I GOT DOG-PILED. WHAT DO I DO?
WHAT HAPPENS IN A DOG-PILE?
WHY DO HARASSERS DO THIS?
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
IF YOU ARE AN ARTIST WHO GOT DOG-PILED.
This is a resource page for (kink)-artists who have found themselves on the receiving end of a harassment campaign. This page uses terms and resources specifically built for this audience only, however some techniques may be more useful in protection against more general dog-pile campaigns.
All of these are subjective suggestions and may or may not all work in your situation. The writer is not a lawyer, involved with law enforcement, or a therapist, and you are responsible for your own actions, including these and beyond - the suggestion are for you to pick and depending on your comfort level.
This page is written for those who draw (sometimes erotic) artworks posted on their own private or public accounts that have a higher chance of receiving backlash, and are falsely accused of abuse (it is common for harassers to dig up false accusations). If you believe someone has committed a federal crime such as being involved in harm against real, living children, please report to the proper authorities immediately.
The writer has personally witnessed 30+ dogpiles in the last two years against artists in-real time among a loose circle of acquaintances, and have been observing what seems to work vs not. The writer is at high risk for the same, and have used most of these prevention strategies to minimize said possibility.
I (OR A FRIEND) GOT CANCELLED/DOG-PILED. WHAT DO I DO.
This is not the end of the world, no matter what your (very real) anxiety or lizard-brain is saying. It is a horrible thing that happens, and your feelings are real. Once started, these harassment campaigns are very hard to stop, but there are strategies available to blunt the impact of harm.
Above all, take time to step away from the computer, every day. Talk to a friend in-person, play with a pet, sleep, meditate, occupy yourself with a favorite off-line hobby.
This too, shall pass.
If you are a friend, respond with help in the way whoever is being harassed wants it. Do not respond to the harassers with comments, it is like agitating an ant-nest. Flag specific threats via appropriate channels (most social media platforms have a process for threat reports).
WHAT HAPPENS IN A DOG-PILE AGAINST AN ARTIST?
> content warning for detailed descriptions of dog-piles, harassment, and death threats. Skip this section and go below for specific actions to take if needed.
Critiques made in good faith and without threats are not harassment. One-off malicious comments are not a harassment campaign - these are trolls and they have existed since the dawn of the internet. Common wisdom has it that you block them if egregiously offensive, and move on.
A genuine dog-pile / harassment campaign against artists is typically started when a known harasser with followers makes a thread with screenshot, or claims, commonly called "receipts". Twitter is often the platform where these start, though it can happen on tumblr or discord as well.
Given the structure of social media sites, these posts/threads of "receipts" will quickly spread among their followers' followers. This is ground zero, and an excellent(!) list of accounts (on twitter) to quickly install block-chain and immediately block offenders. Sometimes this will blunt the spread of harassment, sometimes not.
If you are lucky, a "receipts" thread will receive a handful of views.
If you are not, these harassment campaigns can involve tens, hundreds, or at their worst, thousands of semi-anonymous accounts sending malicious comments your way. These dog-piles can (but not often) spread across to multiple sites, such as discord, twitter, and tumblr. These campaigns are often (thankfully) short-lived, with the worst happening in the first 24 to 48-hours, but can have repeated flare-ups in the months later.
Sometimes you will get death threats, either sent via retweets, comments, or Direct Messages (DM's). Make a folder on your desktop, screenshot these and dump the evidence there, if needed (sometimes in rare cases, these campaigns escalate to a level where police intervention is requested - having a documented paper trail is in your best interest). See below for specific strategies against these.
Sometimes these death threats will be explicit, or carefully written to avoid being flagged twitter's (poorly implemented) anti-harassment algorithm - for example, the acronym 'kys' replacing "kill yourself". Lately, they will be poorly photoshopped images of fictional characters holding a gun. This counts as an implied death threat.
Expect future varieties. Expect slurs. Expect false accusations.
WHY DO HARASSERS DO THIS?
Typically harassers have three goals that exist on a spectrum: shame via moral grandstanding, reaction, and capitulation.
Shaming is the knee-jerk reason why harassers do this. Some harassers are in a cult-like dynamic with their friend group that requires them to punish an outsider to increase their own standing. Some drag others through the dirt for malicious fun. Most do it out of insecurity and a fear of feeling weakness. Whatever the underlying reason, they intend on publicly tearing down another living person that they have deemed an enemy.
You cannot control this, but you can take some steps to ignore and avoid it.
Their next goal is to get a reaction out of you, the target, like a typical offline bully. Given online dynamics make it tough to effectively walk away or have them removed from your space - this often means enduring harassment campaigns that last until they (quickly) get bored, move on to a new target, or get a reaction. Playing the waiting game and letting your patience out-last their maliciousness is often the wisest move.
Their final goal is capitulation. More than just a reaction, harassers want (at best) a public statement from you retracting of whatever thought-crime "receipts" they have on you. If you have been falsely accused of abuse, sometimes this is not even an option. Often-times, these dog-piles do not stop even when the target has posted a retraction, whether true or not.
This following list are for those actively being harassed. There are many ways to react to a dog-pile campaign, but targets typically respond in two rough buckets. Both have their pros and cons, and some actions can be used regardless of category.
A - IGNORE THE HARASSMENT CAMPAIGN
B - LOCK DOWN PUBLIC ACCOUNTS (TEMPORARILY)
If you have not been dogpiled yet, but have been worried about this trend or believe yourself to be at high-risk for this harassment, there are several techniques that can be done ahead of time to lessen the impact.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Crisis Hotlines (USA)
if you have suggestions - especially as an artist who has gone through a dogpile campaign, - additional links to give, or additional comments; please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your privacy will be respected unless if you explicitly request to be credited.
if you are a kink artist currently experiencing a dog-pile and simply need someone to talk to in private, and if you trust this account, please reach out by email.
Whatever any fictional drawing you create on your own account does not excuse genuine harm sent your way from others. Please know that any harassment sent says so much more about those that wish harm on others, and not you.
you are not alone. this too, shall pass.
last updated 11/25/19.
to be expanded/edited as needed. do not repost without credit or a link back.