Gishwhes, the largest international scavenger hunt in the world, became less about fun and more about harassment after a poorly thought-out scavenger request. The hunt requested participants gather an 140-word story about Misha Collins, the Queen of England and an Elopus written by a sci-fi author. When various authors refused to participate a variety of reasons, they became harassed by Gishwhes competitors.
Lauren deStefano came under particularly heavy attack after refusing. Her Tumblr inbox became so full of hate messages that she had to turn the Anonymous ask feature off.
“This entire experience is stressful, and ugly, and not something I signed up for,” said Stefano in response to one of the hate messages. She elaborated her response in a message to an apologetic fan. “I’m annoyed that Misha put me, and countless others, in this position. […] Some may be willing to participate, but some won’t, and I’m not going to let people berate and threaten me for falling into the latter category. He should have reached out and gotten a list of authors/actors/celebs/whatever who would be willing to participate and worked from there. […] Getting participants to consent, people. It’s important.”
deStefano later elaborated her opinions in a Facebook post.
Others found themselves forced to refuse requests, knowing the kind of hate response it could get. Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, N.K. Jemisin among other adult and young adult sci-fi authors posted on their social media accounts that they could not participate.
Numerous authors did participate in the story request. Maureen Johnson read her story to those who requested it at the end of fan convention LeakyCon, and Mindee Arnett posted her story on Tumblr.
Beth Revis posted a story on Tumblr and, still bogged down with demands for stories, announced that she would “delete all [future]requests unanswered” as she is in the middle of editing her new book The Body Electric.
Gishwhes, which raises money for the charity Random Acts, runs for another three days and is spearheaded by Supernatural actor Misha Collins. A full list of Gishwes scavenger hunt items was posted by Tumblr user almaasi. For more, visit the Gishwhes website.