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    What is doxxing in RPGs?

    Doxxing (also spelled “doxing”) is the malicious act of collecting and publishing private or identifying information about an individual on the internet without their permission.

    The term “doxxing” comes from a combination of the words “dropping” and “documents.”

    Personal information can include:

    • real names,
    • street addresses,
    • phone numbers,
    • email addresses,
    • photos,
    • bank account info,
    • SSNs,
    • logs of private conversations, and
    • other personal data.

    The intent of revealing this information is often to intimidate, harass, shame, or exact revenge on the person being doxxed.

    In the context of text-based gaming, doxxing can occur when personal conflicts or in-game rivalries escalate beyond the virtual world.

    Historically, doxxing originated from hacker cultures and online communities as a form of retaliation or control.

    Initially, it was more associated with the revealing of hackers’ identities by their rivals. It has since evolved into a tool used in various online spaces, including gaming communities, to target and harass individuals.

    Doxxing FAQs

    How does doxxing affect individuals in online gaming communities?

    Doxxing in online gaming communities can lead to severe consequences, including mental distress, harassment, and real-world threats. Victims may feel unsafe and be forced to withdraw from online spaces, impacting their social life and mental health.

    Can doxxing be considered a crime?

    In many jurisdictions, doxxing can be considered a crime, especially if it leads to harassment, threats, or other forms of intimidation. The legal consequences vary by region and the specifics of the incident.

    How can someone protect themselves against doxxing?

    Protecting oneself against doxxing involves maintaining online privacy by limiting the amount of personal information shared online, using pseudonyms, and securing social media profiles. Regularly reviewing privacy settings and being cautious about who has access to personal data are crucial steps.

    See also: Data Privacy Week: tips for safer gaming.

    What should someone do if they are a victim of doxxing?

    If someone is a victim of doxxing, the recommended course of action is to document all evidence, report the incident to the relevant online platforms and local authorities, and seek support from friends, family, or professional services.

    It’s also advisable to change any compromised information and enhance personal security measures.

    How can online communities combat doxxing?

    Online communities can combat doxxing by educating people about the risks of sharing personal information, promoting a culture of respect and privacy, and providing clear reporting mechanisms for doxxing incidents.

    Moderators should take swift action against offenders and enact bans as necessary.

    Myths about doxxing

    One common myth about doxxing is that it is only a problem for public figures or celebrities. In reality, anyone can become a victim of doxxing, regardless of their online presence or public status.

    Another misconception is that doxxing is a harmless prank; in truth, it can have devastating effects on individuals’ lives.

    Lastly, there is a belief that once information is online, doxxing cannot be considered harmful. However, the unauthorized release and dissemination of personal information can lead to significant distress and danger.

    For example, swatting is known to be particularly dangerous for the person being swatted, as well as anyone else who might be present at the time.

    Doxxing examples

    • A player in an online game becomes angry with another player and posts their real name, address, and phone number in a public chatroom.
    • An individual has a disagreement in a competitive first-person shooter (FPS), leading an opponent to reveal their private email and workplace information.
    • Personal details of a roleplayer are shared anonymously in a forum without their consent as a form of revenge for in-game actions.

    See also: Toxic gaming communities and how to avoid them.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."