Anyone who’s mentioned the #Gamergate hashtag in a critical light
knows the feeling: a swarm of seemingly random, largely-anonymous
people descending to comment and criticize.
I’ve been using Twitter for eight years, but I’ve never seen
behavior quite like this. This swarming behavior is so prevalent,
it got a new nickname — “sea lioning,” inspired by David Malki’s
I wanted to understand #Gamergate, how its proponents and critics
behaved and the composition of both audiences.
So I wrote a little Python script with the Twython wrapper for the
Twitter streaming API, and started capturing every single tweet
that mentioned the #Gamergate and #NotYourShield hashtags from
Three days later, I was sitting on 316,669 tweets, along with a
bunch of metadata for trying to understand the composition of both
sides of the #Gamergate movement.