[CORRECTION: See the section on sockpuppeting for a correction.]
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If you’re looking for evidence of just how carefully – and how duplicitously – the campaign of vilification and harassment now known as #GamerGate was planned, from the very beginning, there’s perhaps no better place to find it than in the chat log from the IRC channel #burgersandfries.
The channel, launched when the Zoe Quinn “scandal” first erupted in August, has served as a virtual meeting place for hundreds of 4channers trying to dig up dirt on Quinn and her supporters and spread this information/disinformation as widely as possible.
On Monday, I wrote a long post documenting a tiny portion of the misogynistic hate towards Quinn that fills the log, an almost bewilderingly enormous document of 3756 pages, in 10-point type, of overlapping IRC conversations. It will take me several more posts to even begin to report on all the nastiness that can be found inside.
Today I would like to focus on some of the dirty tricks that 4channers and others on the channel have been using in their attempts to ruin the life and careers of Quinn and her supporters, tricks that were discussed surprisingly openly.
The tricks I’ll focus on today are spamming, doxxing, and sockpuppeting – including impersonating women/people of color in order to make the #GamerGate movement seem less obviously a white male-dominated reaction to outspoken women in video games.
The quotes below can all be found easily in the log of the IRC chat using ctrl-F. IRC conversations can be hard to follow, with multiple overlapping conversations going on at the same time; in some cases I have removed some of these comments, as well as some others that seemed confusing and/or redundant, indicating all cuts with ellipses. If you have any questions about what I removed I urge you to check the original context of the quotes in the log itself.
Shortly after the Zoe Quinn “scandal” broke in mid-August, the 4channers on #burgersandfries were eager to spread the dirt, real and imagined, that they had on Quinn as far and wide as possible. One of their original tactics was spamming 4chan itself with posts and graphics pushing their anti-Quinn agenda.
Indeed, some of the board members organized mass spamming campaigns to make sure that 4channers saw their messages. Here’s one of the organizers sending marching orders to potential spammers on #burgersandfries.
Aug 18 19.16.08 <hresvelgr> at 8:36 EST MAKE A NEW THREAD ABOUT IT ON /v/at 8:36 EST MAKE A NEW THREAD ABOUT IT ON /v/
Aug 18 19.16.09 <hresvelgr> at 8:36 EST MAKE A NEW THREAD ABOUT IT ON /v/at 8:36 EST MAKE A NEW THREAD ABOUT IT ON /v/
Aug 18 19.16.09 <hresvelgr> at 8:36 EST MAKE A NEW THREAD ABOUT IT ON /v/at 8:36 EST MAKE A NEW THREAD ABOUT IT ON /v/
Aug 18 19.16.10 <hresvelgr> at 8:36 EST MAKE A NEW THREAD ABOUT IT ON /v/at 8:36 EST MAKE A NEW THREAD ABOUT IT ON /v/
A few minutes later, one of his allies offered this tip to get posts past 4chan’s anti-spam filters:
Aug 18 19.20.37 <ayyylmao> MAKE SURE TO OPEN THE PIC YOU USE IN PAINT AND ADD A BLACK DOT AND SAVE IT IS NOT POSTED ALREADY
When the appointed hour arose, the spam organizers – including channel mod Cyberserker – fired the starting pistol:
Aug 18 19.36.02 <hresvelgr> 10 S
Aug 18 19.36.06 <Cyberserker> SHOWTIME
Aug 18 19.36.07 <hresvelgr> 5
Aug 18 19.36.08 <hresvelgr> 4
Aug 18 19.36.08 <hresvelgr> 3
Aug 18 19.36.09 <hresvelgr> 2
Aug 18 19.36.10 <hresvelgr> 1
Aug 18 19.36.11 <hresvelgr> GO
Aug 18 19.36.11 <ayyylmao> POST POST POST POST POST POST POST POST POST POST POST POST POST
Aug 18 19.36.15 <goyim> POST!
Aug 18 19.36.23 <goyim> DID IT!!!! :DDDD
Aug 18 19.36.31 <Five-Guys> HERE WE GO FUCKERS#
A few moments later, the spammers happily announced that they’d succeeded:
Aug 18 19.36.50 <hresvelgr> ITS HAPPENING
Aug 18 19.36.52 <Carsh> Great boardwipe
Aug 18 19.36.53 <goyim> POST MORE!
Aug 18 19.36.57 <hresvelgr> POST THE INFO IN OTHER LARGE THREADS
Aug 18 19.36.57 <Bem> that was terrible
Aug 18 19.36.59 <JCTheDenthog> POST SUCCESSFUL BITCHES
Aug 18 19.37.02 <hresvelgr> POST INFO IN OTHER LARGE THREADS
Aug 18 19.37.04 <anoonynus> someone screenshoit it ll
Aug 18 19.37.08 <nullspace> epic win :^)
Aug 18 19.37.15 <Xempa> it happened
Aug 18 19.37.20 <synack> it’s over, we’ve won
Shortly afterwards, the spammers talked about expanding the campaign to other social media platforms:
Aug 18 20.04.57 <goyim> Do we go to facebook?
Aug 18 20.05.01 <goyim> Do we go to twitter? …
Aug 18 20.05.05 <goyim> …tumblr? …
Aug 18 20.05.14 <anonynous> Tumblr and Twitter need to be spammed hard
Aug 18 20.05.17 <VidyaBro> it’s already on tumblr, goyim
When many of their spam posts on 4chan were removed by mods, they settled in for the long haul:
Aug 18 20.26.17 <Roberts[OPEC]> I guess we have to continually spam threads?
Aug 18 20.26.33 <Roberts[OPEC]> ugh
Recognizing that if they too blatantly mentioned Quinn their threads would be deleted as spam, they talked about ways to get past the mods:
Aug 18 20.26.37 <hamburgerhelper> so if you want to keep spamming you have to obfuscate
I’ll have more on their attempts to publicize the charges against Quinn — as well as to spread her nude photos — in a later post.
By the time #burgersandfries started up, much of the dirt on Quinn – including her nude photos – had already been revealed. But 4channers on the channel continued to try to dig up dirt on her and her supporters.
Some defenders of 4chan insist that there was no “doxxing” on #burgersandfries because no one there talked explicitly about hacking Quinn and others in order to uncover her private information. And, indeed, I have yet to see evidence that anyone on the channel was involved in hacking.
But this is a rather narrow definition of “doxxing,” and certainly those on the channel would be surprised to hear that there was no doxxing going on, because they quite openly talked about their doxxing, and use the word freely – some 646 times over the course of the time period covered in the log.
Here some of the channel’s doxxers discuss shelling out money for the personal information of one of the “five guys” Quinn allegedly slept with:
Aug 18 18.12.22 <Television17> Do we have dox on the bitch here? …
Aug 18 18.13.05 <Five-Guys> read topic
Aug 18 18.13.23 <Five-Guys> LATEST NEWS: Possible Dox on Josh Boggs found (needs someone to pay for them), …
Aug 18 18.13.50 <Geno_> Who has the possible dox?
Aug 18 18.14.00 <Geno_> And how much money does it cost
Here they talked about doxxing Boggs’ wife in order to get at him:
Aug 18 18.32.15 <SaladCream> The wife is the key …
Aug 18 18.32.36 <Xempa> Yeah the Wife is the main objective as of now …
Aug 18 18.32.52 <anonymoose_> Dox the wife, find her email/mailbox
Aug 18 18.32.58 <anonymoose_> and then send letters en masse
Here they added another name to the mix (I’ve redacted it from the quotes below):
Aug 18 17.34.56 <SaladCream> Any luck on the wife hunt?
Aug 18 17.35.04 <Cyberserker> Once someone buys the dox, yes
Aug 18 17.35.05 <Five-Guys> facebook yields nothing
Aug 18 17.35.12 <Geno_> Err pipl throws this on Joshua facebook profile …
Aug 18 17.35.12 <Geno_> Josh Boggs, [other name redacted by DF]
Aug 18 17.35.13 <cuteGamrgrll> The dox might not yield much.
Aug 18 17.35.16 <Geno_> Its that his full name?
Aug 18 17.35.19 <cuteGamrgrll> who the fuck is [name redacted]?
Aug 18 17.35.26 <OtherGentleman> has this info been brought to the game journalists for their comment/denial?
Aug 18 17.35.31 <Geno_> That page is his facebook profile
Aug 18 17.35.49 <BurgerKing> He’s deleting all his shit
Aug 18 17.35.54 <BurgerKing> Someone dox [name redacted]
Aug 18 17.35.59 <cuteGamrgrll> searching
Aug 18 17.36.14 <Geno_> You know, it might be his middle name or something
Aug 18 17.36.47 <Cyberserker> http://www.whitepages.com/name/[name redacted]
Aug 18 17.36.56 <Geno_> Also his page is gone and the google cache throws back to his twitter …
Aug 18 17.37.46 <cuteGamrgrll> looking for a chinaman is tough shit.
Aug 18 17.37.50 <cuteGamrgrll> their names are common as fuck.
Several days later they’re still discussing Boggs. (Again, I’ve redacted all info besides his name.)
Aug 24 00.54.45 <DarkHiero> Yeah, we need to find Boggs. …
Aug 24 00.55.17 <ZoeTheBurgerFiend> did we do anything with those numbers that were posted?
Aug 24 00.55.19 <Agent_Cooper> Yes Dox Boggs
Aug 24 00.55.28 <ZoeTheBurgerFiend> I know we have his sister’s info
Aug 24 00.56.09 <ZoeTheBurgerFiend> [link redacted]
Aug 24 00.56.12 <EvilBob> Boggs fucked right off- Shit is there a public wedding thinger for [location redacted by DF]? …
Aug 24 00.57.07 <ZoeTheBurgerFiend> A wedding directory
Aug 24 00.57.13 <EvilBob> ZoeTheBurgerFiend: That’s the thing!
Aug 24 00.57.16 <ZoeTheBurgerFiend> I mean these records are public, but the problem is….
Aug 24 00.57.24 <ZoeTheBurgerFiend> they need to be accessed in person …
Aug 24 00.57.34 <ZoeTheBurgerFiend> a lot of these directories aren’t online.
Later on, when one of the most energetic doxxers – a YouTuber known as Cameralady – expresses her weariness, a new particpant offers his services in the dox hunt:
Sep 02 01.54.09 <Taman_Shud> Then let me take up your burden …
Sep 02 01.54.30 <Taman_Shud> I am an unemployed intelligence analyst with some of the craziest access
Sep 02 01.54.32 <Taman_Shud> I will do it …
Sep 02 01.54.36 <Taman_Shud> I will be your champion yo …
Sep 02 01.55.10 <Bub> Taman_Shud: access to what, where? …
Sep 02 01.55.33 <Taman_Shud> I have a lot of friends in various places and agencies.
Sep 02 01.55.36 <merricks> Taman_Shud, please don’t confusing “investigation” with “the d word” …
Sep 02 01.55.39 <Taman_Shud> with lots of connections
In addition to doxxing Quinn’s supporters (and alleged paramours), the 4channers have been digging deeper into her life and into her family history:
Aug 23 20.10.17 <Agent_Cooper> Off topic but I found stuff that ties Zoe’s family to lobbying President Woodrow Wilson over Tobacco and Oil
There’s much more there; I hesitate to post more because to do so would be a further invasion of Quinn’s privacy.
4chaners are widely known as enthusiastic users of sockpuppets, and they’ve spoken about this quite openly on the #burgersandfries channel, with some even admitting plainly that they planned to troll Twitter in the guise of women and/or people of color in order to make it appear that their crusade was not dominated quite so heavily by white guys.
The #burgersandfries crowd were quick to take up the #notyourshield hashtag on Twitter, which evidently originated on 4chan itself as a pseudo-grassroots campaign by women, people of color, and/or LGBT folk allegedly fed up with “Social Justice Warriors” criticizing gaming.
It’s clear, though, that at least some of the #notyourshield posts are being posted by white guys.
On #burgersandfries some of the sockpuppeteers readily confessed to their deceptive behavior:
Sep 03 00.56.24 <recursiveAnon> Hi guys, #notyourshield squadmember reporting in, seems like we hit a vital point …
Sep 03 00.57.15 <Albel> recursiveAnon: you’re doing the lord’s work
Sep 03 00.57.20 <DepressionFries> I already joined …
Sep 03 00.57.23 <DepressionFries> as a Latino
Sep 03 00.57.25 <DepressionFries> :3
Sep 03 00.57.41 <Bub> if I show up in blackface can I help #notyourshield …
Sep 03 00.57.48 <DepressionFries> lul
Bub returned less than an hour later to report that he had indeed posted in the hashtag “in blackface.”
[CORRECTION: Someone claiming to be DepressionFries has since posted a picture of himself on Twitter; he does indeed appear to be Latino.]
Another 4channer volunteered to do the same:
Sep 03 01.19.15 <AnimeJustice> I have a picture of me and a black girl i know …
Sep 03 01.19.19 <AnimeJustice> I could play pretend
Other #burgersandfries chatters talked about impersonating “Social Justice Workers” in order to win over – and exploit – the trust of Quinn and others:
Aug 25 03.10.37 <akiyuki_shinbo> wait what are we plotting
Aug 25 03.10.42 <sangria> i don’t even know
Aug 25 03.10.44 <sangria> but i like it …
Aug 25 03.10.52 <temet> to pose as a SJW that watns to game dev
Aug 25 03.10.56 <akiyuki_shinbo> oh
Aug 25 03.10.58 <Dudebrogamer> @temet I think the best way is the simplest way… have a pro dev reach out to the poor oppressed indie girl. easy to make friends, looks legit etc
Aug 25 03.11.04 <Shakes> Something about infiltrating SJWs I think …
Aug 25 03.11.23 <sangria> lol
Aug 25 03.11.34 <temet> but her defences are too high right now
Aug 25 03.11.38 <temet> so we have to check out …
Aug 25 03.11.40 <temet> like with our detaisl
Aug 25 03.11.45 <akiyuki_shinbo> whoever does this would have to dye their hair
Aug 25 03.11.49 <Shakes> That’s the great comedy of this situation
Aug 25 03.11.49 <akiyuki_shinbo> and grow out a jewfro
Aug 25 03.11.49 <sangria> lol
Aug 25 03.11.53 <sangria> get tattoos …
Aug 25 03.11.56 <sangria> and a septum piercing
Aug 25 03.12.02 <Dudebrogamer> lol temporary tats
Aug 25 03.12.06 <sangria> lol
Aug 25 03.12.07 <akiyuki_shinbo> henna
Another 4channer fantasized about deceiving Quinn while posing as a SJW:
Aug 26 03.06.40 <mib_ipe1yf> actually what you should do …
Aug 26 03.06.46 <mib_ipe1yf> is get close to her and pretend you’re SJWs …
Aug 26 03.06.55 <mib_ipe1yf> earn her trust and her favor …
Aug 26 03.07.04 <mib_ipe1yf> and then backstab the backstabbing bitch
Aug 26 03.07.07 <Keirnoth> i have too much pride in myself to do that mib
Still another arrived independently at a similar plan several days later:
Sep 03 23.36.41 <cosmicboy> GUYS GUYS GUYS!!! why don’t we pose as an SJW looking for help and see what ‘help’ she actually provides? …
Sep 03 23.36.55 <CreeperEsq> @cosmicboy Psyops? …
Sep 03 23.37.07 <cosmicboy> creepesq exactly …
Sep 03 23.38.59 <cosmicboy> sefam we could make a fake infographic about some random girl who got abused on 4chan …
Sep 03 23.39.17 <cosmicboy> and then pretend to be that random girl
While others debated how to pull off a convincing imitation of a girl on the internet:
Aug 26 13.22.36 <maximumtacos> be subtle …
Aug 26 13.22.46 <maximumtacos> these people are evil
Aug 26 13.22.49 <maximumtacos> but not completely stupid
Aug 26 13.22.57 <maximumtacos> i mean they’re STUPID on one level
Aug 26 13.23.01 <maximumtacos> but they’re also not retarded
Aug 26 13.23.10 <Guest17627> also, make the account more pretty, like you are actually a 13 year old just learning hte internet
Aug 26 13.23.21 <Cyberserker> ^
Aug 26 13.23.23 <maximumtacos> why
Aug 26 13.23.26 <Guest17627> use sailor moon wall if you ned to …
Aug 26 13.23.32 <Cyberserker> You should have put a lot of numbers in your name
Aug 26 13.23.33 <maximumtacos> no anime stuff
Aug 26 13.23.42 <maximumtacos> is MM actually trying to be an underage girl
Aug 26 13.23.44 <Cyberserker> Like anime_fan666xXx
Aug 26 13.23.47 <maximumtacos> and then catch a dev hitting on her?
Aug 26 13.23.50 <Csiko> Sailor Moon stuff is good, numbers isn’t
Aug 26 13.23.56 <maximumtacos> why is sailor moon stuff good
Aug 26 13.23.59 <maximumtacos> im losing the plot here guys
Aug 26 13.24.08 <maximumtacos> i thought the idea was to infiltrate them on twitter
Aug 26 13.24.11 <Cyberserker> I don’t know how girls think
Aug 26 13.24.12 <Guest17627> maximumtacos, then bratz the fairy stufff, Mlp or something
Aug 26 13.24.13 <maximumtacos> not pretend to be a fedora anime fan …
Aug 26 13.24.21 <Csiko> trust me
Aug 26 13.24.22 <Cyberserker> Girls can’t be fedoras
Aug 26 13.24.26 <anonCo> I think this is fueling them, tbh.
Aug 26 13.24.28 <maximumtacos> you are useless at pretending to be a girl
Aug 26 13.24.31 <maximumtacos> bratz?
Aug 26 13.24.37 <maximumtacos> theyll see right through it all
Aug 26 13.24.52 <maximumtacos> i was a 14 year old boy on the internet once
Aug 26 13.24.54 <Cyberserker> I remember that shit
Aug 26 13.24.55 <Guest17627> maximumtacos, I can be, since I used to be one…
Aug 26 13.24.57 <maximumtacos> i know how to properly pretend to be a girl
Aug 26 13.24.58 <Cyberserker> Uncanny Valley
Aug 26 13.24.59 <Csiko> if you don’t go with Sailor Moon go with bishounen shit
Aug 26 13.25.08 <maximumtacos> all the anime shit will just make them assume 4chan
Others fantasized about creating a robot army of fake SJW Tweeters:
Aug 18 22.44.39 <yetsturdy> i want a social botnet …
Aug 18 22.44.56 <yetsturdy> yes
Aug 18 22.45.01 <yetsturdy> augmented trolling. :)…
Aug 18 22.45.10 <PEANESS> using neutral language processing to create realistic & generic SJW posts, creating reputations for many accounts …
Aug 18 22.45.17 <PEANESS> which is something that i specialize in
Aug 18 22.45.28 <nullspace> make it happen …
Aug 18 22.45.35 <PEANESS> i don’t specialize in english very much
Aug 18 22.45.35 <yetsturdy> PEANESS: that first part is a little silly …
Aug 18 22.45.46 <yetsturdy> people will catch on to markov bots pretty quick
Aug 18 22.46.00 <yetsturdy> they can be used to maybe generate initial followers, but not for long-term psyops
Aug 18 22.46.23 <PEANESS> which is why it wouldn’t be original content, mostly
Aug 18 22.46.26 <yetsturdy> if there were tools that made it really easy to manage many sockpuppet identities, then we’d have something good
Aug 18 22.46.38 <yetsturdy> and better than sockpuppets: stolen accounts
Aug 18 22.46.41 <PEANESS> it would be old stuff from old bloggers, repurposed with the words switched around
Aug 18 22.46.49 <yetsturdy> mind-control, in a very loose sense.
Aug 18 22.47.01 <platonicSolid> big dreams dude …
Aug 18 22.48.05 <PEANESS> if you’re working with stolen accounts, you’re working on borrowed time …
Aug 18 22.48.28 <PEANESS> they have their place, but if you’re going to annhilation instead of irritation then you need more
Aug 18 22.48.57 <PEANESS> plus sjws have pretty strong friends groups that exist outside of tumblr; account stealings will be caught onto quickly
It’s a good thing that this is a bit beyond 4chan’s capabilities at the moment, because I have no doubt they’d do it.
In later posts I plan to talk more about how 4channers generated publicity for what became the #GamerGate campaign, as well as to delve more into their motivations – which in many cases have nothing even remotely to do with the “ethics” they like to pretend that their utterly unethical campaign is about.
EDIT: Due to some WordPress glitch involving the angle brackets, some of the names of posters were stripped from the quotes here. I’ve manually added them back in.