President_Barackbar's forum posts

#1 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

@truthtellah: I'm not exactly sure if you read what I wrote, because I don't believe I ever said anything to the effect of "we need to stop talking about it." In fact, I don't feel like most of what you wrote has much to do with what I said at all. My argument at its core is that I believe that people who play games and the games press really need to come together and decide what the conversation is. Are we discussing how we can get more representation in games, or are we discussing how games are mostly sexist and perpetuate sexist ideals? I'm interested in the first one, not so much in the second because the question is loaded, and as a man anything I say is most likely going to be shouted down as contributing to sexism in games. I don't also deny that it is important, unfortunately, to tell a small extreme portion of the internet that their presence (and death threats) are unwelcome in the discussion.

#2 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

Also, if anyone is sincerely wondering why more people seem to be talking about this stuff these days, it's cool to just ask.

I mean, it's definitely not some big conspiracy or just dumb writers getting on a high horse all of a sudden. It's real people who enjoy games just like you and care about these kinds of things. Our different perspectives and feelings have a place in gaming, because we play games, too.

I can understand some confusion or even frustration at changes not being to your liking, as the way things were may feel more comfortable for you, but I personally quite appreciate gaming feeling more and more like a place we can consider and talk about these things. We're living in a great time in gaming, and I genuinely believe games and the community around them will be even better in the future thanks to many efforts being made today. :)

I think its more that people like myself don't feel that the "conversation" is much of one. One of the reasons I generally despise atheism discussions on the internet (like the infamous subreddit /r/atheism) is that they feel like gigantic echo chambers. Very few people on the aforementioned subreddit seem interested in doing things like discussing the merits of belief vs. atheism and how they can coexist in society, but more about having discussions about how any person of belief is a deluded idiot who doesn't have a rational thought in their head. The sexism and gaming debate feels largely the same, its not about discussing representation of women in games or in the industry and examining what the root causes are (like gaming being characterized initially as something only sad lonely virgin males did or women generally not being encouraged to go into STEM fields) but rather about how games are sexist because they are made for and by gross misogynists who want to keep women out of their boy's club because vaginas are icky or some such nonsense. It seems to me like a far more reasonable course of action is to go after the root causes of why women aren't represented, which is because there aren't a lot of women in games, which has to do with the perceptions of STEM fields. As the old saying goes, you catch a lot more flies with honey rather than vinegar, and it seems like all we get from games press is vinegar about how hateful and sexist gamers and game makers are.

#3 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

@kevin_cogneto: That's valid, I'm just trying to take a silver lining approach to this whole thing. I personally can't stop the harassment and negativity that goes on, and I'd much rather have something positive to take away from a horrid occurrence.

#4 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

@defaultprophet: My point was that two weeks of time wouldn't have stopped them from coming to the same conclusion.

@kevin_cogneto: You are right that this basically has nothing to do with the way Giant Bomb runs things, but I think its healthy that this industry as a whole grapples with criticism. I think that its positive that some sites have listened to the LEGITIMATE criticism that has come out of this thing and decided some changes needed to be made.

#5 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

@president_barackbar said:
@patrickklepek said:

I do not think you can, say, change site policies in the middle of this, and pretend it isn't on some level a capitulation to the harassment. It's all intertwined. The policy could have changed a few weeks later, and it wouldn't have the same ugly stigma attached to it.

Wouldn't it though? Its not really that hard to draw conclusions regardless of the timing. I mean, I don't really think it makes a difference WHEN the change happens because people could always tie it back to this specific event. That's why I'm not in favor of the argument that changing policies now legitimizes the abuse, because those abusers who want to see it as a capitulation to their side could always come to that conclusion. I mean, Bill O'Riley said on Fox News that he saw Romney's defeat in 2012 as a signal that "lazy America" and those who wanted a full welfare state had won, despite political scientists pointing to a myriad of other, larger factors that significantly contributed to his defeat. People will always spin things in a way that suits them.

Yeah, I mean you can't reason with conspiracy-minded people. You could literally post a huge manifesto that lays out all of Giant Bomb's ethics policies, disclosure policies and review policies, complete with a list of every single interaction with every single developer you've ever had. You could go to every effort to be as transparent as possible, and and people will still say that the disclosures that you made were fraudulent. Or worse, start calling for firings for every perceived deviation from the stated policy.

Personally, I say fuck them. There's absolutely no cause to doubt the integrity of any of the Giant Bomb staff. You don't need to dignify their nonsense.

That's actually not what I was getting at. I was more saying that I think its a fallacy to assume that Kotaku and Polygon making changes to their disclosure policies right now indicates a capitulation to abuse as opposed to waiting until some weeks after, because those who want to see it as a "win" for abusers are always going to see it that way regardless of how much time has passed.

#6 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

@lameimpala said:

@patrickklepek: How do you feel about some journalists talking respectfully about those who claim to have "legitimate concerns" - thus lending credit to the harassers (not intentionally of course) - when judging by the stuff that came to light this morning, even that part of this whole thing is fabricated? (e.g. it appears that some of the people with "legitimate concerns" may have actually been puppet Twitter accounts made by the harassers to look real)

I mean, at best, some real people thought there were ethical concerns being brought to light, but there's no way those people were paying attention to just how or why they were brought to light. If they knew the details, I would hope they wouldn't have even considered getting involved.

(And a sidenote for those who think that "the truth is always somewhere in the middle," or "both sides have behaved poorly," the words "ethics," "integrity," and "nepotism" each appear less than 100 times in the harassers' not-so-secret-anymore IRC chat. "Zoe" appears over 2000 times, "Anita" shows up 575 times, "rape" gets over 600 mentions, and various sexist slurs appear a few hundred times each. Now tell me what this whole thing was really about.)

I do not think you can, say, change site policies in the middle of this, and pretend it isn't on some level a capitulation to the harassment. It's all intertwined. The policy could have changed a few weeks later, and it wouldn't have the same ugly stigma attached to it.

Wouldn't it though? Its not really that hard to draw conclusions regardless of the timing. I mean, I don't really think it makes a difference WHEN the change happens because people could always tie it back to this specific event. That's why I'm not in favor of the argument that changing policies now legitimizes the abuse, because those abusers who want to see it as a capitulation to their side could always come to that conclusion. I mean, Bill O'Riley said on Fox News that he saw Romney's defeat in 2012 as a signal that "lazy America" and those who wanted a full welfare state had won, despite political scientists pointing to a myriad of other, larger factors that significantly contributed to his defeat. People will always spin things in a way that suits them.

#7 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -
@benmo316 said:

Why Mortal Kombat, WHY? Why must you give into the shitting nature that is pre-order content? Especially when it's a character in a fighting game. Hey, you know you're going to buy this game, but if you don't spend your money early fuck you, you can't play this character.

I hate that they are doing it, but Im gonna lay the blame squarely on this being something WB mandated since they seem to love doing this kinda thing with the Batman games now.

#8 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -
@joshwent said:

@vincentavatar said:

We might as well be the ones making threats.

I'm glad to see that you're passionate about improving things for everyone, but this kind of sentiment is misplaced masochism that doesn't improve anything and at most make innocent folks aggravated. If a person on the street next to me is being attacked, and I do nothing, I'm to blame. If an anonymous person is digitally doing something terrible somewhere to someone else someplace, I can't stop that. It's simple, I just physically can't intervene. And accusing all of us as being part of the problem because of the reality of that situation only makes things worse. Especially with this kind of context:

Let’s throw our support behind the Cara Ellisons, Leigh Alexanders, and Anita Sarkeesians of the world.

You set up a false dichotomy here where if I don't fully support all women who do game related things, I hate those women and am trying to oppress them. It's precisely this kind of growing sentiment which has made things as heated as they are. I refuse to support Anita when she intentionally manipulates and misrepresents the content of games to try and prove her points. I refuse to support Leigh when her articles condemning hatred are brimming with divisive insults themselves. I will never, ever resort to personal insults at them for doing anything they want to do, but insisting that I might as well be someone calling rape threats to a person's home and saying that I'll murder their family if I disagree with a thing a person makes, is honestly pretty disgusting.

I don't mean to be overly blunt as you clearly mean well, but "speaking up" is an empty gesture. The people harassing others online know that it's wrong. That's why they do it. Internet jerks aren't going to see a bunch of blog posts from people no one knows and think, "Oh no! Maybe that death threat was hurtful. I certainly won't be doing that again.". More realistically, they'll never even see the blog posts in the first place. Patrick has 65,000 followers on twitter. And he is one of many well known public figures who spread the word whenever this kind of shitty thing happens. My condolences and finger-wagging are meaningless. And the victims are clearly not suffering in silence. This abuse is widely reported.

Blaming silence, blaming culture, blaming anything other than those who do it, is only serving to confuse these issues and enflame the situation. I've been thinking today a lot about things I've read in the past few weeks and the past few years, because these problems are not new, and it began to overwhelm me that no actual solutions are ever sought after. Patrick posts a link to the head of Twitter saying that they don't need any new tools to deal with harassment, and people comment on how terrible that is... and move on. We've cultivated an online culture where linking to something and "speaking up" about how it's bad is enough to satisfy people.

What if instead of all of the impotent articles condemning "gamerz" and "game culture" as somehow birthing these monsters, the powers of Kotaku and Polygon and Gamasutra combined to make some change in the real world. State and Federal police are technologically outdated and underfunded (infrastructure wise, not so much with weaponry as we've tragically seen) and are basically incapable of effectively pursuing and prosecuting online harassment. What if those sites petitioned their governments to rectify that situation. What if they showed how they're doing it, to make it easier for you to contact your local police and fight to have them better able to deal with online threats. What if they didn't stop until new laws were passed clearly outlining the steps that one can take to report this kind of violence.

What if they did anything at all to actually create positive change, rather than shaking their prose heads in disapproval, and then moving on to next week's harassment.

The sentiment behind "speaking up" is a good one, but unless you're actively working towards a tangible goal, you "might as well" be doing nothing.

I agree completely, you said it much better than I could have. Its sad that it seems like you aren't allowed to disagree with the application, even if you agree with the sentiment overall.

#9 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

@truthtellah: You are definitely right about being able to laugh off the absurd parts of the argument, and I'm sorry if I took the joke too literally. I think the precise problem people like Jeff are having right now is that since he and the staff of GB are so open about disclosing things, I think he has a hard time realizing that they are the exception rather than the rule. Most outlets don't do any kind of disclosure, and as Jeff has said before, disclosure is really the best way to stop these kinds of issues, since it allows people to decide for themselves whether someone is trustworthy or not.

#10 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -
@milkman said:

@truthtellah: That's what I figured. I could see both sides with the whole Patreon thing. I said this more or less in the other thread about it but the important part is disclosure and then the onus is on the reader to decide whether or not they choose to find that writer trustworthy.

Yeah, I think that part of all the madness is fair enough. I think Giant Bomb is usually pretty good about making their connections clear, but in the interests of transparency, I suppose they could even add little disclosures with some reviews like, "I shared a 40 and sang 'Real American' with the creative director of this game."

But its exactly this kind of reduction of the argument that I'm getting tired of seeing. People are rightly asking questions about how far can a games writer go before it crosses a line of being unacceptable, and a lot of games writers immediately jumped to "WELL I GUESS I SHOULD DISCLOSE ANY TIME I ACCEPT A BOTTLE OF WATER FROM A GAME DEV HAR HAR HAR!" Doing that makes them seem immature and like they don't give a toss about people rightly being concerned about impartiality, especially if they want to continue to label themselves as journalists. Just because the Giant Bomb staff doesn't aspire to the label doesn't mean that others who do should get a free pass to do whatever they want.