Doxing, according to Wikipedia, is researching and disseminating personal information for the purpose of humiliating or harassing an individual. It’s also a form of vigilante justice – groupthink, witch hunt, call it what you want. As a person who’s worked in public health, I am a strong opponent of humiliating or stigmatizing individuals. It hasn’t worked in the past – and those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it (George Santayana).
“Doxing” is a neologism that has evolved over its brief history. It comes from a spelling alteration of the abbreviation “docs” (for “documents”) and refers to “compiling and releasing a dossier of personal information on someone”. Essentially, doxing is revealing and releasing records of an individual, which were previously private, to the public.
The term dox derives from the slang “dropping dox,” which according to writer Mat Honan was “an old-school revenge tactic that emerged from hacker culture in 1990s.” Hackers operating outside the law in that era used the breach of an opponent’s anonymity as a means to expose opponents to harassment or legal recompense. As such, doxing often comes with a negative connotation, because it can be a vehicle for revenge via the violation of privacy.