Last week, an article Tuthmosis wrote for ROK called “5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder” went viral. And by viral, I mean that it was the most shared article to ever come out of the manosphere in its short history, receiving nearly 1.5 million page views in five days. In spite of recently upgrading the ROK server, it simply couldn’t handle thousands of people trying to access the site at the same time. Thanks to help from the community, I was able to implement a triage solution that—at its peak—was able to serve 3,500 people simultaneously.
It’s hard to imagine the anger generated by Tuthmosis if you weren’t in the thick of it. The article’s real-time feed on Twitter was constant in calling for its removal, and I can only imagine the discussions taking place on Facebook where we received 100x the traffic. Over five change.org petitions were started against ROK (one received around 12,000 signatures). Two girls cried on Youtube. Pretty girls—not dumpy feminists—shared their outrage. We were bashed on Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Daily Mail, among others. I saw many tweets to Anonymous, begging them to take us down, in addition to the obligatory death threats and calls for our castration.
As of this writing, ROK is still online and still serving Tuthmosis’ article, which I must again stress has generated more rage than anything I’ve ever seen. The question I would like to ask you is this: how were we able to withstand such overwhelming criticism and calls for our vaporization? Why is the site still online? Because me and the rest of the ROK team refused to back down. In spite of the extraordinary mob effort, we stood together in defense of that article. Absorbing the blows for a few tense days is all it took. Nothing more.
I’ve already mentally prepared for likely worst case scenarios from mob activity:
1. Our host shuts us down. That’s okay, because our site would come back online after a few days. There are many hosts out there who would accept our patronage.
2. We get DDOS’ed. That’s okay, because after a few days, the attackers would get bored and the site would come back online. This actually happened before with a Portland article we published where we were intermittently down for half a day.
3. Haters contact my family. That’s okay, because I have already explained to all my family members that it is inevitable my work will inconvenience them in some way. This did happen in the past when a few people called my step-mom, a mother of two, to tell them I’m a bad person. Thankfully my family has a sense of humor.
4. We get hacked. That’s okay, because I maintain regular backups of the site. At most, we lose a few days of posts and comments.
5. New laws prevent publication of our content. That’s okay, because I would register a foreign domain extension and host the site abroad. We would lose some readers who don’t make the transition to our new domain name, but we would continue operation.
6. We lose our monthly sponsor. That’s okay, because losing a few months of revenue is not going to put the site is jeopardy. I built ROK on the cheap with the assumption that it would make little money. Our sponsor for November received a lot of angry emails last week, but he stuck with us.
As long as I’m more committed to operate ROK than our strongest enemies are motivated to take it down, their attacks can only cause temporary harm.
All Americans are granted free speech by the US Constitution, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past couple of years, it’s that you are not entitled to it. You must earn your right to free speech and you must fight for it. This is why I can’t help but feel disgust towards media outlets or blogs that issue apologies and retractions for published words that cause offense. I can’t respect those who voluntary bend over and give up their free speech right because they are too scared of the mob, too weak to take a little heat. Last week I was ready to go down with the ship in defense of Tuthmosis’ and ROK’s right to free expression, and I don’t consider myself to be brave. I’m just a man who believes that principles are more important than comfort. I have nothing but disdain for writers and publishers who don’t even attempt to defend their rights.
This event was a critical moment for our corner of the internet. We took the absolute worst from them and came out stronger, without any consequences except a higher hosting bill for the month. If we can do it then so can you, not just online, but in real life against those who use shame and lies to challenge your beliefs and behavior. Believe in your ideas and be ready to defend them, no matter what it takes. Don’t back down, don’t give in, and stand strong when the attacks come, because I promise you they will.
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