some of the disinfo research I've done, I've been shocked how many bad actors don't mask their IP addresses, and this is the lynchpin that allows platforms to shutdown their entire networks. Point being, there's a lot platforms can see on the backend if they decide to ban someone from making another account; they just need to decide to use it.
What are your go-to arguments when a man is dismissive about the scal of the problem, and the scope/frequency/intensity of harassment towards women? “It’s not that bad”, “toxicity is just a part of video gaming”, “you’re getting emotional”, etc. Well, I've used some of them here and I'm not sure how effective they've been, but, pointing to studies that show the difference quantitatively and qualitatively of the harasssment received, pointing out that much of what women receive online would be illegal IRL, pointing out that it's not just insults but is about our participation in society writ large are my go-tos. Some men probably will never be convinced by this, but they are likely not worth your time anyway!

500CatsTypingStuff0 karma

Thank you so much for doing this! I will definitely be reading your book.

What are the top 3 things you advise women to do when they are online?

wiczipedia31 karma

My pleasure!

  1. Get your IT and physical security in order! Stop using ILoveMyCat as your password!
  2. Practice blocktivism. Your timeline is not a democracy. We tend to be socialized to be nice. If you like, give people one reply/comment to prove they're acting in good faith. If they show that they're not, believe them. You don't owe them your time.
  3. Deliberately build a community of like-minded individuals who you can lean on when the going gets tough-- and even more deliberately, support the work of other women in the space you're in! It helps when we've all got each others' backs.

InfernalWedgie0 karma

Have you researched the experiences of women of color online? What topics in that vein have you explored?

wiczipedia38 karma

I have- and women of color and women of intersectional identities have it way, way, worse than their white counterparts. This study that I led during the 2020 election showed that women candidates receive terrible abuse no matter their political affiliation or age; but that WOC and those with other intersectional identities receive quantiatively and qualitatively worse abuse than white women do. It's horrific. I've also interviewed WOC who have been doxxed, SWATted, and otherwise physically threatened; it seems to me online threats against WOC far more often escalate into offline threats against them and their families.

fnbannedbymods-22 karma

I think I take odds with the opening of this writer's premise. As an educated, white, and I'm assuming at least middle-class woman, to focus on the rather superficial elements of criticism based on her looks really smacks of privilege!

wiczipedia26 karma

In the next two sentences of that very opening—and throughout my book—I focus on not only the criticism of our physical appearances, but the experiences of women (myself and others) who have been threatened with violence.

But there's a reason I bring up what may seem "superficial" to you; women are expected to be physically impeccable at all times. Men rarely endure the level of appearance-based criticism we do. I would prefer that they bring up the content of my work and engage on that, rather than launch into a discussion of whether my chin dimple resembles Jay Leno's.

tl;dr: abuse often starts with such objectification. It may seem superficial or smacking of privilege, but it doesn't make it any less damaging for me or any other women online.

sidekickbananaduck0 karma

What are your feelings on filters which change the way people look? Do you feel it is damaging to women?

wiczipedia17 karma

I think it's probably damaging to all people! But their sparing use in fun situations is probably ok- I think it's something we all need to moderate ourselves on.

sidekickbananaduck-28 karma

There are plenty of sources and studies that show that filters are unhealthy, especially for women. But, like every AMA you do not care if it doesn't help you sell something. I'll let you get back to talking about Rampart now.

wiczipedia15 karma

It's just not my area of expertise! I don't really have much to say about it. (But tbh I know plenty of men who use filters in borderline unhealthy ways as well...)

pilot2031-3 karma

Will women ever live harassment free in the internet?

wiczipedia4 karma

Probably not. I don't think we'll get to a utopia like that. But there's got to be a better paradigm than what exists right now.

JimTor-3 karma

Suppose I was raising a young boy. How should I teach him to treat women online? (Beyond the basics - treat everyone of all genders with respect, don’t bully people, be inclusive, etc.)

wiczipedia16 karma

I'm about to be raising a young boy and this is something I think about a lot. I think reminding him that there's a person behind the avatar, that that person is someone's mom, sister, wife, girlfriend, and that she has a right to speak regardless of whether he might agree or disagree with her is paramount. Unfortunately, a lot of this is also modeled by influencers outside the home (such as politicians or media)- and so we have a lot of work to do in thinking about how we change our conversation to make misogyny less acceptable offline, too.

borisdidnothingwrong-5 karma

What is the best thing a man can do to help women be safe online?

wiczipedia32 karma

Be an active online bystander! If you see abuse or harassment, report it! Call out men who are behaving badly. Express support to the women whose work you follow (in a non creepy way). Amplify their work!

borisdidnothingwrong-4 karma

Thank you for responding. I just learened about you, and you seem really cool. Going to let my teen neices know about you.

wiczipedia17 karma

Thank you! That's very sweet.

[deleted]-5 karma


wiczipedia6 karma

Thanks for being the one troll of the evening. And no, I won't :)

[deleted]-2 karma


wiczipedia5 karma

Wow, I haven't heard that one before!

[deleted]-4 karma


wiczipedia13 karma

Tell me about the rape threats you've received! Do you subscribe to an anti doxxing service? Do you carry a personal safety alarm with you? Have you ever been forced to leave your home because your personal information has been posted online?

This is the reality of what women deal with online. Think about how you'd feel if your mother, partner, or daughter dealt with any of this stuff. Would you be asking her to make you a sandwich? I hope not. Have a nice evening.

letitsnow18-8 karma

This discussion is almost entirely focused on what women need to do differently. Why aren't we focusing on men and teaching them to be respectful online and in the real world?

wiczipedia12 karma

This is a fair point and great question! Part of the advocacy that I do on my Twitter and other social media profiles is to raise awareness of what women go through online, and men are often shocked! This inspires our allies to be better active online bystanders, which is a move in the right direction.