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Giant Bomb Presents: PAX Panel: We’ve Survived the Internet, And So Can You

Sep. 8th 2014

Cards Against Humanity's Trin Garritano, Sentris developer Samantha Kalman, and Treachery in Beatdown City designer Shawn Allen joined me at PAX Prime to share stories about how to be a good person on the Internet. This feels...appropriate.

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frustratedlnc

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I really feel like the 'Don't be a dick' campaign is taking up a lot (too much) of real estate on the site. I'm in an industry where people tell you to fuck off to your face on a semi daily basis and it's relatively easy to ignore. I imagine it's a different animal for people that produce personality driven content on the internet. I haven't been exposed to crazies that will threaten your life or expose your personal information because you dislike Zelda or whatever. I don't use social media much, but isn't it pretty easy just to delete or ignore all this crap?

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GaspoweR

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GaspoweR • 

@sweep said:

But how do you feel about Techies, though?

You're a Techies.

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kantrip

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kantrip • 

@frustratedlnc: Not really because even if you block and ignore and delete some of the haters keep on keepin on or worse will double down on the harassment.

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FinalDasa

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FinalDasa • 

@frustratedlnc: Not really, not when hundreds, or thousands, of people are doing it. Or are sharing your address. Or hacking your website/business. And even when they aren't doing it directly they're harassing and sharing personal information in other places. Not something you can just ignore.

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Coregan

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Coregan • 

i really hope the internet can become a somewhat decent place in the future. maybe sooner, maybe later, but at some point i'd like to be able to not see people spewing death threats everywhere

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patrickklepek

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I really feel like the 'Don't be a dick' campaign is taking up a lot (too much) of real estate on the site. I'm in an industry where people tell you to fuck off to your face on a semi daily basis and it's relatively easy to ignore. I imagine it's a different animal for people that produce personality driven content on the internet. I haven't been exposed to crazies that will threaten your life or expose your personal information because you dislike Zelda or whatever. I don't use social media much, but isn't it pretty easy just to delete or ignore all this crap?

That's the most important statement you wrote, and it's critical. You haven't been exposed to this, but others have. When other people experience what we have not, and we can't imagine what it's like, we have to employ empathy. Empathy means that we trust other people are having legitimate experiences that we cannot comprehend. If a person is feeling upset or threatened by aggressive digital messages, is the proper response to tell them to "get over it" or to try and understand why they feel that way?

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zolkowski

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Edited By zolkowski • 

Speaking of Empathy, I did make an old post about it when I thought blogging might be a good idea. I think it still holds some merits, though now I find myself a little different from then. http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/zolkowski/blog/all-we-need-is-empathy/89205/

Great panel Patrick. I was out at Bit Bash this past weekend, but unfortunately had to head out early (And unfortunately drove 3 hours to head out to it). Maybe if there's another interesting gig happening sometime out there I'll bump into you.

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patrickklepek

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Edited By patrickklepek • 

Speaking of Empathy, I did make an old post about it when I thought blogging might be a good idea. I think it still holds some merits, though now I find myself a little different from then. http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/zolkowski/blog/all-we-need-is-empathy/89205/

Great panel Patrick. I was out at Bit Bash this past weekend, but unfortunately had to head out early (And unfortunately drove 3 hours to head out to it). Maybe if there's another interesting gig happening sometime out there I'll bump into you.

Looking forward to it!

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cocoonmoon

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cocoonmoon • 

Sadly, making the harassment a public matter is not going to make the harassment go away.


The people making death threats, sending abusive messages and other vitriolic junk online want a reaction. They don't care about the agenda of the victim and they don't care about their cause or ideals. This is the reason why trying to argue with these people on a reasonable level is fruitless. When the victim goes online, on twitter, facebook, etc. and makes their dismay public, the mind of the harasser goes: "Now that's a reaction! I win!".

It goes beyond that though. When Anita Sarkeesian received harassment and threats again, the media was, as always, quick to publish articles going into detail about her peril and with that giving the harassers power. Doing this does not fight harassment, it perpetuates it. These articles show the people looking for emotional responses exactly where they can get what they desire.


You might as well be serving them their targets on a silver plate.

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kantrip

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patrickklepek

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Sadly, making the harassment a public matter is not going to make the harassment go away.

The people making death threats, sending abusive messages and other vitriolic junk online want a reaction. They don't care about the agenda of the victim and they don't care about their cause or ideals. This is the reason why trying to argue with these people on a reasonable level is fruitless. When the victim goes online, on twitter, facebook, etc. and makes their dismay public, the mind of the harasser goes: "Now that's a reaction! I win!".

It goes beyond that though. When Anita Sarkeesian received harassment and threats again, the media was, as always, quick to publish articles going into detail about her peril and with that giving the harassers power. Doing this does not fight harassment, it perpetuates it. These articles show the people looking for emotional responses exactly where they can get what they desire.

You might as well be serving them their targets on a silver plate.

Do you actually know this? Have you dealt with harassment yourself? Because my experience with it is that it doesn't make it go away. You can make the argument that highlighting it causes spikes in which it becomes worse, but the harassment doesn't magically disappear. You continue to be a target. Part of the benefits of highlighting it is to remind people it's happening. Your recommendation is that someone who is being punched in the face every day pretend the punching isn't happening. Maybe the guy will just stop. But what if they don't? There are people who stalk me on Twitter every single day, even though I've gone ahead and muted them. They tweet me EVERY DAY with the most horrifying of messages. Ignoring it might pretend it's not there, but it's still there.

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PalaceAthene

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Edited By PalaceAthene • 

Great panel, Patrick. I'd like to let you know that I joined GiantBomb because of you originally, keep up the great work!

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cocoonmoon

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Edited By cocoonmoon • 

@patrickklepek said:

@LunarJetman said:

Sadly, making the harassment a public matter is not going to make the harassment go away.

The people making death threats, sending abusive messages and other vitriolic junk online want a reaction. They don't care about the agenda of the victim and they don't care about their cause or ideals. This is the reason why trying to argue with these people on a reasonable level is fruitless. When the victim goes online, on twitter, facebook, etc. and makes their dismay public, the mind of the harasser goes: "Now that's a reaction! I win!".

It goes beyond that though. When Anita Sarkeesian received harassment and threats again, the media was, as always, quick to publish articles going into detail about her peril and with that giving the harassers power. Doing this does not fight harassment, it perpetuates it. These articles show the people looking for emotional responses exactly where they can get what they desire.

You might as well be serving them their targets on a silver plate.

Do you actually know this? Have you dealt with harassment yourself? Because my experience with it is that it doesn't make it go away. You can make the argument that highlighting it causes spikes in which it becomes worse, but the harassment doesn't magically disappear. You continue to be a target. Part of the benefits of highlighting it is to remind people it's happening. Your recommendation is that someone who is being punched in the face every day pretend the punching isn't happening. Maybe the guy will just stop. But what if they don't? There are people who stalk me on Twitter every single day, even though I've gone ahead and muted them. They tweet me EVERY DAY with the most horrifying of messages. Ignoring it might pretend it's not there, but it's still there.

My post isn't about making it go away. If I knew how to make harassment go away I wouldn't be here, I would be the king of the world. It's about not making things worse. I also don't think that we have to give harassment a pedestal to stand on to make people aware of it. If harassment happens, it needs to be reported, to whoever is the approriate authority in the situation.

There probably is a reason why law enforcement, for example, tells you that when you receive death threats amd harassment, the best way to deal with it is to report it to the authorities, but not make it a public matter, because that can actually have a negative impact.

Lastly, you say that ignoring it does not make it go away. That is true. If, however, the other option is to give the harassers the attention they seek and potentially encourage more harassment, while doing no more to make it go away than ignoring it does. I would prefer the latter.

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Gildermershina

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I guess I missed any Samantha Kalman comment stuff on the bombcast thread, it seemed friendly by the time I read it. That's a bummer. I enjoyed the episode, I enjoyed Samantha's contributions, and I enjoyed having a guest mixing things up.

I have never understood the knee-jerk reaction people have to a certain piece of content they don't enjoy for whatever reason. If you didn't enjoy this bombcast, there's another one in seven days. If you didn't enjoy this video, there's probably another bunch you will like this week. If this wasn't a news story you cared about, guess what, nobody punched in the face, it's not that big of a deal. And if these guys stop talking about videogames for five minutes and talk about something you don't care about or that you're not on board with (SIDE NOTE: every time I hear Jeff and Dan not be able to comprehend the idea of certain foodstuffs, I can scarcely believe these are functioning adults) it's not the end of the world. It's just a moment in time, breathe, let it pass. And then talk about it like an adult who didn't like a thing but recognises that that's it's just an opinion.

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jpmcosta

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Edited By jpmcosta • 

I think Shawn Allen was a bit harsh when sharing his point of view, but I absolutely agree with him.

In any discussion, when there is a side (often a minority) that feels genuinely attacked or belittled by the actions or sayings of the other side (often the majority), it means that there is a problem going on. People who think otherwise are wrong – they just are.

It's not up to the majority to understand how the minority feels or trying to put on their shoes. Usually, that's not even possible. They have to stop trying to understand.

What the majority needs to accept is that their behavior is hurting other people. Only then, we can start the real discussion: is the majority willing to change their behavior?

To sum up: it's not a matter if it was your intention to hurt anyone, what matters is how the other side perceived your actions. Nobody wants to feel bad or be hurt. So, if there is someone feeling like that, it means you did wrong somehow.

Btw, very nice panel – some really interesting points of views.

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jpmcosta

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Edited By jpmcosta • 
@LunarJetman said:

@patrickklepek said:

@LunarJetman said:

Sadly, making the harassment a public matter is not going to make the harassment go away.

The people making death threats, sending abusive messages and other vitriolic junk online want a reaction. They don't care about the agenda of the victim and they don't care about their cause or ideals. This is the reason why trying to argue with these people on a reasonable level is fruitless. When the victim goes online, on twitter, facebook, etc. and makes their dismay public, the mind of the harasser goes: "Now that's a reaction! I win!".

It goes beyond that though. When Anita Sarkeesian received harassment and threats again, the media was, as always, quick to publish articles going into detail about her peril and with that giving the harassers power. Doing this does not fight harassment, it perpetuates it. These articles show the people looking for emotional responses exactly where they can get what they desire.

You might as well be serving them their targets on a silver plate.

Do you actually know this? Have you dealt with harassment yourself? Because my experience with it is that it doesn't make it go away. You can make the argument that highlighting it causes spikes in which it becomes worse, but the harassment doesn't magically disappear. You continue to be a target. Part of the benefits of highlighting it is to remind people it's happening. Your recommendation is that someone who is being punched in the face every day pretend the punching isn't happening. Maybe the guy will just stop. But what if they don't? There are people who stalk me on Twitter every single day, even though I've gone ahead and muted them. They tweet me EVERY DAY with the most horrifying of messages. Ignoring it might pretend it's not there, but it's still there.

My post isn't about making it go away. If I knew how to make harassment go away I wouldn't be here, I would be the king of the world. It's about not making things worse. I also don't think that we have to give harassment a pedestal to stand on to make people aware of it. If harassment happens, it needs to be reported, to whoever is the approriate authority in the situation.

There probably is a reason why law enforcement, for example, tells you that when you receive death threats amd harassment, the best way to deal with it is to report it to the authorities, but not make it a public matter, because that can actually have a negative impact.

Lastly, you say that ignoring it does not make it go away. That is true. If, however, the other option is to give the harassers the attention they seek and potentially encourage more harassment, while doing no more to make it go away than ignoring it does. I would prefer the latter.

Reporting to the authorities seems reasonable. Until you actually report it and the authorities don't have the information or the means (or the will) to actually do anything to help you.

You should read an article called 'Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet' by Amanda Hess. It will give you some insight.

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Mike

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Mike  Moderator  Online • 

I guess I missed any Samantha Kalman comment stuff on the bombcast thread, it seemed friendly by the time I read it. That's a bummer. I enjoyed the episode, I enjoyed Samantha's contributions, and I enjoyed having a guest mixing things up.

The way Samantha talked about it was that we had a whole ton of bad comments to clean up, but there were really very few. It was a pretty awesome thing to see.

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cocoonmoon

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cocoonmoon • 

@jpmcosta said:

Reporting to the authorities seems reasonable. Until you actually report it and the authorities don't have the information or the means (or the will) to actually do anything to help you.

You should read an article called 'Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet' by Amanda Hess. It will give you some insight.

I'll mark that down and give it a look. Thanks!

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frustratedlnc

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Edited By frustratedlnc • 

@patrickklepek: I understand empathy just fine, Patrick. It's not a concept that I need explained to me. I was asking a question, not making a statement. People being jerks on the internet may be something that's incredibly difficult to avoid. I don't know the extent of it because I'm not exposed to it to any alarming degree.

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Edited By Gildermershina • 

When I was in high school and we were all still using MSN messenger, there were a handful of guys who would give me all kinds of abuse on there. I figured I'd play along because sometimes it was kind of funny. They used to tell me that they went around around stomping on gayboys' heads, and that I was gay so they were going to jump me in the street one day. Obviously it didn't matter to them that I wasn't gay, they were just full of shit, right? And they were incredibly dumb and, with the exception of the ringleader, easy to beat in a battle of wits. So I thought, what's the harm in playing along and sharing the conversations with my friends for laughs?

Then several years after high school, a couple of these guys followed a gay man through a park one night, and beat him to death. So when people say stuff like "these threats are obviously not real, it's the internet, you just have to take them on the chin," I wish I could be so sure about that.

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Kimozabi

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Edited By Kimozabi • 

@stryker1121 said:

The onus is on the gamergate side to make their voices heard in a non-belligerent way, though. Doesn't help that the core of the movement is anonymous, which in itself can lead to suspicion. If they're interested in spreading the word, they should be contacting the enthusiast press with a mission statement and be willing to get interviewed outside of their internet personas. If they mean no harm, this should not be a problem.

How do you know they haven't tried?

This is one of the only pieces about gamersgate in the media that have actually tried covering both sides of the issue:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11082629/Gamergate-Misogyny-death-threats-and-a-mob-of-angry-trolls-Inside-the-dark-world-of-video-games.html

If you count the numbers of articles of gamersgate that interview or represent Zoe Quinn vs. those interviewing or representing Gamergate people, Zoe Quinn is currently ahead by something like 80 to 2. Those aren't real numbers, but the scales are massively tipped in Zoes favor at this point.

If you saw one of the earliest statements from TFYC, they tried reaching out of many different outlets about their allegations against Zoe Quinn. Nobody wanted to cover the story.

Ask yourself: How many outlets have covered when game developer Wolf Wozniak tweeted that Zoe Quinn sexually harassed him at a wedding only to have Phil Fish then call him a "little shit"?

Have you on any game outlet read about how only yesterday Zoe Quinn doxx'ed a 16-year old by linking on her Twitter directly to an article posting private information about other people?

Also, you have to consider that any expectations from gamersgate people of the media representing them fairly are close to 0%, especially given the combined "death of gamers" incident from many outlets on August 28th and 29th and the many other articles all claiming that all gamergate is about is sexism and misogyny, while completely ignoring any fact, case or screenshot showing concerns with a lack of transparency that is entirely unrelated to women at all, or that focuses mainly on men over women.

This is coupled with people like Ben Kuchera from Polygon calling gamersgate "man-babies" on Twitter,

Greg Costikyan of Gamasutra calling gamersgate "Worse, you are poor examples of men.",

Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra and TIME (to name a few) calling gamers "These obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers" and "young white dudes with disposable income [...] a generation of lonely basement kids",

and Helena Horton of VICE and The Guardian (to name a few) claims that "#gamersgate is a prime example of why we need to #killallmen".

All this - and there are many more examples out there - from the very people who cover video games in the media. When you're the one being labeled like this, how much do you expect to then have your voice be fairly heard?

And notice how all of those insults from gaming writers focused on gamersgate being all male? This, despite that Twitter is rife with examples of women also supporting gamersgate.

Much of the gaming media has not only tried to discredit gamersgate from the very get go. They constantly pull it towards sexism, they have insulted its supporters and they generalized them all as men, even though any of this is demonstrably not true about the entire movement.

Gamersgate supporters have reached out, and many, many times.

Here's one example: https://twitter.com/Chriss_m/status/509486352174694400/photo/1

Although this was not to the media but to a Polygon advertiser. But as I mentioned, TFYC tried reaching out to the media who refused to cover their story.

That being said, gamersgate have a giant, massive problem, that you point out:

It's leaderless, without a single voice, no official statement etc. This makes it impossible for gamergate supporters to claim that no supporters engage in harrassment. The discussion takes place in many different forums, but it's all individuals expressions their own opinions. If you can find the time, you can look for the thread on e.g. The Escapist.

It's in my view a decent view of the matter from gamersgate supporters. It currently has over 24.000 posts and there are both people seeing conspiracies everywhere and those calling for calmer expressions of opinions. It's also a view of how gamersgate has progressed. The title of the thread and its beginnings start with the catalyst of everything, the initial ZQ "revelations" (if you want to call it that), but it has since moved away entirely from that and almost nobody (if not actually nobody) talks about ZQ's personal life at all. She does come up, such as when she tweeted "V-N (Victory over Nerds)" since Destiny was being released. But you'll notice that whenever someone brings her up now, like post 24396 did, other people quickly respond and ask for people to stop bringing her into the discussion, such as post 24397 did: "Stop bringing #literallywho into this, she's not important."

"Zoe Quinn and the surrounding controversy" it's called, but again. it's long since moved away from talking about Zoe's private life.

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chimpchamp • 

Well, at this point I'm feeling pretty trolled by Patrick. His refusal to talk about the issues surrounding Gamergate, and his persistence in tweeting, tumblring and now publishing support for these people is beyond me. I'm an open guy, my mind is far from made up and I'm willing to listen to his analysis of the situation, but instead he shuts down the conversation because "it isn't the time" and then proceeds to "talk" one-way via his access to media.

I've spent a long time trying to understand Patrick, giving him the benefit of the doubt because I really didn't understand the negativity. Now I get it. I'm cancelling my subscription in protest, and will re-evaluate when it runs out.

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Sharpless • 

I thought this was a really beautiful, educational panel, and somehow I'm still surprised and disheartened by the number of comments that completely miss the fucking point and try to make this all about their own ridiculous, self-centered agendas. Can we not just focus on being excellent to each other and putting others' concerns and feelings before our own?

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chimpchamp

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chimpchamp • 

I thought this was a really beautiful, educational panel, and somehow I'm still surprised and disheartened by the number of comments that completely miss the fucking point and try to make this all about their own ridiculous, self-centered agendas. Can we not just focus on being excellent to each other and putting others' concerns and feelings before our own?

The point is, this has nothing to with an agenda, it's about treating people decently. Patrick has been closely involved with people who have been alleged to have done stuff that is pretty unethical. There is lots of evidence of varying quality regarding their behavior, and the implications for being involved with that is not good.

I don't know how true any of it is, but as a customer of his work - of any service that I pay for - I expect openness and honesty. Decent behavior required for trust.

Many people, myself included, have many responsibilities in life and put other people's feelings and concerns before our own on a daily basis. I loved Patrick's talk he gave a few months back about overcoming trolls on the internet, but now I honestly feel he has become that person. Patrick is not reciprocating with the decency he expects from others and which he has been given by many people. He's made many choices on how to respond to the issues, and it's clear his priorities don't lie with ameliorating the concerns of customers like myself.

I'm not going to beat this topic, this is my last post on the issue.

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deactivated-5b03d668aaf12

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frustratedlnc

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Edited By frustratedlnc • 

I don't know why my response to Patrick was deleted. He misrepresented what I had said and I clarified my sentiment. It was not at all inflammatory.

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frustratedlnc

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Edited By frustratedlnc • 

I don't know why the follow up to my question was deleted. It wasn't inflammatory. I was just clarifying a misrepresented position. Eh, whatever. This type of content is clearly not for me.

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Foggen • 

Samantha Kalman's comments resonated with me, particularly with respect to how I responded to her Bombcast appearance. When I was listening to the podcast it took me a few moments to reckon with the voice I was hearing. Why does this person have a voice that sounds halfway between a woman and a gay man? Her name is Samantha, but her video game background tracks more with a male childhood than a typical female one? So I took a minute and looked her up (unexpectedly difficult given a remarkable lack of mentions of trans status on her websites) and, my curiosity satisfied, continued to listen. The acquitted herself well, showing a strong knowledge and awareness of video games, and made good contributions to the conversation. What she didn't do was steer the conversation in the direction of arguments about sex and gender, or telegraph that there might our would be some objection to her presence. This was kind of refreshing, frankly, because it provided the opportunity to engage her at face value as a person, and not as the face of her identity. She was neither the Jester, as she put it, nor the Other. She simply presented Samantha, and as a result I liked her immensely.

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I have also survived the internet (so far).