Essays on Technology and Culture

Arthur Chu Reveals SXSW’s Negligence on Harassment

SXSW’s response at first was simply to assure us that the public vote was only one part of the panel approval process and we wouldn’t be automatically disqualified if flooded with downvotes, which was nice but not my primary concern. My primary concern was that every time a shitstorm develops around a harassment target and lots of people start joining in the fun, gamified activity of mobbing the target increases the chances of it jumping out of the current venue into a more dangerous one—someone getting a little too excited and starting to make phone calls or send nasty packages.

I was, not to put too fine a point on it, blown off.

— This Is Not A Game: How SXSW Turned GamerGate Abuse Into a Spectator Sport

Arthur Chu details not only the events leading up to South by Southwest’s cancellation of a panel on anti-harassment technology, along with a GamerGate panel, but also the shameful disregard SXSW organizers have towards online harassment, starting with their own system for organizing panels. An important read for anyone concerned with the continuing saga of online abuse.