How internet abuse works: she displeases him and he tries to punish her. He posts doctored photos of her to the web. In one, a noose is near her head. In another, her children appear to be performing sex acts. He emails graphic threats about violating her with a chainsaw. He sneers that she is too fat to be loved, and then — missing the irony — calls her a slut. He distributes her Social Security number online. He posts lies about a prostitution bust. Posing as her, he solicits sex in online ads and includes her home address so men knock on her door at all hours. Maybe he’s anonymous but often he doesn’t bother hiding his identity. Why worry? He knows that in his corner of the web, women who complain about harassment are the enemy.

Kathy Sierra complained. She was one of those who called for help.