This statistic was also used by Jessica Valenti of feministing.com in a similarly whiny article here. In that particular article Ms Valenti furnishes this exact same study, then details her most horrifying experience of sexism on the Internet, which just happened to be at the hands of another feminist.
MisogynyLulz bares its teeth on internet:
A woman's place isn't in the kitchen these days but some malcontents are trying to make sure that it's not on the web either. The internet is proving to be a hostile place for women.
Death threats, rape threats, verbal abuse, condescending and unwelcome comments about looks and intelligence are all par for the course for many female web users.
Last year a University of Maryland study found that web users with female pseudonyms are 25 times more likely to be harassed online than users with male or ambiguous pseudonyms. And, according to haltabuse.org, women make up 70 per cent of the victims of cyber harassment and stalking.
Well I downloaded the University of Maryland study, myself and a cohort looked it over and it doesn't exactly say what they say it does.
First of all, death threats, rape threats, verbal abuse, condescending and unwelcome comments about looks and intelligence weren't actually found to have been occurring in the study at all. Ms Greer just happens to be mentioning them before she mentions the study.
Second of all, what both of them say the study concludes it just doesn't. They are utterly full of shit.
Let's start with Ms Greer's claim:
To pause the article and examine the study she is referencing for a moment, she's said "web" there, which may be technical cluelessness on her part, but the study is called "Assessing the Attack Threat due to IRC Channels" and dealt solely with Internet Relay Chat rather than the actual web.
"web users with female pseudonyms are 25 times more likely to be harassed online than users with male or ambiguous pseudonyms"
She's said "users" there and the statistic which showed 25 times more than anything was representative of bots with female names, not real female users.
The male or ambiguous pseudonyms is a distortion as well. The 25 times statistic was 25 times more than male bots, not 25 times more than bots with ambiguous names. It was 4 times more than bots with ambiguous names, making it 14.5 times:
Really we'd want to know the statistics for real users instead of fakes, considering they would have more bearing on the matter at hand. The statistic referring to actual users was:
female bots received more than 25 times more private messages than the male bots and 4 more times than the bots with an ambiguous name
So right there she should really be saying IRC users with female pseudonyms are 4.5 times more likely to be 'harassed' than users with male or ambiguous pseudonyms. That's a far cry from her 25 times more likely statistic.
For human users, female users received about 6 times more private messages than the male users and about 3 times more than the users with an ambiguous name.
But that is nowhere near the end of the misuse of these statistics. What really damns these statistics being used in the way they've been used by feminists is the amount of private messages each user was receiving as opposed to malicious messages:
So, if the male users received 27.5 malicious private messages, they received 105 polite messages. If the ambiguous users received 65 malicious messages, they received 260 polite messages. And finally, if the female users received 163 malicious private messages, they received 582 polite messages.
Among the private messages, on average, we found 30% of malicious ones for the female bots, 24% for the male bots, 23% for the ambiguous bots, 28% for the female human users, 26% for the male human users, and 25% for the ambiguous human users.
Let me reiterate that:
male - 105 polite (not harassing) messages.
ambiguous - 260 polite (not harassing) messages.
female - 582 polite (not harassing) messages.
In other words, if female users received 4.5 times the 'harassment' male or ambiguous users did, female users also received 4.5 times the amount of polite, innocuous private messages.
Here is what the study concludes:
Female users were getting more attention, both regular and malicious. This was because male users outnumbered female users. So, really any conclusion based on the total number of malicious messages is irrelevant. Really the only relevant statistics are the percentage of malicious messages to polite messages they were getting, which when we look at them is only 2% different from that of males. In other words, once we've factored in the amount of attention given, the difference in the way each sex is treated is fuck all.
The extra attention the female usernames received and the nature of the messages (i.e., sexually explicit or threatening language) they were bombarded with suggests that male users outnumber females, as it would be difficult for an automated script to filter usernames based on gender when sending messages.
This study does not conclude women are victims of harassment online more often than men, it concludes that in Internet chatrooms where men outnumber women; women get more attention than men.
That is it. The only relevant thing this study proves is that Anna Greer and Jessica Valenti are whiny, lying bitches who run their mouths. This is what newspapers get when they allow dingbat fembot bloggers to write articles for them. Mountains of fallacious and bigoted crap.
This is another feminist inspired bullshit myth, akin to the wage gap. Get your bullshit political manipulation off my Internet, you dumb bitches.
As for Ms Greer's haltabuse statistic, that is just as laughable. The 70% statistic comes from the 2006 statistics here. The sample used to derive these statistics was 372 people. Those 372 people were the people that, in the whole of 2006, fully filled out their online questionnaire here.
So at the end of the day, 70% of 372 people that bothered to fill out a crappy web based questionnaire in order to complain about online harassment were female. These cases were not substantiated in the slightest. It could simply mean that females complain about it more than males for all we can really tell.
So, BULLSHIT the web is proving a hostile place for women. IRC chat rooms where males outnumber females are proving to be a place where females get 4.5 times more private messages than other types of users, yes.
The Brisbane Times, who also published the article have a nice online contact form which you can use to inquire as to why they are publishing faulty statistics here.
Contact the Sydney Morning Herald here.
And let's not forget about Jessica Valenti's statistical foibles. Contact the Guardian here.
Back to the article:
It is a decentralised utopia. The fact that there is freedom on the Internet is what makes it that way. This is a pretty typical trend in feminism. Men create something that they love because it is untamed and allows them freedom, feminists barge in insisting on full involvement but also security because they are offended by its untamed nature, thus taking away the freedom that made men love it in the first place and ruining it.
The internet is looking more and more like the Wild West than the decentralised utopia for which people might have hoped.
To that I have to say freedom is built into the fundamental framework of the Internet. That's what makes the Internet great. The Internet will always be a free place. If you strong independent womyn can't handle that: fuck off.
It is ironic to me that the hackers causing this problem for feminists are called Anonymous, because as long as there is Internet anonymity the Internet will continue to be free and untamed and there is nothing arsehole, controlling feminists can do about it.
An internet war is being fought against the online feminist community by a hive of crackers and tech geeks who call themselves "Anonymous".
Hahahaha :) Now what she is neglecting to mention here is that the entire reason the "outspoken woman" in question has become a target is because, although she is a violently anti-porn radical feminist, she discovered her thirteen year old son was looking at Internet pornography, then became "outspoken" about how she wishes she aborted him because he is probably going to grow up to be a rapist.
Feminist forums have been hacked, passwords have been stolen, emails have been commandeered and used for whatever nefarious purpose the cyber miscreants wish. Websites such as Women's Space and Gentle Spirit have been forced to shut down. One outspoken woman who blogged anonymously even had her photo put up on the net and a hunt was undertaken by members of "Anonymous" for her place of residence.
Her hysterical reactions to his pornography use such as shouting at him, reading him Andrea Dworkin and informing him of how evil porn have been discussed as probable child abuse here among many other places.
I can't really do the whole story leading up to the attacks from Anonymous as much justice as the Encyclopedia Dramatica entries on the subject can, but basically the reason for the attacks is that she is a male hating cunt who abuses her teenaged son and that feminist sites have been using the steadily mounting criticism of this sort of thing as proof "the enemies of feminism are evil" instead of actually addressing the male hating cunthood and child abuse within their ranks.
First of all, I bet calling a feminist a 'nerd' would be counted by her as in a similar vein to "unwanted comments about looks and intelligence". Apparently this sort of thing is okay when she does it. Second of all like feminists aren't pseudo-intellectual dykes with no social skills. Third of all, if you are a part of a movement which has decided that existing social institutions need to be destroyed in order for there to be improvement and that all ethical systems of the past should be repudiated without actually coming up with a decent objective ethical system which would hold you responsible for anything, in other words a nihilistic movement, you don't get to complain when other people behave in a nihilistic manner. The only thing not nihilistic about feminism is that they think other people should remain subject to the ethics that they don't want to be subject to. That's what the problem is here, other people aren't being subject to those ethics. So they can go cry someone else a river, can't they.
What many who engage in online "flamewars" - raids and attacks such as these - fail to see is that they're messing with real people's lives. The internet allows an incredible disconnect between reality and virtuality.
Everything seems to operate on the level of the abstract - it's a game. The language used is militaristic, targets are dubbed "challengers" and the attacks are strategically planned. It's literally revenge of the nihilist nerds.
Further alienating these people is not going to stop them. Sure these guys may be bored and that is why they look for entertainment like this, but does this stupid bitch realise that alienation of males via the media, removing any positive role models for them to emulate and any positive, socially constructive, role for them to aspire to (thank you feminists) may have had a hand in making them bored in the first place?
For crying out loud. It's not women bloggers, it's radical feminist bloggers. It was no coincidence they were mobilised against people like Hal Turner either. He was nuts and so are radical feminists. I suppose because Hal Turner was male, and he was attacked, men are being silenced on the Internet too? It makes just as much sense.
This isn't the first co-ordinated attack the group has launched and there doesn't seem to be an ideological pattern to their actions. But it is no coincidence that it was so easy to mobilise Anonymous against women bloggers.
And it's not surprising that those who joined the raids used methods such as vicious hate speech, threats of rape and murder and seeding comment threads with child porn in an attempt to silence women on the web.
I don't know why she keeps insisting she is able to read minds and claiming that there can be no other possible reason for the attack other than that they want to silence women. I don't suppose the question of why the women involved in the attacks aren't attacking themselves has factored into her thinking.
Or the radical feminists are being bigoted and badly behaved and are being ostracised online. What does she think the feminists on these blogs are saying about men anyway? If they're talking about wishing they aborted their son and telling him he'll grow up to be a rapist if he doesn't take on her lunatic fringe belief system then do you really think they have nothing but good things to say about men on their blogs and websites?
Misogyny is quick to surface when there are no rules of social decorum to temper it. People have free rein to be bigoted and badly behaved without fear of real-world social ostracising.
I guess it's not so different to the real world where humanism occasionally gets pushed aside in favour of mob justice and vigilantism.
Furthermore could it be that what she refers to as real-world social ostracising is really vicious hate speech, threats of violence and imprisonment in an attempt to silence men and further the feminist agenda?
Feminists are targeted with this sort of message specifically because they would find it offensive. Duh.
To show how vile these messages can get, this is an example of a comment left on the blog Women's Space: "I'd like to tie you down, take a knife, and slit your throat. I'd penetrate you over and over in all orifices, and create some of my own to stick myself in." Shocking? Yes. Rare? Not on the internet.
Again, bitch. Feminists are not all women. Is this fallacious bollocks the best she can come up with in their defence? Her 'evidence' that all women are being treated any differently to men is a load of bunk and these hackers aren't targeting all women, they're targeting feminists. Sure, there is some evidence that feminists are treated atrociously online, I don't exactly treat them with much respect myself, but when we talk about feminists we're not talking about women who use the Internet like regular human beings, we're talking about a certain type of woman who regrets not aborting her son, who she thinks is going to grow up to be a rapist, and women who use the fact they are being attacked for defending that as "proof" they are big victims. They don't represent all women and they don't make up the number of all women. It's simple set theory. The subset of women, feminists, is not equal to the superset, all women. It's a very simple logical fallacy.
The culprits can't be traced because they often mask their IP addresses with an anonymiser, which hides their location and their computer information. Internet laws are notoriously fraught and even if you are able to find out who is responsible it's difficult to prosecute.
Often there is little recourse - even though the attacks are clearly illegal - other than to weather the storm.
The forums at my site were once attacked and flooded with offensive images and threads.
I don't know where the culprits came from but it took me hours to restore the forums and get rid of the offensive material. I no longer have forums on the site. Thankfully it was mostly just an annoyance more than a serious threat.
Whether the attacks are for kicks, to get a rise out of feminists or for a more sinister purpose doesn't matter. The outcome is the same: women's voices are silenced and their mobility, visibility and participation on the net is reduced.
The online feminist community will recover, however, and these attacks have given food for thought to women with a presence on the net. A strong supportive community is needed to deal with this issue that just won't go away.
If women and their websites come under attack for their views there needs to be as much support given by other web users to ensure they don't feel so intimidated they stop participating. That the internet also serves to build community means that this will be easy enough to do.
Anna Greer is the editor of the online feminist magazine Wo-Magazine.com.
The bitch at the center of this, the child abuser, does not need a strong supportive community. In fact, the reason that people decided to "support" her, despite her reprehensible actions, seems to have been what it was that threw oil on the flames here. What she and her supporters need is a good smack upside the head with justice. Which despite how feminists are generally not held responsible for their reprehensible actions in the real world, is what is being served.
Pass the popcorn.