Ten Short Rants About #GamerGate

If you know what #GamerGate is, I don't have to tell you. If you don't know what #GamerGate is, any description I give you will be attacked by hordes of partisans saying that I have described it unfairly and that the sources I have linked are biased. So I'm going to treat you, dear readers, as if you know what it is. Clark wrote a post about it last week. My take is different. I'm not going to offer you a timeline or an attempt at a definitive "what happened" or "who is right." Instead I'm going to rant about ten ways that this controversy illuminates how we're screwed up.

1. 95% Of Label-Based Analysis Is Bullshit.

GamerGate is label-heavy, and labels are lazy, obfuscating bullshit.

Labels are supposed to be shorthand for collections of ideas. I might say "I am libertarian-ish" because it's not practical to go around announcing the whole array of views I hold about demolishing public roads and privatizing the air force and so forth. This, up to a point, is useful.

It stops being useful when we argue over labels instead of over ideas. Take, for instance, "feminist." A person who describes themselves as "feminist" might associate that term with their grandmother being the first woman in the family to go to college and their mother defying a sexist boss in a male-dominated job and the development of laws saying women can't be relentlessly harassed in the workplace or fired for being women.1 Someone who routinely criticizes "feminism" might be thinking of Andrea Dworkin saying all heterosexual sex is coercive, or that time a woman snapped at him when he held a door open, or the time someone embarrassed his friend by saying his joke was sexist. When these two people use the term "feminist" in an argument, they are talking past each other and engaging with strawmen rather than ideas. The feminist is engaging the anti-feminist as if he opposes women in the workplace or supports gender-based hiring, which he doesn't necessarily. The anti-feminist is engaging the feminist as if she thinks all marital sex is rape and as if she thinks jokes should get him fired, which she doesn't necessarily. Neither is really engaging in the particular issue at hand — because why would you engage with a person who holds such extreme views? Why would it matter if the person you are arguing with has an arguable point on a specific issue, if they also necessarily (based on labels) stand for everything you hate?

Labels also make us lazy and insecure. If I identify myself as Libertarian — rather than libertarian-ish — then instead of asking whether an idea has merit, I might lapse into asking whether libertarians believe in that idea or not. But libertarians might be wrong about that idea, or their position on that idea might be some accident of history. Yet instead of focusing on substance, if I depend on labels I will be gripped by fear and cognitive dissonance. If libertarians believe in this, and I don't, does that mean I have to rethink my entire belief system? Will other libertarians reject me? Will Nick Gillespie stop letting me touch his leather jacket? It will be much easier and more comfortable to stick with whatever view is associated with my label.

#GamerGate dialogue relies heavily on labels — feminist, gamer, MRA, SJW, and so forth. That's why it's mostly noise. I've used labels before, and when I have, what I've written has been mostly noise. Labels are an excellent way to vent outrage, but a lousy way to argue about ideas or facts.

2. Timing Matters. So Does Your Chosen Vehicle.

At least some advocates of #GamerGate tell us that it's about ethics in game journalism. I'm willing to accept that some people saying that are sincere, and don't associate themselves with the hashtag because they like demeaning women.

But here's the thing: people will draw conclusions about your motives based on your timing and your chosen vehicle.

Video game journalism has been ethically troubled for decades. There was controversy in the 1980s, when I was reading Computer Gaming World on paper like a caveman, over game magazines reviewing the same games that they were advertising. Suspicion that dollars drive game reviews have persisted, and with good reason.

So if you choose this particular historical moment to become Seriously Concerned About Journalistic Ethics, and your timing just happens to coincide with a related pushback against women's activism in the gaming community, and just happens to be triggered by a campaign against a particular controversial woman, and just happens to be congruent with 4chan's declared campaign against "SJWs," people are going to draw conclusions about you. This is especially true if your sudden fury about ethics in journalism appears to focus on the coverage of tiny indie games instead of big-money games, which is just odd. It also doesn't help when your lists of demands for ethics reforms sound suspiciously like "apologize for hurting my feelings and only report on the things I want."

It's reasonable for people to draw conclusions from timing. If, immediately after the shooting of Michael Brown, I started a vigorous campaign calling on society to protect convenience-store clerks from assault, people would reasonably suspect that I had a political agenda related to the shooting, not a sincere concern for the welfare of convenience store clerks.

Moreover, if you chose the label #GamerGate as your vehicle, people are going to draw conclusions. If I put a Westboro Baptist Church bumper sticker on my car, people will draw conclusions no matter how carefully I explain that their children's choir program is awesome. That's because the Westboro Baptist Church label is very specific. It's not something broad like "Baptist" or "Agnostic" that you'd expect to encompass a wide range of views. #GamerGate is very specific too. The label #GamerGate has its origins in a freakout over a woman in particular, and gender issues in general. If you decide to adopt it, people are going to wonder if you mean to associate yourself with its origins, in a way they wouldn't if you chose a broader label.

When people complain that they are being associated with misogyny and threats for waving the #GamerGate banner, I feel (on a different scale) about the way I do when people complain that they are being misjudged for flying the Confederate battle flag. Sure, maybe it means Southern pride and heritage to some of them. But I'm not sympathetic when many see it another way based on its history. If you fly the Confederate battle flag, people may reasonably think you intend to send a message that contradicts your spoken claims of harmony and equality.

3. People Are Going To Say Things You Disagree With, And You Need To Get A Fucking Grip About It.

I've been saying for a while that talking about harassment in "geek culture" triggers disproportionate outrage.

Critiques of games and game culture also seem to provoke bizarre, disproportionate outrage. I find it very difficult to take that outrage seriously.

Take Anita Sarkeesian. Anita Sarkeesian offers gender-focused criticism of video games. This causes some people to completely lose their shit.

This is inexplicable, even in a subculture that already has people who are rendered unaccountably twitchy by bad reviews.2 I've viewed Sarkeesian's videos, and I've read the criticisms of her: that she's not a gamer, that she doesn't truly know her subject, that she uses unfair examples and ignores counter-examples, that she has an agenda, that she generalizes, and so forth. I think some of these criticisms are apt and others aren't. But my reaction to all of them is the same: Judas Priest, have you never encountered any form of cultural or literary criticism before? That's what it's like. Whether it's people saying that Harry Potter promotes witchcraft or other people saying that the Lord of the Rings is a racist allegory or Dan Quayle saying that a fictional character's fictional life choices disrespect American fatherhood, cultural and literary criticism is often stuffed taut with bullshit, no matter who produces it or what it's about. When it's good, it's provocative, and when it's bad, it's that essay you threw together through your hangover at three in the morning on the due date about what Shakespeare thought about Jews, writ large.3 Seriously. If Sarkeesian enrages you, don't let anyone show you Foucault or Derrida or you're going to have an aneurysm. And please don't come back with "but Sarkeesian fooled people into giving her money for her videos." Jack and Jill made $150 million, motherfuckers. People pay hundreds of dollars to see Nickleback in Temecula. Why are you freaking out over how people spent their money this time?

People are going to say things about your favorite parts of the culture. Some of these things will be stupid or wrong. It is swell to use more speech to disagree with, criticize, or ridicule the criticism. But when you become completely and tragicomically unbalanced by the existence of cultural criticism, or let it send you into a buffoonish spiral of resentful defensiveness, people may not take you seriously.4 Rule of thumb: a reasoned rebuttal of wrong-headed cultural criticism mostly likely won't require you to use the word "cunt."

I anticipate a response to this point: aren't cultural critics (for instance, people who offer gender-related criticism of videogames) also losing their shit and overreacting to stuff? No doubt some are. Let's make fun of them, as we would anyone else being silly. But for the most part cultural critics of games are complaining about things like how women are portrayed in games and how women are treated in the industry, not having a cow about being disagreed with or having their hobby critiqued. When cultural critics do pitch a fit about their views being disagreed with — say, for instance, Amanda Marcotte flaming out because people disagreed with her nasty totalitarian rumbling about the Duke lacrosse case — then by all means, mock away.

4. Live by the Sword, Die By The Sword.

If you encourage a cultural trend involving calling out behavior, you may not like the way it is used by others. This seems obvious, but apparently it's not.

If you encourage the overuse of the term "bully" until it means nothing, you can expect the term to be co-opted and aimed at you sooner or later.

If you cultivate a culture in which people react disproportionately to stupid or offensive jokes, sooner or later someone else is going to be freaking out — sincerely or cynically — over someone "on your side" telling a stupid joke.

If you cultivate a culture in which the internet lands on someone like a ton of bricks for being an asshole, sooner or later some segment of the internet is going to decide that you are the asshole, and pile on you.

If you cultivate a culture that likes to boycott media or its advertisers for content you don't like, sooner or later somebody's gonna boycott media over something you agree with.

Stretching words like "bullying" for political purposes, calling out people for stupid jokes, participating in gleeful pile-ons, and organizing boycotts are all classic free speech. They are a more-speech response to speech you don't like, a good alternative to government censorship, and an example of social consequences for speech. I'm not telling you to stop. I'm not saying all speech we decide to condemn is morally equivalent. I'm not telling you that such techniques are morally wrong. I can't, credibly, because I have participated in all of them. I'm reminding you that all speech has consequences, and all modes of speech have consequences. The consequence of gleefully piling onto some douchebag is that you normalize and model gleefully piling on someone you find offensive. The consequence of abandoning proportionality is that someday some segment of the internet may wig out and lose all proportionality about you or someone you care about. Recognize cultural cause and effect.

You're going to say "but the people I was piling on/freaking out about/boycotting are totally distinguishable from the people being victimized now by piling on/freaking out/boycotting." How nice for you. Explain that distinction to them and let me know how it works out.

(Clark has been making this point for quite some time.)

5. Your Insult-Parsing Is Bullshit.

Critics of gaming culture assert that demeaning people based on attributes like gender, ethnicity, race, and sexuality is wrong. I agree.5

But too many critics of #GamerGate seem to view it as a fine opportunity to demean both groups and individuals based on attributes like weight, appearance, social isolation, and non-neurotypical status. People (including, occasionally, me) employ "fat, smelly, basement-dwelling Aspie neckbeard" rhetoric to talk about misogyny or harassment in gaming.

If you engage in that rhetoric, many people will think that your objections to demeaning language about women is contrived and tribal rather than sincere.

I'm sure you can construct an excellent argument about how demeaning language against women occurs in a historical context and in connection with a power structure and patriarchal vertices and thus-and-such, and that it is simply different than making fun of people for being fat or unattractive or autistic. That's swell. It would get you a solid A- in your sophomore seminar at Brown. But most of the real world thinks it is an unconvincing rationalization.

Insulting people can be fun. A well-crafted insult is a pleasure. A stinging mockery can be very expressive. It's unflattering, but it's true. But speech has consequences. The consequence of indulging yourself by mocking people for being fat/unattractive/socially awkward/non-neurotypical/etc. is that people aren't going to take your indignation about gendered or racial insults particularly seriously. You may think that's unfair, but it's how people are. Govern yourself accordingly.

6. The Enemy Of Your Enemy Is Not Your Friend.

Social strife makes strange bedfellows.

It's a good thing to read the opinions of serious people "on the other side." They might be right about something. You might be wrong about something. You might improve your understanding of issues.

On the other hand, it's always good to exercise skepticism about how your anger about an issue is being monetized or weaponized by others.

In the #GamerGate context, take Milo Yiannopoulos, who writes for the Breitbart sites. Yiannopoulos has hurled himself into #GamerGate like a stoned bassist into a mosh pit. That's clearly because #GamerGate advances his chosen narratives, and Breitbart's: the media is a bunch of biased liberals! Feminists are destroying society! Progressives are fascists!

Some fans of #GamerGate have reacted with uncritical delight, increasing his traffic and praising his work.

Yet before #GamerGate, Milo was happy to use gamers for another purpose — to advance the cultural conservative narrative "Gamers are freaky dorks!" He says he's a non-gamer. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but weren't people just criticizing Anita Sarkeesian for being a non-gamer?

Look, if you see #GamerGate as a vehicle to advance cultural conservative messages that you believe in, more power to you. That's free speech. But if you are genuinely someone who only cares about journalistic integrity, and you promote Breitbart and Yiannopoulos, aren't you being a useful idiot?

Yiannopoulos is by no means the only example. There's also the feculent two-faced pack of scribblers at Gawker Media. Gawker Media, through Kotaku and Gawker and Jezebel, is consistently outraged at the misogyny of #GamerGate, and has retreated into pearl-clutching couch-fainting at the attacks it has recently endured on its own work. But Gawker Media loves feminism like a glutton loves his lunch. Gawker poses as high-minded for the outrage clicks, then returns to its cash cows: self-righteously promoting revenge porn, ridiculing women based on their appearance, paying sociopaths to describe the pubic hair of women they don't like, gleefully outing people, shrugging at systematic harassment of its employees, leering at hacked nude pics, and generally being about as progressive as a late-night advertisement for Schlitz. If you rush to Gawker Media's defense because it's #GamerGate who is attacking them, aren't you being a useful idiot?

If #GamerGate is wrong-headed, it isn't because Yiannopoulos supports it or Gawker Media opposes it. But when someone enthusiastically agrees with us, and seeks to leverage that agreement for profit, perhaps we should be skeptical about their motives, and resist citing them as support.

On the other hand, it's also good to be a little skeptical of the "you are just pawns of [interest group]" rhetoric. Sometimes very different people reach the same conclusion for different reasons and with different motives. Much of the "you're a pawn" rhetoric is just a way to dismiss viewpoints without engaging them. For instance, I remember how irritated I was when a pair of notorious hacks suggested that outrage about TSA fondling was just astroturfed to undermine public unions. Ridiculous. I've hated the TSA and our subservience to it for years. I hate public unions for completely different reasons.

7. The Media Is Usually Banal, Not Motivated Enough To Be Conspiratorial, And Not Your Life Coach.

Some supporters of #GamerGate like to point to an abrupt flood of "anti-gamer" articles that hit early on during this controversy. They assert this is proof of corruption, collusion, agenda-driven journalism, and attempts to impose new norms onto a culture.

That's giving journalism too much credit.

Look: journalists are herd animals. They tend to write about the same thing other journalists are writing about, because they tend to have many of the same cultural and social values, and tend to be aiming at the same thing (prestige and more readers). In the 1990s, when the media started to tell us that crack babies were going to become "super-predators" and kill us all in our comfy beds, it wasn't because journalists had conspired to become racist or gullible or stupid. When the media jumped all over "Satanic abuse" panics, it wasn't because they all abruptly became born-again Christians. When the media stalked the Casey Anthony murder trial like they expected Jesus to show up and give out free Teslas, it wasn't because there was some collective decision that this was a legally significant case or a vehicle to send a coordinated message. It's about greed, ego, and a shocking lack of imagination. The media conspires to tell the same story in the same way that the TV networks conspire to flood the schedule with CSI clones.

Does the media tend to have a bias? Sure. It trends towards white, college-educated, middle class, and interested in telling people about things and having them listen. But saying it has a "liberal bias" is a oversimplification. The media has a pro-media bias, a corporate culture bias, a self-indulgent my-views-are-objective-truth bias. If it pushes a "OMG gamers harass women!" story, a large part of that is because stories about sexism sell, even if they are completely wrong. There's nothing "liberal" about having your lips planted firmly on the sweaty ass of law enforcement, yet the media is too often deferential to law enforcement, because deference gets access and access gets blood-and-guts and blood-and-guts sells.

So, when #GamerGate fans talk about media conspiracy, I really have to wonder whether they have ever observed the media before.

Then there's the fundamental question about what you should expect from the media. Do you want ethics? Fine. Would you like fairness? Great. But are you in the market for a fluffer? Look elsewhere. Some elements of #GamerGate, with their Nixonian enemies lists and concern with being "insulted" by the media, strike me as very entitled. Maybe it's because I'm a lawyer, and used to being automatically categorized as a scumbag by the media and society, but I think the "game blogs have been hurtful to our feelings" is unbecomingly needy.

If you don't like the views of the media, there are ways to handle it without being entitled. Are media generalizations of gamers bogus? Then take the example of Anita Sarkeesian — produce more detailed speech saying exactly what's wrong with them. You're on the internet, for God's sake. You have historically unprecedented publishing power. Be like the #GamerGaters who have decided to start their own what-we-want-to-hear review sites. Take a page from political conservatives, who went from ineffectually mewling about media liberal bias to creating the implacable-if-somewhat-dim media juggernaut that is Fox News. But if you want to stand around and insist that the media not run any stories that you don't want to hear, and that they apologize for being mean, or else you'll boycott their sponsors, FacepalmAcademyor tell game companies not to work with them, I don't see why I should take you any more seriously than anyone else who does that. I don't have any respect for someone who wants a code of journalistic ethics that boils down to "don't challenge me or insult me."

Also: some of you — you know who you are — stop saying that the media is censoring you by criticizing you or your viewpoints. Speech is not tyranny. Criticism is not censorship. You don't have a right to be liked, taken seriously, respected, or agreed with.

8. Women, Minorities, and LGBT People Are Not Magic.

The "#NotYourShield" hashtag is apparently intended to convey that #GamerGate can't be sexist or racist or anti-gay because there are women and minorities and LGBT people who support #GamerGate.

This is an irritating and faintly condescending fallacy that pops up now and again. Look! Bill Cosby criticized "black culture!" It must be right because he's black! Look! Morgan Freeman criticized black history month! It's convincing because he's black! Look! Christina Hoff Sommers criticized feminism! Her criticism has added weight because she's a woman!

It's as if people are trying to apply some twisted rule of evidence in which a statement by one member of a group is a binding admission on the whole group.

But people can be wrong whatever gender or color or orientation they are. Doubt me? Let me ask it this way: are Michael Moore's generalizations about white Americans automatically more right because he's a white American? How about Nancy Pelosi? Noam Chomsky? No? No. Because that's obvious bullshit.

A woman saying she supports #GamerGate and doesn't find it misogynistic firmly establishes only that this particular woman hasn't experienced misogyny, or didn't perceive it misogyny, or didn't care. She doesn't speak for all women any more than a "SJW" critic of #GamerGate. Everyone's millage may vary.6

Ironically, the #notmyshield meme repackages a notion that you'd normally expect to hear from "SJWs" — the idea that only whites can be racist and only men can be sexist. This is a cherished doctrine in academia but provokes eye-rolling nearly everywhere else.

Also, different people have very different tastes about what is offensive and demeaning. I'm crazy, and don't find the term "crazy" offensive. Some people face mental disorders and find such language extremely hurtful. Neither of us is "right." I'll probably keep saying "crazy," at least about myself, but I'll probably avoid using that term against someone who finds it hurtful. Unless, of course, I'm trying to be a dick. As Oscar Wilde said, "a gentleman is someone who never hurts anyone's feelings — unintentionally."

9. Stop Trying To Be A Special Snowflake.

You are not the first to discover journalistic corruption. You are not the first discover media bias. You are not the first to discover media double standards. You are not the first to have the media generalize fecklessly about you. You are not the first to discover activism. You are not the first to discover free speech. Stop pretending otherwise. It's embarrassing and juvenile. Hippies and Ron Paul supporters are cringing.

10. On Threats.

There's no excuse for threats to anyone, whatever "side" they are on. Posting someone's home address or private phone number or financial details will almost never be relevant to a good-faith dispute7 — it's clearly intended to terrorize, and it risks empowering disturbed people to do real harm. These things are wrong no matter who does them, no matter the motive, and no mater the target.

Yet those things are common in the gaming community. They've been familiar in the context of casual contact for some time, and more serious and frightening threats have become more and more of a problem. That's why I think the claim "these people are making up the threats" is unconvincing — it's happened before under even less controversial circumstances. Whether or not more women are threatened than men, numerically or as a percentage, being a woman and articulating a viewpoint seems like a very reliable way to get threatened. You may not be happy that it is an element of gaming culture, but it is.

The reaction is disappointing. We're seeing a lot of "you're making it up" or "it happens more to our side" or "men get threatened just as much" or "they did it first" or the like. There's an undercurrent of "they made up all those things, which they deserved." We're also seeing people attempt to discredit the discussion of threats by using the word to describe mere insults and criticism.

Most people say they oppose the threats. How many mean it? How many of you think that death threats and having a Google Earth picture of your house is just "part of the game," like towel-snapping in the locker room?

I'll start believing that people are really against threats and doxxing when they act like it. Would you be a member of a club that routinely tolerated members posting death threats against a rival club on the club's bulletin board? If not, why do you participate in sites where such threats are an accepted part of the culture? Do you know people bragging about terrorizing enemies with true threats? If so, why haven't you turned them in? Do you continue to treat people who use threats and terror-doxxing as friends, or do you treat them as pariahs? If you are proud of your l33t hacker skills, do you use them to attack those who say things you don't like, or do you use them to identify the people who make true threats and threatening doxxes?

I'm a rather strong supporter of free speech. I donate a lot of effort helping to protect it. But true threats are not protected by the First Amendment. They represent an effort to silence speech through physical fear. I'd like to see more done to fight the people who use them. Help stomp some cockroaches.

So, What Now?

So how will this play out, and where do I stand?

Some people assert that #GamerGate would end quickly if game journalists would simply articulate and hew to satisfactory ethical standards. No doubt some people would be satisfied with that. But I think that many supporters in #GamerGate — egged on by cultural conservatives who view the movement as a ideological opportunity — will not be satisfied unless "journalistic ethics" is interpreted to mean "don't discuss cultural issues and don't say things about my community I don't like." Some won't be satisfied until only approved bien-pensants are game reviewers, and companies restrict access to only those reviewers who don't discuss social issues. On the other side, the fight will be bitterly extended by the self-indulgent frothing by a civic illiterates who see it as an ideological opportunity. Too many enjoy the fight for the sake of the fight.

What am I going to do? I'm going to call out idiots and assholes and thugs. I'm going to watch, with interest, for game reviewers saying meaningful things about journalistic ethics. (For instance, I'd love to see a major site dish on how game companies have tried to influence their reviews, or confess times they caved, or a discussion of how a site separates out its editorial and advertising functions.) Even though I am interested in that subject, I am sure as hell not going to associate myself with #GamerGate. I'm going to watch, with interest (and skepticism), to see how #GamerGate responds to reviewers that articulate ethical rules but continue to talk about social issues. I'm going to watch, with interest, whether #GamerGate focuses on big money corruption, or whether it focuses on indies that just happen to feature women or social issues. Will #GamerGate be vigorous in pursuing how, say, Sony tries to get good reviews, or is it going to be oddly preoccupied with how an obscure indie developer was once a walk-up apartment roommate of a blogger? I'm not going to follow craven sites or reviewers who kowtow to #GamerGate by stopping any social comment. I'm going to keep disagreeing with "SJWs" when I disagree with them, but I'm not going to let the existence of their critique unbalance me. I'm not going to start taking people seriously when they say that criticism and dissent censors them or that unflattering coverage of a subculture "slanders"8 them. I'm not going to start taking people seriously if they suggest they have a right to be free of reviewers talking about social issues. I'm going to offer to help find pro bono help for people who are terrorized and threatened. I'm going to continue to be a defender of the First Amendment, but I'm not going to let myself be used for cynical propaganda or as a conduit for threats and abuse.

Also, I'm going to keep playing games. Right now, Age of Wonders III, Wasteland 2, and Divinity — Original Sin are on deck.

  1. Personally, I associate it with my mother being caught between two generations — one expecting her to be a consummate homemaker, one expecting her to be a career woman — and handling it in a kick-ass fashion.  
  2. This is so much a thing that Something Awful has an entire feature devoted to trolling people by writing bad reviews of geek culture.  
  3. In my day, we had to use the Oxford Shakespeare concordances — books, often in a library — to pull together all of Shakespeare's references to Jews and string them together with a half-assed thesis. You people can use Google. You little shits.  
  4. For an example in another genre, consider "Elevatorgate." Rebecca Watson — who offers gender critiques of the skeptic community with which many disagree — described an elevator encounter with a rather mild "guys, don't do that." This provoked a freakout as if she had posted a screenshot of the dude's tax return and called for his public castration.  
  5. Except fucking Canadians. They know why.  
  6. And, while we're at it, can we stop telling people that they have "internalized" oppression when they don't hold the opinions we have mentally assigned them based on their gender/ethnicity/sexuality? Because that's some "false consciousness" nonsense that actually does marginalize and ghettoize folks.  
  7. Revealing someone's true identity is somewhat more likely to be relevant. But, aside from outing scammers who are using false identities to steal, I don't see how someone's home address is civil contribution to a discussion.  
  8. First, dammit, it's libel when it's written. Second, you can't defame a diffuse group. Third, opinions are not defamatory. STAHP SAYING SLANDER.  

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. Chad Miller says

    "Suspicion that dollars drive game reviews have persisted, and with good reason."

    I suspect you didn't mean to link the same review twice in that sentence.

    (but good post)

  2. Alexander says

    Your analysis with regards to the timing is intriguing; one thing which I would like to hear your analysis on is the aspect that there are some of us who have been trying for ages to do something about corruption in videogames journalism and are just as surprised as anyone that this one finally stuck.

    We've had the Kane & Lynch gamespot review scandal, and "Dorritos Gate" issues pop up and we were always shouted down in the past.

    I believe that a lot of us are surprised that something like this struck a chord, but we're happy that we finally are getting a bigger spotlight, with financial repercussions, for something we have been incensed about for decades.

    My view is that this is simply the straw which (hopefully) broke the camel's back. I think that perhaps the thing which has really caused most of the outrage is the attempt to silence discussion of this issue during the early days of the scandal; I believe you call that the Streisand Effect here, right?

    What is truly puzzling, however, is the counter attack by the journalism sites with charges of sexism/misogyny; I don't understand what that has to do with this issue, but if other elements can redress their grievances as a result of this, then I will simply call it a bonus.

  3. Marmoset says

    Great post Ken.

    A masochistic part of me kind of loves that Gamergate keeps getting fueled by websites it's attacking. Without these regular articles keeping the outrage ticking over, surely this all gets relegated to a dark corner of reddit/tumblr/whateverchan but noooo, the Kluwe's of this world want to make sure everyone sees them poking the hornet's nest. IT'S FULL OF HORNETS.

  4. says

    @Alexander:

    Imagine you care deeply about animal rights and kindness to animals.

    Your county has a slaughterhouse where cows are brutalized. Nobody cares. Your county has several horrific puppy farms. Nobody cares.

    Finally, a spark catches — a group, some members of which use some unfortunate language, with some members with some connections to anti-Semitic groups, inspire a public conversation by picketing a local temple about how kosher killing methods are cruel.

    Do you join?

  5. Jon says

    Interesting article and decent article, honestly. Only problem is, I read some of the points thinking damn, this does kinda frame some behavior by both sides, then the article of course levels the claims directly at gamergate.

    And lol at bitching about boycotts. Gawker has squealed with glee every time there is a boycott against someone like Glenn Beck, and Rush L, i.e someone they have deemed a political enemy….

    As far as victim olympics. Gamergate is definitely not the first, and definitely not the last to do so. In fact, I would even say gamergate is worse at victim politics than its opponents.

    In the end, "gamers" and "nerds" have been teaching everyone else how internet since 1993. Just because someone can fire up "wordpress" and thinks their snarky means absolutely zero in the grand scheme of things. You can say what ever the fuck you want, but ad revenue is not a civil right, and if you yell "fire!" in a theater expect to get kicked the fuck out.

  6. Kevin says

    Great post, I agree with much of it. However, regarding point 7 specifically, I think you're overlooking the existence of the JournoList-inspired GameJournoPro list, and how incredibly closely all those articles stuck to a nearly-identical set of talking points.

    Of course, there's nothing about that that's out of the ordinary for journalism, (see: JournoList), but your point 7 seemed to be suggesting that there wasn't actually any coordination at all, which I don't think is true.

  7. Alexander says

    @Ken White

    No, but I must confess that I feel that your analogy does not correctly parallel this movement against corruption in journalism; nevertheless your point is well taken, though it is quite an extreme situation to paint.

    What do you feel is the proper tact? It simply seems that waiting for an opportunity where the sides are *not* extremely polarized will be akin to waiting for the second coming. It does not help that the minute we raised our attack, we were immediately shamed as "misogynists" and "slut shamers" when that had nothing to do with our angle of attack (corruption, primarily among journalists who just happened to be male). It's quite possible that there are such people (misogynists) piling onto our movement, but putting us all into the same bucket seems inherently illogical. Is it not like saying all conservationists are trying to eradicate the human race because of the beliefs of a small subset who become eco-terrorists?

    Those of us who hope this movement succeeds with astounding success find accusations of people "joining" our movement with troubling views as something to self-police, but nothing to abandon the movement over. Are we wrong?

    For example, should the other side cease defense of their case simply because their ranks are reported to contain many hateful extremists of another kind?

    I am looking forward to your take.

  8. Noah Callaway says

    @Alexander

    I think that perhaps the thing which has really caused most of the outrage is the attempt to silence discussion of this issue during the early days of the scandal; I believe you call that the Streisand Effect here, right?

    Out of curiosity, what attempts were made to silence the discussion? Usually the Streisand Effect refers to legal action (or, more usually baseless legal threats) that seeks to prevent a discussion from taking place?

    I'm not aware of something like that happening in this case. Can you show some examples of people silencing the discussion?

    What is truly puzzling, however, is the counter attack by the journalism sites with charges of sexism/misogyny

    … Are you actually puzzled why extreme harassment, doxxing, rape threats and death threats were met with news articles that discussed sexism and misogyny? Is it that you think those threats were unfairly associated with the "mainstream" #GamerGate movement?

  9. Chad Miller says

    I'd have more respect for the claims about ethics in games journalism if gamergate didn't not only barely touch upon such issues, but often come down on *the wrong side* (that Bayonetta picture is the perfect example; that game companies can cut off publications for negative reviews is exactly what's wrong with game reviews!)

    fwiw, the stuff about Zoe Quinn and "corrupt journalists" was so provably false that even GG supporters are avoiding talking about it at this point. It basically came down to "she screwed her way to positive reviews!" with the tiny proviso that said positive reviews don't actually exist.* So the timeline goes:

    -People get worked up about Quinn's sex life
    -trivially provably false accusations of "corrupt reviews" give the illusion that this is the general public's business
    -Adam Baldwin coins #gamergate to describe alleged scandal
    -people rally around #gamergate claiming it's about "ethics in journalism" and not trashing someone for her purported sex life

    The big reason I can't take this movement even slightly seriously is because despite the fact that the Quinn accusations are so obviously wrong that gamergate doesn't want anything to do with them, they:

    -still trash Zoe Quinn despite her not being relevant to their stated goals
    -haven't extended any kind of apology for what are, in retrospect, attacks that were obviously based on falsehoods
    -are still calling themselves gamergate

    The third is actually the most damning to me. You can argue that you're not responsible for what other members of your movement have done all you want (although I'd counter that this should be part of the calculus you do before supporting a movement), but why would you continue to support a name that may as well be "The Zoe Quinn Defamation Campaign" if that's not what you're about? It's bad PR if nothing else and the Confederate flag analogy is one I've been using as well.

    And Alexander, the problem with the outrage being at people being silenced is because everything that would have been newsworthy was proven false very early (again, the DQ reviews don't appear to exist, let alone show any evidence of bias). Are the publications supposed to cover falsehoods, or are they supposed to pretend that an angry ex-boyfriend airing dirty laundry is news?

    http://gamergatescoreboard.com/

    * I keep asking people who argue with this to give me a source that says otherwise and have had no takers. Strangely, someone today told me these alleged reviews were DELETED, as though a movement with this much doxxing wouldn't have the wherewithal to dig such a review out of an Internet archive and post it everywhere.

  10. Dr. Wu says

    As usual, I think you did a good job calling 'em as you see 'em. There has been a discouraging ratio of light to heat on all sides of this "debate." I believe that most on both sides are well-intentioned; but as in any controversy, there will be individuals who choose to engage in opportunistic self-promotion, attention-whoring, click-baiting, and flinging their poop for the sole purpose of enjoying watching it land on someone else's head. The most interesting aspect of the controversy to me has been the Streisand Effect which started in the first couple days, arising from wholesale censorship of the issue on online forums and from a series of articles in popular media which presented a startlingly one-sided narrative. Had the editors of a few leading games review sites instead offered even a halfhearted acknowledgment that there was probably room for improvement, I suspect this entire controversy would have had a shelf life of a few days. Their actual response–to deny, censor, misdirect, and counterattack–motivated far more combatants than the original accusations ever could have. Having now achieved critical mass, both sides' apparent need to "win" at all costs seems sufficient to keep the vitriol flowing for some time to come. (I do beg to differ somewhat on the interpretation of #notyourshield. In my observation its users are not asserting that "women and minorities and LGBT people" "can't be sexist or racist," but that vocal #GamerGate opponents should not claim to speak for all women, minorities and LGBT people; in effect: "Please allow me to decide what offends me, rather than furthering your own agenda by being offended on my behalf.")

  11. septus says

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but weren't people just criticizing Anita Sarkeesian for being a non-gamer?

    Just to pick on this bit, Milo is not trying to analyze gaming; Anita is. I think that would require some degree of expertise.

    You're dead on about him not being on our side though, I think everyone realizes that. Ten years ago it was the right attacking us, now it's the radical left. No one's under any illusions here.

  12. Richard Kern says

    A good article, though I think the "don't ever talk about gaming culture in a bad way or critique using feminist theory" is way overblown.

    It's not that I don't welcome feminist critique, I just don't welcome feminist critique that assumes all dissent is motivated by misogyny. "This is sexist and you are sexist if you disagree" is NOT a discussion.

    Write all the articles you want about how Shadow of Mordor is racist, or that it will trick you into killing your wife instead of kissing her…….just allow for another point of view every once in a while, and don't assume the worst about anyone who disagrees with you. That last part goes for *everyone*.

  13. Matthew Cline says

    People are going to say things about your favorite parts of the culture. Some of these things will be stupid or wrong. It is swell to use more speech to disagree with, criticize, or ridicule the criticism.

    To play devil's advocate: a lot of people on the #GamerGate side see playing games as part of the self-identity, so they react a lot more strongly to cultural criticism of games than cultural criticism usually inspires.

  14. Noah Callaway says

    @Alexander

    It does not help that the minute we raised our attack, we were immediately shamed as "misogynists" and "slut shamers" when that had nothing to do with our angle of attack

    What was the attack that you raised? Was the original anger directed at Zoe Quinn or at the … whoever at Kotaku we would be mad at?

    In unrelated conflict of interest scandals in the journalism world we get upset at the journalist and the paper. If a journalist was treated to an expensive evening of dinner and drinks by a major developer, then proceeded to write a positive story about the developer, the outrage and vitriol would be directed at the journalist.

    I think in this case the outrage was originally misdirected — unconsciously and without malice — at Zoe Quinn instead of the journalist. I think that original misdirection is what caused the topic to explode, and to take on the sexism, misogyny, and slut shaming elements into the conversation.

    If the original "angle of attack" had focused on the journalist as the person who had done the wrong I don't think we would've seen the sexism storyline come into play.

  15. septus says

    @Noah Callaway

    Out of curiosity, what attempts were made to silence the discussion?

    reddit has a particularly atrocious comment graveyard. I think a more apt question is who DIDN'T silence discussion. Escapist was the last notable forum with discussion on the subject. And Kuchera, Schreier, Orland, et al were trying to get THAT shut down as well (source: GameJournoPros leak)

    Is it that you think those threats were unfairly associated with the "mainstream" #GamerGate movement?

    At most, doxx/rape/death threats account for 5 people? You're going to tar tens of thousands of people with that?

    And like we've been saying all along, it's not us. It's third party trolls. (What you're seeing there is the chat log from a notable trolling group, GNAA). They're laughing because you're stupid enough to blame us, and we have no choice but to run around denouncing it, going so far as to organize a harassment patrol on twitter.

    They depend on people gullible enough to believe it, or devious enough to use it to deflect attention from the accusations of corruption. Plenty of #gamergate supporters have been doxxed & threatened with death. Milo Yiannapoulos, Steven "Boogie2988" Williams, John "Totalbiscuit" Bain, GGFeminist, Lizzyf620, and so many more. The idea that this is misogynists running around harassing women is idiotic, and it's frustrating to see people like you toting it around like you know something.

  16. Alex says

    Don your tinfoil hat, because it's a fun journey.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rouq-VdgXdo

    This along with http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/10/gamergate-you-have-a-smoking-gun-use-it/
    Has a lot of people riled up.

    I agree that many people are in it for their own reasons. I learned about gamergate from Know Your Meme of all places, beginning with their page on the quinnspiracy http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/quinnspiracy

    As a redditor, a lot of people, myself included, were pissed off simply because we couldn't talk about it. That caused a Straisand effect that ballooned in size and fueled the semi-ambiguous/non-existent conspiracy. I don't particularly think there's a shadowy coincidence going on that's caused people to rile up behind the guise of 'it's actually ethics' to bash feminists and progressives, but rather the fact that the censorship of the discussion, even on 4chan of all places, has made it so people can't talk about it. And that's pissing everyone off.

    That's part of the reason why you see such a harsh backlash against Anita. She doesn't accept criticism of her viewpoints. All the comment sections of her videos are blocked. She doesn't debate or argue. She simply states that some games are sexist and ignores all rebuttals.

    The fact that she took video footage from other youtubers and let's players without permission, coupled with the fact that she's made egregious and deliberate mistakes, none of which which she's rectified, definitely doesn't help garner sympathy.

  17. Chad Miller says

    For example, should the other side cease defense of their case simply because their ranks are reported to contain many hateful extremists of another kind?

    Oh, this is a good point that could probably be worth an essay on its own, but there's a difference between an opinion and an organization

    As an analogy, saying "I'm a vegan" is very different from saying "I support X Animal Rights Organization"

    If you're a vegan and vegans start bombing slaughterhouses, it's reasonable to say "I don't agree with them and they don't speak for me." If you don't believe in eating animals, you don't believe in it, and there's no reason some terrorists agreeing with you should change that. What are you supposed to do, start eating meat? How's that supposed to help anything?

    If, on the other hand, you donate to Specific Charitable Organization and find that they'res funding sketchy groups that just so happen to operate in areas where the slaughterhouse bombings take place, then it becomes perfectly reasonable to ask why the hell you think supporting them is a good idea. But even if you abandon SCO, nobody reasonable's going to ask you to start eating meat.

    You can drop this #gamergate movement and still care about and even protest about journalism. Maybe it would even let the people who care about actual journalistic ethics split off from the unrepentant misogynists!

    (EDIT: Removed references to a specific group since it was an unnecessary distraction)

  18. Matthew Cline says

    @Chad Miller:

    As an analogy, saying "I'm a vegan" is very different from saying "I support PETA"

    The problem with that analogy is that there isn't any word or phrase for "person who is opposed to corruption in gaming journalism". So if you want to convey that concisely, it's either "#GamerGate" or nothing.

  19. Yon Anony Mouse says

    Enjoy Wasteland 2, Ken. It's pretty bad ass.

    Also, I cheered part 3. People need that tattooed on their foreheads.

  20. Chad Miller says

    There's no rule that says they can't start another hashtag.

    People have argued that "it'd attract trolls anyway", but I'd counterargue that the show of good faith given by distancing oneself from the ZQ debacle would have (>0) value. They've resorted to refering to her by codename (to prove they aren't obsessed with her by…making up new nicknames for her) so on some level they must agree that continuing to live in her shadow is bad for them.

  21. OrderoftheQuaff says

    I would like to express my gratitude for being a gamer, as in chess, bridge, go, but definitely not video games. I don't give a rat's ass about any of these people, and a lot of what's being said these days is going to seem awfully precious in a couple of decades when the economy and the environment have these folks backed into a corner.

  22. septus says

    @Chad Miller

    fwiw, the stuff about Zoe Quinn and "corrupt journalists" was so provably false that even GG supporters are avoiding talking about it at this point.

    It wasn't provably false actually. The "romantic relationship" began a few days after the plug, but they were close friends before, which imo is still grounds for recusal (they were staying at each other's place, going karaoke, planning trips to vegas, etc). Grayson also plugged his friend Robin Arnott, and Toni Rocca as well. And they weren't reviews, they were plugs (positive mentions, endorsements, etc).

    Depression Quest above the fold
    Rebel Jam, plus spinning Game_Jam fiasco & plugging Arnott
    Plugging Robin Arnott's Soundself
    Robin Arnott again
    Another Robin Arnott plug
    Could he pimp Robin Arnott any more?

    And that's just accusations against the one journalist you gleefully believe is "debunked."

    – We also outed the recent EA scandal which other journalists REFUSED to write on (wouldn't want to upset EA).

    – Totalbiscuit (pro-#gamergate) also blew the whistle on the Shadows of Mordor "early access for positive coverage" scandal.

    – We also pummeled Destructoid over there scandal with Allistair Pinsof and collusion to blacklist on GameJournoPros. Dale North (EiC) has resigned. (But I'm sure you knew that since you're so up to date on the topic)

    – We're also up in arms about the broken IGF judging system. Here's Team Meat on the issue (@ ~6min), talking about how merit has ZERO influence over judging. Rotting Cartridge also takes issue with the fact that judges aren't even playing the games they are assigned to judge.

    * I keep asking people who argue with this to give me a source that says otherwise and have had no takers. Strangely, someone today told me these alleged reviews were DELETED, as though a movement with this much doxxing wouldn't have the wherewithal to dig such a review out of an Internet archive and post it everywhere.

    There's so much more corruption #gamergate is trying to boost, but I must consider whether an obscure comments section is the best use of my time. I'd only ask that you consider the fact that you don't actually know what you're talking about, and you're just creating noise that's hampering an important task.

  23. Edgar says

    Wow, Ken, you wasted my time, all because you're afraid to be seen as pro gamergate. You know you cant have your cake and eat it too. know what i mean?

    Since you professiondrop lawyer, well, I know countless unemployed ones as well.

    Just SAY it, you're anti gamergate. Nothing wrong with that. I respect the people who hate gamergate… they believe in there fiction. Whereas you, seem to be concerned about your face in the media… when actually nobody knew who you were before this… I certainly didn't.

  24. Kevin says

    @Noah Callaway

    Out of curiosity, what attempts were made to silence the discussion? Usually the Streisand Effect refers to legal action (or, more usually baseless legal threats) that seeks to prevent a discussion from taking place?

    The big incident on this front was that reddit's gaming subbreddit started completely censoring all references to gamergate in the early days of the phenomenon. Of course reddit is not the government, but I disagree that "the Streisand Effect" refers exclusively to 1A-violating government action, and I think this incident is a prime demonstration of that. I strongly suspect that it was the reddit censorship that really gave this phenomenon its legs. I can't prove it, obviously, but I bet that if you could go back in time and reverse the decision by the reddit gaming admins to censor gamergate, this whole shitshow would have died down within a couple weeks.

  25. Benanov says

    I think this has been one of the best articles I've read about this entire thing. I can safely say that I've seen this "yelling past each other" thing for a while now, and perhaps it's time for people to start working together to come up with at least some sort of positive "resolution" that most people could be "happy" with.

    I personally want to see more and more diverse groups* of developers writing exciting, engaging, and innovative games, with diverse casts, reviewed by people acting responsibly and ethically.

    If I could get that to fit unambiguously into 140 characters…well, I can't. And that's the fscking rub.

    * use mathematical definition of group; groups may consist of 1 member

  26. Inwoods says

    As a redditor, a lot of people, myself included, were pissed off simply because we couldn't talk about it.

    This. The only thing reddit didn't censor for some reason was the know your meme link and that's when I got interested. I couldn't even ask "hey guys, what just happened here?"

    I guess at the moment watching people's reactions to this mess is far more interesting to me, but there's a reason I follow /r/undelete: I really really hate censorship.

  27. Anon says

    Point 7 is a bit hard to take seriously considering a list of 150 or so people created expressively in reaction to JournoList being shut down were leaked where they were discussing how to best "boost the signal" of certain issues such as those related to Quinn and how they should collaborate on twitter rather than bring it to their frontpages.
    The very same list has also been used in an attempt to blacklist a games journalist fired from Destructoid, Allistair Pinsof.
    On a side note Ezra Klein, creator of the original JournoList, works for a sister site(Vox) of one of those indicted in the list(Polygon).

  28. Noah Callaway says

    @septus

    At most, doxx/rape/death threats account for 5 people? You're going to tar tens of thousands of people with that?

    I didn't tar tens of thousands of people with that. I asked what was puzzling about the reporting on those aspects, and suggested my leading theory: that he was actually puzzled by the connection of those threats to the "mainstream" #GamerGate movement. I apologize if the way I asked the question sounded like it was leading. That's not what I intended.

    And like we've been saying all along, it's not us.

    Who is "we", and "us"? I think this is part of the problem that Ken talks about in the labels section. The association of who is in the #GamerGate movement and what that movement is about is different for everyone. You perceive a slightly different set of people and voices "in" #GamerGate than I do.

    They're laughing because you're stupid enough to blame us, and we have no choice but to run around denouncing it, going so far as to organize a harassment patrol on twitter.

    I'm well aware of the fact that the vast majority of people do not support the harassment and threats that happen in it's name. I fully believe that some of the harassment is coming from third-parties, but I don't believe that none of the bad behavior is coming from people that are "in" the movement. It's the truth of life that any community will have some percentage of people that say terrible things in it. This applies just as much to the opposite side of this cluster[redacted].

    Thank you for running a harassment patrol and trying to curtail that behavior.

    Plenty of #gamergate supporters have been doxxed & threatened with death.

    That's just as bad. I condemn that behavior just as strongly as I condemn death threats going the other way.

    it's frustrating to see people like you toting it around like you know something.

    I'm sorry to have frustrated you. I don't know what gave you the opinion that I was "toting it around" like I know something. My first post only has one sentence that doesn't end with a '?'. If you're curious that sentence was "I'm not aware of something like that happening in this case.".

    I've only really offered one statement at this point, which was about why I think the kerfuffle got started.

  29. strech says

    @Matthew Cline:

    Yet there are numerous Animal Rights and Animal Welfare organizations, not just PETA.
    Which brings us back to Ken's analogy; there are 4 directions to take:
    1. With an already established organization, with an organizational history (say, the local Humane Society), explain where you stand and where you differ from the picketers. Freely engage with the temple, but do not join the picketers because they're a separate group and your focus is on the slaughterhouses anyway.
    2. Without an already established organization, but with a history, do more or less the same as (1).
    3. Without an already established organization or history, start a new organization, clearly separate from the picketers, and speak your mind.
    4. Join the picketers.

    (4) probably gets you the most attention easiest. But it's also clearly the one where much less care is taken to separate from the abuse. And if a highly significant part of the the people joining the picketers are clearly fine with (or even there for) the anti-Semitic rantings, the antisemitism is likely a significant or even driving force behind the picket as a whole. And it would be weird to expect people not to say so.

  30. Kevin says

    @septus Whoa… where did that screenshot come from? I'd never seen it before. Up until now, I'd considered the idea that third-party trolls were responsible for gamergate shit-stirring to be a speculative (though plausible) hypothetical… but if that's legit, and Weev himself, personally, is responsible for this…. well… wow… it makes so much sense in retrospect.

  31. Codexx says

    Overall enjoyed the article, although I think you've missed admissions of collusion, including choosing not to cover some topics and the blacklisting of journalists and developers who have spoken out against the journalists.

    One point I really want to stress is that NotYourShield is NOT about saying "well I can't say this but this person can because they belong to a group". Gamers don't believe in identity or identity politics. Like at all. Who you are has no bearing on what your words means. That's a firm belief of mine and basically every GamerGate supporter I've come across. The NotYourShield tag was created in response to allegations that "GamerGate is just white male manbabies who are throwing a tantrum". So we said, "Actually, we're quite diverse". Turns out, a lot of people get insulted when you tell them "your opinion is invalid because of your race/gender/sexuality", and they're actually not. It's there because the opposition is racist, not us.

    We've already moved hashtags at least once, to move away from the initial Zoe Quinn event. Changing tags further would really do more harm to the movement than good.

    It's not that we haven't been mad about corrupt games media before, but it's really gotten worse the past few years as it became a clique, and we only just gained the ability to really unify and discuss the issue. And we aren't allowed to discuss it on their websites or in their comment sections. It took time for all of us to find each other on other forums. We tried launching attacks on on corrupt outlets before, like with the Gerstmann controversy. But they were poorly timed and didn't really get off the ground. At this point, enough people have become fed up with the outlets to really sustain a prolonged siege. It's an unfortunate fact that you can't get people to commit a lot of time to something. You do, to some extent, need them to have the morale to push forward with it. Otherwise it will be ignored, like with was with GerstmannGate and Dorito Pope.

    As far as things like Anita go, I think a lot of people are just sick of hearing the same criticism over and over again. It never really gets anywhere, and it's repetitious. A lot of it can/has been dismissed, but criticism of people like Anita are not allowed on the major gaming outlets. This is upsetting to people, and it gives the impression that their views are not defensible unless you censor critics and tell them they're scumbags. And that's just what they've done. It feels more and more like the collusion is less about money and more about politics. And that's disturbing. Gaming may not have been corruption-free, but it was apolitical, and it was really accepting, inclusive, and excited to spread its hobby to everyone. Speaking as a long-term gamer who has held numerous events, the only people that make others uncomfortable tend to be the people promoting Social Justice. And when they're promoting, as you've called it, "mob rule" and called for decisions based on their feelings rather than facts, I simply have to put my foot down.

    I want ethical journalism in games. Even if it's been corrupt before, it matters to me, and now we have an opportunity. I also want identity politics to only be discussed when relevant, and they aren't really all that relevant to gaming. It's not something exciting to me. I've seen the toxic environment around social justice, and gaming was a lot better before it pervaded it. We've wrestled with ideas of criticism and how games affect people before, with Jack Thompson (who I'm sure you're familiar with, being that he was a prominent lawyer and critic of gaming) and we dismissed a lot of his stuff over time. The difference is, the media sided with the consumer against someone trying to legislate the hobby. Personally, I don't think forced social change is any healthier than government intervention and legislation, albeit for different reasons. Which is why I oppose attempts to curb certain messages. Just as many people were tired of Thompson's tired ideas of gaming affecting others, so too are many gamers now tired of being called misogynist because we play games with characters with breasts. It doesn't help that the criticism comes from a Narratology perspective, which is fairly inappropriate for games.

    Thanks for the article. I hope you continue to do research, and can see that GamerGate is really not all that bad. I'm optimistic that, after it's all over, gamers can go back to a time when it wasn't acceptable to call for ad pulls. I'm really hoping this is just a one-time use of fighting fire with fire to snuff our the hateful ideals and narrative presented by the opposition. You really hit the nail on the head: when people start abusing certain words, ideas, or systems, they can't be surprised when the pendulum swings back in the other direction and they end up targeted by the same tactics. It's the reason why I also lean libertarian-ish and believe in equal treatment of all. Specialty treatment just leads to perpetuating a cycle.

  32. King Squirrel says

    With this topic, I just can't resist the urge to paraphrase from the past.

    "And I do not care about are inaccuracies about was said or texted. You are wrong and you are l(a)bel."

    Don't have anything else really.

    There is gaming developer/journalist ethics topic that I would be interested to read about here though: review copy quid pro quo. Specifically, I am talking about the practice of offering review copies (a precious commodity for a journalist) in exchange for positive review guarantees (valuable for a developer). Shadows of Mordor may be the most recent example of this, but it is not really a new practice.

    I find the practice unethical to be sure, but am curious about a libertarian (shorthand label, yes) and legal perspective on it. A developer has rights to their speech. A journalist has rights to their speech. A developer exchanges access to their speech for (possibly ilusory) control of another's speech.

    (disclaimers: I try to avoid derailing topics, but honestly do not think that is possible here. GGSJWMRAFEMPUAGEEKJOURNO tends to suck up the oxygen around other topics. My intent is just to suggest a topic – a dance-monkey-dance!! request, as a blogger friend of mine would put it)

  33. Noah Callaway says

    @Kevin

    Of course reddit is not the government, but I disagree that "the Streisand Effect" refers exclusively to 1A-violating government action

    No, I totally agree that the Streisand Effect certainly doesn't only refer to 1A-violating government actions. In fact, I'd argue that it almost never is used to refer to actions of the government restricting speech. It does usually involve the threat of civil action by a party, or by attempting to force a third-party to remove the speech.

    I don't want to get bogged down in the details of the Streisand effect because it's a stupid distraction. For the sake of keeping this thread on a sane topic, I'll accept and use a definition of the Streisand effect that includes the subreddit drama for the rest of the thread.

    front was that reddit's gaming subbreddit started completely censoring all references to gamergate in the early days of the phenomenon

    First of all, and this is pretty important, reddit moderators of a subreddit != reddit. There is a pretty wide line between the admins of reddit deleting and censoring content and subreddit moderators doing the same thing.

    There's a lot of subreddits, so there's a lot of moderators, so there's a lot of assholes with a big-gavel. If you don't like what's happening in a particular subreddit, though, it's easy to fix. Go start your own.

    I'm sorry the /r/gaming mods apparently censored this topic, but there's still tons of space on reddit to have that conversation (as /r/kotakuinaction proves).

  34. septus says

    I'm sorry to have frustrated you.

    You were more polite than you had to be given my post, sorry I lashed out. This is only the billionth time I've had to talk about this, it's getting old for me.

  35. Nathan says

    Red/Gray teamer here, though my opinions are strictly my own and shouldn't be taken as those of everyone involved on my side. Good article, and criticisms that both sides should take to heart. I do have a few things to add, though.

    First, regarding journalists being "lazy," there's proof that they were colluding using a group called GameJournoPros, which was directly inspired by JournoList. This has been reported on by both Milo Yiannopoulos and William Usher of CinemaBlend. Is it too much to ask for competitors to compete in a capitalist society? Note that this is not something that has been denied by any journalist. In fact, after the story was made public, Kyle Orland, the one who created the group, tweeted out "I regret nothing." when the story went public.

    Second, at least from what I see, the "gray" side is well aware that there are groups trying to co-opt it. Channers tend to be a rather paranoid bunch regarding outsiders, and strongly dislike the idea of being a tool of others. Co-opting from outside agendas is a topic that comes up rather often and they are very quick to call out anyone they deem as potentially co-opting to the point of often turning on one another over an idea they dislike.

    Third, Milo Yiannopoulos has apologized for his comments regarding gamers before all of this on multiple occasions and has said that he was completely wrong about his views regarding gamers. Whether or not this is pandering, I'm not sure since I'm not him, but he seems to have gone through an awful lot of trouble for someone who would secretly hold gamers in disdain, to the point of streaming on Twitch and joining in public Google Groups chats with other prominent voices. I will admit that I think Breitbart is a tabloid and I'm still suspicious of them after the ACORN ordeal, but they were one of the first and only sites to give us a fair shake. Yes, they "play into our narrative," and we play into theirs. We also happen to play into Wikileaks' narrative, and I don't think you can call them your standard right-wingers. This is not a matter of left vs. right, since a healthy portion of the "gray team" identifies as left-wing. It'd be more accurate to call it libertarian vs. authoritarian, but even that would be doing this entire debate a disservice. Also, who exactly is our friend? Nearly every outlet has made a point to try to stomp our reputation into the mud. Any time you question the media, this happens. Opportunist or not, Milo has been a major help.

    Regarding Milo not being a gamer, that is less relevant than Anita not being one, since, to my knowledge, he hasn't tried to make a living commenting on games' narratives or gameplay choices. Also, unlike Anita, who later claimed to be one, he has made no illusions of being one himself.

    Fourth, it's more complicated than pink vs. gray. Troll groups have rightfully seen this all as a drama goldmine, so much of the doxing and threatening comes from third party groups such as the Bill Waggoner Group. I can't speak for the pink team here, but a vast majority on the blue team are against this behavior, and there have been attempts to police our own. However, it's difficult. It's a hashtag and a leaderless revolt. Anyone can come and go, and that includes outside actors trying to stir the pot. That's not to say that there haven't been people in favor of what we do that are threatening others. The other night Anita Sarkeesian tweeted an alleged threat from someone that seemed to be pro-GG from my research. I tried to alert the RCMP regarding his behavior, but being an American citizen, I was told to contact the local police and have them alert Canada. I doubt they would do anything since I'm not directly involved.
    If you would like information regarding this harasser, then please, contact me. From what I've seen, this is someone with a very unhealthy mind and Anita would do well to be worried about him. I want no one hurt as a part of this.

    Fifth, to say this started with Zoe is short-sighted. She was no more than the Gavrilo Princip of this, a spark to ignite the powder keg. This goes back all the way to the firing of Jeff Gerstmann over a poor review of Kane vs. Lynch in 2006, and includes a journalist being made to pose besides Doritos and Mountain Dew after that, along with the recent discontent over Mass Effect 3's choice of endings. On top of that, yes, you were astute in your observation that this is a reactionary movement in that gamers are upset about how things are becoming. The industry's shifting of strategies, selling incomplete games and forcing you to complete the game through a la carte purchases is one of many issues with the industry that's contributing to the discontent.

    Sixth, #NotYourShield was made because people in favor of reform were constantly being accused of being straight, white, basement-dwelling males regardless of their biological makeup, and it's basically a middle finger to SJWs dismissing their opinions as "white" and "male" despite the holder of those opinions not being white or male. The best summary I've seen about it was that "It's not about 'my black friend,' it's about 'I'm black, you idiot!'"

    I do agree that there needs to be a shift in rhetoric from the GG side. The talk about "journalistic corruption" is so narrow compared to the scope of what they're upset about. It's also about artistic freedom, and for a game to be judged by its merits rather than the political leanings of the reviewer. Yes, it is a pushback against SJWs, but not simply out of misogyny, but there's also an element of fear. They saw what SJWs did to Occupy Wall Street (who has voiced their support for GamerGate. Those right-wingers!), what they did to atheism, and what they're currently doing to comics and tabletop gaming, and they drew a line in the sand to stand up to them.

    As far as what both sides actually want out of this, I can't exactly say. Those demands you referenced were controversial on Reddit and roundly panned elsewhere. I can tell you that there are a lot of moving parts on the gray side, from those that want this strictly to be about ethics in journalism, to others trying to attack what they see as bullying by the anti-side, to others who are trying to push back against what they view as a cultural Marxist attack on the other side, to others still who are looking for links between the recent change in tone of the games media and academic groups such as DiGRA and DERP. There are many moving parts, so it's difficult to quantify what demands you could get out of such a smattering of agendas.

    All in all, your neutral, critical stance is appreciated, and I hope to see more articles of yours on the topic. I'm a strong believer that exposing opinions to rational criticism is necessary to strengthen them, and you seem more than happy to provide some.

  36. Brian E says

    . She doesn't accept criticism of her viewpoints. All the comment sections of her videos are blocked. She doesn't debate or argue. She simply states that some games are sexist and ignores all rebuttals

    Start your own blog, youtube channel, twitter feed, fruit box on the corner…. She doesn't owe anybody the space to comment as they like on her stuff. And given the threats she receives, why would she bother?

    She's not stifling debate nor impinging free speech by not allowing comments on her channel.

  37. Noah Callaway says

    @Ken

    I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed… that Civilization: Beyond Earth isn't on your list.

    Actually, you know, I'd prefer you have time to write blog posts and I guess do that "job" thing of yours. Okay, fair enough. Good call. I'm not disappointed either.

  38. Ronald Pottol says

    As to trusted reviews, there are the places with no advertising that pay for their product retail (I think they all qualify), like Consumer Reports, Gun Tests, and Motorcycle Consumer News. Then there are the people who are probably fair, like Cook's Illustrated (no adds, but their PBS stuff has sponsorship), England's Car magazine (they have at times had editorials where they go over all the companies that stopped advertising for one reason or another, and when and how they came back), and a few others that clearly realize, like Car, that the manufactures need them more than they need the add money. With a trusted rep, they have readers, and that lets them sell the adds. And then there is everyone else. Bought and sold, really more of a marking arm than journalism. Check out the Remington R51 pistol debacle in the past year. Glowing reviews in the print media, but a few blogs trashed it, they ended up recalling all of them. Print game journalism was clearly buy adds for reviews 15-20 years ago, when I worked at a game company.

  39. Noah Callaway says

    @septus

    sorry I lashed out.

    No worries, fellow-internet warrior! I've fought the wrong-masses on the internet before. I totally get how frustration from previous conversations carry-over into new ones, and everyone all kinda blurs together.

  40. Irrelevant says

    I agree with nearly all of this, except the complaint about timing: You correctly note that gaming's had a lot of review corruption scandals, but as far as I'm aware, none of them were Sex Scandals. That meant they only drew the eyes of people for whom the quality of reviews of toys was serious business, which is a group that doesn't even include most gamers. The far simpler theory (and the one that matches what I observed happening on youtube and message boards when this was an emerging issue) is that the accusations towards Quinn were latched onto like a life preserver by the people who cared about review ethics because this was the first (and so far only) time that a potential scandal was sensationalistic enough to become general-interest gossip.

  41. Jofe says

    Overall I think its a pretty good article I was gonna discuss points similar to those of Nathan, but they are there so no need to repeat them. Would like to add a couple of things. On the whole Milo Yiannopoulos ordeal, there are many people inside GamerGate that distrust him. We know he's being mostly opportunistic on all of this, but sadly is one of the few voices who hasn't resorted to the "they're all misogynists" narrative. On operation Bayonetta 2, I remember seeing that and also I remember many thinking that it was not a good idea, as far as a I know it wasn't really implemented, most probably some people still sent e-mails to Nintendo but far from what it would have been sent if people agreed with it. Operation Krampus is gone from full chan so I'm guessing that wasn't well received too. On a related note something to take into account is that many sites take a screen shot of a thread on 4/full chan, crop the following posts and present it as absolute truth without seeing reactions. Many times there have been posts calling to harassment of someone, this someone take this post and present it as irrefutable proof of how much they hate him/her. Meanwhile on the thread pretty much everyone is telling the OP to GTFO. So I don't know if there's a way to know how Operation Krampus was received.

  42. Eggo says

    I didn't get angry until I saw a rich little white girl from a fancy new york college call a black woman posting under #notyourshield a "house nigger". Complete with "we loves video game massa".

    I got mad. This is a culture war, and we are going to win it, because the authoritarian left need to be destroyed and their temples and idols smashed.
    You know what's wrong with libertarians, Ken? You never stand up for yourselves. You keep chanting about some "non-aggression principle" as if it's going to convince the revolutionaries digging your grave not to hurt you.
    And you keep losing. The wonderful things you create keep getting stolen from you by filthy ideologues and looters. From software to sci-fi, they take everything from you but your powerless principles and throw you to the wolves. Again, and again, and again.

    So no, we're not having that. We're going to join up with the conservatives, turn the enemy's bizarre but effective weapons of censorship against them, and we're going to keep hurting them until they can't hurt anyone else ever again.

    The authoritarian left are alienating a huge crowd of people who are sympathetic to them, and anyone who opposes that ideology should take the opportunity to jump in and rally the new volunteers. Because these confused and betrayed people need leadership, and unless you act fast it's going to be people like Yiannopoulos stepping into that role.

    But libertarians aren't leaders, so once again it's going to be up to the conservatives to defend us.

  43. says

    Isn't the whole idea of free speech, including whining, complaining and criticism part of the First Amendment or something like that? My knowledge of history is a little hazy.

    Yet there are websites that shut down discussion of journalists being too chummy with game developers. Because as we all know, censorship is a symptom of a well endowed democracy.

    Yet there are videos made by 'pop culture critics' that take address sexism in video games and not leave room in the comments section for rebuttal. Can dish it, can't take it.

    Yet there are people encouraging bullying, censorship and doxxing for stating a belief and using a hashtag. Moral superiority winning the day, once again.

    Would agree on labels though, if you see the world through black and white, you are go about your life very disappointed.

    People call me Da Vinci and a Merchant of Death. Not very accurate labels.

  44. says

    How dare you make that much sense. This article could set a dangerous precedent where other people start making sense. Then it'll be really hard to know who to hate or what to be outraged with. And not all of us have that kind of time.

  45. George McFly says

    Not the most critical piece on Gamergate supporters, so thank you for that. Lord knows, I probably read one in every three because the sameness of the narrative is boring.

    Hope you do not mind input from me
    #1 – I think all the interaction I have seen is on Twitter and easy labels go hand in hand with 140 characters and when you are talking to a large group making labelled comments convey the message quickly.
    #2 – I am sorry, I REALLY disagree with your point. I came into things WELL after the Zoe Quinn thing. I do not give a damn about it because I am told a variety of stories about her involvement with these men and possible collusions and possible favouritism and reviewing/ad placement/awards and a possible issue with The Fine Young Capitalists. The thing is these variable seem to change in each telling. How many guys, what favouritism, what and who harassed and how…
    I am not after yet another explanation.
    That all aside, there was obviously that occurred or gave the appearance to have occurs in bad faith that sparked outrage enough to crystalise a niggling concern as to lack of ethics in game media to coin a name and build a thousands strong campaign between people of all diversities now into its third month. THAT ought to be the consideration NOT are you harassers of women.
    Did anyone harass her? Yes, I guess. I think someone even Doxxed or threatened her. Were these people all Gamergate? Was it an outside troll? I don't know any of that and I am guessing no one else does.
    I do not think every action and comment ought to be tainted by virtue that before the hashtag, some people who may be part of the movement, had bad dealings with someone they disagreed with.
    #3 Absolutely, 100% As I say I do not read most of the textual white noise articles the big media outlets write. I am not distressed by them. Tweeting on Twitter, well…..it takes a lot to make me cry.
    But it does go both ways. I hear cries of harassment when it is simply people disagreeing. I also see a lot of if you disagree with someone who happens to be female, you are sexist or misogynist. It is pretty weak and dishonest.
    #4 Agreed again. I am a believer in fair. Play to win and if you are clean up, dust yourself off and get back into it, but do not call foul.
    I do not expect my opposition to be respectful, considerate, or to back off, so neither do I. I like the understanding. It makes things straightforward.
    #5 I am a big fan of the king hitting turn of phrase that sinks the opponent or the exposing of a weak argument that leaves them naked and foolish looking for something to hide behind
    #6 I disagree with this point. I think to an extent beggars can not be choosers (and how do you kick someone out of a hashtag?) But people may be republicans and agree with gamergate or Buddhists or gay or Austrian or Feminists…it doesn't matter. Milo? I think he has done a lot for our cause. I do not care if he secretly hates us or anything like. I accept his value getting us to where we are now.
    I think the cause is and was a good one. I joined on for that reason, I looked past the propaganda on both sides and chose the side that fitted my values.
    #7 I disagree with this. http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/10/gamergate-you-have-a-smoking-gun-use-it/
    https://medium.com/@ryansmithwriter/a-weird-insider-culture-d1c3cc644c29 if you read through these and the associate links you will possibly see where I am coming from.
    #8 It is increasing hard to talk to some people as a white male. No boo-hoos but I get the check your privilege where a black man or a woman does not, in some instances. I am not complaining but it makes sense that if May and Mary have the same view and it is that we are not misogynists, she will be given more weight.
    #Notyourshield is simply for people sick and tired of mostly white straight men making pronouncemts on women and minorities and on their behalfs, in Gamergate.
    #9 I am sorry, I dunno who the special snowflake is
    #10 Threats – Well you know it is happening both sides. pro-gamergate gets full blame naturally. We police it as well as we can and report and condemn and then get blamed regardless for "not doing the right thing" What more could we do?
    The truth is we do not know who makes the threats.
    Because both sides are getting hammered, I have a suspicion that GIVEN:
    a) big issue
    b) very active
    c) polarised camps
    d) semi-anonymous social media
    e) fast paced environment and quick responses

    The threats are likely made by unrelated trolls there to cauae trouble and get cheap thrills.

    Thanks for the opportunity

  46. Stephen H says

    In comments I have read posted on sites I frequent from time to time that have written about this issue, it is extremely rare to see a supporter of #gamergate (which I confused with the online game seller GamersGate when I first encountered the term) who takes more than a sentence to address the threats that have been made – and even rarer for them to acknowledge that those threats are a problem.

    That by itself is why this 40-something white male aspie with a beard who spends too much time in front of his computer will never want to be associated with that term. I have heard the vitriol, and whether or not I agree with some of what the group may be trying to say it has been drowned out by its unwillingness to condemn bad behaviour.

    Of course, the shock and horror that a woman who some guy thought he had a relationship with slept with another guy, who worked for a magazine, who then wrote absolutely nothing about either her or her games seems somehow confected and very much a case of double standards. The letter that started this brouhaha seems so… confused and purposeless – unless its purpose was indeed to stir up this kind of hatred. We don't hear the term bro-shaming, do we – but if a woman has a relationship with more than one guy in a twelve month period she seems to be considered a fair target.

    Do I care about having trouble reading an unbiased review of a game? Occasionally – but then I buy games six or twelve months after they are released, for about 5% of the original price – so I have plenty of time to see all sorts of unbiased reviews (Steam's new ability to post reviews is great for people like me – I don't know which are unbiased, but there are so many that the game publisher just cannot flood all channels, and reality seeps through). And there are SO many sources of reviews nowadays that if you can't find one you are happy with/is not industry-sponsored/has pictures of kittens, then you need to learn a bit more about how the Internet works.

    In summary: people are weird – stop blaming the aspies, when all these norms are so crazy.

  47. Daniel says

    Noah Callaway: I'm sorry the /r/gaming mods apparently censored this topic, but there's still tons of space on reddit to have that conversation (as /r/kotakuinaction proves).

    @Noah Callaway,
    I'm going to assume good faith on your part. Given your post, I am assuming that you are unaware that the censorship resulted in the shadowbanning (admin only power) of hundreds, if not thousands of redditors that participated in the thread. What the total body count for that thread is, we will never know.

    While the mass deletions are one thing(especially when it is the largest mass deletion in reddit's history), the mass shadowban of redditors for participation is what really set people off. The mass shadowbanning is what made me aware of the entire GamerGate issue, along with many, many others.

    The admins are letting KiA exist as a way of keeping gamergate away from general visibility. They would much rather have it contained in a single subreddit(much easier for them to monitor) than spread out all over the default subs, getting their posts up to /r/all every single day.

    TL;DR: The mass deletion was a small Streisand Event, the mass shadowbanning by the reddit admins was a nuclear bomb.

  48. Derp says

    Out of curiosity, what attempts were made to silence the discussion? Usually the Streisand Effect refers to legal action (or, more usually baseless legal threats) that seeks to prevent a discussion from taking place?

    There has been a major censorship campaign going on since the very start. I think it actually started with legal action.

    The first people to start talking about it were YouTubers, one of them "MundaneMatt" got hit with a DMCA by Zoe Quinn: https://twitter.com/mundanematt/status/502658167936126977

    TotalBiscuit then wrote something (really neutral) about it and the Reddit thread in regards to it blew up with 25000 comments, that were all deleted by a Mod: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/2dz0gs/totalbiscuit_discusses_the_state_of_games/

    A Mod that contacted ZQ beforehand and seems friends with another gaming journalist, Patrick Klepek: http://i.imgur.com/2709oeM.png

    Thousands of people were shadowbanned on Reddit and admins were involved: http://imgur.com/a/f4WDf
    Reddit up to this day deletes almost anything GG-related in major subreddits like r/games or r/gaming

    During an AMA with Julian Assange someone posed a question about #GamerGate and turned out that he got shadowbanned too: http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/830935-gamergate

    WikiLeaks even tweeted about it: http://www.newstatesman.com/media-mole/2014/09/wikileaks-wades-gamergate-says-nato-corrupt-video-games-journalism

    In many forums the topic had been declared taboo, in places like NeoGAF even mentioning it was reason to ban, similar with any Gawker or Vox Media sites, as well as GiantBomb and a few other places like RPGNet, Rock Paper Shotgun: http://i.imgur.com/2rZ02IZ.png etc.
    On NeoGAF later when discussion was allowed everyone that didn't toe the party line was banned (the latest famous example being Boogie, a famous YouTuber and he wasn't even "Pro-GG").

    4chan had periods where talking about GamerGate in any way would lead to a ban, at some point moot decided to make that policy, which led to a mass exxodus to 8chan for a lot of people.

    A big thread at The Escapist that has been going for 1000+ pages got DDOSd because they tried to shut down discussion: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/09/20/the-escapist-forums-brought-down-in-ddos-attack/

    This was after Ben Kuchera, an Editor at Polygon on the secret GameJournoPros mailing list wanted The Escapist to delete the thread and crush all discussion, but Greg Tito, Editor in Chief of The Escapist denied him, we found out about this after GJP leaked: http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/10/gamergate-game-journalist-steps-forward-to-discuss-gamejournopros-secret-mailing-list/

    The site GamesNosh who were one of the first to report about the entire Kotaku ordeal was taken Offline and according to them the Host asked them to remove the article, their article had also disappeared from N4G: http://i.imgur.com/RYl2uro.png

    They even tried deleting traces of it and other information from Internet Archives, as if that would make everything go away: http://i.imgur.com/ww29ucl.png

    TechRaptor according to them had their Subreddit banned and Reddit account deleted, they also had to deal with Hacking attempts and had to change hosts: http://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2fcw3z/techraptor_subreddit_has_been_banned/ https://twitter.com/TechRaptr/status/509130046074650624 http://i.imgur.com/j44i1f4.png

    Another site, GamerHeadlines also had to deal with Hack attempts against them and threats, according to them they had to contact the police: http://www.gamerheadlines.com/2014/08/the-kotaku-zoe-quinn-scandal-the-aftermath-and-thoughts/

    And a very dim view I take. Since publishing the article and ‘going viral’, myself and my colleagues have been subject to threats, illegal attempts to obtain personal information, and illegal attempts to hack the editor account of the site. Nobody should have to receive a phone call from the police because somebody disagreed with an article you wrote on the internet, ever. Still in spite of this, we shall keep the article up and updated for as long as the situation remains relevant to the industry.

    These are just a few instances of shit that was happening around it, I can honestly say that it was one of the biggest attempts of shutting down a discussion by means of censorship that I have ever experienced on the Internet and almost the entirety of the "established" games media was in on it.

  49. Mikee says

    This write up applies to just about any topic, swap out the names and specifics for other incidents and we have 10 amazing rules to keep things civil online and even in the real world. I really loved the ending, this blog was once a humble video game site, now it's so much more that the constant references become almost nostalgic.

  50. Czernobog says

    This blog post felt like the written equivalent of a perfect break. The choice of tags is particularly amusing.

    Also, as someone who hadn't heard of #GamerGate until it was brought up here – Do I understand correctly that this is all about the "journalistic ethics" of professional opinion-havers?

    Because if so, I rather think the issue is overblown. Are review sites really that influential?

  51. Runtime says

    The reason many in GamerGate insist that harassment is being manufactured by the other side is because we simply are not aware of any such campaigns.

    Please, if anyone can find where these abusers are organizing, let us know, because we've been busily stomping out such characters on our forums. If we have little reason to believe we're responsible for the attacks, then we're going to fetch our tinfoil hats when certain individuals start telling tales of bloodthirsty harassment squads.

  52. Max says

    Firstly, what a great post from the point of view of a gamer and a Libertarian. This is important, as the GGers don't seem to realise that most of the people arguing with them are much like them. @Stephen H has it right (and summed up a lot of how I feel) although I say so from the point of view of also being a 40 something gamer with a beard and a disability. The reason the 'SJWs' are so angry with GG is how it is making geeks/nerds/gamers seem to the outside world when the GGers claim to talk for all of us.

    As to this being about corruption: a GGer on this thread admits it is also about:

    others who are trying to push back against what they view as a cultural Marxist attack on the other side, to others still who are looking for links between the recent change in tone of the games media and academic groups such as DiGRA and DERP.

    Which is part of the trouble. As is shown by the GGers on this thread continuing their Crusade against Bad Ethics in Journalism by attacking Anita Sarkeesian in an article that points out that there is nothing 'unethical' with her having a point of view no matter how much you disagree with it .

    There is nothing to stop them creating Blogs disagreeing with her. Boy, is there nothing to stop them. What they are annoyed about is no-one takes the blogs and YouTube videos attacking Ms Sarkeesian seriously. It is 'unethical' in their view for journalists not to hold the views they do. That is not an 'Ethics' crusade most of us will back.

    The fact that she took video footage from other youtubers and let's players without permission, coupled with the fact that she's made egregious and deliberate mistakes, none of which which she's rectified, definitely doesn't help garner sympathy.

    Is what a GGer says (and I'll leave it to others to point out Fair Use). But people are reluctant to debate with GGers anymore because they trot out the same tired arguments on every forum, even when they know they are debunked, and especially when the very article they are commenting on brings them into doubt. Which has already happened here. They don't vary their argument or acknowledge they have heard the counter before.

    As far as things like Anita go, I think a lot of people are just sick of hearing the same criticism over and over again. It never really gets anywhere, and it's repetitious……, the only people that make others uncomfortable tend to be the people promoting Social Justice. And when they're promoting, as you've called it, "mob rule" and called for decisions based on their feelings rather than facts, I simply have to put my foot down.

    Says a GGer. That goes for me as well. Except replace SJW with GGer. I'm fed up of having to spend most of a thread arguing with GGers about Anita Sarkeesian, then listening to them saying it is all about 'corruption in journalism'. Because as soon as you mention Ms Sarkeesian it is about ideology and culture. This GG debate becomes about 'feminism' and politics. Which is fine. If they said, 'GG is about our branch of gamers not wanting any feminism and or cultural marxism in games' (which is what they do say in the planning threads on 8chan.) Instead they say 'but how can you be against a movement which is against corruption' because they know it sounds better.

    Also, If you bring Ms Sarkeesian into it, you are instantly bringing in the issue of death and rape threats. They say Ms Sarkeesian should listen to them and change her mind, change her theory. But they themselves will never change their minds no matter what, which is their choice but I wish they would extend that right to maintain a viewpoint to others. There is a debate about this, but they are 'ignored' as people listen to the argument and disagree with the GGers. That also is not good enough. It is about which pill you swallow for them. And everyone should swallow their pill, or else GamerGate will come yo get you.

    And if you mention Ms Sarkeesian you bring in the death and rape threats, which is one of the reason she has comments disabled below her videos. But GGers honestly believe that the 'SJWs' are creating these threats themselves as a false flag. Apart from the ones they track down the source of. And why are they policing themselves? If you go to 8chan they make clear they are doing this because they know that they are 'losing' because of the public perception created as a result. They also make clear how much they hate feminists, SJWs and cultural marxists, just that they will be punished by being pushed out of games journalism. Any suggestions of worse are met with cries of 'shill' They know they are being watched.

    The GGers have 'drunk the kool-aid' of a certain kind of right-wing perspective, and want us to have a debate around that, but still want to say 'but GGers are just gamers who are apolitical.' They want us to debate 'ethics in journalism' by talking about Anita Sarkeesian and how awful 'social justice' is Or perhaps we should all agree journalists are part of a big cultural Marxist Consipracy which we should join with Milo and Breitbart to defeat?

    They are not GGers anymore. They are GameTruthers.

  53. Garrett says

    I suspect that part of what causes the criticism of the games to be so biting is that it touches a core identity. To pick a sort-of related example, if you were to claim that NASCAR was stupid, you'd get a lot of agreement, even from some who are avid fans. However, if you were to claim that somebody was stupid because they watched NASCAR, they would be insulted. Unfortunately, it seems to me that some of the criticism sounds too much like "you like the wrong thing" which is both judgmental and condescending on several different levels. Unlike criticism of something external to one's life, like their job, car choice, etc., this is what people do for escapism. If you accept the idea that Gamers are less socially adept than the average member of the population, I can see how many of those involved would feel like their back is up against the wall, with the lynch mob coming to get them in their homes. Possibly the same way that gay couples use to feel in the bedroom 50 years ago.

  54. sinij says

    Ken, you lost me when you started comparing Westboro Baptist Church to #GamerGate. This is once removed from Goodwin Law.

    Still, your point about labels was excellent. That should have been entirety of your post.

  55. Whitney says

    As a non-gamer married to a gamer, libertarian-ish woman with a journalism degree, who hasn't been a journalist since her second year after college, I have watched this from afar with morbid curiosity and rising disgust for both sides.

    Thank you for so eloquently summing up my thoughts on this whole mess, and then some. And thank you for the "libertarian-ish" description. I'll have to steal that.

  56. Holden says

    The Westboro Baptist Church analogy doesn't fit. WBC is a defined organization, that outlines clear goals and mission statements that people can join or condemn. GamerGate, like Occupy Wall Street, has no central authority to declare what it is, what it isn't, who can properly speak on their behalf, and whose actions are representative of them. Part of the problem is that it's a label that anyone can pick up and claim to carry the banner for.

    It's reasonable for people to draw conclusions from timing. If, immediately after the shooting of Michael Brown, I started a vigorous campaign calling on society to protect convenience-store clerks from assault, people would reasonably suspect that I had a political agenda related to the shooting, not a sincere concern for the welfare of convenience store clerks.

    This is very cynical. Trigger events happen all the time that bring an issue to the forefront of people's attention. The proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.

    #NotYourShield

    I agree the presence of minorities in a movement is not absolute proof that it's unbiased. But it does serve as some evidence against the accusation and it's proper to bring it up. The alternative explanation is that they're uninformed about their movement's racism and are just not seeing it.

  57. Matt says

    I find this a fun read. And I give Clark major kudos for the humor of first posting in the comments on it.

  58. Max says

    @Garrett
    Except that the people making the criticism are pretty much gamers themselves. Ms Sarkeesian apparently has a problem with Dishonored (or a least certain portrayals of specific NPCs). I absolutely love Dishonored and I suspect that anybody who defends Ms Sarkeesian online will love a game she uses in her thesis. That is OK by us, for really obvious reasons (for us) to do with how criticism of a cultural art-form works.

    When those 'Gamers are over' articles started we just looked at the description of the behaviour that was being criticised and thought 'yes, that sort of behaviour does go on in our culture and is very annoying'. When the GGers then behaved exactly that way in response to the articles, and that behaviour got picked up in mainstream press, it made us afraid of how all gamers would be viewed.

    This is a 'left/right' battle for both sides. In other ways it isn't. It is how gamers are perceived. Those original articles said that people who most clothed themselves in the 'gamer' identity reacted really badly to any grown-up discussion of games and games culture, which is why the identity was in trouble. What was about to become a 'side', and my side, thought – 'a bit strongly worded but they have a point. only a minority are like that and it is only in the geek-orientated press'. Imagine 'our' dismay at GamerGate.

    Playing games is fine. Enjoying them is fine. Over-reacting to cultural criticism is capable of being ridiculed.

    @Derp
    One of the terrible things some of 'my side' has done is to employ stereotypes which amounted to 'Aspergers' as criticism. There have also been some examples of doxxing, threats and calling people at home to insult them on unpublicised phone numbers. Less than the GGers, and less in intensity, but none the less despicable for all that.

    If on this thread I tried pulling any of that awful crap I would quite rightfully be banned. If I did it in the name of the 'SJWs', and many other people did the same, all the SJWs would be brought into disrepute. If this happened overwhelmingly, then even here extreme measures might be taken. No blog owner, or site, gives you an unconditional right to spread hate. However, if you are cut off from 4chan you can go to 8chan. Or create your own blog using WordPress (as many GGers have done). This is not 'censorship', just a decision made by people who run their own sites about what they will tolerate.

    GamerGaters want people to stop promoting feminism on their sites. Asking those sites to is OK. Demanding a government commission to oversee 'corruption' that gets rid of feminists is different, but hey, no-one wants that, right? Saying to the Escapist, 'shut down GGer threads' is something people can do, but the Escapist editor can decide not to, as he did. The simple request is not collusion, anymore than the GGers agreeing to common tactics on 8chan or trying to get other geeks to see their point of view and close down positive discussion of feminism is 'collusion'.

    See what happens if someone asks Popehat to close down discussion. The internet is a big place, and there will always be somewhere you can put your point of view, no matter how many sites decide any discussion of Gamergate is likely at this point to turn toxic.

    That said, we are all geeks. One of the ways we can make things better is to be a bit more excellent to each other, remove the toxicity. Which applies to the likes of me just as much as the likes of those I disagree with. Perhaps we can work out how to be more civil and respect our differences? Clark and Ken seem to have, perhaps we can more generally?

  59. sinij says

    “On the Internet, nobody knows you are a dog.”
    The quote above outlines my ideology and approach to internet communities AND gaming. I understand that in the modern age of social media this approach is archaic, but it still works. Gaming companies also understand this works, and they encourage you to lead dog’s life by compartmentalizing and segregating you away for your own protection. The days of /global and B.net general chat are all but over, you now have friends lists and invite-only dynamics.

    Hypothetically, if I wanted to call Ken names while he is playing Divinity: OS, how would I do it? I could not – the game does not provide any interfaces for this. Most games out there, even with online component, are like that. By design. As such, I could only call Ken names in other media.

    This is the key reason why I have difficult time understanding all these accusations of misogyny and sexism levied at gamers. How could you get harassed while gaming unless you personally invite others in your circle, divulge some personal information that could be used to harass you, then do nothing to stop harassment form happening?

  60. Anonymous says

    Gamergate supporter here.
    Lot of good points here, Ken. I'm going to think about these and try to learn from them, and avoid making dumb mistakes. I'll probably re-read this a few times over the next days.

  61. anonymous says

    @Alexander

    It's quite possible that there are such people (misogynists) piling onto our movement, but putting us all into the same bucket seems inherently illogical.

    .
    1) It's not just "quite possible." I frequent 4chan for entertainment purposes and, in particular, that wretched hive of scum and villainy that is >>>/b/. You can trust me on this: It is misogyny.
    .
    2) The problem with a hashtag is that it is entirely without moderation. As such, it stands for what it is used for, not what you want it to stand for. As of this date, #Gamergate is used for threats and discussions of video game journalism ethics. Here's the thing about video game journalism ethics: Video games don't actually matter to most people and so, by extension, the ethics of video games journalism also do not matter. As such, de facto, #Gamergate is about only one thing that matters, threats. If you decide to, effectively, fight your fight for ethics under the hashtag #ThreatsAgainstWomen, people are going to think you don't like women. This is very unfair, but also a fact of twitter.
    .
    #Feminism wait I meant #HateAllMen
    #Socialism wait I meant #YourBossWhoIsANiceGuyWillBeFirstAgainstTheWall
    #HumanRights wait I meant #TerroristsAreGreatYouGuys

  62. Michael says

    I will address your suspicions regarding the timing of events, and why this "sudden fury about ethics in journalism appears to focus on the coverage of tiny indie games instead of big-money games".
    The reason is the unprecedented scale of censorship on game discussion forums, and a gaming press (where the targets of inquiry had many friends) began a coordinated effort to label gamers misogynists.
    This controversy started off like any other — people talked about it on gaming forums, some let off steam and some tried to dig into the matter to connect more dots. However, unlike any of the controversies that had happened in the past, prominent discussion forums began to delete all threads that mentioned what was then known as the "Quinnspiracy". Mass banning quickly followed. Nearly 25 THOUSAND comments on a single reddit thread were wiped clean. Even 4chan began a never before seen campaign of censorship and banning. In the midst of all this, a dozen hit pieces in the gaming press sprang up in the span of a single day attacking the gamer identity by setting up and knocking down the misogynist strawman. Without a place to vent their frustrations, and with a hostile clique of insiders going after them, everything boiled over into what is now known as Gamergate. Had forums not censored discussion, people might have just vented steam as they did in the aftermath of all past controversies. Had the gaming press not leaped to pigeonhole gamers in an attempt to take the heat off of their friends, the anger and frustration might have dissipated in just a few week. They made the choice to clamp down this time like no other time in the past, they are the ones who caused Gamergate to explode.

  63. Nathan says

    I don't have anything witty to say. I just wanted to thank you, as always, for a well reasoned, entertaining, and insightful post. And I'm sorry for the general frothing acrimony you're going to endure.

    Also hope you put boot to tush at your trial.

  64. Irrelevant says

    @Czernobog

    Also, as someone who hadn't heard of #GamerGate until it was brought up here – Do I understand correctly that this is all about the "journalistic ethics" of professional opinion-havers? … Are review sites really that influential?

    The degree to which professional gaming reviews actually influence the buying habits of gamers vs. simply being a sort of High Score Chart is debatable, but it's widely accepted that slightly better or worse Metacritic scores do heavily influence publishers when deciding which marginal titles do or don't get a sequel. Answering what GamerGate is "actually about" is a whole different topic, but to the best of my understanding, it's the result of three more-or-less-coincidentally aligned interests:

    The first, smallest, but most publicized and disproportionately impactful group is Personal Enemies of Zoe Quinn + card-carrying members of the Internet Drama of the Week Club, whose goal appears to be wrecking the lives of a half-dozen or so people who are personally or ideologically affiliated with Quinn and/or sowing general chaos.

    The second group, which is still pretty small, is people with long-standing concerns about the ethical standards of video game reviewing and promotion. The faces of this group are mostly part of the "alternative gaming press", i.e. YouTubers who review games by playing them publicly, and their goal seems essentially to be remodeling the mainstream review system into something like their own image, where reviewers are independent critics with known personalities and tastes.

    The third, far largest group is general gamers who were roused to anger by the horribly mismanaged and very coordinated-looking effort to first shut down and when that failed villainize all attempts at discussion of the Quinn allegations. Figuring out exactly what this group wants is hard, both since there are a lot of would-be-leaders trying to direct the resultant energy at different targets and because a lot of these people just have incoherent views, but I think the simplest accurate summary would be that they dislike the current politicization of gaming and are trying to force either a change in or cessation of politicized discussion of gaming in mainstream outlets.

    And then there is a lot of shouting.

  65. Argentina Orange says

    Ken, I understand why you couldn't talk about P.Z. Meyers' libel, but any thoughts about Zoe Quinn's lawfare?

  66. raphidae says

    Most of what I was going to write about has been touched on by other commenters, so I'll skip that.

    What remains:

    A) Since you're an US lawyer, perhaps you could take a look at the claims that Quinn is currently abusing the courts to prevent him publicly talking about (what at least he feels was) her abuse of him:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Drama/comments/2i6zsj/report_from_the_trial_of_zoe_quinns_ex_eron_gjoni/
    https://twitter.com/eron_gj/status/514514465812144130
    http://theralphretort.com/reddit-bombshell-zoe-quinn-uses-courts-silence-critic/

    If this is true I'd think it would be a pretty awful prior restraint on his free speech, and a scandal in its own right. It's pretty much impossible for me to verify this, but he did crowdfund for his 'legal defence' and he's been pretty quiet since. Perhaps you are in a better position to find out what's going on here?

    2) You don't seem to have controlled for the difference in communication coming from women vs. men. If you look at the twitter streams of, for instance, @TheQuinnspiracy, @Spacekatgal and @femfreq it's basically one continuous stream of inflammatory crap that is immediately retweeted and quoted by hundreds. In contrast, the implicated men (f.i. Grayson) seem to mostly keep their mouth shut. I feel that the ones that do not (Phil Fish, Kuchera, McIntosh, Biddle, Reese) get at least the same amount of hate hurled their way.

    It seems to me that the targeting is done more based on who makes the most noise, and less based on gender. What makes it seem that women are targeted more is imo that the journo's choose to write exclusively about the harassment of women (which seems pretty sexist to me…).

    Btw, I am not saying that these women should just shut up and that it's their own fault or otherwise defending harassment/threats, only that if one group puts out more public statements than another (inflammatory or otherwise), it isn't that surprising that they get more reactions (polite or threats).

  67. Max says

    "Timing Matters. So Does Your Chosen Vehicle."

    A revolt occurs when resentment of another group builds for a long enough with no outlet. The dislike for post-modern third wave feminism and ethics in games journalism exploded at the same time. There was a moment where all of this could have been avoided. It was the moment where mass censorship took place. Boom. The powder keg explodes in response. The gamers are dead article hits. It is gasoline on the fire. Everything about this mess could have been prevented if discussion had been allowed. If people had decided not to shit on a significant portion of their readership. These our now inseparable and we must cope with the reality of the situation instead heaping on more vitriol anger. If we engage with each other instead of shouting from ivory towers than the anger, vitriol, harassment and ends-justify-means might just calm down. Then we might be able to separate the political from the ethical and actually be able to see further than 10 feet in this shitstorm.

    Instead of simply looking at this as an us vs. them issue we need to try to understand the actual motivations of both groups instead of ascribing to them the prejudices we hold about each other.

  68. says

    @rapidae @ArgentinaOrange

    There is a very specific reason I am not addressing those First Amendment issues. I'm sure they will be analyzed thoroughly by other lawbloggers, which is a good thing.

  69. jtf says

    Wasteland 2 is great. Enjoy. Echoing the comments about Beyond Earth, but if 4X games aren't your thing then that's ok. Besides, trade routes are ridiculously imba right now and it plays a little bit like a polished Civ5 mod.

    I wasted all of an hour looking at GG criticisms of how "SJWs" have ruined gaming, and then said "meh, I don't believe you." And then I went back to working because I am a twentysomething unshaven aspie who spends way too much time typing away on computers (alas, not white). There's nothing in this debate that's more important than work right now, because I the only time I've ever given two shits about game review sites was for a brief period when the ME3 ending controversy happened, "SJWs" haven't done much to ruin anything in my book and anyone who thinks portrayal of women, minorities, or whatever is controversial hasn't ever played >2 games in the 20 years since I first played Doom. Or, for that matter, watched a movie.

    Great post as always Ken. I have yet to disagree with you.

  70. JWH says

    Best commentary I've read on the whole matter yet.

    What gets me is the way that partisans seem to treat the whole thing as a video game. If you threaten somebody in a video game, it's a noxious part of the culture, but I guess it's part of the culture. If you threaten somebody in the real world, the target is going to assume you actually intend to carry out your threat. That can lead to unpleasant consequences at both ends.

  71. Richard Lang says

    There are just a point that I would like to do the contrarian bit on, but hey, lawyers are always up for a good debate, right?

    Nobody has denied that videogame journalism has been rife with PR bullshit and shilling. Look no further than Geoff Keighley sitting in a pile of Doritos and Mountain Dew while promoting Halo. Was he a PR guy or was he someone covering a launch of a game? Till this day I am wondering.

    However, most people don't operate under the premise of an immediate call-to-action type. Some guy shills for his job, whatever, still want my news on that game. Fuck, too bad I don't have leads or connections to Microsoft Studios.

    Yet a critical mass of bullshit could trigger an event off, given the right circumstances and temperament. First World War, anyone?
    Also chummy writers out in full force demonizing gamers, including those who just play games at the end of the day to relax. I think some additional people will get pissed when their friends start nudging you about this.

    And of course the next stage everyone wants to make posts on a forum addressing this, and getting shadowbans left and right. That's a ripe mixture for consumer revolt!

    In other words, the Streisand effect made Gamergate. Thanks censorship!

    It's reasonable for people to draw conclusions from timing. If, immediately after the shooting of Michael Brown, I started a vigorous campaign calling on society to protect convenience-store clerks from assault, people would reasonably suspect that I had a political agenda related to the shooting, not a sincere concern for the welfare of convenience store clerks. Moreover, if you chose the label #GamerGate as your vehicle, people are going to draw conclusions. If I put a Westboro Baptist Church bumper sticker on my car, people will draw conclusions no matter how carefully I explain that their children's choir program is awesome.

    Ehhh, not really, only if you want to spin it that way or put that thought in people's minds. You can question agendas until we are all blue in the face, but I think the deed should take precedence over the person and his/her history. People ain't static. Moreover, wasn't your first point about how labels are bullshit?

    In any case, as a lawyer, Mr White, don't you have anything to address about the whole guilt by association, evidence of certainty, the works? Especially when some ,*ahem*, victims immediately claim people who are under the umbrella of a fuckin' hashtag as the source of death threats, and start get a whole bunch of sycophants doing a dogpile of finger-pointing and accusations without actual proof. That's also mob mentality, in case nobody noticed.

    And now the media playing follow the leader on sources from blog sites is why this debacle has pissed off so many people. You know, let's write more stories with reactionary headlines to paint a subculture as toxic, because that's fair and balanced reporting of the U.S. for ya.

    Hmm… anyways, gotta lot of reading up to do, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism, so excuse me. Looking forward to your next rant.

  72. says

    @Czernobog – they are influential but maybe not in the way you were expecting. If you are an AAA/AA or even an A developer, typically you have contract language that specifies more monies for you if you reach a certain metacritic aggregate score threshold. This is absurd, but it's also something few developers can do anything about (they don't have a lot of power at the negotiation table; this aspect of dealing with publishers is one of the reasons a steady stream of talent has left "big" game development for indies). One shitty score may not screw you, but a handful might. Mind you, it's typically the publishers engaged in the scandalous aspects, and all they are thinking about is sales and "terrific, reviews are good enough that we should hit 5M sales but not good enough that we'll have to pay the developers". Also, sadly, it is not just about journalistic ethics. But then that's because what you are really dealing with isn't a two-sided issue. I'm reminded of the movie Congo – which, yes, sucked – and how the group who is trying to get into a country that is in the middle of a coup. Their guide (played by Ernie Hudson) mentions that coups are a time for settling scores "and we have a lot of scores to settle". Action like this brings everyone out of the wood work.

    @Irrelevant – actually, this isn't gaming's first sex scandal. They date back to the 80s. Far more sordid than this.

    @Everyone who claims to care about ethics in gaming journalism – I've been dealing with/talking about ethical issues in gaming journalism since the 80s. You are all rank amateurs.

  73. Yendor says

    Here is why I support #GamerGate, written about a month ago now:

    Everyone has a different story of how they got involved for/against gamergate and what it is about. Here is mine.

    Although I did not realize it at the time, my involvement in #gamergate began when I started seeing articles alleging that a games developer had cheated in a relationship with a reporter for a games-focused website, and that games sites everywhere, not just the one involved were censoring (moderating) discussion on it.

    At the time, I did not pay too much attention to news that the developer of a game I don't own slept with a reporter whose articles I don't read. The suppression of discussion did bother me a bit — I prefer a free-wheeling Internet where anything and everything can be discussed/debated/etc. It also seemed very strange that sites that allowed fairly major blowups over, for example, conference attendees who made sexist jokes and a game jam gone horribly wrong would not allow discussion of other indiscretions. But I assumed that the Streisand effect (in which a suppressed discussion on the Internet simply becomes more widely publicized) would work as normal. Either way, I didn't particularly care. But then the infamous "Gamers are Dead" articles were released, and I found myself on one side of a war.

    We are all aware of the stereotypes associated with various hobbies and interests — but only the most ignorant actually believe them. During my sophomore year, our school quarterback was not just an engineering major, but double-majored in the liberal arts honors program. This knowledge did not prevent the rest of us from exchanging dumb jock jokes though. Similarly, we know that the stereotypical "gamer" is a 30-year old male virgin living in his parent's basement. Until reading one of those articles, I didn't think anyone actually believed it.

    Some people pay hundreds of dollars for superbowl tickets, plus more for transportation. Some people pay thousands of dollars to golf on a private course instead of a public one. Some people drive 50 miles each way every weekend because the movie theater the next town over is "better" than the one in town. In the case of gamers, it is paying a lot extra to get a nicer computer, better mouse and keyboard, and yes, "Queuing passionately for hours, at events around the world, to see the things that [they] want … to see."

    And yet a series of articles–from people claiming to be games journalists– have presented the negative stereotypes as facts, urged gamers to drop their identity, and urged businesses to no longer market products to them. Imagine for a moment if Golf Digest wrote an article proclaiming that golfers were just a bunch of rich white guys who were too busy abusing their staff to notice that golfing culture had changed because look — over 10 years ago a black man named Tiger Woods won the Masters tournament — and that anyone who wasn't racist needed to stop claiming to be a golfer. Imagine if an anchor of E! reported on a Hollywood premier by saying "There is a whole crowd of losers getting wet in the rain just hoping to get a glimpse of a bunch of overrated actors no one cares about because we just watch it on Neflix now." Take the outrage either one of those events would cause, and multiply by eleven because multiple gaming sites simultaneously released inflammatory anti-gamer editorials.

    Added to the outrage: Most gaming sites banned any discussion on gamergate. A follow-up article that possibly was intended as an olive branch can best be paraphrased as "If you aren't a basement-dwelling socially misfit man-child, you aren't the people the author was talking about". Since the normal places I go for discussion were censoring/moderating discussion, I turned to Twitter (read-only since I don't have nor want an account). I learned that apparently someone had made harassing phone calls to the original developer, and that therefore gamergate, in addition to being socially inept basement-dwelling adult infants, was also a mysonigistic conspiracy angry about an influx of female programmers [News flash: The first programmer of any kind was a woman who wrote code for Babbage's difference engine]. Any attempt to correct this impression was met by "I'm not talking to you until you apologize for your harassment."

    For the record: I have not exchanged personal messages of any kind with either the developer involved nor the reporter involved. I have no knowledge of who did. I do not support harassment by either side. And I have absolutely nothing to apologize for. On the other hand, I have been stereotyped, censored, silenced, and marginalized. I refuse to sacrifice my identity to the altar of political correctness based on ignorant stereotypes and some sort of theory of collective guilt.

    Other things I learned on Twitter: I already knew that half of gamers were women – I learned that over a hundred of them specifically support GamerGate. I learned that the journalists had a members-only mailing list which specifically coordinated their response – an event that would be known as collusion if it occurred in any other industry. Oh, and I learned that #gamergate has "an image problem" in that people seem to think it is about mysogyny and harassment. My diagnosis: our opponents are games writers who have established sites with significant traffic; who were writing anti-gamer articles from the beginning; and who ban/moderate any counter discussion. It is no wonder onlookers have gotten a one-sided view of the situation — and I am unconvinced that changing the name of either my hobby nor my issues will change that.

    Anyway, that was how/why I decided to support GamerGate. As for what I have concluded? I am fortunate to live in a nation where it is legal to make games and legal to play them. And thus, there will always be some people for whom games are their most important hobby. It is annoying to be constantly accused of crimes I have not done, to be accused of political views I do not have, and to be stereotyped, insulted, and moderated out of any discussion of any of the above. What I can do about it: Continue to buy games, continue to play games, continue to talk about games. What else I can do about it: Refuse to patronize websites that treat gamers with contempt, and inform companies whose products I use which websites are treating their customers with contempt. All of these can be done without changing anyone's mind, improving the image "the public" has of me, or really taking any public action at all. But what I'd really like is a games-oriented web site with factual news, sincere reviews, open discussion—- and ideally run by someone who doesn't hate my guts.

  74. says

    Oh, I forgot to mention @Ken:

    1. Beyond Earth is coming out not very good. I'm underwhelmed after like 300 turns over two games. It does one interesthing thing we haven't seen before in the genre but most of it's new mechanics are lacking.

    2. Don't play AoW III without the recent expansion. Ihave not played said expansion, but people who did not like AoW III like it after the expansion. I didn't like AoW III myself.

    3. Wasteland 2 is good.

  75. Liesmith says

    Age of Wonders 3 is a real disappointment imo. Endless Legend is marginally better but really you aren't gonna get a good modern 4x game, and you're best sticking to the old age of wonders games. And don't get me started on Civ 5 or Beyond Earth.

    sorry if this is the wrong place for 4x chat but I don't give even the tiniest shit about gamergate

    PS. Wasteland 2 is OK, much better now they've patched all of California. but Divinity Original Sin is way better.

  76. C. S. P. Schofield says

    I would strongly urge the addition of;

    #11) 90% of all "Cultural Criticism" is bilge, and always has been. Some of the bilge is a lot of fun (see "The Sahara of the Bozart" by Mencken), but it is still largely meaningless posturing, and preaching to the choir. The reasonable response to the charge that some aspect of a culture or subculture is racist, sexist, etc. is "So what?".

  77. Ted H. says

    Would you be a member of a club that routinely tolerated members posting death threats against a rival club on the club's bulletin board? If not, why do you participate in sites where such threats are an accepted part of the culture?

    Twitter hashtags aren't clubs, nor are chan forums. Clubs exclude non-members, these sites include anyone who wants to participate. You've labeled a group through obfuscation and inapt metaphor, which goes against your point #1.

  78. Mist says

    If so, why haven't you turned them in? Do you continue to treat people who use threats and terror-doxxing as friends, or do you treat them as pariahs? If you are proud of your l33t hacker skills, do you use them to attack those who say things you don't like, or do you use them to identify the people who make true threats and threatening doxxes?

    GamerGate absolutely has been doing this wherever and whenever possible.

  79. Max says

    @Yendor
    Thanks for telling us you were posting something long that you had pre-written and so could therefore not address the original post or any previous comments in the thread. Even with just that information I could have predicted you were a GamerGater.

  80. Lokiwi says

    Awesome post, Ken. And the fact that it inspired the shit-show that is the comment section shows just how incapable we are of having rational discussion about this topic.

  81. Divinity Fan says

    One other thing I've noticed that seems to derail debate on this topic pretty quickly is that different cultures disagree on the offensiveness of words.

    Wheaton's Law is "Don't be a dick." You used that word in your article ("trying to be a dick"). Nobody seems to mind using the word "dick", even though it's referencing male genitalia. It's not misandrist to use it.

    If you use the word "cunt", you get two wildly differing reactions. In the UK and Australia, it's just like use of the word "dick", but it refers to a female. In the US, everyone goes non-linear because it's explicitly misogynistic, and never used casually like "dick" is.

    There's a similar problem with words like 'fag'. Apparently on 4-chan it's used so often that it has completely lost any negative meanings. If you like drawing, you're a "draw-fag". The message board where people post their drawings has "draw-fag" in the title. To an outsider, it may seem that you're homophobic at first glance.

  82. A.Nagy says

    Beyond Earth has the problems of being a Civillzation game. By far the best 4X recently to drop was Endless Legend it's not officially released yet but it's farther along it's dev process then pretty much every other 4X game on release.

    This blew up more then normal before the censorship occured. I follow basically all those internet journalism guys and was in on the quinnspircy ground floor when it was pretty much all speculation. The hits on their youtube exploded way more then normal I suspect it was because sex scandle and it was just wayyy more gossipy then most. The censorship was I think what got people really riled up.

  83. asdf says

    hey @Ken! this Official Position of Popehat conflicts in some areas with the OPP posted by @Clark a few days ago.

  84. Argentina Orange says

    @Ken

    But… but… you're the 1A lawyer-guy who isn't a complete asshole :_(

    Re: the issue of timing, how both sides get labeled has a lot to do with when you choose to begin the narrative. The "Five Guys" post only got what little traction it initially got because of the past history with Zoe and WizardChan. Ditto Anita Sarkeesian — if it hadn't been her history with stealing Let's Play videos, nobody would care about her and have tied her into the whole kerfuffle. I'm one of those people who believed that if Reddit, GB, et. al. hadn't gone all apeshit ban-happy that the Zoe post would have died out in days (or hours). But again, you have to look back further to figure out why all the site owners went nuclear. My pet theory is that his all happened in extremely close temporal proximity to "The Fappening" and anyone who happened to be in control of a site with a… rowdy visitorship was on high alert.

  85. Jon H says

    Michael wrote: "The reason is the unprecedented scale of censorship on game discussion forums, and a gaming press (where the targets of inquiry had many friends) began a coordinated effort to label gamers misogynists."

    So, again, why are they harassing Quinn, Sarkeesian, etc, rather than focusing on the journalists? And Sarkeesian has nothing to do with Quinn, and is completely irrelevant to the matter of game journalism.

    That's the misogyny, which is what earns gamers the label. The label didn't come from nothing, gamers *earned it*.

  86. sinij says

    hey @Ken! this Official Position of Popehat conflicts in some areas with the OPP posted by @Clark a few days ago.

    Only official condemnation by Clark could resolve this issue.

    That or trial by ordeal. I suggest ordeal should be the internet lynch mob.

  87. Jon H says

    Divinity Fan: "There's a similar problem with words like 'fag'. Apparently on 4-chan it's used so often that it has completely lost any negative meanings. "

    If it had lost all negative connotation, 4-chan wouldn't use it anymore.

  88. Irrelevant says

    @Grandy

    I was alive in the 80s, but only borderline-sentient, so you'll have to forgive my event horizon not stretching back that far.

  89. Sheriff Fathead says

    @Divinity Fan:

    In the UK and Australia, it's just like use of the word "d***", but it refers to a female.

    Err … no. In the the UK at least (can't speak for Australia), it it still considered the worst swearword, an order of magnitude worse than the F-word. Some people use it casually (at least one tabloid newspaper editor is notorious for it), but not many.

    When it is used, it is most commonly applied to men, as an alternative to, say, "a***hole" — but with added venom.

    When applied to a woman, its misogynistic undertones become overtones.

    (Apologies for bowdlerisation: I'm commenting from work.)

  90. Ahunt says

    Seeing as how this is one of the few sane discussions I have found online, I'm hoping it is okay to ask supporters of gamergate about the demand for "objective reviews." I'm not sure what this means, as I am unable to envision any game review that can completely ignore cultural context and still be readable. Help?

  91. Nathan says

    That's another thing GG says they stand for that needs a good semantic scrubbing. I believe what they're trying to get at is a review of a game without moral bluster and pontificating, without conflicts of interest or letting free gifts from publishers color one's views, and looking at it through the lens of your average game player rather than your own. Also, looking at the game as a game rather than a piece of social commentary.

    It's something that I've had trouble seeing others that are pro-GG use, since it strikes me as an empty buzzword that oversimplifies their shared desires.

  92. Argentina Orange says

    @ahunt

    Christian Gamer has a technique where they give a game two scores: one for the game qua game, and the second that considers is "Christian values" or some such thing. The kind of review that GGers find objectionable is "gameplay is awesome, dev is a misogynist, 3/10 and you are human scum if you enjoyed playing it"

  93. Castaigne says

    @asdf:

    hey @Ken! this Official Position of Popehat conflicts in some areas with the OPP posted by @Clark a few days ago.

    CLEARLY, this shows that CLARK has been REDACTED; behold the NEW OFFICIAL VIEW OF POPEHAT! Obedience to the POPEHAT is obedience to KEN!

    (Yes, I'm making fun. Yes, even of myself.)

    —–

    @sinjj:

    Only official condemnation by Clark could resolve this issue. That or trial by ordeal. I suggest ordeal should be the internet lynch mob.

    YOU know the LAW! TWO MEN ENTER! ONE MAN LEAVES!
    POPEDOME!

    ——

    GamerGaters: Here's a serious question that is of relevance. Good question for discussion.

    If the issue is corruption in gaming journalism, what's with all the alliance with the MRAs? Y'know, Davis Aurini, Paul Elam, the 'A Voice for Men' crowd – what's up with all that?

  94. Thomas McCosh says

    Thank you Ken White. This is the single most sensible post I've seen discussing Gamergate.

    I have a comment: my interpretation of the issues between Gawker and GGers ruining their advertising contracts (whether or not Gawker's hands are dirty) would amount to tortious interference with a business relationship — not an exercise of free speech.

    People keep saying that everyone has a right to express themselves by boycott, but if you look at the 8chan posts talking about Gawker and those stupid tweets, you can see that the 8channers knew the tweets were a joke, and they intended to get Adobe et al. to withdraw ad support.

  95. says

    @Irrelevant – I suspect a lot of people involved here were your age or younger than you, so it's not a crime not to be aware of things that have gone on before. ;)

    Really, though, this ethical issues in journalism of gaming is old news. Some guy – I can't recall his name – wrote a review of an early to mid 90s 4x game called Ascendancy for what was then PC Gamer maybe. Ascendency was a train wreck. It had a lot of interesting ideas but it had huge UI issues and someof it's ideas just didn't work well as implemented. Many listed features were broken and it had plenty of bugs on top of this. And the AI was barely implemented. But this review gave Ascendancy a very nigh score, "A level" (but I think PCG was doing % reviews back then; over 90% basically). Turns out the same guy who reviewed it was also the author of the strategy guide. That certainly garnered attention; whichever mag it was happened to be the only one that gave it a decent score. Outrageous, yes? Another magazine had a writer who some years later gave this guy a column to explain how it all went down. I believe that wrfiter was Martin Cirulis, whose name I might be butchering (he did back page articles in CGW for while that were pretty good; I have no idea if he's related to the guy who was a lead designer or producer on Sword of the Stars). The author of the crappy review for Ascendency basically did a huge mea culpa, He said "I was wrong, it was a bad game, I just couldn't see it at the time" (citing a variety of reasons beyond the conflict of interest). He came off as genuine at the time and it was pretty interesting.

    Funny thing is, this used to get talked about back on BBS's and Usenet in those days (we didn't have web forae just yet), and most of the people then weren't aware of things that had gone on before in the late 70s and early 80s. So it goes. Publishers and to a lesser extent developers have been tempting reviewers -swag, exclusive pre-release/deeper access, etc – since reviews started appearing. This is not the only area of print journalism this sort of thing takes place in, either. This all speaks directly to a number of Ken's points, of course.

  96. Ahunt says

    Okay…but here is my question…

    I did not get into Lara Croft until our heroine ditched the hot pants for cargos.

    Hey, I have no problem with folks who enjoy Teutonic-breasted characters back-flipping around in spanky shorts…but…so not my thing.

    If I am understanding matters correctly, gamergaters would have no problem with reviews that dispassionately note say…the overt sexualization of women, as long as the "scoring" was confined to critiques of game mechanics?

  97. Nathan says

    Ahunt:

    GamerGate's not one person. That being said, I think most would prefer that you have your opinions compartmentalized from talking about the game as a game. Whether this means you keep your opinions to a separate, broader opinion piece, or express your discomfort but don't let it get in the way, or even recuse yourself from reviewing it if it makes you that uncomfortable is up to you.
    .
    That particular topic is kind of unfair to ask an opinion on, given the current environment. Now, on top of any misogyny there may have been, you also have a very strong distrust of radical third-wave feminists from this controversy. I imagine you'd get a lot of comments telling you to stick to walking simulators like Gone Home.

  98. Jon H says

    "YOU know the LAW! TWO MEN ENTER! ONE MAN LEAVES!
    POPEDOME!"

    But does Ken ride on Clark's back? Or vice-versa? And who wears the chainmail frock?

  99. Jon H says

    Argentina Orange wrote: "The kind of review that GGers find objectionable is "gameplay is awesome, dev is a misogynist, 3/10 and you are human scum if you enjoyed playing it""

    Yet even Anita Sarkeesian says there's nothing wrong with playing and enjoying a game that has aspects that are problematic in terms of what she talks about. I don't think it's necessarily about "dev is a misogynist, 3/10 and you are human scum if you enjoyed playing it", but more "dev ought to have been a bit more creative instead of reaching for the tired clichés."

  100. z says

    Great read. Sorry Clark, but this is far more of what I would expect of a popehat article.

    Three notes:
    I suspect that just as it is still fairly difficult in determining how a meme becomes viral and popular, why this took off while others didn't (ie. which school/police shootings make the media) is mostly magic without deep knowledge and hindsight.
    8. I thought it as a proactive defensive action against claims that "you're a white male, so your claim/view is inherently biased and doesn't matter". Agree it's a fallacy and that it won't help prevent their arguments from being dismissed anyway. Better than "I'm not racist, but" at least.
    10. It's not that threats are not ugly, but rather that they are using it as a way to justify claims that those critics are dangerous and misogynist- rather than noting that this is a distressing common thing (used for all kinds of reasons) when dealing with gaming communities/semi-anonymous media in general. Those that have been in those communities are probably not that fazed/surprised about this happening, but they are pandering to those that are not and see it as far more serious/specific.

  101. Jon H says

    Z: "but rather that they are using it as a way to justify claims that those critics are dangerous and misogynist"

    It's not only the threats that make the GG faction look misogynist.

  102. Tom Servo says

    After reading through this, I've come to the conclusion that this is the most long-winded example of concern-trolling that I have ever witnessed.

  103. says

    I guess I don't grasp why stupid ideology in a review is something worthy of a freakout.

    Maybe it's worth criticizing, or making fun of. Maybe it's worth finding another review site. But it's not oppressing you.

  104. Nathan says

    Jon H:

    You are aware Polygon just did that with Bayonetta 2, right? He's not pulling that situation out of thin air.

  105. says

    After reading through this, I've come to the conclusion that this is the most long-winded example of concern-trolling that I have ever witnessed.

    Clearly you are not familiar with my entire body of work, sir.

  106. Nathan says

    @Ken White:

    The concern is with major review sites collluding and sharing a single ideology, and blackballing developers that don't kowtow to their particular worldview. This makes artists and designers less adventurous than they could be, especially because of the importance of Metacritic scores. Simply finding a new site is just burying your head in the sand to the real problems at hand.

  107. Jacob Schmidt says

    The concern is with major review sites collluding and sharing a single ideology, and blackballing developers that don't kowtow to their particular worldview.

    Are there any actual examples of this happening? I gotta say, after more than a decade of gaming, I haven't noticed much change that would indicate devs kowtowing to a specific world view. It looks like people are freaking out over this thing that might maybe happen under some circumstance, but isn't happening right now.

  108. Brendon says

    Great write up. Except one thing. Your link that claims that gawker ridicules women based on appearance goes to an article where they post pics of Renee Zellweger. Except the article does nothing that ridicules her appearance. It just shows a bunch of pics of her saying this is Renee Zellweger. It's a stretch to say that it's ridiculing her based on her appearance.

  109. says

    @Brendon: seriously? You don't think the point of posting a series of pictures of her, at the same time everyone else is commenting on her appearance, and repeatedly saying "these are really her," is a form of trying-and-failing-to-be-subtle ridicule?

    What message did you think they were conveying?

  110. Jon H says

    Nathan wrote: "You are aware Polygon just did that with Bayonetta 2, right? He's not pulling that situation out of thin air."

    That's a gross exaggeration. Try to deal with reality, please.

    Nathan wrote: "This makes artists and designers less adventurous than they could be"

    Because doing the same old shit is *so* adventurous.

  111. Ahunt says

    "That particular topic is kind of unfair to ask an opinion on, given the current environment."

    I'm not sure I understand the "unfairness" of the question. Seems to me to be an effort to cut to the heart of the question of "ethics" in game reviews. If the purpose of a review is to give folks info on which to base a decision on purchasing a specific game, should not the varying tastes of the consumer be taken into account?

    (Full disclosure: tend to rely on the personal "reviews" of more dedicated gaming buddies who know me, and my interests and hardware limitations)

    I'm more inclined to share Nathan's concerns, as I am not remotely interested in seeing games kowtow to any particular ideology.

  112. sorrykb says

    I think everyone's missing the real issue here, which is Ken's inexcusable cyberbullying of Temecula.

  113. Argentina Orange says

    @ Ken White:
    Freakouts are entertainment. There's this website that has awesome freakouts in the comments sections. I think it's called "Mitre" or "Tiara" or something like that. But beyond that, telling people that by enjoying something that they enjoy, they are proving themselves to be bad people tends to irritate those newly minted bad people, especially when it occurs in a forum that is nominally about celebrating this thing.

    @Ahunt:
    I can only speak for myself, but I would have no problem with a reviewer mentioning that they would not ever be playing, say, a volleyball game again because they couldn't get past the over the top Gainaxing, as long as they were honest about how it was as a volleyball game. If they can't get past a particular social/religious/whatever issue, then they shouldn't be reviewing the game.

  114. raphidae says

    Michael wrote: "The reason is the unprecedented scale of censorship on game discussion forums, and a gaming press (where the targets of inquiry had many friends) began a coordinated effort to label gamers misogynists."

    So, again, why are they harassing Quinn, Sarkeesian, etc, rather than focusing on the journalists? And Sarkeesian has nothing to do with Quinn, and is completely irrelevant to the matter of game journalism.

    That's the misogyny, which is what earns gamers the label. The label didn't come from nothing, gamers *earned it*.

    I think the journalists get harassment and threats too. However they've not responded to them very often, whereas Quinn & Sarkeesian immediately plaster them all over twitter and get all their followers to retaliate. Check their twitter feed, compare to, for instance, Grayson.

    Trolls trolling Quinn, Sarkeesian & Wu now know that they are guaranteed to get a response and may even end up in the news and will keep escalating until someone gets arrested, its what they do (for whatever fucked-up reason).

    Also, perhaps you have noticed, Quinn and Sarkeesian were mentioned in quite some news articles that are not very favorable to gamers. Have you not seen the shit Sam Biddle got over his 'bring back bullying' tweet? Have you checked McIntosh' twitter feed or #FullMcIntosh?

    How did Sarkeesian get involved in GG? Well, when the first batch of "Gamers are misogynistic" articles came out, she hopped on the bandwagon and put out a video with basically the exact same message ahead of schedule as to not miss the extra attention. She's been tweeting inflammatory crap ever since.

    Quinn, Sarkeesian and Wu are the subject of most articles written about GG and they make sure to get as close to the center of this thing as they can be. It's easy to see why, because it makes them money. Just like the articles make the journo's money.

    They are absolute morons if they feel threatened and want this to stop or actually care about women in gaming (other than themselves), but they are doing OK if their objective is exposure and supporters. And I have a problem with flat-out assuming that they receive threats and harassment because of their gender and not because of their character (I think its horribly sexist). I dislike these women because I see their manipulation for gain and blatant lies and I dislike that behaviour. It has nothing to do with their private parts.

  115. Goladus says

    GamerGate dialogue relies heavily on labels — feminist, gamer, MRA, SJW, and so forth.

    There is no "GamerGate dialogue." There's a one-sided monologue from media and a consumer revolt in response. The labels not only show up in the media far more often than GamerGate, the media's narrative depends on those labels and generalizations while GamerGate does not.

    Just because you see random commenters using labels an generalizations doesn't mean that's where the core power of the group comes from. GamerGate relies heavily on ideas and principles. "Trust but verify." "Condemn harassment." "Support women in gaming." Other relevant ideas: propaganda, sincerity, transparency, neutrality. GamerGate is primarily focused on specific organizations and occasionally people, not labels. They're going after Gawker/Kotaku, Vox/Polygon. They went after the GameJournoPros mailing list. They went after an individual Brazillian clickbait journalist that was harassing Anita Sarkeesian. They exposed an individual person trying to harass Lawyer Mike Cernovich with a "swatting" attempt. And they acted to stop the harassment as best they could. There is evidence for all of this.

    Labels, meanwhile, are the tools used by the media to marginalize the revolt. They use the label "misogynists." They use the label "women" and the label "in the games industry." They claim GamerGate is anti-feminist, or MRA. They brought the term "gamer" into the discussion. If you took away their ability to slap on more-or-less arbitrary labels, the media narrative would fall apart. But GamerGate would surge ahead.

  116. Nathan says

    Jon H:

    Yes, there was hyperbole in his post, but the fact of the matter is that it happened.

    Jacob Schmidt:

    Yes. The cover of Divinity: Original Sin had to be modified because the woman had skimpy-looking armor, and they received threats to change it or receive only negative coverage from Polygon.

    Granted, I like the new cover better after seeing both, but I don't like the press coercing developers into making games a certain way.

  117. Jon H says

    Ahunt writes: "I'm more inclined to share Nathan's concerns, as I am not remotely interested in seeing games kowtow to any particular ideology."

    You are pretending they don't already kowtow to a particular ideology. Bayonetta 2 certainly does.

  118. Irrelevant says

    @Ken

    I guess I don't grasp why stupid ideology in a review is something worthy of a freakout.

    You're correct that it shouldn't be, but I have an extremely hard time believing that you, as someone who constantly writes about calls for censorship, aren't capable of easily connecting the dots and grasping how people would be just as swift to "disinvite" a game reviewer as a graduation speaker.

  119. Divinity Fan says

    Jon H: "If it had lost all negative connotation, 4-chan wouldn't use it anymore."

    I ran across the term when I saw a gay man self-describing as a draw-fag. He didn't think it was offensive any more. He may be in a minority (possibly younger), but he wasn't homophobic.

  120. Jon H says

    Nathan: "Yes, there was hyperbole in his post, but the fact of the matter is that it happened."

    No, it didn't. The game was given a 7.5 out of 10, not 3 out of 10. The game aspects themselves were lavishly complimented. The developers were not called misogynists. The sophomoric tits & ass was criticized. That is entirely legitimate, because according to the reviewer they add nothing to the game. The developer is free to ignore that criticism. Players were not criticized. Perhaps your conscience is bothering you, but it isn't in the review.

  121. z says

    @Jon H

    It's not only the threats that make the GG faction look misogynist.

    I would remove the "only". Though the point was that some others won't.

  122. Jon H says

    Divinity Fan wrote: "I ran across the term when I saw a gay man self-describing as a draw-fag. He didn't think it was offensive any more. He may be in a minority (possibly younger), but he wasn't homophobic."

    I didn't say it was homophobic. But 4-chan uses it because it's offensive. That's what 4chan *does*. They'd use "badminton" if it was offensive.

    Gay people using "fag" is like black people using the "n-word", it doesn't say anything about the dominant ethos of 4-chan.

  123. sinij says

    I mentioned Brad Wardell's run-in with SJW in the other thread, you can read about it on his blog.

    I mistakenly avoided purchasing Stardock titles because of false narrative that was presented about Brad. Even after retraction and public apology he is still suffering onslaught from SJW. I wonder how many more people are boycotting Stardock because they mistakenly believe this is socially responsible thing to do ?

  124. Bridget says

    Delurking to say that I immensely appreciate this writeup, as well as many many other writeups of complicated cases. I'm not in law myself but I have a strong interest in knowing the basics and law/ethics very frequently intersects with day-to-day dealings.

    So do obnoxious gatekeepers of the geek world who like to quiz me about assorted trivia because clearly a lady cannot honestly like geek-things, she's gotta be faking it for male attentions. I think the widespread geek-issues all came into play with #Gamergate, including the closely-held suspicion that all ladies are just there as some bizarre sort of trap. #Gamergate's big difference from the status quo is that the harassment is much more public and quite a bit easier to keep records and start running numbers about just how many people are targeted, and how many of them are female.

  125. GeoffreyK says

    z:

    Great read. Sorry Clark, but this is far more of what I would expect of a popehat article.

    Agreed! Since we all know that Ken and Clark are mortal enemies, whose primary goals are scoring points over one another with the praise and adoration of their respective fanbases, all while Highlander-ing it out over who gets to rule the Popehat domain, I, for one, think it would be a great idea to have some sort of interactive infographic on the homepage representing their registered fan percentages. Having to read through these endless conversations, just to find out by how much Ken is crushing Clark, is really cutting into my enjoyment of all things Ken, and my time to spend criticizing Clark.

    P.S. I would really like it if "POPEDOME" became a regular thing.

    P.P.S. ^Sarcasm.

    P.P.P.S. In reference to the main body; my love for "POPEDOME" is sincere!

  126. Argentina Orange says

    No, it didn't. The game was given a 7.5 out of 10, not 3 out of 10.

    Considering that the usual cutoff for review-based incentives is a metacritic 8.5, 7.5 is more than good enough to cost the devs money.

  127. pharniel says

    People remember #notyourshield was started specifically by the ZQ hate mob as an astroturfing campaign? The instructions to, y'know, pretend to be an 'Indian cab driver or something' are still on the OP page.

    ZQ asked a great question last night: When can she go home. When is enough for GG to leave her alone? Because she suspects (as do I) that the #burgersandfries logs were correct – The LWs will only be 'let go' once they are dead because GG needs 'total victory'.

    Also too y'all should really watch what the loudest #gg voices are saying because they are pretty much descending into straight up 'clash of cultures' rhetoric ripped from Stormfront.

  128. z says

    @Bridget

    including the closely-held suspicion that all ladies are just there as some bizarre sort of trap

    Uhhh, let's just say your username does not help to go against that suspicion, but probably in a different way than what you intended :P

  129. pharniel says

    @Argentina Orange – Then the devs signed a shitty contract.

    If only there was a large group of gamers who supposedly cared about ethics in journalism with a high public profile who could put pressure on publishers to drop the metacritic requirements from contracts, perhaps by using mail campaigns or boycotts?

    Oh…to dream.

  130. Jon H says

    Argentina Orange: "Considering that the usual cutoff for review-based incentives is a metacritic 8.5, 7.5 is more than good enough to cost the devs money."

    Shrug. That's just setting it up for grade inflation. Which is not good game journalism ethics. The reviewers *must not* be influenced by the devs' bonus arrangement.

  131. Matthew Cline says

    @Argentina Orange:

    The kind of review that GGers find objectionable is "gameplay is awesome, dev is a misogynist, 3/10 and you are human scum if you enjoyed playing it"

    ….

    But beyond that, telling people that by enjoying something that they enjoy, they are proving themselves to be bad people tends to irritate those newly minted bad people, especially when it occurs in a forum that is nominally about celebrating this thing.

    Are there any reviews that explicitly say that? Or is it implied merely by calling the game misogynistic/sexist? If the later, would it be solved by saying "liking a game which is misogynistic/sexist doesn't make you a bad person" every time that criticism was made? Or would you consider that to be disingenuous?

    ———————————————————————————————-

    @raphidae

    How did Sarkeesian get involved in GG? Well, when the first batch of "Gamers are misogynistic" articles came out, she hopped on the bandwagon and put out a video with basically the exact same message ahead of schedule as to not miss the extra attention. She's been tweeting inflammatory crap ever since.

    So then do you, personally, consider GG to be about more than just ethics in gaming journalism? Or do you consider Sarkeesian to be engaging in gaming journalism when she publishes her videos?

  132. says

    I'm still struggling to understand the point of gaming journalism. You can't read about a game without stumbling over spoilers. A journalist's opinion on what constitutes a fun game is no more, and often less, useful than the punters'. I guess if you're the sort of gamer who has to be the first one on your block, games journalism might be handy. Me, I wait six months. If it still has a high metascore by then, it's probably a good game, and it's going to cost a fraction of what it did at release. What, too literal?

  133. Nobody says

    > 95% Of Label-Based Analysis Is Bullshit.

    This is far too low a percentage to be realistic. I lean towards 2000% personally, and I'm still worried about it being on the low side.

    Also, regarding literary criticism, I think we're quite aware of what it's like. Considering events like the Sokal affair and how I got good marks in the assignments they gave for that by churning out vaguely plausible nonsense (the staircase in the advertisement actually represents an echelon), I have not seen anything meaningful enough in the genre to take seriously. I'm not mortified by its existence, but by the number of people who take it seriously, as if it represented a form of rational discourse or anything other than a barely-disguised, overly-wordy, nonsensical opinion with a cheap "academic" veneer.

    In other words, I can't take anyone who takes it seriously seriously. Seriously.

  134. Max says

    Quinn, Sarkeesian and Wu are the subject of most articles written about GG and they make sure to get as close to the center of this thing as they can be. It's easy to see why, because it makes them money. Just like the articles make the journo's money.

    They are absolute morons if they feel threatened and want this to stop or actually care about women in gaming (other than themselves), but they are doing OK if their objective is exposure and supporters.

    And here you have a GamerGater explaining the movement's view. They really do all believe this btw. Check out 8chan.

  135. says

    @S. Weasel – I don't find that to be the case, re: spoilers in reviews (or decent reviews, anyway). I think that a lot of people gravitate to reviewers who have similar opinions/tastes and thus the always elusive "fun factor" commentary does carry some weight5 for them. Less so than that from friends, maybe, but it's not nothing.

  136. says

    I'm amazed at the idea you essentially think anti-Semitism is a "form of cultural or literary criticism" and don't know the difference, because in principle, that's what's happening in Gamergate.

    How can anyone read Sarkeesian's Tweets from a place called "Feminist Frequency" and think she's a dispassionate social scientist or Roger Ebert? Sure, Sarkeesian is analyzing gaming, but in the context of the endemic failures of white men. It's like analyzing Hollywood film violence (which is legitimate and exists) and blaming it on the failures of Hollywood Jews (not legitimate). Guess what, go into a neighborhood and say it's dirty and that's one thing. Say it's dirty cuz of blacks and yes, people are going to lose their shit.

    Saying Tolkien is racist is one thing. Saying he's racist because he's typical of the immense number of white xenophobes and they are all tied at the hip another. Saying Harry Potter is about witchcraft is a different thing altogether. Have you not read Jessica Valenti's and Arthur Chu's anti-white pieces? That's cultural criticism?

    Our becoming this stupid and lacking in perception allowed an anti-white KKK to scour out core SFF as "social justice" and turn it into a gender feminist lake. And how are you going to call out anyone when you don't know the difference between an asshole and a neo-Nazi? You also don't seem to understand the difference between "mocking" and group defamation based on what people were the day they were born. The Southern Poverty Law Center has nothing on their site about mocking or assholes but they do have definitions. I suggest you read them.

    Here's the way non-defamation of a sex or race works: if there is "misogyny" in gaming, you name names, not millions of white "dudebros." I don't portray Sarkeesian's failures as that of women, but of her own and gender feminism's ideology. That has nothing to do with anyone but actual people with actual names.

  137. Nobody says

    I went back through the 'true threats' archive and found this old quote, that seems a bit salient: "This is salutary; it reminds us not to support somebody's bad behavior just because they are on "our side.""

    I think this is key here. I don't support harassment. I don't support unethical journalism. I think that rags that band together to write how their entire audience are neckbearded virgins on the same day should (and hopefully will) go out of business as I certainly won't deign to set foot there. This was not the first time I noticed some of them going off the deep end, for whatever it's worth–I had been boycotting several of the publications for a considerable amount of time before that. Ars Technica and the Washington Post are places that have devolved into clickbait which I will not click. I also think that anyone conveying true threats should be on the wrong end of an indictment.

    I hope that sums things up. Nobody reasonable wants to hang out with crazy haters, whether they're red, grey, pink or blue.

  138. Anonymous says

    2) People have already addressed the "issue" of timing extensively, so I'll skip that. What I'll do is point out that the same reasoning applies to the other side – if you wish to rally against sexism, don't do this in response to criticism of a person who's demonstrably both a(n?) horrible human being and your friend. If you wish to rally against harassment, don't do it by accusing people who've been subject to the same or worse for speaking out against you, without any proof of their involvement. There's simply no reason to believe your cries are sincere and not an attempt to kill the discussion about your own faults.

    3) I only see mockery, not anger, directed at people like Sarkeesian and McIntosh. Look whom you're quoting, are you not falling for our enemy's narrative here?

    6) The enemy of my enemy is my ally. He doesn't need to be my friend. He will stop being my ally when we're on the opposite sides of a debate, but this is not that time. Being a wide coalition is one of #gamergate's strengths.

    7) We know the journalists were colluding and coordinating, so that point is void with this alone. The specific articles may not be a work of conspiracy, but it doesn't matter. Simple elitism and tribalism, especially coupled with contempt of the people who essentially pay your bills, isn't better by any stretch. Not willing to fund people who insult you is now entitlement? (How do you call the journalitsts' tantrums towards their sponsors, their outright demands to be given money, then?) And yes, they insulted us. As in, literally used insults. Why would we not demand apology?

    8) You really need some #notyourshield person to come here and explain it to you. My indignation would be hypocritical when the very idea of the hashtag is that they wish to have their own voice and identity. Cool implication that they're wrong in their opinions, though.

    10) Everything demands critical scrutiny, and this includes claims of being threatened. (This is doubly relevant when a certain Zoe Quinn, for example, has a history of faking harassment, with intent to herself harass people she wrongly accused – which might have beeen prevented if journalists hadn't blindly believed her.) Pointing out that a particular claim is dubious is not the same as disagreeing that threats themselves are wrong. #gamergate in particular has done everything they could (and some perhaps more than they should) against harassment and threats – something I can't say about the other side.

  139. LawDawg says

    You also don't seem to understand the difference between "mocking" and group defamation based on what people were the day they were born.

    I know one difference: mocking actually exists. "Group defamation" doesn't.

  140. Robert says

    I still don't understand Gamergate (admittedly, I'm not a gamer). I even tried reading the Wikipedia page about it, which is now longer than the Wikipedia entry for the Crimean War!

  141. Jon H says

    A brave soul called Anonymous wrote: "Simple elitism and tribalism, especially coupled with contempt of the people who essentially pay your bills"

    You don't pay their bills. Advertisers pay their bills. The website is selling *you* to the advertisers. Once again, a gamergater with an incorrect and inflated estimation of his own importance.

    Also, the tweets at this page that were directed at Sarkeesian sure don't look like mockery, for the most part. They look like angry children making threats.

    "Why would we not demand apology?"

    Because actual grownups wouldn't?

  142. King Squirrel says

    So, Sarkeesian is equivalent to core Science Fiction and Fantasy….. which is a lake….?

  143. RichardF says

    Just because you see random commenters using labels an generalizations doesn't mean that's where the core power of the group comes from. GamerGate relies heavily on ideas and principles. "Trust but verify." "Condemn harassment." "Support women in gaming." Other relevant ideas: propaganda, sincerity, transparency, neutrality. GamerGate is primarily focused on specific organizations and occasionally people, not labels. They're going after Gawker/Kotaku, Vox/Polygon. They went after the GameJournoPros mailing list. They went after an individual Brazillian clickbait journalist that was harassing Anita Sarkeesian. They exposed an individual person trying to harass Lawyer Mike Cernovich with a "swatting" attempt. And they acted to stop the harassment as best they could. There is evidence for all of this.

    Principles? LOL I just find it funny for you to mention principles in the same paragraph as Cernovich, a certified misogynyst and rape apologist who's tried to force a non-involved blogger into either supporting GG or be denounced, and now is hiring PIs to "investigate" Zoe Quinn.

    https://storify.com/stillgray/matt-binder-nails-gamergate-based-lawyer-mike-cern
    https://storify.com/x_glitch/when-the-gamergate-mob-targeted-anil-dash-for-no-r
    https://twitter.com/polurixe/status/525352800554090496

    And that's the problem with GG. Whenever someone calls out the actions of individual members, the typical response is to deflect ie "it's not my fault, we're a leaderless movement", as if that somehow makes it immune to accountability.

  144. says

    "So, Sarkeesian is equivalent to core Science Fiction and Fantasy….. which is a lake….?"

    It's refreshing to know the penetrating wit and satire of Oscar Wilde put at the service of illumination and debate is not a tradition that has died out and that Americans can still make simple comparisons, such as having your hand in a fire is different from having it NOT in the fire.

  145. says

    "'Group defamation' doesn't."

    The Jewish Anti-Defamation League will be pleased to hear from you so they can fold their tents and do other stuff.

  146. says

    I assume that "group defamation" is being used in a non-legal rhetorical sense, since it is not a thing, legally, in the United States. See, e.g., http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/who-can-sue-defamation

    Group Defamation is a thing in some European countries, where it is part and parcel of hate speech laws. Now, I would have thought that support for broad hate speech laws and the notion of group defamation was more of a SJW thing than an anti-SJW thing, but I have been wrong before.

  147. King Squirrel says

    So what "actual people" is the lake? What is gender feminism's "actual name"?

    Is it Lake Gumpamugga and Dori Turnipseed?
    That would be neat.

  148. Aquillion says

    The only thing about this thing that really bothers me is the way some GamerGaters pretend they're speaking for gamers as a whole. Even a glance over the comments here and the way they talk about the nebulous conspiracy they consider their opponents makes it clear that they're united more by their views on modern feminism and so-called SJWs than by anything else.

    The people complaining about Sarkeesian's videos would also benefit from maybe watching them. They were about games, not about gamers. The people who keep telling you you're being insulted are using you, spoon-feeding you lies about their political opponents and exploiting your identity to turn you into shock troops in their culture wars. The nastiest attacks against the gamer identity in this entire blowup come from Gamergate and the conservatives who have latched on to it, since they clearly think that gamers are dumb enough to fall for their rehashed talking points. This gamer, at least, is not.

  149. LawDawg says

    "'Group defamation' doesn't."

    The Jewish Anti-Defamation League will be pleased to hear from you so they can fold their tents and do other stuff.

    It's almost as if you don't know about basic defamation concepts like colloquium. I'll take this as my semi-regular reminder not to engage with freeze peach-ers about actual free speech concepts.

  150. melK says

    Y'know, it wasn't until I got to point 2 that I realized you had NOT stated that "1.95 percent of label-based analysis is bullshit". 1.95% was peculiarly small and particular, but *shrug* "I've not read the post yet, I should judge?"

  151. says

    I assumed the "lake" thing was a reference to the martial metaphor, like "the Nazis have made the Atlantic their lake through submarine warfare." Similarly, the feminists have made SF their fell lake, torpedoing anyone who even THINKS about rebooting the Gor books.

  152. Irrelevant says

    Now, I would have thought that support for broad hate speech laws and the notion of group defamation was more of a SJW thing than an anti-SJW thing, but I have been wrong before.

    "Who cares about long-term social effects when I can secure an advantage by changing the rules? MY side will obviously never lose the upper hand and suffer from the change, because we are just and right!"

  153. says

    I was in fact using it in the non-legal rhetorical sense, and I am not in favor of hate speech laws.

    However it is interesting to look at such laws in the U.K., Brazil, France and India or the Southern Poverty Law Center's definitions of hate speech and hate groups and ask ourselves which side of this debate comes closest to violating such precepts.

    Then there are voluntary rules such as harassment and speech policies based on race and sex at conventions. The revealing thing there is SJWs push the most for that and ignore their own rules the most, since they relentlessly harass and defame whites, men and heterosexuals 24/7 on Twitter and blogs. That is not a matter of opinion and he-said, she-said but of applying neutral definitions and then counting quotes placed from within institutions, e.g., award-nominees, editors, officers of literary organizations, serial panelists, academics.

    In other words it's a matter of making a case based on facts and not someone's "unfortunate" or "privileged" race and gender. I would find it hard to believe courts are saying "Guilty by reason of privilege" or generically present women, gays and non-whites as character witnesses by reason of superior morality since identity supremacy is generally frowned down on.

    Looking at it from a neutral perspective, the so-called racist and misogynist white male SFF community is the one that created the come-one, come-all awards and gave them to Delany, Russ and LeGuin from the get-go. The SJWs have segregated rooms and workshops I can't attend and awards for gays, non-whites and women I can't win.

    When is obvious obvious? It's 2014 and Brown vs. Board is six decades gone. We all need new clocks and old principles. People are confusing an accidental demographic majority and ideology.

  154. Flip says

    @sinij

    This is the key reason why I have difficult time understanding all these accusations of misogyny and sexism levied at gamers. How could you get harassed while gaming unless you personally invite others in your circle, divulge some personal information that could be used to harass you, then do nothing to stop harassment form happening?

    See http://www.notinthekitchenanymore.com/
    It's pretty easy to be harassed whilst playing games – simply by using a feminine name, even after reporting such harassment, and by playing not just with friends but strangers too.

    If you really think harassment and sexism only occurs because people invite it, then you have a really myopic view of the world.

    One other thing (not directed at sinij but the commenters in general) people are complaining that the women receiving threats are posting about it for the attention. This often goes hand in hand with "I don't believe them". It's a no-win situation for the harassed: don't post info about the threats and get called a liar. Do post info and get called an attention-seeker. It's rather an impossible hurdle to meet.

  155. Robert What? says

    I can't say I quite understand what is going on with GamerGate, nor do I actually care a whole lot. Mainstream journalism has been a corrupt leftist "tool" for many years, so why shouldn't Gaming journalism be the same? My only observation is: for those masses angry at the publications: stop visiting their sites completely, let their traffic disappear, their advertising revenue dry up, and let 'em go bankrupt. That will be the only thing that will have any effect at all.

  156. LawDawg says

    LawDawg, you don't need to engage with me but with the Anti-Defamation League. Tell them they're wrong. I'm sure they'll be all ears.

    Nah. I'll engage with you, since you're the one who said there was such a thing as "group defamation" when, at least in the United States, there isn't. Is it that hard to admit that you used a legal term of art incorrectly (in the comments section of a legal blog)? I swear I won't hold it against you. Saying, "yeah, that was silly of me. I'll try not to use that word for a legal concept, when I don't actually mean that concept, anymore" would go a long way towards establishing some open-minded credibility. Your choice to not say that, but, instead, say, "But, XXXXX uses the word wrong too!!!" is some pretty poor debating.

  157. Ahunt says

    " Similarly, the feminists have made SF their fell lake, torpedoing anyone who even THINKS about rebooting the Gor books."

    Spew….naughty Ken. Naughty! And please no…

    Back in the 80-90's, my older sibling owned a comic book/used bookstore with a heavy emphasis on science fiction. It was the place where gamers gathered to run RPG campaigns, play board games, and discuss the latest PC releases. A surprisingly sober lot, every now and then, the spirits would flow, and I recall one convivial evening where a talented theater major did an impromptu "dramatic" reading from a Gor novel. I suppose you had to be there, but use your imagination, Kids. It was sublime.

  158. Aquillion says

    When you say "SJW", do you mean Social Justice Warriors, or Social Justice Wizards? Are they attacking you with their vicious word-swords of equality, or with their hateful incantations of tolerance?

    I prefer to think of myself as a Social Justice Wizard, personally; justice is best obtained through fell sacrifices and dread rituals rather than on the field of rhetorical battle. So I need to know if I am being insulted here.

  159. Nicholas Weaver says

    OK, the glimpse into the mind of a Gamer Gate believer disturb me:

    @raphidae

    Quinn, Sarkeesian and Wu are the subject of most articles written about GG and they make sure to get as close to the center of this thing as they can be. It's easy to see why, because it makes them money. Just like the articles make the journo's money…

    Now perhaps I'm cherry picking here, but serious, man? Is this a troll? Am I being had here?

    Does someone really believe that Brianna Wu is secretly rubbing her hands in glee, making money from receiving credible death threats and having her PII splattered all over the Internet? For what appears to be the crime of a mildly sarcastic tweet?

    Does someone really believe that Sarkeesian canceled her talk because it would be more publicity, rather than multiple death threats at a venue that would not search for weapons? Is she supposed to wait for someone to actually take a shot at her to take such threats seriously?

    Does someone really believe that Quinn wants this sort of publicity? This sort of life and work disruption?

    Is raphidae a parody account?

    Of course, nobody has apparently tried to dox Chris Kluwe for this angry screed, but Felicia Day gets doxxed immediately.

  160. says

    LawDawg, I never used the term in a legal sense nor is there any constraints on this site my terms must be scrimmed through a legalistic sieve you made up out of your head.

    You know what E. M. Forester said about pedants and the Library of Alexander. Or maybe you don't… it's not on the internet.

    Run along now to the Anti-Defamation League. I'm sure they'll be fascinated by your incomprehensible semantics and vocabulary that parses them as wrong all along about rules only you know and having wasted their time on made-up events and wordy chimeras.

  161. Nobody says

    @Flip: I haven't seen anyone not get harassed by jerks online or offline. With a large, anonymous audience, you get harassed by people because they're mad at you, but for the most part they don't even know anything about you. I had one idiot searching for something that would rustle my jimmies manage to teach me at least a dozen new words. The bigger and more obvious your button, the more idiots are going to press it. One thing I can confirm is that if someone is after you, you want less attention rather than more. So don't go for news stories, go for getting them banned quietly. It's far more effective. Most widely-played games have reasonable moderation systems whereby toxic players are removed from the system. The problem is that there's always an influx of new ones, but that's not something you'll stop with any amount of news stories about your outrage. That's flat-out encouragement for them.

  162. Pharniel says

    @Ahunt – Besides the author of GOR is still alive (Which is why it's getting an RPG. Maybe. Indigogo crowdfunding with the settings that even if it's not fully funded the publisher gets some % of the cash) and really, that'd be like rebooting Atlas Shrugged – You're never going to get the right amount of clinically fridge horror noncon fap material to MRA/Evolutionary Psychology speech/Sword & Sandals ratio in much the same way that no one could hope to get the right kind of slide into dystopia sci-fi/political evangelizing/noncon 'conquest' as Ayn Rand. Thanks to Amazon's e-book marketplace you can get all your noncon needs fufilled without any of that political moralizing. Unless you want that. You can also get all the politics w/out the noncon, if you're into that.

    I do wonder just how much classic sci-fi people who think 'sci-fi' became the SJW fell lake have actually read…

  163. Aquillion says

    I missed the bit about sci-fi becoming a fell lake. That fits perfectly! Cursed by the arch-lich of Social Justice Wizardry, the fell lake of Science Fiction now radiates his dread progressive magicks; his wicked skeletal hordes pour forth to assail all that is white and pure. Can YOU dare its frigid depths to recover the sacred Rod of Objective Judgment?

    An adventure for four Reactionary Culture Warriors of levels 12-13.

  164. Ahunt says

    "there's always an influx of new ones"…

    Heh. Which is why I never got past "Ever Quest" when it comes to online gaming. I stick with in-person RPG/board game fun and PC single-player. Not worth the hassle.

  165. Pharniel says

    @Nicholas Weaver

    Poe's law in action. You cannot possibly parody them without actual believers one-upping you. The people attempting to fund "The Sarkesian Effect"; a 'take down' documentary; spend a great deal of time on their pitch video wondering who taught "Antia to smile and act white"

    So blaming the 'literally who's for their own misfortune is low level background gateration. Most gaters are not horrible people, or at least they want to think of themselves as good people, and so the people being stalked and harassed out of their homes must have done something to deserve it, right? I mean..otherwise I'd be a bad person. And I'm not a bad person. So they must want it.

    I wish I was kidding. I worked the IT mines of phone tech support for 9 years – I think two months of this has make the 9 years of idiocy look like brilliance.

  166. Yon Anony Mouse says

    Does someone really believe that Sarkeesian canceled her talk because it would be more publicity, rather than multiple death threats at a venue that would not search for weapons?

    That would be the threats that were reported to the FBI and considered to be non-credible, yes? Or is the FBI pro-GG now? I can't keep track of the battle lines.

  167. LawDawg says

    Run along now to the Anti-Defamation League. I'm sure they'll be fascinated by your incomprehensible semantics and vocabulary that parses them as wrong all along about rules only you know and having wasted their time on made-up events and wordy chimeras.

    No thanks. I'll keep on lawyering, which, honestly, is all about "incomprehensible semantics and vocabulary … rules only you know … and wordy chimeras."

  168. Chennault says

    Many of the commenters here claim GG is all about ethics and dismiss all the bad stuff as minor fringe parts of the movement. The problem is that we can just mosey on down to 8chan's GG board and see that they are more outraged about Social Justice Warriors than ethics (unless you broaden bad ethics to include criticism of GG). These are the refugees from 4chan, one of the major forces behind #GamerGate. Are you guys really going to dismiss them as the fringe? However much you'd like to skip over that unpleasant fact, it's clear that ethics is not the only thing powering #GamerGate.

  169. Ahunt says

    Pharniel, I didn't come to gaming until later in life, as my sib was significantly older, and we didn't reconnect until I was well into my third decade. Prior to that, I considered computers the instruments of Satan, largely because all I had to do was stand next to one, and it would malfunction. That all changed when I found myself in the same city as my older sib, and was introduced to the brightest, quirkiest, and most interesting people of my hitherto flaming liberal existence. Wildly diverse, gender ratio roughly 5-2, I was charmed, challenged and embraced by this new set of friends. Mid 50's now, and I still retain the status of "kid sister," 2000 miles away.

    Among this group, "Gor" and "John Norman" was usually the punchline of a joke, although my sib claims to have once briefly met him at an early con, and found him quite intelligent.

    Don't get me wrong, I did grow up on Heinlein, Norton, Cherryh, Asimov, etc…but science fiction is but one genre I enjoy. And frankly, gaming is not core to my identity. I would miss it, but other aspects of my life will grow to fill the void if it gets any nastier and spills over into the social scene.

  170. Nicholas Weaver says

    Ah, I knew someone would bring up the "But the FBI said it was not credible". No, fuck that shit. Multiple anonymous death threats, and a venue that says "hey, the audience can be armed, sure, have a nice day…", and I too would say no way.

    Its not publicity seeking, its just common sense. These were threats that would be prosecuted under the true threats doctrine, and I'm hoping strongly that the idiot who sent these emails is traceable, and it probably is.

  171. Aquillion says

    @Chennault: From what I can see, many of the commenters here seem to be claiming that GG is all about an attempt to stop feminist Social Justice Witches from using their dread progressive magicks to curse gaming for all time through the arcane sorcery of feminist critiques.

  172. says

    The Anti-Defamation League isn't a courtroom, LawDawg, but the public arena. And they can use any terms they want. If you don't like it, give 'em a ring and straighten them out. I'm sure they'll jot it all down and make the necessary pedantic changes. Maybe you can suggest a name change for them, or suggest a disclaimer after their title like Not "in a very real and legally binding sense" like in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  173. says

    Aquillon, is "using their dread progressive magicks to curse gaming for all time through the arcane sorcery of feminist critiques" the new and improved semantics for ethnic and sexual defamation-lite? Since when is demonizing straight white men, gay Arabs, or black women a "critique"? Sarkeesian lights up tens of millions of people at a go, and so do gender feminists in general.

    And I can read this Pharniel:

    "Every time I break my rule and read a story by some random white guy author I remember why I stopped doing that." – WisCon organizer and panelist K. Tempest Bradford

    "Hard as it to believe, somewhere right now, a white, straight male is explaining to a woman or POC what they =really= meant." – SFWA president Steven Gould

    "I'd say most white men should come with TWs (trigger warnings) for unthinking privileged arrogance, but that's like saying books need TWs for 'contains words'." – SFF editor and Publisher's Weekly reviews editor Rose Fox

    "SFF is, alas, dominated by white westerners," – Nebula and Hugo winning author Aliette de Bodard

    "Not a single white man won an award tonight. OPPRESSION." – SFF author and Nebula Awards Weekend panelist Sunil Patel

    "At @SFWA's #NebulaAwards, only one award went to a white male and that wasn't one of the ones voted on by the membership. #diversityinSFF" – Hugo-winning and Nebula-nominated SFF author Mary Robinette Kowal

    "I'm increasingly less likely to pick up a book if it is another straight white dude story." – SFWA member and Nebula nominee Kate Elliott

  174. ChicagoRefugee says

    I'll start believing that people are really against threats and doxxing when they act like it. Would you be a member of a club that routinely tolerated members posting death threats against a rival club on the club's bulletin board? If not, why do you participate in sites where such threats are an accepted part of the culture?

    Still waiting for someone to apply this same standard to Muslims/Islam. Or transexuals.
    Short of evidence that any given critic has done so, it's merely deliberately disingenuous twaddle.

  175. Aquillion says

    James May,

    None of those quotes seem particularly remarkable to me. People say slightly silly things all the time, especially on Twitter, and heaven knows 90% of the stuff out there is crap in any social movement, but if that's what has you weeping bitter salty tears about how victimized you are by the Dread Matriarchy, I'm fairly comfortable in saying that your claims that you are so terribly victimized by evil feminists ring a bit hollow.

    What I get out of your posts is that you want to be a victim. You are eager — desperate! — to beat your chest and howl to the world about how victimized you are, to reduce yourself to a state of weeping victimhood that we can all pity and pat on the back. I assume that in doing this, you believe that you are modeling yourself after the monstrous Social Justice Warlocks you seek to fight, stealing their dread magicks to use back against themselves; but in practice, since you have defined yourself solely in opposition to an imaginary monster cobbled together from the worst parts of your enemies, you are only turning yourself into a caricature of a caricature, a dread echo without weight or substance.

    Take it from me! As a master of the dread Social Justice Magicks, I have seen how the dread necromancy of which you are partaking can wear away your soul. Many Social Justice Warlocks and Reactionary Culture Warriors alike have fallen victim to the seductive lure of self-affirmation that it grants.

  176. Owen says

    You know what E. M. Forester said about pedants and the Library of Alexander. Or maybe you don't… it's not on the internet.

    Oh. Then…who cares?

  177. Jon H says

    @sinij

    This is the key reason why I have difficult time understanding all these accusations of misogyny and sexism levied at gamers. How could you get harassed while gaming unless you personally invite others in your circle, divulge some personal information that could be used to harass you, then do nothing to stop harassment form happening?

    You can't be so dim as to actually be asking this sincerely. You'd forget to breathe.

    Obviously, "gamer" isn't a condition that holds only while in the act of playing a game. People identify as "gamers", 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is during the period when they are not engrossed in a game, that they take time to use Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever, and engage in the harassment. They may harass in-game, but they may use other means of communication.

  178. Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries says

    Ye gods.

    My 5-year old grandson is an avid gamer. I just hope that by the time he's old enough to understand this utter meshugas, it's done and over.

    Nice piece of writing. It covers ills well beyond #GamerGate, so I'll just quote the relevant parts whenever I run into yet another lunatic.

  179. Pharniel says

    ChicagoRefugee reminds us why this is largely pointless as well as point #2 – everything 'bad' is 'lone wolves' and GG disavows this. Except that GG will utilize the terror and harassment and therefor benefit from it.

    Even better – TT game studio of dudes tweets about meeting Anita and having a good talk with her. Within an hourget's calls to his cell and pizza ordered for them.

    but BOTHSIDES

  180. says

    The concept the Southern Poverty Law Center and NAACP have hang ups about race doesn't carry much water. And it's remarkable how gender-hatred and racism go from bigotry to "silly" with a wave of the hand and the exchange of skin and sex and how even oppression is segregated. In that type of scenario you can wave off anything you wish and pretend even anti-Semitism is made up or weepy tears.

    I'm not going to leave any more comments. One can't solve problems when principle flies about like a weather vane. There's no shared language, no strike zone, no rules, no law. Demography becomes ideology, an ideology with a shared academic language becomes "silly." None of that makes any sense to me.

    "Lone wolf" is or isn't that depending on the race or ideology, not principle.

  181. Pharniel says

    James – thank you for channeling Saint Zak S. – Patron saint of bad faith arguments.

    But good for you for challenging us all with your opinions. Follow your joy.

  182. LawDawg says

    everything 'bad' is 'lone wolves' and GG disavows this. Except that GG will utilize the terror and harassment and therefor benefit from it.

    My goodness, do they love to "No True Scotsman." It's ubiquitous.

  183. Kevin says

    @Nicholas Weaver

    I'm hoping strongly that the idiot who sent these emails is traceable, and it probably is.

    Last time I checked in on the gamergate hashtag (several days ago), the GGers were furiously working on IDing the perp and getting him reported the the authorities in Brazil, where the emails were traced to.

  184. Irrelevant says

    I just hope that by the time he's old enough to understand this utter meshugas, it's done and over.

    Is there an annual contest for most depressing idea? The Hangies or something? Because I think the suggestion here of Seven Years of GamerGate probably wins.

  185. Personb says

    Love the tags at the top and how this seems to be the first time they've been used. Perfectly appropriate after the wasted hours of reading so much nonsense. It's relaxing to finally see some level-headed discussion of it though.

    Hey I've been playing Divinity: Original Sin lately. I love the interactive terrain features – you cast rain/oil and it makes a puddle, then you cast lightning/fire bolt at it and it gets electrified/on fire, among others. Inventory management is a nuisance though. It's probably worth waiting for a major patch.

  186. Nobody says

    Regarding 4chan, I hear there's been a mass exodus to 8chan as their leader, Moot, is anti-GG. Having never frequented the site, I cannot claim any direct knowledge of this. Also, another point regarding "timing" and "chosen vehicle", I would say that most people were not brought on board during the "Zoe Post" but rather when a lot of media types started going crazy over it.

    As Clark noted, there were plenty of battles before that causing tensions to run high. Most gamers caught wind of something funny when there were mass-bannings on, e.g. Reddit and suddenly they were told that they were all neckbearded, mysogynist virgins by a great many gaming sites in a coordinated posting. I know that I certainly didn't even know about Zoe or the rest at first, all I knew was that the gaming sites were ranting about what horrible people all gamers are and hurling insults on Twitter.

    I just want to play games. I don't want anything to do with all the BS. And I'm certainly not going to read any site that thinks neckbearded virgin is an insult. I'm proud of who I am.

    @Pharniel, give me a list of things you believe and I'll find someone terrible who agrees with you. If bad faith arguments is what you believe in, I can find a lot of them….

  187. Pharniel says

    @LawDawg – don't forget 'false flag' and conspiracy theories.

    Back on 9/22 this was my introduction to GG. I left out the dozens of "THE EVIDENCE IS RIGHT THERE IF YOU JUST LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK!" tweets at the end.

    The 'evidence' was…chemtrail crazy. Beyond reptoid. They also have one of their 'sources' a link to MSU (Michigan State University) listed as 'Michigan University' and normally I'd cut some slack except the link has a gigantic "STATE!" logo at the top and colloquially 'Michigan' refers to University of Michigan. It demonstrates how carefully the source was read. BTW there was an 'OP' to 'Peer Review' all the papers submitted to DiGRA.

    You will be positively shocked to learn that actual academics could be convinced this was 1) necessary and 2) a good plan. It's only "on hold" though, pending finding some 'courageous grad students' to go against the Ivory Tower SJW brainwashing.

    You will also be surprised that the United States is currently run by a secret cabal that controls discussions via the media with Cultural Marxism via Feminism via THE FEDERAL RESERVE. Three guesses as to who 'really' runs the country. These people also are the 'real' cause of WWII.

    I also was told that Anita earned her problems because 'games didn't deserve what she did man!' proving the Atwood quote.

    All of these things I learned talking to GamerGate using the hashtag asking about 'what does victory look like *to you*?' and "What is Cultural Marxism?"

  188. Jacob Schmidt says

    Jacob Schmidt:

    Yes. The cover of Divinity: Original Sin had to be modified because the woman had skimpy-looking armor, and they received threats to change it or receive only negative coverage from Polygon.

    Granted, I like the new cover better after seeing both, but I don't like the press coercing developers into making games a certain way.

    For reference, this is what I was asking about: "The concern is with major review sites collluding and sharing a single ideology, and blackballing developers that don't kowtow to their particular worldview." I asked if this has even happened, and the answer is, apparently, yes.

    Several issues:

    That's not multiple outlets colluding. Second, given that Beyonetta 2 got 7.5, it would seem "negative coverage" would likely amount to knocking some points off, or some criticism. Third, threatening "negative coverage" is not coercion. Threatening to criticise certain decisions is not coercion, whether it's of childish sexism or otherwise. Saying "We fucking hate this decision, and will scream that opinion everywhere we can if you go forward with it," is not coercion.

    I am entirely underwhelmed by this example of, and I quote, "major review sites colluding and sharing a single ideology, and blackballing developers that don't kowtow to their particular worldview."

    Quinn, Sarkeesian and Wu are the subject of most articles written about GG and they make sure to get as close to the center of this thing as they can be. It's easy to see why, because it makes them money. Just like the articles make the journo's money.

    Let's accept this as true: Quinn et al. are just riling people up for attention and money by squeezing into the centre of the controversy. So, how, exactly, do they insert themselves into the centre?

    You fuckers. You fuckers let them. You fuckers choose to focus on Quinn et al. rather than anything important to the ostensible cause. So you know why Quinn et al. are at the centre?

    Because, at the end of the day, it really is all about them.

    Regarding 4chan, I hear there's been a mass exodus to 8chan as their leader, Moot, is anti-GG. Having never frequented the site, I cannot claim any direct knowledge of this.

    Moot instituted a wide ban on anything gamergate related. The official reason is that there was too much harassment campaigning going on, which is actually prohibited by 4chan rules. Another reason I consider likely is that Moot just got fed up with all the twaddle.

  189. Aquillion says

    James May, even if you're not replying anymore, I feel I have to answer that last post seriously, because in some ways it cuts to the heart of the matter.

    I can understand your frustration. You're claiming victimhood according to (as you understand it) the Progressive Rules. When I said that you felt you had appropriated social justice magicks, I was really being pretty serious — you seem to see it as just a series of rituals you can perform to invoke Victim Status, which will grant you Protection From Arguments so you can claim victory unimpeded.

    (And I won't lie, there's a lot of people out there who use it like that, no question. But if your argument is "there are dumb people on Reddit and Twitter" and your grand epic stand is against the dumbest progressives you can find on Reddit or Twitter, well… you're not making much of a stand at all. Dumb people are dumb, but to make a meaningful argument you have to be able to identify and confront the heart of your opponent's arguments and not the dumb fringes. Which, yes, applies to #GG too — hence why I am writing this post, because I do feel that at this point you have honestly presented the arguments and emotions that lie at GG's core.)

    I can't summarize the entire history of progressivism or feminism here; and I suspect that even if I did, you would disagree with many of the major arguments. But when you take this caricature of it and model yourself as a point-scoring victim which you yourself clearly believe to be ridiculous — with a list of grievances that amount to "someone wrote a feminist critique I disliked" and "some people on Twitter said mean things" — well, how do you think you come off? You look ridiculous from either angle. I recognize the bare outline of what you're trying to turn yourself into, but it doesn't reflect any part of my own progressive ideology; at best, it looks like you encountered a lot of ridiculous people on Twitter or Reddit or somesuch, and inexplicably chose to model your public identity after them with a few of the labels flipped. They are, most likely, just dumb teenagers who will eventually grow out of it, but you? You're choosing to be dumb. You took the dumbest, most ridiculous people you could find, nodded solemnly to yourself, and said "ayep, I'm totally gonna turn myself into that."

    There's a lot of good arguments to make about the nature of cultural critique, about long-standing injustice or the way culturally-ingrained ideas about race and gender cause problems for everyone (regardless of race, regardless of gender), about if or how to address that and the problems inherent in trying to "address" something that is so deeply-ingrained in people's identities — arguments about when and where it's acceptable for the government to get involved, and what the costs of that can be to other liberties. There's lots of other angles to approach these things from.

    But right now, with this self-caricature? You're tilting at windmills.

  190. Azrael says

    Any accusations of misogyny invariably show that the accuser is full of shit. Anyone who accuses someone of woman hate over obvious breaches of ethics amounting to basically a casting couch and a concerted attempt to cover it up and deflect the issue is mentally disordered or has something at stake, usually a mix of both. Of course we all know what this is really about, this is about SJWs promoting their agenda for more money vs people who don't fucking like self-righteous SJWs promoting their agenda.

  191. Azrael says

    Male feminists invariably have an overactive Protector Complex, what we refer to as "White Knighting". The idea that a female is in any way at harm for any reason is morally reprehensible to the Male Feminist (also known as "social cuckolds") and he will rush to protect the honor of the "lady" (who is more often than not a whore) where no such honor can be found.

    You have no real foundations for your ethics so you base it on vague notions of social equality and even vaguer notions of oppressions which are circularly argued and covered in irrational post-marxian bullshit.

    We will continue attacking you, we will continue harassing evil feminists and their pathetic supporters, and no amount of media manipulation or laws can change that. We honestly just don't give a fuck about public opinion. We are above and beyond the Uninformed Masses. We are superior. We are the Ubermensch and you are the Untermensch. Your slave morality is inherently revolting to us and we will rise and destroy it by any means necessary.

  192. Aquillion says

    Trying too hard, dude. James May's "but what if talking about gender-hatred is a form of gender-hatred?" thing I could take seriously. "We are the Ubermensch and you are the Untermensch" is too silly even for even me.

    (And that's not even what Slave Morality means. Bro, do you even Nietzsche?)

  193. Castaigne says

    @Azrael:

    We will continue attacking you, we will continue harassing evil feminists and their pathetic supporters, and no amount of media manipulation or laws can change that. We honestly just don't give a fuck about public opinion. We are above and beyond the Uninformed Masses. We are superior. We are the Ubermensch and you are the Untermensch. Your slave morality is inherently revolting to us and we will rise and destroy it by any means necessary.

    Assuming this is not Poe, I must thank Azrael for showing Popehat the true face of GamerGate: MRA and NeoReactionary to the core. TOP HOLE, CHAP!

  194. Enbee says

    @Aquillion
    But isn't it just precious? You can practically hear his voice cracking with the cry of "ALPHA MALEZ FOREVER."

    Has someone made a bingo card yet? I feel like Azrael's got someone one negging away from a win here.

  195. William Burr says

    Geeze man, apply #7 to #2 and you'll have your answer regarding timing. Compare, and then you can believe either that masses of people started flipping their shit over a single loose gamey lady, or hey, War Were Declared, everybody come get some. I know which possibility makes more sense to me, but your mileage may vary.

  196. Azazel says

    Betas whine on the internet while alphas stockpile guns and ammo and learn field expedient chemistry, I wonder who will win? ;)

  197. Azazel says

    Gamergate won't end and the harassment won't end until advertisers see that associating with SJWs is harmful to their brand. SJWs never heard of the "Boy who cried wolf". Now it's "the feminist on the internet who cried misogyny".

    Most people who play games don't feel that "muh soggy knees" is a relevant issue. It's an irrelevant notion promulgated by a few annoyingly connected social groups who use it to raise funds. Feminism operates in the same way as the old Churches did: Make up a problem where there is none and then get money for it.

  198. says

    Except that so called "social justice warriors" really do harass people

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyscI9wZ8Bk

    ^Listen here, for a non-white woman who got harassed for real, as in calling her at home not someone said something I don't agree with on the internet kinda harassed

    She got harassed for doing a parody of Sarkeesian

    And this is the elephant in the room

    I don't care what you think about me, or #gamergate or anything else, I just want you to watch that video all the way through, then take note of when it was published

  199. Alex says

    I just wanted to say thanks for writing this, it almost completely depicts how I feel on #Gamergate. I've been sitting on the sideline thinking about the last few decades of game journalism, but also aware of the protection a lot of people are fighting for with regards to women's voices.

    The problem I have personally, is that I don't think anybody actually is able to criticize Anita with speech alone. You mention Derrida and Foucault, but they disagreed with each other and Chomsky disagreed too. It's hard to discuss criticism without acknowledging how culture criticism descended on games. Anita was incredibly pushed by every media outlet as the authority on the subject. Any dissent was caroled into a very unappealing box by many media organizations because of timing and the threats.

    Also, the timing issue is rather prickly. Shouldn't the impetus be on the audience to separate the moderate ideas of a group from the hateful ones when that group is completely fluid? It might be well-wishing, but I just fear it comes down to whoever has the power in the media if it isn't and whether they think the particularly movement is in their interests.

    And on that point, couldn't a completely viable form of GG be about fostering fairness with respect to viewpoints?

    I'm skeptical of this last question. But from what I've read, the mix seems to be of antifeminist and postfeminist elements in the GG shenanigans. I just feel if there was some greater effort on creating dialogue with competing ideas, it might make the moderates peel off from the group. It was just hard to see everyone say "go your own way" when people asked for some greater discussion. Granted, some of that was sexist as hell, but I can't say it all was. That's where I'm left scratching my head.

  200. MB says

    Gamer gate (pro and anti) is the most mind numbingly stupid thing I've come across. JFC. Good post anyway.

  201. King Squirrel says

    Just read that one of the more public supporters of GG as a "consumer group" has denounced the most retweeted GG supporter on the hashtag for harrassment. http://www.twitlonger.com/show/nh2uij

    I would try to figure out how this fits whatever narrative, but can't stop giggling about biscuits and farts.

  202. chris says

    "95% Of Label-Based Analysis Is Bullshit."

    you mean like the way gamergate supporters are labeled as "right wing," "misogynists," and "harassers?"

    oh. its ok when #gamergate people are slandered and broad-brushed.

  203. Giant Robots says

    When your movement hits the front page of the New York Times for harassment, not "journalism ethics", it's time to find a new banner.

    I was THERE on twitter when #GamerGate started trending. It started with harassment and doxxing, and no manner of supporters or good deeds will ever cover that up for me. And I don't even give a shit that the SJWs are just as bad, you've literally made the damn term lack credibility so hard that now I have to use "Hashtag Activism" to describe those mouthbreathers, lest I look like a lunatic.

    I'm fucking terrified to make games now, you know that? To talk about games, to speak about games in any kind of serious or critical fashion, lest some asshole decides to attempt to destroy my life over it. That's what your movement IS, that's how the general public sees you (and ANYONE who calls themselves a gamer now – congratulations!), and if you want to salvage any kind of goddamn "ethics" message, you better find a new banner and group of people to associate with.

    Assuming of course…that's why any of you joined up anyway.

  204. anonymous says

    @sinij

    This is the key reason why I have difficult time understanding all these accusations of misogyny and sexism levied at gamers. How could you get harassed while gaming unless you personally invite others in your circle, divulge some personal information that could be used to harass you, then do nothing to stop harassment form happening?

    I've been called "faggot." I have been called "Nigger." I have been called "Cunt." I have never been called all three at once, but I have been called "Double Niggerfaggot" once, which was illuminating.

    Trust me on this: My chosen name in online venues does not reveal my sexuality, my race or my gender. This does not stop people from making sexual, racial or gendered insults. It does not stop people from making rape threats, and I do not have Admin powers on most servers, so the reason I "do nothing to stop harassment form happening" is because the only thing I can do is leave, and I want to play.

  205. anonymous says

    @ChicagoRefugee

    Still waiting for someone to apply this same standard to Muslims/Islam. Or transexuals.
    Short of evidence that any given critic has done so, it's merely deliberately disingenuous twaddle.

    There are six billion people on God's green Earth.

    I will bet you money at, say, 100:1 rate, up to a payout of $10000 from me if I am right vs a payout of $100 from you if you are right, that I can find not just somebody applying this same standard to one of those groups but in fact to all of those groups simultaneously, on the internet.

  206. says

    I read that as well. I don't know if I would call them the most retweeted GG supporter or even a major voice but I am not terribly surprised by Total Biscuit's statement either. Anyone who has looked at a youtube comments section is probably not surprised to hear Total Biscuit's statement and I don't see anything particularly wrong about it. PFTC is kind of infamous for being obsessive and seemingly to never sleep. I have seen that type before so many times I am not surprised by it anymore.

    As for fitting a narrative I don't think it really fits any narrative neatly, similar to this article. Total Biscuit has been pretty clear on his viewpoint and that it is his own. I imagine most people in this are like that but they don't get the attention paid to them to puzzle it out so everyone is in a rush to push everyone into little boxes mentally. Though I have seen my share of toe the party like join or die crazy. Some people seem to feel a need to make people agree with them and that is rather sad.

    PS: Enjoyed the article. Right now on my deck is most of the same, Awesomenauts, Planetside, Pinball Arcade, and recently UnEpic.

  207. Czernobog says

    So, after reading this comment section, I've come to the (admittedly hasty) conclusion that the very best GamerGate supporters are, for all their positive characteristics, self important windbags with a poor sense of priority. While the very worst are the same people who making online gaming unpleasant.

    Also, I find the notion that opinion-columnists writing their opinions about games should be treated with the same healthy suspicion as every other opinion-columnist; Or that they might be taking into account their negative opinion about an aspect I don't necessarily mind into their overall opinion of a game, to be of far less concern than the Japanese government trapping a giant flying turtle in a rocket and launching it into space. #GameraGate.

  208. Martijn says

    Excellent analysis, Ken! It's baffling to see so many GamerGaters in the comments still trying to justify their membership of a group so clearly associated with (because it started with) misogyny, doxxing and threats. Read the article again, people.

    The defense that GamerGate is really about corruption in game journalism doesn't sound very credible when the only "corruption" you attack is when it involves either female developers or female journalists, and usually indie games, and you ignore the very real corruption of the influence big publishers' advertising budgets have on game journalism. In fact, more often than not, I see GamerGaters leverage that kind of corruption in order to silence people they disagree with. Like pressuring Intel to withdraw advertising because of that Leigh Alexander "Gaming is dead" article. An article I strongly disagree with, by the way, mostly for suggesting that GamerGate is representative for gamer culture; it isn't. Many, many gamers are very nice and inclusive people who care about equality and social justice. GamerGate is just a very loud but small, reactionary part of it.

    How out of touch they are is easily demonstrated by the fact that they consider "social justice" a bad thing and even an insult. Accusing someone of being a "social justice warrior" sounds to most people like you're accusing someone of being a decent person, of fighting for a worthy cause. What kind of person is against justice, social or otherwise? And of course there are also bad people who use social justice as an excuse to unfairly attack people they don't like. I've seen that happen several times (for example as part of the equally stupid "ConsultancyGate" following the release of D&D, where some very pro-LGBTQ people got accused of being homophobic and transphobic, mostly because the attackers didn't like them and needed some cause to rally support). But those people get criticized by other SJ people, and generally people who care about such things try to correct such abuses.

    (By the way, what's with those Gates? It looks like we can safely discard any cause as nonsense when it calls itself SomethingGate. Watergate was a real scandal, named after the building where it happened. Any "scandal" that needs to refer to that in order to claim credibility probably has none.)

    So how is GamerGate different than SJ in this regard? For one thing, "social justice" actually means something, and meant something before some idiots did stupid things with it. GamerGate started off right away with the attacks on women, doxxing and threats. It is to most people pretty much what defines GamerGate. Choosing to associate yourself with that label kinda means you agree with the attacks, the doxxing and the threats. If you don't, are you standing up to it in your own community? Do you criticize the people who do that in your community? Or do you only really disagree with it when you're talking with outsiders who disagree with it? You need to correct this stuff in your own community, if you honestly believe GamerGate has something of value to offer. As long as you're not attacking this blight on your community, I can't believe you truly disagree with it.

  209. Jordan D. says

    First off, I'd like to thank both Ken and Clark for writing their respective articles. I have no idea why anyone thinks these posts are or must be in opposition to one another. They both look like they contain elements of truth!

    Second, it's sort of disappointing how completely the factual descriptions of this saga differ. At this point I'd sooner trust a die-hard member of a Republican or Democratic caucus to describe the other side than anybody to summarize the history of GG. I appriciate a statement of the facts slanted toward your side as much as anyone, but Jesus.

    Third, my original comment was going to be something where I quoted Scott Alexander and bemoaned the lack of the Principle of Charity, but that's both sort of obnoxious by itself and I think maybe I was missing the point. The more I look at GG, the more it looks like the thing was born of and is now fueled entirely by the lack of charity. I've heard it said that arguments are soldiers in a greater war, but this seems more like (to abuse Aquillion's metaphor) the SJW Evil Clerics and the Anti-SJW Corrupted Archwizards have built their armies entirely out of anti-charity elementals and are duking it out over the Plains of Hyperbole.

    It's sort of beautiful to watch, in some respects: 'Your movement is fueled entirely by misogeny and literally nothing else!' 'No, there's no such thing as misogeny! In fact, anyone who says that must themselves be a misanderist!' | 'You don't actually care about women! You just want to use your progressive wiles to take over my culture peicemeal!' 'Don't be absurd, we have absolutely no intention of doing that! Anyway complaining about what we're going to do to your culture is definitionally the act of a bigot!' | 'You associate with the purveyors of death threats or at least benefit thereby! And by benefit, we mean in some sort of obscure hard-to-see way!' 'No, we are the most firmly against death threats of them all! Also death threats aren't even very threatening and you're just overreacting for publicity!'

    This is how I know Clark is right about this being a culture war. Virtually nobody on Earth holds positions like that ab nihilo. Pro-GG and anti-GG arguments are literally about the argument itself rather than any material ends. You only develop positions like that if defeating the other person is, in and of itself, the end.

    (PS: We should standardize the argumentative D&D classes going on here. If the pro-SJW turn out to be arcane casters when I labelled them as divine casters I'm going to be so embarassed)

  210. says

    Oh my lord, the Chronicles of Gor! I hadn't thought of that in years, Ken. I gave it a fair shake; goodness knows I did. I think I got almost twenty books in before it finally tripped every last one of my misogyny defenses. I don't even think I pitched that last book across the room, but I wouldn't swear to it.

  211. babaganusz says

    @Ken White, Esq.

    Jack and Jill made $150 million, motherfuckers.

    no matter what else happens Below The Line, it will have been worth it. thanks again for all you do.
    @sinij

    How could you get harassed while gaming unless you personally invite others in your circle, divulge some personal information that could be used to harass you, then do nothing to stop harassment form happening?

    you seem to have no idea how actual trolls operate. it's almost touching.
    @Czernobog

    #GameraGate

    it's not every day i experience timely MST3K nostalgia. thank you!
    @*el

    Of course we all know what this is really about

    yeah, boy, harsh toke of Reality. ooo i can't wait to see the next ~angelic~ name you pull from your old(?) Demon: The Fallen campaign. or r u NephilimGTOW?
    @Castaigne

    Assuming this is not Poe

    kid's a stretch either way.

  212. sinij says

    @anonymous

    Trust me on this: My chosen name in online venues does not reveal my sexuality, my race or my gender. This does not stop people from making sexual, racial or gendered insults.

    Your experiences, in some circumstances, mirror my own. Specifically, built-in voice chat in any FPS game is a cesspool of filth (and I turn it off by default). You cannot attribute this to anything other Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. This is often confused with sexism, when in reality it is targeted at everyone.

    @babaganusz

    you seem to have no idea how actual trolls operate.

    What trolling has to do with gaming and/or misogyny?

  213. anonymous says

    @Sinij

    You cannot attribute this to anything other Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. This is often confused with sexism, when in reality it is targeted at everyone.

    I have heard this sentiment before, but I find it unconving. When you use perjorative X, you are implicitly saying that X is a bad and/or low-status thing. I am not, myself, black, but that doesn't prevent me from realizing that if you're using the n-word to describe somebody you do not like, you're essentially saying "You are like [n-word] and therefore you are bad."

  214. sinij says

    @anonymous

    When you use perjorative X

    I disagree with your analysis. These words are used to get a reaction out of you. Status works differently in online spaces, as such traditional definitions do not apply. If they find you react to "lollipops and sunshine", then your chat will be filled with these.

  215. Drakkenmensch says

    Is it just me, or does day by day the Gamergate arguments and methods to demean and harass women with opinions looking more and more similar to those of the Taliban?

  216. Aquillion says

    Someone above said that they hadn't seen any critiques of Tropes vs. Women; how hard did you look? It only took me a few minutes with Google to find this fairly in-depth coverage: Here.

    There's a lot more, but most of the in-depth discussion is on feminist blogs… which is to be expected given that there isn't really much of a videogame literary analysis world at the moment. The people who are talking about what games mean and how they affect the world are mostly just bloggers, and most of those focus on one game at a time.

    Now, there were also a lot of people whose reaction was "how dare she say this! This whole feminist analysis thing is bullshit and applying it to games is double-bullshit!" And there were some people who said that at greater length by trying to find as many reasons as possible to ignore her. And that's… well, if that's your opinion, fair enough, but I don't think it's a very useful response. The link I posted is the kind of actual in-depth reply you'd expect to see in the literary world.

    (Again, it strikes me as a bit odd to expect to see that from anywhere but blogs like that, since for the most part gaming doesn't yet have much of a pool of that kind of broad-based literary analysis. This is part of the reason Tropes vs. Women attracted so much attention.)

  217. A. Nagy says

    Words of have different meanings in different groups when fag is used as a tag on to something Draw-fag or whatever you want to use. You are implying that they like Drawing so much that they would have sex with it, even if this makes no sense what so ever. Which of course means people wear their obsession with pride. Is it meant to be an insult often? yes. Is it homophobic? I really don't think so. Can it and is it used homophobically on the internet? yes of course.

    As far as compound swearword's go I'm pretty sure niggerjew was most common insult used in DoTA. I'm not going to argue this isn't racist because it certainly was.

  218. anonymous says

    @A. Nagy

    Words of have different meanings in different groups when fag is used as a tag on to something Draw-fag or whatever you want to use. You are implying that they like Drawing so much that they would have sex with it, even if this makes no sense what so ever.

    I would be careful talking about what 4chan means and/or does not mean to imply with their word choices. While it looks like the internet idiot machine,* there is a lot of subtlety and culture that you won't pick up on unless you visit for years.
    .
    *Mainly because it is the internet idiot machine

  219. says

    I did have one specific question for Ken regarding the 5th paragraph of #10.

    What exactly would you need to see to convince you that people are against threats, doxxing, harrassment, etc. I ask because if you ask some supporters of Gamergate who do say they are against those things they would point to some of the efforts they have made such as banning such users from message boards, reporting twitter posts, trying to find out the identity of the Brazilian reporter who allegedly made some previous threats in this mess, and identify some outside groups claiming responsibility on their IRC blogs and message boards.

    So, from what I have seen they do treat them people doxxing, sending threats, etc. like pariahs, if for no other reason that it is in their own interest to do so. However the discussion keeps coming back to that. Is it just a failure on their part to publicize it or is there something more you are expecting? I just sort of get the feeling that no effort to police people trying to use the gamergate name for violence will ever be enough.

    Unless the GamerGaters all break out in coordinated musical numbers every time they get a harassing twitter account shutdown that is. No one can stand against a musical number.

    PS. If I have mis interpreted this part I apologize.

  220. Argentina Orange says

    @pharniel, @ Jon H:

    Then the devs signed a shitty contract.

    Shrug. That's just setting it up for grade inflation. Which is not good game journalism ethics. The reviewers *must not* be influenced by the devs' bonus arrangement.

    Be that as it may, you have a situation where a) a small number of people have direct control over a third party's compensation and b) they explicitly state that their control over this is going to be affected by the political outlook presented. If random twitter trolls can have a silencing effect, how can someone who has control over your income stream not?

  221. Argentina Orange says

    Honest question:

    Why is 8chan used as the example of #gamergate as opposed to /r/kotakuinaction?

  222. pharniel says

    @Argentia Orange
    Because the latter is the result of a contract you signed and the first is an organized hate campaign.

    I mean..three women have formally left the industry specifically because of gamergate harassment. That's benefiting the rest of Gamergate – because Felicia Day was scared to even talk about it for fear of harassment (and her fears were realized shortly after she did) the massive pile of harassment directly benefits gaters in the public space because of the terror anyone who is female and against them feels. This is literally terrorism – the use of fear to suppress dissenting voices from speaking.

    A developer who signed a contract that says a bad reviews pay them less isn't terrorism it's a shitty contract that the developer signed with a publisher that the publisher is then using to boost reviews. Now the devs can attempt to guilt trip the publications with the whole "hey, this bad review takes food out of my kid's mouth, can't you cut me a break?" or a publisher can simply blackmail a journalist into giving a bad game a good review – since there's public precedent for having a reviewer fired if the publisher doesn't like the score.

    But none of that actually matters in the dev case.

    If you design an RPG with a string bikini on the front and then ask my game site to review it and I tell you "Not with that cover" no one is silencing you. Your game is still getting made, you are still free to release it and I can, if I choose, still cover it.

    Unless I own every review site on the planet you can take it to FATAL&GORFans.com or RPGmonthly or whatever. If you think that my site reviewing your game is make or break for the product and you decide to change something that is a calculated business choice. This isn't censorship. This isn't harassment. This is how the market works.

    Contrast with the gater signature move – person says something they don't like. Gaters are offended. Instantly attempt to dox, harass, and in the case of the LW attempt to drive to suicide and or ruin carrier. Because they didn't like a joke a woman passed on (Wu) or an article a woman wrote (Alexander) or a game a woman made (Quin) or…

    I'm not sure why you are having problems with the idea that the social and ethical rules for business interaction can and are different than the interaction between private individuals.

    I mean….the whole 'paying you by metacritic' is shitty but the devs can't do much.

    If only there was a large, energized and active consumer movement ostensibly about improving ethics in video games that could, perhaps with some organized projects, contact the publishers about this ethical dilemma that is a very real potential failure point in video game reviews.

  223. pharniel says

    @Argentia Orange
    Both are often cited, specifically by the Boston Globe, but 8chaners typically use less code words. Many in kia are saying the same things but they're using dogwhistles because "PR man!" while 8chann (and now Stormfront) users let their flag fly and don't mealy mouth things.

    Also too, 8chan tends to be where ideas originate from and then kia is more of an aggregator – once a policy/op is ready to go it'll be announced there though to be fair some ideas do spring from kia but the vast majority of actions are being decided on twitter and 8chan.

    [edit – missed a c in once]

  224. Aquillion says

    Asking for reviewers to take the impact their reviews will have on the revenue streams of the people they are reviewing into consideration is literally asking for corruption. That is one of the things that reviewers should absolutely never, ever, ever consider, and I would say that a reviewer who admits to giving something a better review because they wanted the people who made it to make more money ought to lose their job.

    Reviewing things based on what you think of their message, meanwhile, is entirely proper and normal. This is something that is common, for instance, in literary reviews — when a reviewer feels that a particular work carries a detestable message, it is not uncommon for that to be the entire focus of their review. It has only been rarely-seen in videogames until now because so few games have explicit messages; but that is, thankfully, changing, and reviewers are changing to match.

    If you don't feel that a reviewer's opinion matches yours, don't read them. If you don't want the vague handwavy average of every reviewer's subjective opinions, don't consult metacritic. But a reviewer's job is to give their honest personal opinion on whatever they are reviewing; no more and no less. Anything that makes them give a dishonest opinion (like worrying about what it would do to compensation according to whatever arcane rules the publisher sets) is a violation of journalistic ethics. Saying "I found this book be terrible because it sends a reprehensible message" is absolutely not; that sort of review is entirely normal.

    Seriously. "They should worry more about how much money game developers think, and let that override their opinion on the game" is literally asking for reviews to be less ethical (and, maybe more to the point, less useful. Why would anyone ever trust a review with a score intended to help the game's designers make money?)

  225. says

    My goodness, do they love to "No True Scotsman." It's ubiquitous.

    I've been working to get the No True Scotsman fallacy re-named the That Ain't GamerGate fallacy.

  226. Argentina Orange says

    @Aquillon

    But a reviewer's job is to give their honest personal opinion on whatever they are reviewing; no more and no less. Anything that makes them give a dishonest opinion (like worrying about what it would do to compensation according to whatever arcane rules the publisher sets) is a violation of journalistic ethics. Saying "I found this game to be terrible because it sends a reprehensible message" is absolutely not.

    I'm not certain that yours is the majority opinion. "Triumph of the Will" and "Birth of a Nation" still get mentions in film class (at least they did back in the dark ages when I went to uni) specifically without regard as to their viewpoints but as cinematic history and technique. Likewise, I don't remember a chef's politics ever forming a part of a restaurant review. To be fair, they do get praised for being locally sourced, Fair Trade, Organic, etc. so there is at least some vague politics there, though at least some of that is more a "local/organic/FTC is healthier/tastes better" as opposed to "this chef is on our team, buy from him." There isn't much (any?) politics in theater reviews, but that's probably the result of extreme homogeneity in both the creators and consumers of the art form. Video games may be a edge case of the disconnect between the consumers and the critic class.

    Christcenteredgamer gave The South Park based "Stick of Truth" a game score of 87% coupled with a moral score of 0%. Which I personally find an excellent solution. Your idea that they should have just run the 0% score and the consumer should understand that they felt that way because they are Christians, and I should just find a critic with my personal values would be great… if there was such a person for me to follow, or if the gaming publication was explicitly dedicated to a political/moral niche of gaming. But if you are supposedly reviewing for a non-hyphenated gaming publication, then I would suggest that you should be reviewing it from that point of view.

  227. Nathan says

    So here's the brand of intellectual rhetoric I'm seeing here. Apparently, as someone pro-GG, I vehemently hate women and them playing games with me. Guess I better tell my female friends I have added on XBL and Steam to get back in the kitchen and off of my video games, then. Who knew that all along, I secretly loathed the fact that they would share an interest in sandbox games, FPSes, and 4X titles with me? Apparently the hours of fun I had gaming with them clouded my inherent white cis misogynerd nature. Shucks.

    Apparently because game reviews have always been shady, we should accept it. After all, progressive thought and "the right side of history" has always been steeped in dismissive apologies for the status quo, right down to Upton Sinclair's literary shrug at the treatment of workers meatpacking industry. Why bother, right guys? It's just the way things are.

    Apparently I have a burning hatred of women deep in my heart because of the actions of a fringe of my group and third parties such as Weird Twitter, FYAD, BWC, and the GNAA. I mean, the next time someone that's a registered independent beats his wife or kicks his dog or shoots his mother, I will have a written apology for every single one of you, since I made the poor decision to hitch my wagon to that vile reg

  228. Nathan says

    So here's the brand of intellectual rhetoric I'm seeing here. Apparently, as someone pro-GG, I vehemently hate women and them playing games with me. Guess I better tell my female friends I have added on XBL and Steam to get back in the kitchen and off of my video games, then. Who knew that all along, I secretly loathed the fact that they would share an interest in sandbox games, FPSes, and 4X titles with me? Apparently the hours of fun I had gaming with them clouded my inherent white cis misogynerd nature. Shucks.

    Apparently because game reviews have always been shady, we should accept it. After all, progressive thought and "the right side of history" has always been steeped in dismissive apologies for the status quo, right down to Upton Sinclair's literary shrug at the treatment of workers meatpacking industry. Why bother, right guys? It's just the way things are.

    Apparently I have a burning hatred of women deep in my heart because of the actions of a fringe of my group and third parties such as Weird Twitter, FYAD, BWC, and the GNAA. I mean, the next time someone that's a registered independent beats his wife or kicks his dog or shoots his mother, I will have a written apology for every single one of you, since I made the poor decision to hitch my wagon to that vile registered independent train. How dare I?

    Apparently the words of a Boston Globe reporter who is on record openly advocating for the genocide of Syrians is superior to anything I have to say. I mean, some of them have penises, so he's not a bigot, right? Listen and believe, nerd.

    Apparently all that is needed to be seen as a serious revolt by a defensive and hostile press is a new name. I can hear it now, the resounding applause from Gawker, to the New York Times, to Wired. GamerGate has a new name! Huzzah! The barbarians at the gates have found civilization at long last! Let us now put behind us the months of libelous articles and cover the issue in a fair and dispassionate manner.

    This entire conversation has given me sympathy for the lobotomized. Youtube is looking at this comment section and questioning its faith in humanity. Ken, anyone at Popehat, if you want my information on the one that recently harassed Anita, then email me. The rest of you, in the famous words of feminist indie dev and Friend of Zoe Phil Fish, can suck my dick and choke on it.

  229. A.Nagy says

    This whole debate draws so much strawmanning it's insane. It never had anything to do with Quinn's game it had to do with her being in a relationship with someone who gave her game positive press. If you see people mocking her game it's because it's basically an html version of a choose your own adventure book and the controversy made a bunch people curious enough to download it and check it out. I mean I have heard people saying IT'S NOT A REAL GAME but I hear the same thing about VN's which I enjoy, shit I hear people say that Smash Brothers and way more often too.

    @anon

    I have been on 4chan on and off for years I spent a lot of time in college on it…now I just get linked amusing threads from friends a few times a week.

    Being an ____-fag translates to obsessed pretty well, it's not exact but close enough.

  230. Garritt says

    tl;dr = Some criticism of just #s 1 and 3.

    In #1, I agree that people could be "talking past" each other, but that is not the same thing as engaging strawmen since both types of "feminists" *actually exist*.
    And single-word labels (Libertarian, Feminist, Christian, etc) aren't "lazy" as much as they are "imprecise". Some atheists, tired of having to engage in longer explanations of their atheism, have started using "agnostic atheist" or "gnostic atheist" to "shorthand" part of the explanation of which type of atheism they practice.
    Just as with other prejudices (which, psychologically, are just a *starting point* for developing a personality profile when meeting someone), most people *stop thinking* when they hear the one-word descriptor for which they already have a mental profile. That is where people get "lazy" – not in the USE of single-word labels, but in their INTERPRETATION.

    In #3, you glossed over the part that the most coherent Sarkeesian detractors are most furious over: SHE **LIED**. You mention it as if it is no big deal. Personally, I would have applauded her if she had been able to prove her thesis with factual data. The money she made on Kickstarter (or whichever program she used) is a moot point – people paid their money for her to make her "investigative" documentary. If the result had been a documentary that said "I did not find what I expected, but here's what I found", her situation would have been reversed – with the side currently supporting her against all criticism instead flaming her for not supporting THEIR prejudices. Sarkeesian chose a lose/lose battle… and lost.
    I've already gone on too long, but thanks for posting this. It was an interesting read.

  231. King Squirrel says

    @Furluge

    I don't know if I would call them the most retweeted GG supporter or even a major voice but I am not terribly surprised by Total Biscuit's statement either.

    I was looking at the Twitter metadata for October 21-23. During that period, Fart was the most retweeted on the GG and NYS hashtags, period. You could find data for other dates with Twython though – maybe it would be a different story.

    from what I have seen they do treat them people doxxing, sending threats, etc. like pariahs, if for no other reason that it is in their own interest to do so.

    Don't know that the facts fit that narrative. That is not to say that they fit the "all GG condone harrassment!" story either.

    To use the example of Fart, here is a discussion on his case at Kotaku in Action:http://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2khwsw/totalbiscuit_is_talking_about_prominent_gg/

    Looks like a mixture of get-rid-of-him, get-rid-of-him-when-this-is-over, this-is-not-important, and this-is-our-enemy's-fault to me. Pariah fits Fart about as well as Best Friend does from the look of it.

    Fart.
    fartfartfartfartfart FART!!!

    (dear god, I am still 12 years old)

  232. SadPanda says

    I keep trying to figure out what to think about #GamerGate, but it feels like trying to keep your footing on the beach as the tsunami rolls in. Or perhaps as it rolls back out, pregnant with planks and bodies and shit.

    One thing though; as soon as someone complains about Anita S. disabling comments on her videos, I know this is a person whose opinions can be safely ignored. Youtube comments aren't a forum for sane discussion. Lots of major channels disable them to avoid endless spam and trolling. If you think that's some sort of censorship or unwillingness to engage in discussion, you're not being intellectually serious.

  233. Ryan Long says

    Uh, Anita Sarkeesian actually offers *fact-free, sex-negative, regressive, anti-porn, anti-nudity, anti-male feminist criticism* of gaming. She has no proper credentials in psychology or neuroscience to make the claims she does. Social science doesn't support her ideology. She capitalizes on and promotes the harassment she receives. She takes advantage of tragedies to blame culture for society's ills (as she did with a recent school shooting). If her ideas were put into practice it would basically result in a Hays Code for gaming. She's also completely underhanded. She refuses to ever address valid criticism, and conflates it with the random troll harassment she receives. She also steals content, and plays games incorrectly on purpose to lie and make them look bad outside of context. Her boyfriend, writer and producer Jon McIntosh has similar b.s. views, and they appear to work as a team tweeting out incendiary, nonsensical statements blaming violence and rape on pop culture media every day.

    Look basically, she's a lot more like Anita Bryant than Rosa Parks.

    Yet the gaming press continuously shoves her in all our faces as THE face of feminism in gaming. They accept her uncritically and help her bash all her detractors. I really resent the fact that gamers are constantly told we don't like Anita because SHE makes US flip out. Um, it's very much the other way around. I've been a gamer for thirty years. By and large, we WANT to discuss gender in video games. Many of us support diversity and inclusion very much, in both the games themselves, and the industry workforce. The idea that gamers are all entitled white males who lose their shit whenever someone mentions women in gaming is a STEREOTYPE. Try coming at gamers in good faith, with logical arguments and evidence, while ignoring the trolls rather than amplifying them for once.

    Also, try disagreeing with Anita or her fans in a completely civil way, and see what happens. Anita ignores you, and her fans dogpile and scream "MISOGYNY". Anita peddles stereotypes and moral panic that only makes it harder to have those conversations. And she intentionally draws negative attention to herself like a lightning rod. So if you ask me, the biggest obstacle to tackling gender issues in gaming is actually her.

    If you want to read a good analysis on everything wrong with her work, I found this: http://gamesided.com/2014/09/08/sarkeesian-truth-part-1-straw-feminist-trojan-horse-censorship/

    And it's the only thing like this I've ever found, because as I pointed out already, the gaming press just takes her word for everything and presents her as the one, true, monolithic face of all feminism; and nobody is allowed to take issue, lest they get smeared and abused.

  234. One Guy Or Other says

    Hmmm…

    "Every time I break my rule and read a story by some random white guy author I remember why I stopped doing that." – WisCon organizer and panelist K. Tempest Bradford

    Quoting this and all the ones underneath earns a "Stop claiming to be a victim, stupid honky." One in short form, one in long form.

    As usual, this response misses the point entirely. It's become commonplace, so it's rarely challenged, but it misses the point.

    If racism and sexism are very bad things, then they are very bad things regardless of the race or sex to which they are applied. The idea that certain kinds of racism and sexism are acceptable, even necessary, is itself racist and sexist (implying as it does, a moral superiority of one race or sex over another). Which makes it a very bad thing.

    To point out that a very bad thing is a very bad thing is distinct from claiming one has been victimized.

    If a black person calls me an "ofay piece of s…", does that mean that I have suffered anything close to what blacks ate on a regular basis in the Bad Old Days (and continue to suffer, according to some)?

    No, no it does not.

    Does it mean that the black person who called me that is a racist and should be called out as such?

    Yes it does. Because racism is a very bad thing.

    The response "it's not possible to be racist against whites because power structure, etc." is a lovely piece of sophistry. I'm sure everyone who uses it sleeps better at night thereby. But as the OP, says "…most of the real world thinks it is an unconvincing rationalization."

    This is the diktat that drives GamerGate. This is the doublethink that has these people furious. If you read those quotes above and thought anything other than 'What a bunch of a*****les", then you have drunk too much of the koolaid. If you read them and thing "I should take their positions on racism and sexism very seriously, VERY SERIOUSLY INDEED," then you are passing the koolaid out.

    Because you can only say "Racism and Sexism Are the Worst Things EVER, except when I do it to you," so many times before you garner the response of "Go F&CK yourself with a ball-peen hammer".

    Which is what we're looking at.

  235. Castaigne says

    @Garritt:

    you glossed over the part that the most coherent Sarkeesian detractors are most furious over: SHE **LIED**

    1) What did she lie about, specifically?
    2) What is the supporting evidence that shows she lied? Please be specific.

  236. One Guy Or Other says

    To the actual post, a response to #3:

    Mockery is all well and good. Necessary, even. But in competition with the kind of cultural diktat that the left gleefully uses in the areas that fall under its sway, it's bringing a squirt gun to an artillery duel.

    The left does not care how often the right makes fun of it. Buckley started mocking the creeping campus leftism in the 1950's. He was still doing it forty years later. He stopped it not one tiny bit. The commissars that run the universities read his quips, smirked at his wit, and went right back to enforcing their authority by any means necessary.
    Because that's what you make a revolution for.

  237. Max says

    @A.Nagy

    It never had anything to do with Quinn's game it had to do with her being in a relationship with someone who gave her game positive press.

    If you really follow GG you know full well that the journalist did not do this. He never reviewed her game at any point, and after he entered into a relationship with her he did not write about her full-stop. This has been commented on constantly. and often in this thread. Why do GGers keep lying about this? Yes, this would have been bad if it happened, but it just didn't happen.

    The very minor dev making a slightly crap free game got no advantage from a sexual relationship with a minor journalist from one games site. Nothing happened. And this is the central 'allegation' in GG. It is as if Watergate turned out to be a couple of chaps who came to read the electricity meter. Except, in this analogy Woodward and Burnstein made death and rape threats against Nixon's wife.

  238. ysth says

    > 95% Of Label-Based Analysis Is Bullshit.

    This is far too low a percentage to be realistic. I lean towards 2000% personally, and I'm still worried about it being on the low side.

    The Anti-Anti-Labelers are coming to get you and all your kind.

  239. A.Nagy says

    @Max I didn't lie, it's true he wrote about her slightly before he began having a relationship with her. When it started people honestly didn't know all the details all they knew is that she was alleged to be in a relationship with this journalist and others in industry thus Quinnspiracy and when people were discussing this hot new drama they were getting silenced which really gave credidance to this being a conspiracy.

    Before you say so the central allegation doesn't appear to be true why not disband, that doesn't really end a movement otherwise Fergonson would be completely over. The gamergate is the mass silencing or at least I don't remember seeing the #gamergate until then for the first few weeks it was #quinnspiracy

  240. Jacob Schmidt says

    "Triumph of the Will" and "Birth of a Nation" still get mentions in film class (at least they did back in the dark ages when I went to uni) specifically without regard as to their viewpoints but as cinematic history and technique. Likewise, I don't remember a chef's politics ever forming a part of a restaurant review.

    I don't remember restaurants regularly being a part of mass media, being used to communicate. This chef, though? Those participating? They got raked over the fucking coals. Now I'm sure that cake was delicious, but quite frankly I don't care. If that cake and all the extra's were mass produced and sold, I'd be totally cool with reviews focusing on politics, and I'd be slightly disgusted with people whining about how tasty the cake was.

    Does it mean that the black person who called me that is a racist and should be called out as such?

    Yes it does. Because racism is a very bad thing.

    My problem is not that statement that racism is a bad thing. I can accept that it's bad. But why is it worse, in this case, than any other rudeness? The thing about power structures is that the harm is amplified by the entire system: it's not that one guy you met that one time that doesn't like "your kind," it's a substantial portion of everyone: your boss, your friends, the cops, etc. If that power structure doesn't exist, that harm isn't amplified. The thing that makes racism a "very bad thing" doesn't exist. We're left with common personal distaste (since "racism" has been successfully politicized as double plus ungood) and someone being a dick. I gotta admit, I'm not too concerned with that.

    One thing to note: games are commonly seen as childish; as useless, only good for frittering away time; as worthless, with nothing to contribute to society. And to some extent, that's correct. Game devs and gamers are moving away from that, but every time there's backlash over the politicization of a form of media (i.e. an almost inherently political entity), that process takes longer. This fight against politics in gaming is a fight to stay irrelevant; a fight to maintain and prove justified the casual disdain people have for games.

  241. princessartemis says

    @pharniel

    I mean..three women have formally left the industry specifically because of gamergate harassment. That's benefiting the rest of Gamergate – because Felicia Day was scared to even talk about it for fear of harassment (and her fears were realized shortly after she did) the massive pile of harassment directly benefits gaters in the public space because of the terror anyone who is female and against them feels. This is literally terrorism – the use of fear to suppress dissenting voices from speaking.

    I am a woman who harbors a great fear of writing anything that might stir up the Internet pile-on that is common in feminist spaces. I suppose you'll say that that is different because the Internet mob is not, in its individual acts, using fear to suppress voices, but the effect is the same. I am afraid of you, and for years silent because of it. That fear contributes to my depression when it rears its head.

    Consider that, and decide if it is a victory or if something went wayward in the practice of feminism on the Internet.

  242. Jacob Schmidt says

    I suppose you'll say that that is different because the Internet mob is not, in its individual acts, using fear to suppress voices, but the effect is the same. I am afraid of you, and for years silent because of it. That fear contributes to my depression when it rears its head.

    I'm sorry you feel afraid. I would note that there are feminist spaces that are explicitly "calm." I would also note that there is, indeed, a large gulf between loudly criticizing ideas en mass, or simply being contemptuous and rude en mass, and sending mass rape threats occasionally with addresses attached, both in intent and harm done. You say that the effect is the same, but I sincerely doubt you were ever forced from your home for fear of mass negative response. I sincerely doubt you witnessed your community support slander and doxxing against you, and to hail the man that took credit.

    I understand the fear of backlash. I understand that the response from feminists and other groups can be overwhelming, and sometimes unnecessary. And I'm sorry you feel afraid to speak your mind. But these things are not the same.

  243. Kathryn says

    A friend pointed me to this article because the principles also apply to some other situations in other online communities.

    I'm not an expert on Gamergate, but this was a fantastic article about online wars in general.

    And I officially apologize for my comments on an earlier post.

  244. says

    @King Squirrel

    I was looking at the Twitter metadata for October 21-23. During that period, Fart was the most retweeted on the GG and NYS hashtags, period. You could find data for other dates with Twython though – maybe it would be a different story.

    Well first of all, twitter is not really my thing. I simply do not consider him as influential a voice as say, TotalBiscuit or CHSommers. They both have similar amounts of retweets and many many more followers. I am sorry I cannot give you a more through analysis since I do not want to pony up the cash for indepth data and I haven't found a free alternative to get me data from August until today for a proper look. All I can say is I do not often hear about something PFTC has done, but I always hear what TotalBiscuit and CHSommers are doing. From what I can see PFTC just retweets things and doesn't really create anything.

    Don't know that the facts fit that narrative. That is not to say that they fit the "all GG condone harrassment!" story either.

    To use the example of Fart, here is a discussion on his case at Kotaku in Action:http://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2khwsw/totalbiscuit_is_talking_about_prominent_gg/

    Looks like a mixture of get-rid-of-him, get-rid-of-him-when-this-is-over, this-is-not-important, and this-is-our-enemy's-fault to me. Pariah fits Fart about as well as Best Friend does from the look of it.

    Generally the way they police is by removing threatening, doxing board posts or reporting twitter accounts engaging in such activities. But in this instance there isn't really anything for them to report due to when it happened. That would be why he isn't being universally denounced in that reddit thread. If he does actually threaten or doxx someone you would find the tone change dramatically. That is the general impression I get from the thread.

    I personally agree that associating with PFTC is not a good idea. That he threatened to release TB's info is pretty damning. I don't have any info beyond TB's .twitlonger regarding him so if he did actually doxx someone I can't confirm it.

    I do want to try to keep things focused here and mainly discuss the article or ask questions on it, so if you would like to keep talking on the subject feel free to email me at furluge@furluge.com.

  245. GeoffreyK says

    @James May

    You know what E. M. Forester said about pedants and the Library of Alexander. Or maybe you don't… it's not on the internet.

    Me-thinks perhaps you underestimate the internet. It took me three whole queries, but I knew the internet wouldn't let me down:

    Hitherto the Greek language had developed unnoticed. Now it was consciously examined, and the result of the examination was the first Greek Grammar (about 100 B.C.). Grammar is a valuable subject but also a dangerous one, for it naturally attracts pedants and schoolmasters and all who think that Literature is an affair of rules. And the Grammarians of Alexandria forgot that they were merely codifying the usages of the past, and presumed to dictate to the present, and to posterity; they set a bad example that has been followed for nearly 2,000 years.

    "Alexandria: A History and Guide", by E.M. Forster

  246. King Squirrel says

    @furluge

    I don't know if I would call them the most retweeted GG supporter

    Well first of all, twitter is not really my thing.

    Very well. Perhaps #gamergate and #notyourshield are not all that influential on gamergate.

    They both have similar amounts of retweets and many many more followers.

    I do not want to pony up the cash for indepth data and I haven't found a free alternative to get me data from August until today for a proper look.

    I would suggest you utilize your source for the first quote for the second.

    so if you would like to keep talking on the subject feel free to email me…

    Thank you kindly for the invitation, but I am afraid I must decline at present.

  247. Shane says

    Seriously does anyone who has gamed for any length of time ever read the garbage associated with the game. I hardly even watch trailers on movies anymore because they are so completely not about the movie. Just buy the game and see what is inside, and if it cost to much, wait and see how much the price drops in six months to determine it's worth.

  248. ChicagoTom says

    A.Nagy:

    First you state :

    This whole debate draws so much strawmanning it's insane. It never had anything to do with Quinn's game it had to do with her being in a relationship with someone who gave her game positive press

    Then when you got called for making a dishonest statement you back-track and say :

    I didn't lie, it's true he wrote about her slightly before he began having a relationship with her. When it started people honestly didn't know all the details all they knew is that she was alleged to be in a relationship with this journalist and others in industry thus Quinnspiracy and when people were discussing this hot new drama they were getting silenced which really gave credidance to this being a conspiracy.

    So if you knew before your "It never had anything to do with Quinn's game…" comment that what you were posting on this board wasn't true, why did you post it to begin with? We're you hoping to not get called out on it? Funny how the only straw-man showing up is your position that GG is about Quinn and how she slept her way to good reviews of her game.

    Sorry, but #GG never really had anything to do with Quinn's game getting positive press because of her relationship status — that was merely a convenient excuse to go after her. Because if anyone would have taken a moment to verify what her scorned ex-bf was claiming they would have quickly realized that he was lying about her getting positive press for sleeping with him. The fact that the GG community really didn't care whether it was true or not speaks volumes. They just accepted it as gospel ; of course she was banging reporters to get good revues. The fact that even so called reasonable GGers don't seem to care or even put any weight on the fact that this whole affair is based on a the lies of a scorned lover proves how little any of this has to do with ethics.

    My personal take is that the whole #GG movement is nothing more than an extension of the culture wars. There are people agitating to makes games more politically correct, more inclusive, and less objectifying — and there are people who recoil at the idea that anything should change re the current state of gaming. These tend to be the same people that lament how political correctness has run amok and now they can't call people 'retards' or 'fags' without facing social consequences or are bothered by the fact that black people can call each other nigger, but they can't.

  249. ChicagoTom says

    A.Nagy said :

    Before you say so the central allegation doesn't appear to be true why not disband, that doesn't really end a movement otherwise Fergonson would be completely over. The gamergate is the mass silencing or at least I don't remember seeing the #gamergate until then for the first few weeks it was #quinnspiracy

    Sorry, but if a movement is centrally based on a false allegation, then you're movement should probably be silenced (or at the very least they should be considerate enough to drink a big old glass of 'STFU'). I don't see this that much different than holocaust deniers. Their whole movement is based on a distorted version of reality or on things that didn't happen and media conspiracies that keep people from knowing the truth. Yet no one would be up in arms if private websites decided to censor people from posting holocaust denying garbage. Other than the seriousness of the topic (the holocaust was objectively a much more serious event than game reviews) what exactly separates GG from holocaust deniers?

    And again, these are privately owned websites that "silenced" GG — it is within their right to do so, is it not? You are not entitled to post whatever garbage you want on someone else's web site.

    Again you and your ilk seem to have entitlement issues based on the complaints. If you are being silenced, start your own blog and invite all the gamergaters to read/post/contribute.

    At this point I don't see evidence of GG as anything but a internet-based tantrum being thrown by a bunch of entitled brats who can't handle their ox being gored by anyone.

  250. Aquillion says

    Restaurants don't (usually) carry a cultural or political message, though as the link above shows that gets mentioned in the reviews when it does come up — if someone opened a slavery-themed restaurant styled after an early 19th century plantation with all the waiters as slaves, the reviews are not going to primarily focus on the food.

    Anyone who reviews Birth of a Nation or Triumph of the Will mentions the message and politics involved. They have to, because discussing it without that would be ridiculous — those messages define what those works are. That doesn't mean that talk solely about the message, yeah, but it's a part of the whole.

    Similarly, a videogame reviewer needs to consider the whole story about their game when reviewing it, which includes analyzing its cultural message and what it's trying to say. I absolutely wouldn't trust a reviewer who completely ignored these things — to me, ignoring them (when they're obvious) is generally a sign of a reviewer who is cravenly attempting to avoid offending anyone at the cost of giving a dishonest review.

  251. says

    @King Squirrel

    I would suggest you utilize your source for the first quote for the second.

    Sure I'd be happy to quite my source. For the information I used to get an idea how they were on retreats I used retweetrank.com. FartToContinue, TotalBiscuit, and CHSommers. TotalBiscuit in particular has 363,887 followers to Fart's 6,094, CHSommers has 25,832 followers.

    As for myself not being on Twitter, it's simply because I don't really use twitter for conversation. To me I primarily use it to post updates or read about updates. In generally I just don't care for the way it's setup, but I feel I have to use to send out updates for events and such.

  252. Aquillion says

    I noticed someone above repeating the 'but we completed the Victim Ritual properly!' argument.

    Again, there are certainly plenty of dumb people on Twitter or Reddit (or, for that matter, elsewhere) who mindlessly invoke race or gender in arguments. I absolutely don't think it's unique to or even particularly distinctive of the political left, though; Lee Atwater famously conceded how large amounts of American conservative political discourse for the past 30 years have been based around dog-whistle politics related to race, and certainly Reagan et all succeeded in part by exploiting and appealing to a deep abiding sense of white victimhood. This is because all politics are identity politics, and anyone who says otherwise is just trying to convince you that your race, culture, or creed is so universal that you shouldn't even notice when it's invoked. Fish never notice they're in the water until it's pointed out; I think that the virulence of the reactionary pushback to feminist critiques is partially because many people dislike being reminded that the culture they've taken for granted is not natural or universal.

    Beyond that, the grave offenses you are claiming to have occurred against you here are not particularly compelling; they amount to "people have offended me on the internet" and "game reviewers are talking about aspects of games that I don't want them to talk about." I can see a lot of embittered reactionaries in this thread making sweeping statements about how they feel Tropes vs Women and the people who dared write good reviews for Gone Home offended their gender and race personally, but I don't actually see any of that in the videos or reviews themselves.

    The rest is… what? Someone said something racially or culturally insensitive on Twitter, and this has you in a lather? If you look hard enough, I've no doubt you can find someone saying something somewhere on the vast expanse of Twitter or Reddit or wherever that will let you get angry or stay at anyone over anything; that sort of confirmation bias is, again, universal to all people of all political creeds. But if you recognize that it's stupid to hunt for quotes you can cash in for Victim Points when it's done by your so-called enemies, then, you shouldn't rush to adopt it yourself. All that accomplishes is turning you into a caricature of a caricature; seeking out the worst of your political opposition, defining yourself opposite to them, and modeling yourself after them ultimately only makes you a worse person.

    (None of which is to say there aren't real victims who need support, of course; there are, that's why playing at it is so powerful. But generally if you're claiming victimhood purely by talking about people saying mean things about you, you're being a bit silly.)

  253. Argentina Orange says

    @Jacob Schmidt, @Aquillon

    . This chef, though? Those participating? They got raked over the fucking coals. Now I'm sure that cake was delicious, but quite frankly I don't care. If that cake and all the extra's were mass produced and sold, I'd be totally cool with reviews focusing on politics, and I'd be slightly disgusted with people whining about how tasty the cake was.

    Thank you for proving my point. Your linked article had zero do do with pastry making, and was not published in a cooking magazine or the food section of a newspaper. It was a purely political story. It would be completely out of place in those venues (or a cookbook) but would be fine as it was, or perhaps as a special-purpose column in an otherwise apolitical trade publication.

    I get it. For you, the personal is political and vice versa. But do you not understand that not all people like to get politics over everything? And that those people might not appreciate being told that their hobby, subgenre, or individual game preferences make them bad people? Especially in a publication nominally dedicated to celebrating those things?

  254. Argentina Orange says

    @Jacob Schmidt

    You may have noticed that Ken referenced that the prior restraint was indeed a thing, but that he would not be discussing it.

  255. Jacob Schmidt says

    It's not even established that the restraint was granted.

    On a second look, it probably was established. I find it odd that the section in question isn't marked, but that is likely unimportant.

  256. Jacob Schmidt says

    Thank you for proving my point. Your linked article had zero do do with pastry making, and was not published in a cooking magazine or the food section of a newspaper. It was a purely political story. It would be completely out of place in those venues (or a cookbook) but would be fine as it was, or perhaps as a special-purpose column in an otherwise apolitical trade publication.[1]

    I get it. For you, the personal is political and vice versa. But do you not understand that not all people like to get politics over everything?[2] And that those people might not appreciate being told that their hobby, subgenre, or individual game preferences make them bad people? Especially in a publication nominally dedicated to celebrating those things?[3]

    1) I'll repeat myself: I would not care if such reviews ignored the pastry making in favour of addressing the reprehensible politics. I would be slightly disgusted by those whining about how tasty the pastry is. The ostensibly apolitical is political, and choosing to ignore political messages, be they explicit, implied, or found within the framework, is a political choice.

    2) Look, if you want to pretend that your mass media isn't political, go right ahead. Others not pretending, and others not catering to your preference are not corrupt. They aren't ruining your hobby. They aren't outsiders lying and riling you up for profit. I've been gaming for more than a decade; I want politics in my game reviews. I find them interesting; I find them useful. I dislike encountering sexism, racism, etc, in my games. Such things ruin the experience for me, and if those elements are present, I want reviewers to note that, just as much as I would like them to note poor level design or clunky mechanics. Because that's one of the major reasons I read reviews: to find out if there are elements in the game I think I would enjoy, or if there are elements I would prefer to avoid. Yet that is held as illegitimate a priori, despite the sizeable contingent of gamers who want that. As far as I'm concerned, telling reviewers that they should avoid discussing politics because you don't like hearing about it is about as reasonable as telling reviewers to avoid discussing level design, mechanics, character design, voice acting, or any other element of the game that you'd prefer to avoid.

    3) When I get actual examples of this happening (i.e. something accurately describable as such occurring frequently enough to justify this kind of shit storm), I'll consider the point.

  257. Aquillion says

    @ Argentina Orange

    Nobody is telling you your hobby makes you a bad person. If consuming media that an academic could deconstruct to reveal potentially harmful messages makes you a bad person, then everyone on earth is a bad person. That's the whole point; absolutely everything contains messages of one sort or another, depending on the context in which you analyze it. That sort of literary analysis can be useful (and can tell you things about both the underlying work and its larger culture that you might otherwise miss), but the point was never "games are bad and you should feel bad for playing them."

    Nearly everyone who makes or reviews games brings their own cultural, political, and social baggage with them, and all of them see through that lens. When a game says that you must stand up for justice or fight for your rights, that's a political statement. When it portrays torture (in any context) it's a political statement. When a game has you make a moral decision and reflect on the results, that's certainly a political statement. I don't see how a reviewer could cover these things without bringing their own cultural understanding of it to the table, and I don't believe that you can write a good review of a game that carries that sort of heavy cultural baggage without touching on it and what it means.

    It isn't wrong, precisely, for Gamergaters to want games and game-coverage to reflect their political biases; certainly nobody would ask you to trust the word of a reviewer whose outlook is dramatically different from yours. It isn't wrong to ask for games that are purely blissful escapism that strives to be so neutral on every major cultural divide, games that you can just sink your mind into to relax and forget about all that cultural bullshit for a moment. No matter what happens, games like that will still exist; nobody is demanding that the games that currently exist go away. I wouldn't want them to go away, either; I spend plenty of time playing random escapist stuff myself. But we want there to be a bit more depth and diversity in the range of what's offered (and we want games that do comment insightfully on these cultural divides to get a bit of recognition when they do it well; because doing so is in fact an important artistic achievement that any reviewer should take note of.)

    So when you lash out at reviewers who comment on cultural divides, or game developers who make games that address cultural divides, it comes across as if you're trying to silence people whose commentary bothers you. Gone Home isn't going to break into your house and steal your car. Kotaku isn't going to make GTA5 dissolve into a puddle of goo. These people (people like me, as well) are pushing for a deeper focus on major cultural divides in gaming — on politics, as you would put it — not because they're political, but because they're gamers, and because they want to see something deeper and more interesting out of gaming than just escapism.

    If you don't like it? That's fine. Nobody is gonna take your games away, not while they're still making billions of dollars. But I don't understand the GG hostility to using games to address cultural issues, or to reviewers who focus on and dissect the games that do make intelligent critiques of cultural issues.

    Obviously any such game-makers and reviewers will bring their own cultural biases to the table, but your response seems to be to say shut up shut up shut up neutrality impartiality stop talking about things people disagree over, which is a demand for intellectual mediocrity. You are actually demanding that games and game-reviewers become less interesting, that they cover less ground, that they step back and touch on less interesting topics because they might offend someone or because it's impossible to touch on interesting topics in a neutral fashion or because having that conversation happening anywhere annoys you.

    That's… not going to happen. Ultimately, if that's your goal, than Gamergate is doomed from the start; if anything, all that it's doing is making games more political, attracting the attention of both reviewers and developers to more interesting cultural divides to write games about. You can't silence the opposition in a world where reviewing games is just a matter of starting a blog and where anyone who wants to can become a game developer. You just can't. People will keep making and reviewing games about divisive political issues, and when those games are well-done, they'll attract attention.

    (Of course, I think that it's also important to point out that GG's opposition to politics in games and game reviews is very one-sided and focused on very specific issues. I haven't seen many people object to Papers, Please, which was an intensely political game, or to the reviewers who talked in depth about its politics and what it means. Rock, Paper, Shotgun constantly comments on the politics behind the Call of Duty series, and nobody makes a peep. It's only when people touch on feminist issues that the internet explodes. At its heart I do believe that GG is primarily driven by antifemism, which is why it continues despite the obvious contradiction above — even if there are blogs and developers making political commentary, seeking a giant confrontation with them can only make games and game-discussions more politicized. Obviously this doesn't make any sense given your stated goals, but it makes a lot of sense if you assume that most of the driving force behind GG is about advancing anti-feminism and not about games.)

  258. Yon Anony Mouse says

    So… when can we talk about ethics in gaming journalism? Or will we never be allowed to talk about it because some shitbird in Brazil sent a fevered threat to some Utah college campus?

  259. King Squirrel says

    @Furluge

    I had assumed it was something like that. It seems difficult to extrapolate a ranking of influence on twitter to influence within #gamergate #notyourshield however. How did you rule out One Direction and Justin Bieber as the primary influences on either side of the debate from that data?

  260. Mikee says

    @Shane
    "Seriously does anyone who has gamed for any length of time ever read the garbage associated with the game. I hardly even watch trailers on movies anymore because they are so completely not about the movie. Just buy the game and see what is inside, and if it cost to much, wait and see how much the price drops in six months to determine it's worth."

    I couldn't agree with you more. I can't remember the last time I cared what anyone else had to say about a video game, nor can I remember the last time I expected anyone else to care what about I had to say about a video game.

    This is just a new generation of gamers realizing something that old school gamers have known for years/decades, developers do shady things to get good reviews of their games published. OH NO! THE WORLD IS ENDING! CALL THE NATIONAL GUARD! CALL MATLOCK! CALL PERRY MASON! Or, just talk shit about real people, in cruel ways, and publish their private information online for the world to see.

    This new generation of gamers is why I refuse to identify myself as a gamer. I play video games, I play a lot of them, I've played them since my dad brought home an Atari 2600, and then an Atari 5200, then the NES, SNES, N64 and on and on. Hell, I still have most of those old consoles connected to a TV just to play them from time to time. But I'm not a gamer, I'm just a guy that plays video games.

  261. LawDawg says

    So… when can we talk about ethics in gaming journalism?

    Maybe when you start a movement that's actually about ethics in gaming journalism. Instead of one that uses that as a smokescreen to attempt to hide the fact that it's actually about "battling SJWs" and harassing female developers and cultural critics. GamerGate is an anti-feminist movement. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. But, please, cut it out with the "actually, it's about ethics in gaming journalism" bull.

  262. LowlyWebDev says

    @ken and @clark I can't believe I haven't been reading Popehat before now. The quality of the posts and the conversation is outstanding. Subscribed.

    @ken Your ten points are nearly universally useful, and thoughtful in a way that inspires thoughtfulness. Thank you.

  263. Ver Greeneyes says

    Good points all. There are two things I object to:

    (1) Your perception is that a majority of the people who support #GamerGate don't really care about journalistic ethics. The perception of most people who support #GamerGate seems to be that the majority of them really care about journalistic ethics. It's hard to really judge who is right, because I'm not sure there are really any numbers on how many people consider themselves pro-GamerGate (even if they don't actively participate in the discussion). In addition, it's not hard for a small group of people to become very loud by obsessing over a subject.

    However, I would say this: just because you don't think the accusations of collusion are worth taking seriously, doesn't mean that others don't feel strongly about the subject. Assuming that people are just using it as a cover for continued misogyny and harassment is just as much a conspiracy theory as assuming that the actions of the media were planned and deliberate. If instead you take people at their word and work with them to address the reasonable complaints, then there might actually be progress. Maybe you're right and the majority will keep supporting a GamerGate aimed only at unreasonable demands and misogyny. Or maybe the majority will be satisfied and turn against anyone still using #GamerGate for their purposes. Until concessions are made, however, everyone will just keep assuming the worst about each other.

    (2) I'm just going to come out and say it: Equating #GamerGate with misogyny empowers the actual misogynists and gives them a platform. What better way to get misogynists to band together than to shout: "Here, this is the banner under which you should gather!"? People use the fact that the amount of harassment has gone up since the inception of #GamerGate as proof that #GamerGate is rotten to the core, but it could just as easily be all the narrative being spread by influential people against #GamerGate that's fueling the influx of misogyny.

    Indeed, while the hashtag may originate from someone with misogynistic intentions, it was *popularized* by the "gamers are dead" articles. A lot of people who casually support GamerGate probably don't even know how the hashtag started, since it makes a lot of sense to assume the articles caused it (certainly more sense than some asshole coming up with a really generic hashtag to covertly bash Zoe Quinn). As a result, I think it's unfair to say that the misogynists are at the 'core' of GamerGate. They are at its fringe, but very loud and easy to focus on.

    Besides, what do you really expect people who support GamerGate to do against the harassment? We're talking about a reasonable and mostly silent majority being asked to stand against an obsessive and skilled minority of people abusing the hashtag for their own purposes. Do you expect people who support the journalistic ethics side of GamerGate to go in and spy on the harassers in order to get them locked up? That would be nice, but I don't think it's a realistic expectation.

    Anyway, as a disclaimer: I don't support any of the harassment that has taken place, in support of GamerGate or otherwise – in fact I hope the harassers are found and end up behind bars. I also don't support any unreasonable demands being made by GamerGate. I do think it's good that gaming media are being made to examine their practices and perhaps behave more professionally (say what you will about GameJournoPros, it's all very buddy-buddy and anti-competitive), but that doesn't justify the extremes that people have gone to.

  264. Sally Strange says

    Fascinating. I don't agree with every last bit, but good post.

    In the interests of accuracy:

    Ironically, the #notmyshield meme repackages a notion that you'd normally expect to hear from "SJWs" — the idea that only whites can be racist and only men can be sexist. This is a cherished doctrine in academia but provokes eye-rolling nearly everywhere else.

    1. The accurate version of the "SJW notion" is that racism can only be directed at people of color and sexism can only be directed at women. Anyone can be racist or sexist–you have heard of internalized misogyny or internalized racism, yes? So.

    2. Of course it's a cherished doctrine in academia–what you're referring to here is the tension between "racism" the technical term used by social science researchers, which was popularized by civil rights campaigners specifically to try to foster public awareness of the structural and institutional aspects of racial injustice in the USA, and "racism" the colloquial term used by most USians to mean "individual prejudice or antipathy towards someone of any race that's not your own."

    It's like the difference between "community" the technical term used by ecologists to describe the complex interactions between species in different trophic levels in a given biome, and "community" the colloquial term used by people to describe the group of people they live and/or interact with on a daily basis. Except that with ecologists, it's easy to ignore their technical definition and get on with your life, because their research doesn't impinge on our daily experience much. Not so with the technical terms used by social science researchers. Granted, it is to some extent their failure for not taking this into account more in general, and trying to reduce the disparity between academic and layperson language as much as possible, but such contemptuous eye-rolling as you displayed here isn't helping matters either.

    Carry on!

  265. Sally Strange says

    Besides, what do you really expect people who support GamerGate to do against the harassment?

    Invent a new hashtag? Doesn't seem that difficult.

  266. Ryan says

    Well put Ken, I completely agree. I'll even forgive you for demeaning me for being Canadian, even though we banished speech tribunals to the black hole of "bullshit enabled by repealed laws" which they so soundly deserved well over a year ago (S.13 of the Human Rights Act, which enabled tribunals for hate speech, was repealed in June 2013: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/06/27/hate-speech-no-longer-part-of-canadas-human-rights-act/).

    So hate us a little less, because some of us love your views on free speech and Internet bullshit :)

  267. Matthew Cline says

    @Ver Greeneyes:

    Assuming that people are just using it as a cover for continued misogyny and harassment is just as much a conspiracy theory as assuming that the actions of the media were planned and deliberate.

    Saying "some people are claiming to be motivated by X to disguise that they're actually motivated by Y" isn't a conspiracy theory, because it doesn't involve anyone coordinating anything in secret. It involves people having secret motivations, but then so does any accusation of people arguing disingenuously.

  268. Travis says

    Besides, what do you really expect people who support GamerGate to do against the harassment?

    Stop using the hashtag and build a new one, as Zoe Quinn herself suggested way back at the beginning of this mess. You cannot un-poison the well and the hashtag's baggage of misogyny, harassment, threats and false allegations is permanent.

    Either make a clean break with the past or carry it around forever. Your choice, of course, but don't expect anyone ever to be interested in serious engagement with the existing situation. And if you're going to tell me that it's hard or that it's unfair or that you're stuck with it… then you're going to be stuck with the baggage too. Serious professional discussions aren't carried out through anonymous chanboards with the threat of doxxing and death threats hanging over them.

  269. Travis says

    Better yet, build an actual, non-anonymous, identifiable and accountable non-profit organization to publicly advocate for better ethics in gaming journalism. Empower that organization to publicly discuss, report and investigate actual ethical issues while publicly rejecting those who try to hijack the cause to other ends. Nominate and support leadership who aren't partisan hangers-on or men's rights activists. Drop the nonsensical, meaningless and unhelpful "social justice warrior" rhetoric. Stop arguing that honest cultural critique and analysis of video games is unethical. From that new beginning, there may well be the opportunity to forge something constructive from this mess.

  270. Ver Greeneyes says

    @Matthew Cline

    Okay, but look at the similarity with what GamerGaters are saying about journalists: they're connecting the dots of some circumstantial evidence in the worst possible way. There's less to it in this case – you have a lot of people saying they don't support X, and a few people clearly supporting X in their name, and you're assuming that all of them secretly support X because.. you want them to?

    I claim that a lot of people came 'late' into GamerGate thanks to the "gamers are dead" articles and don't really care about its prior history (because that's what I've seen just about all moderate GamerGaters say). People against GamerGate appear to be claiming that 'late' GamerGaters are intentionally misrepresenting why they support it, but that just puts them on the defensive for no good reason. And lest we forget, even the Zoe Quinn thing started out with accusations of corruption in games media – accusations that seem to have no basis in reality, but accusations none-the-less, that anyone briefly reading up on the matter will find.
    This whole situation reminds me of what happened with the Black Pete mess in The Netherlands (my home country). Black Pete is a character in a festival whose looks are clearly a caricature of black people, and they 'serve under' the Dutch equivalent of Santa. However, I will claim that approximately 0% of Dutch people thought of them as black people – they are something of a mythical figure, to be respected and even admired.
    Yet when a representative of a UN committee declared the festival 'barbaric' and said all Dutch people were horrible racists, guess what happened? Just about everyone said 'How dare you say that?! I'm not a racist!' and ended up falling in with people saying horribly racist things. Even the notion that Black Pete is black because he sweeps chimneys (an integral notion of the festival) was swept aside to maintain the 'purity' of the tradition. It's only now, a year later, that people are starting to calm down and see 'hey, maybe he doesn't *have* to look that way for it to still be fun' – and even now there's a lot of bad blood. Like it or not, calling 100% of the Dutch people racist for enjoying something they grew up with gave a huge platform for actual racists to run rampant for a while, with all the same sorts of things you're seeing here (with moderate GGs siding with the radical fringe only because they're both pro-GG).
    This is basically in line with what Ken was saying about labels, but we have to get away from this idea that everyone probably supports something for the worst possible reasons. They probably *don't*, you're just making them act irrationally with your accusations.

  271. Aquillion says

    The accusations of collusion that Gamergate makes are roundly mocked because they are, to be blunt, completely insane.

    Gamergaters assert that the reason why some reviewers talk about the gender implications of games (and why, for instance, they want to see more female protagonists) is because they are part of a cabal of evil feminist Social Justice Witches. Aside from the word 'witches', that is not an exaggeration or a strawman; that is, as you can see if you scroll up this thread, what Gamergate actually stands for — the accusation that there is a liberal feminist conspiracy to manipulate the media.

    This argument is insulting to every gamer who does not agree with Gamergate's reactionary outlook. I, as a gamer, am interested in seeing more games that address social issues; I am interested in seeing more diverse protagonists (including female ones, but also including ones that don't fit the generic stereotype in other ways — age, race, personality, and so on.) I am interested in hearing what people think of a game's underlying social message. All of these are things that I take into account when buying a game, and therefore reviewers that talk about these things are talking to me. These are the reviewers that Gamergate is working to silence.

    All of the major Gamergate targets have fit this profile. There has been no meaningful effort from Gamergate to address the mainstream media or any of the large publishers; there hasn't been a single meaningful sound about the constant way people buy review scores. The most prominent targets have instead been small indie developers (always female) and relatively small game-review blogs or new-media outlets (again, always focused on the ones that have touched on feminism, among other social issues.) In fact, the loudest voices in Gamergate have been demanding more corruption in the media, not less — again, scroll up. They are explicitly demanding that reviewers base their reviews on what will make the most money for developers; they demand that reviewers word their reviews and commentary so as not to offend any readers, and so on. These requests mean that Gamergate is actively campaigning for worse coverage of games.

    (The reaction to the "gamers are dead" article is related to this. The article itself argued, quite reasonably, that the "gamer" identity had become so widespread in our culture — due to almost everyone playing games — that it no longer described one specific subculture. The argument is that gamers have won, that nearly everyone in the right age-range is a gamer of some variety now. You can agree or disagree with this thesis, based on how you interpret or define 'gamer', but it is not a particularly offensive article; the fact that it became such a flashpoint and that so many Gamergaters have turned it into a rallying cry shows that their real concern is to silence any voices that they find offensive.)

    I don't doubt that there are a few people still in Gamergate who are not in it to crusade against feminism and Social Justice Witches; but I think that it's clear that those people have no control over the movement's direction. People like that need to stop, take a long look around them, and realize that they're being used as useful idiots by a conservative reactionary movement.

    And, I mean, again — I don't see how you can say that it's a conspiracy theory to describe Gamergate like that. Scroll up. Look at most of the things Gamergaters use to define themselves! "Games" are not high on the list. "Fighting the wicked cabal of feminism and Social Justice Witches" is very, very high on the list. That inane conspiracy-theory — and the desire to silence any voices deemed to be a part of it — is the true driving force behind Gamergate as a movement.

  272. felixray says

    >>At most, doxx/rape/death threats account for 5 people? You're going to tar tens of thousands of people with that?

    I think you pulled both numbers out of your ass, and that first one is highly dubuious, but it hardly matters. The debate gets sidetracked by rage and namecalling, but it's not really useful to discuss whether #GamerGaters are good people or bad , or even if they're misogynist. The only legitimate question is what effect is GamerGate having on the industry, the media, on gamers, and on the internet. In that calculation, the criminal element of GamerGate looms large.

    Gaters need to understand that the idea that GamerGate exists to terrorize women in the industry may be erroneous, but it's not ridiculous. There are very real reasons why it absolutely looks that way from the outside. You need to take responsibility for that. You need to find a better way. If GG is about harassing women, it's a win, but if it's really about exposing corruption, it's a fail. Whatever corruption may have been exposed comes wrapped in rumour, character assignation and bullshit, because it's essentially an internet whispering campaign, with none of the transparency and accountability you demand from others.

    You really need to start your own media, and live by your own rules. Nothing else will ever be respected as legitimate.

  273. Jacob Schmidt says

    Okay, but look at the similarity with what GamerGaters are saying about journalists: they're connecting the dots of some circumstantial evidence in the worst possible way.

    Well, no: I note a disconnect between stated motivations and actual action taken. For instance, there's Beyonetta 2 controversy. Polygon gave Beyonetta 2 only a 7.5, in part because of the oversexualization of the titular character. Why is that wrong? Well, GTA V got a 9.5, despite containing a lot of sexism. As far as I can tell, that's a pretty clear example of a reviewer kowtowing to the hype of one the biggest series in gaming. People should definitely complain about the favouritism that game got (lord knows I did).

    Oh, wait, no, they're complaining about the Beyonetta 2 review i.e. the one that we don't have any reason to believe was influenced in any way.

    See, nothing is really being done about gaming journalism ethics: what ostensibly is being done isn't effectual in any way, and is off target. Add the fact that huge number of GG supporter openly oppose "SJW politics" as GG supporters. The actions of those ostensibly fighting for ethics, by and large, does not mesh with their stated motivation, but it does mesh with another clearly and openly motivation present within the group.

  274. Argentina Orange says

    @Jacob Schmidt:

    Got it.
    [1] You are only speaking for yourself, you like politics.
    [2] People who disagree with you re: the necessity of politics are naifs at best.
    [3] People who disagree with you are wrong on the internet.

    @Aquillon:

    Nobody is telling you your hobby makes you a bad person.

    Not to get all metaphysical on you, but I'm having trouble coming up with any commonly accepted character judgments that don't involve either a) what a person does or b) what a person enjoys. Can you legitimately envision a person who is into either witnessing or participating in [insert currently-considered-horrible activity here] and saying, "oh I'm not in favor of [horrible aspect] I just like [the spectacle, or human drama, or energy or whatever]" and you believing them? This is especially the case when things involve social issues about which there is a ton of social/status signalling going on. Loudly demonstrating one's own righteousness by condemning the outgroup (bad people) shows that one's focus is actually a status competition.

    Obviously any such game-makers and reviewers will bring their own cultural biases to the table, but your response seems to be to say shut up shut up shut up neutrality impartiality stop talking about things people disagree over, which is a demand for intellectual mediocrity.

    I think it's exactly the opposite. If someone is incapable of noticing anything about the game other than "bewbs!" that's not a sign of a towering intellect. And if you have the mental capability to distinguish between the game as a game and the game as a vehicle for societal attitudes, then why can't you maintain that discipline in your review? We already have one outlet explicitly separating things by giving the game bifurcated scores (Christ Centered Gamer) and one explicitly confounding the two (Polygon). Perhaps this is because CCG understands that they are a niche publication (or at least has the humility to understand that not everyone shares their outlook)? And Polygon either believes that their opinion is somehow representative of the community as a whole, or that those who disagree with their outlook are de facto bad people who deserve to be marginalized?

    I haven't seen many people object to Papers, Please, which was an intensely political game, or to the reviewers who talked in depth about its politics and what it means.

    Correct. Because nobody* used the politics of "Papers Please" as an excuse for social signalling or other tribal displays. Perhaps because both of Clark's tribes like to claim the anti-authoritarian mantle.
    *nobody meaning "that I am aware of." If someone did write a review of PP saying "ugh, the totalitarianism made it impossible for me to get into the game" please feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

  275. Argentina Orange says

    @Aquillon

    They are explicitly demanding that reviewers base their reviews on what will make the most money for developers;

    This goes beyond "the most uncharitable possible reading" to straight out "untruth."

    I was showing that a reviewer was deliberately taking action that they knew would concretely, financially harm a dev because they disagreed with that woman's character design. It was (I thought) an obvious example how a single person within the gaming publication pond can have a greater effect on game design than a thousand end consumers, and obliquely how accusing GGers of having a disproportionate "chilling effect" was ridiculous. I do not have an WP: AGF explanation as to how you twisted that into a call for "moar corrupshunz."

  276. GeoffreyK says

    Correct. Because nobody* used the politics of "Papers Please" as an excuse for social signalling or other tribal displays. Perhaps because both of Clark's tribes like to claim the anti-authoritarian mantle.
    *nobody meaning "that I am aware of." If someone did write a review of PP saying "ugh, the totalitarianism made it impossible for me to get into the game" please feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

    I think that misses the point: we agree that Papers, Please had a strong political bent? And that it was a criticism of totalitarian regimes? Since that is the water that we breathe (anti-totalitarianism), it caused no outcry within our broad community (it did not challenge our notions of what "good governance" is). Which is to say, it isn't the "politics" that everyone seems to take issue with; it is "politics I don't agree with".

  277. Argentina Orange says

    @Jacob Schmidt

    For instance, there's Beyonetta 2 controversy. Polygon gave Beyonetta 2 only a 7.5, in part because of the oversexualization of the titular character. Why is that wrong? Well, GTA V got a 9.5, despite containing a lot of sexism. As far as I can tell, that's a pretty clear example of a reviewer kowtowing to the hype of one the biggest series in gaming. People should definitely complain about the favouritism that game got (lord knows I did).

    Oh, wait, no, they're complaining about the Beyonetta 2 review i.e. the one that we don't have any reason to believe was influenced in any way.

    Lemme get this straight: You're claiming that GTAV is hypocrisy by GGers because they weren't complaining about something that happened before GG even existed? Or are you claiming that there was no pushback to the claims of sexism in GTAV? Because that would be factually inaccurate. Are you perhaps going to claim that those involved in GG weren't just as adamantly opposing Jack Thompson? Or (for the truly crusty ones) PMRC/Tipper Gore/Anita Bryant? And what idiosyncratic definition of "uninfluenced" are you using to claim that Bay2 wasn't when the reviewer explicitly said why and how he was influenced?

  278. Argentina Orange says

    @GeoffreyK

    I think we may be talking past each other a bit. Politics that we all agree with (shared values) are less likely to cause an outcry because it is less likely to be used a an outgroup bludgeon. So while I do think there would be at least some "Wtf dude? Write about games" if the gaming press all ran 20,000 word screeds against Pol Pot in relation to PP (look at the never-ending debates as to the proper ratio of crunch:fluff) it wouldn't get people as fired up as a screed filled with outgroup dysphemisms.

  279. sinij says

    @Travis

    Either make a clean break with the past or carry it around forever. Your choice, of course, but don't expect anyone ever to be interested in serious engagement with the existing situation.

    GG is in its core a consumer movement. They certainly do not represent entirety of gamers, but sufficiently large numbers to influence studios, media, advertisers and so on. As such, I think your analysis is deeply flawed.

  280. GeoffreyK says

    @Argentina Orange
    I would propose a modest alteration: "Politics that we all agree with are less likely to cause an outcry because it is less likely to feel like an outgroup bludgeon." Being in the outgroup, and being criticized, tends to sting. One option is to argue back against the meat of the criticism; another option is to say "stop being critical". Part of the pushback here is the feeling that GG is doing more of the latter, than the former.

    As an aside, isn't the point of internet fora to argue past each other? If we had a meaningful debate and came to a mutual understanding, what would we possibly have left to do to fill the rest of our days? ;)

  281. Jacob Schmidt says

    [1] You are only speaking for yourself, you like politics.
    [2] People who disagree with you re: the necessity of politics are naifs at best.
    [3] People who disagree with you are wrong on the internet.

    1) Passable summary.

    2) The necessity of politics? No. The reality that mass media is nigh inherently political? Certainly. Denying that is either ignorance or dishonesty. And if one is to insist that judging a media's politics is necessarily wrong (as is often asserted), that person is straight up moronic.

    3) Yes? I mean, a fundamental part of disagreement is thinking others are wrong, be it my disagreement with you or vice versa. Or are you emphasising the internet part? I don't see how disagreement on the internet is especially different from disagreement generally. I really don't see your point: you seem to be complaining about a) behaviour in which you yourself are engaging, and b) behaviour that isn't indicative of anything but "I disagree with another commentator online."

    Lemme get this straight: You're claiming that GTAV is hypocrisy by GGers because they weren't complaining about something that happened before GG even existed?[1] Or are you claiming that there was no pushback to the claims of sexism in GTAV?[2] Because that would be factually inaccurate. Are you perhaps going to claim that those involved in GG weren't just as adamantly opposing Jack Thompson? Or (for the truly crusty ones) PMRC/Tipper Gore/Anita Bryant? And what idiosyncratic definition of "uninfluenced" are you using to claim that Bay2 wasn't when the reviewer explicitly said why and how he was influenced?[3]

    1) What? They're complaining about it right now. The Bayonetta thing is in the OP.

    2) No.

    3) And how was that exactly? Personal preference? An already developed world view? The sort of thing that is brought to every review? They're not complaining about that much elsewhere.

    No, the thesis is that the Bayonetta 2 review is wrong, because GTA V got a higher review, despite the fact that it could have been docked for similar reasons. GTA V wasn't docked marks. GTA V is where the inconsistency lies (Polygon appears to be somewhat consistent in docking marks for sexism), and yet the Bayonetta 2 review is what everyone is complaining about. Interestingly, it appears that Microsoft funded polygon in the past. That would explain GTA V is being exempt from criticism. But there's virtually no complaint about that. This brings us to what I wrote earlier: "See, nothing is really being done about gaming journalism ethics: what ostensibly is being done isn't effectual in any way, and is off target."

    Quite frankly, I'm highly suspicious of Polygon's GTA V review, and their relationship with Microsoft should be examined. But no one cares about that, because the GTA V review has nothing to do with feminism or SJWs.

  282. sorrykb says

    sinij wrote:

    [Travis wrote]: "Either make a clean break with the past or carry it around forever. Your choice, of course, but don't expect anyone ever to be interested in serious engagement with the existing situation."

    GG is in its core a consumer movement. They certainly do not represent entirety of gamers, but sufficiently large numbers to influence studios, media, advertisers and so on. As such, I think your analysis is deeply flawed.

    But studios, media, advertisers, and such are either staying out of this altogether or actively distancing themselves from gamergate. Look at Adobe, which GG claimed as a victory. Once Adobe found out what gamergate was, they issue a public statement that included: "We are not and have never been aligned with Gamergate. We reject all forms of bullying, including the harassment of women by individuals associated with Gamergate."
    And the more that GGers demand that studios/media/advertisers/etc "take a stand", the more they will turn against it, not because they're part of some conspiracy, but because the GG brand is toxic. We've seen this also when GGers have said that [someinfluentialperson] must be pro-GG, because he's been silent… which prompts that person to say, "oh hell no I'm not with these guys".
    Travis was right. If you want to have a serious conversation about ethics, you need to dump gamergate. Make a clean break. Start over.

  283. TM says

    A handful of short thoughts, with the caveat that I have followed this only loosely:

    Assume it's true that the whole gamergate thing started as an excuse to bash women, and equally that it's true that there is a contingent of GG supporters who want to talk about game journalism ethics. Why do the anti-GG people then also insist on dragging the discussion back to people like Anita and Zoe? It would seem that the anti-GG people and the GG people who want to talk about games journalism ethics have a common ground to try to hijack the label and steer the discussion away from Anita and Zoe, but just like shit stirrers on the GG side keep dredging them up, it seems to me like shit stirrers on the anti-GG side keep insisting that because the very original flashpoint for this whole debacle wasn't pure as the driven snow, that the discussion can not ever move on.

    On the idea that the GG movement needs to create a new hashtag, this seems at best useless and at worst counter productive to the idea of getting a discussion happening. On the useless side of the spectrum is the fact that hashtags are un-moderated. Switching to a new hashtag won't prevent the trolls (or for that matter, the actual mysoginists) from abusing others under that banner. Similarly, since a large part of the anti-GG side of this debate seems to be of the opinion that the GG movement is like water and sewage (once you add sewage, you have sewage, not water and never water again) it seems that any new tag, which logically extends out of the pro-GG side of the debate will be just as contaminated. An example of this could be seen with the NotYourShield tag, which contrary to what Ken wrote above, my understanding was started by a non-white-male GG supporter who was sick of having their opinions dismissed. On the counter productive side, moving to a new hashtag drops all the visibility that GG has, and requires some nebulous force to convince others to move their discussion. It also has the potential to get the discussion that they want to have marginalized further as the main argument (and therefore the media attention) would still be on the GG tag. I agree that if a new hashtag could be adequately policed, and the ethics discussion could be neatly sliced away into another tag it would be ideal, but I also think the continued use of the GG tag is a matter of fighting the battle you have, not the one you want.

    On the "timing and why this event" discussion, as has been pointed out, game journalism ethics has had it's share of controversies for years, and frankly as the influence of social media has grown, so too has each controversy generated more backlash and more anger. I think it was only a matter of time before some even (no matter how small) would have touched off a powder keg. Beyond that, I agree with others that think this whole thing probably would have died out had there not been what appeared to be large amounts of censoring and blocking of the discussion. Angry discussions and dirt have long been a part of the internet, and long been a part of the places that wound up censoring the discussions. Regardless of the reason for censoring the discussion (and frankly, cleaning up threats, doxing and general nastiness is a perfectly fine reason for that) it lended the appearance of trying to silence the discussion, which only served to make the discussion (and the associated rabble rousing) that much louder. I think a final straw on the camel might have been precisely because this was originally about an indie game developer. It's really easy to dismiss the ethical problems with AAA titles and the review sites as bad business, bad capitalism and such, but indie game devs (and the associated community) tend to pride themselves on not being "dirty" like the AAA guys. Whether it's not censoring their message, or making games with a message the AAA guys wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (yes, like Depression Quest, regardless of its merits as a game, I can't imagine a AAA studio taking on a game all about depression even if it was a better experience than any AAA game so far), or it's about not compromising their vision for money, indie folks have always been big on not being like the big corporations. So when it's revealed that an indie dev has undisclosed ties to people in the industry, and those people have sway over that dev (and others) success or failure in the idustry, even if nothing actually untoward took place, the very appearance of that impropriety could (and would) easily feel like a betrayal. And those feelings of betrayal can lead to increased engagement where this would otherwise be a minor issue.
    On death threats / doxing. They're wrong, period. They're also sadly a part of internet controversies, and I think treating them as something unusual in this case is (sadly) misguided. Just yesterday, an 11 year old kid has been receiving death threats because he went hunting and posted about it on facebook (http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/28/opinion/navarrette-boy-who-shot-albino-deer/index.html). Those guys that knocked down the rock formation last year also got death threats (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/toppling-of-ancient-rock-formation-spurs-death-threats/). Similarly the lady who went lion hunting and the people who defended here were both inundated with death threats (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hunting-group-receives-death-threats-defending-lion-huntress-article-1.1532180). Do not get me wrong, I am in no way shape or form saying that death threats are right, justified or even that if you do controversial things online you should expect death threats. What I am saying is that death threats and internet controversy seem to go hand in hand. That someone receives death threats in an internet controversy I don't think says anything about either side of the controversy other than there are always trolls and sociopaths that take things too seriously and too far.

    As a final thought, an interesting (to me) ripple in this is that despite the claims to the contrary. the pro-GG side of the debate really does not appear to be all white heterosexual men. Now, it's been argued that the not your shield side of GG and the other non-white-het-men parts of GG have somehow been "duped" or are being "useful idiots" to the cabal of mysoginists running GG or even that they've internalized their victimization, but I propose another possible answer. Lets assume for the moment that many (most?) of these people found out about GG after it grew big (stage 2 of clark's post or alternatively after it became a larger culture conflict). I think this is a reasonable assumption because if we also assume that GG started as a mysoginist movement of white male virgin basement dwellers, one would not expect the non-white-het-males to hang out in the same corners of the internet. So these folks came in late, and they came in via the mainstream media (as opposed to 4/8chan or reddit) and what they see are a whole bunch of people who are anti-GG talking about how "gamers" are just a bunch of white male virgin basement dwelling losers (incidentally, since when did dismissing people on the basis of their skin color, gender, sexuality and socio economic status become a valid arguing method?) hell bent on keeping gaming a he-man women haters club and that description doesn't match up with their experience. Either they personally don't fit that description, or their friends and fellow gamers don't. In fact a number of them will tell you that they found gamers to be the most welcoming group when they were younger (it was certainly my experience), probably in part due to gamers traditionally being a marginalized group and the various geek social fallacies demanding inclusiveness (incidentally also a good explanation for why geek groups and hobbies have havens for the uglier [in a personality and behavior sense] members of society). Since their experience doesn't match up with the charges, they find themselves settling on the GG side of the fence, not due to any particular desire or connection with the goals of the mysoginists who reside on that side of the fence but because being on the anti-GG side of the fence feels like (and in many ways is) agreeing with that wide brush that paints (and disparages) their chosen identity. In this case, it's no more surprising to me that self identified gamers of the non mysoginist bent would fall on the pro-GG side of the hashtag anymore than it would surprise me to find non-radical femisists falling on the pro-tag side of a feminist argument if their opponents were charging that all feminists were crazy misandrists that want to kill men simply because this one (http://witchwind.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/utopia-what-would-a-womens-society-look-like/) and others are or do. As ken pointed out, using lazy labels lazily is dangerous, and if there is one way the anti-GG side really screwed up (and continue to screw up) it is the lazy use of the term "gamer" to refer to a specific subset of gamers.

    That's all for now as that was far longer than I intended anyway.

  284. King Squirrel says

    @Ver Greeneyes

    We're talking about a reasonable and mostly silent majority being asked to stand against an obsessive and skilled minority of people abusing the hashtag for their own purposes.

    My first instinct on reading this was to suggest that the majority be less silent and gain more skill, but that is a little too glib.

    More seriously, perhaps look into the history of DOTA style games and their present status. League of Legends (fairly or unfairly) has been seen as a beacon of toxicity for quite a while. Unlike (maybe) #GG, un-toxic players cannot leave that environment without losing what they want – the game itself. It is still not simple – even in that situation, attempts to self police (or have policing handed down from Riot) have been erratic and of varying degrees of success. Still, it might be useful to look at a case where players have to fight the bad to preserve what they find good. They do not have to stay and fight over LOL I suppose. They could move on to to a new DOTA style game – and possibly face similar toxic troubles, or they give up, and lose what they wanted due the bad apples.

    The situation is not the same obviously, but maybe a similar situation a step or two removed from this mess could be useful to look at.

  285. FelixRay says

    @ArgentinaOrange

    Not to get all metaphysical on you, but I'm having trouble coming up with any commonly accepted character judgments that don't involve either a) what a person does or b) what a person enjoys. Can you legitimately envision a person who is into either witnessing or participating in [insert currently-considered-horrible activity here] and saying, "oh I'm not in favor of [horrible aspect] I just like [the spectacle, or human drama, or energy or whatever]" and you believing them?

    Hell, yes! In the words of Anita Hussein Sarkesian:

    This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects."

    http://www.newstatesman.com/future-proof/2014/08/tropes-vs-anita-sarkeesian-passing-anti-feminist-nonsense-critique

    She repeats that several times. She's not telling you thay you're a bad person person for playing the games, she's not saying that you shouldn't play the games. She's not even saying that the games themselves are sexist, instead making a point of talking about "tropes".

    When she was interviewed by Amy Goodman last week, she made a point of praising a game she's been criticizing

    ANITA SARKEESIAN: Sure. So, one of the big—one of the most important pieces of what I do is talking about how we can love a piece of media and also critique it at the same time. So, a series like "Dragon Age" is a highly beloved series that has a lot of great things about it. But there are some examples of, you know, violence against women and sort of exploiting women’s bodies or exploiting their vulnerability in these really awful ways. And so, that’s just one of many examples of games that do that, that sort of take advantage of this vulnerability to try to make players feel more intense, right, to make these worlds more gritty. So—

    Some just want to believe that, unless their as is being kissed, they're being demonozed. I call these people "professional victims".

    In my opinion, it's not that that gaming is a terrible thing, it's just that we need to discuss and be aware of the media the media that we're consuming, or the media will consume us.

  286. says

    I'll start believing that people are really against threats and doxxing when they act like it. […] Do you know people bragging about terrorizing enemies with true threats? If so, why haven't you turned them in?

    I’ve not read through the entire comments thread, but a quick search of the page doesn’t turn up reference to the #GamerGate Harassment Patrol so I figured it should be mentioned.

    #GamerGate: Not my circus, not my monkeys — scratch that, my communities do share some of these monkeys.

  287. Max says

    Some just want to believe that, unless their ass is being kissed, they're being demonozed. I call these people "professional victims".

    In my opinion, it's not that that gaming is a terrible thing, it's just that we need to discuss and be aware of the media that we're consuming, or the media will consume us.

    And that is the 'SJW/Feminist' agenda I sign up to.

  288. Max says

    I'm just a gamer who wants to enjoy games without the GGers forcing their political agenda on me. They want to fight 'SJWs/Feminists/Cultural Marxists' while I just want to play games. Anyone who likes can analyse games. I will just ignore the likes of Milo Y and Mike C who hated games and gamers until it suited their political needs. Because I know who I am.

  289. Max says

    @sorrykb
    And yet, I am a small business owner who pays a licence for one of my team to use Adobe products. I'm currently very angry with GG and so Adobe. If I could not use their software, I wouldn't. I will actively explore alternatives. Because Adobe have ignored what their users feel and want over the the kind of chaps who support Gamergate. GG supporters pirate their software. I am the kind of business that buys Adobe products. Because of Adobes's initial support for GG, no matter how misguided, they have hurt themselves. They need to go beyond mere words in their opposition to GG.

  290. Erin McJ says

    1) I'd been waiting for you to comment on this and I'm so glad you have now.
    2) Mad props for link #2.

  291. says

    Silly @Max. You can't buy Adobe products any more. You can only rent them. *shakes fist at cloud*

    @anonymous: I'm still laughing at the Houseplants of Gor. I've left the tab open.

  292. Jacob Schmidt says

    Because of Adobes's initial support for GG, no matter how misguided, they have hurt themselves. They need to go beyond mere words in their opposition to GG.

    I genuinely don't know what you're talking about. Do you mean Adobe pulling advertising from Gawker? That didn't happen; they were never advertisers with Gawker. Their inclusion is Gawker's list of advertisers was a mistake. Adobe's interaction with this controversy was to a) tell Gawker to remove Adobe from the list of advertisers, since Adobe wasn't one in the first place, and b) explicitly denounce GG.

  293. Vlad C says

    @Aquillion

    Re: "Nobody is telling you your hobby makes you a bad person"

    Not only does Anita do that, but she also claims that those that deny that games affect them are the worst affected.

    Quoting from one of her videos:

    "Paradoxically, and somewhat ironically, those that most strongly believe that media is just harmless entertainment, are also the most likely to uncritically internalize harmful media messages".

    Translation: "Your hobby makes you a bad person. If you don't think that is true, you are an even worse person."

  294. sorrykb says

    @Max: I believe Adobe made an innocent (if lazy — Just google the hashtag) mistake. They definitely put their foot in it, thought. Their response this week thought went a bit beyond what I'd expected, to be honest. Not quite outright condemnation, but clear disassociation. And a reference to the NY Times column that was pretty clear.

  295. Aquillion says

    GG is in its core a consumer movement. They certainly do not represent entirety of gamers, but sufficiently large numbers to influence studios, media, advertisers and so on. As such, I think your analysis is deeply flawed.

    Definitely not. Most drilldowns on the use of the #GG hastag find about 300 people using it on a given day. If you expand that to people who are active on their reddit it's a few thousand; if you expand that to people who have ever been active on their reddit it's in the low ten-thousands. That's enough of a number to make a lot of noise on the internet, but compared to the millions of sales for your typical AAA title, it is not significant; and most of the media coverage GG has managed to grab has been a result of harassment, which attracts attention disproportionate to their relatively low support.

    Beyond that, I deeply disagree with your assertion that GG is a consumer movement. It's a reactionary political movement that is exploiting the identity of a small number of anti-feminist gamers who are highly active on the internet, allowing it to produce a lot of exaggerated sound and fury over what talking heads tell them is a threat to their hobby. But the core uniting value of GG is opposition to feminist Social Justice Witchs, not playing games (hence why several of their most prominent voices are not gamers at all.)

    I was showing that a reviewer was deliberately taking action that they knew would concretely, financially harm a dev because they disagreed with that woman's character design.

    Hurting the sales of a game because they disagree with its character design is part of a reviewer's job. Seriously, it is. If a reviewer starts up a game, looks at the character design, and says "fuck, that character design is awful, it's going to make this whole game unpleasant for me", that's something that needs to go at the top of the review and factor into their overall assessment.

    If a work of art makes bad artistic choices, it's a reviewer's job to discuss those things so potential viewers will know. A game's character design is part of its overall artistic composition, and is therefore something that a reviewer should discuss and take into account when they cover the work as a whole. Asking them not to do that — asking them to ignore problems they see with a game, purely because, I guess, you don't agree with them that they are problems — is asking them to review works dishonestly.

    Every bad thing a reviewer says about a game has the potential to hurt its bottom line. That's the whole point. Reviewers tell you what's in there so you won't waste money on it if it's crap. Some people — including me — consider the character designs when deciding if a game is crap; it is something I feel is no different from any other other artistic or narrative choice, such as the quality of the story or the overall way its textures work to convey the environment. If something is wrong with one of these things, I want to know so I won't waste my money. Asking them to ignore things you disagree with (or to separate them out somehow) is asking them to be worse reviewers.

    And asking them to do it in order to ensure that game developers make more money, despite including character models that the reviewer worsen the experience of the game as a whole? That's asking for corruption, straight-up.

    If you don't agree with those reviewers, don't read them. If you don't feel that Metacritic or other aggregators should take them into account, yell at Metacritic; they're the ones who decided that it's useful to lump all reviews into a pot and stir them around. But shouting at a game-reviewer for focusing on aspects that you don't personally feel are problems — and trying to pretend that this is a big moral stand — doesn't make any sense. Reviewers are supposed to give their honest, critical opinion of a game, taking every aspect of that game into account. Anything else is corruption; so when you asking reviewers not to take certain aspects of a game into account, you're asking them to review games dishonestly.

    Not to get all metaphysical on you, but I'm having trouble coming up with any commonly accepted character judgments that don't involve either a) what a person does or b) what a person enjoys. Can you legitimately envision a person who is into either witnessing or participating in [insert currently-considered-horrible activity here] and saying, "oh I'm not in favor of [horrible aspect] I just like [the spectacle, or human drama, or energy or whatever]" and you believing them?

    Yes? All the time?

    Again, you are acting like cultural critiques are this new and terrifying thing. I am not exaggerating when I say that I could find problems with nearly every single thing I watch, read, and play. Some more than others — and I find it interesting to weigh and compare them and consider what the problems mean — but I don't think of myself as a horrible person just because I watch, read, and play things with problems, because immaculately pure media free of cultural baggage simply does not exist.

    I like seeing people discuss these problems, partially because even if they're universal it's good to stay aware of them and to try and reduce them; but more importantly, maybe, it's because a surfeit of these problems is often a sign of underlying intellectual laziness — writers and developers who have simply mindlessly copied ideas and narratives from elsewhere without really thinking about what they mean. I think it's cool to take them apart and discuss what they mean.

    Now, if you want to defend some of the problems — if you want to say that they're not problems — that can get a bit more personal, yes, because then you're putting your own opinion out there for people to debate over; and if people tell you "your opinion stinks", that's going to hurt. But so what? That's a normal part of intellectual discourse. Tropes vs. Women is hardly the holy grail of commentary — it's pretty basic Feminism 101, and while it's pretty well-produced it's not like it's going to be without problems — so if you want to start a debate about that, knock yourself out. But if you find the people you're arguing with tearing into you, you can't then turn around and say "feminists are being mean to me because I play games!", because that's not what happened. People are tearing into you because they disagree with your opinion. That's how opinions work.

    Obviously some people online get a bit too heated, and will tear into you a bit more personally than they should over a disagreement of opinions. But I feel that it's also easy to feel like things have gotten personal simply because your opinions are attacked — you say "this isn't a problem" and a feminist says "yes it is", and at that point, yeah, it's going to feel to you like they're attacking you personally, because you've put an opinion that maybe defines yourself out there and they're tearing it down. My point is that you're feeling that pain because of your opinion on feminism, sexism, and the larger culture, not because you're a gamer — if you said "yeah, I know it's a problem, but I run into a billion problems every day, and I don't think this is such a big deal comparatively, so I'm gonna let it slide", it wouldn't feel like you were being attacked, would it?

    This is why GG is largely anti-feminist; there are many people out there (even some women, because gender is complicated, yo) who don't agree on those issues and therefore feel compelled, when they see a feminist critique, to say "this isn't a problem." At that point, though — if the people who keep saying "yes it is" start making you feel insulted personally — you're not feeling attacked because you're a gamer; you're feeling attacked because you've decided to step into an intellectual position directly opposite theirs.

    I think we may be talking past each other a bit. Politics that we all agree with (shared values) are less likely to cause an outcry because it is less likely to be used a an outgroup bludgeon. So while I do think there would be at least some "Wtf dude? Write about games" if the gaming press all ran 20,000 word screeds against Pol Pot in relation to PP (look at the never-ending debates as to the proper ratio of crunch:fluff) it wouldn't get people as fired up as a screed filled with outgroup dysphemisms.

    So your argument, basically, is that game should only cover politics you agree with (or politics everyone agrees with), and reviewers should only touch on politics everyone should agree with? You want whitebread, intellectually-lazy gaming and game-coverage; you want the statements your games make to restrict themselves to the most boring and unchallengeable ones imaginable. Like I said above, that is a call for worse gaming and worse game reviews.

    There should be games that challenge you, intellectually. Reviewers should touch on whether a game challenges the viewer, and how; they should talk about its cultural context and what it means to them and how it makes them feel in every way that it impacts them. There's no way for them to do so devoid of cultural context — "how this game makes me feel as I play it" is absolutely a central defining part of a game's impact (and therefore, if you're going to give it one big final rating, its final score.) If the way the main character dresses is part of that for a particular reviewer, then it should be something they touch on. Not every game needs to do this, and not every reviewer needs to do this, but it's something that games as a medium need in order to expand and cover more interesting ground than just escapist amusements.

    Again, not that there's anything wrong with escapist amusements; but games shouldn't just be escapist amusements, and even when you're making that, "how did this game make me feel as I play it" is core to any review. If the answer is "terrible, because it felt like I was wading through misogynistic filth", the reviewer should say so, so other people who share their outlook on games that make them feel like they're wading through misogynistic filth will know to stay away. Obviously not everyone will agree! Some people will probably still like and play that game, and may not see any problem at all. But reviews are inherently subjective, and the game audience of today is wide and diverse enough to include people who will have very differing opinions on what they enjoy.

    (Putting aside the fact that games already show controversial politics and it rarely causes much of an outcry unless it touches on feminism. Skyrim allowed gay marriage — three years ago, when it was more controversial than it is today. Games like Call of Duty or, maybe more incisively, Spec Ops: The Line constantly make political statements about the military or about torture. Hell, Spec Ops: The Line was also a statement about gaming, outright focusing on deconstructing its violence — which many reviewers dissected and discussed at length — and yet there wasn't even a hint of a complaint.)

    It's only feminism that gets people this worked up. Again, all of GG's major targets are either women involved in gaming, outspoken feminists, or publications that have touched on one of these things. All of GG's most outspoken complaints relate directly to that.

  296. Jacob Schmidt says

    "Paradoxically, and somewhat ironically, those that most strongly believe that media is just harmless entertainment, are also the most likely to uncritically internalize harmful media messages".

    Translation: "Your hobby makes you a bad person. If you don't think that is true, you are an even worse person."

    *facepalm*

    I tried finding some way to interpret that. It isn't there.

  297. Vlad C says

    Ok, then I'll explain my reasoning. Anita complains about sexism in media, particularly video games. I think we all agree sexism is a bad thing.

    Then she states that being exposed to those games makes you internalize their harmful message, meaning the games make you more sexist in real life.

    Being more sexist is bad, therefore my translation.

  298. felixray says

    @TonyStark

    Yet there are websites that shut down discussion of journalists being too chummy with game developers. Because as we all know, censorship is a symptom of a well endowed democracy.

    Some people need to learn the difference between censorship and editing. When the government controls your website, that's censorship., When you control your own website, that's editing. Freedom of the press is a symptom of a well endowed Democracy. There's good editing, and there's bad editing, but without the right to edit, there is no freedom of the press.

    Yet there are videos made by 'pop culture critics' that take address sexism in video games and not leave room in the comments section for rebuttal. Can dish it, can't take it.

    Anita Sarkeesian "can't take it?" That's got to be the dumbest thing I've read in this thread.

  299. King Squirrel says

    @Vlad C,

    I think the sociological theory runs along the lines of more-prone-to sexism than makes-you-sexist.

    Frankly, I would agree that the theory is hooery, but it does make me wonder why Jeanne Funk,David Satcher, and Stephen Kirsh don't get the same response Anita Sarkesian does.

  300. Zorb says

    Cultural criticism to writing is what Marxism is to economics.

    One.

    Familiarity with the terminology and some works of literary criticism does not mean that you're somehow uniquely qualified to speak on the subjects of games, culture or literature. Judging by the amount of snobbery and arrogance oozing out of some posts, people obviously think it does. Well, sorry to disappoint you. Those subjects are common knowledge (shared culture) and therefore your statements about them are as valid or as invalid as anyone's–based on their own merit.

    Literary criticism is only one of many, many analytical tools someone can employ when discussing said subjects. Tools. If you use them to produce something that is self-contradictory, offensive or factually incorrect, than it's your problem. Blaming everyone else, and saying "You don't understand! It's *cultural criticism*!" is meaningless. Nobody owes you to read your messages (or view your videos) with the exact same mentality and biases that produced them. Nobody owes you replies that use the same vocabulary and modes of reasoning. If everyone misinterprets your message, it simply means that you failed at communication or your reasoning has flaws. *You* deal with it.

    Two.

    Reviewing games has very little to do with cultural criticism. It's not because games are "entertainment". It's because reviewing games has a well-defined purpose, whereas goals of cultural critique are whatever the hell the author decides them to be.

    Reviews are intended to inform the reader about whether they would want to spend money on the game. That is why many of them use numeric scores (although those are unnecessary and even harmful). That is why people typically write reviews shortly after the game is released. There is a lot that's possible within constraints of that goal. Reviewers can analyze, compare and contrast, and put the game in perspective of other works. But. All of that is done to allow the reader to imagine the game and make an informed choice about whether it's worth playing. It is not about reviewers showing off, engaging in aimless musings or imposing value judgements.

    Sure, *games* can be political. Reviews never should, and it's perfectly possible to avoid making them so. Because, again, it's all about the game and what it's developers wanted to communicate and the reader. It's all about describing the subject. As a reader, I do not give a fuck whether you find gay marriage in Oblivion objectionable or not. It's not your place to moralize, that's not what the review is for, and that's not why I'm reading it. I want to know about the game. If you feel that the marriage aspect is important, you should describe it and allow *me* to decide whether it agrees with my views. *That* is why I read the bloody article in the first place. To imagine and to make my own judgements. To buy or not to buy.

    To put it another way, if an article about Call of Duty devolves into a monologue about your opinions on military service than it's no longer a CoD review. It's an essay. About unrelated subject. The absolute majority of people who want to know about Call of Duty would not be interested in it. As simple as that. Even if you still "sell" it as a review, they will feel annoyed by the false advertising at some deeper level. I think that's what is happening in many cases.

    "OMG, but it's impossible to express anything within this framework!!!" you might say. Sure it is. I've done it. Others have done it. In general, people self-express without diving into politics all the time. At work, at home, at school, whatever. It's because there is more to people than their value judgements. In fact, those are usually the least interesting aspects of someone's personality.

    Why so many journalists feel they are special snowflakes and can't leave their politics and egos at the doorstep (so to say) is beyond me. Well, I actually know why. It's probably education. And they don't want to.

  301. Czernobog says

    I find this whole "Anita Sarkeezian accused us of acquiescing to the practice of infusing video games with misogynist elements, therefore we don't want to hear any more about misogynist elements" line of argument to be as hilariously revealing as women's armor in fantasy RPG's.

    They don't even seem to realize they're doing it.

  302. sinij says

    Sure, sexualizing of women in RPGs (re: bikini-plate) is silly, but seeing that it is FANTASY setting, why are we also not questioning princesses and dragons?

    If we agree that such fantasy is harmful, how do we police it? Also at what point do we stop and who gets a say when we stop? You do realize that fight against "sexualizing" could go all the way to burkas, and some would gladly take it there?

  303. Czernobog says

    @sinij: You'll note I used the word "hilarious" and not "harmful." Find a different straw man to fight.

  304. GeoffreyK says

    @sinij
    Bikini-plate is not criticized for being fantastical. It is criticized for being inconsistent with the universe in which it is set, where its inconsistency is really only explainable by an intent to sexualize and objectify the character it is being worn by.

    If the consensus is that certain forms of bikini-plate are bad, then people will criticize it, and reviewers will take it into account, and consumers will adjust their buying habits, and eventually developers might opt to think a little harder about their female character design. It stops when it reaches an equilibrium point where the number of people recognizing the content as problematic drops below the threshold that the developer cares about. Unless the majority are in favor of burka-nization, the fringe that are will simply be left to their soapboxes.

  305. sinij says

    @GeoffreyK

    According to your definition, the equilibrium point ("the majority are in favor") is already there, and bikini-plate is part of that equilibrium. You must realize that there will be no massive uprising against issue de-jour, it is through media and publicity that SJW try to sway public opinion that change is necessary to better accommodate minorities.

    So, what minorities views do we accommodate, and to what degree? Perhaps we could go with "demonstrable harm" approach?

  306. says

    it is through media and publicity that SJW try to sway public opinion that change is necessary to better accommodate minorities.

    An interest group is trying to sway public opinion through media advocacy?

    Zounds.

  307. says

    Ah, but while they're trying to sway public opinion through advocacy in the media, they're privately fantasizing about ideological genocide. And emp grenades. And silencing their adversaries in bullet-time.

    In fact, come to think of it, those SJWs are perilously close to becoming gamers!

  308. sinij says

    Exactly, SJWs are an interest group. That attempts to misrepresent itself as speaking for the "silent majority".

    Still, we should accommodate where there is demonstrable harm and there is a reasonable path to mitigating or eliminating said harm.

    For example, biki-plate? You will need to convince the public that there is actual harm. Moral panic arguments won't do, because if we accept these, we will also have to accept pro-burka arguments.

    Another example, internet death threats. There is clearly harm in these, but actual steps to completely prevent these (as SJWs often demand) are infeasible in a liberal society that places high value on personal freedoms. We can only keep addressing these through existing framework of criminal law and only through participation of law enforcement.

  309. sinij says

    Bikini-plate is not criticized for being fantastical. It is criticized for being inconsistent with the universe in which it is set,

    Wizards, dragons, princesses, talking animals, never having to eat or take a dump are all consistent, but bikini-plate is not?

    I would agree that faithful medieval combat simulator (for example Mount & Blade, but they don't do it) could be criticized on this basis. For all other cases it boils down "I disagree with this art direction because of a set of moral believes I hold." Well, more power to you, but why should the rest of us, who don't share your particular religion/moral panic care?

  310. King Squirrel says

    because of a set of moral believes I hold.

    eth·ics
    ˈeTHiks/
    noun
    plural noun: ethics; noun: ethics
    1. moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior.

  311. sorrykb says

    @David Byron: I freely admit to fantasizing about EMP grenades (mostly in relation to midnight car alarms).

  312. sorrykb says

    @sinij: Wizards, dragons, etc. are consistent with the universe of the game in which they're set. Bikini-plate, in a universe where armor is meant to matter, is not. For me, as a gamer, it breaks immersion. It's a distraction from the game. It may not have that effect on you.

    Well, more power to you, but why should the rest of us, who don't share your particular religion/moral panic care?

    You don't have to care. No one is forcing you to care.
    But if your worldview is so fragile that the slightest criticism risks shattering it, perhaps it's worth re-thinking.

  313. GeoffreyK says

    @sinij
    You left off my "where" clause, which was somewhat critical to addressing that the argument is that the source of the inconsistency is the problem, as opposed to the existence of the inconsistency itself. I'm trying to explain to you what the argument is, not actually win said argument. I don't want to engage with you on the merits of the bikini-plate argument, because you're not much fun to engage with.

    You rely heavily on the assumption that you are in the actual majority, as opposed to being in a "vocal minority". I know what I think, and I know what my friends think, and I get the vague impression of what the smattering of other individuals on this site think, but I posit that we are all woefully under-equipped to accurately judge the perspective of the majority (silent, vocal, or otherwise). Allow the argument to run its course.

  314. sinij says

    where its inconsistency is really only explainable by an intent to sexualize and objectify the character it is being worn by.

    I admit, yours is a plausible explanation. Still, you will have very hard time demonstrating that "only" part without an explicit statement of intent from a creator.

    All of these arguments are not as black & white and clear cut as you would like to present them. My view is that present conflict is a clear case of tribal warfare where one group attempts to enforce their arbitrary preferences on other.

    Yes, I do pretend to speak for majority. One that doesn't care ether way. Why should we?

  315. JnR says

    Wizards, dragons, princesses, talking animals, never having to eat or take a dump are all consistent, but bikini-plate is not?

    For the same reason we can buy a person firing a laser pistol but get irrate when a six-chambered revolver fires seven bullets without reloading: one is meant to be fantastical, that it disobeys the laws as we know them. The other is something mundane disobeying mundane laws.

    Dragons, magic… we accept them as breaking laws because they have no real examples. They are outside the mundane, thus we buy them not always restrained by the same laws. Chainmail bikinis aren't fantastical; they are mundane. We can make examples of them. Like firing too many bullets out of a gun, we notice because it's something mundane disobeying the laws it should obey.

    One that doesn't care ether way. Why should we?

    If you don't care, then why are you fighting at all? Either you do care or you are basically admitting that you are arguing just to argue. :-\

  316. Ahunt says

    Well Ken…thank you so much. This is going to cost me some money.

    I am now intrigued enough to update my hardware and try out some of the more sophisticated games…(hand me downs from my old crew, but still new to me). This fairly civil discussion has convinced me that I am missing out on fun stuff.

    Incidentally, my old crew, some of whom are approaching seventy, are a trifle bemused by the whole dust-up, pretty much sharing Mikee's and Shane's dismissal of the nonsense. Apparently, "old timers" are too "old" to feel threatened by much of anything.

  317. says

    Exactly, SJWs are an interest group. That attempts to misrepresent itself as speaking for the "silent majority".

    Isn't that like everyone, everywhere?

    Is there some protected right to be free of people arguing in a way that suggests falsely they are in the majority? Is there some protected right to be free of bad arguments? Is there some protected right to have your arguments weighed "correctly" in the marketplace of ideas? Is there some protected right to have the media weigh issues the way you think they should be weighed?

  318. sinij says

    If you don't care, then why are you fighting at all?

    Very good question.

    How do you think regulars here would react to a series of articles declaring "Popehat is dead!" & "Only misogynist and harassers leave comment on Popehat". Then used generic examples of internet asshatery to further besmirch and soil Popehat's sterling reputation.

    I have seen evidence that misogynists commented here before, still no reasonable person would make a generalization from this.

    It is like that.

    Is there some protected right to be free of bad arguments?

    I would support constitutional amendment and would donate toward PAC supporting this cause. :P

    On more serious note – Ken, you are absolutely right. So I am left with engaging in "more speech", and at no point I would suggest SJW should be censored.

  319. sorrykb says

    sinij:

    How do you think regulars here would react to a series of articles declaring "Popehat is dead!" & "Only misogynist and harassers leave comment on Popehat". Then used generic examples of internet asshatery to further besmirch and soil Popehat's sterling reputation.

    I think it likely that those statements would become @popehat's next tweet. But that's pure conjecture on my part…

  320. JnR says

    Very good question.

    How do you think regulars here would react to a series of articles declaring "Popehat is dead!" & "Only misogynist and harassers leave comment on Popehat". Then used generic examples of internet asshatery to further besmirch and soil Popehat's sterling reputation.

    I have seen evidence that misogynists commented here before, still no reasonable person would make a generalization from this.

    It is like that.

    Or the short version, "I care." Okay, settled. Regardless of what sort of example you try to formulate, that response is basically the definition of "caring"

  321. sinij says

    JnR, I hope you can differentiate between "I don't care to associate with your cause" and "I care to not be caught in your tribal warfare crossfire".

  322. sinij says

    @JnR

    Chainmail bikinis aren't fantastical; they are mundane. We can make examples of them. Like firing too many bullets out of a gun, we notice because it's something mundane disobeying the laws it should obey.

    This is excellent explanation why we notice chain mail bikinis, but it does not adequately explain why we should object. Your "too many bullets" example refers to laws of physics, while bikini example refers to morals.

    You assume that "disobeying the laws it should obey" when applied to social issues is a universal and uniformly interpreted paradigm. It isn't. Some groups find it morally reprehensive when women portrayed not wearing burkas. They use very similar arguments, that not wearing burkas leads to excessively sexualizing and objectifying women. They often use appeals to decency.

    Why should we use your moral standards, and not theirs? What argument could you make that could not be also applied to other points of view? Also, how are " should not be portrayed" standards are different from "should not look like" standards? Would your side also disapprove of a female that, for example, voluntarily chose to wear a chainmail bikini to a LARPing get-together? What about a bikini on a sunny day of surfing?

  323. Argentina Orange says

    @Aquilon

    Beyond that, I deeply disagree with your assertion that GG is a consumer movement. It's a reactionary political movement

    …did you just mansplain Gamergate to a Gamergater? O.o

    Not to get all metaphysical on you, but I'm having trouble coming up with any commonly accepted character judgments that don't involve either a) what a person does or b) what a person enjoys. Can you legitimately envision a person who is into either witnessing or participating in [insert currently-considered-horrible activity here] and saying, "oh I'm not in favor of [horrible aspect] I just like [the spectacle, or human drama, or energy or whatever]" and you believing them?

    Yes? All the time?

    Really? Ok, show me. Seriously. If a "bad person" is neither someone who does bad things nor likes bad things, nor does and likes doing bad things, how would you ever be able to use the concept of "bad" unironically? What schema do you actually use? I've seen you get really fired up, so something must invoke righteous rage, what is it? is it just "you can like/do kinda sorta minor bad things and I'll choose to think you're probably still ok?" Because for more extremes of unapproved behavior, I don't think (most) people could ever pull that mental kabuki. If someone told you how much fun RapeLay was (note: I have no first hand experience with that game nor of any H-type/eroge game, just the internet legends thereof) would you not immediately say: "that person is a bad person?"

    I think we may be talking past each other a bit. Politics that we all agree with (shared values) are less likely to cause an outcry because it is less likely to be used a an outgroup bludgeon. So while I do think there would be at least some "Wtf dude? Write about games" if the gaming press all ran 20,000 word screeds against Pol Pot in relation to PP (look at the never-ending debates as to the proper ratio of crunch:fluff) it wouldn't get people as fired up as a screed filled with outgroup dysphemisms

    .

    So your argument, basically, is that game should only cover politics you agree with (or politics everyone agrees with), and reviewers should only touch on politics everyone should agree with? You want whitebread, intellectually-lazy gaming and game-coverage; you want the statements your games make to restrict themselves to the most boring and unchallengeable ones imaginable.

    Um, no. But thank you for this, because it is extremely illustrative, and very similar to linking an article in the "international news" section as an example of something that did not belong in an restaurant review. I still disagree that being able to separate and understand different parts of a complex system is in no way less intellectually rigorous that mushing everything together in a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey "Og find short skirt too distracting to care about rest of game." Likewise, my point wasn't that "politics I agree with are ok in a review." In fact, I explicitly stated that a shared political screed would be responded to by a "WTF?" as it would be as out of place as a culturally insensitive denunciation of FGM in Cooking Light magazine. But a shared political screed would be less likely to result in a heated backlash than a showy tribal display in the same place. You took a response of mine that was for a specific subargument and incorporated into other unrelated concepts to come up with a holistic idea, when when restated did not accurately represent my position. This is a problem with induction.

    I was showing that a reviewer was deliberately taking action that they knew would concretely, financially harm a dev because they disagreed with that woman's character design.

    Hurting the sales of a game because they disagree with its character design is part of a reviewer's job. Seriously, it is.

    Seriously, no it's not. Or rather I personally have never seen a reviewer job description that included the phrase "hurting sales." If you come across one, feel free to link it, I would be interested in the employer. But here, again, the point of this (which I reiterated in case you didn't get it the first time) wasn't to say that reviewers should or shouldn't care about the finances of the reviewed party, it was that the individual personal biases of reviewers, particularly in the specific situation discussed, have a vastly greater effect on the design of games than random twits.

    There should be games that challenge you, intellectually. Reviewers should touch on whether a game challenges the viewer, and how; they should talk about its cultural context and what it means to them and how it makes them feel in every way that it impacts them.

    Three consecutive moral imperatives finished with a clause that even you don't agree with.

    There's no way for them to do so devoid of cultural context — "how this game makes me feel as I play it" is absolutely a central defining part of a game's impact (and therefore, if you're going to give it one big final rating, its final score.)

    I would suggest that it is possible to be aware of one's cultural context and describe an experience with that consideration involved, and that maybe if there is an external requirement to have a single score that perhaps the problematic nature of that should be addressed withing the review. But then again, I'm just in favor of whitebread intellectual mediocrity.

    If the answer is "terrible, because it felt like I was wading through misogynistic filth", the reviewer should say so, so other people who share their outlook on games that make them feel like they're wading through misogynistic filth will know to stay away

    See, this is where being aware of one's cultural context would come in handy. Because a) it presupposes that there is such a thing as "misogynistic filth, (which I am not denying, just being through with the unsupported assumptions here) and b) that the reviewer can and does perceive misogynistic filth. Unless there is additional context where the reviewer reveals issues which could cloud their perception, the reviewer is an authority and a reasonable/normal/archetypical person. Therefore if the reviewer perceives misogynist filth and you do not, c) there is something wrong with you. At best, you are insensitive. At worst you are a misogynist, which is why you do not see this misogynist filth as a problem.

    It's only feminism that gets people this worked up.

    yeah… no. More after the next quote.

    Again, all of GG's major targets are either women involved in gaming, outspoken feminists, or publications that have touched on one of these things. All of GG's most outspoken complaints relate directly to that.

    I believe that there is some serious cause and effect switching going on here, as well as some cherry-picking as to how far in the past people are willing to look. There are an awful lot of (ok, two or three) political issues that will gar-ron-tee a popular freakout, none of which I will mention here, because simply mentioning them will cause a drama-burst. But if you think for a bit you'll come up with at least a couple. Fortunately games have avoided these topics, though I can totally see someone trying to milk an internet drama over one of these subjects into Kickstarter/Patreon bux. Yes, there are sume usual suspects involved in this kerfuffle, but if you look, you will see these same usual suspects involved in lots of kerfuffles. Some people love twit-drama. Some people make their living off of it.

  324. Stevie says

    As Mrs Gaskell put it:

    "I'll not listen to reason…Reason always means what somebody else has to say"

    Admittedly, that was over 150 years ago, but reading through the comments I think the general principle still applies.
    On the other hand I do feel deeply sympathetic towards to the cactus of Gor, doomed to a tragically shortened life due to overwatering…

  325. JnR says

    JnR, I hope you can differentiate between "I don't care to associate with your cause" and "I care to not be caught in your tribal warfare crossfire".

    I can, just given how you've phrased your views and examples I find that I suppose I really don't believe you.

    This is excellent explanation why we notice chain mail bikinis, but it does not adequately explain why we should object. Your "too many bullets" example refers to laws of physics, while bikini example refers to morals.

    No, you are shifting goalposts. The person who you responded to pointed out that it wasn't consistent within the universe, and you tried to deflect that with naming things like dragons. I simply pointed out that you're making a false comparison; we have different standards for what "fits" and what doesn't based on that. A chainmail bikini doesn't work because it fails at its primary in-universe purpose: to protect. There isn't purpose for it beyond the sexualization aspect.

    You assume that "disobeying the laws it should obey" when applied to social issues is a universal and uniformly interpreted paradigm. It isn't. Some groups find it morally reprehensive when women portrayed not wearing burkas. They use very similar arguments, that not wearing burkas leads to excessively sexualizing and objectifying women. They often use appeals to decency.

    Yes, some groups might, but unless you are accusing me of being part of one of said groups then this is a giant exclusion of the middle ground. Let's view the argument in the context: I'm saying that chainmail bikinis are inconsistent with the settings they are in (Just as the person before did) and lack worth beyond sexualizing women in a way that the males aren't being. I say change it so that both are represented along the same lines. What is the value in keeping it that way beyond "It was like that before and why should we change it?" I've just given you a reason.

    Why should we use your moral standards, and not theirs? What argument could you make that could not be also applied to other points of view? Also, how are "not portrayed" standards are different from "should not look like"? Would your side also shame a female that, for example, voluntarily chose to wear a chainmail bikini to a LARPing get-together?

    This is a huge non-argument: all you say is "Other people have different views! Why shouldn't we listen to them?" Well, give me the opposite view and let's weigh them. Beyond sexualization, what's the value in giving only women chainmail bikinis?

  326. sorrykb says

    Argentina Orange wrote:

    [Aquilon wrote]:"Again, all of GG's major targets are either women involved in gaming, outspoken feminists, or publications that have touched on one of these things. All of GG's most outspoken complaints relate directly to that."
    I believe that there is some serious cause and effect switching going on here, as well as some cherry-picking as to how far in the past people are willing to look.

    OK, let's look back to the "Kotaku in Action" subreddit, the "respectable" gamergate alternative to 8chan. More specifically, let's look at one of the moderators, to see why a reasonable person might think that gamergate has issues with women in general. Let's see…. He also moderates the Tumblr in Action subreddit (you have to see it — or maybe not), the gor subreddit, and, oh look, a rape fantasy subreddit (It's the one that ends in "nazis" – You really don't want to see it.).
    Now, being a sleazy awful creep does not (and should not) take away his right to freedom of speech. But if gamergate didn't want to be about misogyny, perhaps it should have looked at who's officially associated with it. (Or as close to "official" as is possible w/ gg. He's not some random guy; he's a mod.)

  327. says

    Here's what I said in sharing this on Facebook:

    Ken's observations, his 10 points, apply to a lot of situations, especially ones where SJW folks are involved, and especially ones where doctrinaire anti-SJW folks are also involved, not just gamergate.

  328. sinij says

    Beyond sexualization, what's the value in giving only women chainmail bikinis?

    Artistic freedom of expression? Someone might be constructing beach-themed medieval fantasy (stranger things are known to happen). Your are seeking to restrict something, as such, you need to clearly demonstrate that there is no legitimate use possible. You also need to demonstrate actual harm. You failing to do ether.

    The person who you responded to pointed out that it wasn't consistent within the universe, and you tried to deflect that with naming things like dragons. I simply pointed out that you're making a false comparison; we have different standards for what "fits" and what doesn't based on that.

    "What fits" is a subjective and arbitrary standard. We can't apply it because we don't agree. My position is that it fits, now what?

    The key problem whit that argument is that it conflating physical laws (7th bullet out of 6-bullet revolver) and moral laws (wearing chainmail bikini is bad). They are not the same, and your inability to differentiate speaks volumes about your position.

    Well, give me the opposite view and let's weigh them.

    There was no clear reason articulated to restrict things. As such, unrestricted choice should be preferred.

  329. King Squirrel says

    if the gaming press all ran 20,000 word screeds against Pol Pot in relation to PP (look at the never-ending debates as to the proper ratio of crunch:fluff) it wouldn't get people as fired up as a screed filled with outgroup dysphemisms

    "But a shared political screed would be less likely to result in a heated backlash than a showy tribal display in the same place.

    This looks like a distinction without a difference. Do you think "20,000 word screeds against Pol Pot" would somehow NOT contain "outgroup dysphemisms"?

    Likewise, in what way is a "shared political screed" not a "showy tribal display"?

  330. Jacob Schmidt says

    If a "bad person" is neither someone who does bad things nor likes bad things, nor does and likes doing bad things, how would you ever be able to use the concept of "bad" unironically?

    Now compare:"Can you legitimately envision a person who is into either witnessing or participating in [insert currently-considered-horrible activity here] and saying, "oh I'm not in favor of [horrible aspect] I just like [the spectacle, or human drama, or energy or whatever]" and you believing them?"

    Notice the shift from "liking [thing] and disavowing [bad element]"? This argument only works if we accept that liking things with bad elements is either a) doing bad things, or b) liking bad things. If you can't understand the difference between "I like this game but not all the level design," and "I like bad level design," then of course you can't understand "This game has some bad elements" as anything else but "You are a bad person for liking this game."

    Like, I don't know how to explain this if you don't already understand. Enjoying the whole does not mean enjoying every single element. Criticizing specific elements is not necessarily a criticism on those who enjoy the whole.

    Case in point: I like the Jak and Daxter series. I don't like the ridiculous sexualization of a certain NPC guard: the only female guard, who coincidently is the only one running around in a bra and underwear. Or, to put it in your phrasing, "oh I'm not in favor of the stupid sexualization, I just like the gameplay and banter between the main characters."

    Seriously, no it's not. Or rather I personally have never seen a reviewer job description that included the phrase "hurting sales." If you come across one, feel free to link it, I would be interested in the employer.

    I can accept that "hurting sales" is not literally in the job description, but you'd be a fool to argue that reviewers don't have an impact on sales, and that impact can very well be negative.

    Because a) it presupposes that there is such a thing as "misogynistic filth,[1] (which I am not denying, just being through with the unsupported assumptions here) and b) that the reviewer can and does perceive misogynistic filth.[2] Unless there is additional context where the reviewer reveals issues which could cloud their perception, the reviewer is an authority and a reasonable/normal/archetypical person.[3] Therefore if the reviewer perceives misogynist filth and you do not, c) there is something wrong with you. At best, you are insensitive. At worst you are a misogynist, which is why you do not see this misogynist filth as a problem.

    1) You'll note that there is no pressuposition in "I feel like I'm wading through misogynistic filth."

    2) Again, no. I don't need to suppose that reviewer is necessarily correct to take into account the review. Were that the case, conflicting reviews would be worthless. It's the same with control schemes, level design, technicality of play, etc. I need not suppose the reviewer is right to read and make use of a review.

    Second, the reviewer can easily go over what, specifically, he or she disliked. This happens quite frequently, you'll note, even when judging a game's sexist elements. I need not simply take their word for it.

    3) Look, if you want to project those properties onto someone on the other end of the internet, that's on you.

    Ok, then I'll explain my reasoning. Anita complains about sexism in media, particularly video games.[1] I think we all agree sexism is a bad thing.

    Then she states that being exposed to those games makes you internalize their harmful message,[2] meaning the games make you more sexist in real life.

    1) Particularly? She's got a whole series on television, and goes into books and comics on her website. The only special about video games is that people keep freaking out about it.

    2) Except she didn't. Literally no where does that happen. She clearly thinks that one can internalize the messages; she clearly things that people do internalize the messages; she clearly thinks that those who deny that possibility are more likely too; but no where does she say that they make you internalize them.

    Likewise, in what way is a "shared political screed" not a "showy tribal display"?

    Heh.

  331. Argentina Orange says

    @sorrykb

    So, would it be fair to point out that one of the "leaders" of the Anti-gg is an actual neo nazi? I don't really think that playing "which side has the shittier people" game is either productive or winnable. You can't make me choose between Ken and Clark.

    But you're missing the point about cause and effect. Breitbart, Wikileaks and Occupy freaking Wall Street support GG, not because they had anything to do with it, or becaue the give the proverbial rat's ass about games but because of the reaction to it (Breitbart because of the "lefties," OWS and Wikileaks over media/censorship issues). Same with the MRAs crawling into the space– they were drawn there because their favorite hatetargets were there. If you go right to the very beginning, when it became a tribal war, there were mass bannings/deletions/DCMA takedowns on places that were used to seeing themselves (or at least seen by their users) as pretty free-speech friendly places. And these takedowns were done in relation to/by people who had clear tribal allegiances. If ZQ had been a Chechen separatist activist, then the bans would a) (perhaps?) have been less likely and b) drawn in Russian nationalists in opposition, which would have had this… thing unfold along a somewhat different alignment (though not completely — look at how GG has managed to get OWS and Breitbart together). It is less truthful to say "GGers are misogynists" than it is "GGers are tribal opponents of ZQ." Reasons why ZQ had a previously existing bad reputation and frankly is a despicable waste of human flesh are not something that I think needs fleshing out, but it has nothing to do with feminism.

  332. JnR says

    Artistic freedom of expression? Someone might be constructing beach-themed medieval fantasy (stranger things are known to happen).

    Stranger things could happen, but given the scarcity of what you talk about it's not a particularly worthy defense on the whole.

    Your are seeking to restrict something, as such, you need to clearly demonstrate that there is no legitimate use possible. You also need to demonstrate actual harm. You failing to do ether.

    No, I don't. I'm critiquing something and pointing out why it doesn't make sense artistically. You're trying to couch your language in the legal definition of why I can't restrict it, but you fail to realize I'm not trying to legally stop you from doing something: I'm questioning your logic. "Because I can" is not a particularly stirring defense as to why you'd sexualize female armor while not doing the same to the males.

    "What fits" is a subjective and arbitrary standard. We can't apply it because we don't agree. My position is that it fits, now what?

    Then I ask you why, because you haven't given a reason in our arguments beyond "because I can". If you're only level of engagement is "Well, because I want it to be" then you're not actually making an argument but refusing to have one.

    The key problem whit that argument is that it conflating physical laws (7th bullet out of 6-bullet revolver) and moral laws (wearing chainmail bikini is bad). They are not the same, and your inability to differentiate speaks volumes about your position.

    No, I'm not, and I'm seeing a pattern of misrepresentation. I've never talked about the morality of chainmail bikinis. I've pointed out that they are useless for their intended use: as protection. Physically speaking, they do not provide any real protection to someone compared to actual proper armor.

    Without resorting to "artistic license", give me a logical defense as to why a woman should wear a chainmail bikini when there is clear access to real armor, and why they simply don't use the same armor as men. Nothing of morals, but pure pragmatisim, please.

    There was no clear reason articulated to restrict things. As such, unrestricted choice should be preferred.

    I stated a clear artistic reason why they don't make sense given the rest of the composition. Beyond "because", what defense do you have against that critique?

    I'm guessing none. If there's another GG person who wants to actually engage on the subject, feel free. Just give me something better than "Because I can" for this thing.

  333. Argentina Orange says

    This looks like a distinction without a difference. Do you think "20,000 word screeds against Pol Pot" would somehow NOT contain "outgroup dysphemisms"?

    Likewise, in what way is a "shared political screed" not a "showy tribal display"?

    Context is key. If you go back through (and I don't blame you for not, this is a lot of words) you will see that I was contrasting a situation in which author and reader shared an outgroup rather than being each other's outgroups. A reviewer reviewing Papers Please and going off about how awful Year Zero was would get pushback for wasting review space, one that mentioned "dirty commies" would get some hate mail, one that claimed that the border guard "was a Republican's wet dream, getting to shit on brown people" would have an organized protest campaign, and one that claimed "anyone who likes this game is a neckbearded virgin living in their mother's basement where their shame at their pathetic virginity at their unsuccessful cheeto-dust-crusted attempt at rape-touching a woman causes them to lash out in impotent virgin rage at progessive wymn. And did I mention they were virgins?" — that last response would get you GamerGate.

  334. Stevie says

    Sinij

    I don't think chain mail bikinis are bad, I think they are stupid; that has nothing to do with morals and everything to do with an understanding of function.

    You apparently believe that the artistic integrity of the creator must at all times be respected, to the point where criticising the thing created is forbidden because otherwise the poor creator may retire sobbing to their room and forswear all artistic endeavour forever.

    There is no other art form in which that standard applies; in live theatre people jeer, boo and occasionally storm the stage, and nobody ever suggests that the critical response of the audience must be suppressed because the actors/singers/director/dancers/sound and light engineers/stagehands etc will get upset.

    Nobody ever suggests that newspaper critics mustn't say that a particular production stinks, if they think it stinks, nor do they claim that all critics must hold the same view of a particular production. One person can think it is a masterpiece and another person think that sitting through it is a preview of hell itself; criticism is what people do when they articulate why they hold that view.

    I see no reason why video games should be treated differently…

  335. King Squirrel says

    Context is key. If you go back through (and I don't blame you for not, this is a lot of words) you will see that I was contrasting a situation in which author and reader shared an outgroup rather than being each other's outgroups.

    Both situations would likely have an author using outgroup dysphemisms – so I do not see how the context changes a thing.

    Besides, it is looks far more likely that it is the collision of groups that causes people to "get fired up", not harsh words.

    I could start a pretty serious argument easily by claiming "It is just within the realm of possibility that {GG/AGG. kittens/puppies, Yankees/Cubs} might have the better viewpoint on {videogames, the cupcakes v rainbows controversy, stadium hotdogs}. Maybe. Possibly." On the other hand, I would have to go a long way out of my way to find a place where claiming "The Khmer Rouge were murderous thugs bent on a psychopathic goal of torture and evil incarnate, and their leader was a feculent pustule on the syphilitic buttocks of a diseased wharf rat!!!!! RRRRRR!!!!"

    …would lead to anything but the chirping of crickets.

  336. Argentina Orange says

    @Jacob Schmidt

    If a "bad person" is neither someone who does bad things nor likes bad things, nor does and likes doing bad things, how would you ever be able to use the concept of "bad" unironically?

    Now compare:"Can you legitimately envision a person who is into either witnessing or participating in [insert currently-considered-horrible activity here] and saying, "oh I'm not in favor of [horrible aspect] I just like [the spectacle, or human drama, or energy or whatever]" and you believing them?"

    Notice the shift from "liking [thing] and disavowing [bad element]"? This argument only works if we accept that liking things with bad elements is either a) doing bad things, or b) liking bad things. If you can't understand the difference between "I like this game but not all the level design," and "I like bad level design," then of course you can't understand "This game has some bad elements" as anything else but "You are a bad person for liking this game."

    Like, I don't know how to explain this if you don't already understand. Enjoying the whole does not mean enjoying every single element. Criticizing specific elements is not necessarily a criticism on those who enjoy the whole.

    That I can agree with. But how many times on this very thread have we seen some variant of "There are [people who are bad in a specific way] who support GG, therefore GG is bad, therefore you should disavow GG." I also think (and you may disagree) that there is a sliding scale of willingness to believe the disclaimer depending on how mad the thing being disclaimed is. Believing that you like a game but not the level design therefore you don't necessarily support bad level design is trivial, there's no moral judgment in level design (outside of certain circles). But the more seriously bad a particular element is, the less likely we are to not have it contaminate the afficianado. In the gaming world, could you really not be creeped out by someone who liked a lolicon eroge even if they claimed they weren't actually into little girls? Or outside the gaming world, exactly how much credence would you give to a guy who said "I'm not racist, I just think burning crosses are really pretty." The point of all of this is that the greater the (accused) sin, the more likely is contagion of the sinner. Misogyny is a really big fucking sin. It is not unreasonable for people to believe that they are being personally called out, nor is it an admission of a guilty conscience or whatever. It's a reasonable interpretation of what is said, regardless of whatever disclaimers accompany it.

    Because a) it presupposes that there is such a thing as "misogynistic filth,[1] (which I am not denying, just being through with the unsupported assumptions here) and b) that the reviewer can and does perceive misogynistic filth.[2] Unless there is additional context where the reviewer reveals issues which could cloud their perception, the reviewer is an authority and a reasonable/normal/archetypical person.[3] Therefore if the reviewer perceives misogynist filth and you do not, c) there is something wrong with you. At best, you are insensitive. At worst you are a misogynist, which is why you do not see this misogynist filth as a problem.

    1) You'll note that there is no pressuposition in "I feel like I'm wading through misogynistic filth."

    Actually, there are several. That you (and/or I) happen to agree with the presuppositions does not change the fact that they exist

    2) Again, no. I don't need to suppose that reviewer is necessarily correct to take into account the review. Were that the case, conflicting reviews would be worthless. It's the same with control schemes, level design, technicality of play, etc. I need not suppose the reviewer is right to read and make use of a review.

    I don't know if you're just arguing or if you don't understand. There is a difference between adjectives and nouns. Stating that something has certain properties is different than saying something exists. If you are told that "in this mix of red and green dots, there is the number 6," and you can't see it, then the implication is you are colorblind. Or at least there is a reason why you can't perceive the numeral's existence.

    Second, the reviewer can easily go over what, specifically, he or she disliked. This happens quite frequently, you'll note, even when judging a game's sexist elements. I need not simply take their word for it.

    You may have noted that I have explicitly advocated for this as being A Good Idea.

    3) Look, if you want to project those properties onto someone on the other end of the internet, that's on you.

    Again, http://xkcd.com/386/ Otherwise, no. Communication depends on the sender as well as the receiver.

  337. Argentina Orange says

    Oh goddammit

    @King Squirrel

    Both situations would likely have an author using outgroup dysphemisms – so I do not see how the context changes a thing.

    It does. Would that you were aware of the context.

    On the other hand, I would have to go a long way out of my way to find a place where claiming "The Khmer Rouge were murderous thugs bent on a psychopathic goal of torture and evil incarnate, and their leader was a feculent pustule on the syphilitic buttocks of a diseased wharf rat!!!!! RRRRRR!!!!"

    …would lead to anything but the chirping of crickets.

    See, I can think of many. A concert hall, during the second movement of Beethoven's Seventh. On the middle of the ice rink during the world figure skating championships. A wedding. A funeral. A first date. The pages of Cooking Light magazine. A review of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

  338. says

    I have no problem with someone saying chainmail bikinis are bullshit, or someone saying they aren't, or someone saying Conan loincloths are bullshit too.

    I only have a problem with people throwing a shitfit about how someone else articulating a problem with chainmail bikinis is ruining the hobby.

  339. King Squirrel says

    See, I can think of many. A concert hall, during the second movement of Beethoven's Seventh. On the middle of the ice rink during the world figure skating championships. A wedding. A funeral. A first date. The pages of Cooking Light magazine. A review of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

    Odd. Every time I've tried it at those locations, nobody argues. I just get silence before I get thrown out…

    It does. Would that you were aware of the context.

    Context is a pretty difficult nut to crack it seems.

    Have fun folks. Off to teach those pinstriped, caninical bastards that they'll get my celery salt when they pry it out of my cold retractable-claw paws.

  340. Argentina Orange says

    @Ken White:

    I have no problem with someone saying chainmail bikinis are bullshit, or someone saying they aren't, or someone saying Conan loincloths are bullshit too.

    I only have a problem with people throwing a shitfit about how someone else articulating a problem with chainmail bikinis is ruining the hobby.

    Shitfits in general, or just this particular shitfit?

    Shitfits about chainmail bikinis?

    What about people saying "I'm not calling you a misogynist, but really, if you're not against chainmail bikinis you're perpetuating rape culture?" Good/bad? Are shitfits justified on either side of that particular argument?

    For the record, I will be (God willing and the creek don't rise) seing chainmail bikinis IRL this weekend. Also stormtroopers. Quite possibly some stormtroopers wearing chainmail bikinis.

  341. sinij says

    @Stevie

    I don't think chain mail bikinis are bad, I think they are stupid

    I actually agree with you here. At the same time I don't think someone (artist/author/gamer) should be stigmatized as misogynist for having these turn up.

    @JnR

    I've never talked about the morality of chainmail bikinis. I've pointed out that they are useless for their intended use: as protection. Physically speaking, they do not provide any real protection to someone compared to actual proper armor.

    In that case we agree. Still, why are we discussing physical protection characteristics of armor in a thread about SJW vs GG conflict?

    —-

    What about people saying "I'm not calling you a misogynist, but really, if you're not against chainmail bikinis you're perpetuating rape culture?"

    I too would like to know. Also lets generalize from chainmail bikinis to a generic SJW issue du jour with gaming.

  342. TM says

    I think there's a bit of conflating "criticism" with "reviews" going on. AS does criticism, what a lot of the gaming press does are reviews (though there are plenty of criticism pieces too), and while there is some overlap, I do think there is a difference in the amount of personal influence that should go into each. Let me try to illustrate with a non-political (and therefore hopefully neutral) example.

    I don't like tower defense games. Not on a box, not with a fox, not behind locks. I find those games boring for any number of reasons. And were I to sit down, take the latest tower defense game and write a piece on why it's boring and why it confirms everything I don't like about tower defense games, that would be a form of criticism and perfectly valid. On the other hand, if I write game reviews for a general purpose gaming magazine, that same piece on tower defense games would be a a horrible review. As a general purpose review, my job is to evaluate the game as a game and specifically as a tower defense game. My personal opinions on tower defense games for the most part do not enter into whether or not the game itself is good or bad and it would be wildly unfair and biased for me to give the game a score of 1 just because I personally don't like tower defense games. Likewise, if I thought tower games were the greatest thing in the world and every game should be a tower defense game, it would be unfair for me to give the game a 10 if it was by more objective standards a bad game and likewise unfair for me to give an FPS game a lower score because it didn't include enough tower defense mechanics. It's unfair not only because it doesn't judge the game on its purpose and merits, but also because it misinforms at worst and at best wastes a reader's time, because chances are if they're looking for a review on the game, they don't want my personal opinion on that type of game clouding the actual review of the game as a game and what it sets out to accomplish. It would then not be unexpected if the readers of the magazine, especially if I continued to write anti-tower defense reviews for ever tower defense game, to become annoyed at my reviews even though they're perfectly legitimate criticism.
    I realize this is a very big grey area and that no review will ever be 100% writer bias free, but I do think that reviews and reviewers such as they are have an obligation to their readers to limit those biases and where they can't or won't limit them, to make them known upfront and try to segment them.

  343. GeoffreyK says

    @TM
    Zorb made a very similar argument earlier, and I almost responded, then didn't. I will this time.
    You're making a definitional argument about the nature of reviews, which itself supposes that your definition is somehow a universal truth (it is not). Personally, I like for my reviews to have a critical component. I find it useful in evaluating whether or not I will enjoy the game. Hell, I find it useful for learning about games which I will never personally enjoy, because the critique allows me to see some of what the proponents are getting out of it (see: every MOBA ever, since I just keep bouncing off the damn things).
    As with all other forms of entertainment, I seek out reviewers whose reviews of things I have personally experienced are generally in sync with the experience that I had; such baselines allow me to find ones whose opinions of things I have not experienced can be reasonably extrapolated to be indicative of whether or not I would like them. This sort of self-selection is the beauty of the modern media market; while it may be the bane of real world and the increasing tribalization of the world of "facts", it is perfect for consumer markets like videogames.
    If your primary source for Tower Defense reviews doesn't like Tower Defense games, and you continue to rely on them as your primary source of Tower Defense reviews, then you are the only person hurting you.
    Here's the real problem: my version of a perfect world doesn't exclude yours. I want my reviews with critical components included, but I am not against the idea of reviews which leave them out. I will just generally choose to avoid those sources. You, for some reason, want to eradicate my version of reviews from the universe. Would it be okay if we just call them something else? Would their somehow not being labeled reviews somehow make you okay with the criticism still existing? I'm guessing not.

  344. Aquillion says

    …did you just mansplain Gamergate to a Gamergater? O.o

    I explained to you, yes.

    No one in this world has the right (or ability) to decide how other people view their actions and opinions. People will look at them and draw their own conclusion. When you behave like a reactionary social movement driven by cultural issues (as you are now, by using the word 'mansplain', for instance), people will describe you as a reactionary social movement driven by cultural issues. No matter how many times you turn around and say "actually it's about swallow migration" or "actually it's a religious uprising", you won't change people's minds while you continue to act as if this is a cultural crusade. I have as much right as you do to read over what Gamergate says and does and determine what I think it means as you do; your only advantage, as someone who identifies as a member, is that you can demonstrate your opinion through your actions.

    Right now, your actions tell me that you likewise believe Gamergate to be, at its core, a reactionary social movement focused on fighting against your perceived cultural opponents, both inside and outside the world of gaming. These speak louder than your claims to the contrary. Again, your use of "mansplain" in an attempt to take a swipe at what you presume to be my political or cultural positions is telling — I believe that your own words and actions have indicated that you see Gamergate as a chance to turn games into a vehicle for your own cultural crusade against perceived cultural enemies.

    Really? Ok, show me. Seriously. If a "bad person" is neither someone who does bad things nor likes bad things, nor does and likes doing bad things, how would you ever be able to use the concept of "bad" unironically? What schema do you actually use? I've seen you get really fired up, so something must invoke righteous rage, what is it? is it just "you can like/do kinda sorta minor bad things and I'll choose to think you're probably still ok?" Because for more extremes of unapproved behavior, I don't think (most) people could ever pull that mental kabuki. If someone told you how much fun RapeLay was (note: I have no first hand experience with that game nor of any H-type/eroge game, just the internet legends thereof) would you not immediately say: "that person is a bad person?"

    I don't — generally — judge people as good or bad based on the brief, narrow interactions I have with them over the internet. I mean, sure, I might lose my temper or get into an argument and call someone an asshole, but I don't really think I can get some deep personal understanding of other people based on their media preferences or the things they post on message boards or the hashtags they affiliate themselves with. I might get a bad impression of them from some of these things, depending on the context, but really, beyond that — I think it's a waste of time to try and judge random strangers on the internet. I don't know you. I'll probably never meet or communicate with you outside of this exchange.

    What I can grasp — and what gets me fired up, as you've noted — are the opinions and positions you've taken. I don't feel I'm really qualified to say "you have said this, therefore you are a terrible person"; but I do feel qualified to say "you have said this, and that is a terrible opinion". Having your opinions criticized is not (necessarily) an attack on you personally, not unless you hold those opinions so close to your heart that they form the core of your identity; having someone say that a game you like is dumb or misogynistic or hateful doesn't mean that they're saying that you're a dumb and misogynistic or hateful person. It means, at worst, that they might feel that you have bad taste in games. Which is, for the record, how I would feel about someone who said they liked RapeLay or whatever — I would probably wonder why they like it, and probably assume they like it ironically in some fashion, but generally I'd just think that that means that they have bad taste in games.

    Um, no. But thank you for this, because it is extremely illustrative, and very similar to linking an article in the "international news" section as an example of something that did not belong in an restaurant review. I still disagree that being able to separate and understand different parts of a complex system is in no way less intellectually rigorous that mushing everything together in a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey "Og find short skirt too distracting to care about rest of game." Likewise, my point wasn't that "politics I agree with are ok in a review." In fact, I explicitly stated that a shared political screed would be responded to by a "WTF?" as it would be as out of place as a culturally insensitive denunciation of FGM in Cooking Light magazine. But a shared political screed would be less likely to result in a heated backlash than a showy tribal display in the same place. You took a response of mine that was for a specific subargument and incorporated into other unrelated concepts to come up with a holistic idea, when when restated did not accurately represent my position. This is a problem with induction.

    Again, everything is political; your inability to see that is at the heart of your confusion here. It is not possible for a reviewer to write an apolitical review of Spec Ops: The Line. It isn't particularly possible for them to write an apolitical review of Call of Duty. Both those games carry strong and loud political messages. Most other games do, too, whether they intend to or not. A reviewer who entirely ignores these messages, or who suppresses them in their review — who looks at Spec Ops: The Line and comes away saying "there are guns and you shoot them at the people with other guns" — is abdicating their role as a responsible journalist and is making a political statement regardless. Saying Spec Ops's message doesn't matter, it's just a game — or, again, Call of Duty's message doesn't matter — is absolutely a political statement. These things define and shape the entire game, and giving an aggregate final score that doesn't include them is being dishonest.

    Therefore, asking for reviewers to "stay out of politics" amounts to telling them to stick solely to political statements that do not start arguments — to inoffensive things that you will not choose to interpret as "screeds". That is, again, a terrible thing to ask reviewers; it amounts to asking them to be dishonest and unethical in their coverage of games, and it amounts to asking both reviewers and developers to make less interesting things. As a gamer, I want both reviews and games that challenge me, intellectually.

    That doesn't mean I'll play or read absolutely anything — I would probably avoid works whose opinions are based on foundational assumptions so completely divergent from mine that I don't think I can get anything useful out of them, or works which I feel argue their point incompetently or fundamentally dishonestly — but, to me, reviewers I trust are part of the way I find games that take an interesting political message and approach it in a smart, honest manner.

    I suspect that you would lump many of the game-reviewers you are trying to silence, and many of the games they rate highly, into "completely divergent from your views" , or "argues their point incompetently" or even "fundamentally dishonest." But again, the answer to that is to read different reviewers. You might not like that those reviews get averaged into big content-aggregators, but, well, you can either talk to the aggregators, start your own aggregator, or recognize that broad aggregations of reviews are inevitably going to involve averaging in some assholes you disagree with.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with a reviewer giving a game multiple scores (truthfully, I think the entire concept of numerical scores is fairly ridiculous). But if you are going to have one "final" score which combines every impression you have of the game — something that the vast majority of reviewers have, for the better or worse, done for ages as a standard industry practice — I feel that it absolutely has to include what the reviewer thinks of the main character's model and how it influences their overall experience. Again, to do otherwise would be fundamentally dishonest.

    Seriously, no it's not. Or rather I personally have never seen a reviewer job description that included the phrase "hurting sales." If you come across one, feel free to link it, I would be interested in the employer. But here, again, the point of this (which I reiterated in case you didn't get it the first time) wasn't to say that reviewers should or shouldn't care about the finances of the reviewed party, it was that the individual personal biases of reviewers, particularly in the specific situation discussed, have a vastly greater effect on the design of games than random twits.

    Again, giving their honest personal opinion and impressions on a game is a reviewer's job. The opinions that you dismiss as "biases" are in fact their core qualification; reviewers are employed because, generally, people agree with their view on games, and are successful because people read their reviews and agree with them. At this point it is silly to suggest, for instance, that there is anyone who is unaware of the mindset that, for instance, Kotaku or Rock Paper Shotgun bring to the games they review. The fact that they continue to be so successful is because many gamers find that they like the same sorts of people that those reviewers like, and because they share their overall opinions on what makes a good game.

    This doesn't mean that every reviewer is for everyone, of course; they all have their own biases and takes on gaming, their own pet peeves and filters through which they play a game. If they parsed away these opinions, though, they would have nothing left. Without them, you end up with something like this.

    See, this is where being aware of one's cultural context would come in handy. Because a) it presupposes that there is such a thing as "misogynistic filth, (which I am not denying, just being through with the unsupported assumptions here) and b) that the reviewer can and does perceive misogynistic filth. Unless there is additional context where the reviewer reveals issues which could cloud their perception, the reviewer is an authority and a reasonable/normal/archetypical person. Therefore if the reviewer perceives misogynist filth and you do not, c) there is something wrong with you. At best, you are insensitive. At worst you are a misogynist, which is why you do not see this misogynist filth as a problem.

    Aha. I think we've hit a breakthrough here. What you want is for authorities — like game reviewers — to be "reasonable/normal/archetypical" people, or at least to try and put themselves in the mindset of this "reasonable/normal/archetypical" person. By this you mean, for instance, that a reviewer should not be someone who could ever feel like a game is making them wade through misogynistic filth — or if they are, that they should include a disclaimer at the beginning of their review saying "WARNING! I am not a reasonable/normal/archetypical person! I am abnormal, because I believe deep-set cultural misogyny is sometimes a thing!"

    Likewise, when you read a reviewer and they treat this idea of misogyny as real, you feel insulted, because they are treating their worldview (which you feel to be unreasonable, abnormal, and atypical) as normal. They are taking you, a reasonable/normal/archetypical person, and putting you on the spot by confronting them with the disconnect between their cultural world-view and yours — they are making the implicit assertion that you are not as reasonable/normal/archetypical as you think you are, that your views are not uniquely privileged but are just one set of opinions in an endless see of differing opinions. Hence the backlash.

    Allow me to make it easy for you. There are no reasonable/normal/archetypical people; the idea itself is silly. Consciously or not, most people carry an instinctive assumption that the most reasonable, normal, and archetypical people are people similar to themselves, people who look like them and act like them and agree with them; to a certain extent the diverse nature of modern society wears this instinct away, but certainly you're going to think the most [i]reasonable[/i] people agree with you, since you're not going to hold ideas that you yourself feel are unreasonable. But even parsed in the most generous way, a request for reviews to be written as if by these mythical [i]reasonable, normal, archetypical[/i] unicorns amounts for a request that reviewers never challenge what you feel to be the prevailing culture; it's, again, a request for bland, generic reviews, ones that make no statements and hold no positions that anyone could regard as controversial. It's a request for unethical journalism and for intellectual mediocrity.

    Asking that reviewers give you a basic idea of how they view games and what lenses they're looking at them through is a bit more reasonable; but, again, the way you're stating it assumes that there is this exalted 'reasonable, normal, archetypical' viewpoint with which they should compare them to and which (say) any reviewer who believes misogyny is a thing should differentiate themselves from. That's bull. Reviewers already give you a unique window into their mindset; this view is known as their reviews. If you want to know if a reviewer's outlook meshes with yours — if they're a 'reasonable, normal, archetypical' person from your subjective point of view — all you have to do is read their older reviews and see if you agree.

    I believe that there is some serious cause and effect switching going on here, as well as some cherry-picking as to how far in the past people are willing to look. There are an awful lot of (ok, two or three) political issues that will gar-ron-tee a popular freakout, none of which I will mention here, because simply mentioning them will cause a drama-burst. But if you think for a bit you'll come up with at least a couple. Fortunately games have avoided these topics, though I can totally see someone trying to milk an internet drama over one of these subjects into Kickstarter/Patreon bux. Yes, there are sume usual suspects involved in this kerfuffle, but if you look, you will see these same usual suspects involved in lots of kerfuffles. Some people love twit-drama. Some people make their living off of it.

    It's undeniably true that, yes, most of the loudest voices in Gamergate are people who have long milked anti-feminism and culturally conservative reactionary politics for support. (Many of them haven't even had any interest in gaming as an issue until now!) I'm glad that you can at least admit that the core of GG is about people from /pol/, Fox News, and various MRA movements leaping into the fray against their usual opponents than it is about gaming. The most outspoken voices within GG are generally people who have clashed with or ranted about their opposition to Social Justice Witches in the past, or people who have long been active in anti-feminist movements or in activism against modern feminism. Even its few more 'moderate' voices are generally people with a history of fighting the Good Fight against the black magicks of Social Justice Witchery.

    Opposition to Gamergate, though, is far more widespread, cutting a vast swath across most of the artistic landscape behind gaming. Obviously, as I said, GG has primarily targeted outspoken feminists (and, therefore, if you ask a GGer who the enemy is, they will say "outspoken feminists!"; in a way it's nice of them to tell us what they really stand for like that); but you need only look at a typical list of GG's "fallen heroes" to see how broad and diverse the opposition to it really is.

    Either way, you're affirming my point. When I say "GG is primarily about a pushback against feminism", your answer was "nu-uh, we would push back against two or three other cultural issues pushed by those Social Justice Witches, if they came up! Though they haven't yet." That… fairly well gives your opinion on this away, doesn't it?

  345. Jacob Schmidt says

    But how many times on this very thread have we seen some variant of "There are [people who are bad in a specific way] who support GG, therefore GG is bad, therefore you should disavow GG."

    Literally not once.

    I don't know if you're just arguing or if you don't understand. There is a difference between adjectives and nouns. Stating that something has certain properties is different than saying something exists. If you are told that "in this mix of red and green dots, there is the number 6," and you can't see it, then the implication is you are colorblind. Or at least there is a reason why you can't perceive the numeral's existence.

    You've gone from "pressuposition" to "implication." Moreover, I don't care. I don't care if the reviewer implied you might be wrong, misogynistic, or ignorant. I don't care how whiny that makes you. Unless you can articulate something wrong with the piece in question, I don't care. If your response to that is to whine about ethics in journalism, you've left reasonable debate altogether.

    It's really what all this get's down to: some game reviews don't paint gaming, games, or all gamers in the best of light. And a decently sized contingent hates that. Someone being critical of them or their hobby is going to far; is hateful; is an attack on all gamers; is an invasion of outsiders; and is bullying of the worst degree.

    If you want to dispute the claims being made, go ahead. But there is no moral or ethical wrong to make statements with critical implications, especially if those statements have some measure of justification (and with sexism in video games, there is frequently quite a bit of justification).

    Again, http://xkcd.com/386/%5B1%5D Otherwise, no. Communication depends on the sender as well as the receiver.[2]

    1) Once more: "Yes? I mean, a fundamental part of disagreement is thinking others are wrong, be it my disagreement with you or vice versa. Or are you emphasising the internet part? I don't see how disagreement on the internet is especially different from disagreement generally. I really don't see your point: you seem to be complaining about a) behaviour in which you yourself are engaging, and b) behaviour that isn't indicative of anything but "I disagree with another commentator online.""

    2) Arguing that, absent disclaimers otherwise, we are to assume or infer a specific arch type is nonsense. That's failing utterly as a reader, as much as it would be to assume a chimp wrote the piece since it doesn't say otherwise.

  346. Stevie says

    Sinij

    Ok; I've reread Ken's Ten Short Rants, and I really don't think he was writing a 'thread about SJW versus GG conflict'. I can certainly see a lot of posts which suggest that their authors want to frame discussions as that, but that's a different matter.

    I'm not American; the concept of SJWs as perceived in the USA is profoundly alien to most Western Europeans since social justice tends to be something we perceive as desirable and admirable. Even the stinking rich, and we have an ever increasing number of them, coupled with a vast increase in the numbers of the poor, tend to at least pay lip service to the concept.

    It may be that having a couple of world wars fought on the terrain does tend to change the perspectives of those who survive it; both of my parents were career military and I have no problem with the idea that one can be a warrior without picking up a gun. After all, the pacifists who drove ambulances during the London Blitz risked their lives to save others' lives.

    That's a rather long explanation of why I have no problem with the concept, but it also explains why I hold people who use terms like 'feminazis' in contempt; anyone with the remotest understanding of what the Nazi's actually did would understand how belittling it is to their victims to attach that label to people writing critical articles about video games. I have no doubt that many of the people doing so are simply ignorant, rather than malevolent, which is good since ignorance can be fixed whereas malevolence is a lot harder.

    I have no doubt that there is corruption, at some level, in the review process in the video game business; given the vast sums of money involved it would be ludicrous to believe otherwise. But I have yet to find a Gamergater who has actually done something to tackle following the money; given the plethora of claims that this is what it's all about it shouldn't be hard to find a poster person to substantiate it.

    Instead there is a deluge of stuff about women trying to ruin men's lives, coupled with the suggestion that the women must be something close to traitors because they are undermining the Constitution. I think that one of the things Ken is actually writing about – as opposed to what people think he should be writing about- is the Constitution of your country; somewhere along the line people have managed to convince themselves that it is un-American to question whether something may be harmful/beneficial and if so, what that harm/benefit may be. Somewhere along the line people seem to have convinced themselves that they have a right not to be offended, and that anyone writing something which has offended them has trampled on their Constitutional rights.

    There is a very big difference between offending someone and threatening them with violence; again some people seem not to understand that, and that too is exceedingly strange. I'm glad that Ken has tackled this, just as I am glad that the nurse in Maine went for a bicycle ride; it's good to see someone who invokes her Constitutional rights for something rather more important than the need for artistic freedom on the chainmail bikini front…

  347. Argentina Orange says

    @John Schmidt

    But how many times on this very thread have we seen some variant of "There are [people who are bad in a specific way] who support GG, therefore GG is bad, therefore you should disavow GG."

    Literally not once.

    Technically correct (the best type of correct!)

    When your movement hits the front page of the New York Times for harassment, not "journalism ethics", it's time to find a new banner.

    [gamergate] is an organized hate campaign.

    I was THERE on twitter when #GamerGate started trending. It started with harassment and doxxing, and no manner of supporters or good deeds will ever cover that up for me. And I don't even give a shit that the SJWs are just as bad, you've literally made the damn term lack credibility so hard that now I have to use "Hashtag Activism" to describe those mouthbreathers, lest I look like a lunatic.

    I'm fucking terrified to make games now, you know that? To talk about games, to speak about games in any kind of serious or critical fashion, lest some asshole decides to attempt to destroy my life over it. That's what your movement IS, that's how the general public sees you (and ANYONE who calls themselves a gamer now – congratulations!), and if you want to salvage any kind of goddamn "ethics" message, you better find a new banner and group of people to associate with.

    Assuming of course…that's why any of you joined up anyway.

    Sure you'll win. You and your Stormfront allies who have joined GamerGate I look forward to those high-stepping victory marches

    You cannot un-poison the well and the hashtag's baggage of misogyny, harassment, threats and false allegations is permanent.

    Assuming this is not Poe, I must thank Azrael for showing Popehat the true face of GamerGate: MRA and NeoReactionary to the core. TOP HOLE, CHAP

    ChicagoRefugee reminds us why this is largely pointless as well as point #2 – everything 'bad' is 'lone wolves' and GG disavows this. Except that GG will utilize the terror and harassment and therefor benefit from it.

    Sorry, but if a movement is centrally based on a false allegation, then you're movement should probably be silenced (or at the very least they should be considerate enough to drink a big old glass of 'STFU'). I don't see this that much different than holocaust deniers.

    …and then I stopped bothering. Have a pleasant weekend.

  348. Argentina Orange says

    @Aquillon

    …did you just mansplain Gamergate to a Gamergater? O.o

    I explained to you, yes.

    Either you think Sinij and I are sockpuppets of each other, or you're not really paying attention to what you're reading, or you're in full TEAM mode in which anyone who disagrees with you is The Other and has a single The Other set of (anti-you) values.

    Either way, you have a hell of a lot of untruthful uses of the second person.

    When you behave like a reactionary social movement driven by cultural issues (as you are now, by using the word 'mansplain', for instance), people will describe you as a reactionary social movement driven by cultural issues.

    Yes, because "mansplain" isn't found on a single "legitimate" feminist source. Literally not one. And it certainly wasn't coined by feminists and used solely by feminists before it migrated into the wider world. You certainly can accurately identify shibboleths.

    Again, everything is political; your inability to see that is at the heart of your confusion here. It is not possible for a reviewer to write an apolitical review of Spec Ops: The Line. It isn't particularly possible for them to write an apolitical review of Call of Duty. Both those games carry strong and loud political messages.

    At this point I am convinced. You literally think that everything is political. You actually believe that you cannot have an apolitical review/description/discussion of an FPS. I think some concepts will be beyond my ability to communicate to you. This is undoubtedly why you are generally unable to restate my arguments.

    There are no reasonable/normal/archetypical people; the idea itself is silly

    Have you no idea where you are posting at this time? Or what the professions of some of the protagonists are?

    By this you mean, for instance, that a reviewer should not be someone who could ever feel like a game is making them wade through misogynistic filth — or if they are, that they should include a disclaimer at the beginning of their review saying "WARNING! I am not a reasonable/normal/archetypical person! I am abnormal, because I believe deep-set cultural misogyny is sometimes a thing!"

    No. No, no, by all the slack of "Bob" NO. That is not what I am saying. That is 165 degrees out of phase with what I am saying. I am saying that unless there is a known (disclosed) reason (like for instance, the review is an arachnophobe and games with spiders in them inspire visceral revulsion) then the reviewer is a reasonable person. There is a suspicious similarity between "author," "authority," and "authoritative," n'est-ce pas?

    Either way, you're affirming my point. When I say "GG is primarily about a pushback against feminism", your answer was "nu-uh, we would push back against two or three other cultural issues pushed by those Social Justice Witches, if they came up! Though they haven't yet." That… fairly well gives your opinion on this away, doesn't it?

    *sigh* I frelling give up. Let me guess, you also think that Ken's rant #1 has no relation at all to Clark's, right? There is obviously no difference between a conflict between two people who have different ideas and a conflict between those ideas themselves. And WWI was about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

  349. Jacob Schmidt says

    …and then I stopped bothering.

    I can see why. A whole lot of judging a group by their explicit motivations, by what is actually accomplished, by their focus as whole, etc. Nothing like "a few are bad, therefore all are bad."

    Yes, because "mansplain" isn't found on a single "legitimate" feminist source. Literally not one. And it certainly wasn't coined by feminists and used solely by feminists before it migrated into the wider world. You certainly can accurately identify shibboleths.

    Feminism is a social movement based on cultural issues. I mean, I take issue with "reactionary" (it has a specific meaning in politics that is not really compatible with progressivism), but a general use of the term would still fit.

    Or what the professions of some of the protagonists are?

    Would these be the same professions in which there is regular discussion of the folly and inherent subjectivity in the "reasonable person" test?

  350. Jacob Schmidt says

    I am saying that unless there is a known (disclosed) reason (like for instance, the review is an arachnophobe and games with spiders in them inspire visceral revulsion) then the reviewer is a reasonable person.[1] There is a suspicious similarity between "author," "authority," and "authoritative," n'est-ce pas?[2]

    1) Ugh, fine. A suspected reasonable person has implied you might be sexist. So what? Where's the bad? Where's the harm? Why should they stop, or stifle their speech?

    Why should I care in the slightest that you don't like the implications of someone else's speech?

    2) I generally find etymology, particularly etymology based on dead languages, and especially etymology based on dead languages when there's a half dozen transitional periods inbetween the origin and the present, to be a poor argument. 4chan is full of literal authors, but few are authorities or authoritative on anything.

  351. TM says

    @ GeoffreyK

    You, for some reason, want to eradicate my version of reviews from the universe.

    That is a gross distortion of what I said, especially when I said the opposite. While I agree that my argument rests on believing there is a difference between criticisms and reviews, I don't think that's an entirely unreasonable assumption, given that they're different words and we often use them in different contexts.

    Would it be okay if we just call them something else? Would their somehow not being labeled reviews somehow make you okay with the criticism still existing? I'm guessing not.

    Given how my entire point was about distinguishing between reviews and criticism and given that your entire critique of my argument boiled down to not liking that I was saying that criticism should be labeled as such and reviews should limit or explicitly identify their criticism I don't understand why you are now assuming that I don't hold the argument that I made and that you identified. Do you always assume that people you are engaged in a debate with are arguing in bad faith and do not mean what they write, or am I a special case?

  352. Vlad C says

    @Jacob Schmidt

    Ok, then I'll explain my reasoning. Anita complains about sexism in media, particularly video games.[1] I think we all agree sexism is a bad thing.

    Then she states that being exposed to those games makes you internalize their harmful message,[2] meaning the games make you more sexist in real life.

    1) Particularly? She's got a whole series on television, and goes into books and comics on her website. The only special about video games is that people keep freaking out about it.

    2) Except she didn't. Literally no where does that happen. She clearly thinks that one can internalize the messages; she clearly things that people do internalize the messages; she clearly thinks that those who deny that possibility are more likely too; but no where does she say that they make you internalize them.

    1) In the last two years she focused exclusively on video games on her Youtube channel.

    2) In my mind "makes you internalize" was an approximation for "one can internalize", and I agree that is not the same thing.

    However, her focusing so much on this subject makes me assume that she thinks the probability of that happening is quite high. Otherwise it wouldn't be an issue worth talking about.

    If I were to put that in a scientific document I would probably say something like:

    "She thinks there is a non-zero probability of internalizing sexist messages in video games. Since sexism is a bad thing, this means she thinks there is a non-zero probability that playing such games will make you a worse person."

  353. sorrykb says

    @Vlad:

    However, her focusing so much on this subject makes me assume that she thinks the probability of that happening is quite high….If I were to put that in a scientific document I would probably say something like:

    "She thinks there is a non-zero probability of internalizing sexist messages in video games. Since sexism is a bad thing, this means she thinks there is a non-zero probability that playing such games will make you a worse person."

    Nonzero = "Quite high"?

    I think I'm beginning to understand the problem we're having here.

  354. Vlad C says

    There is a difference between what I assume and what I can prove.

    I wouldn't place unproven claims or hyperbole in a scientific document.

  355. Zorb says

    GeoffreyK: You're making a definitional argument about the nature of reviews, which itself supposes that your definition is somehow a universal truth (it is not).

    It's an argument based on the history of the medium, consumer demand and common sense. You're the one attacking a definition. You can redefine words until you speak a different language for all I care. However:
    – Several people commenting on GG, including some game journalists, stated that it's impossible to write apolitical game reviews. That is blatantly false.
    – Regardless of how you call them, reviews and social critique involving games are different things, because they are written with different goals in mind. Can they overlap? Yes. Should they overlap? Well, it's a question similar to whether news reporting should be pureed and blended with editorials. Everyone knows where that leads, although the stakes here are lower.

    Personally, I like for my reviews to have a critical component. I find it useful in evaluating whether or not I will enjoy the game.

    That's fine. Again, you are making a semantic argument. If you're interested in reading something that tells you whether you will enjoy the game, then you are interested in what I call reviews. Whether you call it something else is not the point. The point is that there is another type of writing. Writing that is mostly concerned with author's opinions about social issues. It may involve games, but it's not about them. That's literary/cultural critique for you. (Granted, a simplification, but still accurate.) Both are sometimes referred to as "criticism". Doesn't matter. What's problematic is that some people try to pretend similar labeling makes these concepts one and the same.They're not. Cultural critique is not just another type of game reviews, and neither it is a path of their "natural evolution", like some people claim.

  356. sorrykb says

    @Vlad: But what if your assumptions — that seem genuinely to be causing you pain or at least distress — are incorrect?

  357. Vlad C says

    @sorrykb

    Not sure exactly what your question is, but I could certainly be wrong.

    I've been wrong before, sometimes about things I felt very strongly about.

    When faced with conclusive evidence that I was wrong, I conceded that I was wrong.

  358. GeoffreyK says

    @TM

    Given how my entire point was about distinguishing between reviews and criticism and given that your entire critique of my argument boiled down to not liking that I was saying that criticism should be labeled as such and reviews should limit or explicitly identify their criticism I don't understand why you are now assuming that I don't hold the argument that I made and that you identified. Do you always assume that people you are engaged in a debate with are arguing in bad faith and do not mean what they write, or am I a special case?

    Perhaps I am merely a cynical person, with a great deal of mistrust in general, but I have a hard time believing that if all the sources which are the target of your ire merely changed the label on their "reviews" to "criticism" (or, just spit-balling here, maybe "Wot I Think"), the ire would up and go away. To your credit, you have fairly and accurately identified that I do not believe you. To go a step further, you're not the first person I've heard make this argument, (as with Zorb above); if by some twist you actually really mean this, then fine, I think your viewpoint is silly but harmless, but I still won't believe that every other person I've heard the same line from meant it as sincerely as you do.

  359. TM says

    @GeoffreyK

    "All the sources which are the target of my ire"? I think you might have me confused for someone else as I don't believe I have expressed any ire in this thread. I am also truly sorry you feel the need to distrust your opponents in online debates. I certainly understand the impetus for that behavior, but I've found it simply contributes to the overall lousy nature of debates. I personally prefer to take my opponents at their literal written word and hope they do the same for me. It's the only way we can realistically communicate in this limited (and thankfully not character limited) format.

    As for my view being "silly" why do you say that? Do you deny that there is utility to be gained in reviews which evaluate a product on its goals and the merits thereof? Do you deny that there is utility to be gained in reviewers (or for that matter critiquers) stating and acknowledging their biases and preferences up front? I fail to see what is silly about enjoying an episode of Top Gear while simultaneously not wanting a top gear segment script published as a car review in Consumer Reports. The converse is true as well, a Consumer Reports article would make for a lousy Top Gear segment. What is so silly about this?

  360. Andy says

    I agree with most everything Ken says here, but I guess the value of the label in this (and every I suppose) instance is that it's easy and has momentum, and the downside to disassociating yourself and pressing for the same points separately is that you really can't. Kinda like how you can't say anything about 'states rights' (stupid term anyway I know) without being an apologist for slavery.

    That said, I don't buy games when they come out so I do kinda think there are more important topics to fight about.

  361. Aquillion says

    At this point I am convinced. You literally think that everything is political. You actually believe that you cannot have an apolitical review/description/discussion of an FPS. I think some concepts will be beyond my ability to communicate to you. This is undoubtedly why you are generally unable to restate my arguments.

    All human interaction is political in some fashion, yes. That's what I said. All culture is political; all art is political. You might not notice it (either because those values are normal to you based on your culture or background, or because you share them), and in some cases the messages are so bland or commonly-accepted that they pass without question, but they're still there, and other people, including reviewers and players, will indeed notice them.

    The idea that it is possible to set up a clear divide between what is "political" and what isn't is inherently disingenuous. Some things are going to be more controversial than others — which is what people mean when they say to avoid politics at dinner — but when you are selling products to a global audience, there isn't going to be much you can say or produce that won't have a political meaning to some of your viewers; and, with artistic works in particular, political statements are part of the point, so asking a reviewer to avoid commenting on them makes no sense.

    I don't believe it's possible to write anything meaningful (including a review of anything that has artistic merit) without making some sort of political statement, either implicitly or explicitly. I don't believe that this is even a particularly controversial statement; I think that this, more than anything else (more than the harassment, more than the accusations of misogyny) is the reason why Gamergate has become a laughingstock. It's the reason reporters repeatedly venture into Gamergate discussions and come back with a bemused, incredulous "they're asking for what?" reaction.

    Now, we're probably going by different definitions of 'political' here, but I don't think it matters when it comes to the underlying argument. When you ask for game reviews to be apolitical, what I think you really mean is that you want them to be uncontroversial — you want them to avoid making any statements or relying on any premises that you feel cross political or cultural fault-lines. Or, more specifically, you've identified a few cultural fault-lines which you want to declare off-limits for reviewers.

    No. No, no, by all the slack of "Bob" NO. That is not what I am saying. That is 165 degrees out of phase with what I am saying. I am saying that unless there is a known (disclosed) reason (like for instance, the review is an arachnophobe and games with spiders in them inspire visceral revulsion) then the reviewer is a reasonable person. There is a suspicious similarity between "author," "authority," and "authoritative," n'est-ce pas?

    Yes, exactly! The reviewer considers themselves a reasonable person. I don't think there's many reviewers out there who do not consider themselves reasonable people.

    I believe that a reasonable person would object to certain models in a game — they would say "this is tasteless; this is bad design; this is an underlying flaw with the core game." I believe that this is exactly equivalent to saying "the texture on this wall is ugly" or "the music is terrible." I believe that I don't want to play a game that makes me feel like I'm wading through misogyny, and that a game that does feel that way is bad and that this should be reflected in any honest review of it. To me, this is an entirely reasonable and natural part of how artistic works should be evaluated. (Not, obviously, in a vacuum — it's also important to ask why they're doing it this way, if there's a deeper reason, how it relates to the work as a whole and how much of a problem it is compared to the things the work gets right. But I absolutely believe it's something that has to be considered.)

    I don't expect that everyone in the world would agree; for instance, you obviously disagree, because your standard of reasonable differs from mine. And that's fine! I'm totally happy for you to find reviewers that you agree with, while I stick with reviewers that I agree with, and we can both play whatever games we think are best.

    But you are not happy with that. You want to silence the reviewers that I enjoy reading. To you, the fact that you find my subjective artistic tastes "controversial" is enough of a reason for you to try and silence any reviewer who would try to talk about them. That's why Gamergate is, in a nutshell, bullshit.

    You're saying that if we just take your-reasonable and my-reasonable and only allow reviewers to talk about the stuff that we both agree is reasonable (the stuff you think is uncontroversial), reviews will be better by some vaguely-defined standard. I think that that's ridiculous on many levels.

    First, it's impossible to concretely define. Who is the 'typical' person? Who gets to determine it? When you demand that reviewers adhere to vaguely-defined social pressures, you're going to end up with their output being more political rather than less, because now they have to consult this mysterious gestalt 'average' opinion before they write a review.

    Second, if they were only allowed to discuss the most uncontroversial, "apolitical" aspects of a game, I believe that most reviews would end up as little more than a blank page. Everyone can take issue with something, especially when the games themselves are often political; and often, to me, the parts of a review that other people might take issue with are the most useful or insightful, because if it's a reviewer I trust, they are where that review will give me a unique insight that I couldn't get elsewhere. Asking reviewers to suppress everything in their reviews that anyone might take issue with is demanding mediocrity.

    Third, it slams into the usual issue with censorship (even if you're suggesting that it be done through social pressure rather than government interference) — "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." What right do you have to tell me that my views are unreasonable? What right do you have to demand that the reviewers I trust — the reviewers whose opinions I agree with — start suppressing those opinions, simply because you and a small number of people like you disagree with my view on what makes a good game? The mediocracy of reviews you're demanding serves no one — not developers (who now would have fewer honest reviews of any political aspects of their games when they do handle them well, and would be unable to rely on those reviews to sell them to the people who are interested in that sort of success), not players (who would no longer be able to seek out reviewers they like and trust, because you are demanding that all reviewers start from the same premises and therefore review with the same voice), and certainly not the reviewers themselves, who would find their own ability to express their opinions on the topics they review pointlessly shacked.

    But, again, at heart I feel that this is about reviewers who have said things that bother you, personally. You are trying to silence the reviewers that don't meet your personal subjective standard of "reasonable" (that is, reviewers who say things you don't like), or reviewers that touch on cultural fault-lines that ping as "controversial" to you personally. This is the core of Gamergate — it's about silencing people who say things that bother you. And that's bullshit.

  362. TM says

    @Aquillion

    This is the core of Gamergate — it's about silencing people who say things that bother you. And that's bullshit.

    Interestingly, based on what I've seen, I think the GG folks would agree with this assessment 100%. The difference would be who they think is trying to do the silencing.

  363. Jacob Schmidt says

    In my mind "makes you internalize" was an approximation for "one can internalize", and I agree that is not the same thing.

    However, her focusing so much on this subject makes me assume that she thinks the probability of that happening is quite high. Otherwise it wouldn't be an issue worth talking about.

    If I were to put that in a scientific document I would probably say something like:

    "She thinks there is a non-zero probability of internalizing sexist messages in video games. Since sexism is a bad thing, this means she thinks there is a non-zero probability that playing such games will make you a worse person."

    But look at what happens when you restrict the description to what is actually evident; to what is actually being stated: it becomes entirely uncontroversial. Media can affect the way we think? Of course it can. That's the point of propaganda. To reject that fact is to render any complaints about how gamers are portrayed in the media pointless: who cares how they are portrayed, if media doesn't affect how we think?* That's not to say that it necessarily will affect us, but mass media has plenty of opportunity to do, given that potentially millions will consume it. A non-zero probability becomes worth talking about, in a way a racist scrawl on a gas station toilet isn't.

    But, bringing this back to the original point of contention, none of this means either "[y]our hobby makes you a bad person," or "[i]f you don't think that is true, you are an even worse person." It is not an attack on all gamers, or even most gamers, and it's not an attack on anyone specifically.

    * In fact, GG, as far as I can tell, implicitly concedes that how a group is portrayed in the media is important. They just arbitrarily restrict that to their group, and become hostile when one points out the negative portrayals of other groups, specifically women.

  364. Ahunt says

    Deeply appreciate the cogent responses here. We're still struggling to make sense of exactly what the GGers want out of this debacle, and we keep coming back here for the rational discussion.

    I do think I have a handle on what GGers want from reviewers, and am not seeing how the clinical reviews demanded would be in any way helpful for the folks who enjoy their PC games, but uhhhh…have more limited resources for purchasing, and who also are not feverish about the hobby. Matt Dessem demonstrates this point over at the "Objective Reviewer" with his wicked take on "Citizen Kane."

    A big question that seems to be at the heart of some discussions is just who can be considered a "gamer." I've loved PC games since Civ, Sims and Myst, and have been particularly appreciative of those games which run on less than "state of the art" equipment. We do roughly 4-6 games a year, and are still looking at purchasing games released as far back as 2005. The sense I am getting is that GGers, consciously or unconsciously, dismiss those for whom games are simply a very pleasant way to spend an hour or two before bedtime.

    The clubhouse seems a little small, as if folks must prove their AAA bona fides before being worthy of a voice in the conversation. And I do think that this is where GGers lose some folks…

  365. Eli the Bearded says

    The Prenda Law Open Comment topic had 493 comments. This one looks ready to beat that in a lot less time. Hmmm.

  366. Aquillion says

    Interestingly, based on what I've seen, I think the GG folks would agree with this assessment 100%. The difference would be who they think is trying to do the silencing.

    Oh, I totally get that they would say that.

    But here's what it comes down to. Anita Sarkeesian isn't trying to take anyone's games away. If you watch her videos, she specifically acknowledges that there's always going to be problematic media and that there's ultimately nothing wrong with liking it. Her point is just that she wants more games that avoid the tropes she describes; and that she wants people to be aware of those tropes, so they don't consume or produce them without thinking about what they mean. Even that is simply phrased as a dialog to people who are interested in hearing it — she's not starting campaigns to try and shut down anyone, or demanding that videogame companies revise the basic way they do games. I mean, one of the oddest things about the reaction to Tropes vs. Women is that it's basically worded so inoffensively — again, it's the kind of general analysis you might see in a Feminism 101 course.

    The other people they're complaining about, the reviewers? It's the same thing. A game reviewer's job is to play a game and then give their honest opinion on it, as eloquently and clearly as they can. That's it. The only dishonest game reviewer is one who doesn't give their true opinion on a game. A reviewer who feels that a game is ruined by having a misogynist storyline isn't performing some nefarious plot to eliminate games, they're giving their honest opinion, and demanding that they silence that is demanding dishonest reviews.

    A few reviewers whose honest opinion opinions you disagree with are not going to make the games you like dissolve into a puddle of goo; just because they judge things by different standards than you do doesn't mean they're fundamentally wrong or dishonest or unethical, nor are their reviews going to make, say, Bayonetta disappear; the games you like will keep being made as long as there's a significant market for them, which isn't going to change any time soon.

    Simply discussing popular culture (or dissenting from common tropes and memes it uses) is… normal. It's not a big deal. Sometimes you're going to bump into people who disagree with you on things you feel are important. That's an excellent time to write a rebuttal. If you feel a reviewer is using a bad standard of judgment, write your own reviews with what you feel is a better standard of judgment. If people agree with you, your reviews will have more impact.

    My problem is that GG isn't doing that. They're responding with attempts to silence anyone who holds positions they disagree with, rather than arguing with them. The harassment is the most extreme representation of this, but the advertiser campaigns and even their most basic arguments — about how reviewers shouldn't review using standards GGers don't like and how gaming media outlets shouldn't publish articles that GGers find offensive — are centered around a core conceit of "make feminists and Social Justice Witches shut up by any means necessary" rather than confronting their actual arguments. This is also why the harassment accusations have stuck with them — while, yes, it's only a tiny minority doing actual death threats, journalists who look at GG come away with the impression that their ultimate goal is, basically, "keep anyone — reviewers, indie game developers, feminists posting on YouTube — from saying anything we disagree with", and that the harassment is therefore just an outgrowth of that.

    Having someone disagree with you with you is not censorship. Having people who review games based on values you disagree with isn't censorship. If you feel the system gives too much weight to random reviewer assholes with blogs and opinions you think are fringe, then focus on the system, not the reviewers; the reviewers have every right to pen whatever reviews they want based on whatever standard they want.

    Demanding that people stop reviewing games based on any values you disagree with? That's an attempt to silence people. I mean… GG is fundamentally defined by manifestos about what they feel it is acceptable to say about games. I don't know what else to call that!

    If the angry GG people had, instead, just stuck with writing a bunch of articles along the lines of "gamers are not dead!" and "misogyny in games isn't a major issue", we wouldn't be having this kind of ridiculous argument (and would, probably, be discussing those things a lot more constructively instead.)

    But as I said above, I think that if you look at a lot of the leading people in the GG movement, and at the overarching tactics they've adopted, I think it's clear the driving goals is not to have an honest discussion about any of those things, but rather to use it as a vehicle to push reactionary anti-feminist politics and, more specifically, to poison the well on those subjects and stifle any future discussion.

    (I do think, of course, that there have been people who tried to silence other people throughout history in nearly every movement and nearly every political category you could name. This is part of what I meant above when I said that one of my biggest problems with GG is that I feel that they have modeled themselves after their own imagined version of the worst of the worst of the Social Justice Witches they oppose — among themselves, they're saying "well, this is the tactic they use on us, so we'll turn around and use it right back!" There is some grain of truth to this, in that there are certainly people GG would identify as Social Justice Witches who have and do invoke those dark sorceries to stifle opposition. And you know what? If I went back and spoke to those Social Justice Witches, they would probably tell me "yeah, we're doing this, but have you seen how the Patriarchy silences people using pressure from its churches and news outlets and etc etc etc." If we want things to get better, we need to, ideally, condemn those tactics regardless of who's using them; but at least, at the bare minimum, we need to not ape them ourselves. If we want to make the world better, the easiest and most important place to start — the one part we have the most control of — is our own actions.)

  367. beortheold says

    Regarding point 3:

    3. People Are Going To Say Things You Disagree With, And You Need To Get A Fucking Grip About It.

    I've been saying for a while that talking about harassment in "geek culture" triggers disproportionate outrage.

    Critiques of games and game culture also seem to provoke bizarre, disproportionate outrage. I find it very difficult to take that outrage seriously.

    Take Anita Sarkeesian. Anita Sarkeesian offers gender-focused criticism of video games. This causes some people to completely lose their shit.

    This is inexplicable, even in a subculture that already has people who are rendered unaccountably twitchy by bad reviews.2 I've viewed Sarkeesian's videos, and I've read the criticisms of her: that she's not a gamer, that she doesn't truly know her subject, that she uses unfair examples and ignores counter-examples, that she has an agenda, that she generalizes, and so forth. I think some of these criticisms are apt and others aren't. But my reaction to all of them is the same: Judas Priest, have you never encountered any form of cultural or literary criticism before? That's what it's like. Whether it's people saying that Harry Potter promotes witchcraft or other people saying that the Lord of the Rings is a racist allegory or Dan Quayle saying that a fictional character's fictional life choices disrespect American fatherhood, cultural and literary criticism is often stuffed taut with bullshit, no matter who produces it or what it's about. When it's good, it's provocative, and when it's bad, it's that essay you threw together through your hangover at three in the morning on the due date about what Shakespeare thought about Jews, writ large.

    This is not inexplicable at all. Gamers saw Sarkeesian's criticism not as an academic critique, but as a direct assault on the existence of their hobby. Gamers rightly perceived that if such criticism were not quashed, the forces of homogeneity would soon unleash an total war campaign against "bad behavior" in gaming and achieve police power over game content.

    First come the critiques from obscure grad students on the internet. Then larger media organizations join in the discussion. Eventually, pressure groups organize a campaign to harass companies into complying with their demands, and such demands being PC (as defined by the media organizations), the companies comply. Anita Sarkeesian is merely a protean Al Sharpton, and no company wants to deal with Al Sharpton. Better giver her what she wants and hope she stays away.

    Gamers instinctively recognized this pattern and decided to quash the threat before it metastasized.

    Such attacks are common in our culture and they are becoming easier to recognize.

    For example, see how political correctness has conquered the workplace. First there were feminists criticizing the bad manners of the men they worked with. This was a simple and reasonable critique. But now every corporation has a major bureaucratic apparatus staffed by women who punish employees for the least offenses against politically correct thought. Imagine making a joke about a woman's appearance or complaining about your city's black criminality to a friend in your office. Would you let HR know what you think?

    Gamers want to be free to think and to say what they think. To them it doesn't matter if what they think is unpopular, or incorrect, or mean, or ugly. They just want to be free to be themselves. Anita Sarkeesian and her comrades in the media are a threat to gamers' freedom, and the gamers responded to her criticism with the same vigor the United States would respond to a foreign power's attempt to confiscate our weapons.

  368. CEOUNICOM says

    Gamers saw Sarkeesian's criticism not as an academic critique, but as a direct assault on the existence of their hobby.

    Gee, that would be so crazy of them to assume…

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224400/Gamers_dont_have_to_be_your_audience_Gamers_are_over.php
    http://kotaku.com/we-might-be-witnessing-the-death-of-an-identity-1628203079
    http://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/2ezufd/whats_up_with_the_gamers_are_dead_articles/

    As far as I'm concerned, the whole issue is ultimately not even about 'gaming' or 'gaming journalism' as much as it is the SJW campaign to dictate its self-assumed moral-authority in every possible medium. They made the mistake of choosing to fight a subset of "white male nerds" because they thought they were easy pickings/low-hanging fruit. They assaulted them from 6 different directions, aided by a compliant and ideologically allied media = they kicked a sleeping dog, and reaped the whirlwind (mixing metaphors is fun). People watching from the outside can't make out WTF its about, but that there's a lot of vituperation going on. SJW's claim 'victim' status because that is their S.O.P, even though this whole 'controversy' was something they ginned up entirely by design, and engaged in coordinated efforts to attempt to control the narrative. In my opinion, they are losing because millions of people have used this platform to express their frustration and exasperation with this self-assumed social-justice gestapo, and their rejection of their whole Cultural Leftist program of 'self empowerment through tactical marginalization' of their ideological enemies.

  369. James says

    Great article, I really feel like every article that talks about Gamergate should really begin by recalling the length and level of abuse that has been directed at Anita for over two years now.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/06/internet-trolls-online-beat-up-anita-sarkeesian-game_n_1653473.html

    That's the whole movement in a nutshell. You as a gamergater may honestly be all about ethics in journalism and nothing else, but you need to realize that you've hitched your wagon to a toxic group of people who've been on an anti-feminist witchhunt for quite some time.

  370. NickM says

    Ken writes

    I respectfully decline the invitation to determine who is closer to violating Brazilian law.

    That would be whoever has the smaller butt.

  371. sorrykb says

    @beortheold:

    Gamers rightly perceived that if such criticism were not quashed, the forces of homogeneity would soon unleash an total war campaign against "bad behavior" in gaming and achieve police power over game content.

    It took me a minute to recognize this for the brilliant satire that it is. Start to finish, your comment is a masterful parody of the worst of gamergate's hyperventilating irrationality and paranoia.
    Sir (or madam), I tip my hat to you. Well done!

  372. Aquillion says

    Yeah, at this point I'm sort of grinding up against Poe's Law. I assume beortheold and CEOUNICOM are joking by posting insane conspiracy theories about sinister media cabals, but it's always hard to be certain; there definitely are crazier people in GG who honestly believe that Anita Sarkeesian is part of the vanguard of a secret cabal of Social Justice Witches that will eventually take their games away.

    So to be totally clear: Everyone who disagrees with you is not part of some shadowy conspiracy. People who share the same tastes in media or games, or who share the same outlook on cultural issues, are not necessarily all going to agree on the same approaches (or, for that matter, on larger, more important cultural issues beyond those.) There are people of every political and cultural stripe who abuse power when they have it, but saying "I feel that a few people who have opinions vaguely similar to Anita Sarkeesian have done bad things in the past, therefore Anita Sarkeesian is clearly in a shadowy conspiracy with them to enact everything I consider bad in one giant conspiracy-web of evil" is, well, insane.

    The urge towards censorship — the urge to force your culture or beliefs or ideology on others by any means available — is not unique to any one ideology or view. It appears everywhere, whenever anyone has unchecked power; it's a constant temptation to anyone who cares deeply about cultural issues, among all political stripes.

    But Anita Sarkeesian and the other people GG have targeted have never shown the slightest hint that they are giving in to that eternal temptation. Sarkeesian has argued her point of view fairly and as reasonably as you can expect in a fairly lightweight youtube series. The other articles, likewise, are mostly decent culture-snapshot pieces responding to each other and talking about whatever subject is attracting attention at the moment — some of them are better than others, but none of the hysterical GG reactions to these things are remotely justified.

    Gamergate, though? It has given into that temptation. Huge swaths of both its spokespeople and rank-and-file members have repeatedly indicated that they feel that they need to silence the opposition and force people to accept their point of view using any tools available to them. The way they project these views on to Sarkeesian's relatively mild videos is, I think, a symptom of the fact that the people behind the movement feel that they need to concoct some sort of justification for the large-scale cultural purge they're trying to push.

    It just doesn't hold together, though. Sarkeesian isn't trying to silence anyone. As far as I can tell, the loudest and most aggressive people trying to take away the games I like (and the reviews I like) are all part of Gamergate.

  373. beortheold says

    @sorrykb and @aquillion

    I don't think it's a conspiracy.

    Anita Sarkeesian's relationship to the broader Progressive machine is more analogous to the relationship of a nosy neighbor to the local constabulary in a peaceful village. Such relationships are one of things that makes life in a peaceful village so pleasant; unless you happen to be a criminal.

    The proverbial criminal in the gaming world is the sexist, the racist, the homophobe, the bully, the bigot, the sore winner. Where are the police?

    To extend the analogy, the method of stamping out even the mildest misogyny is akin to a city adopting the broken windows theory of policing. "Graffiti: not in my town"; "sexist comments: not on my message board".

    Progressivism is our culture's dominant ideology now. It is dominant in the media; it is dominant in universities and high schools; it is dominant in government bureaucracies. But there are some parts of the culture that tolerate deviation from the progressive ideal. The GamerGaters just want to preserve their independence. They like the graffiti.

  374. Zorb says

    But Anita Sarkeesian and the other people GG have targeted have never shown the slightest hint that they are giving in to that eternal temptation.

    "I do not always critique games, but when I do, I prefer to connect them to real-life violence against women." Ah-huh.

    Sarkeesian has argued her point of view fairly and as reasonably as you can expect in a fairly lightweight youtube series.

    Analysis that aims to examine gender role representations unique to gaming can be fair. Analysis that examines gender roles in pop culture, including games, can be fair. Analysis that examines roles unique to female characters in both of those cases can be fair.

    Analysis that collects only negative stereotypes only concerning women only in video games, whilst completely ignoring both larger cultural context and contexts within concrete examples is unfair by definition. It is something that is one-sided from the get go. The fact that it's done in the fine traditions of "social critique" does more to highlight deficiencies in social critique methodologies, rather than demonstrate fairness of a particular set of videos.

  375. Zorb says

    Addendum:

    There is an in-depth article from Mytheos Holt on relationship of Sarkeesian's videos to censorship. In fact, his whole series is a great reply to those videos. Interestingly, it's not mentioned in any discussions I've seen.

  376. Whirligig says

    The most valuable nugget that I'm getting from this thread might be that I should give Divinity another look. I dismissed it a long time ago in the Kickstarter phase because I got a "Play Now, My Lord!" vibe from the character art, but the current site makes it look pretty good.

  377. Neil G. says

    My God, it's like you read my mind.

    There's just something off when the Social Justice Witchunters begin to sound like the Social Justice Witches they so despise. I wouldn't be surprised if the Witchunters are pulling stuff out of Grand Social Justice Warlock Alinsky's playbook. Also, there's just something ironic (hypocritical?) about resisting SJW identity politics through the use of identity politics e.g. #notyourshield. That comment denying that #notyourshield does not involve identity politics is just plain hilarious. Also, the "NUH PUHLEETEECKZ IN MAH VIDYA GAEMS" people should consider watching this Errant Signal episode. Any kind of text (in the semiotics/literary theory sense of the word) is susceptible to political/social analysis regardless of your feelings about subjecting it to such analysis. And here's the kicker: no one is forcing you to watch such critique. Unless you are offended by the mere existence of a critique of your cultural artifact. So essentially you're offended that they're offended by our love of jiggle physics, amirite?

    #NotYourFluffer

  378. Aquillion says

    Progressivism is our culture's dominant ideology now. It is dominant in the media; it is dominant in universities and high schools; it is dominant in government bureaucracies.

    I strongly disagree with this (and, through that, your analysis.)

    What you are seeing is not (generally) progressivism but the results of multiculturalism and globalization — the effects of capitalist economies and democratic politics in a world where companies have to increasingly appeal to a far broader and more diverse group of consumers (and voters) than they did before. Because the media now has to sell its products to so many people, and because corporations have to sell to a global audience and employ people across the globe, they tend increasingly towards an inoffensive least-common-denominator media, aimed at offending as few people as possible, and rules in workplaces that reflect this. Even the government is affected (to an degree) because it depends on this increasingly diverse society for votes and because candidates needs the money of these globalization-bound companies to win elections.

    The media always censored things for its audience, mind; corporations always fired people who offended the dominant culture. But it became more noticeable to the white male audience as globalization caused media to start to account for non-white voices and as improvements in the economic and political situation of women caused it to pay attention to their concerns as well; these changes were not the result of progressives, they were the result of capitalism.

    But in the 1980's, conservative cultural commentators realized that they could capitalize on this by labeling the way media were catering to a different audience as "political correctness", by deliberately exaggerating the voices of a small number of liberal commentators and by treating globalization and multiculturalism as some sinister liberal agenda rather than the natural result of capitalism and democracy in an increasingly interconnected world. Similarly, this allowed them to take things that are a natural and ancient result of capitalism (media catering to the lowest common denominator among its viewers, businesses forcing employees to avoid insulting their customers or other employees, the government catering to its donors and voters), and treating them as new things that were created by some absurd liberal conspiracy.

    The purpose of this construction was to silence liberal voices; by saying "look, it is their fault the media refuses to offend black people!" and "look, it is their fault your employer will no longer let you make jokes about minorities!", they could turn this into an excuse to silence anyone who disagreed with them — they could say "aha, that person is discussing women's issues; remember how you are no longer able to mock women at work? It is her fault; silence her before it goes any further!"

    But progressives do not and have never had that vast, sinister power. (Man, I wish, although I hope we'd use it for something more constructive.) The power that is silencing you in schools and businesses, the power that is making your media so bland and inoffensive? It is, largely, capitalism. And it's not driven by a few angry activists, it's driven by businesses and politicians running big market-research efforts to appeal to as many generally-politically-disinterested random people as possible, of all genders and races. It's something that has always been the case; it's just that the market they're appealing to has shifted, causing the rules to shift, too. Not that far — I think that you will be far more likely, for instance, to see a dashing white male in the lead role, anywhere, than anyone else. And this is the same broad effect. You just notice more when the pressures of capitalism push in ways that you don't personally agree with.

    (I think that there's also an element to this of… "our objections to media that offends us are valid and based on our beliefs and values; their objections are invalid and whipped up by wicked rabble-rousers." But Sarkeesian isn't that powerful; she wouldn't be more than a footnote if there hadn't been a massive campaign targeting her — which, I feel, was again, in part because the political right thrives on deliberately uplifting those progressive voices that it feels it can then blame for the results of multiculturalism and globalization, so that Sarkeesian becomes the figure-of-hate to blame for stuff like Gone Home or whatever the flavor of the month is rather than, you know, people just trying to sell to a different audience the way capitalism encourages.)

    Of course there are people who get offended at all sorts of things (as there always have been, back to the dawn of time), and there are crazy activists on every part of the political spectrum calling for boycotts about all sorts of things at any given time — but for the most part the restrictions that suddenly chafe you so much are a result of capitalism, not politics. And progressives (at least the ones I've trafficked with) generally hate that, too. I mean — obviously, we're more comfortable with the results of multiculturalism, but there is an intense awareness that the media is simply doing it to appeal to this lowest-common denominator and trying to avoid silencing anyone; and, for the most part, that this means that it is hard to get any real progressive voices out there.

    For the most part, when the media comments on any important political issue except multiculturalism, the result is just a mealy-mouthed wishy-washy bag of nothing. Because, again, they want to sell to everyone. If you make a controversial political statement at work on anything except multiculturalism, you'll risk getting fired. And so on. The media does not stand for liberalism or conservatism (I think it's "conservative" in the sense of "don't upset the status quo", but that's a bit different.) Mostly the media stands for selling more media.

    (More recently you can add 'gay marriage' to multiculturalism, but that's the same deal — gays came out, they had friends and family, and suddenly businesses realized they had to sell things to those people, too. Capitalism in action, man.)

  379. MosesZD says

    You're analysis, like most who've come to this issue YEARS LATE, is shallow and silly. #gamergate is just the most recent annoyance with gamer journalism, favortism, corruption, etc., withing the gaming press. It's only because the SJW jumped in and tried to make it about Zoe Quinn's vagina, feminism, etc., has it reached level of attention.

    In the past SEVEN YEARS, we've dealt with (and this is an abbreviated list):

    1. Gerstmann's firing from GameSpot because 'he couldn't be trusted" to write soft reviews on AAA games that poured lots of advertising dollars into Gamespot. This was confirmed in 2012 during the purchase of Giant Bomb (started by Gerstmann & others after his firing) by CBS Interactive that also owns Gamespot.

    2. Swaggate.

    3. Doritogate.

    4. Press release reviews on many AAA titles, such as SWTOR where Company claims were not only false, but the reviewer even quoted directly (without attribution) from press releases.

    5. Undue influence excerted by marketing companies, including demanding control of final reviews, of games. The most recent being the YouTube Payola scam with Shadow of Mordor.

    6. GameJouralPro blacklisting and driving other game journalists out of the gaming press.

    7. Tight-knit industry/journalist friendships/close relationships/business interests between members the press & certain developers (especially the idies), to the point where it is clear there isn't even a semblance of independence, never mind professionalism. And this, of course, included a complete lack of disclosure to the incestuous relationships.

  380. Chris says

    MosesZD – I agree with points 1-7 that you raise, but where was the #gg when all that was going on? All of these, especially the GameSpot fiasco, are worse than any of the Quinn/Sarkeesian/etc focus of #gg.

    As far as I can tell the shit hit the fan for exactly the opposite reason that you claim. The Quinn story was nothing about feminism in and of itself, #ggers made it so. And Sarkeesian? Yes, she might be critiquing gaming from a feminist perspective, but it's the #ggers who went full retard on her as well so that the response is the story, not her points.

    People like you who write "about Zoe Quinn's vagina", plus the idiots who call AS "Jewkeesian" and so forth, are poisoning your own well. Bullshit like this makes it impossible to debate perceived or actual corruption/feminism/"death of gaming" even if you have valid objections… in fact, #ggers are making the feminists/"SJWs" arguments for them.

    Anyway, since when has being called "Social Justice Warrior" been an insult? Dearie me.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Ken White has an good take on this mess. Most of his points are incisive, though he tries to "both sides" things a bit. But the tinfoil-hatters in his comment section make it a fun read. My favorite was from a gamer (I guess) who–purporting to speak for all gamers (I guess)–huffed that "gamers don't like identity politics." OK, but…MANY OF GAMERGATE'S CRITICS ARE…ALSO GAMERS. YOU F*CKING DUMBSHIT. […]

  2. […] A games publisher could, in theory, call out a website PUBLICLY, I suppose.  But the reputation of #Gamergate is now wed to the concept of harassment, and has been decried by every major media outlet in the country.  Activision, EA and others are not going to be eager to set themselves up as officially embracing such a cause.  In fact, if a major company ever has to align themselves with #GamerGate on anything, expect them to do so with a very Adobe-like disavowal of GamerGate's history of abusive behavior even if that behavior is, by then, ancient history.  Popehat summarized in an excellent comment on his excellent, equal-opportunity-bashing blog: […]

  3. […] This piece on Gamergate by Ken White of Popehat really divided my Twitter feed, with people both praising and hating it. For my part I think there are some very sound critiques of the social justice politics Gamergate is aping in this piece. I don’t always agree with White’s assessments of identity politics, but I think they’re valuable for showing how these politics are perceived outside of progressive circles. […]