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Dec 19 2013

The dog ate it

David Futrelle has more on the oh so funny campaign to flood an anonymous survey on sexual violence with fake claims.

Although the information is being collected to track trends, and no one will be charged with anything as a result of such a report, a number of Men’s Rights subreddit regulars decided it would be a great idea to flood Occidental College with false reports to basically break the system, and they suggested this to much acclaim; others proudly reported that they’d sent in bogus reports.

So what has happened since then? The story has been picked up by a number of sites, including GawkerBusiness InsiderRawStory, and LAist. In a followup post, Adam Weinsten of Gawker confirmed that Occidental College had indeed been hit with some 400 bogus rape reports in the past 36 hours — that is, after posts encouraging false reports appeared on 4chan and the Men’s Rights subreddit.

Meanwhile, on the Men’s Rights subreddit, after belatedly realizing that this whole thing makes them look kind of bad, the subreddit’s mods are trying their best to make the whole embarrassing thing go away — and not really doing a great job of it.

But as for “this whole thing makes them look kind of bad” – it doesn’t really, because there is no “them” to make look bad, because they don’t use their real names. They’re safe from repercussions in their real lives.

Futrelle demonstrates a lot of evasion and diversion of attention on that subreddit though, all amusing in the usual eye-rolling way.

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  1. 1
    statham

    I mean, by “them” I think he’s referring to the men’s rights movement in general… but yes I agree, I don’t think we would be seeing the same sort of behavior if your Reddit handle was tied to your real-life identity.

  2. 2
    A. Noyd

    Like statham, I don’t think they’re worried about their individual reputations so much as they’re worried that people will take MRAs even less seriously as a group. How are they supposed to convince anyone that women are horrible, false-rape-reporting whores when googling the subject now brings up stories of MRAs making hundreds of false reports? Not that they had any credibility to begin with, but this just makes their lack of it completely obvious.

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Hmm. I was thinking Futrelle meant the MRA subreddit as a group and the individuals in it.

    But it’s a minor quibble either way…Except that I think it’s important to keep reminding that pseudonymity enables most of this shit.

  4. 4
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Except that I think it’s important to keep reminding that pseudonymity enables most of this shit.

    I don’t think so. All you have to do is look at the sexists and misogynists saying and doing the same sorts of things publicly without pseudonyms protecting them. They aren’t ashamed because misogyny is so prevalent and mainstream, no one they respect is shaming them for it.

  5. 5
    Ophelia Benson

    Well that’s why I said “most” – to exclude “all”. I know there are some who do it publicly under their real names, but the ones I’m aware of are way outnumbered by the ones who do it from the safety of pseudonymity.

  6. 6
    zibble

    @5,

    People criticize misogyny from the safety of pseudonymity, too. Not all right-minded people are brave enough to face what the slyme have been throwing at you.

  7. 7
    medivh

    I also disagree that pseudonymity is the problem. The easy creation of new identities is the problem. Refusing to keep a consistent identity such that consequences can be neatly sidestepped is the disease. People have been using similar techniques offline for longer than there’s been an online to do this in. Fake IDs, false names, all of that criminal guff. This is just the latest and easiest way of avoiding the brickbats that are rightfully heading your way.

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  1. 10
    Fools fail, f*ck their own sh*t up » Pharyngula

    […] probably already read Ophelia’s discussion of the latest MRA stupidity: a group of them on Reddit decided to flood Occidental College’s sexual harassment survey […]

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