GGAutoBlocker

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GGAutoBlocker
GGAutoblockerPNG300x200.png

Type Twitter Blocking Script
Owner Randi Harper
Status Active

GGautoblocker short for GooberGabber autoblocker (later changed to Good Game autoblocker) is a brute-force Twitter datamining script written by Randi Harper on November 04, 2014.[1]. Its main purpose is to block any accounts following prominent users who have campaigned against media corruption. The simplistic algorithm led to thousands of false positives. This made it subject of heavy criticism from journalists, developers, and neutrals who were labelled as harassers by their inclusion.

Coding language and structure

Overview

The author claims "the project is written in perl [sic] and C,[2] although the version hosted on Github only has Perl and Bash code. The documentation claims poor performance when processing some Twitter accounts, stating Twitter's "API limits" as reason,[3] although a more likely culprit is the language choice.[4]

Structure and in-depth analysis

In the words of Randi Harper:

Takes a list of the 5 major idiots of GG, looks at their follower lists. Generates a list of sheeple following more than one account, as well as a list of your followers that might be questionable. This does not rank users. It doesn't look at bios, it doesn't look at hashtags. But GamerGate appears to be completely useless at figuring out github when it's not just a wiki explaining how to be shitheads, so they'll probably never read this README and figure that part out.


Screencap of early code calling users idiots, sheeples and stalkers. Source.
Infograph containing screencaps of an appeal which was rejected for "sea lioning" and "victim blaming".

As mentioned above, this script doesn't search tweets, bios or any kind of information that could help define the user as a troll/harasser. Instead it bases who is blocked and who isn't by the people they follow.

The script extracts the names of vocal #Gamergate twitter users listed in "blacklist.txt" and saves them to list variable "@idiots", then extracts their followers, saving them to list variable "@sheeples". After that the script checks if the users follow more than one person from "@idiots" . If true, they're added to list of users to block. The script also searches for blacklisted users in the consumer's follower list, and those that are found are saved to list variable "@stalker".

When GGautoblocker went under flak, not only by it's poor coding but also by the way it used insulting variable names to talk about "pro-Gamergate". Randy changed the name from "GooberGabber autoblocker" to "Good Game Autoblocker" together with many variable's names.[5] Harper explained the rename in the her commit message.[6]


For the love of all that is holy. GamerGate is completely incapable of any kind of critical thought, and it appears I've got to hold their hands and wipe their asses. For fuck's sake.

This is not creating a "blacklist" to keep people out of the industry, you unemployed neckbeard (if you could grow a beard) cockwaffles. It is creating a "blocklist" so normal people don't have to listen to your incoherent looneybin conspiracy theories peppered by whatever's on your political word-of-the-day calendar.

It's hilarious that you're pretending to be anime characters on IRC/reddit/8chan while somehow loathing women that kick ass and have anime hair irl. I really don't know how you consolidate that one in the barren pit of a wasteland you call a brain, but I'm sure Mr. TotalBallsack can help you with it. I hear he's got an IQ of 155. He's all class and ready to lead you lemmings off a cliff. More power to him. You are the army that no one wants but he deserves.

You can't sue anyone from a list that's generated off Twitter's API. I wish you could. I really hope you try, because it would make my *year* if I got served for the case "'HotDog Gamer Goblin' v Randi Harper". Please. I am begging you. No? Bueller? Anyone?

Literally go fuck yourselves.

- LiterallyBlue.

False positives and whitelist

The underlying algorithm is based on the fallacious[7] proposition that everyone who subscribes to two Twitter accounts is a harasser. Due to the large pool of false positives flagged by this program, Randi has included a "whitelist" of accounts which are explicitly removed from the list. To be added to this whitelist, the owner of a flagged account "must include their twitter username and why they require a white-list" in the publicly visible "ggautoblocker appeals" group. The moderators of this group will then comb through the history of the appealing user "to verify there is no "sea lioning" or harassment of other users".[8] While knife-wielding trolls[9] have been fast-tracked for "hating gamergate"[10], along with prominent harassers being added to the whitelist[11] cheapens harassment to encompass such buzzwords as "erasure" when denying pro-GamerGate applicants[12]. It is also not uncommon for applicants to be insulted and belittled during the procedure[13][14].

The simplistic nature of this code placed many uninvolved parties such as rapper "Lil B" and Kentucky Fried Chicken on the receiving end of the blocklist.[15]

This caused several individuals and organizations who were neutral or even unknowledgeable about #GamerGate to become involved:

Use by Organizations

Despite its flawed coding and massive quantities of false positives, multiple organizations adopted and promoted the blocklist.

IGDA

On November 19, IGDA launched their "Online Harassment Resource" section, in it included the GGautoblocker as a tool, describing it as: "A Twitter tool to block some of the worst offenders in the recent wave of harassment"[24] without knowing that IGDA_PuertoRico's Chairman, Roberto Rosario was included in it.[25].

Randi's response to Roberto Rosario's tweet was:

If the Puerto Rico chairman of IGDF didn't want to be on the blocklist, he probably shouldn't have followed known harassers of women.
— Randi Harper.[26]

Guilt by association wasn't enough to justify Rosario's inclusion on the Blocklist and IGDA removed the blocklist from their tools while denying any participation in the elaboration of the script.[27] This statement was contradicted by Diona Prior[28] creator of IGDA Community manager SIG,[29] spokesperson in the IGDA Summit and affiliated with the IGDA wing WIG(Women in Gaming)[30] who claimed IGDA_WIG participated on the elaboration of the blocklist on Randi Harper's facebook page.[31]

Despite this, IGDA didn't claim responsability for any person being blocked due to their promotion and suggested developers blocked by GGautoblocker to deal with its creator if they wanted to solve this problem.[32]

Raspberry Pi

On October 15, 2014, Raspberry Pi became vocal on its disapproval of the consumer revolt, implying it drives women away from the Tech industry. Later that day, they confirmed their stance by stating they were not misinformed.

We want to encourage girls in this industry. Being horrified by #GamerGate does not “taint” us as one follower suggested and if, as another suggested, we “alienate people” - well, they’re ppl we weren’t too keen on having in our community in the first place.
— Raspberry Pi.[33][34]
Let us be clear, you few loud angry folks. We're not under/misinformed or blinkered: we think you’re WRONG. End of. #StopGamerGate2014
— Raspberry Pi.[35]

On November 25, it was confirmed by Roberto Rosario that Raspberry Pi's twitter account was using the GGautoblocker.[36].

Raspberry pi's forum moderator explaining the deletion of the thread as off-topic. Source.

That same day, "spacemidget", a frequent client of Raspberry Pi, created a thread asking for the removal of the blocklist from their official account. The thread was tagged as off-topic and deleted despite addressing a Raspberry Pi related topic.[37]

On December 11, 2014, Raspberry Pi stopped using the blocklist; the reasons of this are unknown since, to this date, the organization hasn't given an official statement regarding the use or disuse of GGautoblocker.[38]

Media Coverage

Newsweek praised the blocklist after mentioning how Harper was willing to block 9,000 users (including Roberto Rosario) just so she doesn’t have to hear from a vocal few hundred.[39] The Mary Sue recognized the blocklist technically breaks the "no mass unfollowing" stipulation in Twitter's TOS and assumed the blocked people are conflictive, excluding Roberto Rosario, as an excuse to ignore their complaints.[40] and The Globe and Mail mentioned it as a tool to block people tweeting about #Gamergate and reinforced the narrative that #Gamergate is a harassment movement while stating the world isn't safe for women.[41]

Milo Yiannopoulos reported on how he and multiple personalities and organizations unrelated to #Gamergate were added to the blocklist which was promoted by IGDA who later removed it from their "anti-harassment" tools.[42]

Responses

  • Matt Schnee suggested that the GGAutoBlocker list should turn into an employment blacklist[43] , similar to a credit report or criminal background check.
  • Boogie2988 expressed frustration at the blocklist, having attempted to do research and having been following Kotaku, Feminist Frequency, Adam Baldwin, and MundaneMatt only to be put onto the blocklist. [44]
  • TotalBiscuit expressed contempt of IDGA for endorsing the blocklist as well as its ineffectiveness, high false positive, and its 'guilt by association', and noted that IDGA's Puerto Rico division was on the blocklist itself. [45]
  • Multiple developers of games have expressed their contempt for said blocklist, arguing its ineffectivness at targeting actual harassers, large false positive rate, and the insouciant attitude of its creator when given said criticism. [46]
  • Chris von Csefalvay, a data scientist commented about the proportions of those who harass and that the vast majority of Pro-GamerGaters did nothing to be put on said blocklist. He also criticized the sloppy code and the portions which said 'sheeple' and 'idiots' when referring to those who had been blocked, as well as the 'guilt by association' aspect of the blocklist. [47]


See Also

Randi Harper


Operation Earthquake

References

  1. Github.com - ggautoblocker(Nov 04 Archive)
  2. randi.io - Main Page
  3. Github - GGAutoBlocker Github
  4. Practical mod_perl - Comparing Runtime Performance of Perl and C
  5. GitHub.com - ggautoblocker(Nov 04 Archive)
  6. GitHub.com - [1]
  7. Your Dictionary - Examples of Guilt by Association
  8. GGautoblocker appeals group - GGautoblocker appeals group (archive)
  9. http://wiki.gamergate.me/index.php?title=File:Clipboard02.jpg
  10. https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/f0c635c999629625aebe9d384523e60ca8d1a49b
  11. https://archive.is/376wz
  12. https://archive.today/Ozw4B#selection-2636.0-2661.188
  13. https://archive.today/aFq2Z#selection-1323.0-1323.83
  14. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ggautoblocker-appeals/Ft2ZDygpe1Q
  15. Brietbart London - Game Developers’ Association Calls 10,000 Tweeters ‘Harassers’-Including Kentucky Fried Chicken
  16. Twitter.com - @Elissabeth:"While you're keeping track, I'm on the list and I'm publishing a feminist anthology. Not a nice girl tho so ..."
  17. Twitter.com -@GREATBLACKOTAKU:"did I speak ill of their waifu or something?"
  18. Twitter.com -@APGNation:".@IGDA_ED Hi Kate, please email us your company's legal department contact information. Thank You. pr@apgnation.com"
  19. Twitter.com -@Adland:"Hi @IGDA_ED @IGDA, good call. We're an ad trade pub, and we were on it. An apology for promoting a list full of false positives is in order."
  20. Twitter.com -@MikeBaggz:"I'm a gamer, been one since I could talk, and for them to blacklist me is disrespectful, Before today I didn't know what #GamerGate was. 👈"
  21. Twitter.com -@theaduskin:"I am apparently on the block list of worst harassers. What a joke. My support is now totally official #GamerGate"
  22. Twitter.com -@spookyfishgames:"never made a single tweet/mention of #gamergate but somehow I'm on a #blocklist, because of who I follow!! How the fuck does that work??"
  23. Twitter.com -@ZenityGames:"Same here and I'm not even GG (nor blocked, after CHS was removed from the seeds). But knowing that IGDA does not have my back.."
  24. IGDA.org -IGDA Online Harassment Resource
  25. Twitter.com -@Siloraptor:"I'm chairman of @IGDA_PuertoRico and have been tagged as a harasser by the @IGDA itself for using #GamerGate hashtag "
  26. Twitter.com - @freebsdgirl:"If the Puerto Rico chairman of IGDF didn't want to be on the blocklist, he probably shouldn't have followed known harassers of women."
  27. Twitter.com - @IGDA_ED:"Read the disclaimer: *not* the @IGDA's tool or list. But like people, tools are imperfect; we've removed it for now. "
  28. Linkedin.com - Donna Prior's Linkedin(Archive)
  29. IGDA.org - SIGs: Community Management
  30. Twitter.com - @IGDA_WIGSIG
  31. Facebook.com - Randi Harper:"Someone's mad.ggautoblocker is now listed on IGDA as an anti-harassment resource."
  32. Reddit.com -r/KotakuInAction:"email received from igda"
  33. twitter.com -@Raspberry_Pi:"We want to encourage girls in this industry. Being horrified by #GamerGate does not “taint” us as one follower suggested (cont…)"
  34. Twitter.com -@Raspberry_Pi:"…and if, as another suggested, we “alienate people” - well, they’re ppl we weren’t too keen on having in our community in the first place."
  35. Twitter.com -@Raspberri_pi:"Let us be clear, you few loud angry folks. We're not under/misinformed or blinkered: we think you’re WRONG. End of. #StopGamerGate2014"
  36. Twitter.com -Siloraptor:"Congratulations @Raspberry_Pi you just turned a block list into a black list #gamergate #notyourshield"
  37. SpaceMidget.wordpress.com -Raspberry Pi use scattershot blocklist and put hands over their ears
  38. Reddit.com - r/KotakuInAction:"Raspberry Pi stopped using Blocklist? Any official word?"
  39. Newsweek.com -One Woman’s New Tool to Stop Gamergate Harassment on Twitter
  40. Themarysue.com -Some Twitter Users Are Mad About Gamergate Block Bots. Too Bad We Can’t Hear Them
  41. globeandmail
  42. Breitbart.com - Game Developers’ Association Calls 10,000 Tweeters ‘Harassers’-Including Kentucky Fried Chicken
  43. https://archive.today/TNHrl
  44. https://i.imgur.com/OQmxiNY.jpg
  45. https://soundcloud.com/totalbiscuit/the-igda-is-doing-what-now
  46. http://techraptor.net/content/developers-react-igda-controversy
  47. http://chrisvoncsefalvay.com/2015/01/16/a-footnote-on-gamergate.html