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.