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Engineering a Solution for Social Problems
Have you ever wished you could actually replace a troll with a very small shell script? Maybe you can. It's time to take charge and work on solving these situations from within the open source community.
The internet is full of trolls. We know that this always been the case, but in the past year, the harassment coming from some online communities has become international news. There have been death threats, SWAT attacks, threats of sexual violence, hacking attempts, and many other tactics used against those most vocal against the harassment.
We're going to talk a little bit about issues regarding diversity. It's no surprise that most of the people being targeted are women, and it can be a difficult thing for many to understand precisely what this harassment looks like. I'm going to show examples of what I personally have dealt with after releasing my open source project to combat harassment. The question is often raised as to why there aren't more women in open source. To answer that, everyone needs to be aware of what a female open source developer can face. Warning: there will be some graphic language.
Law enforcement doesn't have an adequate way of handling online harassment. The sites being used as a method of communication don't have an adequate way of handling online harassment. Terms of Service are created not to protect the users, but to protect the interest of the companies that wrote them.
However, not all is lost. With open APIs, we can work at creating safer spaces for those being targeted. I'll discuss the initial release of ggautoblocker, the problem it solved, and the roadmap for development going forward. There are many other tools that are needed. There are many ways to contribute to helping mitigate this problem.
This is a new approach to an old problem, and a lot of commercial companies are already looking at ways to sell a solution. The ability to be safe should be open to all and not come at a price.