Abuse

the Week of April 28, 2014
Photo of a blurry stage.

Many of the articles in this issue contain discussion and/or specific accounts of assault, rape, stalking, harassment, workplace aggression and other forms of violence. In this issue we explore sexual assault in tech, how systemic abuse affects its targets, and why hiring for diversity isn’t enough to change tech culture. We cover how entitlement leads to abusive behaviors, how serial abusers are allowed to operate in tech workplaces, and some steps that targets of online harassment can take to investigate threats. We discuss how abuse of users is built into social platforms and how games can be forces in anti-oppression. We hear lived experiences of abuse, which is pervasive in our industry. Header image CC-BY eyeliam, cropped and filtered.

A word cloud created by the author. It includes phrases such as: How lame. It's just a joke. That's gay. You don't belong here. You're so sensitive. They're just not as good at programming. So simple your mother can do it. Its a lynch mob. You're only here because of quotas. The event isn't accessible. What's your real name.

Abuse as DDoS

We spend a lot of time trying to counteract attacks on our systems, but often overlook abuses directed at people.

Kitchen sink, piled with dirty dishes.

When “I Didn’t Mean To” Makes it Worse

Entitlement and violation in STEM communities.

People at a cocktail party.

Making it Past the Lobby of the Meritocracy

What does it mean to have success socializing at hot-ticket events if you can't get past the front door of them?

Photo of Mattie Brice.

Other Types of Play: Games and Anti-Oppression

An interview with Mattie Brice on how play is challenging the status quo as a new tool for activism and expression.

Woman with a finger over her mouth in the shhh pose.

Workplace Harassment, Reporting, and the Whisper Network

Anytime I divulge my story to coworkers, I find that they have their own stories of sexual harassment to share.

A circular star map, with constellations linked by thin lines, with someone holding a magnifying glass in front of it to show the Orion group.

Investigation Online: Gathering Information to Assess Risk

When we share information, we are building power of our own.

A printed out sign that appears to be taped up in a public bathroom says 'Did you consent to your involvement in this process' - underneath, someone has scrawled 'Absolutely not' in green marker.

The Fantasy and Abuse of the Manipulable User

When mistreating users becomes competitive advantage.

A crumpled paper ball.

Why I Quit My Job at a Prestigious Public Media Company

“Go to HR, deal with that asshole head on, but whatever you do, do not lose your shit. You can’t become ‘angry black woman.’”

Drawing of a woman's face, eyebrows drawn, mouth downturned.

Hiring Isn’t Enough

The true story of a team that tried and failed to retain diverse employees.

Blurred image of men talking.

An Untold Startup Story

A story of sexual assault leading to the downfall of a female founder.