Proposal: A special IF Comp prize for autoblocked authors

Very sensitive of you, but to me that’s just life. You say things about other people in a group setting, and it gets back to them because some in the group will connect the dots. If I didn’t want the dots connected I wouldn’t be discussing it in a group setting.

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect people to follow Twitter users with particular viewpoints on a controversy, and purposely get on a block list, for a chance at winning a prize. It would basically reward people who already have particular views, or it would come across as trying to use money to influence people toward those views. It would exclude people who are not on Twitter, and it would exclude people who neither agree with the “ideological monoculture” in every respect, nor are interested in being a part of GG (or losing Twitter followers).

I also doubt Jmac would go for it.

BTW, isn’t this autoblocker thing basically saying similar to “Oh, you go to the mosque every day? And you know the Kohran by heart? You pray to Mecca? Then I’ll flag you down as a terrorist, or a terrorist in potentia”…?

Close, Peter, but it’s important to remember that misogynists who genuinely harass women also tend to detest and ridicule GamerGaters, because sexism isn’t actually welcome in GG, which is chock full of women, some of them feminists. None of us want these women to feel unwelcome, so genuine bigots get dissed by GamerGaters mercilessly, with the result that the small cadre of true trolls have taken to calling GGers a bunch of ethics-obsessed, ‘PR faggots’ (their words). Basically the trolls troll both sides, but it’s mostly SJWs who like to pretend that a handful of trolls says anything about being a gamer as an identity, or that it represents the entire other side of the ‘GamerGate’ censorship debate. It’s this intellectual dishonesty on their part (smearing all ‘gamers’ with the behaviour of their personal adversaries) that gave GamerGate a full head of steam in the first place, because intelligent, reasonable people who are wrongly accused of things that they had nothing to do with, do tend to stand up for themselves.

I wonder if this is a bit of an overreaction. (Disclosure: I’m friends with Jason, but I haven’t spoken with him about this.)

  • Retweeting something is not the same as endorsing it. Even the original tweet was phrased as “maybe we could do this?” I.e. floating a proposal rather than decreeing.
  • Jason retweeted via his personal Twitter account, not the official @ifcomp account. His readership is different from the IF Comp readership. I think it’s reasonable to think that he can have and express personal opinions and still keep them separate from his role as Comp organizer. (I will concede that this is debatable, and in fact this debate is at the heart of GamerGate and the much older rally against liberal bias in the mainstream media. I stand by my statement but I realize it’s a complicated issue.)
  • He removed the retweet not long after Jesse’s response.
  • Twitter is not a natural forum for nuanced and considered positions. His “nah” response was likely a heat-of-the-moment snark, and though it seems tone-deaf in retrospect, I wouldn’t read much into it as some sort of definitive indication of his opinions.
  • There are some things about how the ggAutoBlocker list is compiled, and about how blocking works on Twitter, that I was unaware of until Jesse pointed them out in this post. I suspect Jason was unaware of them too.

I think the motivation behind the autoblocker is reasonable: sometimes you just don’t want to participate in an argument anymore, and you don’t want to be reminded of it while reading Twitter (or have your notifications filled with reminders). But it sounds like blocking is not the right way to achieve this due to its punitive side-effects, and moreover autoblocking based on who follows whom is a too-large dragnet. Educating people about this is good, but honestly I think making a statement prize in IF Comp is overly provocative and not the best way to accomplish this.


@blue_green and @dougo make some good points. This is why I floated a proposal here instead of just doing it. :smile:

I was pleasantly surprised that Jason took down the RT.

I’m all for people being able to express personal opinions separately from their organizational roles; I wouldn’t want to be pressured into holding back my own opinions because of the work I do for Inform, or have people avoid my projects because they disagree with me about something unrelated.

But that’s exactly what the folks who promote autoblockers are trying to achieve - if you want to able to get news about an open-source conference, say, you’d better not have the wrong opinions or even pay attention to the wrong people. I think it’s worth pushing back on that wherever it pops up. And whether it’s this proposal or something else, I’d like to do something for people whose ability to participate might be limited because of it.

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It was more, I liked the people in ClubFloyd, but it was a task to avoid the cross-talk. And I eventually got to the point where I was dropping in for ClubFloyd and leaving. There weren’t arguments all the time but I felt like I was stepping on eggshells.

Have you heard the old saw that goes, people need one thing in common to become friends and two to stay friends? IFMud never gave me that second. And I wound up wondering if I should block person X for expedience more than I wound up thinking about the latest ClubFloyd.

Maybe the big thing though was at the XYZZY ceremonies when I felt, it’s nice to have lots of nice people here–and it was sort of sad that some of the long-timers there didn’t do to much to get people to join. Of course, it can’t always be like the XYZZYs, but the people there didn’t seem like even making a pitch to get people coming back more often. And that was sad.

There’s also some sniping at people who hadn’t figured the commands yet. That’s normal for any community, and it’d be ok for me with a more robust set of people logging on, but fact is–it’s tough to remember it all. And there aren’t quite enough people for me to sort through just seeing names I don’t like. Fortunately there are other social channels.

Yeah, I think people can be sensible, and we do want to be. But it’s easy to be knee jerk, or to be the first one to do what seems like a slam dunk.

And sometimes we need to float proposals we aren’t 100% sure about because, yeah, people can put their heads together & see what’s really wanted/necessary.

Doug says some things that I was also going to say (well, mainly that I would hope the official IFcomp account would not also employ those tactics, even if I can see why it’d be worrisome if jmac actually did it, also).

And if the retweet has been dropped, maybe this is nothing to worry about. If the issue does come up again, I definitely understand the necessity of pointing out the injustice of the autoblocker algorithm. Unfortunately, I think people would mainly see the suggested IF Comp prize as antagonistic; I mean, there were people crying about the parser-game-only prize the other year, and to me, that just seemed like an earnest attempt to support the games that patron particularly wanted to see. I can see how vaporware might feel its the only option he has, though.

I also would hope such a thing wouldn’t invite a bunch of troll entries into the competition. I mean, part of their justification of the ggautoblocker system is that they feel people don’t do enough to distinguish themselves from the trolls and such, and it’s like, sure, people should be judged on their own actions and not those of others but I imagine many people would see the prize as purposefully inviting trolls into the house.

Re: the PeterPiers hit-job. Over the last year, I’ve been playing “Brothers.” It’s been pretty slow going since I don’t especially love it (I’ll play a bit and then put it away for months), but I’ve gotten to the part where (rot13’d)
lbh erhavgr gur gjb gebyyf
and, so far, I haven’t really seen anything of what those posters complained about. I mean, I imagine I must be at least halfway through the game. It’s just strange.

I mean, I still don’t completely blame the more annoying posters for the intfiction forum’s worst failings, where some of the most interesting posts get barely any kind of response. Just something about that forum design, I feel (I mean, I’m as guilty in not always replying to interesting posts as much as anyone). I seem to do a little better here.

@dougo, those were reasons why I intended to discreetely PM him about this. But it seems as though things have evolved in a more reasonable fashion, so it shan’t be necessary. :slight_smile: That bit about “tweeting context” was important - I know nothing of tweeting habits!

The autoblocker seems a very bad idea to me because there’ll be tons of false positives, and honestly, if I decide to read Mein Kampf as a study and as the biggest cautionary tale of them all, I don’t want to be judged a Nazi for it. (yes, Goodwin, your law has done it again!).

The fact that it wasn’t an official endorsement is also telling. It’s one thing for the IFComp Organiser to publicly encourage that practice; it’s another for Mr. McIntosh to tweet about it as being a good idea. That’s another reason I was going to PM him first.

Well! It’s great that this one has sorted itself out! (the existence and algorithms of the autoblocker notwithstanding)

@RoodyYogurt: You enjoy “Brothers” (or not, as the case may be. Is it the game mechanics that’s putting you off? I found some sections quite drudging, mechanically speaking. The game also failed to engage me emotionally for a long time - and then, well, it did. That’s not something that you can realiably expect other people to experience in exactly the same way, of course!). YMMV, and I’ve read about people who had a very different experience, but I found it quite beautiful. As for what those posters saw, hey, we’re talking about the same sort of people who backed Porpentine when (my respect and admiration for her work notwithstanding) she saw the “Parser is dead” thread as being a mysoginous attack (I’m simplifying a bit, but this was the gist as I remember it). In Brothers, it was dfabulich, who is merrily making his Choice Of games with a view to Correcting The Wrongs. Power to him, I say; I just wish he didn’t feel the need to flame Brothers for being what it is, instead of what he wanted it to be,

The most constructive thing anyone said in that whole discussion was Emily Short (what a shocker!) when she said, and if you’ve met the crazy scientist you’ll know what it’s about, “if there’s no good reason one way or another why the character was of a certain gender, apart from a stereotype, isn’t that a good opportunity for an author to reverse the gender of that character - without hurting the story?”. Put another way, if the only reason the crazy scientist is male is that we usually think of Einsten and his mad hair - and since he’s already anachronistic by being there - and since he COULD have been modelled after Da Vinci but clearly wasn’t - then isn’t it an intriguing thought to make that mad inventory female?

(then again, it occurs to me that the tale in Brothers is unashamedly a male tale, with all the stereotypes. Maybe it’s best preserved that way. I’ve always thought that the story comes first; political concerns, gender concerns, even taste - all of these should serve the overall story)

Hey, I think I need a rant tag over here!

Yeah, I think a combination of the mechanics and the drudgery keeps me feeling a bit distant. I guess I’d have to say that this style of mostly-nonverbal characterization doesn’t do a whole lot for me, either.

I have to wonder if Brothers’ critics attack Ico in the same way. I hope they do!

[quote=“dougo, post:29, topic:171, full:true”]
I wonder if this is a bit of an overreaction. (Disclosure: I’m friends with Jason, but I haven’t spoken with him about this.)

  • Retweeting something is not the same as endorsing it. Even the original tweet was phrased as “maybe we could do this?” I.e. floating a proposal rather than decreeing.[/quote]
    So if I retweeted (without adding any comment) somebody saying that everybody should block Dougo and drum him out of a social group, would you accept that this wasn’t an ‘endorsement’? That I just want people to be aware that somebody wants you gone? Perfectly innocent, right? Give me a break. Retweets don’t have to be endorsements but there are contexts in which they clearly are endorsements, and spreading a call to block certain people ‘in solidarity’ is certainly one of those unambiguous contexts. And no, adding ‘maybe’ doesn’t make it better.

IF is small. There are not enough followers to go around, for the IFcomp account to have a totally different set of followers than Jason’s personal account, which is just speculation anyway. Regardless, Jason can have his personal opinions, but if those personal opinions include blocking 1000s devs over a political affiliation, then those personal opinions call into question whether he is the right person to be running a contest that is supposed to be impartial. Even if he never expressed those opinions, the fact that he holds them would make him the wrong man for that job. The fact that he DID express those opinions by retweeting a call to simply discard 1000s of people out-of-hand, just means that his unsuitability for a position that requires management of equal access for all, has been revealed. This isn’t a game of ‘gotcha’. Bias is a real issue. Biased people who see no problem with blocking 1000s over politics, shouldn’t be in charge of ostensibly apolitical ‘contests’, and as soon as they reveal themselves to be that biased, then their stewardship of that contest should be rightly in question. This is not a controversial idea, and if you were to think of it in the context of a teacher running an exam, or an election organiser, you would see that both the appearance AND the reality of equal access must be maintained in contexts where impartiality is expected, or else the whole enterprise is a farce.

He removed the retweet but did not repudiate its content in any way, thus leaving the impression that he entirely believes in its content, and just wants to avoid controversy. HIs followers, many of whom will have seen the retweet and no followup, will mostly not perceive that it’s even been deleted. And they will certainly not see any contradiction of the notion that these 1000s of people should be peremptorily disappeared from polite company.

Twitter allows 140 characters. Jason used only 4. You don’t get to claim ‘Twitter’s not for nuance’ after that. Twitter provides 35 times more nuance than Jason was apparently interested in making use of. ‘Jason isn’t for nuanced discussion’ would be a more accurate way of putting what just happened. Blaming Twitter is becoming a hoary old excuse that everyone uses, and we can see right here how ridiculous and lazy a mental habit this has become, if a person can’t even be arsed to type more than 4 characters, and then his friends blame that on Twitter. This is eyeroll territory.

But now (presumably) he is aware, and this is how much of that awareness that he has chosen to pass on to his followers: zero. This is not the way you convince people that spreading bad information was an accident.

It’s not just ‘good’. Once you have suggested to your followers that they should use this blocklist, educating them about why it was assembled unfairly becomes MANDATORY.

If you wish to understand the yardstick by which Jason is being judged here, imagine that you personally have been characterised completely unfairly to the point of being criminalised, and then imagine whether any of your (Dougo’s) excuses and qualifications above do anything to correct that impression on the part of others. You will find those excuses to be very thin. Now imagine that person who spread that misimpression is in charge of the most popular competition in your field. How thin are the excuses then?

Until Jason takes steps to correct that misimpression, he doesn’t really deserve any quarter in my book. He helped spread a lie and then made no effort to correct the record. That lie affects me personally a great deal, and therefore, I take it personally when people spread it. If he wishes not to be criticised in this manner, the ONLY solution is to take steps to help undo the damage that he has done. There is no solution in which Jason can just pay lip service to impartiality in a general way without actually exercising or trying to specifically achieve it, blithely retweeting explicitly exclusionary statements with no post-justification or explanation, and I will somehow still be OK with him organising the comp because he silently deletes his smears a few hours later. That’s a provocation, not a solution.

Jason needs to apologise and to explain why retweeting what he did was inappropriate for anyone but especially inappropriate for a contest organiser. I’d like to see that he actually understands why, and I’d like his followers to see that too. I’d unblock him then, but considering the ‘Nah’ I’m not holding my breath.

He doubles down on his support of autoblocking in a new post.

He describes GG as “an anti-feminist political movement”.

If you’re going to take that view, sure, GG becomes the new KKK, and blocking everyone associated with it becomes relatively sensible.

It was also quite sensible, once upon a time, to ruin lives by asking questions like “Are you now or have you ever been…”

From what I read, I also have trouble accepting his description of GG.

But he mentions GGers flooding events. What’s that about? I’ve read his version, but his description of GG involves some bias. Could someone less biased (or biased the other way) please tell me what happened, or link to an appropriate description? Because from his description, it sounds as though GGers were trolling/boycotting these events.

The bit that really gets me is the false positives - the non-trolls that get blocked. He talks about that, but he brings it to a personal level. “I block you”. Well, being blocked by an individual is a shame, but we shrug and move on. But being blocked by an organization, or a comp, is a totally different matter - and he doesn’t address that. That’s what the issue is. “You can’t come in here and participate, you’ve got the six-pointed Star of GG in your shirt”.

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The worrying thing is that no autoblocking system is perfect. There will always be mistakes. There will always be people who end up getting blocked through no fault of their own and then have one heck of a time getting themselves off the blocked list.

In fact, the most worrying thing is that there are people who employ tools like this fully aware they’re not perfect and yet still choosing to employ them anyway. That the guy in question is the current IFComp organiser is worse still.

Makes me glad I decided to boycott the comp years ago.

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AFAICT, it’s just there were a lot of people tweeting under the hashtag #OSCON to protest one of the speakers at the conference (specifically, the author of ggautoblocker). Someone looking there for news about the conference might have had to wade through all that to find what they wanted, which could be inconvenient.

Doesn’t seem much different from when a lot of people were tweeting about Dropbox to protest the appointment of Condoleezza Rice to their board of directors… except that Dropbox didn’t tell their users to block a massive list of anti-war protesters in response.

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[quote=“PeterPiers, post:37, topic:171, full:true”]
He describes GG as “an anti-feminist political movement”.

If you’re going to take that view, sure, GG becomes the new KKK, and blocking everyone associated with it becomes relatively sensible.[/quote]
I mean, there are both feminists and anti-feminists within GamerGate. Neither type of person can be fairly compared to the KKK. Since when did feminism become an unquestionable philosophy, and anyone who questions it or opposes its highly tendentious ideological underpinning, become equivalent to a racist group that hung people from trees over the colour of their skin?

The fact that someone could say (and I realise that you were kind of paraphrasing a view that is not your own in order to react to it) that being anti-feminist is equivalent to being the ‘new KKK’ and call that ‘relatively sensible’ just shows how far the ‘Overton window’ on progressivism has moved. I am a progressive, but progressive ideologies aren’t sacrosanct, and opposing them is NOT comparable to joining the KKK. That’s not sensible at all. It’s totalitarian.

Ideologies aren’t ethnic groups. It is neither racist nor sexist nor bigoted in any way simply to oppose modern feminst ideology, which is full of ridiculous canards like the idea that we all live in a ‘rape culture’ or that there is a rape epidemic on college campuses, or that racism and sexism against white men “doesn’t exist”. This ideology is highly radical and speculative and not backed up by any valid science whatsoever. It simply should not be taken seriously, and the fact that claims like these are not only taken seriously, but considered sacrosanct, to the point that opposing their flawed claims is consideraed a hate crime tantamount to wearing a white hood and carrying a torch, is a measure of how far we have fallen from Englihtenment principles of free speech and free exchange of ideas AND ideologies.

So when people say ‘GamerGate flooded a hashtag’ what they mean is, ‘People who disagree with me flooded a public place that anyone has a right to post in.’

More often than not, the tags GG ‘floods’ have already been flooded by SJWs pushing their ideologies, and GG is only ‘flooding’ them in an attempt to defend scientists and devs and artists, or simply represent the view that Enlightenment principles are worth something and shouldn’t be tossed out as some kind of power putsch by dead white men.

The SJW ‘flooding’ is called ‘activism’, and ‘the people having a say’, and ‘protest movements’, and ‘hacktivism’ and ‘empowerment’. But when people who disagree with them use similar tactics, our voices are categorised as illegitimate, and we are called ‘sockpuppets’, ‘hate group’, ‘harassers’, ‘terrorists’, and the ‘KKK’.

How long are ordinary people going to fall for this crap?

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Rest assured that I wasn’t thinking it quite that thoroughly and deeply when I wrote that. :wink: I used it to equate GG, in that context, to another group of people who are universally loathed. I could also have said the Nazis, but, you know, I wanted to avoid Godwin.

Re the “flooding”, it’s good (for me as someone totally uninvolved either way but rather appalled at the level of hatred towards a community/group rather than the actual individuals who stir the shit up) to hear the other side of the story, finally.

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This current bit of drama happened at a bad time for me. I am looking for a job, and I have to be very efficient about it because my living situation is changing such that I will be homeless soon if I do not find a new job. This weekend though I’ve been procrastinating quite a bit, and thus I have posted about things. But I shouldn’t have! I shouldn’t be doing this. I should be gone from all sites until I solve my imminent apocalypse.

Take care, Peter, and all. I hope I will not talk to you soon because it’ll mean I’m not behaving responsibly, but when my problems are squared away, I’ll be back of course. Hopefully I’ll talk to you then.

I can’t think of anything to say about your situation that won’t be trite, so I’ll just settle for, best of luck, man!

Also, what the hell are you doing reading this, wasting your time? Go on, shoo! You have a job to find!


16 posts were split to a new topic: The GamerGate Thread