Posted by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

With PAX Australia coming up, controversy hit today regarding one of their panels.

Tami Baribeau wrote a piece summarizing her problem with this. She got the impression that these panelists, whom of which aren't employed by Penny Arcade, are claiming that the videogame industry is exempt from criticism.

I didn't get that impression from this short bit of text describing the panel. Instead, it struck a cord with me on exactly what's wrong with our industry: We're all too sensitive and letting emotions cloud judgement and compromising the integrity of having a real conversation.

Of course this panel isn't necessarily the best launch case for this topic, but it is something that has been on my mind lately so after seeing this whole debacle I decided to write this thing. The bulk of the controversy was in regards to Gabe's arguably offensive remarks towards transgenders, but the other side of people getting pissed off on the Internet (weird, I know) was the text describing the panel.

You got the Anita Sarkeesian side of this industry of super pre-feminists that instead of opening up conversations, they just assume they're 100% right and while they're fighting for a social issue, they're just throwing a tantrum instead of being mature about the topic.

Some folks tweeted comments about shutting PAX out all-together.

Above is the same woman that said folks should automatically block anyone that disagreed with Phil Fish on a statement he made complaining that there aren't enough female protagonists in games. Most of the tweets to Fish about that topic were pretty constructive. Yes, you have the handful of assholes trolling with kitchen comments of course. Then of course I had to be an asshole and say, "Isn't Gomez a male?"

...I couldn't resist.

Back during the #1reasonwhy movement, a friend of mine saw a developer state an issue she had with a friend not getting a job "on the grounds she's female". My friend was attacked on social media for simply asking if the woman applying had qualifications, previous work history, and so on. The female developer responded with something along the lines of "that doesn't matter". Of course she retweeted his "sexist" comment and he was bullied for a good day or two.

My point is that of course I would love for more female representation in games. From an outsider's perspective I saw a lot of progress this E3. Most press outlets had females covering the event and I saw a lot of female developers on the floor talking about their games.

Of course I'm not saying there isn't an issue, but clearly the game business is doing a lot better. I mean, I've been in a college environment for awhile and I haven't met a single female interested in computer engineering or any other educations that might lead to the game business. There's a larger pool of males that are interested in the business so of course it's going to be male dominated.

The issue lays with anytime someone disagrees with a statement made by someone supporting #1reasonwhy or Anita, they're labeled as a sexist and the champions of those pro-feminist messages just shut that person out of any potential conversation or purposely sets that person up for bullying.

I have yet to talk to anyone in person or on the Internet that says, "FUCK WOMEN BEING IN THIS BUSINESS, DICKS ONLY!". But people out there on the world stage are communicating these messages we all agree with, but their methods are questionable and rash.

Even if you have a good message, there's still potential for bullshit. Everyone needs to be prepared to be called out on their bullshit. Back to my example of the unemployed female developer, it's reasonable to look at her actual qualifications. Doing so however, makes you an easy target and makes folks afraid to challenge the people with the microphone.

Whether you think Penny Arcade is sexist or if Anita deserves a Medal of Honor or if you are some crazy lunatic that thinks a woman's only job is a womb, be prepared to open a conversation. For no matter what your motivations, no matter how morally right they are, we aren't going to make progress if you shut out everyone that disagrees with you. Turning into a bully to defeat bullying is not the answer. Instead we need to take a step back once in awhile, take a deep breath, and remember that we all love videogames and this industry's quality and integrity has to be something we all protect.

@stevenbeynon

#1 Edited by Rorie (2529 posts) -

I'm pretty sure the PAX backlash is against CWGabriel's frank comments regarding his opinions on transgendered individuals this morning on Twitter rather than this specific forum panel.

Staff
#2 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

I'm so fucking sick of this shit. Let sensationalist journalism(Read: Gawker) die....

#3 Edited by Milkman (16481 posts) -

Feminism, by definition, is the theory of equality between sexes so I don't see what's wrong with Phil Fish's tweet but that's neither here nor there.

I think the panel sounds dumb because the whole "why can't video games just be fun?!" defense is super lame. But I don't support trying to shut down this panel (or any panel) just because you don't agree with it.

That being said...I think you're missing the point here in a lot of the outrage going on with PAX right now. Have you checked out Gabe from PA's Twitter feed recently?

#4 Posted by Rorie (2529 posts) -

To quote:

heads up if you use the word "cis" save yourself some time and don't bother tweeting at me.

and

I seriously believe women have vaginas. I think you call a person with a vagina a woman.

Staff
#5 Edited by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

@rorie said:

I'm pretty sure the PAX backlash is against CWGabriel's frank comments regarding his opinions on transgendered individuals this morning on Twitter rather than this specific forum panel.

I saw a decent amount of folks just getting upset at this panel existing. For instance, the blog I referred to the writer immediately attacked the description saying it is a "dismissal of concerns by women and people of color". I don't believe that's the intent or how the panel description reads. If anything, the blogger's reaction just confirms that we can't even discuss the topic like adults.

It was attacking a panel that never even commenced or gave the panelists an opportunity to speak.

#6 Edited by CrunchyPickles (62 posts) -

People are mad at Gabe's tweets but I wonder if those people have read the conversation that he and his friend Sophie have had on the subject matter. He posted it in a news article, and it was a good read. Gabe has his beliefs and yeah, he can be (and often is!) an ass on twitter, but it's gotten to the point where even LBGT supporters are jumping off of the tumblr-style social justice bandwagon because holy shit guys, calm down.

#7 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@rorie said:

To quote:

heads up if you use the word "cis" save yourself some time and don't bother tweeting at me.

and

I seriously believe women have vaginas. I think you call a person with a vagina a woman.

It's almost as if twitter isn't the format for reasoned discourse and is instead some sort of short-form snark broadcast service. Imagine that.

#8 Edited by mracoon (4947 posts) -

When lots of women are telling you there's a problem, instead of dismissing them and saying 'they're being too sensitive' why don't you try and listen to what they're saying. Just because you don't have a problem with the wording of that description doesn't mean it's not a problem. Even the people on the panel were saying it was poorly worded, hence why they changed it. It's easy for us to say women should be less sensitive when we don't experience or have any understanding of the harassment they face.

Moderator
#9 Posted by Winternet (8000 posts) -

Yeah, what I saw flowing through twitter was also about Gabe's comments about transgenders and not about this panel thingy. But, I didn't pay too much attention to it, because hey this was the 100,000 time this year that the video game industry twitterati were up in arms about something related to sex, so maybe I've missed that part.

#10 Edited by ZombiePie (5556 posts) -

@rorie said:

I'm pretty sure the PAX backlash is against CWGabriel's frank comments regarding his opinions on transgendered individuals this morning on Twitter rather than this specific forum panel.

I saw a decent amount of folks just getting upset at this panel existing. For instance, the blog I referred to the writer immediately attacked the description saying it is a "dismissal of concerns by women and people of color". I don't believe that's the intent or how the panel description reads. If anything, the blogger's reaction just confirms that we can't even discuss the topic like adults.

It was attacking a panel that never even commenced or gave the panelists an opportunity to speak.

The reason for that outrage stems from the comments that Gabe has made on Twitter related to transgender people which truly are offensive and demeaning. I'm not one for metaphors that involve icebergs but that does feel appropriate for this case. Another point I would like to make is one that has also been reiterated on this blog. Feminism is the belief that there should be equality between sexes, and as such I don't entirely understand your outrage about Phil Fish's first Tweet.

Moderator
#11 Edited by DeeGee (2113 posts) -

@epicsteve: "I even saw a tweet from Phil Fish saying, "If you aren't a feminist, than you're a bigot"

That's kind of insane.'"

Just wanted to quickly say that there's absolutely nothing insane about this. Feminism is wanting equal rights for women. You can want that or you can not want that, but not wanting women to have equal rights is a pretty bigoted thing.

Of course, most men don't like considering themselves feminists because the term has connotations of overzealous people like Anita Sarkeesian, whose extremist views and sex negative attitude are actually setting the whole movement back a bunch. But that's a whole different thing.

#12 Edited by RenMcKormack (1071 posts) -
#13 Posted by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

People are mad at Gabe's tweets but I wonder if those people have read the conversation that he and Sophie have had on the subject matter. He posted it in a news article, and it was a good read. Gabe has his beliefs and yeah, he can be an ass on twitter, but it's gotten to the point where even LBGT supporters are jumping off of the tumblr-style social justice bandwagon because holy shit guys, calm down.

I'm pretty ignorant of transgender presence in the game industry or how they're treated. If someone wants to show me any material, that'd be great. I can see how his tweets would be offensive. I don't know. I can only speak to what I've seen and heard personally which is the sexists perspective. So that's what I wrote about.

#14 Posted by neoepoch (1293 posts) -

Here is the final result of that twitter fight with Gabe, taken from the front page of PA.

"Twitter is not great for actually having conversations. Sometimes I get shit on twitter from people and rather than try and have a discussion with them I make sarcastic remarks. Yay for coping mechanisms! But what does it look like when you actually do have a conversation with someone you care about? Well I had this email exchange this morning with my friend Sophie and she said it was okay to post it. I think it’s interesting to see what can happen when you take something off Twitter and actually talk.

From: Sophie Prell

To: Mike Krahulik

Hey guys,

So first off, I want to say that none of what I’m about to write is meant to say you’re wrong, or an ass, or anything like that. I think it’s bullshit that people have been giving you such serious threats and think that they can force you to change your opinion - or that they SHOULD act in such a way. So to be ultra-super clear: your opinion is your opinion; I’m not mad at you for having it, and support your right to it.

That being said, I wanted to let you know that, when I read your words, it makes me instantly uncomfortable, because I wonder what you think of me. My thought and impression was that we were on good grounds, and I appreciated all the kind words you sent my way. But when I wasn’t around, did you talk about me as a guy in drag? Those are the sorts of questions and insecurities that filter into my mind.

My identity and who I am is obviously very important to me, as it is with most people. And I know there’s the whole “Well, you have to love yourself” line that people love to hand off like it’s comfort food when these situations arise, but let’s be honest: humans are social creatures, and others’ opinions are the mirrors through which we often view our self-worth. When I’m not Sophie in someone’s mind, or if “Sophie” is just pretend and the person really sees me as a guy in a dress, that’s hurtful. What you’ve been saying about believing “a man has a penis, a woman has a vagina” is hurtful to me.

Now, again, this isn’t saying I want you to stop saying what you’re saying. Say your opinion and say what you believe. I wouldn’t ask you any different. I’m not even asking you to consider how I or anyone else feels before you speak. All I wanted to do was let you know that someone who has met you, who has worked for you, who admires the hell out of you is hurt by what you’ve said. You say what you need to say, and I say what I feel I need to in order to excise this tension.

Thanks guys. Hope all is well.

Sincerely,

Sophie

From:Mike Krahulik

To be honest with you I had no idea that you were not born a girl until just a couple months ago. When we met and hung out I always just thought you were a woman. Knowing your situation changed nothing about how I would treat you. I am happy to treat someone however they want to be treated. Wanna be a guy or a girl or a fox or whatever and I will be happy to treat you that way.

But I think that is very different from the physical reality of your human body.

I think you’re awesome and super talented. I have no idea what your body parts are and I don’t want to know. I will treat you as a woman if that’s how you present yourself to me.

I hate the idea that because I think boys and girls have different parts I am “transphobic” that pisses me off it makes me angry and so I lash out.

Sorry if I hurt you at all.

From: Sophie Prell

Thanks Mike, I appreciate the response. And like I said, I wasn’t looking for an apology, or for you to consider my feelings, or anything. I was just letting some of what I was feeling air, albeit privately, since (like you!) most people don’t know, and for now, I’d like to keep it that way.

As for the transphobic thing, I won’t get into a big long spiel about that, but I will say that I don’t think you’re transphobic, and I hate that you’ve been getting such a ridiculous reaction too. I’m pretty miffed about how the LGBT and trans community in particular have gotten regarding this talk, and how people in general just want to yell their opinions but not listen when others give theirs. It’s actually a big part of why I got out of the LGBT social justice movement; I couldn’t handle people I was supposed to be a part of, supposed to be representing, reacting in the way that you’re seeing now. Prime example: I don’t disagree with you that I’m male. When it comes to chromosomes and genetics, that’s just what I am. But that’s not what I identify as, and for acknowledging reality some trans people have even chewed me out. It’s ridiculous.

We don’t all have to agree to respect each other, and I think that’s something important that people lose sight of. But before I ramble on too long, just want to say thanks for hearing me out and responding, and I hope I’ll bump into you at PAX or something in the future. =)

Sincerely,

Sophie

P.S. We cool? =)

From: Mike Krahulik

Of course we are cool! We were never not cool!

So there you go. It’s not an easy conversation to have. Or maybe it is if you’re willing to actually have a conversation. My reaction when I feel backed into corner is to be an asshole. It’s essentially how I defend myself. It’s been that way since was in elementary school. I’m 36 now. Maybe it’s finally time to try and let some of that shit go."

In the end, there is a linguistic issue between "gender identity" and "biological sex" because the two have been used interchangeably for so long. However, I think there are times when people speak unwittingly about the term, not that I'm trying to absolve Gabe or take sides or anything because I think people get too sensitive about EVERYTHING. Also, I hate the fact that "cis" is used in some sort of derogatory sense. I originally learned the terms cis and trans in the context of isomers, so the chemist in me gets confused at times when people try to use the words in the pejorative.

I agree with Steve on this issue. People get overly sensitive about every little thing. Granted there are plenty of times when the situation that gets called out is actually a big deal, but there seems to be way more times that any issue brought up is actually a non-issue and people just have to be contrarian or argumentative or "politically-correct" about fucking everything. I guess there is an image we present to others and another that we present to our close confidants, but I don't want to have to watch over every little thing I say just because someone is going to get offended. It is a waste of time and detracts from actual gender, racial, and social issues within our industry.

#15 Posted by MetalGearSunny (6986 posts) -

@milkman said:

Feminism, by definition, is the theory of equality between sexes

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

#16 Posted by oldenglishC (921 posts) -

I think we lose a lot of perspective on this by being so invested in video games. Sure nothing is perfect and there is work to be done on the equality front in this industry, but to someone that doesn't spend time reading gaming news sites this would seem just as ridiculous as trying to find the social ramifications of Pop-O-Matic Trouble.

#17 Edited by ThePickle (4152 posts) -

Games can still be fun, but has the industry ever been fun? It's been cutthroat capitalism from day one. Don't see why the addition of sex issues is cause for alarm.

#18 Posted by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

Games can still be fun, but has the industry ever been fun? It's been cutthroat capitalism from day one. Don't see why the addition of sex issues is cause for alarm.

There's clearly an issue. There has been enough complaints by the female community. I care enough about this industry to hope that it's a healthy place to conduct business and breath creativity.

#19 Edited by ArtelinaRose (1829 posts) -

@rorie

I was going to say that it seems more like he's just very confused about the whole issue because I read the conversations he was having a few weeks ago. Then I read this:

subject verb object ‏@guattari2600

@cwgabriel@juliepagano shouldn't a person with or without a vagina be the one who decides what they are called, instead of a Comic Man?

cwgabriel ‏@cwgabriel

@guattari2600@juliepagano okay then I am batman. please call me Bruce.

What the fuck? This upsets me on two levels and I usually don't give a shit how people view the subject of transgenderism. The first one is that it shows an uncomfortable level of ignorance and unwillingness to learn about the subject and accept it from somebody that claims their convention is the most accepting in the industry. If you are part of a demographic of any kind, you are told that you are welcome and understood at PAX. What I see here(not specifically this comment but that one included, yes) is "i dont know what to make of you, you are a fake person if you call yourself a woman but arent a biological one because you need to have a vagina" and is saying that wanting to be identified by a gender that is not your biological one is the same as saying you want to be identified as a superhero because both are ridiculous and impossible.

Second, that idiot went and outed Batman's identity in public. On the internet.


EDIT: Okay, having let that sit in my brain for a few more minutes, I understand where he is coming from and what his intentions are. He is not confused, just presenting himself very poorly. Unfortunately, I also get the vibe that his belief is "if you want to be treated like a woman that is how I will treat you, but if you have or had a weenie, I will not consider you a real woman" which is just as unfortunate.

#20 Edited by Jimbo (9767 posts) -

Strictly speaking Phil Fish is right, because feminists (are supposed to) believe in equality, so if you believe in equality then you are by definition a feminist.

It's still an unnecessarily inflammatory thing to say, and for me it sums up a lot of what is wrong with how some people are going about fighting for change. I believe a lot of this heavy-handed commentary is counterproductive; it's forcing people away from the conversation and slowing change rather than drawing them in an encouraging it. It's a Malcolm X approach to a problem which requires a MLK approach. If MLK had said 'I have a dream that one day you'll retweet my message and if you don't I'll block you, bigot' he probably wouldn't have achieved a great deal.

Maybe this is just a problem with how we communicate these days. There's no room for nuance or eloquence anymore and you either agree with me or go fuck yourself. We also live in an age where having a considered opinion has no value and being as controversial as possible has lots of value.

#21 Edited by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

@epicsteve said:

@rorie said:

I'm pretty sure the PAX backlash is against CWGabriel's frank comments regarding his opinions on transgendered individuals this morning on Twitter rather than this specific forum panel.

I saw a decent amount of folks just getting upset at this panel existing. For instance, the blog I referred to the writer immediately attacked the description saying it is a "dismissal of concerns by women and people of color". I don't believe that's the intent or how the panel description reads. If anything, the blogger's reaction just confirms that we can't even discuss the topic like adults.

It was attacking a panel that never even commenced or gave the panelists an opportunity to speak.

The reason for that outrage stems from the comments that Gabe has made on Twitter related to transgender people which truly are offensive and demeaning. I'm not one for metaphors that involve icebergs but that does feel appropriate for this case. Another point I would like to make is one that has also been reiterated on this blog. Feminism is the belief that there should be equality between sexes, and as such I don't entirely understand your outrage about Phil Fish's first Tweet.

You're right about Fish. I was more thinking about what the phrase has been turned into. I reevaluated and I'm totally fine with that now. Regarding the panel, no I don't keep hitting the panel but more of it launched another discussion. Of course it isn't the most important of offensive thing to happen, but this issue has been on my mind and then this thing happened. And I read a few blogs reacting to the panel's description and finally thought that we have come so full circle on sexism now both sides are a little irrational and we all just need to have a big hug.

#22 Posted by ThePickle (4152 posts) -

@thepickle said:

Games can still be fun, but has the industry ever been fun? It's been cutthroat capitalism from day one. Don't see why the addition of sex issues is cause for alarm.

There's clearly an issue. There has been enough complaints by the female community. I care enough about this industry to hope that it's a healthy place to conduct business and breath creativity.

I agree. I was talking about the panel, which makes it seems like the industry was all sunshine and rainbows until a bunch of women came in.

#23 Posted by Aetheldod (3495 posts) -

I agree. this has gotten too far ... no I dont condone women treated unfairly at the workplace and I would assume that those cases should be noted and frankly persecuted on legal basis etc.

BUT..... videogames has no moral , legal or ethical reasons to not do sexy ladies , hyperviolence , have only white male protagonist etc. the only thing they cannot do is child pronography , otherwise its fair game. Also I am of thought that if you wish to change the games .... MAKE THE FUCKING GAMES that do so , not force other games to change to your liking.

#24 Posted by themangalist (1716 posts) -

A few weeks earlier I got really really annoyed about the whole feminist thing going on in the industry that I almost blogged about it. I was too lazy.

There's two things that annoy me to no end:

1. Anita Sarkeesian: I like how you used the word "pre-feminist" to describe her because that's exactly what she is. This school of "women are the objects to men, men are evil" has long been outdated and it's crazy to think such a radical college kid can have that loud a voice in industry. Everyone thinks she is the representative of feminism in the industry and THAT'S the problem.

2. This guy. Exhibit A Exhibit B Yes, I read Kotaku. This guy incapsulates lazy sensationalist journalism in the industry. Instead of properly exploring the subject through investigation and doing, you know, journalism, these "journalists" slap "that's sexist!" on everything. Much like Anita, "journalists" like this guy contributes to an atmosphere of being oversensitive about everything. So instead of actually raising awareness, they are facilitating disinterest in actually acting against sexism in the industry due to the mountains of meatless criticism.

Those people know what the REAL sexist problem in the video game industry is, why #1reasonwhy movement exists, right? It's that women are being harassed/mistreated by their bosses, not being able to break into the industry or get proper job advancement because of their gender, etc... If these moral crusaders continue to nag about what is less important (how characters are designed, how stories are told) and neglect what is, then the industry is truly doomed. We will stop learning to appreciate anything and have fun.

#25 Posted by PSNgamesun (394 posts) -

Ellie FTW!!!!

#26 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@rorie

I was going to say that it seems more like he's just very confused about the whole issue because I read the conversations he was having a few weeks ago. Then I read this:

subject verb object ‏@guattari2600

@cwgabriel@juliepagano shouldn't a person with or without a vagina be the one who decides what they are called, instead of a Comic Man?

cwgabriel ‏@cwgabriel

@guattari2600@juliepagano okay then I am batman. please call me Bruce.

What the fuck? This upsets me on two levels and I usually don't give a shit how people view the subject of transgenderism. The first one is that it shows an uncomfortable level of ignorance and unwillingness to learn about the subject and accept it from somebody that claims their convention is the most accepting in the industry. If you are part of a demographic of any kind, you are told that you are welcome and understood at PAX. What I see here(not specifically this comment but that one included, yes) is "i dont know what to make of you, you are a fake person if you call yourself a woman but arent a biological one because you need to have a vagina" and is saying that wanting to be identified by a gender that is not your biological one is the same as saying you want to be identified as a superhero because both are ridiculous and impossible.

Second, that idiot went and outed Batman's identity in public. On the internet.

Is he not referring to being called a "Comic Man?" It read that way to me.

Either way, what does Mike Krahulik know about transgenderism and why would his opinion on the matter be important? He draws comic strips about videogames for a living, the connection is not clear.

#27 Posted by Itwongo (1099 posts) -

To me, it seems like both. We are too sensitive about specific, irrelevant things, but we also need to realize that bigger things, like having a female protagonist, doesn't completely nullify or validate how fun a game may or may not be.

#28 Posted by myketuna (1644 posts) -

@jimbo said:
Maybe this is just a problem with how we communicate these days. There's no room for nuance or eloquence anymore and you either agree with me or go fuck yourself. We also live in an age where having a considered opinion has no value and being as controversial as possible has lots of value.

Right there with you on this.

#29 Edited by Video_Game_King (35803 posts) -

This I actually take serious issue with. Why do games have to be just about fun? Isn't that incredibly limiting from an artistic perspective? You can't accomplish much by catering only to a very limited range of emotions. We need to move away from the outdated model that games are primarily meant to be fun.

Well, that's my contribution to this thread.

Online
#30 Posted by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

@epicsteve said:

@thepickle said:

Games can still be fun, but has the industry ever been fun? It's been cutthroat capitalism from day one. Don't see why the addition of sex issues is cause for alarm.

There's clearly an issue. There has been enough complaints by the female community. I care enough about this industry to hope that it's a healthy place to conduct business and breath creativity.

I agree. I was talking about the panel, which makes it seems like the industry was all sunshine and rainbows until a bunch of women came in.

I can't speak for the panelists. For all I know they are sexist asshole. But if they're like me, they believe in Anita's message and #1reasonwhy. But for anyone that states any innocent opinion or simple questions anything from those two sources is automatically the scum of the Earth isn't the answer either.

#31 Posted by Milkman (16481 posts) -

@rebgav: He's an extremely prominent person in this industry with a huge following. He's way more than a guy who draws comics. Someone with a loud voice using it to say stupid things is an issue.

#32 Posted by StarvingGamer (7907 posts) -
@deegee said:

@epicsteve: "I even saw a tweet from Phil Fish saying, "If you aren't a feminist, than you're a bigot"

That's kind of insane.'"

Just wanted to quickly say that there's absolutely nothing insane about this. Feminism is wanting equal rights for women. You can want that or you can not want that, but not wanting women to have equal rights is a pretty bigoted thing.

Of course, most men don't like considering themselves feminists because the term has connotations of overzealous people like Anita Sarkeesian, whose extremist views and sex negative attitude are actually setting the whole movement back a bunch. But that's a whole different thing.

But it's not a different thing. It's true that the dictionary definition of feminism is wanting equal rights for women, but overly-zealous people and groups have co-opted the term enough to twist it in the minds of the general public. A word that was meant to be a shield has been brandished as a weapon too many times.

Also before everyone jumps on the hatetrain, you might want to read this: http://www.penny-arcade.com/2013/06/19/twiiter-sucks-sometimes

#33 Posted by MrMazz (905 posts) -

Games can and should be fun. But they can also be used to explore complex emotional issues. I know Polygon gets a lot of mocking (i think) hate but their feature on the queer community using games as a means of expression was quiet interesting.

When dealing with heavy/controversal subjects it's best not to make light of them. It just sets the wrong tone for everything and makes you appear to be inauthemtic. Which hey the Internet is kind of good at telling.

Twiiter I use it for a sparse number of things. Tweets out links I find interesting, live blog an MMA event, or use it to quickly find out if some buddies are free for stuff. trying to have an actual conversation on twitter is bannanas stupid. It's 140 characters and a matter of public record basically, which means you can be quotes both in and out of context without the media really being wrong.

What Gabe said is horribly insesnsative, prolly should of been aired in a different medium.

#34 Edited by Winternet (8000 posts) -

a) Equality is not always a good thing

b) Things are not black and white. There are thing that are different and therefore shouldn't be treated equally.

c) @video_game_king: wait, so video games are art now? When did that happen?

#35 Posted by Bollard (5202 posts) -

@rorie said:

I'm pretty sure the PAX backlash is against CWGabriel's frank comments regarding his opinions on transgendered individuals this morning on Twitter rather than this specific forum panel.

I saw a decent amount of folks just getting upset at this panel existing. For instance, the blog I referred to the writer immediately attacked the description saying it is a "dismissal of concerns by women and people of color". I don't believe that's the intent or how the panel description reads. If anything, the blogger's reaction just confirms that we can't even discuss the topic like adults.

It was attacking a panel that never even commenced or gave the panelists an opportunity to speak.

My feeling of the matter, I don't understand how people can get angry about people trying to discuss why and how we've ended up at this point.

#36 Edited by Video_Game_King (35803 posts) -
Online
#37 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@milkman said:

@rebgav: He's an extremely prominent person in this industry with a huge following. He's way more than a guy who draws comics. Someone with a loud voice using it to say stupid things is an issue.

If he'd posted an anti-transgender screed on the front page of penny arcade you'd have a point, responding to antagonism (with more antagonism) on twitter is normal behavior for every single twitter user as far as I can tell.

#38 Edited by ArtelinaRose (1829 posts) -

@rebgav said:

Is he not referring to being called a "Comic Man?" It read that way to me.

Either way, what does Mike Krahulik know about transgenderism and why would his opinion on the matter be important? He draws comic strips about videogames for a living, the connection is not clear.

It matters because he is one of the founders of Penny Arcade and the Penny Arcade Expo, representing both, and has for years maintained a stance of equality and acceptance both personally and professionally. Something like this, blatant ignorance, actively antagonizing people that ask him why he is being rude about it and telling men that wish to identify as women that they can't be female because they don't have vaginas is so very far from the tolerance he claims to preach.

This isn't a black and white subject and we happen to fall in different shades of gray in this particular spectrum. My choices are my own and his opinions that I can't be real no matter what path I take are not going to dissuade me from the life choices I am making. I am not upset because this man is an internet stranger and has no bearing on my life whatsoever.

I take that back, we're not 100% strangers. I shook his hand a few years ago and we talked very briefly. I wonder if he knows he has tranny cooties now.

#39 Posted by Sin4profit (2903 posts) -

Society by design is conditioned to ideological conformity as we seek community. I think it's very important for people to inform others on their ideas/concerns (whether it be feminism, racism, what have you) but ideological conformity (social/political positioning, etc) always gets in the way which brings out the pitchforks and torches.

I think that kind of social positioning is a problem when there's no logic to it and when spoken from points of absolution, "if you are not for us you are against us", and really only creates static within the usefulness of information, which, in the end, is the cure to all of this.

Ignorance is a disease we all suffer from but when you lace the informational cure with absolute ideological positioning you only end up deluding the real solution.

#40 Posted by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@milkman said:

@rebgav: He's an extremely prominent person in this industry with a huge following. He's way more than a guy who draws comics. Someone with a loud voice using it to say stupid things is an issue.

If he'd posted an anti-transgender screed on the front page of penny arcade you'd have a point, responding to antagonism (with more antagonism) on twitter is normal behavior for every single twitter user as far as I can tell.

This is exactly the problem, people looking too deep into dumb off-hand Twitter comments. Someone tweeting on a phone on the shitter isn't going to have the most thoughtful comment on a social issue.

#41 Edited by Mento (2413 posts) -

While there might be a few women out there trying to push an indirectly-related selfish agenda (being unqualified for a position and claiming it was gender discrimination, for instance), a lot of well-meaning people of either gender see the semi-recent furors regarding Sarkeesian's work and #1reasonwhy as evidence that there's finally some real traction to improve the game industry's stance on women. It's a bit like (and this might be a tad hyperbolic so bear with me) how riots or even revolutions sometimes start because one person was brave enough to put themselves out there for their principles and is followed by the many, many others in a similar boat who just needed an excuse to get involved or a concrete cause to get behind. It's hard to repel something like that, even if you have valid reasons to be skeptic about some of it.

I can understand somewhat the desire to push back. It's a movement asking for radical change, and there will always be people uncomfortable with any sort of shift like that regardless of how necessary or morally correct it is. I can't begrudge this panel too much for being wary of the many articles on the matter, but they're going to need a really damn good excuse for wanting to stand in the way of equal rights and more respect for women both in the game industry and those who play video games in general (not to mention the other maligned groups they're bringing into it). The idea that games are beyond reproach because they're mere playthings is ludicrous: if these game journalists think their medium is ultimately devoid of significance then why the hell are they dedicating their careers to cover it?

But yeah, the big PAX boycotts are largely because of Gabe's comments about transgendered folk. Trans people already have an uphill struggle with getting the cisgendered to understand their stance on gender and identity but I've noticed people are usually happy to accommodate their views when they've been clearly explained to them, or failing that will simply refer to them with whichever pronoun they wish in order to be civil. When people are instead actively dismissing their views and making fun of them on a soapbox where millions can read the vitriol I imagine it's extremely disheartening. It's that whole "can I enjoy Shadow Complex knowing what Orson Scott Card says about homosexuals?" dilemma again.

I'm generally bewildered as to why anyone would want to support Penny Arcade even before the controversies, but that's just me.

Moderator
#42 Posted by SSully (4117 posts) -

@jimbo said:

Strictly speaking Phil Fish is right, because feminists (are supposed to) believe in equality, so if you believe in equality then you are by definition a feminist.

It's still an unnecessarily inflammatory thing to say, and for me it sums up a lot of what is wrong with how some people are going about fighting for change. I believe a lot of this heavy-handed commentary is counterproductive; it's forcing people away from the conversation and slowing change rather than drawing them in an encouraging it. It's a Malcolm X approach to a problem which requires a MLK approach. If MLK had said 'I have a dream that one day you'll retweet my message and if you don't I'll block you, bigot' he probably wouldn't have achieved a great deal.

Maybe this is just a problem with how we communicate these days. There's no room for nuance or eloquence anymore and you either agree with me or go fuck yourself. We also live in an age where having a considered opinion has no value and being as controversial as possible has lots of value.

You make a fantastic point and the only area I would expand upon it is how Gabe's blog explicates that twitter is really shitty for actual conversation.

A popular trend I have noticed among recent "controversies" in the gaming industry in particular is they start by a comment someone made on twitter and are usually continued out that way. Twitter is a horrible way to communicate, hell I think Instant Messaging is a shitty way to communicate. Both channels force users to speak in a very reduced way and neither side can (usually) communicate their point in a way that doesn't sound like MY OPINION IS RIGHT, YOURS IS WRONG, FUCK OFF.

Yes there are always reactionary blogs/editorials/forum discussions that reduce the point further, but I feel the damage is already done at that point; lines are drawn.

Instead of having actual conversations(as linked above), we have reduced reactionary comments on twitter that just spark a big fire without giving substance. I feel this situation, and many others, would never have started or atleast would have been better explained if people simply wrote a fucking paragraph to layout exactly what they were thinking. Twitter is a great thing, but it funnels and creates reactionary arguments that are more unhealthy then they should be.

#43 Edited by wewantsthering (1547 posts) -

I know these are serious issues, but I wish we could go back to when I just thought video games were fun. :-( All the fighting is disheartening. So much anger on Twitter lately.

Edit: I'm speaking more to when I was young and didn't understand the complexity and environment of game design.

#44 Posted by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

@mento said:

While there might be a few women out there trying to push an indirectly-related selfish agenda (being unqualified for a position and claiming it was gender discrimination, for instance), a lot of well-meaning people of either gender see the semi-recent furors regarding Sarkeesian's work and #1reasonwhy as evidence that there's finally some real traction to improve the game industry's stance on women. It's a bit like (and this might be a tad hyperbolic so bear with me) how riots or even revolutions sometimes start because one person was brave enough to put themselves out there for their principles and is followed by the many, many others in a similar boat who just needed an excuse to get involved or a concrete cause to get behind. It's hard to repel something like that, even if you have valid reasons to be skeptic about some of it.

I can understand somewhat the desire to push back. It's a movement asking for radical change, and there will always be people uncomfortable with any sort of shift like that regardless of how necessary or morally correct it is. I can't begrudge this panel too much for being wary of the many articles on the matter, but they're going to need a really damn good excuse for wanting to stand in the way of equal rights and more respect for women both in the game industry and those who play video games in general (not to mention the other maligned groups they're bringing into it). The idea that games are beyond reproach because they're mere playthings is ludicrous: if these game journalists think their medium is ultimately devoid of significance then why the hell are they dedicating their careers to cover it?

But yeah, the big PAX boycotts are largely because of Gabe's comments about transgendered folk. Trans people already have an uphill struggle with getting the cisgendered to understand their stance on gender and identity but I've noticed people are usually happy to accommodate their views when they've been clearly explained to them, or failing that will simply refer to them with whichever pronoun they wish in order to be civil. When people are instead actively dismissing their views and making fun of them on a soapbox where millions can read the vitriol I imagine it's extremely disheartening. It's that whole "can I enjoy Shadow Complex knowing what Orson Scott Card says about homosexuals?" dilemma again.

I'm generally bewildered as to why anyone would want to support Penny Arcade even before the controversies, but that's just me.

Like I said above, I'm completely ignorant of anything involving transgender. Never even knowingly met one. That's why I didn't touch it. I hope #1reasonwhy made some good impact. It's something this industry needed.

#45 Posted by mrfluke (5046 posts) -

steve, with the recent flow of news of writers leaving for game development, you are the example of why its a damm good thing,

cause if its gets level headed people like you into games journalism vs keeping on the old cynical press, then thats progress.

#46 Posted by MrMazz (905 posts) -

@rebgav: Imma twitter user and gernally doing respond with more antagonism. I just kind of ignore them. All it does is perpetuate needless anger and than no one really has a conversation, it just becomes shit cable news only 140 characters at a time

#47 Posted by Milkman (16481 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@milkman said:

@rebgav: He's an extremely prominent person in this industry with a huge following. He's way more than a guy who draws comics. Someone with a loud voice using it to say stupid things is an issue.

If he'd posted an anti-transgender screed on the front page of penny arcade you'd have a point, responding to antagonism (with more antagonism) on twitter is normal behavior for every single twitter user as far as I can tell.

This is exactly the problem, people looking too deep into dumb off-hand Twitter comments. Someone tweeting on a phone on the shitter isn't going to have the most thoughtful comment on a social issue.

So Twitter should just be lawless territory where you can say whatever you want? I don't buy that. No matter where you're expressing it, when you are a public figure like Mike, you need to know that whatever you say is going to be seen by a lot of people. Saying "eh, it's just Twitter" isn't an excuse.

And you're right that people were certainly antagonizing him and they are no better than he is but people are antagonized over the internet all the fucking time. People made fun of Patrick's dead dad and I never saw him go on a Twitter rant against anyone or alienate an entire group of people like Mike did. If Patrick had responded in an offensive way, he would have been held accountable for that too. "They started it" isn't an excuse either once you're past the fourth grade. Conducting yourself like an adult isn't hard. He shouldn't get a free pass to act like a child because he did it on Twitter.

#48 Edited by EpicSteve (6470 posts) -

@milkman said:

@epicsteve said:

@rebgav said:

@milkman said:

@rebgav: He's an extremely prominent person in this industry with a huge following. He's way more than a guy who draws comics. Someone with a loud voice using it to say stupid things is an issue.

If he'd posted an anti-transgender screed on the front page of penny arcade you'd have a point, responding to antagonism (with more antagonism) on twitter is normal behavior for every single twitter user as far as I can tell.

This is exactly the problem, people looking too deep into dumb off-hand Twitter comments. Someone tweeting on a phone on the shitter isn't going to have the most thoughtful comment on a social issue.

So Twitter should just be lawless territory where you can say whatever you want? I don't buy that. No matter where you're expressing it, when you are a public figure like Mike, you need to know that whatever you say is going to be seen by a lot of people. Saying "eh, it's just Twitter" isn't an excuse.

And you're right that people were certainly antagonizing him and they are no better than he is but people are antagonized over the internet all the fucking time. People made fun of Patrick's dead dad and I never saw him go on a Twitter rant against anyone or alienate an entire group of people like Mike did. If Patrick had responded in an offensive way, he would have been held accountable for that too. "They started it" isn't an excuse either once you're past the fourth grade. Conducting yourself like an adult isn't hard. He shouldn't get a free pass to act like a child because he did it on Twitter.

The answer is in the middle of our two points. We've all made dumb jokes that maybe we're totally ok, let alone a joke to several thousand people at once. I'm just not in the school of thought of completely holding a grudge against the man. Like I said in the blog, just relax, analyze who's giving the message and if that's what you really think they meant and if harm was intended.

#49 Edited by Maajin (1052 posts) -

I may be really ignorant about all of this. But it all just seems really silly to me.

The most contact I've had with a transgender person was Carolyn Petit from Gamespot. And that is to say: I've never had real contact with a transgender person, but I listen to her almost every week on their podcast and follow her on twitter. I really respect her as a journalist and would have no problem at all treating her as a woman. But it is really stupid to me if she'd get offended to know that, in the back of my mind, I'd be knowing she wasn't born that way.

This is not by any means a perfect analogy, but a bald person is in their right to try and fight to be treated as if they had hair, if they want to. And if they do that long enough, they are likely to get treated that way by most of their peers. Should they be offended that people know that they are actually bald? Should people who think "if you don't have hair, you're bald" be treated as monsters?

I'm REALLY open to discussion about this, because as I said, I don't have much life experience on the subject. But it does seem silly.

#50 Edited by Winternet (8000 posts) -

@video_game_king said:

@winternet said:

c) @video_game_king: wait, so video games are art now? When did that happen?

Takeshi no Chousenjou.

Man, this is what I get for only playing PC games. I love the fact that GB just treats him as a comedian and makes no mention of him being a filmmaker. It's almost like it was a Japanese dude that wrote those lines of text. Humm....