Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn has set-up a help site, which aims to support those who have received online abuse in light of recent attacks on developers in the games industry.
Calling itself Crash Override, the group is said to be aiming to both help prevent online attacks, as well as provide support and encouragement if an issue does arise.
Quinn herself became the target of a barrage of harassment after details of her private life were posted online by an ex-boyfriend. Allegations that she had slept with a journalist in order to receive positive critique of her game were proven to be false, but she still found herself the target of months of online abuse. Back in October, Quinn told the BBC that she was keeping a file which contained the names of every woman who has claimed that they left the games industry due to the level of abuse that they found put upon them and that while she had seen women receive abuse online before, nothing quite reached the level of abuse that had been reached over the past few months. It’s these feelings which prompted her to create Crash Override.
Caroline Criado-Perez, a journalist and broadcaster and herself a victim of online abuse said she would have “loved” such a platform when she was experiencing difficulties. “I am grateful to her on behalf of women who are going to go through this and who cannot protect themselves,” she said. “A lot of people are not internet-savvy, but their abusers are.”
Journalist Andrew Todd also spoke of the guidance he had found within Crash Override, after watching message boards and seeing people discuss how best to ruin his life, after he published an article that was critical of the Gamergate “movement”. He told the BBC that: “It’s a very violating thing having your whole identity get pored over” and that Quinn’s site had advised him in regards to securing his online accounts, to informing the police in instances where he felt threatened and gave him tips on how to try and prevent any further attacks, as well as emotional support.
Crash Override isn’t seeking any funding, but did acknowledge that limited resources would limit their capabilities. Crash Override provides a free service to anyone who fears becoming a victim of an online attack from either an individual or a mob – in particular, those seeking to “dox” them, or release their most personal details online, Quinn said.