Posted in GamerGate, Media

Contextualizing the Crash Override Network logs

Following the release of fifteen days of chat logs of Crash Override Network, I believe some context for those could be helpful. The logs themselves have been covered in a followup.

It should be noted that the information here, long as this post is, might not be exhaustive. This post has been updated a few times since it was published, and a list of edits is at the bottom.

What is Crash Override Network?

  • CON self-describes as a “crisis helpline, advocacy group and resource center for people who are experiencing online abuse”.
  • CON has been founded and is headed by media darling Zoe Quinn and her partner Alex Lifschitz. Its staff “a network of experts and survivors”, whose identities are kept anonymous.
  • CON is fiscally sponsored by Feminist Frequency, with donations made on CON’s website going directly through Feminist Frequency.
  • According to CON’s website, they’re actively searching for partners but are not hiring individuals—people wishing to help CON are instead encouraged to complete surveys, publicize CON, or donate.

What makes CON relevant?

  • CON is a Twitter trusted resource for dealing with offensive content. It was promoted by Twitter’s @safety account.
  • CON was listed as an harassment-preventing resource by the IGDA very quickly.
  • CON launch has received an overwhelming amount of media coverage, including large outlets like BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Verge, Ars Technica.
  • CON has been accused of being ineffectual, and even a fraud. Individual members of CON’s staff have demonstrably been engaging in abuse themselves.
  • Quinn is very relevant on her own, given that she has received a colossal amount of media coverage (landing all the way to mainstream media stations), mostly covering her claims to be a victim of harassment. She has talked about her harassment in a US congressional hearing and even at the United Nations, and seemingly was at a point in talks with Sony for a now-cancelled movie deal based on her upcoming book.
  • Chat logs detailing the foundation of CON have been recently leaked. These logs feature Quinn, Lifschitz and a series of figures apparently part of CON’s staff, and show these people engaging in very questionable practices for an anti-abuse group.

What accusations has CON received, before the leaks?

Has CON head Zoe Quinn been engaging in harassment?

The media depiction of Quinn shows her as a victim of harassment—with several journalists having been caught promoting Quinn while having personal or financial ties to her, as noted below—but she has quite often been accused of abusive behavior, even in cases where media depicted her as the victim.

Has Quinn been involved in scams?

Have journalists written about Quinn without disclosing a relationship with her?

Yes, at least fifteen times. I had to cover that in a separate article.

In short, six cases of journalists who have been covering Quinn while in an apparent conflict of interest had been known for years. While making research for these posts, I found nine more instances, even with a fairly superficial investigation.

History of relevant edits

  • 1/10/16: Added link to the second part, modified section about Todd, added info about Quinn’s UN and Congress speeches and alleged movie deal. Removed section about CON members being known harassers, which was moved to the other article.
  • 14/9/16: Added Have journalists written about Quinn without disclosing a relationship with her? section and information on Andrew Todd.
  • 27/8/16: Added Has Quinn been involved in scams? section.
  • 28/8/16: Added bullet points about Candace Owen, Brad Wardell on Quinn’s harassment session.

3 thoughts on “Contextualizing the Crash Override Network logs

  1. Hi my name is Chelsea V and I just want to say I know firs… Third hand that none of this information is true. Also there is no such thing as a Zoey Quinn from MA. She’s an internet myth made up by GG!


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