The GamerGate Thread

It’s amazing the way you can dismiss an airtight logical argument with six empty words.

I no longer directly support ‘GamerGate’ but I support their original goals and entire basic philosophy. I refuse to dissociate myself from it or to participate in the demonisation of one gamer demographic by another. This is objectively wrong and you should know this. Just because other people have successfully smeared GamerGate to the point that it may be ‘internet poison’ in some circles, doesn’t mean I have to help them by playing by their invented bullshit rules. If GamerGate is internet poison then so am I, and if people don’t have the basic reasoning skills to see that when a word has been tainted by smears, it’s the smearers who are at fault, not the smeared, then that is their (and your) problem, not mine.


This if the IF scene today in a nutshell. I also agree with everything else vaporware wrote. I’m glad he’s here because I don’t have much time these days to defend GamerGate (or indeed, even myself) from the ‘You’ve been smeared it’s a fact game over’ argument which is essentially ‘might makes right’. Might doesn’t make right. Right makes right. I will never agree with those who form their arguments or their public stances purely out of convenience. But that seems to be what is required to be a member of the community in good standing. It says essentially that in the code of conduct. I suppose this is why mild-mannered, pseudo-intellectual, verbose old ‘me’ has become a pariah in the community for reasons that have ZERO to do with anything I have ever actually writen and have 100% ONLY to do with ‘guilt by association’. Alone. Think about that. Is that really the world and the philosophy you really want to ‘no choice pal’ people about? Are you sure your motives for telling people they should deal with being demonised, are sound, and not actually selfish?

There is a problem with a community that is based on, ‘Don’t rock the boat or you’ll be demonised as a monster shrug’ IF is becoming a pack of cannibalistic hyenas precisely because people can get away with accusing others of horrible crimes based on nothing at all, and sadly, some people just say, ‘Them’s the breaks!’ This is not a logical argument nor a noble sentiment. It’s simple crass opportunism and social climbing, born of peer pressure. I think it’s clear that Hanon doesn’t wholly agree with SJWs, but that he simply doesn’t rock the boat because of the consequences (which he has been listing here). When people make that sort of decision, they tend to come down hard on people who do rock the boat for deciding differently, because the sight of someone standing up for a principle despite being smeared and demonised for it, is embarrassing to opportunists, because it suggests that maybe it isn’t such a noble thing to live by pragmatism and let oneself be cowed and silenced.

I can’t afford to come back and defend myself further, so I’ll have to do the ‘parting words’ thing. My parting words to Hanon: I’ve seen you post for many years. I’ve always liked you. And I’m sorry that you are so afraid that you feel you must toe the line to get along, but thankfully the entire world doesn’t spin by that logic, so I will continue to stand up for myself and to defend GamerGate when that group of largely very nice people, many of whom I have met in person at meetups (well, A meetup but I’ve followed the rest from afar), and whom I view very fondly, are unfairly accused.

They will not be unfairly smeared without answer on my watch, regardless of the social consequences to myself. Sadly, though, my ‘watch’ must end for a while because I can’t have my mind all tangled in internet battles right now. I have some serious RL problems to solve.

Take care all, and no offence, Hanon. We are just never going to see eye to eye on this.


To me it’s so tricky. I didn’t know about GamerGate and in fact had been away from intfiction when that storm burst. It happened before Eron Gjoni’s letter, then someone tried to cover it up later with “Oh, GamerGate.”

And I think one big problem is that people actively use past ills to crush others. Or say “other people did it worse.” That makes it uncomfortable for everyone.

I think that’s the case with anti-gamergate. My views are that Zoe Quinn seems like a terribly manipulative person, but even terribly manipulative people (or worse) naturally deserve privacy and protection from the abuse she suffered. Public shaming, quite simply, doesn’t work. And seeing many top gamergaters’ twitter profiles etc., I’m not impressed.

That said, I think attacks on someone like Jenn Frank are unfair, when she explicitly tried to check off on including personal information, the Guardian said no, and she took the heat. It’s disappointing when Nathan Grayson writes an article about indie gaming mentioning Depression Quest, a game he tested, and he’s backed up by people saying “There was only one sentence about it!”

True, but the graphic at the top was about–Depression Quest. The one text game in the bunch. This is the sort of truth twisting that has caused me to lose trust for anti-gamergate. Or reading that, yes, people did review others’ games without disclosure.

It’s important to think for ourselves, but there’s too much to decide on. It took me a long time to reach the conclusions above. And just thinking about GamerGate distracts me from what I want to do–write games–and I am legitimately worried some peopel may spike my ideas as “pro-gamergate.” It’s gotten in the way, of writing my own games or helping others’. When Sam Ashwell decided to cut down @Hanon for standing up for @harpua with a false but incendiary analogy–my reaction was, the heck with this.

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No. It started with an attack on Nathan Grayson, Patrick Klepek, Patricia Hernandez, Ben Kuchera, and other writers at Kotaku and Polygon. Zoe Quinn was involved in the controversy but since she isn’t a journalist, she was never the main target. (Although she loves to claim she is because playing the victim in this obviously brings her a lot of press. Let’s face it: Game devs don’t need to claim any ‘ethics in game journalism’, so GamerGate is probably the best thing that ever happened to Zoe Quinn’s career.) GamerGate had only been going for one day (one single day) before those same press outlets colluded behind the scenes (using the now-proven GameJournoPros mailing list) to squash any GamerGate-related dsciussion and publish a slew of articles (approximately ten in one day) labelling the entire ‘gamer’ identity as misogynistic. That’s what made GamerGate a huge event rather than a flash-in-the-pan protest, and that’s when I joined. At no time was ‘GamerGate’ about attacking Zoe Quinn, although in general, they don’t like her game and don’t think she deserved the good press which she seems to have received in the case of Kotaku and Polygon, more out of her sex appeal rather than the quality of the game (which is quite plainly awful - I don’t like it, either).

If journalists want to push shitty games like Depression Quest as the greatest thing in gaming, they should be damn sure that everything is on the up-and-up behind the scenes, or else there will be another scandal, and they will deserve it.

P.S. Okay - I am really going to turn off email notifications now and disappear for at least a month. It’s not really the time spent posting that is the problem, it’s all the time spent thinking about it beforehand until I have no choice to post, and then all the time spent thinking about it afterward. Internet battles are just draining. I have other battles to attend to. No offence meant to anyone. I like everyone here who has been posting despite our differences of opinion.


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As far as I can tell, GamerGate (or the people who are for the non-abusive ethics in game journalism) never even got around to renaming the sketchy restaurant. “GamerGate” to any layman is the shorthand code for the Zoe Quinn scandal, and until your movement gives her up as the figurehead on the helm of the ship, there will be people who don’t dig deeper than mainstream news who mistake its crew for those who were pilloried in the media as abusers, like it or not. Sadly enough, PR is just as important as the quality of your deeds.

It’s like when they retire flight numbers when a commercial jet crashes - the number is still perfectly good and means nothing to the air-worthiness of a plane, but public sentiment still regards the idea of the same flight dangerous.

I know I’m not going to convince either of you, and that’s fine. At the beginning of the whole GG fracas, I actually argued as Devil’s advocate on the “well, maybe the ethics were shady on all this…” One of my acquaintances who is a friend of more than one person who were targets of the abuse responded “It’s possible Zoe Quinn did something wrong, but when my friends have to seek real-life police protection from internet threats, it’s at that point I stop caring about what Zoe Quinn did and ‘ethics’ at all.” Who cares about game journalism when the people you love are receiving phone calls from a threatening person who reads their home address to them? It’s not something people can rationalize and argue sensibly; it’s a circuit breaker that shuts down the carnival wholesale.

All of the “4Chan donates money to charities…etc”. That smacks of a child who knows he’s done something wrong trying to erase the memory of it by being extra good. Where was all this philanthropy and girl-game avatar stuff before GG went down?


Confirmation… it’s worse than I thought.

I rest my case. Maybe I should claim that I need police protection and then everyone connected to my friends will be on my side? Nah… I don’t have the right gender identification for that. I suppose I’ll have to stick with logical arguments.

Have a great September.

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Then I’m afraid you’re misinformed, although if you’re getting all your information from biased sources, it’s no surprise.

One early offshoot was “#NotYourShield”, formed in response to the claims that GG was an attack mounted by white dudes against non-whites and non-dudes. Not only did NYS get the same attacks as GG, its members were also accused of being white dudes in disguise and/or traitors to their race and gender.

Again, that has long since happened.

See, now we’re getting to the root of the problem. No matter what the facts on the ground actually are, if mainstream news doesn’t give an accurate picture, people will be misinformed.

If mainstream news talks about the slights suffered by people on one side of the divide, while ignoring those suffered by the other, people will come away with the impression that the first side consists of saints and the second consists of villains. If mainstream news keeps going back to people on that first side for comment on any new developments, and never asks people on the second for their viewpoint, then no change will ever solve the PR problem, because all people will ever see is one side’s spin.

To that end, I’m pleased by the outcome of the recent Society of Professional Journalists conference where GG was discussed (well, except for the part where the conference had to be evacuated). It’s nice to see these concerns being taken more seriously.

You know, I’d really like you to address something that Laroquod and I have both brought up: this sort of abuse has been flowing in both directions, and some of it has been directed much more severely at GG. The repeated bomb threats, for instance.

What do you say to someone who’s seen the media compare them to terrorists, watched their friends being doxxed, swatted, and threatened, and who’s had to evacuate multiple meetups because of bomb threats?

When I see that stuff happening, it sure doesn’t make me sympathetic to the folks opposing them. When the people who claim to be fighting against harassment can’t make it more than a month without calling up a business and threatening to murder everyone inside, that makes me think maybe they aren’t being honest about their motivations or goals.

There’s plenty of bad behavior to go around; portraying one side as being persecuted by the other is dishonest. If you weren’t aware of that already, you are now.

Here I think Laroquod cuts right to why people have such strong feelings on this. It is about gender and not so much about ethics when you hack right down to the core. He also implies that gender grants one special privileges and his only recourse is “logical argument”

And yes, I did in fact say that the argument is not logical/rational. If you care about the people who get hurt by this, any “cause” that the opposition wants to triumph over that abuse doesn’t matter a bit, regardless of intention.

It’s sort of like this: when group of children asks an adult “Can we play with these sticks and rocks?” The adult answers “You can all play with the sticks and rocks as long as you don’t hurt each other with them.” A child gets hit in the mouth with a rock and ends up with a bloody lip - game over, sticks and rocks down, get back in the house. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t mean to hurt her, and it doesn’t matter who hit who with what and it doesn’t matter that you got hurt too and didn’t cry about it…someone got hurt and broke the only rule. Whatever happened, you were playing with the sticks and rocks in a manner where someone got hurt. You’re done playing with sticks and rocks, and there is no use trying to rationalize why she wasn’t really hurt bad and it was actually somehow her own fault that she got hit with a rock when the rule was *don’t hurt anybody with the rocks and sticks."


See my previous post to Laroquod and my comparison to children playing with sticks and rocks. I think everyone wants the sticks and rocks thrown away, and all discussion of sticks and rocks ended for now since nobody seems to be able to discuss the merits of sticks and rocks civilly.

It’s about many things, because a lot of arguments are about spreading positive or negative value across related concepts – especially ones where the sides are explicitly “pro” and “anti” something.

Some people see their friends being attacked and jump in to protect them; as Laroquod pointed out, the coordinated release of articles denouncing the “gamer” identity sparked a lot of interest in rooting out ethical lapses. Some people have strong feelings about reporting and reviews, or political correctness, or representation of diversity and violent/offensive content in games, or whatever – and once they pick a side, they’re nudged toward positive feelings for everything that side stands for and negative feelings for everything their opponents stand for.

If you think of yourself as a gamer, and you see the same group of people who bash gamers also promoting social justice philosophies, then that lowers your respect for social justice, and you start making dumb faces while you say “muh soggy knees” and your friends chuckle. If you think of yourself as a feminist, and you see the same group of people who insult a prominent woman also promoting journalistic integrity, that lowers your respect for journalistic integrity, and you start making dumb faces while you say “ACTUALLY it’s about ethics in game journalism” and your friends chuckle.

A concrete example from your comment:

Laroquod’s remark about gender refers to two things, I think.

  • First, the observation that harassment aimed at women tends to get way more attention than harassment aimed at men (and in the context of GG, even harassment against pro-GG women is usually ignored). This is hard to miss if you’ve been watching, and it contributes to the perception that the people who claim to be fighting harassment really only care when it happens to someone they like.

  • Second – and probably related – the philosophy, which is much more common on one side of this issue, that since women are a “marginalized group”, their comfort and concerns are more important, and an identical act of harassment deserves more attention and/or is actually more harmful when the victim is a woman. The more this philosophy is promoted by one side, the less respect it gets from the other.

This is an interesting response. Maybe I’m missing something, but here’s how it comes across to me:

A: “Your child is a little hellion, and I want him expelled from this daycare. Look, he threw a rock at my daughter and cut her lip.”

B: “Really? Look out the window. Everyone out there is throwing rocks and sticks at each other. In fact, my kid is unconscious right now because your daughter bashed him with a log. I agree this is a problem, but if my kid’s getting expelled, so is yours.”

A: “Let’s not talk about the sticks and rocks anymore.”

It’s one thing if it stops there. But if A calls up the daycare the next day and says they need to expel B’s kid because of the rock-throwing, that’s kinda bullshit, right? If A is going to use the rock-throwing as evidence against B’s kid, they need to recognize that the evidence against their own is every bit as damning.

So, does this mean we’re done with comments like:

You say “GamerGate”, I think doxxing, swatting, bomb threats, death threats


people who’ve witnessed the wrath of the “Gate”


the major accomplishment of GG is pain, suffering, and an attempt to drive women out of the video game industry


Okay. So GamerGate is a group of people, running sort of stealth low-band underground, who are now suffering under-reported injustices inflicted by the group of people whom were offended by the public pillorying and harassment of women online by [4chan]? and the underbelly of the internet, who might appear to be the engine of the GG movement. They want to keep the name and the hashtags which are synonymous with that because none other will do, rather than disassociating from an ugly public relations nightmare which causes misunderstandings of the kind I’m allegedly experiencing in this discourse. Fair enough.

In case there was any doubt that changing the name wouldn’t have any effect, here’s an excerpt from a conversation about SXSW’s decision to cancel a couple game-related panels:

The same reasoning is echoed in various articles about the event. For instance, NBC News wrote:

And Re/code took it a step further:

No matter what name they organize under, no matter how they represent themselves, anyone who speaks on this subject can expect to be linked with GG and subjected to the same accusations.

People are gonna talk past each other on this one because to one contingent of the participants Gamergate is about giving women a hard time and nothing anyone ever says is going to change that, fingers in ears, banshee wail.

There is another contingent that can’t belieeeeeeeeeeeve how many people that write about games do so to almost exclusively promote their friends’ crap and that’s what Gamergate is, Russian earmuffs on, start singing the Star-Spangled Banner. These two groups are never going to agree on anything, ever. The people in this thread and the mud don’t all fit into one of those two categories, of course. Outside of IF a lot do, most do.

I don’t like seeing you get ganged up on, vaporware, because you’re a good guy with a unique perspective on the world that I enjoy and find valuable. The tribalism I’ve seen in this community that has meant a lot to me over the years makes me sad.


[quote=“IceCreamJonsey, post:34, topic:184, full:true”]
The tribalism I’ve seen in this community[/quote]

Yeah, this bothers me too.

Wow. That’s extremely ugly/unacceptable/(fill in disapproving adjective here). This coming from someone who has muted Jubbal on twitter.

And this is a problem on a much smaller scale, but I think one big problem with GamerGate is that a lot of nasty people can do something that’s legal and nasty and say “Oh, well, I’m doing it to fight GamerGate/it’s nothing compared to (see picture above).”

So the trolling has a trickle down effect. That’s just what they want.

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There are some interesting parallels between GamerGate and Islam. Both groups have extremists who do crazy, despicable things. Should we blame the mainstream members for the behavior of the extremists? In my opinion, clearly we should not. But, even the maintream rhetoric from both groups has an uncomfortable core of anti-feminism.

Of course the analogy breaks down in many ways. Railing against SJWs is not the same as telling women to wear hijabs. And, of course, Islam is something you are often born into and it’s very difficult to leave the religion and culture, whereas the worst problem with leaving GamerGate is that people will still accuse you of being a GamerGater.


I like how they gloss over the incompetence and irresponsibility of the news outlets that ran this obviously Photoshopped picture, and how they call out the “deep-seated racism” people have tweeted at him while ignoring his own long history of racist remarks.

(Edit: Fixed link.)

I was thinking the same thing. I didn’t go that deeply into the comparison, but I was indeed thinking that just like these terrorists are not necesarily indicative of Islam, neither are some individuals using the GamerGate tag indicative of the group.

In fact:

It’s natural that the majority of Gamergate supporters want to
disassociate themselves from blacktric and TW, as their actions
contradict claims that the group is committed, exclusively, to promoting
clear disclosure of professional and personal relationships between
members and outlets of the gaming media, but it’s impossible to deny
that the links are there.

Let me do a little rewrite…

It’s natural that the majority of Islamates want to
disassociate themselves from these terrorists, as their actions
contradict the realities of Islam and how it encourages those who follow it to
lead better, more devout and charitable lifes, but it’s impossible to deny
that the links are there.

It probably shows that I know squat about the Islamic religion, or I’d have gone into specifics (if it were Christianity you bed I’d be pulling out one of the commandments), but if you can look past that, the rewrite I just did is what makes me really uncomfortable.

Given scale and proportion, of course - given the due difference between a photoshop and killing over a hundred people.

EDIT - Mind, running the picture as truth seems the worst bit, really. That’s what really damages reputations. The net is full of pranks and photoshops. But news outlets running the picture like it’s true? That makes it real to a number of people. That’s awful.

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This is not the correct response for a legitimate movement/organization. The correct response is “This is a horrible thing that a one of our members did on his own time, which misrepresented the subject of the photo. The Gamergate movement, as a media watchdog movement dedicated to truth in journalism, does not, can not, and will not condone the types of irresponsibility and falsehood an internet prank like this conveys.”

Not “Well gwarsh, the media shouldn’t have been so incompetent and irresponsible to believe this thing our innocent member put out on the public internets…he was just fun’n and didn’t think anyone would take it serious…golly!”

That’s like the guy yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. There’s no fire, but fifty people die in the ensuing stampede. Your response equates to, “Well, those theatergoers should have known the difference between a real fire and a fake one.”

The story is, a Gamergater smeared someone publicly on the internet. Which is what Gamergaters insist they don’t do. “Innocent photoshop prank posted for all to see” got out of hand. Which is what Gamergaters insist they’re not about… Why is this guy who was identified as making it not immediately notifying the media (with GG’s help!) that he created it as a prank and it’s a lie? This dude and every person who assisted him in his stage dive went underground. Because causing someone to be accidentally labeled a terrorist by the authorities is the absolute pinnacle a bully troll could hope for.

A responsible journalist would immediately go about setting things right if something they said (especially under the auspices of their organization) was taken out of context. That’s the kind of big public assumption of responsibility that could potentially earn favor with people who are convinced that GG is a bunch of mysogynists out to harm women, supporters of women, and people who try to call them out for doing so.

This shit needs to stop.