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Crawford v. Games: The People’s Case for Siboot

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 6.48.17 PMRight now on Kickstarter, a nerdy little pitch is sweating it out against the clock, trying to raise money for an independent science-fiction game called Siboot. The creators are a small international team headed by a guy named Chris Crawford. They want $50k to finish developing their game, and with less than three days left as I write this, they need to raise another $34k fast, to make their goal and get funded.

I’m writing this last-minute plea because Crawford’s game Siboot is WAY more important than it might seem at first glance, and it really, REALLY deserves to be funded. This post is all about why. I hope you’ll hear me out, and consider making a pledge, yourself. It matters for reasons that may surprise you—one of which is GamerGate. (yes, I’m serious.)

Thanks, but I’m not into videogames *shrug*

Then you are exactly the target audience for this project. Because Siboot does something traditional videogames not only don’t do, but can’t do: give you access to characters who have real personalities, feel true emotions, and change their opinions and feelings as you interact with them. It’s a much more living, human experience than traditional games are.

Thanks, but I like videogames just the way they are.

Hmmm. If you think games are just perfect, frozen in time, and should never ever change—no new ideas or ways of playing, no changies, no erasies—then you’re right. Siboot isn’t for you. And I’ll go even farther. If you think GamerGate is all about ethics in journalism and you’re mad at Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu and Zoe Baird for trying to take away your naked babes and other (frankly) boring clichés, this is not your gig. You’ll hate Siboot, too.

But if you are tired of being handed the same old mannequin dressed up in different clothes, and you occasionally wonder if there’s something else out there—something new and different that takes a sharp turn offroad and heads out into uncharted territory, à la “Mad Max: Fury Road”—if you’re curious to see games that spark your imagination about what computer games could be, if only someone would risk breaking new ground, you should care about Crawford’s big idea.

First with the background.

Chris Crawford has been around since the early days of computer games. Though his name is not as well-known outside the games industry as guys like Will Wright, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Sid Meier, he is an industry heavyweight, with several commercial hits under his belt, from back in the late eighties.

He is widely regarded as the dean of computer games for his critical contributions and has published a number of important books on game design. He’s also a leading light in the younger field of interactive storytelling (which is different from interactive fiction). That massive convention they hold all over the place, Silicon Valley’s version of ComicCon, known as the Computer Game Developers’ Conference (CGDC), started as a get-together in his living room.

OK, so he’s pretty smart and used to be a big shot in games. So what?

Back in the late eighties and early nineties, computer games were a baby industry, with some early successes under their belt and an expanding number of people who were buying computers. A growing market, in other words, with a big upside but a lot of uncertainty. They had to figure out where to put their juice.

The people with the bucks made a crucial choice at that time, to take the basic designs that were popular with their existing customer base—shooters (Galaxian, Asteroids, Wolfenstein’s Castle), platform/level games (Donkey Kong, Lode Runner, Pac-Man), and puzzle (Tetris, Minesweeper) and strategy (Balance of Power, The Art of War, Sim City) games—and sink all their money into improving the graphics. That trend has continued ever since.

Pretty much everybody loves great graphics (including me)! But because graphics are so expensive to make, over the past twenty years or more, game companies have dug themselves into a very deep trench. A box canyon of sorts. It takes upwards of $10 million to make something that will satisfy players’ expectations with regard to the graphics, and this makes game company executives very nervous. Unwilling to try anything new or irritate the people they view as their core fan base—many of whom are the spiritual descendants of those eighties and early nineties gamers, the nerdy young men we always hear about, who are more interested in guns and cars and technology than they are in other stuff. Women, people of color, and others who have been there from the beginning, who may not fit those narrow demographics, but regardless of those little checkboxes, who want to do more innovative work, struggle hard to be seen and heard in the games industry—perhaps more so even than in other creative spaces.

There is an indie presence in computer games, where you see a great deal more variety in developers and innovation. But indie developers struggle to survive financially. Very little money is made available to them for experimentation; the cost of developing the big, flashy games sucks all the oxygen out of the room. Indies and their concepts rarely make the transition to the mainstream. Meanwhile, mainstream developers quickly get bored and frustrated, tired of doing the same things over and over. The slope from the margins of game development to the center is a cliff face.

As a consequence, the games industry is languishing, in a creative slump. They’re in a rut and need a reboot. Crawford’s technology might just be that reboot.

That’s a mighty big claim you’re making, there, Laura.

It is. And there is sound reasoning underpinning it. Read on.

Crawford’s Rule: “People, not things!”

If you’ve gotten this far, it’s time for full disclosure: I worked with Chris Crawford on his technology, intensively, on and off for more than six years over a twelve- or thirteen-year period. I’m intimately familiar with what the technology can do, better than almost anyone but Crawford. We cofounded a startup, Storytron, to commercialize it, back in 2007.

I’m no longer with the company and am not benefiting financially from this endorsement, nor will I benefit if the game is a hit. I haven’t been involved in Storytronics for several years. I’m speaking up because I believe in what he is doing and think his big idea of putting people first in computer games has huge potential.

Crawford once half-jokingly granted me paternity rights to his creative baby, Storytronics, and I proudly claim it. Siboot is Crawford’s creation, but the underlying Storytron technology has a lot of my DNA, too, right down in its bones. (OK, now I’m having this twisted image of a gender-swapped Mad Max/ Imperator Furiosa team-up, with me as Max and him as Furiosa, racing across the desert in a war rig…. Heh.)

Crawford’s own “war rig” is Storytronics: the technology he has spent the last twenty years building, after he left the games industry and struck out on his own in the early nineties, fed up with the narrow constraints imposed on game developers. (You can watch his “Dragon Speech” here, by the way, in which he “resigns” from the industry. It’s an hour long, and is a thing of beauty—well worth your time.)

All computer games have a software engine at their center, which sets up and runs the rules on how the characters and objects respond to your choices. The engine at the heart of Siboot has very different rules than traditional games do, and this creates a radically different experience for the player. Unlike nearly every computer game in existence, your primary interactions in a Storytron-based game are with characters and their emotions in a virtual social space. Not objects and their traits in a virtual physical space.

But all games have characters and emotions!

Not like this, they don’t.

You really just have to experience it for yourself. My talking about Siboot can’t do it justice, because it’s so different from what you’re used to with games. We don’t have a good frame of reference for describing what it’s like. But think the baby Holodeck—only focus not on how the Holodeck looks, but rather how it feels.

The characters you interact with using Crawford’s technology feel real, in a way you haven’t felt before.

I know this is true, because I’ve experienced it for myself. I have both created and played with earlier prototypes. (Yes, the Storytron “war rig” has been built and fully tested, across multiple generations. Siboot is Crawford’s first commercial run with it—he’s taking the tech out for a spin.) The way the characters acted, and made their own decisions, and were obviously sizing me up as we interacted—it made my hair stand on end.

This is what makes Siboot, and Crawford’s plans to commercialize the engine that drives it, so disruptive and exciting.

How can one indie game really be so important?

I mentioned that fork in the road for the games industry, over twenty years ago. What Crawford believes, and I believe, is that they missed a big opportunity back then, by sinking all their money into graphics instead of investing in more stuff like character interaction and human emotion. Now we have a chance to revisit that decision. To start fresh with a new paradigm—one that elevates people over things. We have a chance to create a new kind of player experience that will have broader appeal.

And Siboot is just the beginning. If it’s a commercial success, as I believe it will be, if it’s funded; it will be only the first of many more character-based games built using Storytronic technology. Crawford intends to open-source the underlying technologies for other developers’ use, in addition to his own further efforts to commercialize this new approach.

But seriously now, what does this really have to do with GamerGate?

The problem many women have with traditional computer games is that games, especially first-person shooters—if they even have women in them—often objectify them. They’re merely present as eye candy, fridgification for hero motivation, damsels-in-distress useful only for rescuing, or offered up as relationship/ sex cookies as the male hero’s reward after completing a difficult battle.

It’s a lot easier to objectify female characters in games when they actually are objects, and not characters with real feelings, who can tell you you’re full of shit when you do shitty things. Storytronic characters—of every stripe—have a much easier time getting uppity. I’m just saying.

Mind you, I’m not saying that Siboot is a feminist game. That’s my schtick, not Crawford’s (though like me, he is very excited about new types of game design and technology that make women and their concerns more central to games and game development). Nor am I claiming that more games built with Crawford’s Storytronics will bring about a feminist techno-topia (though a woman can dream!).

The Storytron engine can be used for any kind of interactive entertainment that involves character interaction and human emotion, including reflections on fatherhood, brothers, war, and other concerns typically associated with men. It’s up to the person who creates a game with the Storytron engine, as to who the characters are and what the core conflicts are about. But either way, people and character interaction will always be central. Not guns, collectible objects, puzzles, and so on. This is built into the technology’s essence. And it’s a tectonic shift.

Hmmm…the “baby Holodeck,” eh?

Come on, admit it; you’re at least a little curious about whether what I’m saying could possibly be true.

Dream big. Buy a piece of the game and see for yourself. Help Crawford transform the games industry into a more human-centered enterprise and get in on the ground floor with a nifty social-intelligence-strategy game, while you’re at it.

Seriously, it’s a good deal for you, and it’s a big deal for the advancement of games.

I’m in! Where do I sign up?

Yay! Good decision! Go here and make a pledge. You’ll be kickstarting something cool—a game that will be a kick to play, and a technology that could make a real difference.

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It’s Tonka Toys! All the Way Down!

I keep pondering Tade Thompson’s recent post at SAFE: “I Own SFF Fandom (and so do you).” He cuts to the heart of something that has been very much on my mind.

MysticMountain_HubbleForteza_1564The Sad/Rabid Puppies claim a moral basis for their attack on the Hugos. They say that identity-based politics have polluted our storytelling traditions. They long for a return of the good old days when SFF stories were not about race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or cultural appropriation, or all those other pesky social-justice matters, but instead favored just-great-romps, without all the politics injected into them. And at this point my Spock ears appear and my right eyebrow floats up. I think, Fascinating.

You know what? When I read a story about a woman, especially an older woman, kicking ass and taking names in an exciting space opera or fantasy setting, I certainly don’t see politics. I see an exciting space opera or fantasy with characters I can really relate to. And I’m willing to bet my friends in the LGBTQI, dis/ability, and POC communities don’t see politics, either, when they read a story that has someone whose demographics match their own. They see that person who, like them, is fighting to find their way in the world, despite all the obstacles they face. (Obstacles that can differ, based on who we are and what we’ve encountered in our lives.) Who struggles to hold onto their humanity in the face of implacable hostility. Of denial of who they are.

The Sad/ Rabid Puppies seem to think of themselves as the true descendants of the grand masters of our modern pulp SFF tradition. I find this…interesting. The idea that stories about white guys overcoming obstacles—struggling to hold onto their humanity in the face of implacable hostility and denial who they are—is somehow less political than anyone else undergoing all those struggles—is simply so illogical to me that I can help but shrug and go, whaaaa? Because you know, the Grand Masters of SFF are my forebears, too.

Seriously, dudes. What would Spock say? (WWSS???)

I wrote recently about how the books of SFF writers like Heinlein and Silverberg and Simak and Asimov and Vance and Bradbury and Tolkien saved my life, when I was young. I was an abuse survivor (post1 | post 2), not to mention a really weird kid who didn’t fit in, and those science fiction stories I found in Prospect Branch Public Library saved my life. I didn’t care if they were written by a bunch of white guys. I cared that, like me, they spent all their time gazing at stars and poring over old tomes, dreaming up all these wild tales. Connecting our future with our past. Imagining all these different rich, complex, beautiful, scary worlds. Showing me that I wasn’t the only person who thought that way, and that my life wouldn’t always be crabbed and limited as it was then.

Speaking of Spock, I had the great good fortune of being around when the original Star Trek series ran, in 1966-1968. Only my parents were really strict about bedtimes. I was too little for ST seasons 1 and 2—my bedtime was 7:30, and the show came on at 8. By the time it started, sleep had gotten hold of me. But by the time the third season came on, my bedtime was bumped up to 8 pm!! So they would send me to bed, and turn out the light, and I would crawl into the hall, creep into the living room behind the couch, and watch the show—terrified of being discovered, but unable to resist the pull. And so I had the great good fortune to watch the last season of their original run.

I loved Star Trek. And when I discovered the written works, I loved Lord of the Rings. I loved Have Space Suit, Will Travel. Ring Around The Sun. I, Robot and Tau Zero. I loved all those books I discovered in the library that had been by old white dudes. I didn’t care who wrote it. I cared about the stories they told. It was my legacy, too.

To my fellow SFF siblings who are white guys and don’t understand this: you know, most of the time, anyway, I’m not mad at you. For one thing, anger takes a lot of energy. For another, #NotAllStraightCisWhiteGuys—there are lots of guys out there who get it. And for another, frankly, I quite fancy straight white guys. I married one. He’s brimming with awesome sauce (just saying).

Even so. Your demographics don’t give you first dibs on our SFF forebears. We are our ancestors’ children. All of us. Even if the field was mostly straight cis-gendered white guys back then (which, I honor their contributions, but btw, there were plenty of women, queers, and POC back then, too), the world has shifted. SFF is a powerful meme that has spread far beyond its origins, and will continue to do so.

We’re all part of the human race. We all descended from mitochondrial Eve. Someday, our descendants will be on that bus to Tau Ceti.

So now I’m going to put on my mom face and say boys, you need to share those Tonka Toys. Stop with the defensive clutch. Share the sandbox. Because it’s the right thing to do.

And you know what else? When we let more writers with various points of view in, they’ll bring more readers with them. And that means more readers for you, too, you know. Because lots of people will want to read your stories, if you’re a good enough writer, regardless of their demographics (or your politics). I promise.

And maybe, if you get a good close look at the sand castles the rest of us build with those Tonka Toys, you’ll come to understand that you are part of a much bigger universe than you seem to realize right now.

‘Cuz, you know. Sensawunda, and all that.


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Requires Hate Follow-up, Three Months Later: Are We Past the Winter(fox) of our Discontent?

“….If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

Here’s a response to some recent events relevant to my report last fall on Requires Hate/ Winterfox/ Benjanun Sriduangkaew.


Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s recent post on resisting silence and the importance of speaking up moved me deeply. I’m grateful to her. Her words, as well as those of Rachel Manija Brown, Athena Andreadis, and Liz Williams, have inspired me to speak again. In their different ways, they remind me that when people do harm to each other, the harm doesn’t go away when the abuse stops. The damage has been done. The pain—the loss of innocence, the realization that the world is not safe—lingers, and continues to do harm.

Some of those who were targeted by Requires Hate have been able to move on. Some are processing and looking for ways to fuel a broader, constructive discussion. Others’ struggles to come to terms with what happened are still challenging for them.

I was deeply grateful for the supportive response of the community to my report. It was a good first step in enabling those who were harmed by Requires Hate’s actions to begin or continue their own healing. Because that sense of being completely alone—of your peers backing away and remaining silent in the face of attacks on you—does a great deal of collateral damage.

As much as I would love to move on from this topic myself, I am concerned now when I see signs that Requires Hate is accusing FailFandomAnon1 of issuing a rape threat. As before, I have no difficulty believing that a woman could be stalked and receive rape threats. But given the mountains of evidence I found last fall of Requires Hate accusing people of horrible things (often, the very things she had in fact been doing to them), and manufacturing reasons to publicly position herself as a victim, I confess I’m dubious about the provenance of this particular incident. I wish it weren’t so—women are far too often falsely assumed to be lying about these kinds of things. But given her history, I fear that this is merely more of the same: that Requires Hate has no intention of reforming and may simply have been biding her time till the latest public reaction to her activities died down.


It has been months since my report came out and it still makes me sick at heart to think about the tactics Requires Hate and some of her inner-circle members used. By deploying social-justice memes in such a cynical way, they besmirched those concepts—one of the few tools that we women, people of color, the dis/abled, and other marginalized people have in our hands, to help us show those higher on the privilege slopes the systemic obstacles and biases that hold us back.

I’m also disappointed that there are those who profess to care about social equity and progressive causes, but are still willing to excuse, ignore, or defend her earlier actions, knowing what we now know about the harm she wrought.

At the same time, I have deep empathy for those, especially in the LGBTQI community and the community of color, who have been harmed by the reinforcement of ugly stereotypes—most notably the man-hater lesbian and the angry, abusive woman of color—that this conflict engendered. Those stereotypes reflect harmful attitudes, phobias, and biases that—whether unconscious or not—make people less safe. That’s been one of the most difficult aspects of this conflict for me.

I also get why people who have lived with race-based, sexuality-based, or other structural abuse might be skeptical of my intentions, when I haven’t shared their lived experiences.

Lastly, some recent attempts by social-justice opponents to use RH&Co.’s actions as a means to discredit social-equity concepts in general, I’ve found to be both repugnant and laughable—as transparently self-serving and disingenuous as it’s possible to be. For reference, here’s a quick recap on the demographics of trolling. Internet trolls are nearly all men, who ferociously and endlessly attack mostly women and people of color. Guess who gets it worst? Feminists and women of color.

(We in the SFF community can take a sort of sick pride in the fact that at least some of our trolling comes from people who are less clichéd than those in, say, the videogames and atheist communities. Just saying.)


Here’s the thing. Our community doesn’t kick people out. Ever. People can decide to leave—and part of my distress last fall was learning that numerous talented writers, editors, and engaged fans had decided to leave the field rather than face further death threats and stalking by Requires Hate et al. But if a person decides to stay, however controversial and destructive their actions have been, they’ll nearly always find someone ready to listen to them.

It’s a salient trait of our community to be tolerant—to a fault—of difference, of clueless behavior, argument, and dissent. It can be a bad thing, when we find ourselves tolerating abuse. But tolerance can also be a good thing, when it’s used to give people we disagree with the benefit of the doubt and to create a space for debate and reform.

Dividing people into camps, branding those who disagree with us (or whose religious beliefs (or lack thereof), skin color, gender, sexual orientation, etc. offend us in some way, for that matter) as The Enemy—as irredeemably evil—and appointing ourselves and our friends as the sole arbiters of Truth, is a destructive practice. No matter who does it. That was why I wrote my report. I wanted to alert people to what was happening behind the scenes with Requires Hate—to give people the basic facts so they could make an informed decision on where they stood.

If we believe that creating a more inclusive community is a good thing—which I emphatically do—then we need to have the courage to speak out against divisive and harmful tactics, even of those in our own political “camp.”

And we also need to leave our hearts open to the possibility that the people we criticize are capable of learning from their mistakes—of growth, of reform. Of change.

I don’t kid myself that someone with the profile of an internet troll is likely to change their ways readily. Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, and sadism—the hallmark traits of people who engage in online trolling behavior—don’t lend themselves to self-reflection. People who live in that psychic space tend to be master manipulators, and in my experience, they are very dangerous people to be around.

But as a community—while still speaking our own truths—we need to somehow find a way to start building trust with each other so we can discuss the broader issues more safely. I have a hope that somehow, someday, we can find a path to a place where we can hold conversations around some of the conflicts we’ve had in recent years regarding race, culture, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, and so on—conflicts that have had us so fraught. It’s a conversation that is badly needed. I would love to see us begin to mend some of our differences.


I don’t know what it would take for us get to a place where more people feel safe talking about these matters, but I do know that trust can’t precede the cessation of abuse. Forgiveness can’t come at the expense of basic fairness. Reconciliation can’t precede regret.


Requires Hate has not yet responded to most of the people who spoke up last fall about her attacks against them. If she wants to be seen as reformed, and to participate in the public sphere without criticism popping up in her wake for her past acts, I believe it would make a difference in people’s attitudes if she were to demonstrate that she is willing to change her ways.

In a comment to my report, last November, Rachel Manija Brown posted about her own encounters with Requires Hate, and what she wanted, if Requires Hate feels true regret.

Here’s the relevant text:

Requires Hate, if you are genuinely remorseful and honestly intend to change, here’s what I want from you: I want to have no contact with you ever again, and I want you to have nothing whatsoever to do with me. That means that you never contact me in any way, online or offline. It means that you never discuss me or even mention me online, in any persona and for any reason, whether directly or in veiled references. It means you never link to anything I post. It means you don’t harass me, and you don’t send your friends to abuse or harass me.

If you are willing to agree to this, please copy the paragraph above and post it on both of your blogs, attributing it to me under my full name and promising to abide by its conditions. And then never say anything else to me or about me again.

With Rachel’s permission, I’ve used her words here, and I’m inviting Requires Hate’s other targets to cosign it, if they want to participate. I’ll add others’ names here who ask to be included in this petition. Requires Hate’s targets can email me at

I spoke recently to Rochita, Athena, Rachel, and Liz about my plan to do this. Athena and Liz told me that a public apology or promise is not what they desire from Requires Hate, and have written posts discussing where they stand on the matter. I respect their choice and appreciate their willingness to speak. I hope Requires Hate will consider offering amends to those who ask her to, however, by acting on Rachel’s proposed response. It would make a difference, and would show real moral courage.

A caveat. Taking the opportunity above wouldn’t make Requires Hate immune from further criticism or distrust. None of us are. She has a long path ahead of her, if she wants to mend her credibility within the community. But it would be an important start.


Whatever Requires Hate and her supporters decide to do, the truth is that the divides in our community run deep. As united as we are by a common love of the genre of imagination, of fantastic and science-fictional visions of other worlds, we’re also divided. We’re divided not just by generation, but by gender, gender identity, race, culture, nationality, sexual orientation, dis/ability status, and in other ways. RH&Co. didn’t create those divisions; they merely exploited them.

As I mentioned earlier, some have used my report to argue that social-justice memes themselves are the problem—that to solve the conflicts and controversies roiling our global community, we should do away with identity politics altogether. But assuming social-justice concepts create divisions between us is a logical fallacy—akin to assuming that if we speak someone’s name, they’ll magically appear: if we just don’t talk about stereotyping and bias, it won’t get us! Except that this only works for those not harmed by those stereotypes.

Those of us on the receiving end don’t have the luxury of ignoring how others’ attitudes hold us back from achieving our potential. Social-justice and social-equity concepts merely enable us to understand and discuss how those intersectional prejudices and biases work.

To deny the reality of harm done by structural power imbalances merely shifts the burden onto those who have been harmed, in the exact same way that ignoring Requires Hate’s abuses shifted the burden of harm onto her targets.


I could prove all this to you, using the same kind of statistical analysis I did for my Requires Hate report last fall. But that work has already been done. There is a mountain of data out there—a cornucopia of case studies and analyses that prove over and over that the arguments about bias and oppression made by social-justice activists are real.

The truth is that women, people of color, non-Westerners, LGBTQI, and dis/abled people are less likely to be given opportunities in the public sphere than white, cis-gendered, straight men, and more likely to have violence perpetrated against us. At this point, if you are in the “bias and stereotyping don’t exist | don’t harm people” camp, whether you like it or not, you are sharing a paddleboat with the anti-vaxxers, climate-change denialists, anti-evolutionists, and Flat-Earthers.

A call to jettison social-justice concepts is nothing more than a call for those suffering the effects of bias and oppression to be silent, to avoid discomfiting the rest of us.


Rather than dump a bunch of facts and figures on all this—which is a lot of effort and can get rather dry and didactic—I wanted to share a bit about my own journey.

The words nerd and geek didn’t exist for me, growing up in the late 60s and throughout the 70s. But I definitely thought the wrong sorts of thoughts. I was interested in the wrong subjects. I wanted the wrong future for myself.

I didn’t want to be fed comforting lies: I wanted to know why and how things ticked. I was obsessed with what if?

The last thing I wanted was a June Cleaver life. I wasn’t about to simply settle down and marry some guy, resigning myself to a lifetime of catering to his whims, raising his babies, and cleaning his house. I wasn’t cut out to be somebody else’s extra rib. I wanted to be a crime fighter, an astronaut, an inventor, or a spy! If I had a life partner, it was going to have to be a comrade, a fellow explorer, an equal. If I had babies, they were going to come with me on those adventures, slung on my hips like super-baby laser-ray gunslingers.

I was told over and over, every time I confided in anyone—adult or peer—what I wanted to do with my life, that my ideas and thoughts were abnormal, and that the life I wanted for myself was the province not of women, but of men. It’s no surprise then that the books I discovered in the science fiction section I discovered in Prospect Branch Public Library at age 11 ½, saved my life.

Those books and stories gave me permission to imagine a different life for myself.


This, as I mentioned, was in the late 60s, 70s, and into the early 80s, when Golden Age SF was battling it out with New Wave for supremacy in our little corner of the literary universe, and then Cyberpunk started heaving rocks at the other two.

And yeah, the field was totally a white male bastion back then, but they were as geeky as could be, and I loved them for it. I loved their nerdy passions, their exuberant word slinging, their vision. Frederik Pohl, Poul Andersen, Philip Jose Farmer, Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance, Harlan Ellison, and Clifford D. Simak; Damon Knight, Michael Moorcock, Roger Zelazny, and Alfred Bester; Robert Silverberg and Ray Bradbury; J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; Robert Heinlein’s juveniles and his The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I gobbled it all up.

Like many young women, POC, and others, though, I wanted to see myself reflected in the genre I loved. Many in our field have already talked about the fact that most characterizations of women (or lack thereof) in SFF were, let’s just say, problematic. Never mind people of color or people from other cultures! Those kinds of works were out there, but they were harder to find, in my corner of the world.


In short, we found our nerd fix in SFF, we nerdy non-nies2 . And that was so important. What we didn’t so easily find were characters and settings that accurately reflected who else we were.

Why does this matter? It really does. Most of us who read SFF, regardless of our demographics, know that feeling of displacement, of alienation. We grew up feeling not-quite-right, among our more mainstream peers. That’s our shared bond. SFF is the fiction of the Other. If we can’t find room for all the Others here, where can we find a space?

And good news! Even back then a few women, people of color, queer folk, and other Others’ works had found a space in SFF. I fell onto their stories as I came across them, with an urgency, a hunger, I hadn’t known I had: Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Joanna Russ, Samuel R. Delany, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, C. L. Moore, Thomas Disch, James Tiptree Jr., C. J. Cherryh, Judith Merril, and Kate Wilhelm. And there were men who did women especially well: James Schmitz’s Witches of Karres and Telzey Amberdon, for instance, were favorites of mine. Later, in the eighties and beyond, the works of Pat Cadigan, Melissa Scott, Lisa Tuttle, Vonda McIntyre, Jo Clayton, S. N. Lewitt, and R.A. MacAvoy fed my spirit, along with awesome male writers like George R.R. Martin, George Alec Effinger, and William Gibson.

All those worlds of science fiction and fantasy, built by these writers and others, provided me with oases of belonging I had been so desperate to find. They gave me not just a place to escape to—they opened my heart to a panoply of possibilities. Futures I could believe would be different, better, more accepting, more inclusive than the world I was living in. A knowledge that somewhere out there in the world were others like me. A reassurance: I wasn’t alone.

Many know this story; in some sense, we’ve all been there.


The conflicts we are having right now over matters of diversity are real and important. They reflect differences in people’s lived experiences and beliefs. They’re affecting people’s lives on a daily basis, and shouldn’t be minimized or swept under the rug for the sake of appearances.

I don’t know whether we are ready to have the difficult and honest conversations we need to have about diversity and representation, in order to help our community heal. For many, the harm hasn’t yet stopped. Damage is still being done. The pain—the loss of innocence, the realization that the world is not safe—still lingers in the hearts of many of those targeted for prejudice and abuse. Oppression continues to do harm to women, people of color, queer people, the dis/abled, and other Others across the globe.

Some of those harmed have been able to move on. Some are processing and looking for ways to fuel a broader, constructive discussion. Some have fallen silent or left the field. Others’ struggles to come to terms with what happened are still challenging for them, and they have strong and sometimes uncomfortable words to say about it.

I also think that some people are not ready to forgive: the history of abuse is too long and harsh. And some of us are not ready to be criticized—some may feel misunderstood and misrepresented, unfairly blamed. We writers know well how hard it can be to hear criticism—especially public criticism—of our words, even without the added shame and fear we might feel when told that our works have problematic elements such as racism, misogyny, ableism, cultural appropriation, homophobia, and the like.

What is easy to forget when we’re not on the receiving end, though, is that it’s very easy to propagate stereotypes without even being aware of it. It bears repeating again and again that our identities are much more complex than the demographic boxes we are shoved into. Right now we live in a time of rapid and sweeping transition, where new technologies are enabling many voices to be heard who have traditionally been shut out of public discourse. This is a good thing! The boosting of new voices gives us an opportunity to build an inclusive, fair, and just community together.

It’s true that social-media technologies have come with a huge price tag, though, and we are still struggling with a way to hold a dialog that dissolves these barriers, without tearing us apart. Change is messy. Like many other communities nowadays, we’re a work-in-progress.

Still, I am optimistic. Studies show that while we all have biases and, despite our best efforts, do and say racist, sexist, homophobic, or ableist things at times (and when we do, we really need to be OK with having it pointed out, if we want to be fair), that the vast majority of people really want to overcome those biases and seek ways to be more inclusive. It’s worth the effort to do this work. People can change.

I believe we can apply our skiffy/fanty skills toward expanding our thinking as a community. Ursula K. Le Guin’s story “Nine Lives” remains as relevant now as it did when I first read it 45 years ago. SFF is the genre of big-picture thinking and a love of the unfamiliar. I remain hopeful that someday we can open our hearts wide enough to see each other standing in the margins and gaps.

Not right this minute, perhaps. The winter of our discontent, I think, is still upon us. But summer will come.


Meanwhile, I stand in support of people who have been and still are working hard to make a difference. People like up-and-coming SFF writer Tade Thompson, who stepped up to create SAFE, a POC-centered (though not POC-only) space for discussion of topics around SFF, race, marginalization, and appropriation. People like Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, who speaks of the importance of not giving up our voices, and Athena Andreadis, who calls for accountability, professionalism, and fairness as we attempt to navigate a path to discussion of the broader issues. They, along with people like Rachel Manija Brown and Liz Williams, and the many, many other people—for instance, Nalo Hopkinson, Pat CadiganKathryn Allan and Djibril Al-Ayad, Malinda Lo, Ronni Dolorosa, E. P. Beaumont, Kari Sperring, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Jose’ Older, and Natalie Luhrs, just for starters—who actively write, seek out, promote, and discuss diverse works. These people and others are working every day to improve inclusion and representation in fiction and on the web.

In short, I am deeply grateful for all those who love the genre of science fiction and fantasy, and who resist ceding the public space to voices of provocation, trolling, and flame-throwing—of any political persuasion.

We may not all agree on the nature of the troubles we face, nor what to do about them. But where many of us are closely aligned is on a love of the field of SFF, and the value of signal-boosting a diverse range of unique, talented voices. I am thankful for my fellow SFF-lovers’ efforts on behalf of the community.



1FailFandomAnon, for those unfamiliar with it, is a fully-anonymous pan-fandom site whose primary purpose is to track and discuss assorted fan-wankage online. Requires Hate (a/k/a/ Winterfox) has been a topic of discussion there.

2I.e., non-cisgendered, non-hetersexual, non-white, and/or non-abled, non-men.

Comments Off on Requires Hate Follow-up, Three Months Later: Are We Past the Winter(fox) of our Discontent?

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PDF Record of A Report… with comments

A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names


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A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names

Preface – 10 May 2015:

Here are links to my follow-up posts related to the investigative report below.


laurajmixonI’m Laura J. Mixon, an American science fiction writer who has published a handful of novels since 1987 and done some design work in games and interactive storytelling, as well as a few short stories. I occasionally blog at My current fiction and blogging comes out under the pseudonym M. J. Locke. I’m married to SF writer and current SFWA president Steven Gould and my friends and engineering associates know me as Laura Mixon-Gould. I’m on the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award jury.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m acquainted with a number of people who have been around for a while, primarily in US SFF publishing and fandom. I have asked my friends and acquaintances to signal-boost this post for me, because something important is going on in the SFF writing and fan community that is not on everybody’s radar screens, and I believe it should be.


Here are links to the major sections of this report, for those who want to skip ahead or jump around:
What’s this all about?
Linkage; getting up to speed
Throat clearing and report parameters
Executive summary
Requires Hate/ Benjanun’s targets
Demographic analysis
Requires Hate/ Benjanun’s attacks and impacts
Wrapping it up
APPENDIX A – Rules for Inclusion
APPENDIX B – Database

What’s this all about?
Back to Contents

Friends, the tl;dr of this very long, comprehensive, analytical report is that up-and-coming John W. Campbell nominee Benjanun Sriduangkaew (who is also rage-blogger Requires Hate, who is also several other internet personalities including Winterfox, pyrofennec, acrackedmoon, and others) (oh yes, the list goes on), is VERY BAD NEWS.

Those who have no idea yet what I’m talking about—you’ve never heard of this person but you heard some buzz and you’re curious—go straight to Linkage; getting up to speed, which has some useful background info.

Those who are well aware of the extent of her prior destructive behavior and just want to cut to the chase and find out what I’ve found in my four-week investigation into her history, go straight to  Throat clearing and report parameters.

Otherwise, read on.


Benjanun Sriduangkaew has established herself over the past two years as a well-liked and talented newer writer. As a lesbian Thai woman, she identifies as a member of a highly marginalized community, and there has been quite a bit of excitement in progressive circles around her rise in popularity as a short story writer. She has been publishing SFF since 2012 and is a John W. Campbell nominee for 2014.

In September 2014 she was publicly revealed as Requires Hate, a controversial rage-blogger. Thai blogger Requires Hate appeared on the scene in mid-2011, and has built her reputation primarily by publishing vitriolic reviews of various writers’ books. She has ruffled a lot of feathers, but she too has her advocates: progressives (among them people I hold in high regard), who appreciate that—despite her sometimes over-the-top rhetoric—she unapologetically speaks up for people of color and queer/ LGBTQI people, calling out racist, homophobic, misogynist content in many popular SFF novels and stories.

Our genre has always had a soft spot for sharp-tongued souls. The person who speaks embarrassing truths has an honored—if discomfiting—place at the dinner table, in our SFF Island of Misfit Toys.  Though some dislike the extreme rhetoric she uses in her reviews and on Twitter, Requires Hate has shown a deft way with words, and has been promoted as a contender for a Hugo award for some of her blog posts.

What has also become clear in recent weeks is that Benjanun, in the roles of Requires Hate and her other known pseudonyms (including Winterfox, acrackedmoon, ACM, pyrofennec, Valse De La Lune, valsedelune, and Lesifoere), has a decade-plus history of destructive trolling behavior in online SFF and videogaming communities, going back to at least 2003.

Benjanun/ Requires Hate (hereafter BS/RH) has denied some of the allegations leveled against her. She has also apologized, in both her Requires Hate and Benjanun identities, for the damage she has done. She has asserted that some of the damage was done by an unspecified impostor.

In the latest dust-up over Tricia Sullivan’s novel Shadowboxer, accusations have flown back and forth about who did what to whom around the revelation of BS/RH’s multiple pseudonyms. There’s been a lot of smoke and noise around the revelation of the connection between her two identities, with accusations of blackballing and stalking and shunning flying about.

People from non-dominant social groups (POC, women, LGBTQI, the poor, etc.) get accused of being bullies all the time, simply for not being quiet when they’re told to. I can’t blame her progressive supporters for being skeptical, when they hear rumors that people are stalking her, doxxing her, shunning her, and calling for her to be silenced. It resonates deeply with messages people from marginalized groups have been hearing for centuries in Western culture, when they’re harmed by oppression and seek a platform to speak their own truths.

I think of what happened this last August in Ferguson, Missouri. As a mother of two young adults around Mike Brown’s age, I break into a cold sweat when I think what his mother must be going through. I feel deeply angry, that in my own country today an unarmed young person can be shot on the street by a uniformed police officer, and months later there is no indictment, no criminal charges, against that man.

People are pissed off about that kind of thing, and rightly so. Context matters. Anger is an appropriate response to abuse of power. It can be a huge relief, when you feel as if your own voice isn’t being heard in your community—whether it’s a suburb of St. Louis, or a subcommunity of SFF—for someone to raise their voice above the din on your behalf.

It’s easy when a controversy like this occurs to shrug and call it fanwankery, or a tempest in a teapot; or to loftily counsel the participants to stop feeding the energy creature and move on. It’s certainly easier to do that than it is to investigate and sort out the actual issues. It’s very complicated; there’s a lot of he-said-she-said; and it’s hard to find direct links for some of the most damning allegations. I’ve already seen calls for everyone to just move on, let the current ruckus die down, and trust that things will eventually sort themselves out with no help from the rest of us.

Bluntly, I disagree. The SFF community matters to me. So does basic fairness. So does social justice, which should not be reduced to a rock people throw at each other when they want to hit harder. I don’t believe we can answer the questions bouncing around about BS/RH, or decide what (if anything) should be done about her, if the community doesn’t first get a clearer and more complete picture of what has already been going on.

That’s why I’ve been delving into the matter to find out more, trying to keep an open mind and go where the data led me. This is my report on what I found.



Linkage; getting up to speed
Back to Contents

If you haven’t heard about the most recent flare-up, plenty of information on that is available, for those who want more details. This report has a different focus.

Here are the two most thorough backgrounders I’ve seen to date, to bring people up to date who haven’t been following this.

Here are links to BS/RH’s apologies.

I’ll post accounts here from people who have been targeted in the past, as I receive them.

Throat clearing and report parameters
Back to Contents

Prior to 2 October 2014, I had no idea who either Benjanun Sriduangkaew or Requires Hate was. I have not had, to the best of my knowledge, any interactions with her. I had no more than a cordial acquaintance with some of the parties at the center of the most recent flare-up, on both sides. I have never been involved in a prior dust-up with Requires Hate, nor do I have a business relationship with any of the members of the current or prior conflicts.

Second, this is not an official report, from SFWA or any other professional organization. It is coming from me personally, as a long-time member of our SFF community. I’m doing this as a community service, to provide as many relevant facts as I can, within the timeframe of this report, and—I hope—provide a safe space where people can talk about their experiences and begin to heal.

Third, I’m not a reporter by trade; I’m an engineer and a fiction writer. I’ve applied what I believe to be reasonable standards to the data I’ve collected. I’ll correct errors and update my results as I receive good information from credible sources, and as time permits. But this has been a month-long, full-time volunteer effort, in the crannies of a full life. I’ve used my own best professional and personal judgment in determining whom to contact, what to include here, and how to interpret it.

The remainder of this report contains the results of my fact-gathering expedition.

Consider this your only giant trigger warning for all kinds of nastiness along just about every social vector imaginable.

Executive summary
Back to Contents



It quickly became clear as I began looking into this situation that that Requires Hate/Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s treatment of others has been extremely destructive, manipulative, and widespread.

To give readers a sense of BS/RH’s actions, I’m interspersing a few screencaps from her prior verbal attacks. I think it’s important for people to see her own words, in order to avoid the risk of having people elide over just how harmful her words have been.

BS/RH’s online attacks against others in the SFF community extend far beyond simply a few youthful indiscretions in her past, foul language, or having posted harsh reviews of some people’s books. Her assaults, using multiple identities, are repeated, vicious, and energetic. They have spilled out across the years, well beyond the edges of fannish and writing communities online. BS/RH’s attacks have destroyed communities and harmed careers and lives in the real world.

  • She has been involved in efforts to suppress the publication of fiction and reviews for those works that in her sole opinion should not be published.
  • She and her associates have pressured con-runners to disinvite speakers from panels and readings, constraining their ability to do business.
  • She routinely accuses people of doing the very harm to her that she is in fact doing to them—of stalking, threatening, and harassing—when they have done nothing except try to get as far away from her as they can.
  • At least one of her targets was goaded into a suicide attempt.
  • She has issued extremely explicit death, rape, and maiming threats against a wide variety of people across the color, gender, sexual-orientation, and dis/ability spectrum.
  • She and her supporters argue that she punches up, but the truth is that she punches in all directions. The bulk of her targets—despite her progressively-slanted rhetoric—have been women, people of color, and other marginalized or vulnerable people.
  • She has single-handedly destroyed several online SFF, fanfic, and videogaming communities with her negative, hostile comments and attacks.
  • After an attack, she deletes her most inflammatory posts and accounts and departs, leaving her targets reeling and others who come later scratching their heads, unable to find evidence and wondering what all the fuss was about.
  • She has stalked SFF fans online for months and years, simply for posting that they liked an author’s book that she did not, or for speaking up against her when she called their favorite author (often a POC) epithets like “stupid fuck,” and calling them “morons” for liking that author.
  • She has chased down positive reviews of authors’ works, to appear there and frighten reviewers and fans away from promoting the writers’ works, interfering with their ability to get publicity for their publications. Of the most extreme cases, lasting at least a year, two were launched against women writers of color.
  • Her attacks have not diminished over time; they have simply become more skilled and difficult to deflect. As recently as three weeks ago as I write this, she was lying to her supporters to manipulate them into attacking one of her latest victims.
  • She excels at shifting her tone and her strategy, seeming friendly and helpful one moment and vicious and harsh the next. She has mastered the crafting and dissemination of false narratives that seem persuasive to observers who are not familiar with the harm she has done in the past.
  • In light of the harm she has done, her apologies do not even come close to addressing the damage she has done, much less undoing it.

I know the above facts to be true either because I directly witnessed it myself; researched the evidence still available from online forums; or received information from people who have been harmed by her, who have entrusted me with evidence (screencaps, copies of incriminating emails, web archives, and witness accounts) of the actions I describe above.

Some reading this will note that few people have come forward with their stories as a result of the recent dust-up, and most of those who have spoken out have done so anonymously.

They have not come forward because they are afraid.

They are afraid they will not be believed. They are afraid that their experiences will be discounted or minimized. That people will make excuses for her, or believe her when she tells the world that they are the villains and she is the victim. Their run-ins with her were in many cases among the worst experiences in their lives.  When they resurface on the web, she often finds them again and re-launches her vitriolic attacks.

If one person had told me these stories, or two, I might be skeptical, and wonder what their role in the blow-up had been. But I’ve heard from or discovered the internet traces of far more than two.

Some of BS/RH’s targets responded with anger, others with fear. Some managed to shrug it all off and move on with their lives. A few have apparently tried trolling and stalking her back. Her targets’ lives were altered, regardless, and not for the better.

I identified 47 candidate cases, chosen at random, and collected links, screencaps, emails, and quotes to confirm BS/RH’s attacks. Of those, I was able to confirm 30 cases before I finally decided to stop trying to gather further information (though I suspect that she has many more victims than that). An additional four cases, while they could not be confirmed as BS/RH targets, had enough indicators to list as probable additional targets.

BS/RH’s targets
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—BS/RH, as acrackedmoon, responding to a commenter on her blog who criticized her for using death threats against writers whose work they like and she does not.

From the beginning of my investigation, I have felt reluctant to drag up the specifics from individual cases of BS/RH’s online assaults. My primary goal with this effort is to reveal the truth while minimizing harm, and allow people a safe space to heal and tell their stories. But to do that I must expose the wounds she’s inflicted. And I’m certain many of her targets would not be thrilled to have the SFF community dredging up the details of her verbal assaults, picking over the visible remnants, passing judgment as to whether the harm done to them was really all that bad—with the added risk that at some point BS/RH or some of her followers might show up and start pouring more vitriol into the mix. I can’t say I blame them.

My solution was to use my information-management skills to give the community a look from a broader perspective: a more statistical look. I’ve created a database of the 30 people for whom I found documented evidence of her online abuse, stalking, and harassment.

While her targets’ desire for privacy is important, it is also important to help protect future potential victims of her online attacks. People need to see the details of what she has done. Therefore I’ve included the named list of targets for whom public information is available, along with a headline describing or summarizing the attack, along with links to sources. It is attached at the end of this report.

In certain cases, BS/RH’s targets may not define themselves as victims. They may have reached an accommodation with her, or have been able to move on in some other fashion. However, the pattern of BS/RH’s attacks is consistent and widespread. If public information is available on an attack, I think it’s fair to include the information.

For 25 of the 30 targets analyzed in depth, despite her extensive efforts to conceal them, I was able to obtain multiple sources confirming the nature and extent of her attacks. Links are provided in the database; however, in addition to links, in many cases I was also provided email accounts from both the targets themselves and from direct witnesses to the attacks, as well as screencaps, which confirmed targets’ statements. The emails will remain private, as they were told to me in confidence. Quotes provided by targets, when confirmed by witnesses, are used in some cases.

Without further ado, here they are.

Demographic analysis
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—BS/RH, as Lesifoere, using racially-loaded transphobic insults against a European transwoman who disagreed with her in a gaming forum.

In order to show demographics, I used publicly available information on targets:

  1. Community Role (Fic Writer, Reader, Reviewer/Blogger, Editor, Gamer, Other/Unknown)
  2. Race (White, POC, Other/Unknown)
  3. Gender (Man, Woman, Other/Unknown)
  4. Sexual Orientation (Straight, LGBTWI, Other/Unknown)

In order to keep the rollups from getting too complicated, I have used deliberately broad categories, which may have resulted in oversimplification of how a person identifies themselves. I also had to make some basic assumptions based on public statements about her targets’, e.g., sexual preference, marital information, and race or ethnicity, which may have resulted in mischaracterization.

Lastly, these kinds of details are a matter of personal privacy. Consequently, I have not included the individual demographics in the public version of the table. I welcome opportunities to update and correct these entries. The people listed as targets may query me as to their own demographics and offer corrections, if they so choose, at any time.




Community Roles Analysis


BS/RH’s targets, by and large, are her peers. An overwhelming 77% of her attacks have been launched at professional writers. The next largest group in the sample I analyzed, at 12%, were readers who spoke up to defend writers whose works they liked, when BS/RH did not.

Gender Analysis



A large majority of BS/RH’s targets have been women, at between 73 and 81% of the targeted population (two targets provided information anonymously, without clues to their gender).

Race Analysis



Between 37 and 40% of her targets, or nearly two-fifths, were people of color. Given that the field has been, and still is, predominantly white, this is disproportionately high. In other words, POC are much more likely to be a target of her attacks than whites.

To show this more clearly, it helps to look at the racial breakdown for targeted writers only. Between 26 and 30% in the sample are POC. To tell whether this is disproportionate, we would need to compare it to publication data by race. I was unable to locate statistics on stories and books published in SFF by race; I was, however, able to find some statistics on children’s book writers in the US.

If we assume that the rates of publication of POC authors are roughly comparable between the two fields, then approximately 7% of published SFF writers are POC. This means that if Requires Hate were targeting fiction writers at random, only one or two POC fiction writers should have been targeted, not eight. POC writers were four times more likely to be attacked than white writers.

Here’s a chart showcasing the disparity.



Furthermore, all readers attacked in the sample were POC. (Of the two gamers, one identifies as POC and one as trans.)

I did not further break POC targets into ethnic groups; however, BS/RH showed a clear pattern of targeting specifically (though not only) Asians, Pacific Islanders, and people of Asian descent around the globe.

The proportion of women targeted versus men was about the same for POC as for whites, or possibly somewhat higher (72-79% of POC were women, versus 72% for whites; 7% of POC were anonymous and did not report their gender).

Sexual Orientation, Dis/Ability, Other Analysis




Too little public information is available about the target population’s sexual orientation to draw substantive conclusions on BS/RH’s targeting patterns.

For three of her targets, I found evidence of a pre-existing disability or chronic illness, either physical or mental/emotional.

In addition, I also saw some evidence of a correlation with gathering “buzz” for a number of her targets. In other words, the timing of her attacks often came at the targets who were perceived as up-and-comers or “come-back kids.” They had won or been nominated for awards or good reviews or were receiving other industry attention. But I did not have sufficient data available in the timeframe for publication to confirm this.

Demographic Analysis – Summary

The data indicate that BS/RH preferentially targets writers who are POC, women, and people from other marginalized groups, with a particular focus on people of Asian descent.

BS/RH attacks and impacts
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BS/RH attack methods – The process goes something like this.

Using one of her pseudonyms, BS/RH begins chatter about a writer or a social-justice topic on her blog, a forum such as LiveJournal, or on Twitter. She uses increasingly obscene and insulting language against her target(s). This is done to goad the target (or their supporters, or a particular community) into responding sharply. In their responses BS/RH finds words or phrases she can re-cast as misogynistic, homophobic, racist, or colonialist (sometimes they actually are those things, but for her purposes it doesn’t matter).

For instance, rachelmanija, a commenter on the Livejournal community 50 Books POC, told Requires Hate (as Winterfox) that it was inappropriate to call Chinese-American author Cindy Pon a “stupid fuck.” Rachelmanija added that the standards at 50 Books POC were different from those of  4chan (a community where anything goes). In response, Requires Hate accused rachelmanija of being racist and implying that Winterfox was a Nazi, because 4chan was a cesspit of Nazis and white supremacists.

Often BS/RH will then begin to pursue the person she has decided to target, issuing multiple vituperative posts or death threats on blogs they frequent, and/or on Twitter, and/or in the online forum where she first targeted them. She then erases—at the very least—the most violent and abusive comments and posts, leaving the target reeling but with no visible proof that the threat occurred. Often, she deletes everything. Therefore not many screencaps of her worst abuses exist.

However, I received numerous screencaps that had been recovered by her targets or witnesses, and I was also able to obtain copies of a portion of BS/RH’s now-deleted content via The Wayback Machine. In addition, I received independent emails from both targets and witnesses confirming the substance of the death, rape, maiming, and dismemberment threats BS/RH has been accused of.

For some of her targets, she has mounted whisper campaigns, reaching out through her network of followers—prominent among whom is Alex Dally MacFarlane—to con committees, reviewers, and even publishers, pressuring them not to publish or review books she does not approve of, asking them to disinvite or limit the participation of professionals at convention events such as panels and readings.

Working with words, we writers know their power. At the same time, writers work in solitude. It’s easy to feel alone—that comes with the territory anyway. To be pointedly excluded for the crime of disagreeing is an ineffable cruelty.

Rape victims have been hounded and stalked; writers have reported to me that after their encounters with her, they have been unable to write for months on end, out of sheer shock and terror at encountering such violent language directed against them for their work. Readers have been driven away from the field due to the toxicity they’ve experienced or witnessed.

Here is a sampling of some of the threats she has made about her targets. More are in the database and still more are in the links:

  • “If I see *** being beaten in the street I’ll stop to cheer on the attackers and pour some gasoline on him” – “*** is an ignorant, appropriative bag of feces.”
  • “Spread the word that *** is a raging racist fuck. Let him be hurt, let him bleed, pound him into the fucking ground. No mercy.”
  • “Stupid fuck” – “homophobe” – “without any talent whatsoever”. To a reader defending her: “Your liking for this pile of verbal diarrhea proves what morons fantasy fans are.”
  • “rape apologist!”  – “her hands should be cut off so she can never write another Asian character.”
  • “ah, if only I could actually do it in person. with scalpels, not words.”

Community demolition – Furthermore, BS/RH’s repeated attacks have had a chilling effect on our online communities. Once people witness what BS/RH does to others, they become fearful of speaking up, even mildly, against her or in favor of whatever she attacks. They prefer to remain silent, or quietly leave the field.

Here are some commenters describing the effect of BS/RH’s insults and threats in 50books_poc, a LiveJournal forum promoting books by POC:

  • “having seen that ‘throw acid on them’ is a threat for uppity folk not only in my parents’ home country but in SFF fandom certainly put me off a career in writing fantasy.”
  • “She made me afraid to talk about books—books, for crying out loud—because she disliked them and I would be branded a shitstain and worse for disagreeing. She made me feel unsafe in certain communities including those that were created to support people like me. She made me reluctant to express support for certain authors of color. “

This is not the only LiveJournal forum that died out as a result of her hostility. According to targets familiar with LiveJournal, she was also responsible for killing participation in girl_gamers, another LiveJournal forum for fans. She is known for trolling fanfic and videogaming forums as far back as 2001, by some reports. Targets have reported leaving LiveJournal and Twitter and other SFF gathering places, rather than risk an encounter with her. One or two writers have left online discourse altogether, and report that they now hesitate to have contact with their fans.

BS/RH’s followers – How is Requires Hate able to cut such a wide swath of destruction? A major part of the reason is that for over a decade BS/RH has been cultivating a sizable cast of followers who respond to her calls to help launch attacks. When one of BS/RH’s targets tries to speak up against her, BS/RH publicly positions herself as the victim and accuses her target of doing what she in fact has just done to them, and asks her followers to go on the attack.

Some people who do so are simply supporters—those on the sidelines who see someone who has cultivated their friendship, an intelligent young lesbian woman of color, speaking up about a social injustice. They trust her and believe her version of events. It seems apparent that in many cases they are acting in good faith—though their actions still do harm, as BS/RH’s targets end up being blasted with hostile or suspicious messages from the community, when they in fact have been the victims of an attack by BS/RH. As a consequence, her targets experience a deep sense of isolation, when many people they admire and respect are amplifying Requires Hate’s false narratives about what has happened.

Others are part of BS/RH’s inner circle. These people actively work in coordination with her to identify and launch attacks against targets. They appear to be mostly progressive women, and many are women of color. I know this because a number of them have reached out privately to me. They feel trapped and want out. They have provided me with details.

BS/RH draws them into her circle with flattery and friendliness, cultivating a mentor-like relationship with them. She provides a supposed safe, private space online for them to vent their frustrations and fears. Gradually BS/RH pulls them in a tight orbit, a world filled with negativity and paranoia where no one is to be trusted but her. She eggs them on in email exchanges or live chats to say intemperate things about their SFF colleagues. In other words, she incites them to help pick targets.

Members of the inner circle receive (initially gentle) correctives if they push back against BS/RH’s directives. If they continue to resist, they become targets, themselves—with the added unspoken threat that she can publish their ill-considered emails at any time. They have been her loyal soldiers, and have spoken ill of and acted badly toward other people at her behest.

However, though they are culpable, it is important to remember that someone they thought they could trust is in essence holding them hostage. In a very real sense, they are BS/RH’s victims, too.

It is my deepest hope that when they realize that the community knows her game, her inner-circle members who want to escape her control will feel safe enough to step away from her. And I hope that those who have been harmed by former supporters of BS/RH will find it in themselves to forgive those who lashed out at them, hear their stories, and enable them to make amends.

Social justice hackery – Reviewing BS/RH’s track record in depth makes clear Requires Hate’s progressive rhetoric is nothing more than a cynical attempt to coopt it to serve her own ends. If her target is white, they’re white supremacists. If they are a POC, they aren’t racially-pure enough. (She is notorious for attacking an Asian-Hispanic woman in a LiveJournal forum, for instance, for not being Asian enough in comparison to her—she wasn’t “Asian-Asian.”)

BS/RH’s forum-trolling and destructiveness extends back well before her adoption of social-justice rhetoric (for instance, in one SFF media fan forum early in her career, she savaged other commenters in arguments over SF shows; in gaming forums, she has insulted gamers who disagree with her about videogames).

However, at some point she discovered social-justice-driven rage-speak and found it to be a particularly effective weapon. In this way BS/RH has been doing great harm to the progressive wing of SFF. By hiding behind the language of progressive causes, she taints—she cheapens—one of the primary means at social-equality activists’ disposal to help the community-at-large understand a very important series of systemic biases that is harming people every day.

I must add that I don’t believe she could have gotten such traction if there weren’t a great deal of fear and frustration among younger writers entering the field who are not part of the traditional US and UK white middle class. We are particularly vulnerable to the kinds of attacks Requires Hate has leveled because many newcomers to our community who are marginalized—POC, queer/LGBTQI people, the dis/abled, and older writers, as well as working-class and other marginalized groups—see few opportunities to break in. The SFF social network is still very white, straight, middle-class, able, and male.

It doesn’t have to be that way, either. As we expand the diversity of our writer base, we draw more readers in. The field as a whole grows. Readers like reading stories about people like them, but many will go on to read books across a broader scope, as they discover new writers they like. Everyone benefits when we open the doors wider and welcome more perspectives in.

I’d like to take this opportunity to ask my colleagues who are in a position to do so to start thinking and discussing how to help elevate and amplify marginalized writers’ voices. There have been some efforts around this already—several anthologies have been created and more are on the way; some influential writers have begun workshops on how to write about characters from races and cultures not their own. I believe more efforts are needed, if we want the SFF field to continue to prosper. I’ll be thinking about more ways I can help with this, too.

BS/RHs identity, denials, apologies, and accusations of banning, blacklisting, or doxxing – I do believe it’s possible Requires Hate has been stalked and trolled. Just because BS/RH has done awful things doesn’t mean that others haven’t done awful things to her. It doesn’t change the reality of the harm she’s done.

With regard to the ethics of outing, when someone has demonstrably used numerous multiple identities to assault people without consequences, they have crossed a line. Furthermore, if it weren’t enough to look back and survey the harm BS/RH has done over the years—death, rape, and maiming threats; deception; gaslighting and deletions of incriminating posts; false accusations; terrorizing of fans, rape victims, and people in emotionally or mentally fragile states; and all of these other acts of harm I’ve showcased here—it’s only been in the last few weeks that BS/RH has lied to her supporters about the connection between her Benjanun Sriduangkaew and Requires Hate personae, and to the community-at-large about whether she was actually outed without her permission, by whom, and when.

I have seen evidence with my own eyes of an email she wrote to a former supporter, in which she admits that even “Benjanun Sriduangkaew” is yet another constructed identity. Frankly, I don’t know who the person behind these many constructed identities is, or if it’s even really just one person.

Unavoidably, given all this, BS/RH’s apologies, promises to reform, and everything else she says about herself or her accusers is called into doubt.

I would not support publicly revealing information such as her street address or that of her family members. Nor would I call for people threatening her. I don’t call for a ban on publishing her; I can’t imagine any publisher is going to pay attention to such a thing anyway, and I wouldn’t want them to. That’s not my job.

But when harm is done to people and the community does not acknowledge it, the burden of that harm falls on the victim’s shoulders, instead of the abuser’s. That isn’t right. We need to acknowledge, as a community, the serious damage BS/RH has done. We owe it to the people she has harmed.

Writers’ reputations have been marred. Their careers were harmed. Readers’ right to choose without interference what they read, and to love what they love, has been impugned. Online communities have withered and died.

Discussions about colonialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia in our works may not be an easy conversation for writers to have, but it’s necessary, and I welcome that dialog. I want to know where my privilege has blinded me. Stereotypes are bad writing, and they are easy to propagate.

What’s not OK is to stalk, threaten, and silence people who don’t do what you want. No matter who you are or where you live.

And there are lots of talented writers out there, including some exciting new voices from around the world whom I’ve had the delightful opportunity to discover during this research project. I’m personally much more interested in using my remaining days on this planet meeting them, promoting them, and reading the stories of people from around the world whose visions and hearts and stories have room for the rest of us.

Wrapping it up
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—BS/RH, as winterfox, mistakes a Cambodian-American woman for white when she won’t identify her race.

For the past month as I’ve prepared this report, I have read some of the most gut-wrenching and heart-breaking accounts of BS/RH’s attacks. Her targets’ stories have weighed heavily on me. They have spent years suffering in silence, knowing that no one would believe them without proof. They’ve also shown great courage in trusting me with the truth of what happened to them.

I believe their stories, and I’m standing up for them.

But I can’t do this alone. To put a stop to the harm, we need to stand together, to help protect both current and future prospective members of our community. It is precisely the least connected among us who are the most vulnerable, and I don’t believe BS/RH will stop on her own.

A month ago, as the true nature of what had been happening began to unfold before me, I stood at a fork in the road.

Turn toward the ugliness? Face it down, in order to bear witness for those who had been harmed? Knowing the toll it would take—the time and effort, the emotional impact, and the risk that it might open a rift between me and many people whom I respect and admire? The near certainty this will make me a target, too? Or turn away, take the easier path, knowing I was allowing a terrible injustice to continue?

I chose my path. And now that you have read this, it’s your turn to choose.

What comes next
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Invitations – I would like to invite those who have been harmed by Requires Hate in any of her incarnations, or who have witnessed BS/RH harming others, to tell their stories in the comments below this post. Of course if you prefer to post on your own blogs or forums, I will update this post with links to them. Either post links to your own accounts, or mail me links for inclusion at loudlysingcuckoo at gmail dot com. (Bear in mind, it may take a couple of days for me to respond.)

I would also like to invite the SFF community-at-large to check back here, to read people’s stories, and bear witness in the comments. BS/RH’s targets need to know that they are heard and believed.

Comment policy – Needless to say, this will be a strictly-moderated space, intended solely to provide support and a safe space for people to tell their stories and be heard. I will have no patience for nitpicking, minimizing, and the like. I will also have no patience with racist, ableist, misogynist, transphobic or other hate-filled comments, or with blaming, insulting, or sarcastic language. Not even against Requires Hate. I will delete without hesitation any comment I deem inappropriate. Be gentle with each other. We’ve had enough hate to last us.

Trolling policy – Any insults, threats, or the like coming from Requires Hate or her followers will be immediately screencapped and added to the database, as I have the time and inclination, to document BS/RH’s further abuses.


APPENDIX A – Rules for Inclusion
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Rules for screencaps – I have removed the identifying information for BS/RH’s targets and witnesses from the screencaps used in this report, in order to avoid singling out people she has already harmed. In certain cases I pared down screenshots to focus on BS/RH’s words, and summarized context below it. Links to the un-redacted screencaps can be found in the links table at the end of the report.

Rules for database entry – To be included in my analysis, the following had to be true:

    1. Requires Hate in one of her known pseudonyms or aliases launched a sustained and energetic attack on a target (not just an occasional sarcastic remark).

• Attacks include primarily:

      • Cyber-stalking (following the target around to different social media or blogs and deriding, insulting, or threatening them).
      • Implicit or explicit death, rape, and/or maiming threats in email, on Twitter, on Facebook, LiveJournal, or other sites.
      • Multiple, vituperative reviews of their books or stories (one review didn’t count).
    1. All entries have at least one credible source. If at least two sources confirm the target, nature, and extent of the attack in its substantive facts, it is flagged as having 2+ sources confirmed.

• Source types include primarily:

    • Online links to the original conflict, or to web archives of it.
    • Screencaps from Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal posts, etc.
    • Email accounts and forwarded emails from interactions with others, or copies of comment threads.
  1. Other rules of entry:
    • I gathered names of targets at random from online sources by searching on BS/RH’s pseudonyms and following links and references. I solicited for people to come forward at an anonymous Gmail account, loudlysingcuckoo at gmail dot com. I was also given names by other targets and witnesses. I stopped collecting names at 47, and began researching to obtain evidence of the attack. Thirteen names were removed due to lack of evidence.
    • The dates are approximate. In many cases, BS/RH’s abuse extended over months and years. I often used a date associated with one of BS/RH’s public attacks.
    • I reserved, and continue to reserve, the right to use my own judgment with regard to what should be included in the database. I may be willing to update links and correct demonstrable errors of fact, depending on my availability, but not going to have a lot of patience with nitpicking. These are real people’s lives. They shouldn’t have to prove to the court of the internet that they’ve been sufficiently harmed, or belong to a sufficiently marginalized status, in order to be believed.



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I consider what you were doing on those threads I linked above to be trollish behavior. They have a chilling effect on the comm: I know for a fact that some people have chosen not to post about Jemisin, Pon, or any other book that you may in the future review negatively, and that they are doing so because of those comment threads. What’s more, I don’t believe that chilling effect is counter balanced by any benefit to the comm or the issues that the comm has been trying to serve: it’s just chilling.

—LJ moderator to BS/RH, regarding her attacks on commenters in 50books_poc

TABLE 1 – BS/RH Targets: Detailed Findings.

Target Name Primary Comm Role Headline Additional Notes Incident Date (approx) 2+ sources?
Ahmed, Saladin Fic Writer “Throne of the Crescent Moon…that steaming misogynistic turdpile written by same for same”- multiple vitriolic reviews, since deleted Apr-2012 Yes
Anon, Fanfic Writer Fic Writer “Winterfox…derived such fun from bullying and rallying the dogpiling of someone that…[for] a lot of people she lost any credibility for her claims of being so far above any of those lowly little immature fanfic writers.” (translated from German) Aug-2012 Yes
Andreadis, Athena Editor Campaign to publicly shun her and pressure con runners to disinvite/ limit her participation at a major regional convention around the date of release of her anthology (date approx.).Update 22 Nov 14: The con runner in question, Rose Fox, disputes Andreadis’s account, and no direct evidence exists that con decisions about panel content or reading slots were influenced by BS/RH or her supporters. Independent evidence exists, however, of a deliberate campaign to discredit Andreadis around the time of release of her anthology. Multiple members of BS/RH’s inner circle, including Alex MacFarlane, were in attendance at the con. I can’t preclude the possibility that the efforts of those engaging in the smear campaign on Andreadis, whether directly or indirectly, factored into the con committee’s decision making in some fashion.  Knew from the start that BS was RH. Spring 2013 Yes
Anon, MOC Writer Fic Writer “misogynist” – email account Unk No
Anon, Not Writing Fantasy Fic Writer “having seen that ‘throw acid on them’ is a threat for uppity folk not only in my parents’ home country but in SFF fandom certainly put me off a career in writing fantasy.” Unk No
Anon, Reviews Reader “…that was until I posted a review of a work that she disagreed with, at which point I got abused both in the comm, and on her other platforms, and had her bring it up any time I tried to participate.“ “As a WOC I’m used to having my voice dismissed, or being told my opinion is worthless, but I hadn’t expected to have it happen in a community that was supposed to be all about supporting the voices of people like me.”  Unk No
Anon, Silenced Reader “She made me afraid to talk about books — books, for crying out loud — because she disliked them and I would be branded a shitstain and worse for disagreeing. She made me feel unsafe in certain communities including those that were created to support people like me. She made me reluctant to express support for certain authors of color. “  Unk No
Anon, Video Gamer Gamer “She said, posting as Winterfox not all that long ago, in a posting that has now been deleted in a semi-private venue, that I ought to be raped by dogs.” “it would not take you much work to find her calling various and sundry Asian women ‘not Asian enough.’ (You can do that yourself; it makes me sick to do it for you.) So she has redefined us as ‘white on the inside’.” Unk No
Bacigalupi, Paolo Fic Writer “As for Bacigalupi, flay him alive slowly, pour salt, pour acid, dismember and keep alive as long As Possible. ” and ” If I see Bacigalupi being beaten in the street I’ll stop to cheer on the Attackers and pour some gasoline on him . “; On blog: “Bacigaluslkgs;lkjhgsh is an ignorant, appropriative bag of feces.” “Spread the word that Paolo Bacigalupi is a raging racist fuck. Let him be hurt, let him bleed, pound him into the fucking ground. No mercy.” “first impressions: Paolo Bacigalupi’s THE WIND-UP GIRL is exotifying, yellow-fever, offensive claptrap”; “the Bacigalupi hateblogging of loathing, spoilers – THE WIND-UP GIRL still stinks”; “despising THE WIND-UP GIRL linkspam: I am not alone!” Nov-2012 Yes
Bakker, R. Scott Fic Writer “a feces-clad-serial-masturbator” “alpha males – paranormal biotruths and rape culture” multiple vitriolic reviews on Requires Hate blog. “He is sad. Everything about this is a pathetic clusterfuck neck-deep in everything ever wrong with fandom. “ Apr-2012 Yes
Bishop, Anne Fic Writer “misogynistic homophobic turd” “relentlessly fucking awful” “irredeemable verbal diarrhea
upon which illiterate maggots feast”
multiple vitriolic reviews on Requires Hate blog. May-2011 Yes
Brown, Rachel Manija Fic Writer “AH HA! rape apologist whiteknighter!” Stalked for nearly 3 years on blogs and Twitter, called racist, homophobic, etc. in vitriolic language Jun-2011 Yes
Gaither, Chelsea Fic Writer Writer who wrote on surviving rape; stalked for 6 months starting in December of 2012. Linked to target’s blog on a near-daily basis for six months, calling her e.g., “illiterate fuck, stupid, hilarious, fun.” Screencaps of days where blog had 10-15 different twitter referrals all tracing back to RH’s twitter account Apr/May-2013 Yes
Goldberg, Melissa Fic Writer “she’s a fauxgressive liberal dick who believes she’s an enlightened human being, a weeaboo dolt who insists her tedious fetishization equals love and respect. It’s disgusting.” multiple vitriolic reviews on RH Feb-2013 Yes
Harris, Charlaine Fic Writer “FROM DEAD TO WORSE pt 2 – Charlaine Harris a shitbag of bigotry” multiple vitriolic reviews on RH Jun-2012 Yes
Hesychasm Reader Cambodian-American reader, mistaken by WF as white and schooled on crying “white women’s tears” when she said that personal insults were inappropriate in the thread & refused to reveal her race when WF baited her. WF deleted her attacks in the link shown, but a commenter following the thread saved them and forwarded me a copy in email Jun-2011 Yes
Jemisin, NK Fic Writer “Easily the most overrated thing ever to come out recently, and I’m going to assume that people who gush over how groundbreaking it all is have only ever read Tolkien and Eragon.” multiple vituperative posts re her works, harassment of her readers for liking them. For at least a year straight, WF searched the internet for positive reviews of her books, then appeared there to abuse the reviewer and fans. Aug-2010 Yes
Kiernan, Caitlyn Fic Writer “rape apologist” “her hands should be cut off so she can never write another Asian character.” multiple vitriolic reviews and threats Dec-2011 Yes
Kowal, Mary Robinette Fic Writer “And suppose that the shit writing…and the racism don’t bother you–in which case are you an amoeba?–what you’re left with is an insipid take on the already insipid ‘fae kidnap a human something true love something’ idea. It’s a regurgitation done without skill, with an extra dose of racism nobody asked for.” pressured by BS/RH to revise manuscript and publicly apologize for writing about American Indian culture. Nov-2012 No
Kress, Adrienne Fic Writer “Shit plot. Shit prose. Weeaboo maggotry. This book is the epitome of what YA is really about: mass-produced illiterate fiction for illiterate people.” Jan-2013 No
Loenen-Ruiz, Rochita Fic Writer Subjected to public and private smear campaigns, maligning of her integrity, and shunning because she refused to submit to pressure to publicly denounce a target/ falsify a review of target’s book. Jul-2014 Yes
Lord, Karen Fic Writer “What the fuck is this shit.” “If this is an experiment to see how much shitty stuff you can cram into one book, in combination with writing that alternates between fucking tortured and fucking twee, and still get nerds to rub themselves all over it like they’re in heat, it’s a brilliant one.” multiple vitriolic reviews. Jul-2013 Yes
Paget, Colum Fic Writer “Twitter death threats, stalking. “Behead this person!” vitriolic comments on his blog and RH blog. “futuristic THIRDWORLDIA OF SQUALOR AND POVERTY is always stuck in MORE SQUALOR AND POVERTY and HEY HOOKERS, HEY MISOGYNY.” Targeting likely due to his receipt of a major European award – the attack focused on a year-old blog post, shortly after news of the award broke. Jun-2012 Yes
Pon, Cindy Fic Writer “Stupid fuck” “homophobe” “without any talent whatsoever”. ”MAYDAY, MAYDAY. BIOCHEMICAL WEAPON TO CINDY PON’S COORDINATES AND MAKE THAT DOUBLE TIME” To reader defending her: insults along the lines of “Your liking for this pile of verbal diarrhea proves what morons fantasy fans are.”  As with Jemisin, WF made a concerted attempt to suppress her works. She searched the internet for positive reviews and appeared in those forums to abuse the favorable reviewer and fans. Jul-2011 Yes
Rothfuss, Patrick Fic Writer “Patrick Rothfuss: down him in vomit, set him on fire, or simply take a machete to his dick? You decide!”  Quote unconfirmed. Limited public details found on BS/RH attacks, but multiple sources confirm he was a major target. Unk Yes
ScottishMartialArts Gamer “Dear SMA, our trannies generally look much better and classier than you. Even the pre-op ones don’t look half as mannish and buttfuck-ugly. So, about that…” “Helps that they tend to be tall and slender. Next to them, SMA looks… well, chubby. And shabby. No wonder she’s bitter about Thai trannies.” Dec-2010 Yes
Sperring, Kari Fic Writer hounded by Winterfox & followers on Cat Valente’s blog- vitriol leveled at her led to her taking an overdose May-2012 Yes
Sullivan, Tricia Fic Writer pressured to not submit a book set partly in Thailand; when she persisted, a reviewer was pressured to not publish a review, or to make it a negative one Oct-2012 Yes
Williams, Liz Fic Writer “rape victim accused of being a rape apologist Yes
 Percent of targets for which confirmation of attack exists from multiple sources: 83%

TABLE 1A – Additional Potential BS/RH Targets.

Other credible attacks; targets not included in rollups due to insufficient evidence
Anon, Media Fan Gamer “As one of the WOC in question, I am quite curious why her anger was justified against me for liking different books, movies, etc. than she did. We were on a more or less equal privilege footing. How was her anger (justified or not) at the world as a whole justification for calling me a worthless piece of shit for having different tastes in media?…(To be clear, and as added irony, she was defending a white epic fantasy author while bashing my preference for a particular piece of Asian media.)” May be same as Anon, Video Gamer. Links included there. Unk  No
Anon, Threatened Queer Othr/Unk “I am one of the targets of her maybe-satirical!-maybe-not! threats, and as a queer woman I do not have the luxury of just shrugging it off.”  May be same as Anon, Video Gamer. Links included there. Unk No
Anon, POC Writer “Fic Writer “pedophile rapist!”, “I know your masturbatory fantasies now” “rapey, rapey, rapey” “Are you Asian? Are you actually Asian?” Scathing anonymous Tumblr review appeared shortly after publication of his first story. No direct evidence this was BS/RH so not included in rollups. However, strong circumstantial evidence: (1) attack on Asian SFF writer; (2) insults very much in line with BS/RH rhetoric; (3) gaslighting- verbal assaults swiftly deleted. Unk No
McCalmont, Jonathan insults and mockery from some of BS/RH’s known supporters after he criticized BS/RH- sufficiently intense to cause him to close his Twitter account and issue a statement on his blog not naming BS/RH. limited public details available but indications of abuse based on his blog post Oct-14″ No

TABLE 2 BS/RH Targets Links.

Target Name Case links
Ahmed, Saladin
Anon, FanFic Writer
Anon, Fiction Editor & Writer n/a – credible email accounts with screencaps
Anon, Not Writing Fantasy
Anon, Reviews
Anon, Silenced
Anon, Video Gamer
Bacigalupi, Paolo
Bakker, R. Scott
Bishop, Anne
Brown, Rachel Manija
Gaither, Chelsea
Goldberg, Melissa
Harris, Charlaine
Jemisin, NK
Kiernan, Caitlyn
Kowal, Mary Robinette
Kress, Adrienne
Loenen-Ruiz, Rochita
Lord, Karen
Paget, Colum
Pon, Cindy
Rothfuss, Patrick credible email accounts. quotes come from failfandomwiki, here:
Sperring, Kari
Sullivan, Tricia
Williams, Liz


  1. My analysis does not rely solely on links, but also on personal accounts, with copies of forwarded emails and screencaps, provided to me confidentially by several of her targets. It is my hope that those targeted by her will be willing to step forward, but if they do not, I will keep their information confidential. Theirs should be the final decision about whether to go public with their stories.
  2. In some cases, BS/RH has deleted content within her control to do so, or may delete further content in the future. I’ve included the links anyway, as the headers provide some information. Further deleted content from her blog can be found using The Wayback Machine. Here is one useful archive of tags, which can be used for further research:*/*
  3. There are many more links available for these and other targets. I will continue to expand and make corrections to the database as time permits.


11 Nov 2014 Update:
Comments have been turned off for this post. A POC safe space has been created at Tade Thompson’s blog, Safe. I’ll note here further amendments and updates to this report.

18 Nov 2014 Update:
Since release, I have added a read-more tag, removed one target from the list, and modified language in Table 1 to reflect input from Rose Fox. Statistics have not yet been updated. A followup post is planned, with updated statistics and further amendments to this report based on targets’ recent input. It’ll be a while yet–definitely after Thanksgiving. Check back periodically.

Meanwhile, Tade Thompson has opened a safe space for non-POC people to talk, and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz has guest-posted with a place for wider discussion of how to build community, over at Tade’s Safe. I urge everyone to have a look and join in the conversation.

22 Nov 2014 Update:
We are having technical difficulties; the report links have been acting up for a significant number of users over the past couple of days, and some people can’t access the report at all. Bear with us while we troubleshoot.

10 May 2015 Update:
Here are links to my follow-up posts related to the investigative report below.



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Microbiology taking the world by Storm

The gorgeous microbiology movie that’s taken the world by storm, via Io9:

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NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA EPOXI Flyby Reveals New Insights Into Comet Features – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Scott Westerfeld In Defense of Steampunk

The recent conversation about Steampunk continues at Genre Cooties « westerblog.

Yes, the current emblematic book of steampunk is totally Dickensian, but no one pays attention to that because it’s got zombies and airships, and therefore must be a madcap lark. Because this whole conversation has been about flap copy, not actual texts.”

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Stross sounds off about Steampunk

Charlie Stross has a long essay posted on The hard edge of empire – Charlie’s Diary. He raises some of the problematic issues he feels the burgeoning Steampunk fad is skirting, and otherwise waxes a bit ranty about what he sees as recent over-exposure.

“It’s not that I actively dislike steampunk, and indeed I have fond memories of the likes of K. W. Jeter’s “Infernal Devices”, Tim Powers’ “The Anubis Gates”, the works of James Blaylock, and other features of the 1980s steampunk scene. I don’t have that much to say against the aesthetic and costumery other than, gosh, that must be rather hot and hard to perambulate in. (I will confess to being a big fan of Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius.) It’s just that there’s too damn much of it about right now, and furthermore, it’s in danger of vanishing up its own arse due to second artist effect.”

Worth a read if for no other reason than it’s part of the ongoing SFnal conversation.

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Happy Halloween!

A very happy Halloween, everyone! Have fun, stay safe.

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