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Oh, Jesus Fuck, Now I Have To Talk About #Gamergate

| 118 Comments

One reason I’ve wanted to stay out of the #GamerGate controversy was because I have no skin in the game; I’m not much of a gamer and I don’t read game reviews. For another, I dislike most “feminist criticism” for many reasons; for one, I believe it reinforces categories that we ought to be working to eliminate or reduce. And the controversy ties in with identity politics and social justice activism; my disagreements with these are well known.  On the whole I believe noticing things like dehumanizing treatment of women or offensive stereotypes of minorities in media doesn’t require feminist criticism; it just requires noticing when human beings are oversimplified, stereotyped, treated shabbily in art.

But now someone tried to start a campaign to get people to boycott Tor books because a particular Tor author has been vocal in his opposition to #GamerGate.

Okay, fuck that noise.

Gamergaters are trying to narrow discourse. This is wrong.

Gamergaters are using threats and intimidation to narrow discourse.  This is profoundly wrong.

And, moreover, the ones who aren’t idiots are assholes, except for those who are both.

There.  Is my position sufficiently clear?

I’m a Tor author. If you are keeping a list of those to boycott for being vocal in opposition to #GamerGate, please add me to it.

 

 

(If you’re not up to speed on this, you could check here and here. It isn’t pretty.)

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

118 Comments

  1. Here here! Oh, and I spent an hour yesterday (poorly) trying to say what you said about feminism/criticism in one sentence. So I stole it…

  2. I would be worried about the boycott, but Gamergate people probably make up such a small minority of Tor readers that I doubt they would notice it happening.

    Also, just FYI, it appears gamergate is also a type of ant, which explains why they bug people so much:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate

  3. I can’t begin to describe how surreal this all feels to me. You may rightfully accuse me of living a sheltered life, of being privileged and living in a bubble, but I honestly can’t understand where this #GamerGate viciousness came from.

    Although I’ve never been what you would call a “hardcore gamer”, I do consider myself a gamer, simply because I’ve been playing video games for more than 25 years now. In those years, had anyone asked me what “being a gamer” meant to me as a concept, I would have said something along the lines of how it’s a way of having fun, how staying glued to a screen and wiggling a controller (or clicking with a mouse or typing away on my keyboard) allowed me to do all sorts of fun, impossible things and participate in countless fascinating stories set in all sorts fantastic worlds.

    I would never, ever have thought of describing it in terms of ideology.

    This is depressing 🙁

  4. What if they gave a boycott and nobody came?

  5. Well, I’m going to continue calling myself a gamer, but I don’t know what these people are on about, and I don’t care. If I can do something to help a person (be they woman or man), I will, but all this nonsense is above my level of give-a-shit.

  6. I find “I believe noticing things like dehumanizing treatment of women or offensive stereotypes of minorities in media doesn’t require feminist criticism; it just requires noticing when human beings are oversimplified, stereotyped, treated shabbily in art” to be roughly homologous with “I believe noticing things like dehumanizing treatment of workers or offensive stereotypes of class in media doesn’t require Marxist criticism; it just requires noticing when human beings are oversimplified, stereotyped, treated shabbily in art.” In other words: yes, let’s all act as if common sense is a perfectly adequate substitute for deep, critical thinking; problematic things always automatically leap to the attention of all decent folk!

  7. There are boycotters on both sides. There are death threats on both sides. The anti-gamergaters got a black guy fired after he was part of #notyourshield. If there are any saints in this fight, I have not seen them.

  8. Also, if you go to the reddit post in question, the first comment, the one with the most recommendations, rejects the idea of a boycott. Speaking as someone who has had sjws call for not buying his books, really, there seems to be a greater love of boycotts on the sjw side.

  9. Furthermore, the post in question has zero recommendations right now. Anyone who claims there’s any significant attempt at a boycott does not understand reddit or the internet.

  10. If I was doing business selling stuff, I’d be happy not to have GamerGate people buying my products. It would make me feel just that tiny bit cleaner at the end of the day.

  11. skzb

    Heresiarch.“I believe noticing things like dehumanizing treatment of workers or offensive stereotypes of class in media doesn’t require Marxist criticism; it just requires noticing when human beings are oversimplified, stereotyped, treated shabbily in art.”

    Um. It doesn’t. There was plenty of such criticism before Marx, and there are many who point out such treatment in life and in art who are actively hostile to Marxism. Perhaps I misunderstand, but I believe you, yourself, are hostile to Marxism, yet also aware of and oppose class oppression.

    Marxism provides a scientific method of understanding the material origin of oppression, tracing its changes, and developing a guide for action against it. It no more has a monopoly on observing and commenting on oppression than does feminism.

  12. skzb: on the contrary, I am *extremely* sympathetic to Marxism and Marxist critiques of class oppression. One of the reasons for that is precisely because of the reactionary, misguided, and/or self-defeating forms that class criticism so often falls into when practiced in a kneejerk, “well it’s obvious that” way, ranging from primitivism to fascism. Newton has no monopoly on commenting on the visible motion of objects, but if you want to do so in an intelligent way he’s a good place to start.

    Similarly, feminists have been thinking critically about gender for a rather long time, and have discovered a lot of the traps that one might encounter doing so (at times via falling in). If one wishes to speak intelligently about sexism, then feminist critique is rather essential tool.

  13. John Rawls once wrote about Marxism being popular among college kids because it is usually the first ideology that students encounter when they have the tools to properly analyze ideology. The fact that it is a) descriptive b) prescriptive and c) predictive makes it extremely attractive as a lens through which the world can be examined.

    Feminism is much the same way, and is popular for much the same reason.

    Making this even more recursive, I’ll point out that social contract theory fills that very same role for me. 🙂

    What I find utterly maddening about Marxism is: he made some very accurate predictions of how capitalism will behave, and from there, he predicted the systems that would replace capitalism- and I very much think he was wrong about what would replace capitalism. Yet the one flows naturally from the other. It’s as if I’m watching a ball leave a pitcher’s hand, and seeing it suddenly jump 1000 feet into the air half way to home plate.

    Like I say: maddening.

  14. -On the whole I believe noticing things like dehumanizing treatment of women or offensive stereotypes of minorities in media doesn’t require feminist criticism; it just requires noticing when human beings are oversimplified, stereotyped, treated shabbily in art.-

    My feeling is most feminist criticism *is* that, just with an eye for the groups that usually get the short end of the stick. You balance a scale by paying attention to where it’s weighed, after all.

    “Humanist is the term for when humans are being marginalized by robots or aliens,” is a saying I like. It’s feminism because that’s where the balance currently needs equalizing.

  15. skzb

    Heresiarch: “skzb: on the contrary, I am *extremely* sympathetic to Marxism and Marxist critiques of class oppression.” I stand corrected.

  16. “One reason I’ve wanted to stay out of the #GamerGate controversy was because I have no skin in the game; I’m not much of a gamer and I don’t read game reviews.”

    What’s interesting about this nonsense is there is a basis, and then there’s an unrelated controversy. The basis was supposedly game reviewers who have received freebies from companies or developers whose games they report on, which some people seem to think is on par with dismantling the Bill of Rights. The controversy is based on a defense of “gamer” as an identity only for white boys.

    “I’m a Tor author. If you are keeping a list of those to boycott for being vocal in opposition to #GamerGate, please add me to it.”

    The kid who came up with this idea has a serious thing for John Scalzi, and he’s the only target at the moment. These people have latched onto the idea that they represent a serious economic powerhouse, and apparently Intel has agreed with them since it caved into their demands regarding one site. Personally, I’d love to see them pit their buying power against a publishing house that caters to the whole spectrum of society, just to see how quickly it sinks in that Tor is ignoring them. But that won’t happen, since even these kids can see this is a personal problem the instigator has with Mr. Scalzi, and it doesn’t even pretend to have anything to do with gaming ethics.

  17. The question that remains unanswered by the anti-gamergaters is this: If gamergate is about misogyny rather than ethics, why have several gaming sites adopted stricter ethical standards since gamergate began?

    Scalzi and Vox Day have been sniping for what, a decade now? They both seem to enjoy it, and so do their fans, so gamergate gives their fans excuses to participate. But characterizing the gamergaters by the worst of their lot is no different than saying all feminists are Dworkinites.

  18. Punning Pundit: “What I find utterly maddening about Marxism is: he made some very accurate predictions of how capitalism will behave, and from there, he predicted the systems that would replace capitalism- and I very much think he was wrong about what would replace capitalism.”

    You know, I’ve heard talk about Marx’s predictions since forever, and yet I’ve never actually read anything by Marx that made claims about what would replace capitalism. Do you have any particular quotes/works in mind?

  19. Steve, you made me trace this nonsense back to its source. Vox Day was suggesting that since the SJWs had tried to get a boycott going over Orson Scott Card, the gamergaters should try to get one going over Scalzi. I haven’t looked to see if anyone besides the person with the throwaway account on Reddit supported VD’s call, but hundreds of people supported the call for boycotting Card. DC Comics cancelled a Superman story Card had been announced to write–that particular boycott was successful. So I would say that if you want to stand against boycotters, you’ll be in a group that includes both gamergaters and anti-gamergaters, and odds are the GG crowd will be the larger group. It has been very strange watching the left give up free speech (or as the sjws say when they mock the idea, “freeze peach”) while the right embraces it.

  20. @heresiarch

    I’m gonna give a flip first answer, because I can, but it’s not actually unserious.
    There’s a (fiction) book called “Orca” that accurately reflects what the US housing market would do in 2008. The amazing thing is that the book was written in 1996. The author of that book has some rather Marxist ideas about how an economy functions.

    I give the flip answer because it’s been probably 20 years since I read the Communist Manifesto, and maybe 15 since I got roughly 10 pages into Das Capital and pretended to have read all of it.

    In college I did read some excerpts from various works in a few classes, but nothing I can specifically recall the name of. I am sort of left with a memory that Marx predicts that Classes exist to perpetuate themselves, and the Class with the most power will inevitably begin accruing a greater share of society’s bounty than they have actually contributed to. Thus: Labor will inevitably see a decreasing share of wealth, and eventually Labor will revolt against having their labor devalued.

    From there, Labor will set up a system in which they collectively own society’s Capital, and thus will not need to steal from one another.

    I think this is a fair reading, with enough caveats to cover myself in case my memories and understanding are off.

    I do know that our host is much more able to answer your questions than I am, and I’d be eager to know what he has to say.

  21. @Will Shetterly:
    Part of the problem is that people like myself have been avoiding Card’s work for a while. Not because his politics are actively offensive (I’ve read much worse), but because his writing has deteriorated to the point of unreadability.

    That has accompanied a rightward drift in his public persona (I don’t know him, and can’t say if he’s always had these opinions or not). I do get the sense that his politics inform a worldview which is so different from mine that the characters he creates are not recognizable as people.

    I think that’s actually true for a lot of people who used to be huge fans of his work. He went from creating characters that illuminated the human condition to creating grotesqueries that obscure humanity. Why would I subject myself to that?

    Sounds like someone feels the same way about Scalzi. Well, they’re free to not read his work, and to let his publisher know that they won’t read his work. Boycotting a writer because they did something unrelated that you dont like (ie: supporting the right of my wife to not get death/rape threats if gamers notice what she does for a living) seems like the wrong side of the line.

    I don’t actually like being that harsh about someone’s craft, and so I hope that he never has the occasion to learn my opinion. Unless somehow it would bring him happiness. In that case fair play.

  22. WS: There are boycotters on both sides. There are death threats on both sides. The anti-gamergaters got a black guy fired after he was part of #notyourshield. If there are any saints in this fight, I have not seen them.

    Yup – http://gamergateharassment.tumblr.com/

    I’m really torn on this – on the one hand, I generally support feminism and the harassment of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn is friggin’ appalling. On the other hand, the whole thing has really bought out the SJWs to self-righteously try and shout down and censure the GGs, positively gleeful when people such as Thunderfoot get kicked off media based on nothing but SJW harassment. He’s a massive asshole, but his crime is simply stating his opinion clearly and forcefully.

    And on the gripping hand, the supposed protest against ethics in game journalism seems like really small potatoes when you look at how… enthusiastically… the GG crowd go after anyone with XX chromosomes.

    I can understand getting irritated when an idiot SJW tries to shrilly intrude their ideology into people’s enjoyment of games. But there’s also room for developers to cater to all tastes.

    Fuck it – Civilization : Beyond Earth comes out in a few days, so I’m gonna try burying myself in that instead. A curse on both houses.

  23. I just saw a retweet by a cartoonist I like; thought you might find it relevant:

    > tom-aiacrebloggedmuttluver
    > its-ga-linda-with-a-gaSource:
    >
    > > a quick reminder:
    > >
    > > not everyone knows what is and isn’t offensive
    > >
    > > not everyone has the knowledge you do on slurs and their impact
    > >
    > > so how about instead of bullying people who are wrong and
    > > writing them off as terrible people, you try educating them?
    > >
    > > And if you say “it’s not my job to educate them” but you
    > > consider yourself an activist, you are not a very good activist.

  24. ZeroD – well stated. I have nothing to add, I just love your comment.

  25. Good grief. I’d been skimming the gamergate stuff (mostly via Chuck Wending’s posts), and didn’t pay much attention. But as a fellow Tor author, a gamer (by any definition), a former game designer, and someone who goes way back with John Scalzi (I used to sell him humor pieces when he was at AOL), I think I need to get up to speed. Thanks for this post.

  26. Spooky PunningPundit, your take on Card’s writing (and politics) is pretty much mine. The only book of his that I periodically recommend is Saints, aka Woman of Destiny, a historical about the Mormons.

    Phoenician in a time of Romans, yup. If being an asshole merited expulsion from Youtube, the channel would shut down.

    So far as I can tell, the GG crowd goes after anyone who reminds them of Jack Thompson. Several identitarian feminists have been at the battlefront lately, but does opposing them equal sexism, or equal a rejection of identitarian feminism’s belief that “freeze peach” is a threat? And I’ll note that the GG’s main opponents include men from sites like Kotaku, while the more prominents GGs include the “honey badgers”. This kerfuffle is not divided by gender, but by ideology, which has a gender bias that most women reject.

    Full agreement that there’s room to cater to all tastes. Enjoy the game!

    fredcritter, true. But the anti-GG crowd’s mottoes include “it’s not my job to educate.” What their job is, they don’t say.

  27. On the topic of feminist critique–I think that by and large, any cultural critique of games has been entirely lacking. Sarkeesian’s series is less of a feminist critique than a critique that happens to be well done by a feminist, and someone who’s tuned to seeing these things better than I am. I consider myself a feminist, but I’m a guy, and a lot of the things she points out are things that simply didn’t occur to me.

    I’ve been making video games for 14-ish years now. As a programmer and a middling cog in a very, very large machine, I can make some excuses as to how I didn’t realise this stuff was going into the games I made, but the reality is that I wouldn’t have understood the implications of a lot of it until recently. Her work is definitely raising the level of the industry, in my opinion.

    On GG–it’s a tainted hashtag. It was started in bad faith and many keep using it in bad faith. My advice to people that want to keep talking about ethics in gaming journalism (which was something nobody cared about before there was a woman that this could be pinned on, incidentally) is to find a new hashtag and kick away from GG entirely. Unlike ‘feminism’ or ‘communism’ which are established and meaningful philosophies, there’s nothing worth keeping about #gamergate at this point.

  28. @PunningPundit
    Let me clarify. I agree that Marx makes lots of predictions about capitalism–what I am curious about is any claims Marx made about what would replace capitalism. In your rough account of Marx, that part takes up at most one sentence–is that the part you mean by “it’s as if I’m watching a ball leave a pitcher’s hand, and seeing it suddenly jump 1000 feet into the air”?

  29. Agree with VJGoh.

    Just as an aside, “gaming journalism” is an oxymoron in more ways than one. First of all reviewers and critics aren’t journalists in any normal sense, even if their stuff gets published on news media platforms from time to time. They don’t report news and facts, they offer opinion and analysis of art and entertainment. There are certainly ethical standards one hopes for in critic columns and articles, but it’s still very different from being a journalist.

    Secondly, everyone knows that the game reviewing industry in particular is congenially corrupt. It’s not much of a secret. Game companies are constantly shuttling reviewers off to Vegas or other holiday destinations at fancy hotels with all expenses paid to give multi-day presentations with plenty of free time between engagements, not to mention every manner of freebie to take home. It’s well understood that a strong negative review will preclude participation in such events in the future. When I was working as a game designer at Turbine (while it was still a semi-independent studio), they occasionally hosted those elaborate junkets for reviewers, and of course EA and Sony and the other big game publishers do even more. I’m not aware of any outright payola myself, but then I wasn’t in any position to be offering or accepting it, and in those conditions it shouldn’t be surprising at all.

    So anyway, a crusade for ethics in gaming journalism strikes me as essentially ridiculous given the effective status of so many reviewers as media agencies acting for the publishers. And so I wasn’t surprised to learn that for at least some of the GG people, the effort was really a front for hate-group activities.

    To Will Shetterly, I would say that there is no monolithic “anti-GG crowd”. There may certainly be the equivalent of professional agitators among the GG opponents with their own private agendas, but most of what I’ve seen has been a groundswell of public opposition to hateful activity that uses the GG tag as a shield.

  30. I agree with you that there isn’t a single anti-GG crowd, but I’d add that there isn’t a single GG crowd either. Your groundswell of opposition to GG is like the groundswell of support: people read things and rage.

    As for the notion that conflicts of interest should be accepted in the gaming industry, I’m not convinced.

    And while it might’ve been nice to divorce the ethics issue from Zoe Quinn having sex with people who could advance her career, that’s as easily done as separating Gavrilo Princip shooting Ferdinand from World War One. Things often start in small, sordid ways. You can’t call a time-out and ask people to start over later.

    By the way, does your definition of a hate group include the women and people of color who post under #notyourshield?

  31. “And while it might’ve been nice to divorce the ethics issue from Zoe Quinn having sex with people who could advance her career…”

    You’ve managed to distill the whole thing into these few words. When men reporters are accused of violating journalistic ethics, the focus is on them and their work. In this case, can you even name the reporter involved? No, but you can play telephone with Ms. Quinn’s reputation by referring to her “having sex with people” even though she was accused by an angry ex-boyfriend of sleeping with one (1) person who turned out to work for a gaming site. Never mind it’s been shown he hadn’t reviewed her game. A man accused a woman working in a man’s domain of having sex, thereby setting off all the men in defense of their pristine, totally non-sexualized game world.

    This is what you’ve picked up out of the whole controversy – a woman had sex in a “small, sordid” way. Well done.

  32. L. Raymond, thanks for making the response more eloquently than I could have. Well done.

  33. L. Raymond, the issue isn’t having sex outside of a relationship. I doubt any of the critics of the gaming industry are strong believers in monogamy. If you’ve noticed some, please offer links.

    The issue is sex with people who can advance your career. This is a conflict of interest, regardless of the genders of the people involved. I’m a little surprised I have to explain this to you, but then again, I’m a little not surprised at all.

    Have you really never noticed men caught up in scandals that involve sex? I was really hoping Herman Cain would be the Republican candidate, but he went the same way that Gary Hart and many male politicians had gone before him.

    My stock question: If this isn’t about ethics, why have several gaming sites adopted stronger ethical codes since GG began?

  34. Hmm. I tentatively propose that saying Gamergate is about infidelity is like saying Watergate was about burglary.

  35. Oh, and to clarify one thing: my comment about “small, sordid” was not about Quinn having sex. It was about Eron Gjoni being hurt that she had lied to him. Whistleblowers sometimes blow whistles because of small things, like being passed up for a raise. That doesn’t mean what they expose isn’t important.

  36. Will Shetterly, in the case of political candidates, the person giving favors for advancement is more important than the people he or she courts because outcomes of elections and public policy are at stake. That’s why we care more about Herman Cain than the persons he was involved with. That’s why the names of politicians who take bribes are in the news and we see the names of the people that bribed them less often and with less emphasis.

    Zoe Quinn makes games, so in this particular case the lack of integrity of the journalist is more serious than anything she did. But the journalist has gotten almost none of the attention. I’m not saying that sleeping with someone who at worst is your path to success and at best constitutes a conflict of interest is okay. It’s not. But GamerGate targets Quinn and not the publication and the journalist because it’s fundamentally about sexism and journalistic integrity is only the pretext.

    There would be less of an outcry and fewer attacks on her if she gave the guy $1,000 outright instead. It’s a fundamental cultural problem – line up five hundred Cains and one Jezebel, and she will still be the target of hatred.

  37. They “target” Zoe Quinn because she continues to promote identitarian feminism—she recently went on television, after all. Giving her a pass because she’s female would strike me as awfully sexist.

    If you google “reporter sex conflict of interest”, you’ll find a number of stories where the male reporter gets in trouble for sex. You’ll also find the SPJ Code of Ethics, which includes this: “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.”

    And because we live in a world of binarians, I’ll add: of course sexism in gaming has not disappeared. That doesn’t mean the new Jack Thompsons have the solution.

  38. If you google “games reporter sex conflict of interest” you get Zoe Quinn and GamerGate, period.

    I’m not giving her a pass. I’m saying the focus on her is unreasonable and is itself sexist.

    Can you argue that this is the first case of favoritism in games journalism? Then why is she the whipping boy?

    Can you argue that this is as serious an ethical breach as journalist bias in politics, economics, research, or war? Then again, why is she the whipping boy?

    Boobs. That’s why.

  39. 1) that hat makes you look like Aarron Ra 2) I cannot understand why anyone cares about Gamergate at all.

    People say things on the intertubes, why would you give it reality by responding.

    It seems to me that it’s a bit like saying that 4chan is sayof…

    Which is to say there is a lot of people spouting off and you care why? because some people want to boycott TOR ? do you really think that this will impact sales?

    There is lots of talk about violence and death treats but in case you have missed it it’s the internet, no actual violence or killing?

    Stop feeding the trolls

  40. I suppose one would have to actually count the avowed supporters of GG and their avowed opponents from orbit with some kind of godlike calculator to determine the relative percentages of evil scumbags on both sides.

    But the percentages of malicious people among the foes of GG is irrelevant to an argument that GG itself is contaminated. The fact that other people commit crimes doesn’t excuse a particular criminal, not even if this is true of the judge and jury. And GG is not some ancient and honorable organization that happened to commit a faux-pas or was led astray in a single case. This is a casual hashtag association that has no history whatsoever and which was coopted by trolls almost instantly, if indeed it wasn’t set up by trolls in the first place for the explicit reason to attack these feminist critiques of gaming.

    Also, no doubt I just haven’t been reading the right forums, but I fail to see how opponents of GG have anything to do with Jack Thompson. Thompson wanted to censor games and indeed to control and suppress them in general. Opponents of GG want people who identify as GG to stop harassing targeted foes. If certain opponents of GG also harass their own foes, that’s just as bad, but it’s really beside the point as far as I’m concerned, because GG has now become associated with malice, whereas there is no umbrella anti-GG movement that is similarly tainted.

    I should also mention that since for the most part gamers have historically flocked to the publishers’ sides whenever there was an industry dispute, it’s odd that so many avowed gamers-for-life associate with GG when GG claims to be opposed to the universal collusion between publishers and reviewers that has historically obtained. Are they saying that a 9/10 review for the latest iteration of CoD is an insult not to be borne, or are they really saying they don’t want women complaining about the lack of realistic female characters or the female objectification that evidently pervades gaming? As an industry follower and former worker in the industry, and as one who used to actively participate in my own game company’s forums, I find the latter infinitely easier to believe.

  41. @Miramon

    …Wall of Text…

    Well Ok then…

  42. Let’s not forget that Zoe Quinn has been attacked for Depression Quest since… it first came out. Before GamerGate, before the game jam at which the hosts tried to instigate drama between her and another developer, possibly even before she started dating the guy who eventually went apeshit on her. “Journalistic ethics” is kind of a smoke screen for going after a lady who dares to make games that aren’t like other games.

    By the by: have any of you _played_ depression quest? It’s a brilliant game that does a good job at simulating what it is to be depressed. It’s something that can literally create sympathy by showing how depression damages the minds of those afflicted. I’m not actually sure if this sort of point could be made in any other form of media.

  43. Mike S., I don’t know why someone becomes the focus of something that has a history. I suspect she was simply the tipping point.

    Miramon, are you arguing that female gamergaters want unrealistic female characters and female objectification? If you’ve got links, share ’em. In today’s googling, I came across this bit by a young woman writing about gamergate: http://www.diamondbackonline.com/opinion/article_3fbc52ec-57eb-11e4-ba91-0017a43b2370.html

    Punning Pundit, are you saying that Quinn became a social justice warrior after being attacked for Depression Quest? (I haven’t played the game, so I have no opinion of its quality. It’s been praised by gamers I respect, and it’s been harshly criticized, too.)

  44. @Will Shetterly:
    Why does it matter when she became a Dzurlord?

  45. The problem with Gamer Gate is that it’s never been about “ethics in videogames.” Plenty of good people think it is, because they’re being duped. There are links the the founding docs of what became “Gamer Gate,” which are IRC chats. There’s very little there about “ethics” and much more about what a whore Zoe Quinn is and how she should kill herself, etc., etc.

    Here’s a link to the original IRC logs where Gamer Gate was hatched. There are 97 uses of the word ethics. Search how many uses there are of rape, kill, die, whore, slut, etc. Very enlightening.

  46. Punning Pundit, the implication above is that she was first attacked for her game. I’m wondering whether that misses the larger picture.

    Dennis, the quick googling turns up this response: http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/09/4chan-responds-to-allegations-that-gamergate-was-created-to-harass-women/

    It includes “Yes, [the chat logs] are from 4chan irc channels, however most of them are taken out of their original context. a [sic] majority of them are simply jokes. also [sic] note that these irc channels are public, and anyone can post on them.”

    One thing I’ve learned from watching these things is that people who joke among themselves are always taken seriously by their opponents.

  47. 4chan is evidently a lot of kids roleplaying being worse than they normally are, aided by anonymity and an evolved common culture of mutual contempt. They insult themselves and each other more than they do outsiders, most of the time, and for the most part they are harmless.

    The problem is that kind of atmosphere enables and empowers extremists and crazy people, and when they initiate one of their Internet attack campaigns, even if it started originally purely for laughs, it picks up the truly malicious along the way. And of course even if it didn’t, the whole idea of one of those mass troll attacks is just vile in itself.

    So anyhow if that log is really the germ of the hashtag, then it’s clear the core intent had very little to do with cleaning up gaming journalism. Nothing 4chan does as a community is sincerely dedicated to any higher purpose.

    Will, what do you think the gender ratios are for GG supporters? You can find isolated examples of every kind of confused person supporting people and causes they logically shouldn’t. But I expect the GG sex ratio is a lot closer to 99:1 than it is to 50:50. I don’t mean to pile on, by the way, as I hate the feeling I am in the majority when the majority is partially wrong and hateful too. But I really think GG has too high a percentage of the malicious to have any redeeming qualities or reason for continued existence.

  48. Will, I’m not prepared to accept, “this was taken out of context” from the people behind this nonesense, because “taken out of context” is the standard walkback for people tasked with their own idiocy.

  49. skzb

    The ethical issues involved in #Gamergate are, no doubt, interesting, but there is no shortage of places to talk about them. The question of feminist criticism is also interesting, and I should probably do a blog post to clarify my position at some point.

    But what’s behind THIS blog post is very simple. I took a clear stand against the boycott of DC comics for hiring Orson Scott Card. How could I take a less clear stand on this? If I am more strident on this issue, that is only because the individuals behind this boycott are more repulsive.

    I am on the the road for the next couple of days. I would ask everyone to please go out of your way to keep this conversation as civil as it has been up until now.

  50. Steve, it would seem you took a stand against a few people on VD’s blog. I haven’t read the comments there to see if the suggestion was supported. After reading VD’s post in context, I’m not even sure he was seriously proposing a bit of tit-for-tat. The proposed boycott was not supported on reddit, where the suggestion was noticed by Scalzi. It was a complete non-issue until he tweeted it. If I thought the gamergaters were supporting boycotts, I would be here seconding you.

    Dennis, context always matters. Gamergate began after Zoe Quinn attacked the Fine Young Capitalists, thereby escalating the ideological confrontation. If the 4chan folks are correct that most of them were speaking sarcastically, that matters. Remember that the suffragists were first called suffragettes as a belittling insult that they then adopted; internal rhetoric is not always what outsiders think it is.

    Miramon, I don’t know the sex stats, so anyone can make up whatever they want, but if the numbers matter more than the argument, it should be noted that most women reject identitarian feminism.

  51. @Will Shetterly
    She was either attacked for Depression Quest, or for previous public statements about gaming. TBH, I’m not aware of any previous statements about gaming. I am, however, willing to believe that she held her current beliefs before she created Depression Quest.

    But no matter what her opinions or actions, she doesn’t deserve what Gamer Gate is doing to her. How do I know this? Dick Cheney isn’t getting the same sort of treatment.

    The really sick part is that there are a whole lot of gaming journalists who would be delighted to have sources of funding that aren’t actually the people they’re covering. But GamerGate doesn’t seem to want to go after that side of things. For some reason, they’re focused on Indie developers.

  52. Punning Pundit, did the black guy involved in #notyourshield deserve to get doxxed and fired? No one deserves the worst that they get. But anyone who chooses to stay in a flamewar should expect this sort of behavior. I learned that the hard way in 2009.

  53. First I’ve heard of this… link?

    Not that it would be a good thing! It’s just an aspect of ugliness that I’ve not encountered.

  54. I think the story’s among the ones collected here: http://gamergateharassment.tumblr.com/

    After he was active for a while, he tweeted this: http://i.imgur.com/9ieHMu9.png

    And added a little more here: http://i.imgur.com/1nnk9iq.png

    Here’s where he talks about Quinn and #notyourshield: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfEnFHZ0JX0

  55. Will Shetterly: “The issue isn’t having sex outside of a relationship. I doubt any of the critics of the gaming industry are strong believers in monogamy”

    This begs the question of what’s under discussion. You say the whole thing is about critics of the gaming industry, so how about we start there?

    The root problem as you and they see it: a game developer slept with a reporter who reviewed her work in order to line her own pockets. The problem with this: Grayson never reviewed the game and it’s a freebie Quinn makes available to anyone who wants it. And as for evidence that journalistic integrity is not the issue, I direct you to two links:

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=200770535

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/08/admission-quest-valve-greenlights-50-more-games

    The first one is the page on Steam Greenlight dealing with Depression Quest. There are currently 143 pages of comments. The first 30 or so (pp. 115-143) are exactly what you’d expect from a game community site: thoughtful comments and criticism. Starting at pg. 115, or mid-December of 2013, the comments start mentioning the attacks on Ms. Quinn, and the next 100 pages of comments alternate between what on would expect of a gaming site, and what you see when a community tries to support one of its own. By pg. 17, the attacks on Ms. Quinn are overtly ugly, vicious and personal.

    The second link is the article Grayson wrote on Jan 8 in which mentioned Depression Quest. Here’s what he wrote:

    “Anyway, standouts: powerful Twine darling Depression Quest, surrealist Thief usurper Tangiers, and sidescrolling epic Treasure Adventure World.”

    Followed by a list of 50 games. That was it; he mentioned it in passing. It was Adam Smith who actually reviewed the game on February 14. I assume you and the Gamers have already checked to see if Ms. Quinn slept with him. What did you uncover?

    “The issue is sex with people who can advance your career. This is a conflict of interest, regardless of the genders of the people involved.”

    I can’t agree. The issue is the truth. Depression Quest was reviewed or mentioned by at least twelve prominent news or gaming sites, including the Wall Street Journal (links on the DQ site). If Ms. Quinn was proved to have corrupted one or more of them, there might be a case for conflict of interest. Dating a man who mentions a game in passing as part of a list of 50 titles that he didn’t discuss does not count.

    “Have you really never noticed men caught up in scandals that involve sex? ”

    As was answered by Mike S., they were the one giving favors, just as Grayson is accused of giving favors. But he’s not the one being dragged through the mud after wild mud slinging by an ex.

    “My stock question: If this isn’t about ethics, why have several gaming sites adopted stronger ethical codes since GG began?”

    Seriously? That’s what you’re going with? Why not, If this is not about misogyny, why have several women had to leave home due to rape and murder threats?

  56. “If this is not about misogyny, why have several women had to leave home due to rape and murder threats?”

    I could as easily ask “If this is not about misandry, why have men been doxxed and gotten murder threats?”

    As for decisions to flee after getting threats, was anyone advised to leave by the police? I haven’t looked up all of the cases, but I know that with Sarkeesian’s bomb threat, both the police and the school determined that it was safe for her to speak, yet she chose not to. Asking qui bono suggests one motive.

    I could easily go to sites where Orson Scott Card or Elizabeth Moon were attacked by opponents and the comments were “overtly ugly, vicious and personal”. Remember, this ain’t my first dance with social justice warriors. I know firsthand how they can behave.

    So I’ll ask again. If ethics are irrelevant, why have several gaming sites adopted stronger ethical codes?

    Oh, and as for “you and the Gamers”, really, in this war, I’m Switzerland. I think the gender partisans on each side are wrong, and the people engaging in threats on each side are wrong.

  57. You avoid everything I wrote about the lies and about the reviewers in order to move your own goal posts?

    “If this isn’t about ethics…” and “If ethics are irrelevant…” are not equivalent. Take refuge in this line if it pleases you, but I’m more concerned with the dishonesty embraced by those who claim this problem is one of journalism.

    Believe yourself neutral if you must, but bear in mind you’ve taken a stand with those trying to claim the argument is entirely about journalistic ethics without criticizing the lies and misrepresentations they use to bolster their position.

  58. “You avoid everything I wrote about the lies and about the reviewers in order to move your own goal posts?”

    Uh, you notice that you keep avoiding my question about ethics? Really, if the ethical standards were fine, why would anyone make any changes?

    Here are a couple of bits that have been quoted from the messy 4chan document that the anti-GG crowd ignores:

    “[…]the purpose of #gamergate is to rally for transparency in gaming journalism and the media in general, and also to put an end to the blatant corruption in the gaming industry and gaming journalism.”

    “Harassment and abuse are never a good way to achieve ones [sic] goals. we [sic] have tried our best to be respectful and polite while also encouraging others to be so as well. we [sic] do not condone this kind of behavior.”

    Gamergaters have raised over $16,000 for an anti-bullying group: https://www.crowdrise.com/GamerGateStompsOutBullying/fundraiser/loping

    There are people on both sides calling for civil behavior. And there are people on both sides mocking those who are concerned with civility. As Switzerland, I’m with the civil folks on both sides.

    Ah, well. Time for me to start heading toward the door. When wars are being fought, the wise keep their heads low. Someday, maybe I’ll learn to fake being wise. Till next time!

  59. @skzb
    22 October 2014 at 6:36 pm

    The ethical issues involved in #Gamergate are, no doubt, interesting, but there is no shortage of places to talk about them. The question of feminist criticism is also interesting, and I should probably do a blog post to clarify my position at some point.

    But what’s behind THIS blog post is very simple. I took a clear stand against the boycott of DC comics for hiring Orson Scott Card. How could I take a less clear stand on this? If I am more strident on this issue, that is only because the individuals behind this boycott are more repulsive…

    Except for it not being simple and you not actually talking about Orson Scott Card, I agree you took a less than clear stand.

    If actual people are assholes call them out. for being that.
    This is the intertubes I don’t know why everyone wants to pussy foot around, just because I cannot decide if this is happening in my living room or in some other “Case” place doesn’t mean if you have real issues and arguments with real people they should not be had out.

  60. @PP: “If this is not about misogyny, why have several women had to leave home due to rape and murder threats?”
    “I could as easily ask “If this is not about misandry, why have men been doxxed and gotten murder threats?”

    The narratives playing in the heads of the fanatics on both sides as they feel self-righteous about throwing such threats must be interesting.

  61. Before I go, I thought I’d share an interesting article from PopeHat. I’m a left-libertarian and ClarkHat is a right-libertarian, so I disagree with some of his interpretations, but I agree with the broader strokes of his analysis: http://www.popehat.com/2014/10/21/gamer-gate-three-stages-to-obit/

  62. “Uh, you notice that you keep avoiding my question about ethics? Really, if the ethical standards were fine, why would anyone make any changes?”

    I addressed that rather tediously when discussing the supposed source of these complaint, the Grayson article in which he did not review Ms. Quinn’s game.

    ” As Switzerland, I’m with the civil folks on both sides.”

    Actually, no, you’re not. You’re supporting a position claiming to be in defense of ethics which is itself based upon a lie. That is Jesuitical, not Swiss.

  63. L. Raymond, saying it’s not about ethics because Grayson behaved ethically does not actually answer the question of why several sites have adopted stricter ethical codes. It also assumes that the contretemps began with Grayson. So far as I can tell, it came to a head then and had been simmering a long, long time. If you want to understand the Civil War, don’t start with Fort Sumter.

  64. I think no one bothered to answer the question because it’s an inherently silly question. Some sites took Gamer Gate’s claims at face value and adopted stricter ethical codes. This doesn’t prove that ethics are at the center of Gamer Gate. It just means that some sites reacted as if they were. There’s a shit ton of evidence to the contrary, regardless of the claims that “they were joking” or “that was taken out of context, as if the entirety of an hours-long chat can be taken out of context.

    Also, much of this thread seems to address Gamer Gate and so-called “Social Justice Warriors” as single opposing monolithic entities, which of course they aren’t. The point that Scalzi keeps trying to make is that the people who have legitimate criticisms about ethics in gaming are being used by the people who want to shit in their own sandbox rather than letting other kids play there. He could probably do a better job of this.

  65. “Saying it’s not about ethics because Grayson behaved ethically does not actually answer the question of why several sites have adopted stricter ethical codes.”

    I didn’t say that. I pointed out that you’re claiming a movement based on a lie dedicated to trashing a woman for the sin of having sex is somehow about truth, ethics and the American Way. Do you require it as a pithy saying? Doctor, heal thyself. Mote-beam-eye. Anyone who tries to support the insupportable, that it’s possible for a group of people to set themselves up as champions of truth based on a lie, is… (geez, why did skzb have to trust us to remain civil? *sigh*)

    Anyway, that’s your stance, and it’s not one you have defended well. You want to ask about some minor, insignificant sites sucking up to what they see as their paying base? By all means, do so, and balance it against the threats, harassment and ugliness towards women emanating from these same people. Have as many sites posted these codes as women have been harassed? Have as many sites actually altered their behavior as women have been threatened with rape and death?

    ” It also assumes that the contretemps began with Grayson. So far as I can tell, it came to a head then and had been simmering a long, long time. If you want to understand the Civil War, don’t start with Fort Sumter”

    As far as you can tell? Have you been googling again? You’ll find the more serious people wonder where all this anger was when Gestermann was fired back in 2007 for writing a bad review. There was an ethical dilemma, but it didn’t involve any uppity chicks, you see, so there was no reason to care.

    Where was this intense hatred and anger for all corrupters of journalistic intregrity when Jason Blair was laying waste to the ethical landscape? Too long ago? Wrong industry? Where was this righteous outrage in July when Vostok Games was accused of paying gaming media to run negative stories about a rival game? Not personal enough? What about Winterkewl Games and the half million they pocketed directly from gamers? Perhaps those weren’t small and sordid enough to spark the conflagration, or perhaps they simply lacked an easy, personal target.

    Focus on the sites who fear the economic consequences of not bowing to these yowling yahoos if you need to in order to sustain your self-image, but do not presume to say no one has addressed the idea of ethics being somehow involved in this mess while you blithely ignore the real world damage being done to women who have had the nerve to speak up.

  66. @L. Raymond

    I do not get why people care at all, Vlad would be confused.

    OK he might go on a strange vendetta and kill them all 🙂

  67. Dennis, people who just want to kill go to war, but that doesn’t mean the people who sincerely want to defend their country should stay home. There are bullies enjoying bullying on both sides of gamergate.

    L. Raymond, you keep saying it’s based on a lie as if repetition is convincing. Did gaming have an ethics problem before gamergate? Have some sites addressed the issue because gaming had an ethics problem?

    And really, did gamers hate Jack Thompson because he had boobs?

  68. Oh, and here are some some women and trans folk on the gamergate side who’re being treated awfully by the antis: http://www.inquisitr.com/1548436/gamergate-movement-claims-their-female-lgbt-and-non-white-supporters-are-under-attack/ Googling will provide more.

    As usual, I’m doing the Minnesota Goodbye. My apologies to non-Minnesotans. By the usual rule, I get one more response, but I’ll try not to take it.

  69. So being against the state in moded out… nice

  70. “This doesn’t prove that ethics are at the center of Gamer Gate.”

    “Also, much of this thread seems to address Gamer Gate and so-called “Social Justice Warriors” as single opposing monolithic entities, which of course they aren’t.”

    There is no center. It’s people objectifying other people. People are doing that to both sides. To some extent, talking as if there are two sides is objectifying people on all sides.

    “This one side is bad. They’re just bad.”
    “Yes, but the other side is just as bad.”
    “You’re just trying to change the subject. It doesn’t matter about the other side. The point is, the first side is bad.”
    “But they got some good results. They made he trains run on time or something.”
    “It doesn’tr matter if they got good results if they did, if it wouldn’t have happened anyway. They don’t want good results. They don’t care about good results. They started out with a bad beginning, and there’s no way they can improve, the beginning proved what they will be forever. They should not exist.”

    Etc. And yet we’re talking about groups of people that are so tenuous we can barely keep track of who considers themselves members of the groups. Groups that have no way to decide who speaks for them, no way to decide who’s a member or to throw out people they don’t want in, etc.

    It’s almost like arguing about the difference between a red Mentos and a blue Mentos after they have been dropped into the same botle of Coke….

  71. “You keep saying it’s based on a lie as if repetition is convincing.”

    No, I’ve said it hoping to drive home the point that you’re a hypocrite. While you’re enjoying your Minnesota goodbye, I hope you’ll reflect on the fact that a movement based on lies – and notice you’ve not said otherwise – and using threats to further itself is 100% about integrity and ethics. If you realize the problem with that statement, maybe you’ll be ready to discuss the whole picture, and not just that tiny part it makes you feel smug to defend.

  72. With all due respect, L. Raymond, I don’t think that’s the level of civility and courtesy that skzb hoped for when he went on the road.

  73. skzb

    L. Raymond: Miramon is correct. I am closer to agreeing with you than with Will on this one, but I do not believe he is being hypocritical. And if he were, there would still be better ways to say it. Please.

  74. L. Raymond, are there misogynists on the GG side? Yes. Are there misandrists on the anti-GG side? Yes. Are there misanthropes on both sides? Yes. Are the majority of people on either side fairly categorized as misogynists, misandrists, or misanthropes? No. When discussing wars, it’s good to remember that different participants have different motives. Offhand, I can’t think of a single war that was only about one thing, though I realize there are wars that are taught that way.

    I had thought that talking about conflicts of interest in journalism suggested that I did not think the concern with journalistic integrity in gaming was a lie, but because there’s something wrong with my brain that makes me try much too hard to be clear: I do not think the concern with journalistic integrity in gaming is a lie.

    Here’s a tweet from a woman that struck me today: https://twitter.com/Lemmingbot/status/524036369845608448

    And here’s a rather nice drawing: https://twitter.com/Toshi_TNE/status/525097354958229504

    And a last bit of recent twitter wisdom: “Everyone is talking past at each other and not to.”

    Peace.

  75. Oh, what the heck. L. Raymond, your “a movement based on lies … and using threats to further itself” was nagging at me. Then I came on this: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/from-gamergate-to-unicef Two women and a black guy who were doxxed by the anti-GG side have started a fund-raiser for Unicef.

    I could as easily say your belief is baed on lies, but I realize your group sincerely believes that promoting identitarianism and strong Whorfianism will make a better world, so I won’t quibble about whether a misunderstanding is a lie. But your side’s use of threats is simple history. SJWs doxxed and terrorized Zathlazip in 2008, and have shown no holding back since. Torquemada may claim the devil is helping the witches, but that does not justify his tactics.

  76. Will, you said you were going to quit but you keep getting sucked back in.

    The communication on this ended a long time ago. L. Raymond has chosen sides. Everything you say sounds to him like “I am the enemy.”.

    Imagine that it was WWII, and people were talking about how bad the Nazis were, and you tried to rationally point out that the Russians were just as bad. Imagine the response you’d get. “But the Nazis are ultimate evil!” “The Russians aren’t just as bad, they’re on our side!” “You’re a Nazi sympathizer, trying to cause trouble for the allies! Why aren’t you in jail?”

    (Anyway, the Russians weren’t just as bad. I read somewhere that over 60% of the jews sent to russian concentration camps survived the war, and many of them were released after the war though others stayed in the camps until the camps were disbanded. The Russian camps were not death camps. So they were better. But this is a side issue.)

    When you’re in a war, you don’t listen to people say that your allies are as bad as your enemies. They’re your allies. You stand up for them. If you have issues with them you handle it after the enemy has been crushed.

    You are arguing with somebody who has made up his mind. The GG side is evil and must be destroyed. When you expose yourself as a GG apologist you are declaring that you are the enemy, and that is pretty much the end of the discussion except that it keeps going.

    You know how when a dog is behind a fence, he’ll bark and bark and bark at you, but when he’s free he has to decide what to do and once he’s decided, he calms down? The internet is like a fence for us. If you and L. Raymond were speaking face to face he would have a choice. He could punch you in the mouth, or find something to report you to the police for, or decide that you weren’t so bad, or whatever. But with nothing to say it’s time to take it to the next step, we all just keep barking.

  77. If you take GG seriously as a political movement, let’s make an analogy to the Tea Party. (I said, “if”.) Some people of the camilial persuasion tried to “brand” the word “tea bagger” to describe themselves. Then they discovered the term was already contaminated by an image they would rather not be associated with. So they distanced themselves from the term. End of story, more or less. There was no venerable association of Teabaggers, no long and storied history of teabaggery; there was basically a trending catch phrase and when it did not work, it was disposed of. If GG really stands for something, it should be just as easy to substitute a new hash tag, of all things.

  78. J Thomas, yup. (I so wish Steve had a way to simply “like” comments.)

  79. Will, I read the Popehat piece you linked to. It included thousands of words on a thousand year Kulturkampf that made about as much sense as a community college Western Civ freshman essay, but with fewer nods to actual facts. It named Bismark as a hero to all Blues (by which he means what used to be called Reds or more aptly “Pinks,” since he is talking about Democrats more than Socialists) in their struggle with Reds (who are Conservatives here borrowing from recent American electoral slang) and how sad this is for Grays like him. Somehow Catholics are new-Red and Protestants are new-Blue, even though the most cursory examination of the last 500 years of history would reveal that his point isn’t even wrong, just completely divorced from any realistic framework of historical analysis. I guess what I am really asking is what about this essay did not make your brain explode in agony? Left/right, libertarian/authoritarian, we all at least know the earth is round and birds are dinosaurs, right? In the comments, the original post’s author actually trotted out the “Nazis were Socialists” bit. He’s not a weak hook to hang your hat on; the wall has crumbled around the foyer and the chapeau is not even acknowledged to have existed.

  80. PrivateIron, I agree completely on the hashtag. Continued self-identification with a profoundly contaminated tag with no history at all is self-condemning. If these people honestly cared about “game journalism”, they’d create some new movement which explicitly rejects bullying, Internet attacks, and all these other horrible practices. But instead as we see all over the net, many soi-disant GG-ers insist on defending themselves by claiming either that being a malevolent asshole is just ordinary Internet behavior, or else that in fact there was no bullying or harassment from GGers at all. But of course both these stances are grotesquely false-footed.

  81. Well… I think I’m just gonna keep on reading tor books because I enjoy them, and then go play some video games because I enjoy them, and then maybe do some other things that I enjoy all without giving a second thought to any self proclaimed activist groups. Be they right or wrong, they’re not spoiling any of my pastimes.

  82. PrivateIron, I skimmed the color coding. What I agreed with are the three stages of the fight, the idea that this is a culture war, and the mercilessness of the people who claim to be concerned with kindness and fairness. The guy’s a right-libertarian, so I just roll over that stuff. I didn’t read the comments, or I would’ve left something about the Nazis were socialists nonsense. I’m not hanging my hat on his post; I just thought it had interesting bits. (I rarely hang my hat on anyone else’s post, and I sure don’t hang it on right-liberatarian posts, because they would charge me by the hour.)

    PrivateIron and Miramon, you may be comforted to know that some of the more influential voices in GamerGate agree with you. They’re saying their side should simply identify as gamers. Which makes sense, since the other side has been declaring that gaming is dead and gamers are toxic, and poor Felicia Day, swayed by one-sided rhetoric, was upset by a t-shirt that simply said “gamer”.

    Out of curiosity, why do y’all keep giving passes to “horrible practices” on your side? Death threats are death threats, and doxxing is doxxing, no matter who does it. And why don’t you notice that the majority of the GG crowd rejects the tactics you complain about on their side and ignore on your own? The fundraising at https://www.crowdrise.com/GamerGateStompsOutBullying/fundraiser/loping seems to have stalled at $16,500. Has the anti-GG crowd raised more for a similar cause?

  83. Will, there is no “side” on my side. There is no secret association of everyone who thinks GG is vile or that it has been created and motivated by malicious trolls. That’s why the opponents of GG don’t have to get free passes: unlike GG, “they” don’t exist as a self-designated entity and “they” are not the subject of discussion anyway.

    Of course everyone who commits the same crime is equally guilty. But IMO the rot at GG is at the heart and reaches throughout the association starting from its conception, whereas the vast majority of anti-GGers are merely outraged at GG and have no other axes to grind. So sure, if you can find some particular circumscribed organization that opposes GG and is equally rotten, they deserve the same opprobrium: but if they even exist they have nothing to do with GG and the offenses committed under that banner.

  84. Miramon, I could cut and paste to say much the same for the other side. Of course there are core groups and general groups on both sides. Regarding your final sentence, do you give a pass to offenses committed under the anti-GG banner? Identitarianism’s fanatics are every bit as vicious as the fanatics among their gaming opponents. They have to be. They’re fighting a holy war.

  85. I give no pass to any offense anywhere in any context, and to suggest otherwise is profoundly insulting.

  86. “Gamergaters are trying to narrow discourse.”

    Funny then, that the whole thing was kicked off by the Streisand effect. Because I’d say that censoring all discussion in a coordinated effort, on all the gaming sites and even on reddit and 4chan(!), is absolutely narrowing the discourse too. Especially since they suppressed discussion of an event involving their own unethical behavior.

    “Gamergaters are using threats and intimidation to narrow discourse.” Both sides have received threats. The big difference is that the threats and intimidation against the anti-gamergaters/the games media come from anonymous throwaway accounts – but the threats and intimidation against gamergaters come in the full light of day. Like Biddle’s “ironic” call for harassement (“Bring back bullying”), or Zoe Quinn posting the street address of a critic.

    Where gamergate publicly rejects such tactics, the anti-gamergaters think that they have a right to do it. They are brazen. They can behave however they want, because they ARE the media. They control how it’s all going to be perceived, and they’re trying to rub it in our noses, in hopes of drawing more anger and outrage that they can milk for clicks. (Of course, gamergate long ago caught on to that tactic, that’s why we contact advertisers about their behavior).

  87. The trouble with Anita Sarkeesian is that she thinks things that don’t matter matter.

    And she thinks that that is a very big deal.

  88. “I am closer to agreeing with you than with Will on this one, but I do not believe he is being hypocritical. And if he were, there would still be better ways to say it. Please.”

    I apologize, completely. We haven’t even gotten to the actual discussion of what gamergate is all about because there hasn’t been an agreement on the basic terms. But this isn’t Usenet, and I’m out of line in a private area, and while I can make a case for the hypocrisy charge, I’ll certainly drop it.

  89. Miramon, I am sorry I worded that in a way to profoundly insult anyone, but I was struck by the fact that your paragraph began blaming everyone who behaved badly and ended with another attack on the GG folks. I suspect there’s a name for that rhetorical tactic, but I don’t know it offhand. If it’s any comfort, I realize it’s very human to have different standards for the people you consider allies and the people you consider enemies.

    L. Raymond, if you can make a case, I’d find it entertaining. But I doubt I’d be convinced because I don’t agree with your premise.

  90. “I agree completely on the hashtag. Continued self-identification with a profoundly contaminated tag with no history at all is self-condemning.”

    I can’t disagree much with that.

    If somebody calls himself a Nazi, you have to wonder about him. Why would he call himself that if he wanted people to take him seriously?

    Ad similarly, anybody who uses the GG hashtag is basicly calling himself a Nazi, right? On the other hand, nobody who is anti-GG should be blamed for anything that anybody else who is anti-GG does. All it means to be anti-GG is that you are against one particular despicable evil. Once all the decent people who use the GG hashtag quit using it, then we can stop arguing and just treat everybody as individuals except the nazis who keep using it.

    It’s all about the labels. That’s what we’re arguing about. It’s shibboleths and yellow stars and pink triangles.

  91. Oh, and Thomas, seems like you are the one bringing up Nazis.

  92. SKZB:

    [Not to interrupt the lovely gamergate discussion (though for the record, no one who uses “Social Justice Warrior” as an epithet will ever gain my sympathy or support), *BUT* I have a quick unrelated note for Steve.]

    You probably already know, but in case you don’t:

    In Hawk, chapter 10 (and I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers), Sethra offers to put Vlad in touch with an artificer, or a stonecutter. Vlad chooses a stonecutter. (And in fact, he eventually does summon the stonecutter.)

    In chapter 11, however, he tells Morrolan, “… Especially now that Sethra’s pointed me to an artificer.”

    I just thought you should be aware that all the messing around with Vlad’s memories over the years, might be affecting him more than you know… 😉

  93. Reed, the difference between a social justice worker and a social justice warrior is essential to understanding these flamewars. Social justice workers work in the world. Social justice warriors rage online. Dorothy Day and Dom Helder Camara would be appalled by them.

  94. “The question that remains unanswered by the anti-gamergaters is this: If gamergate is about misogyny rather than ethics, why have several gaming sites adopted stricter ethical standards since gamergate began?”

    Why not? Just because gamergate talk about ethics is mostly nonsense is no reason not to take an opportunity to re-examine your own ethics. GamerGate was causing a lot of harm form the beginning, so if there was some way to throw them a bone that might make all the idiots go away, why not take a shot? It didn’t work, of course, because GG isn’t actually about ethics in journalism. But your question assumes that adopting stricter ethics is a bad thing. Many if not most of those who don’t like GG would also like to see stricter ethical standards.

    “But the anti-GG crowd’s mottoes include “it’s not my job to educate.” What their job is, they don’t say.”

    Because that’s none of your business. We don’t work for you. We owe you nothing. Who is “we”? It doesn’t matter, because nobody owes GamerGate anything. There’s this weird, unspoken premise behind all the talk of a “Streisand Effect” or “censorship”–that other corporations are obligated to spend money hosting and moderating forums to discuss GG nonsense. It’s not censorship to throw someone out of your house for insulting you and the other guests.

    “I could cut and paste to say much the same for the other side. ”

    No, you can’t. Grouping together everyone who doesn’t like GG is like grouping together everyone who doesn’t like SJWs. Or even everyone who doesn’t like cilantro.

    GamerGate, for good or for ill, groups themselves together. When you retweet the hashtag, you’re choosing to associate yourself with an amorphous, ill-defined group.

    Here’s some advice, Will. Since you think it’s our job to educate, I guess that means it’s your job to listen. You guys don’t just need to find a new tag. You need to separate into multiple campaigns. Start one campaign against identitarian politics. Start another campaign against game journalism corruption. The truth is that I would be at least sympathetic to, if not allied with, both campaigns when separated. But I am absolutely dead set against any campaign that insists that these are the same issue, that feminism or anti-racism itself constitutes corruption. Tell me why Anita Sarkeesian is wrong, don’t bother wasting my time trying to find out whether she is a “real” gamer (what, are you fools going to scrutinize my Steam and Humble Bundle backlogs “He’s not a real gamer he hasn’t played half of these games that he bought on sale!”). Tell me why you don’t like Depression Quest, don’t bother me about Quinn’s personal life. Because sometimes I agree with feminists and sometimes I disagree, I don’t want to be accused of being part of an “entryist” conspiracy.

    It’s like this. I disagree with Israeli foreign policy. I disagree with the way banks are run in America. If you start a campaign that assumes that these are actually the same issue then you’re going to attract a whole lot of unsavory characters I will want nothing to do with, and I will have nothing to do with your campaign. Linking feminism to game journalistic corruption–(of all the many sources of corruption in game journalism, feminism is way the heck down the list)–is toxic for about the same reason.

  95. Will: And THAT is what motivates the majority of gamergaters. Not journalistic ethics — hatred of SJWs. Newsweek’s got you nailed:

    “…contrary to its stated goal, GamerGate spends more time tweeting negatively at game developers than at game journalists…”

    http://www.newsweek.com/gamergate-about-media-ethics-or-harassing-women-harassment-data-show-279736

  96. “Oh, and Thomas, seems like you are the one bringing up Nazis.”

    Strawberryrevolution, does that have some particular meaning to you?

  97. Yes, Consumatopia, agreed. When you associate yourself with some group by claiming membership there is a certain aroma that passes from other members to you, no matter how pure you may be yourself. This is what distinguishes GG from anti-GG, which latter tag is a mere convenience, and must be defined by enumeration, whereas GG is defined by self-designation. Crimes and offenses are the same no matter who you are and what groups you connect with, but deliberate association with a group whose members have so much to answer for is strange, to say the least. This is doubly true when the group has had such an ephemeral existence, and triply so when its origin appears to be an anonymous 4chan IRC channel.

  98. Thomas seems an over the top escalation of the temperature of the argument for no good reason.. Saying the Gamer Gate people are assholes is like forcing them to wear pink triangles and yellow stars? Really?

  99. Strawberryrevolution, they voluntarily wear the symbol that makes them despised.

    And so the logic is clear. They woud not wear the symbol voluntarily if they thought it was despicable. Therefore that makes them as despicable as the people who made the symbol itself despicable.

    But their opponents do not really have a symbol, they are just representative people from all walks of life, who realize that the other side is despicable. Some of them do evil things but we must not say that this implies anything at all about the rest, because they are not a thing. They are only a loose coalition that opposes evil.

    There is a special genius in this way of thinking. It is, sad to say, an evil genius.

    I don’t think I’m over the top. I think they are over the top.

  100. For anyone who thinks gaming journalism doesn’t have an ongoing ethical problem, I recommend this 2012 article: “All The Pretty Doritos: How Video Game Journalism Went Off The Rails” at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/10/26/all-the-pretty-doritos-how-video-game-journalism-went-off-the-rails/

  101. Reed, when sjws were angry at Moon and Card, who did their tweets focus on? Of course people concentrate on the individuals who are at the front of what they see as the problem. What’s sad is that people on neither side address systemic problems as often as they target individuals who represent those problems.

    Consumatopia:

    1. Gaming journalism doesn’t have an ethical problem?

    2. If anyone is being thrown out of the house, it’s the gamers. The SJWs showed up and announced that they were the new regime.

    3. That’s my point. There are broad groups on the two sides. But the people who attack one side make themselves a group by joining the attack. See World War 2.

    4. I’m not a gamer. You’re addressing the wrong person by telling me how you think a group that you perceive as monolithic should be addressed. I agree that the gamergaters would benefit from being more precise. Yet I think what’s happening is the more precise ones are being ignored, for the same reason Adolph Reed Jr. is ignored by the identitarian left. Many of GGers distinguish between identitarian feminism and feminism in general, for example—I’ve yet to hear anyone on that side argue that women should have fewer rights than men.

  102. Will, one comment and one question. Comment first. There is no doubt that you are familiar with the tactic of dressing up one’s actual and not very nice motivation in Sunday clothes to get traction with people who would otherwise accuse you of being a terrible person wanting terrible things. Racist, sexist, etc. You accuse the people you call social justice warriors of it all the time. Why do you suddenly find it impossible to believe of the people who associate with #gamergate?

    The question I have is how do you explain Anita Sarkeesian being all tied up in #gamergate? Her journalism is completely divorced from anything that the GGs claim is unethical. It is not funded by games companies, or gamers, it is crowd funded. And yet, the GGs totally conflate her and Zoe Quinn all the time. If they actually cared about journalism in ethics, how is it that they seem to be unable to distinguish between the two women? (Even though the accusation against Zoe Quinn turns out to be false, the actual accusation does involve a possible problematic ethical issue.)

  103. “For anyone who thinks gaming journalism doesn’t have an ongoing ethical problem…”

    Which I’m pretty sure is nobody here. Gaming has ongoing ethical problems. GG is generally pushing to make them worse, e.g. encouraging Nintendo to boycott Polygon for not rating Bayonetta 2 as highly as other websites.

    “If anyone is being thrown out of the house, it’s the gamers.”

    The house in question are all the gaming websites that closed down forum threads that were talking about the zoepost. When GGs are talking about “censorship” and the “Streisand effect”, that’s the crap they’re talking about. They didn’t throw out gamers, they threw out harassers.

    “The SJWs showed up and announced that they were the new regime.”

    Feminists showed up and expressed their opinion, GGs declared that those opinions were so unacceptable that they could only be explained by imaginary conspiracies.

    “But the people who attack one side make themselves a group by joining the attack.”

    No, they don’t. I repeat myself: Grouping together everyone who doesn’t like GG is like grouping together everyone who doesn’t like SJWs. Or even everyone who doesn’t like cilantro.

    Note that in WW2, they didn’t just have common enemies. Both Axis and Allies explicitly recognized the other players on their side as allies. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Soviet_Agreement

    That’s what they’re doing when they retweet #GG. They’re saying that the rest of us have to pay attention to them because of all the people they have allied with. However, they’re wrong–we dismiss them because of who they’ve allied with. ” perceive as monolithic” my ass, everyone who retweets #GamerGate is, in effect, telling us that they want to be judged collectively. They want to take collective credit for the charitable donations, their attempts to find the “real” harassers. Which is great, but why can’t they do those good deeds under a new tag? Why are they trying to redeem the earlier misdeeds?

    A better comparison would be putting everyone who doesn’t like ISIS on the same side. I’m not even talking about everyone deploying force against ISIS, I’m talking about everyone who says “I don’t like ISIS.” Grouping all of them together is just as ridiculous as grouping everyone who doesn’t like GG. (And as far as actual “attacks” go, very few people have actually done anything other than explain why they don’t like GG.)

    And comparison between the two sides is nonsense. Because no matter what people on the other side do, it doesn’t retroactively justify the origins of GG, which was all about invading Quinn’s privacy and defaming her. It doesn’t matter what people did in response, it doesn’t matter how much money you give to charity–you can’t turn a bad act into a good one by throwing enough money at charity.

    ” I agree that the gamergaters would benefit from being more precise.”

    They should be more precise by switching to a new tag and condemning everything that was wrong with the old one.

    “You’re addressing the wrong person”

    I was addressing your asinine “What their job is, they don’t say.” remark. They don’t work for you or GG.

  104. Lydy, first, I’ll quote something I just wrote elsewhere: “Here’s the problem: Zoe Quinn appeared to have an ethical problem. Now, ignore the question of whether she actually had one; as the the SPJ Code of Ethics notes, “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.”

    “So when the GGers say the issue is ethics, I think they’re right. But the antis say, “No, no, no, she’s a woman, so the issue has to be sexism.” Which ignores all the women you can find under #notyourshield, of course, but identitarians are always happy to ignore people of an identity who have the wrong ideology.”

    All of which is to say that yes, people can hide their real motives, but as the article I linked to above points out, ethics in gaming journalism is an old, old problem, and this seems to have been the tipping point.

    As for Sarkeesian, she’s Fredric Wertham or Jack Thompson or Reverend Bowdler or anyone else you want to name who promotes an ideology. Like Tim Wise, that seems to be quite profitable for her, and like Tim Wise, what she preaches does nothing to improve the world, but people of economic privilege find it comforting because it doesn’t threaten their lifestyles in any way. She made herself the face of the movement in gaming, so it’s as natural that people mention her as it is when the SJWs mention Orson Scott Card, who was hardly the only person with his views, but who became the icon for them within parts of fandom.

  105. Consumatopia, “They’re saying that the rest of us have to pay attention to them”. You made me laugh. By your terms, that’s true of everyone online. It’s certainly as true of the antiGGs as the GGs.

    Do you think I’m an Isis fan when I criticize US imperialism?

    “I was addressing your asinine “What their job is, they don’t say.” remark. They don’t work for you or GG.” Sure, but they attack GG, and they have attacked me, so while you’re very right that they don’t work for me, they do work against me. I’m fond of the immortal words of Rodney King, “Can we all get along?” The answer of every culture warrior is “No.”

  106. There have always been ethical problems in Game journalism. GG makes them worse. Good reads on that: http://www.zenofdesign.com/this-is-the-worst-games-media-ever-except-for-all-the-ones-before/ http://www.zenofdesign.com/polygons-bayonetta-2-review-is-fine/ http://leighalexander.net/list-of-ethical-concerns-in-video-games-partial/

    Re:Quinn, even if the initial smearing of Quinn were in good faith (it was not: Quinn isn’t even a journalist, but all the hate goes against Quinn, not Grayson) now that the truth is well-known GG should apologize for it and find a new tag.

    As for Sarkeesian, she’s Fredric Wertham or Jack Thompson or Reverend Bowdler or anyone else you want to name who promotes an ideology. Like Tim Wise, that seems to be quite profitable for her, and like Tim Wise, what she preaches does nothing to improve the world, but people of economic privilege find it comforting because it doesn’t threaten their lifestyles in any way. She made herself the face of the movement in gaming, so it’s as natural that people mention her as it is when the SJWs mention Orson Scott Card, who was hardly the only person with his views, but who became the icon for them within parts of fandom.

    That’s fine so far as it goes, but it’s got nothing to do with ethics in game journalism. Anita Sarkeesian is not a journalist.

    Will, you cut off that quote from me dishonestly. Maybe you should have read the entire sentence before you started laughing. “They’re saying that the rest of us have to pay attention to them because of all the people they have allied with. GamerGate WANTS us to judge them as a collective WHEN IT IS CONVENIENT FOR THEM.

    “Do you think I’m an Isis fan when I criticize US imperialism?”

    Heck no. A better question would be: do you think that you’re an ISIS fan when you criticize US imperialism, because that’s what your position implies.

    ISIS is a pretty good illustration here. In the US campaign against ISIS, the US is allied with autocrats like Saudi Arabia. They are not allied with Assad, even though they have a common enemy. People criticizing any of the parties in the conflict are not necessarily allies or fans of the other parties. But the US is allied with the Saudis, and should be judged accordingly.

    GamerGaters may not have leaders, but they do have allies. By choosing to tweet GG, they are agreeing to roll with the movement as a whole. This is obvious that I cannot believe that your obtuseness here is sincere.

    “Sure, but they attack GG, and they have attacked me, so while you’re very right that they don’t work for me, they do work against me”

    Of course they work against you, because you continually misrepresent them. That doesn’t mean that they’re obligated to waste time dealing with sea lions and gish gallopers. That’s all “it’s not my job to educate” means–you don’t get to call non-response a victory. Eventually people realize that your reasoning isn’t sincere so explaining what’s wrong with that reasoning does no good. I’ve reached that point right about now. Bye.

  107. “GamerGate WANTS us to judge them as a collective WHEN IT IS CONVENIENT FOR THEM.”

    Most groups act that way, I think. It’s certainly true of the SJWs, who sometimes claim to be outraged individuals and sometimes claim to be part of a movement.

    “A better question would be: do you think that you’re an ISIS fan when you criticize US imperialism, because that’s what your position implies.”

    What people infer often has nothing to do with what someone implied. Belief systems make people infer things in their own terms. I live in a complex world; but for binarians, if you say anything good about someone on the Devil’s side, you must be one of his minions.

    “I cannot believe that your obtuseness here is sincere.”

    I am famously obtuse. To people who have adopted a belief system, those who reject it must be obtuse. For it’s worth, I am painfully sincere.

    “you continually misrepresent them”

    I try very hard to understand them. But I suppose it’s like constantly saying the Pope or the Dalai Lama aren’t divinely chosen; to the devout, that’s misrepresentation.

    Go in peace.

  108. Nope, I can’t help it, I have to point out your willful, lying misrepresentations.

    “I live in a complex world; but for binarians, if you: say anything good about someone on the Devil’s side, you must be one of his minions.”

    My position: if you tag your posts with #Red and make charitable donations in the name #Red, you’re on the side of #Red.

    If you simply say “I don’t like #Red”, this does NOT put you on the side of the #Blue. NOT LIKING SOMETHING IS NOT THE SAME AS JOINING A TEAM ON THE OTHER SIDE.

    You attributed to me, and others, the exact opposite of our position, after I repeatedly corrected you. If any question of yours ever goes unanswered in any forum, stuff like that is probably way.

  109. skzb

    Consumatopia: I’m not sure what that comment was expected to accomplish. The point you make strikes me as valid and well-put; the gratuitous insult in front of it would make any normal human being unable to consider the validity. This controversy generates a great deal of passion, and arguments like this always involve frustration when the person on the other side clearly can’t or won’t see what is obvious to you. But let’s do our best to keep it civil, all right?

  110. You’re absolutely right. Sorry Will, I lost my head.

  111. Consumatopia, no worries. That’s what the internet is designed to do. 🙂

    I think there’s something about the human animal that makes us assume our opponents are engaging in “willful, lying misrepresentations ” when they see our deeds in different ways than we intend them. It’s probably an intellectual self-defense mechanism: since we’re right, they’re either idiots or evil.

  112. I’ve read that I’m supposed to click on a hash-tagged word to get more information, but the first time I tried it was in this column, and apparently it doesn’t work in this medium. (Is it a twitter thing? I don’t twit.)

  113. I left a comment that went into moderation because I forgot the limit on links. Here’s the first half:

    It’s a twitter thing. If you click, you’ll only find a mess. This is the sort of thing where it’s impossible to find an unbiased history, but this one comes fairly close:

    http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/25/gamergate-an-issue-with-2-sides/

    This is also decent:

    http://www.viralglobalnews.com/technology/gamergate-anita-sarkeesian-video-games-journalism-time-change/17327/

  114. Here’s the second:

    And here’s a personal story by a “26 year old, bisexual, sexed female, gendered what ever the fuck I feel like that day, person” who comes out on the side of gamergate:

    http://mindlesszombiestudios.com/content/gamergate-you-can-call-me-shield

    I also recommend watching this short video to answer the notion that gamergate is about misogyny and racism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYqBdCmDR0M

  115. skzb

    Will: Since you’ve broken up the post and slipped it past WordPress, I deleted the one in moderation, all right?

  116. But of course!

    And since I’m linkying, here’s a new very good one, imho: http://splicetoday.com/digital/gamergate-and-misandry

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