Here's some journalistic integrity for you. These are my biases:
- I've been going to various chan's since I was in Highschool
- I've played Video Games for as long as I can remember
- I'm white.
- I'm biologically male
- I am not a journalist in anyway
- I made the following meme when 'The Fappening' blew up
With that out of the way, let's talk.
What's GamerGate? Why should I care?
If you want a TL;DR; I highly suggest you check the wiki here. It's got the key points without a lot of the drama. The drama is what I'm going to look at in the first part of this post because it's how this thing got so big in the first place.
First off, for a more unbiased view on this, check out aljazeera they do a good job of remaining neutral most of the time, and while they don't have every fact on there. It's a good overview of some of the stuff that's happened. Also, GamerGate, despite how much she is mentioned, is not about Zoe Quinn.
Secondly, I didn't really care that much until about 2 days ago. When various boards on 4chan that I visit were flooded with talk about it. While at first I assumed it was the usual cancerous post, I finally hopped into one and checked it out. What I found upset me. Because it seems like the entire movement was focused on two things that are both important to me, and somehow it seemed like the side I would be rooting for was losing.
GamerGate has developed into an issue around Journalistic Integrity, but also started as addressing an issue related to Harassment. As far as I can tell, this whole thing started because an indie developer named Zoe Quinn created a text based adventure game called Depression Quest.
Supposedly, after creating and releasing the game she began being harassed. If this was the case, I would be completely on her side. But I don't think that's what actually happened. Both of those links are from two completely opposing viewpoints. You can look at the first and see only Zoe's side of the story, or you can look at the second and see Wizard Chan's side of the story. To me, a group of virgins* who have so much trouble even existing**, aren't very likely to be harassing some woman they don't know or care about.
* Yes, WizardChan is a site dedicated to 30 year old Virgins. It's in the site description ** Seriously, many WizardChan site users are depressed and have trouble coping with the place they've found in life. They do not need Depression Quest since they live it. And the recent controversy has only made it worst:
But to explain is not to excuse. Our editor-in-chief, Greg Tito, having reviewed the facts at hand, concluded we ourselves have been imperfect in maintaining journalistic standards. A particularly problematic article, the one which generated his review, was about the alleged harassment of an indie developer by a forum community which denied the allegations but was itself victimized as a result of them. The article failed to cite the harassment as alleged, failed to give the forum community an opportunity present its point of view, and did not verify the claims or secure other sources. Mr. Tito has personally updated the article and spoken to all our editors about the importance of adhering to standards that will prevent such bad incidents from happening again. We, as a team, apologize for this error, both to our readers and to the forum community that suffered as a result. I, personally, apologize for this error, as well.
The plot thickens, IRC logs? Proof of Harassment? No.
Yesterday, Zoe released a group of screenshots and images showing IRC logs to prove that she was being harassed and singled out by 4chan. The entire thing exploded and people flocked to her side of the argument. But if you've ever debated anything with anyone, you understand how easy it is to cherry pick your arguments and sources. In response, 4chan tried to point people to the public archive of the full conversation so they could understand the context. In fact, you can find more coverage of the cherry picked areas in this handy image. If you really don't want to do any work of reading than check this source
In the third image on the imgur link, you can see that the IRC chatroom is talking about Go. As in the board game I own and love. If you keep reading the chatroom archive, you can see why they're talking about Go though:
Aug 27 22.11.07 <yetsturdy> srs Eron what is social justice? Aug 27 22.11.14 <yetsturdy> everyone gets mad when I ask Aug 27 22.11.29 <Eron> social justice is like a game of Go Aug 27 22.11.43 <The_actual_Eron_G> Eron, you play go?!? Aug 27 22.11.46 <Eron> you have two sides, balck and white Aug 27 22.12.03 <The_actual_Eron_G> I'd play Go with you, anyday Aug 27 22.12.05 <Eron> I play go, well not lately Aug 27 22.12.53 <yetsturdy> as far as I can tell, it seems to mean "success in America is zero-sum, so making things hard for privileged people is just as good as making them easier for oppressed people, so let's develop language that hurts privileged people socially" Aug 27 22.13.03 <Cyberserker> I play Go Aug 27 22.13.05 <Eron> i forgot all the ... (what are they called? the openings) already Aug 27 22.13.06 <yetsturdy> but that sounds hella racist; what it mean? Aug 27 22.13.06 <Cyberserker> The old board game Aug 27 22.13.15 <Eron> fuseki? Aug 27 22.13.17 <The_actual_Eron_G> > This applet requires the Java plugin Aug 27 22.13.42 <The_actual_Eron_G> fuck you, it's 2014, there should be a nodeJS version of this shit Aug 27 22.13.56 <Eron> joseki! Aug 27 22.14.00 <The_actual_Eron_G> ^^ Aug 27 22.14.05 <Eron> i forgot all the joseki already Aug 27 22.14.10 <Eron> still know some proverbs tho Aug 27 22.14.47 <yetsturdy> Eron: how is social justice like go? Aug 27 22.15.02 <Eron> social justice is like a game of go Aug 27 22.15.22 <Eron> there's two sides Aug 27 22.15.29 <Eron> white and black Aug 27 22.15.45 <Eron> just like in chess, but waaay coooler Aug 27 22.16.01 <Eron> you win by gaining ground Aug 27 22.16.56 <yetsturdy> Eron: how is that different than capitalism in general? What is the "ground" that is being fought for? What are the "moves"? Aug 27 22.17.06 <Eron> the moves Aug 27 22.17.33 <Eron> every move you make can acomplish one of three things Aug 27 22.17.39 <Eron> 1. lose you the game Aug 27 22.17.45 <Eron> 2. matain the balance Aug 27 22.17.52 <Eron> 3.- gain a slight advantage Aug 27 22.18.14 <Eron> the ground is just the power you have Aug 27 22.18.23 <Eron> power in it's wide interpretation Aug 27 22.18.36 <Eron> power as in the ability to put in motion whatever is in your mind Aug 27 22.18.50 <Eron> not power as in the monopoly of violence Aug 27 22.18.57 <Eron> although that's a subset Aug 27 22.19.38 <Eron> Always remember though Aug 27 22.19.48 <Eron> "First the Urgent moves, then the big moves" Aug 27 22.20.02 <Merr> Eron your views are misguided, psychopathic, and uninteresting. Aug 27 22.20.25 <Eron> I expected that Merr
Full disclousure, I just cherry picked that conversation out of the logs and ignored most of the other conversations taking place around it so you could see why they're talking about Go.
So, they are talking about a Boardgame, and how it relates to their current situation on Twitter and the organization of the hashtag GamerGate. Last I checked, it wasn't illegal to organize a social campaign (I imagine that many PR departments do it all the time).
Child Porn and Anita
One of the big stunts in this scandal was the tweeting of Child Porn to a woman named Anita Sarkeesian. I was on the boards at the time, that shit was condemned. You can count that as anecdotal evidence and disregard it, it's what I saw, not what you have to believe. But then again, there's also this fun infographic that was floating around:
The obvious thing here is that whoever sent her the CP is a moron. Anita should never have had to see such a thing, she shouldn't have been a target for that. Nonetheless, she tweeted the block report without censoring the user name she had blocked. Within the hours it was still up, anyone who checked that profile was exposed to the illegal content. In essence she distributed the illegal content to her followers. Perhaps as a solid attempt at show that it actually happened, but it was a hasty and misguided thing. I hope she doesn't get condemned for it, I just hope she learns something from it.
There's already a compendium of "Zoes side" harassing GamerGate supporters, so I won't bother trying to point out the hypocrazy in some things they try to do. Rather, I'd like to give a couple viewpoints on how 4chan, of all places, is handling the harassment.
For those of you who still don't "get it" when it comes to 4chan, I highly suggest reading this great post on the subject The beauty (yes beauty) of it, is that on 4chan you are equal (Moots and Mods not included). It doesn't matter who you are, what race you are, your voice and opinion can be stated just as well as anyone else. This means that the following people can openly talk about how they feel:
- White Supremacists
- LBQT (there's even an entire board dedicated for them)
- etc etc etc, you name em, they can talk
Some of you might immediately bring down the hammer, saying that by allowing someone who agrees with Hitler to have a fair voice in a conversation that the site is evil. I'm telling you,that frankly, you don't understand the concept of equality.
Despite this equality, the larger voice does get heard more (you might even say it's democratic). For example, the people encouraging harassment of Zoe and her followers? Condemned:
And once more:
Let me address something here quickly. When I say 4chan, the reaction I get from people is one of disgust, contempt, or all around "what the hell is wrong with you?". The reason for that is because 4chan is, lovingly known, as "the asshole of the internet". They get blamed for a lot of stuff. Sometimes rightly, sometimes incorrectly. The people who accuse 4chan of this are only thinking of the imageboard known as /b/ 90% of the time.
/b/ Is the random board. It literally can have posts about anything. It is the wildest, most ridiculous, and most offensive board it can be, simply because it exists for the sole purpose of being random. When it first began it helped bring together the members of the Anonymous group, who opposed Scientology, and assisted the egyptian people. While the collective of Anonymous has generally been lost to time since the leaders of various sects were arrested, the spirit of being rogue and able to say whatever you want to say continues on /b/.
/b/ is what 4chan means in many people's minds. they do not understand that 4chan, 7chan, 8chan, wizardchan, and all the others also offer a place of comfort and refuge for various groups of people. There are boards for origami, there are boards for science and math, there are boards for programming, etc. I don't need to go on, the various chans out there offer tons of places for people with similar interests to gather (Such as video gamers).
But I digress, let's refocus the argument back to GamerGate.
So what's GamerGate again?
As noted by BlackPreon, the movement is about Gamers, and to him and to others it feels that people want to remove Gamers from the Gaming community. They don't feel represented. And rightly so, as he points out in that second link, if someone is an Ambassador of Gaming it is their job to represent all of gaming. Not just women. Not just the battles they pick and choose. The representation they want, is not what the gaming media shows. I don't think I've seen a bigger example of how it doesn't than the way this whole thing has been treated. The way #NotYourShield tag blew up is not just a PR move. It's because anyone willing to take the bait of arguing with Zoe and her followers are immediately attacked as being male, white, basement nerds who should be castrated.
Luckily, if you're a Gamer. It seems that things are starting to look up a little bit, the official op by anons links to a number of good articles. It seems that it's gaming journalism that has taken the hit. Which in my mind, is a good thing. Because Gaming media shouldn't be filled with self-riteous people crying for more clicks on their websites. It shouldn't be filled with people trying to garner support through faked raids or publicity stunts in order to push their game through. It shouldn't be filled with people who care about money and not what it means to be a gamer.
Gaming Media should be focused on what Gamers want. And what do they want? They want to play their game without being told they're a basement dweller. They want to be able to play their game without being harassed. Simply put, a gamer is someone who wants to play games. Nothing more. Nothing less. Are there problems in the industry? Sure. There are problems in every industry. Should gaming media address issues such as sexism in games? Definitely. They should do so in a way similar to how the escapist has approached the issue, taking both sides of an argument and trying to present facts in an unbiased way.
What most gamers want, are things like gameinformer, where they can read reviews and insiders with various devs about games they care about. As pointed out in some posts in the threads, these types of insiders do come with some smoozing between developers and journalists. Because in the end of it, and even after this entire GamerGate controversy goes away, the gamers want to play games, they want to hear about games, and that's really it.
At this point, anyone responding to Quinn or her followers are really just taking bait and not helping the true goal of the cause. It's important to keep an eye on them, as they might have valid things to say at some point. But always remember:
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