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Crash Override
Cover of Crash Override
Crash Override
How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate
by Zoe Quinn
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You've heard the stories about the dark side of the internet—hackers, #gamergate, anonymous mobs attacking an unlucky victim, and revenge porn—but they remain just that: stories. Surely these things would never happen to you.
Zoe Quinn used to feel the same way. She is a video game developer whose ex-boyfriend published a crazed blog post cobbled together from private information, half-truths, and outright fictions, along with a rallying cry to the online hordes to go after her. They answered in the form of a so-called movement known as #gamergate—they hacked her accounts; stole nude photos of her; harassed her family, friends, and colleagues; and threatened to rape and murder her. But instead of shrinking into silence as the online mobs wanted her to, she raised her voice and spoke out against this vicious online culture and for making the internet a safer place for everyone.
In the years since #gamergate, Quinn has helped thousands of people with her advocacy and online-abuse crisis resource Crash Override Network. From locking down victims' personal accounts to working with tech companies and lawmakers to inform policy, she has firsthand knowledge about every angle of online abuse, what powerful institutions are (and aren't) doing about it, and how we can protect our digital spaces and selves.
Crash Override offers an up-close look inside the controversy, threats, and social and cultural battles that started in the far corners of the internet and have since permeated our online lives. Through her story—as target and as activist—Quinn provides a human look at the ways the internet impacts our lives and culture, along with practical advice for keeping yourself and others safe online.
You've heard the stories about the dark side of the internet—hackers, #gamergate, anonymous mobs attacking an unlucky victim, and revenge porn—but they remain just that: stories. Surely these things would never happen to you.
Zoe Quinn used to feel the same way. She is a video game developer whose ex-boyfriend published a crazed blog post cobbled together from private information, half-truths, and outright fictions, along with a rallying cry to the online hordes to go after her. They answered in the form of a so-called movement known as #gamergate—they hacked her accounts; stole nude photos of her; harassed her family, friends, and colleagues; and threatened to rape and murder her. But instead of shrinking into silence as the online mobs wanted her to, she raised her voice and spoke out against this vicious online culture and for making the internet a safer place for everyone.
In the years since #gamergate, Quinn has helped thousands of people with her advocacy and online-abuse crisis resource Crash Override Network. From locking down victims' personal accounts to working with tech companies and lawmakers to inform policy, she has firsthand knowledge about every angle of online abuse, what powerful institutions are (and aren't) doing about it, and how we can protect our digital spaces and selves.
Crash Override offers an up-close look inside the controversy, threats, and social and cultural battles that started in the far corners of the internet and have since permeated our online lives. Through her story—as target and as activist—Quinn provides a human look at the ways the internet impacts our lives and culture, along with practical advice for keeping yourself and others safe online.
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About the Author-
  • Zoe Quinn is one of the most critically acclaimed, widely recognized indie developers in the gaming industry. Her advocacy for victims of online abuse has received support from President Barack Obama, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, and former president Jimmy Carter. She has testified about online abuse at the United Nations, and the issue continues to make headlines, from features in tech publications to national op-eds about political discourse online. Quinn's most famous game, Depression Quest, has been played by over 2 million people. Prior to the #Gamergate explosion, Quinn's work was covered favorably in such outlets as Forbes, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, Kotaku, Paste, and GiantBomb. Since August 2014, even more mainstream media have taken note, including MSNBC, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vice, Playboy, BusinessWeek, and BoingBoing, and the UK's BBC, Guardian, and Telegraph. Fast Company recently named her the seventeenth Most Creative Person in Business for her work with Crash Override, and she appeared on Forbes' 30 under 30 list.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 24, 2017
    In 2014, indie game developer Quinn became the target of death threats, hate mail, and other online abuse after an internet vendetta devised by her abusive ex-boyfriend spiraled into a harassment campaign that came to be known as Gamergate, in which several women in the video game industry become the targets of largescale, coordinated online abuse. Quinn uses her personal experiences to advocate practical steps toward creating a safe and open internet culture. She rejects tired advice such as “don’t feed the trolls” and “just go offline,” instead advising social media users to secure passwords and to keep active records of any incidents of abuse and contact law enforcement. She calls on readers to resist the temptation toward vigilante justice. Instead of using the same tactics as the internet trolls, which just feeds the online outrage culture, Quinn encourages readers to focus their efforts on restorative justice by seeking out perspectives of people—particularly voices of trans women and women of color who are often targets of online abuse. For Quinn, winning the “cultural battle for the web” starts with reframing the issue as not a matter of good vs. bad people fueling hate culture on the internet, but rather “acceptable and unacceptable ways to treat each other.” It’s a remarkably clear-eyed view that’s all the more powerful in light of Quinn’s backstory.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2017
    A video game developer tells how she became an outspoken advocate for victims of online abuse.In August 2014, the life Quinn had built after "clawing my way out of poverty, homelessness, isolation, and mental illness" changed forever. An abusive ex-lover had decided to take revenge by posting hateful messages about her on video game forums. One post included a link to a 9,000-word "manifesto" that claimed Quinn had slept with video game evaluators to receive favorable reviews. A few months later, she found herself at the center of a cultural storm that came to be known as GamerGate. Hackers sympathetic to her ex hounded Quinn's past associates. Online, they posted nude photos and "discussions about how to drive me to suicide and the merits of raping me versus torturing me first and raping me afterwards." The author began keeping her whereabouts secret because she felt as unsafe in her virtual life as she did in her real one. Refusing to be cowed into silence, she attempted to seek justice only to find that the "legal system [was] ill-equipped to handle the idea that anything real happens on the internet. In response, she founded an online abuse crisis hotline and victims' advocacy group, which she named Crash Override Network. Quinn's book is strongest in the detailed information she provides about the many--mostly underdiscussed--legal and corporate bottlenecks she encountered as both a victim and investigator of malicious cyberattacks. One especially disturbing observation she makes is that typical victims come from sexually and racially marginalized groups that law enforcement "[has] a history of mistreating." Her story, which mingles details from her personal and professional lives along with hard-won tips for online safety, sometimes comes across as scattered. Nevertheless, the narrative is still a worthwhile read for anyone interested in taking action against the realities--and devastating effects--of extreme internet trolling. Not without flaws but an informative and inspiring book.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 15, 2017

    Part memoir, part social movement manifesto, this engrossing journey by game designer Quinn takes readers into the darkest realms of social media and the Internet. First, Quinn recounts her personal experience as the original target of the online harassment campaign known as Gamergate. She then provides practical advice for both preventing and responding to online attacks, an insider's view gained from her lived experiences and from assisting others via Crash Override, her online abuse crisis resource network. This book is a shocking account of the extent of online hate in some corners of the Internet, and the disastrous effects that online harassment can have on the target's personal and professional life. It also provides a distressing overview of how quickly the negativity can spread via social media to supporters, colleagues, family and friends. Quinn's story provides useful lessons for all social media users and offers a window into broader sociological issues related to gender, inclusion, and regulation of online communication. VERDICT An important purchase that will interest social media users and enlighten them about the extent of online hate in some social platforms and the limits on personal and social protections available in society today.--William Varick, Plain City, OH

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Crash Override
Crash Override
How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate
Zoe Quinn
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