If you've read the comments on any of the recent pieces on GM about Gamergate, you've probably read a debate over whether the gamergaters who have been threatening, doxxing and harassing women online such as Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu and others can be classified as "terrorists," with a fair number of commenters, almost all male, claiming that such a classification is ridiculous.
Personally, I don't think it is ridiculous at all. These guys have been using the threat of violence (whether perpetrated by them or incited to others) and the instilling of fear to manipulate and silence the people who have written on topics they don't want discussed, and to chill the speech of others who might want to join the discussion of those topics.
The commenters claiming that this can't possibly be terrorism rely mainly on the fact that no actual violence has occurred yet, and a tenuous claim that there is no political agenda.
But I was reading about a case in the ABA Journal this morning, and it would seem that there is precedent to the use of the term "terrorism" to describe this kind of conduct. In a case involving a woman who, in retaliation against various federal judges and prosecutors involved in jailing some of her relatives, made frivolous filings of motions, liens and other baseless legal documents, the Federal judge in her case described her as a "Paper Terrorist," whose goal was to wreak havoc in the legal system. No violence was involved, no weaponry employed. She was sentenced to seven years in jail.
If causing individuals legal inconvenience can be considered "paper terrorism," it seems to me that driving them from their homes in fear of their lives should also be encompassed by the term. These harassers, to me, are totally terrorists in every sense of the word. Terror is what they intend to inspire. They have a goal and they don't care what damage they inflict to achieve it. They know that when they post the location and contact information of these women that they are declaring open season on them for any deranged individual who feels that feminism has injured them in some manner.
I've said it elsewhere and I'll say it again: any decent human being who thinks that gamergate encompasses some legitimate goal should disavow these terrorists and start a new movement which specifically excludes them. Tolerating their presence soils your whole claim of legitimacy. If you join forces with terrorists, you too are a terrorist.
Terrorism doesn't require bombs. Terrorism only requires terror.