When talking about sensitive issues on this site, I'm very careful in the way I choose my words. How you say something is usually even more than what you are actually saying. People don't like to be lectured. They don't like be mocked. If you want someone to listen to you, you have to try to understand where they're coming from. I think it's something that a lot of people in this industry get wrong. They're more concerned with talking at people than talking to them. I'm by no means perfect in this regard. No one is but I like to think that I try my best in this regard.
I say all this because I'm kind of done with this approach when it comes to GamerGate. I understand GamerGate all too well at this point (though I'm sure there will be plenty who tell me I don't) and have wasted way too much time slogging knee deep in this stupid movement. I know the correct approach to this whole thing is just don't engage and move on. You don't have to tell me. But despite all my better judgments telling me to just drop it, I still feel the need to let some feelings out about this whole mess.
Let's start by operating under the assumption that GamerGate is actually about exposing corruption in the games industry (spoiler: it's not but more on that later). What "corruption" has GamerGate actually exposed? A mailing list in which journalists talk to each other? Anyone with a basic understanding of any kind of journalism knows that the complaints of GamerGate are ridiculous. There are plenty of problems in games journalism and GamerGate is highlighting none of them. Homogenized opinions among the larger games sites, lack of diversity in who is actually writing about games, endemic advertising. All, in my book, big problems within games writing. But GamerGate has not only failed to highlight any of these issues, they, in fact, have seemed to actively strive to make them worse.
I can tell you what GamerGate is about. It's about making voices shut up. They do this under a few different veils. "Corruption" is their most popular one but a close second is "insulting the audience." The "Gamers Are Over" article from Leigh Alexander is one of GamerGate's favorites, despite it have absolutely nothing to do with corruption. They claim it's an insult to the audience, an attack on gamers everywhere. It made Alexander pretty much public enemy #1. It seems to be a real obsession among the GamerGate community. Being respected, not being talked down to. And hey, I got no problem with that. Everyone should want to be respected. However, that brings us to another figure within GamerGate, Total Biscuit. He's sort of the anti-Leigh and has been promoted to GamerGate messiah in recent weeks. He's a guy who must respect his audience, right? Oh, wait...what's that?
Now, there's a guy who respects the almighty gamer! I'm not gonna say that either Leigh Alexander or Total Biscuit are right or wrong in what they said but you can't have it both ways. If you want to be taking seriously as a movement or whatever, you have to have some sort of logical consistency to what you're preaching. GamerGate does not have this and never did.
The most substantial accomplishments of GamerGate thus far have been convincing Intel to pull their advertising from Gamasutra and causing Jenn Frank to quit game writing. Nevermind the fact the Intel pulling their money hurts not only everyone working at Gamasutra but also all the developers who use the site as an online resource for both development and job hunting. But these people along with Jenn Frank, one of the absolute best games writers we had and the absolute epitome of what's NOT wrong with games writing, are all just collateral damage in the war of gamer retribution. Because a lady wrote an article you didn't like. That may sound reductive but that's what it is. Whether you agree with the "Gamers Are Over" article or not, whether you think it's garbage or it's a masterpiece, trying to force voices out of this industry is wrong, wrong wrong. A thousand times, wrong.
If you cared about corruption, you would have abandoned GamerGate a long time ago. A lot of the "gaters" like to say that GamerGate isn't about harassment but whether it was suppose to be or not, that's what people see when they see GamerGate. But instead of trying to weed out these individuals, people are much more concerned with throwing up their hands and saying "welp, that's not me!" The thing is it is you. If your movement is giving these people a voice, if your movement is giving these people a reason to force writers like Jenn Frank out of this industry, then it is your fault. If you actually care about half the things you claim to care about, you would have refocused the cause to a more positive place weeks ago. But you don't because you don't care. GamerGate is, today, about the same thing it was since day one. Finding the people in games journalism who write things that you don't like and trying to make them go away.
I've played games pretty much my entire life. Despite this, I have never once called myself a gamer. I've never asked anyone to call me a gamer. I certainly never will now. And despite me still being being passionate about games, one of the things that seems to constantly drive me away is the gamers themselves. Time and time again, it becomes apparent to me that a lot of gamers don't actually care about games as much as they like to think they do. They care about playing with their toys. They want to sit in the sandbox and play with their toys but then when someone walks over with a new kind of toy that they've never seen before, that maybe confuses them a little bit, they kick sand in their face and chase them away. When what they should be doing, even if they don't like the new toys, is realize that the sandbox is for everyone. You can have your section of the sandbox, I can have mine. Maybe even once in a while, we can share but if you don't want to, that's fine. The point is that we're all playing together. You don't have to like the new toys but all I ask is that you let them play.