Jim Taylor at BBC News writes:
When Alana started a website for lonely people struggling to find love, she had no idea it would become linked to a community of hate and anger directed at women, which would ultimately lead to the deaths of several innocent people in her home city.
“It definitely wasn’t a bunch of guys blaming women for their problems. That’s a pretty sad version of this phenomenon that’s happening today. Things have changed in the last 20 years.”
Alana abbreviated “involuntarily celibate” to “invcel”, until someone suggested that “incel” was easier to say.
“The word [incel] used to mean anybody of any gender who was lonely, had never had sex or who hadn’t had a relationship in a long time. But we can’t call it that anymore.”
Nearly 15 years later, Alana was in a bookshop reading a feminist magazine when she saw a small story about a man named Elliot Rodger.
The 22-year-old had killed six people in a shooting and stabbing spree in Isla Vista, California, before turning a gun on himself.
Before his death, he had distributed a 141-page document exploring his deep-rooted loathing of women, fuelled by an intense frustration over his virginity.
Now Elliot Rodger was being seen as a hero by some in the incel community.
There was worse to come. In April 2018, a man from Toronto called Alek Minassian posted on Facebook: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun… All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”
Shortly afterwards, he drove a van down a crowded street, killing 10 people.