Online Harassment Field Manual

August 30, 2018

In April 2018, Pen America released its Online Harassment Field Manual, a first-of-its-kind resource to equip and empower writers, journalists, and all who are active online with practical tools and tactics to defend against hateful speech and trolling. The Manual was the result of extensive research and interviews with over 250 writers who had experienced online harassment.

Online harassment is a growing problem and a significant threat to the free expression of writers everywhere. All writers are at risk, but writers from marginalized communities and those speaking out on injustice and social exclusion often face more egregious forms of online hate.

Cover of the Online Harassment Field ManualHighlights of the Manual include:

  • First-hand accounts of online harassment and their aftermath
  • Guides for enhancing cyber security and preventing doxing
  • An online harassment glossary with proposed responses
  • How to leverage online writing communities to combat online harassment
  • Tips for combating hate speech with counterspeech
  • Guidelines for allies and witnesses interested in intervening in online harassment
  • Best practices for employers of writers and journalists to improve institutional support during episodes of online abuse
  • Information about online harassment and the law

In the words of Pen America: “The Field Manual offers a one-stop bank of advice, guidance, and resources on cyber-stalking, doxing, hate speech, and other forms of digital vitriol, intended to fortify writers and journalists with the best available methods and means to protect themselves and secure their own freedom to write.”  

Dr. Chloe Schwenke, Interim Executive Director of AWP says, “This important and comprehensive resource may prove to be the ‘must-have’ for all writers and publishers of online content. It not only gives you practical steps to prevent and deal with online harassment, but it lets you know you are not alone. Freedom of speech and expression is among our most precious resource as writers. Combating hate and harassment is a first step to conserving our freedom to speak and speak out—in other words, to pursue our calling as writers and poets.”

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