There’s some good insights in this round-table.
Adria Richards: There’s one thing about harassment that’s clear when you monitor traffic: It’s consistent in frequency. So if you take a period of time and then look at the number of incidents or interactions within that, it’s really clear that someone’s being attacked by a lot of people. Companies should develop algorithms and automated processes for detecting, evaluating, and responding to that. I always point out that Google is very concerned about click fraud, and they have processes to identify click fraud.
Anil Dash: Ten years ago when I was building social tools, when people behaved abusively, I was the guy saying, “We believe in free speech, and people are going to be jerks, and it’s not our fault.” I didn’t get it. And that understanding took me 10 years. I mean, I’ve been doxed by people using the tools that I built.
Nadia Kayyali: Harassment at a global level is often political. It’s the Free Syrian Army versus Bashar al-Assad’s paid Internet commenters. It’s attack squads in Vietnam that are supposed to get people kicked off Facebook for supposed violations to the real-name policy, because they’re writing unpopular things. It’s incredibly important to expand who we’re thinking of when we think about the unintended consequences of our policies.
Anita Sarkeesian: When I think about solutions, I think about it in a three-pronged approach: a cultural shift, tech solutions, and then the legal aspect. There are already laws against this stuff. Sending someone a death threat is already illegal, so having it taken seriously is the third prong.
Chinyere Tutashinda: We’ve been able to shift culture so that people don’t say those things out loud. We have to do the same thing online. I have friends who have gotten horribly harassed on Twitter, and the only people who say anything or respond are individuals they know. It’s not the rest of the users who are following the conversation and saying, “Oh my God, have you seen what happened on Twitter today?” As opposed to, “Hey, that’s not OK, we need to flag this person.” … We just kind of let it go and expect the platform or the person being harassed to do all the work. We have to create a society that says it’s not OK to do it.
I don’t have much to add, which is perfect because you should be reading that article anyway.