SCP Adventures In Babysitting: The So-Called "Self-Doxxing"
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
by Harmony B
Occasionally, the SCP Foundation staff like to invite a bee to their bonnets. Some non-issue that, through the power of framing and self-importance, becomes a critical issue in need of immediate redress. This has taken on many forms over the years, usually from a crucial misunderstanding of what plagiarism is or a fixation on how people choose to vote on SCP content. Custom-designed traps ensnaring those who don’t know better, newbies falling victim to power users who are already in the know.
The flavor this week is the so-called phenomenon of “self-doxxing.” So what is “self-doxxing”? According to staff, any revelation of personal information counts as doxxing. This includes if people posting a Google Doc don’t have their privacy settings active to prevent people from seeing their account name if they share a link. Now, one might think this is a user-end problem which the SCP Wiki staff need not to concern themselves with, but being the consummate busybodies that they are they have decided it needs immediate redress.
When did this become a problem? Never. Google docs have been used for SCP drafts for as long as both of those things have existed. The potential privacy concerns have caused problems exactly never times. But! That does not mean it is impossible. It would be courteous of the SCP Wiki staff to inform their user base of this potential problem and provide them the tools to protect themselves. This is not what is being proposed, nor is it how the policy will function in practice. It is for the ostensible purpose of protection but it will only be used to inflict pain.
Who is this policy for? It is another cudgel designed for the SCP Wiki’s power users. It will be another differentiator between those who are inside the system and those who merely exist alongside it. Another tool for those who have status to show that status off, by virtue of their power to beat with a stick those plebs who think that using the most commonly used free writing medium of the 21st century is not doing something terribly and horribly wrong for which they and their mothers should be eternally ashamed of them and their insipid faces. The smug feeling that comes from knowing what you are supposed to know and having advanced knowledge of which hoops to jump through.
Why is it being enacted? A combination of groupthink and insecurity. There is always a feeling, when moderating an internet community, that one is not doing enough. Especially among a group of insecure young people who have built their entire identities around the work they do moderating a niche corner of the internet not many people care about. When their work is centered less around moderation and more around politicking. This is a problem at the core of the SCP Wiki’s power structure, where their semi-democratic elections have the phrase “don’t know this person well enough to promote them” repeated ad nauseum.
What would the consequences be? This would be yet another cudgel that the SCP Wiki’s disciplinary team will be able to use to fulfill the primary purpose of the SCP Wiki staff: punishing their user base to maintain their own status and power. There is no epidemic of “self-doxxing” among the user base of the SCP Wiki. Both they and the power users are all writing in google docs, or if they don’t mind the occasional technical hiccup erasing hours of work, they might be foolhardy enough to write directly in the sandbox. All it will mean is that in the mainstream mass communication channels where people hawk drafts, the occasional google docs link will be met with derision and punishment for those who did not think they were doing anything wrong.
Where will they go from here? The 05command discussion has followed the typical pattern of these sorts of discussions, with those immediately convinced that a problem exists running into the technocrats who are more ambivalent about assigning themselves additional work. This will be a job for the Junior Staff and those on the bottom of the totem pole, to watch out for the forbidden google doc link and report up the chain when one appears.
The phrase that betrays the presence of groupthink is “After a discussion in staffchat…” with the discussion staff are having on the privileged preserve they call 05command only getting worse from there. Some of the premium insights in this thread include staff “self-doxxing” their own lack of awareness of how Google Docs functions. There is this incredible gem from longtime staff member, community stalwart, and consummate schemer Rounderhouse:
This is, of course, absurd. Instead of simply warning the users that this is a risk and letting people make their own informed decision, the wannabee nanny-state that is the SCP Wiki staff decide they are going to break out the big stick to whack at anyone who dares step over the arbitrary line of using one of the most widely-utilized writing and collaboration platforms on the internet. But I’m sure that linking from the always-busy-often-broken WikiDot sandboxes will be a superior experience.
Now, it is basically the only choice for those not on the inside. Of course, the writers who have their own cliques and side servers on Discord will have no problem sharing google docs. This will only apply to those users who are in the mainstream channels, don’t know the ins and outs of every arcane rule the SCP Wiki staff have come up with, then suffer for their ignorance so that the SCP Wiki staff can feel as though their existence means something other than perpetuating pain.
Once upon a time, the SCP Wiki staff banned forum signatures because they were seen as being annoying. This was an easy way for the in-group to wield their influence over the levers of power to punch down on the newbies. Then, it was found WikiDot can remove them automatically and the same folks who were in favor of it then added forum signatures once it was no longer a token signal for who was in and who was out. This will play out similarly.
There are some like gee0765 who are incredibly close to understanding how much this is not a problem within staff's wheelhouse, who start off on the wrong foot but then show how agonizingly close they are to getting it right. Like an olympic sprinter face-planting two feet away from the starting line who then goes on to finish in fourth place. Succinct, yet stupid:
What is described with the simple yet elegant phrase of “ban google docs” is in of itself a massive staff overreach. How exactly does that make sense? Are folks expected to write in a google doc and then transpose their work to a sandbox? That is creating extra work for people in order to solve a problem that, in of itself, is completely made-up. That is the essence of this. The debate premise is inherently flawed, but the groupthink has already moved past that and now the only hope is that the “solution” to the problem isn’t going to burn anyone if you pour it all over their faces. But in the acidic halls of power the SCP Wiki staff inhabit, such hope can be hard to find.
So what should be done? Nothing. This is a non-problem that does not require staff action. It is an attempt to create busywork, the appearance of doing something, in order to justify the power staff have to whack everyone over the head. It is hitting the hornet’s nest with a big stick so that a committee can meet to decide the best way to treat the stinging pain cloud that has so unexpectedly engulfed them all.