thanks, ken!


What is AbuseOnline?

AbuseOnline is a community response to a growing problem in Information Technology– particularly within the Free Software and Open Source Systems communities (F/OSS).

AO works to identify and disrupt malicious actors and their campaigns. Outside of campaign operations, this is primarily done by listing out those actors, with captured instances of the problematic behaviour AO exists to address, provided as a public service.

What behaviours end up here?

Mainly Defamatory Behaviours

AO mainly documents serial defamation patterns and ritual defamation events, particularly where driven by community leaders or well-known community figures.

These publications do include actors that either attempted to retaliate against reporters, or took actions to obscure the behaviour’s visibility or apparentness.

Coercive Narratives, Secondary Actors, Technical Exceptions

This includes secondary actors:

As definitions can be legally problematic, we expand our content scope to include malicious actors abusing public sentiment, or recurring patterns of behaviours that either diminish the reputations of others or use the same as a method for influencing public opinion.

This includes secondary actors in defamatory actions, as well as statements wordsmithed to avoid the technical definition of defamation, but result in the same effect.

Notably, sometimes serial defamers will pile on with defamatory actions during otherwise legitimate campaigns, and these scenarios are prime for identifying this type of actor, as they generally tend to repeat the behaviour in other campaigns with less merit.

What is defamation?

Simple defamation is a fairly well known act, understood by most adults in modern society. Defamation is the deliberate (and sometimes accidental) destruction or attempted destruction of the reputation, status, character, or standing in the community of a person or group of persons by unfair, wrongful, or malicious speech or publication. In short, it’s a lie about someone.

What is ritual defamation?

Well, for starters, it’s not in any way religious or “ritualistic” in the sense you might be thinking.

Seemingly coined by Laird Wilcox in 1990, while not a new concept, what is not commonly known about by most adults is an activity called ritual defamation. Ritual defamation is similar in that it involves reputation and character attacks, but is a behaviour often (but not always) involving groups of defamers orchestrating in a systematic or socialized manner, and is usually in retaliation for violating some group norm or principle or to benefit the core driver or source of the primary defamatory statements. It is a more socialized version of defamation that seeks to systematically weaponize defamation for political or social aims.

LBGTQ and minorities are targeted by this type of behaviour far more than larger population segments, and it is almost always performed as a series (it is almost always a recurring behaviour by the driving actors). It is sometimes politically motivated, and it almost always involves a mob, or the stirring of a mob. A norm need not be violated, sometimes simply possessing information that would challenge the leadership or status quo of a subculture, or something as simple as narcissistic injury can supply ample motivation for ritual defamation.

Often times, bits of real events are woven into material created to ritually defame a target to create the illusion of credibility for the defamatory material.

More often than not, ritual defamation leads to subsequent defamation in other communities as information is not constrained to a single population segment by its nature, and the dynamics of defamation campaigns (“smear campaigns”) tend to stir at a sense of justice in secondary actors.

More details about the structure and dynamics of smear campaigns and their lasting consequences can be found at:

Given that people that would be drawn to this site would understandably challenge any definitions asserted here, it is encouraged that the reader check public search engines for the term to find more academic publications about this concept.

What is serial defamation?

Serial defamation is simple or ritual defamation that occurs in a series, or habitually.

Where can I learn more about these concepts?

Some selected reading is listed here:

How can I contribute?

Suggestions and submissions can be sent through one of AO’s partners, SILO GROUP, at

While anonymity is provided (when requested by you) within the maximum extent of the law, it is requested that you use discretion in any reports that you submit, so as not to inadvertently engage in defamation yourself in a heated moment.

If you feel that you could be targeted with legal action for the submission of your report, it is requested that you use a burner email account. If you choose to use a burner email account, you will want to ensure that you can receive emails back, as AO will always ask you followups to try to verify your report. Not all reports submitted are published - sometimes for legal reasons we simply cannot publish your report, and any report that cannot be verified or has not been submitted elsewhere simply cannot be published in order to maintain the credibility of the database. The publishability of a report is determined exclusively by AO.

In some cases, select content of the defamation is redacted to avoid identifying details that could expose the reporter to retaliation. While we do gather proof for validation of all reports, we do not necessarily publish that proof; this is in order to protect the innocent.

Be sure to read the guidelines for how to submit a report before sending it in.

Where’s the database?

This is a brand new service, and it does not have a great deal of funding allocated to it, yet, so, development and content maturation is slow.