Dear science writers,

Stop enabling evil. The men targeting Katie Bouman, who was a team lead on the Event Horizon Telescope project that produced that image of the black hole at the center of M87, are not "trolls". Trolls want to get a rise out of people. These men are not just trying to get a rise out of her or anyone else.

They are misogynists. They hate women and can't stand the idea of a woman being successful in science.

Call them what they are.


@noelle Would you mind if I screenshot and shared this on Twitter? A few tech/science writers follow me there, I might be able to get it some attention.

At this point I don't even know what trolls are supposed to be. Paid government propagandists? Bully teenagers having fun at the expense of others? Red hatters? Red pillers?

The term has been redefined so much that it could mean anything now.

@rick_777 I tend to favor the original Usenet definition, which combines the "dim-witted and mean-spirited" of the Scandinavian mythical creature with the "dragging bait through the water and seeing what bites" of the fishing technique.

@noelle @rick_777 I have the same problem.
Sure, not all misogynists are trolls, but are there trolls who are not misogynists?
(Or act as if they were misogynists to "get a rise", which is the same thing as far as I am concerned.)

@kirby @noelle @rick_777 at least trolls can be defeated with Sun light

these men are, fully identified, out in the open, spewing their hate, or just eating time and energy by "posing a question"

questions no one would ask of "Karl", but we have to answer them for "Katie".

@noelle @rick_777 If you want to understand the change

Phillips, W. (2015). This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

is a great resource. It maps the change from a subculture to mainstream culture over time.

tl;dr: the definition by @noelle is good, calling the others by their specific activity is more useful and informative.

@noelle I didn't know she was getting shit on, but it's 2019, of fucking course she is.

@noelle I haven't seen any hate for Katie ( and I don't want any pointed out to me either).
That one photo! I was *so* happy for her. Not even 30 and she did oversee that and wrote the algo for stitching it all together! Marvelous! :-)
Just ignore attention-seeking assholes. Don't give them what they want.

@gemlog @noelle Trust me, ignoring attention-seeking assholes doesn't work. They'll only get louder. Until they're faced with actual consequences for their actions, they won't stop.

@KitsuneAlicia @noelle I haven't used fb or twit, so I only know mastodon and regard it as my own little community of nice people.
If someone UN-nice intrudes, I simply, mute, block or filter them and they simply cease to exist. If there's a whole club of them I hide their entire instance.
You might choose to fight against their tyranny though:
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
-- Mahatma Gandhi

@noelle it's also a symptom of how we "other" bad behaviour -- trolls are just some outside entity that we cant control, vs they're misogynist, and they're us. The same thing happens with racism - racists arent just some other people who you go and label "racist", they're all of us (white people). etc with other systematic bigotry.

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