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Posted by Milkman (19262 posts) -

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.

Adam Baldwin, the final boss of GamerGate and holder of other great opinions like
Adam Baldwin, the final boss of GamerGate and holder of other great opinions like "gay marriage will lead to incest."

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?

"You don't matter to me...you've already been replaced."

"Many viewers are children and should be treated as such..."

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.

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#1 Edited by azrailx (604 posts) -

I never knew adam baldwin was such a tool until gamersgate so i guess that is one semi not completely shitty thing to come out of it?

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#3 Posted by chrissedoff (2387 posts) -

This is a great blog. This whole thing is part regressive politics, part control freak-ery and part delusion over "gaming" being a zero-sum proposition where there's only so much representation to go around. It's zero parts genuine concern over video games writers' corruption or their contempt for their audience. People who genuinely care about those things don't glom onto a spiteful, lunatic astroturf movement to try to have their concerns about video games media addressed.

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#4 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (7830 posts) -

That was very nice to read as someone who hasn't really kept up with this whole mess, outside a few specific outline points.

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#5 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (1069 posts) -

I think that it is absolutely crazy that they're happy about intel removing an ad and that it is really showing. A big corporation, afraid of a PR nightmare, acted like any big corporation does and stepped back. At the end of the day, they want everybody to act like big corporation and anything that is not stupid PR speak (actual journalism) does not fit their definition. If that it is the gaming environment they want, fine for them. But I would like to have some diversity, not just writers that are constantly attacked because they had an opinion that did not fit their mind. If your only confirmation is a multi-millions company acting safe, then you fucked up.

Thanks for echoing some of my opinions.

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#6 Edited by GERALTITUDE (5988 posts) -

I'm disappointed in where this ended up Milkman, maybe especially coming from you. I realize you are probably going "who even is this person?" but I know you anyways duder, and have mad respect (still do). Here's my thoughts. I agree with many of your feelings but not who you are directing them to.

I am the last guy to say anything positive about GamerGate but you're lumping everyone who ever agreed with it in any sense (partially, completely, whatever) and saying they are all bad people.

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.

Milkman, 2015

People who fell under GG did so for various reasons. They aren't a hive mind with one mission, one voice, one belief. They are as varied as all the journalists on the other side. And what if I choose to half believe GG and half believe the other side? What then?

GG should be a lesson to us that there are a lot of frustrated readers out there. Did they jump onto the wrong bandwagon? Did GG cause more damage than good? Were many proponents inappropriate and terrible? Does communication on the internet continue to be a huge challenge? Yep to all.

There's no such thing as logical consistency in a movement because movements are made up of people, and people are made up of inconsistencies. They barely agree with themselves much less each other.

Line up 1000 feminists and ask them all to describe what the portrayal of a strong woman looks like. Then ask them what the number 1 thing they would change in the world is. Or their number 1 anger. Now find 1000 people fighting for race representation in games. You would find the same thing you find under any generic movement umbrella. People disagree.

Please don't misunderstand me. I think the way many people behaved is terrible. In general, I do not agree with the GG movement.

But I will not damn people en masse for their feelings. If you go on YouTube you will find a lot of very calm, reasonable GG videos that condemn what happened to Jenn Frank. Are people mixing messages? Is there confusion? Yes. And it's natural. Again, different people are coming at it from wildly different agendas.

One video I watched was simply a 12 year old Indian kid lamenting race representation in games writing. He's barely a part of the GG manifesto right? But if GG isn't his movement, then which one is? Well, rather than start a new one, he joined one that he thought was fighting for his rights. You want me to point at him and say Hey, fuck you asshole, you fired Jen Frank? I can't do it. It's mean. It's generalizing. It ain't right.

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#7 Edited by dudeglove (13684 posts) -
the short version for people who have lives
the short version for people who have lives

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#8 Posted by physicalscience (307 posts) -

This is why I am glad that I barely ever use social media. It would be awesome if both sides of all this drama bs would realize that like 99% of the world does not give a damn about their hashtag garbage. What is a lot more fun is to support real initiatives that do things to make things better, like http://sheplusplus.stanford.edu/. I wonder how many of these people realize that they are all just yelling at each other in this dumb bubble, almost equivalent to console war forums. Writing one-sided clickbait/flamebait articles isn't helping anyone and yelling at and threatening people on the internet is dumb.

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#9 Posted by chrissedoff (2387 posts) -

@geraltitude: Don't you think it's a false equivalency to call it even between a century-old philosophical/political movement with a storied academic tradition and a ginned-up conspiracy theory-fueled movement united under a hashtag? At best, there are some people associated with Gamergate who were duped into thinking there was really something there, but they were wrong.

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#10 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (7830 posts) -
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#11 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15667 posts) -

@dudeglove: I wrote this long post about how this entire ordeal has made me question if I'm spending my time wisely by engaging in internet bullshit... but that comic reminded me that internet bullshit is still sometimes worthwhile.

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#12 Posted by deactivated-5b43dadb9061b (1649 posts) -

This is why I am glad that I barely ever use social media. It would be awesome if both sides of all this drama bs would realize that like 99% of the world does not give a damn about their hashtag garbage. What is a lot more fun is to support real initiatives that do things to make things better, like http://sheplusplus.stanford.edu/. I wonder how many of these people realize that they are all just yelling at each other in this dumb bubble, almost equivalent to console war forums. Writing one-sided clickbait/flamebait articles isn't helping anyone and yelling at and threatening people on the internet is dumb.

Will I agree to a point, not everyone has money or connections for form or start something of this caliber. It's doesn't mean it's less worthy.

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#13 Posted by spraynardtatum (4384 posts) -

@dudeglove: I love how the sea lion is always staring at me.

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#14 Edited by GERALTITUDE (5988 posts) -

@chrissedoff said:

@geraltitude: Don't you think it's a false equivalency to call it even between a century-old philosophical/political movement with a storied academic tradition and a ginned-up conspiracy theory-fueled movement united under a hashtag? At best, there are some people associated with Gamergate who were duped into thinking there was really something there, but they were wrong.

I'm not trying to point them out as equivalent.

Just that whenever you analyze any group, under any heading (movement, demographic, race, sex), no matter its size, age, whatever - you will find that internally there is massive disagreement.

So for me, to damn the group wholesale is just a simplification that gains us nothing.

And not to get too dramatic, but frankly, damning large groups is one of the things wrong in the world today.

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#15 Posted by dudeglove (13684 posts) -

@dudeglove: I love how the sea lion is always staring at me.

Reminds me of a fun story from my old job. I didn't work on the film directly, but the crew who did a nature doc told me during post production that when they shot some footage of some isolated colony (or rookery or whatever the collective noun is for them) of sea lions, the sea lions were not only extremely loud because of whatever mating call/things they scream at each other but also smelled absolutely awful because they're wallowing in shit or rotting fish or something on the beach. The group absolutely hated it because the stench drifted for about a mile..

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#16 Posted by spraynardtatum (4384 posts) -

Game journalists aren't corrupt they just aren't journalists. At least a huge chunk of them aren't. Most of them are pundits and, for lack of a better word, marketers.

Video game websites are basically just advertisements. They exist so that people (like us) can find out about the games that are coming out. I would be comfortable with saying that less than 5% of what game websites provide is journalism. I don't understand why we're even calling them journalists or holding them to journalistic standards. That's the reason that #gamergate sucks. It has nothing to do with corruption but more to do with an insincere job title.

There are three people in the entire industry that do anything close to journalism. Patrick Klepek, Jason Schreier, and Cara Ellison. Everyone else is a critic or a, for lack of a better word, marketer.

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#17 Posted by Wemibelle (2628 posts) -

@geraltitude: You make some great points about being acceptive towards criticism even when it takes a different side from you. This is what true criticism should be--two sides having a calm, rational argument that supports their side. It is absolutely true that the louder asshats, those who use death threats and insults to get their way, are making it harder for those on the "wrong" side to voice their opinions without being completely shut down. I can understand why this can make people a little touchy when it comes to criticism, but the only way to obtain actual legitimate debate is to listen to those who speak. Unless of course they just scream and whine to say their piece--in which case, fuck 'em.

@spraynardtatum: This is the point I keep trying to make whenever I'm discussing these events with anyone. It's a bit annoying to see everyone using the "journalists should be unbiased" argument when games writers (note how I didn't say journalists) are absolutely not journalists, bar a few including the ones you mentioned. Reporting on news of products and companies in the gaming industry, posting previews and reviews of products, and talking about the general industry at large makes these people critics--or as Jeff likes to say, "enthusiast press." I think people would be a lot less angry if they realized this was the case.

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#18 Posted by Milkman (19262 posts) -

@geraltitude: I don't doubt that there are actually some people on the GamerGate side who have legitimate complaints but my point is that by aligning themselves with this, they're doing themselves and whatever concerns they may have a disservice. It's never going to get through the noise. Find a new avenue because nothing good is being accomplished in this current state.

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#19 Posted by fisk0 (6843 posts) -
Moderator
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#20 Edited by yinstarrunner (1314 posts) -

The biggest problem with gamergate is twitter. It's a fuckawful thing that obfuscates anything ever resembling reasonable debate. It's an internet snark machine, at best, so it's no surprise to me that people on both sides of this issue have no fucking idea what it's actually about.

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#21 Posted by mbradley1992 (590 posts) -

This thing has very little traction outside of the internet culture (other than the C-list nobody celebrity that's been tweeting about it), but continuous writing and arguing about it just stokes the fire.

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#22 Posted by PoorTommy (228 posts) -

@milkman: I like what you had to say and I think you said it quite well. I don't have a social media presence, but this discussion has pervaded through many websites that I like to read and I think I know enough of what it is now. It is a tremendous shame that many people understand that the topic is a conceit, yet the conversation still must be stoked. You seem well aware that GamerGate incites many mean things, yet again still had to incite what you felt. There is no issue with this, I think it merely speaks how embittered it has made the fruits of our passion become.

Through all this, it is so frustrating because the passions that are invoked by this medium have not been the focal point. Ethics and entitlement have spurred impetuous outrage; everything seems to be fought for cerebral gain rather than an emotional one. In that sense, GamerGate does not resemble a collective effusion toward games. Instead its an aggregate of logical outcries that do not deserve to be concatenated singly into a movement. If people had such heavy concerns, they should not elect to bring it under a solitary banner of disparate logical disputes.

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#23 Posted by conmulligan (1892 posts) -

Intel pulling their ad campaign from Gamasutra was some cowardly bullshit and I really hope it blows up in their face.

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#24 Edited by teaoverlord (592 posts) -
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#25 Posted by conmulligan (1892 posts) -

@teaoverlord said:

@conmulligan: I don't know how much Intel cares about Linux support, but there's this: http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/32778.html

Yeah, I saw that. Good for him. The Verge also ran a pretty scathing piece earlier today that I thought was effective. Hopefully someone at Intel is paying attention.

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#26 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (6354 posts) -

@conmulligan said:

Intel pulling their ad campaign from Gamasutra was some cowardly bullshit and I really hope it blows up in their face.

Was this also cowardly bullshit? I don't think so. If someone is attacking your target audience, you don't stick around. You make them eat their words.

Most people associate "gamergate" with ethics issues--even though that's just a small part of their complaints--but I don't think Intel pulled their ads over any possible ethics breach. I think they pulled their advertising because Gamasutra either intentionally attacked their audience while trying to make a point, or mistakenly insulted their audience because they seemed to think that the only people who would identify as "gamers" would be the kind of assholes sending death threats to feminists. Either way, Gameasutra fucked up.

If you're arguing that many companies use "gamer" as a marketing tool, you shouldn't be surprised when an advertiser or two pull their support after you shit all over the term. And if some of your readers consider themselves gamers, you shouldn't be surprised when there's a very vocal backlash after you've attacked them and their hobby.

In short, Intel pulled their advertising because they didn't want to be associated with an attack on their customers. That seems fairly sensible to me. If Gameasutra had done their job right, and only attacked people who were actually engaged in harassment and making threats, none of this would be happening right now. This is the cost of generalization and conflation.

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#27 Posted by reverendk (222 posts) -

In short, Intel pulled their advertising because they didn't want to be associated with an attack on their customers. That seems fairly sensible to me. If Gameasutra had done their job right, and only attacked people who were actually engaged in harassment and making threats, none of this would be happening right now. This is the cost of generalization and conflation.

I've never associated Gamasutra with putting out bangers so the change isn't a huge surprise. I'd link to that one post the guy wrote where he challenged people talking up gamergate to a fight, and said a bunch of really sexist stuff in the process of trying to condemn a bunch of people he thought were sexist, but it doesn't seem to exist anymore which is a shame. It was really really funny to see that level of cognitive dissonance play out.

I'd imagine the people in charge of ad money at Intel looked at the complaints they were getting for running ads there and looked at all of the hoopla getting thrown around and figured they were best served pulling their money out. Maybe they'll change their mind, maybe they won't.

@geraltitude: Don't you think it's a false equivalency to call it even between a century-old philosophical/political movement with a storied academic tradition and a ginned-up conspiracy theory-fueled movement united under a hashtag? At best, there are some people associated with Gamergate who were duped into thinking there was really something there, but they were wrong.

So this is just a fun history fact and unrelated to the larger discussion, but there is a well known female historian that gets pulled into academic "feminism" from time to time, or at least did, when I was in grad school named Katheryn Mayo. She's most famous for a book called Mother India which I suggest you seek out because it's a pretty interesting read. Long story short and reductive, she's wonderfully racist in that way that only someone born in the 1860s can be and didn't think that Indians should or could rule themselves because they were mostly various shades of brown and the men spent all day trying to sexually assault women so the British should remain in charge. That's incredibly racist and terrible, you'd probably say, and you're right, but as of even a few years ago people are going around talking about how they want to be next Katheryn Mayo. I suggest any of the versions of the text that come with forwards by scholars to get the context for why the notion of people wanting to be her is crazy.

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#28 Posted by Marokai (3711 posts) -

I don't really "support" whatever "Gamergate" really is at this point because it's barely really a thing. It's like railing against "Occupy Wallstreet" for being rag-tag, squatting, ne'er-do-wells who aren't acting "properly" to address their grievances. I think most of the people still beating the GG drum at this point are the stragglers who aren't willing to leave well enough alone, and aren't fostering much of a conversation anymore. I moved on and so have most people.

But the skeptic in me can't abide by "if you support this movement you're supporting everything this completely different horrible person has done or said!" logic. If it doesn't fly every time someone criticizes game journos for refusing to speak out against their peers' and using guilt-by-association tactics because of some idiotic statement inevitably made by someone from Polygon, or Leigh Alexander, or whoever else it is that week, it doesn't fly here.

We can agree the harassment is shitty, we are on the same page in the fury and frustration I felt when Jenn Frank felt she had to leave (though her elaboration speaks to deeper reasons than simply the catalyst that led to it) and are of the same mind that people should leave that label behind because at this point it's just a bunch of people who can't let go. But what we seem to disagree on is the idea that people should be judged individually on the merits of their argument and shouldn't antagonize people just for funsies. When you say this:

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.

It makes me sort of angry, because you're just doing what you're railing against. You're impugning a wide swath of people as somehow beneath you. Oh, you don't call yourself a gamer, you're better than that. Anyone who calls themselves a gamer must be a terrible person, party to terrible deeds. I bet they're all just spoiled white dudes, too. No. These sort of words don't help. It's divisive, it's shitty, and it's not even true. It does nothing but piss people off. This "Oh, well I'm not that kind of gamer" just oozes condescension, and it's largely what that Alexander article consisted of. It was not constructive in the slightest.

You claim to want everyone to be able to get what they want out of our hobby ("...realize that the sandbox is for everyone. You can have your section of the sandbox, I can have mine.") and denounce everyone who supports Gamergate as supporting dialogue that isn't constructive and inclusive and welcoming, but then you get pissy over the word "gamer" and defend statements that more or less spit on the entire culture in one fell swoop. This just doesn't compute. You should be opposed to both.

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#29 Posted by Milkman (19262 posts) -

@marokai:

I don't really "support" whatever "Gamergate" really is at this point because it's barely really a thing. It's like railing against "Occupy Wallstreet" for being rag-tag, squatting, ne'er-do-wells who aren't acting "properly" to address their grievances. I think most of the people still beating the GG drum at this point are the stragglers who aren't willing to leave well enough alone, and aren't fostering much of a conversation anymore. I moved on and so have most people.

Well, all the stuff with Intel pulling their advertising from Gamasutra just happened this week so there are clearly a lot of people still beating the drum. It's still big enough to have an impact and if you check the tag, there's still hundreds of tweets every day.

It makes me sort of angry, because you're just doing what you're railing against. You're impugning a wide swath of people as somehow beneath you. Oh, you don't call yourself a gamer, you're better than that. Anyone who calls themselves a gamer must be a terrible person, party to terrible deeds. I bet they're all just spoiled white dudes, too. No. These sort of words don't help. It's divisive, it's shitty, and it's not even true. It does nothing but piss people off. This "Oh, well I'm not that kind of gamer" just oozes condescension, and it's largely what that Alexander article consisted of. It was not constructive in the slightest.

You claim to want everyone to be able to get what they want out of our hobby ("...realize that the sandbox is for everyone. You can have your section of the sandbox, I can have mine.") and denounce everyone who supports Gamergate as supporting dialogue that isn't constructive and inclusive and welcoming, but then you get pissy over the word "gamer" and defend statements that more or less spit on the entire culture in one fell swoop. This just doesn't compute. You should be opposed to both.

You're right, what I said may be condescending, call it whatever you want but I have no problem saying "I'm not that kind of gamer." No, I'm not saying that all gamers are like this or anything like that but I'm just relaying what I see. I have seen time and time again people push back on this site or elsewhere against something because it wasn't what they wanted games to be or because they saw it as a threat to the games they like for whatever reason. This happens and it happens way too often for my tastes. The good and the bad are both part of the culture. You can't just ignore the bad parts. These harassers are just as much a part of culture as you and me.

And no, anyone who supports GamerGate isn't "supporting" these attacks on people but if you sit by and don't try to clean up these people, you are enabling it. When the vast majority of people see your movement as a harassment campaign, you've fucked up. And the answer isn't saying "well, I didn't do any bad stuff so I'm gonna keep doing exactly what I'm doing." The answer is to look at these people you're associating yourself with either directly or indirectly and decide if this is still something worth doing. I know there have times when certain members of the Giant Bomb community have acted in pretty disgusting ways. And my stance has always been to reflect on why this behavior may be happening here, not to throw my hands in the say and "hey, don't look at me!"

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#30 Edited by chrissedoff (2387 posts) -

Bottom line of all this should be: if you're not a misogynist, a troll, a hoaxer, a conspiracy theorist or some other kind paranoid, regressive person who thinks video games have to always stay exactly the same forever or the entire medium will die and you've found yourself participating in Gamergate, get out now because you're being tricked.

Honestly, I've yet to see this mythical reasonable Gamergate person who's airing legitimate grievances about video games writers in a logical, mature and intellectually honest fashion. And I've seen a lot of people claiming to be that on this very forum, so they've had plenty of chances to impress me. Even the calmest and most polite folks on that side have been extremely vague about what their complaint is at best and when they're not so vague they usually express anxiety about how sociopolitical analysis of games -- particularly from the perspective of groups who have been historically marginalized in the medium -- might make it impossible for "gamers" to have fun playing video games in the future. I'm seeing all these warnings about not painting the movement with too broad a brush, but it feels like I'm being lectured by the Unicorn Preservation Society.

At some point, we need to hold people accountable when they proudly wear a label that's shared by thousands of bigots who hack, harass, threaten and engage in false flag operations, even if they only wear that label it because they're so incredibly dense that they don't seem to realize it's happening. I'd feel really bad for some poor soul who got fooled into thinking the Klan was a civil rights group, but that doesn't mean I'm a jerk for saying, "Fuck the Klan." Fuck Gamergate.

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#31 Posted by l4wd0g (2390 posts) -

@conmulligan: "Gamer are Over," brought to you by Intel. It's not like gamers are a target market to them or something...

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#32 Edited by TheHT (15797 posts) -

@milkman said:

@marokai:

I don't really "support" whatever "Gamergate" really is at this point because it's barely really a thing. It's like railing against "Occupy Wallstreet" for being rag-tag, squatting, ne'er-do-wells who aren't acting "properly" to address their grievances. I think most of the people still beating the GG drum at this point are the stragglers who aren't willing to leave well enough alone, and aren't fostering much of a conversation anymore. I moved on and so have most people.

Well, all the stuff with Intel pulling their advertising from Gamasutra just happened this week so there are clearly a lot of people still beating the drum. It's still big enough to have an impact and if you check the tag, there's still hundreds of tweets every day.

It makes me sort of angry, because you're just doing what you're railing against. You're impugning a wide swath of people as somehow beneath you. Oh, you don't call yourself a gamer, you're better than that. Anyone who calls themselves a gamer must be a terrible person, party to terrible deeds. I bet they're all just spoiled white dudes, too. No. These sort of words don't help. It's divisive, it's shitty, and it's not even true. It does nothing but piss people off. This "Oh, well I'm not that kind of gamer" just oozes condescension, and it's largely what that Alexander article consisted of. It was not constructive in the slightest.

You claim to want everyone to be able to get what they want out of our hobby ("...realize that the sandbox is for everyone. You can have your section of the sandbox, I can have mine.") and denounce everyone who supports Gamergate as supporting dialogue that isn't constructive and inclusive and welcoming, but then you get pissy over the word "gamer" and defend statements that more or less spit on the entire culture in one fell swoop. This just doesn't compute. You should be opposed to both.

You're right, what I said may be condescending, call it whatever you want but I have no problem saying "I'm not that kind of gamer." No, I'm not saying that all gamers are like this or anything like that but I'm just relaying what I see. I have seen time and time again people push back on this site or elsewhere against something because it wasn't what they wanted games to be or because they saw it as a threat to the games they like for whatever reason. This happens and it happens way too often for my tastes. The good and the bad are both part of the culture. You can't just ignore the bad parts. These harassers are just as much a part of culture as you and me.

And no, anyone who supports GamerGate isn't "supporting" these attacks on people but if you sit by and don't try to clean up these people, you are enabling it. When the vast majority of people see your movement as a harassment campaign, you've fucked up. And the answer isn't saying "well, I didn't do any bad stuff so I'm gonna keep doing exactly what I'm doing." The answer is to look at these people you're associating yourself with either directly or indirectly and decide if this is still something worth doing. I know there have times when certain members of the Giant Bomb community have acted in pretty disgusting ways. And my stance has always been to reflect on why this behavior may be happening here, not to throw my hands in the say and "hey, don't look at me!"

Don't conflate people who get stupid about games like Gone Home with the harassers. The folks who can't accept certain games being games and all that jazz are one thing, and the harassers are in a totally different league.

If you want to tackle the defensiveness certain people have towards games unusual to them, go for it. If you want to take on everyone that might harass someone else on the internet, then by all means (and godspeed). There may be crossover between the two, but there can be crossover between any number of mentalities and behaviours in individuals. Arbitrarily unifying any of them is a mistake.

And let's all take a moment to get away from the vague rallying cries to stopping harassers from harassing, and consider how the fuck you're gonna actually do that. It's the internet. It's not like you can walk over to these fuckers and sternly say "hey, quit it". Even if you could, what would you do if they responded with a hearty "go fuck yourself"?

Harassment on the internet isn't gonna go away because some other people on the internet get pissy at the people doing the harassing, especially not if that only adds to their "fun". That sort of behaviour can be curtailed in an environment like this, relatively small and moderated, but for all their efforts, and the efforts of the users to condemn that sort of behaviour, I see there only being reactive measures to harassment.

These calls to action tend to imply that there's a way to deal with harassers at their core. That if we correspond reasonably with them, if we gang up on them, if we don't ignore them, then we can sway their hearts and minds, making them see the folly of their ways.

I won't deny that those methods may work for some misguided, but the "trolls" are not among them. The harassers won't stop because you put your foot down and then nothing else.

Those calls are growing more and more shallow. I see them used as pep-talks, as deflections, as genuine pleas to individuals, but for as moving as it might sound at one instance or another, we've been stuck on the same fucking point for years now. What is there to show for it?

An increasingly negative environment where the only respite is to ignore everyone?

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#33 Edited by RonGalaxy (4936 posts) -

Adam Baldwin was a very convincing douchebag-macho-asshole in Full Metal Jacket, so I guess it makes sense that he's like that in real life. Kubrick probably picked him because he didn't need to pretend; he just was that character. He didn't need to act at all, he could just say the lines and his shitty personality/worldview would do the rest. So in that instance it worked out for all of us. In the whole gamergate thing? Not so much.

Also, how hilarious is it that this is being called gamergate? Not only is it extremely lazy, but it's also comparing a bunch of video game bullshit that really doesn't mean anything to one of the most well known/notorious conspiracies to have ever taken place in modern culture, if not of all time. The fucking gall

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#34 Posted by kishinfoulux (3328 posts) -

It's too bad you only hear about the the so called awful people on the GG side, when there are plenty more on the games media side, but that's how they do things. Personally I'm glad to see them taken to task. I don't particularly like being labeled as all sorts of awful things just for being a "gamer" but whatever I guess that's a-okay. Games journalism has always been a hot fucking mess. It's funny watching them squirm because they've never dealt with this kind of push back before and it's already caused some changes and will continue to make more.

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#35 Posted by Jaqen_HGhar (1368 posts) -

I am a gamer, and I support Gamergate. I am against harassment, misogony and people who generally act like shits. Jenn Frank quitting is a shitty thing, and should not have happened, even thought I honestly never have followed her and only heard her name here and there. There are stupid people on both sides, and it cannot be defended when someone does something bad. And that is part of why I still support Gamergate. Both "sides" has acted like total dicks, but one side mostly seems to ignore that. The anti-Gamergate side. The people who are supposed to be professional. Seeing game journalists (some want to be called bloggers when journalistic integrity is involved it seems) telling people to fuck off because they like games, calling people nerds with intent for it to be hurtful, to say that "if you don't think the way I do I will end every chance you have to work in my industry"... that is just wrong, and is one of the things I am against. Saying I support Gamergate is a simple way for me to say so.
Also, I find this to be funny:

@milkman said:

Finding the people in games journalism who write things that you don't like and trying to make them go away.

Because to me that is what several game journalists and others (Sarkeesian mostly) is trying to do with games. Finding things in games they don't like and make them go away. Why not instead try to ensure more of what you like is made? Why drag something down instead of building something up? That is my main problem with that part of it. I don't like what Sarkeesian or the "SJW" movement is doing at all, and to me that is a big part of this. So many writers do everything they can to cram that down our throats. And I am tired of it. I just want more good games. Games like Saints Row, Hitman, Gone Home and Shadow of Mordor. More games, all the time, a thousand years. More Games. Now I have to go to work, but I'd rather just play more Mordor.

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#36 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (6354 posts) -

@milkman said:

And no, anyone who supports GamerGate isn't "supporting" these attacks on people but if you sit by and don't try to clean up these people, you are enabling it.

So are you enabling it? What are you doing to try and clean up these people? Condemning the harassment? People associated with gamergate are doing the same thing. It doesn't matter, nothing changes.

So if standing up against harassment doesn't actually accomplish anything when someone associated with gamergate does it, why is it expected to work at any other time?

And is this a two way street? Are you a part of the problem? Do you wish to own this? How about this? Are these things your fault?

I would say they're not your fault, but would you disagree? Are you not doing enough to stop this from happening? Would you be quick to say #notallsocialjusticeadvocates? Would you say that was probably done by gamergaters to make the "SWJ side" look bad? Would you try to minimize this? Would you make the same ridiculous "they did it to themselves" accusation that people have suggested of Zoe Quinn and Phil Fish? Should game journalists be reporting this?

And most importantly, if condemning harassment doesn't work, what should we be doing to fight the worst "gamers" as you see them? What can we do?

@milkman said:

When the vast majority of people see your movement as a harassment campaign, you've fucked up.

And when the vast majority of the gaming press is only writing about your movement when it comes to harassment, you can't possibly be seen as anything other than a harassment campaign.

I disagree with a LOT of what comes out of gamergate. Seriously, every time I try to watch a video, I end up internally shouting to myself "oh my gosh, you're engaging in the same stupid cycle of misrepresentation / generalization / conflation that you're speaking out against!" Throw a rock in this debate, and you'll hit a hypocrite. But likewise, to suggest that gamergate has had a fair and accurate representation in the gaming media is absurd. Only the absolute most hateful and threatening people in the movement have been given any sort of attention. I've not seen any sort of positive article--or even not inflammatory article--regarding ANYTHING related to gamergate. No interview with the women who consider themselves a part of gamergate, no promotion of TFYC, or even a positive / neutral take on Vivian James. Nothing.

If someone in the games media attempted to generalize and conflate social justice advocates like this, they would be crucified by their peers, and correctly so. I would guess that is what people who consider themselves a part of gamergate hate the most.

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#37 Edited by cocoonmoon (254 posts) -

Very uninformed blog, but I appreciate the attempt. Thanks!

Total Biscuit is not "anti-Leigh". He just disagrees with her a lot, but still appreciates her content. The statements of his you posted are also from long ago and TB has since repeatedly stepped up and said that they were dumb and he regrets making them. I don't see Leigh Alexander owning up to her stupidity and ignorance. TB also didn't directly support GamerGate. He just adressed issues that were important to the movement and they of course jumped on it. TotalBiscuit has handled the situation in a very neural and fair way.

I would also advice you to watch the "Women of Gamergate" videos that the poster above posted. I never put myself under the Gamergate banner because that only limits you, but I would still recommend educating yourself on the matter, before making bold claims and rash decisions.

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#38 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (6354 posts) -

Very uninformed blog, but I appreciate the attempt. Thanks!

Total Biscuit is not "anti-Leigh". He just disagrees with her a lot, but still appreciates her content. The statements of his you posted are also from long ago and TB has since repeatedly stepped up and said that they were dumb and he regrets making them. I don't see Leigh Alexander owning up to her stupidity and ignorance. TB also didn't directly support GamerGate. He just adressed issues that were important to the movement and they of course jumped on it. TotalBiscuit has handled the situation in a very neural and fair way.

I would also advice you to watch the "Women of Gamergate" videos that the poster above posted. I never put myself under the Gamergate banner because that only limits you, but I would still recommend educating yourself on the matter, before making bold claims and rash decisions.

I should note that I would rather shoot myself than watch a five hour video from ANYONE with ANY opinion on this topic, but I did skip around that video enough to get a general idea of how they felt. It's an interesting take on the situation, and it sure isn't going to be picked up by anyone in the gaming media.

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#39 Posted by l4wd0g (2390 posts) -

Here are my thought on Media and Journalism (in the United States)

To quote Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone article:

"All journalism is advocacy journalism. No matter how it's presented, every report by every reporter advances someone's point of view. The advocacy can be hidden, as it is in the monotone narration of a news anchor for a big network like CBS or NBC (where the biases of advertisers and corporate backers like GE are disguised in a thousand subtle ways), or it can be out in the open...

"Try as hard as you want, a point of view will come forward in your story. Open any newspaper from the Thirties or Forties, check the sports page; the guy who wrote up the box score, did he have a political point of view? He probably didn't think so. But viewed with 70 or 80 years of hindsight, covering a baseball game where blacks weren't allowed to play without mentioning the fact, that's apology and advocacy. Any journalist with half a brain knows that the biases of our time are always buried in our coverage.

And Edward S. Herman co-author with Noam Chomsky of Manufacturing Consent states:

"Professionalism arose in journalism in the years when the newspaper business was becoming less competitive and more dependent on advertising. Professionalism was not an antagonistic movement by the workers against the press owners, but was actively encouraged by many of the latter. It gave a badge of legitimacy to [corporate] journalism, ostensibly assuring readers that the news would not be influenced by the biases of owners, advertisers, or the journalists themselves.

Everyone in the media, not just the games media, has an agenda. It sucks; but that's the way it is. However, when it's waved in front of our faces like like the gaming media donating to the patreons of game developers (and visa versa) it's less than couth. When you cover a multi-billion dollar industry you want people to at least act like they have scruples. Would you trust a tech reporter who buys Apple stock to be honest? Or a reported who is sleeping with a congress person to cover them fairly? You want people to be honest... or at least give the impression of being honest. It's why the New York Times ethics policy is public.

More specifically about gamergate

Both sides are shitty. Polygon trying to discredit Dr. Sommer's by associating her as conservative is bullshit. That tells me that all women aren't equal. You have to toe the party line or your voice isn't important enough to be heard. There can be no dissenting opinion. People attacking Jenn Frank is shitty. Nathan Greyson not recusing himself is shitty. People harassing people (on both sides) is shitty. Doxxing is shitty. People are shitty.

We should be able to have a conversation about what's going on. But we can't. No one wants to meet in the middle. I'll always be a misogynist because i disagree with Anita. It's just easier that way. Then no one was to confront my points. They just ad hominem me and move on. The same is true for gamergame; it's a bunch of groupthink on both sides. Everyone says that they want diversity, unless it's diversity of thought. Ironically, the diversity of our thoughts and ideologies are what makes us diverse.

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#40 Posted by Ramone (3089 posts) -

I'm so glad I don't follow this shit closely because it just seems like the dumbest fucking thing in the world.

The only genuinely important thing here is that people are being harrassed and losing their jobs, that fucking sucks. No one is forcing you to consume all forms of games media, if there's a writer you don't like and you can't handle their opinion being different to yours, don't read their shit. It's pretty fucking simple.

"GamerGate"? Jesus fucking Christ.

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#41 Edited by Marokai (3711 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac said:

This infuriates me because Boogie is one of the nicest motherfuckers I've seen through all of this and I never saw talk about this anywhere. This is the first I've heard of this. Were articles written about the harassment and doxxing of him? Did Patrick talk about this on tumblr? Did he follow him on twitter in solidarity against harassment?

But he's tried defending GG, so I guess he was asking for it?

The only people who could compartmentalize this stuff away as somehow not mattering as much, or not worth getting as upset about, are the sort of people who see this as some sort of grand culture war they must win at all costs, which is why I've checked out of a lot of these arguments in the past couple weeks. I keep expecting to hear Onward, Christian Soldiers being recited at some point.

That tweet from Zoe irritates me because it's such a disingenuous argument. Not harassing people and discouraging harassment isn't changing anything, so.. what? What is the solution? There isn't a solution to this problem, but the only argument being presented is that people need to cede total control of their arguments, thoughts, and language over to the "good" guys or you're still complicit in the hateful acts against them. I have to agree to completely defend everything they do and show no negativity toward them and be careful that I don't associate with someone who agreed with someone who once talked to someone who knows someone who harassed somebody, maybe. The goalposts are insane, and don't seem to apply when "the other side" suddenly gets harassed too.

It's almost like if you get tens of thousands of people in a room, a huge chunk of them are going to be douchebags regardless of what their sociopolitical beliefs are. Weird.

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#42 Edited by TruthTellah (9821 posts) -

I'm too tired tonight to really get into it too much, but I appreciate your thoughts on all this, @milkman. Sharing them was bound to get you a little flack around here, and that's rarely much fun. I don't know if I'd quite agree with everything you said, but I believe the roots are strong.

I think it's important to consider how most people involved in GamerGate appear relatively normal, if a bit misguided, and while I am sympathetic to some of the reasonable concerns a segment of people have raised(similar to some gaming news and developer concerns I've personally expressed in the past), it seems all too mired in a lot of the same nastiness I've seen in recent years regarding any efforts to discuss the social and personal aspects of games. Both here and around the online gaming community, a lot of the same people that always seem to have something new to rail against or can't seem to pass up any opportunity to muddle more difficult topics have come out the hardest for GamerGate, and it's hard to not see this in context of all that.

None of this just sprung up from nowhere, and the underlying misconceptions fueling a lot of this aren't going to be cleared up without a decent bit of effort in the months and possibly years ahead.

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#43 Posted by Milkman (19262 posts) -

I have a lot of notifications right now and I'm going to try to reply to everyone who said something directly to me but I may miss something here and there.

@theht: I wasn't trying to conflate the two groups. If my post made it seem like that, sorry. If you're asking me what I propose we do about harassment, I don't know. I wish I had a good answer for you. I do think, like I said, that if the harassment is coming from within the GamerGate movement, the onus should be on others within GamerGate to try to curb that.

@jaqen_hghar: The idea that Anita Sarkeesian is trying to take away people's games is silly for a couple reasons.

1. Never once has she ever suggested that something should be banned because she doesn't like it or approve. She simply points what she perceives to be problems within a lot of games. That does not mean the games are wholesale bad or that the people that made them are bad or that the people that play them are bad. And it doesn't mean they're going to suddenly go away.

2. It's just a YouTube series. While I'm sure she would be thrilled to hear that you think that she has so much influence within the games industry, it simply isn't true. Just because she calls out a game in a video doesn't mean much of anything. If you really don't like her or her videos, I can assure you that you can safely ignore them and continue playing the games you like.

@spaceinsomniac:

First, I think it's important to post Zoe's follow up to the tweet you posted, which is more or less what I was saying in my original post.

As for your questions about whether I would consider myself at fault for people who side with GamerGate getting doxxed, it's kind of a complicated question. I'm not sure if you can consider anti-GamerGate people a group or movement or whatever in the same way that GamerGate seems to want to be seen. My point before was if I'm someone who has been flying the flag of GamerGate throughout the whole thing, I DO think it would be my responsibility to do what I can to stomp out this kind of harassment. Before this post, I haven't been an outspoken anti-GamerGate person. I've made some comments here and there but beyond a very brief discussion on Twitter with Kevin Van Ord, I haven't really said anything substantial. That being said, if I was someone who was on Twitter every day rallying against GamerGate, I absolutely would put the responsibility on myself to try to curb whatever harassment I could. The problem with this is that most of the people who would be seen as the "anti-GamerGate people" are people who never signed up for this. To expect Zoe Quinn to go out of her way to try to stop harassment against GamerGate isn't really fair because she never wanted to be part of this to begin with. (Zoe has done this, in a way, when people asked her to share the phone numbers of people who called harassing her, she refused in order to not encourage doxxing.) Same goes for someone like Patrick, who was targeted by GamerGate before he had any comment on the cause one way or another. Is it really fair to expect people who were attacked by GamerGate to then be expected to stand up when (no matter how wrong it is) they are attacked back?

@LunarJetman: I didn't say Total Biscuit was anti-Leigh. I said THE anti-Leigh. As in, how Leigh Alexander has been presented as a primary enemy, Total Biscuit has been presented as the opposite.

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#44 Edited by Crembaw (894 posts) -

You raise a good amount of points which I agree with principally, but I was very off-put by how you wrote certain parts of it. The accusatory tone and as-fact nature through which you present certain things made it very clear that you have invested yourself in one Morph of the narrative and it felt very pushy as a result. It's fine that you've taken a side and spectacular that you feel so strongly in favor of it. But presenting your view on the matter as the fact behind all things, as if you have the definitive version of what this all REALLY is, intentionally obscures any effort to find actual truth, and it is unsettling to see those tactics at play anywhere.

Please don't take this as an attack. I understand that this is a blog post, and at its heart that means it's an opinion piece on some level. I think you're a pretty smart guy and a cool duder, there were just parts that rubbed me the wrong way.

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#45 Posted by GunslingerPanda (5263 posts) -

This blog is pretty much a misinformed regurgitation of what the press are attempting to force down our throats and lacks any original thought.

Both "sides" are overwhelmingly shitty.

I also find it funny that nobody seems to question why the press are thrusting upon their audience the idea that "GamersGate" is a misogynistic attack against women when - from my own personal experience of actually reading and listen to these people (a shocking idea, right?) - that's miles from the truth. Why would you believe what the press has to say about a "movement" that, from their perspective, is out to get them? It's in their best interests to discredit them with misinformation and sweep the whole thing under the rug. Sycophancy is alive and well, after all.

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#46 Edited by spraynardtatum (4384 posts) -

Do you know what could help get rid of harassment and create better representation of genders and races in video games?

DOG PILE ON ANYONE WHO THINKS DIFFERENTLY!!! THEY'RE ALL FUCKING HELLSPAWN!!!

The gaming media should be embarrassed and ashamed of the way they've flubbed an incredibly important goal. They took a mature stance and turned it into high school drama lacking all respect, perseverance, and delicacy that is required.

Don't pick sides because they're both full of it. One side wants to live in the past and the other side thinks their shit doesn't stink and that because they have a larger platform to speak on their word is holy. It's not embarrassing to be a gamer. It's embarrassing to be royally fucking up an argument as important as gender equality.

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#47 Posted by Lunnington (535 posts) -

While I think TotalBiscuit has the kind of personality that gets him into trouble by saying things emotionally and having outbursts, I don't think that's evidence that he doesn't care or respect his audience. Remember that posts online are mostly emotional snapshots and something that someone said is often not meant. It's like in real life when you say something overly mean to someone and then have to apologize profusely afterwards because you have no idea why you said that, or you said it because you were emotionally distraught. That happens on the internet as well, but the process of apologizing is much more difficult because you're not talking to one person who you know personally.

I agree with everything you said on GamerGate (a word I hadn't heard until today, weirdly) but I don't think it's fair that you slap a generalization onto specific people like TB.

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#48 Edited by conmulligan (1892 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac said:

Was this also cowardly bullshit? I don't think so. If someone is attacking your target audience, you don't stick around. You make them eat their words.

C'mon, they're completely different situations. Fullbright pulled out of PAX on their own volition, Intel caved to a stupid internet campaign. Only one of those is cowardly.

In short, Intel pulled their advertising because they didn't want to be associated with an attack on their customers. That seems fairly sensible to me. If Gameasutra had done their job right, and only attacked people who were actually engaged in harassment and making threats, none of this would be happening right now. This is the cost of generalization and conflation.

Jeff was just as harsh on the term "gamer" at this year's PAX panel, and yet I don't see anyone trying to get ads pulled from Giant Bomb. It's almost as if this isn't really about what Leigh said at all.

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#49 Posted by spraynardtatum (4384 posts) -

The entire gaming press is discredited because they have become so entwined in the news that they're trying to prevent that they cannot possibly provide an objective stance. They have lost all credibility in my eyes and you should be weary of ANY "news" they provide from this point on regarding anything on this subject. They're covering their asses and using their platform to pass blame on people who tell them they aren't doing their jobs well. And they are doing their jobs poorly. They're being pissy children and turning people against each other. It's fear-mongering and punditry at it's absolute most deplorable.

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#50 Edited by SomeJerk (4077 posts) -

Let's say somebody writes an article calling anybody who considers themselves a "gamer" a murderer, rapist, scumbag, republican, tax-evader, sheepshagger.

Would it be okay to consider the writer of that article a delusional fuckwit?

Of course it would be.

Now, what if that writer was a female?

There you have it. The answer. What it's all about.

You would be stupid to not pull sponsorship from that site.