PixieJenni talks GamerGate with both 'sides'

Anti-GamerGate Answers (part 1)

on September 12, 2014

No answers have been changed/merged for this one.

Some answers may not be included if they misunderstood the question – they may instead have moved to ‘bonus’ as a section. Will highlight if that is the case.

People are anon if they didn’t explictly say “call me x”. Email me again if you want to change that 🙂 Anon referencing consistent within this topic, but not with others.

1. What problems do you have with #GamerGate? Can you give me specific examples?

Anon1: “My fundamental problem with it, and I’m speaking as a [age removed] recent graduate trying to get into games writing, is the complete ignorance about journalism AND the games industry…and human nature in general. There’s been a lot of talk from the “middle ground” about how not everyone involved in #GamerGate is a horrible misogynist and that there are some genuine issues; but ultimately #GamerGate itself is grounded in misogyny whether all involved want to embrace it or not, and as far as journalistic concerns go I don’t find it genuine. Why all the focus on small freelancers and minorities, as well as the indie scene when there is huge OBVIOUS corruption in AAA that has been constantly documented and mostly ignored.

So yea that’s my problem, anyone involved in #GamerGate no matter how noble their intention is just misinformed. Whether it’s missing the forest for the trees on the “corruption” angle, not understanding how pointless “objectivity” is or just plain not understanding basic parts of the industry such as the concept of freelancing (i.e. “Jenn Frank was fired by the Guardian”) they’re just not the people who should be having this conversation. Ultimately #GamerGate can be boiled down to people who understand the industry vs. those who don’t and that’s inherently frustrating even without taking all the horrible harassment stuff into account.”
Anon2: “Like many hashtag campaigns, it is unfocused and vulnerable to individual actors. The overwhelming message is for “better game journalism” but no actual arguments for what makes it “better” have been made. Most responses show a staggering unawareness of how journalists work with sources and make personal relationships. Actual ethical breaches should be investigated and redressed, but the whopping majority of the “unethical journalism” that GamerGate proponents seem to be pointing out is any journalism that treats the threats and harassment of Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian as credible. The Jenn Frank case is a beautiful example: she complied with every aspect of the Guardian’s well-honed ethics policy and disclosed relationships to them before the piece was published. But, because it presented a narrative in opposition to GamerGate, it was condemned. GamerGate has also been notorious for using unproven or even disproven “information” as a foundation for outreach – all of the conspiracy diagrams, videos et cetera predicated on circumstantial “evidence” at best are a huge problem, especially for a group which is ostensibly about journalistic ethics.”
Anon3: “Mostly that it’s a witch hunt. It’s a group of uninformed people who have decided, based on very tenuous evidence, that a certain class of people (and others the GGers happen to not like) are deeply corrupted. While there are varying ideas on who, exactly, those people are, the trend has been toward game journalists and people who are in related social circles. There have also been varying ideas on what should be done. I’ve seen a large emphasis on somehow punishing these people, making them lose their jobs, suffer public disgrace, or be investigated by law enforcement. There are cooler heads, but they have only succeeded on stamping down some of the superficially vicious elements (direct threats) and not these more severe consequences.
Since I follow industry news closely, and I’m a member of the game industry, I consider myself fairly well-informed on the matters being discussed, and I see a complete disconnect from the observations of the GGers and reality as I know it. That disconnect means that their agenda is impossible for me to support, and since they seem insistent on exercising their strength as a group, I think they’re pretty terrifying.”
Anon4: “It’s ridddled with misogyny, as far as I’m concerned. From the first instance of it’s use, it involved discussion around who a game dev was having sex with, and the title of the associated video focused on the number. This suggested to me that the initial proponents thought how many people a woman has sex with is relevant to hwo she is valued. That would be the guy ut of Firefly posting the original GG tweet, together with the “Five Guys Video”. The speed with which people took the devs ex-boyfriends words at face value, and launched a campaign against her, suggests that people had a bone to pick with her already.
I’ve seen disproportionate harassment of female devs and writers online as I’ve followed the debate.
I’ve seen frequent use of phrases like “feminazi” and “SJW” used by GG proponents, both of which I consider to be the words of complete arseholes.
I continuously have exchanges with people who are happy to repeat lies that have been disproven explicitly, including the Quinn-Grayson “sex-for-review” concept, which even the original proponent has admitted to be false.
I also feel that the current concerted to effort to “clean up” GG is a whitewashing effort driven by people, a minority of GG tag users, keen to cover their tracks and engage in a sort of revisionism of what the campaign embodied, as they tried to ruin a woman’s life based on a pack of lies.
I think there are people, and I have been in exchanges with them, who claim that criticism is a form of censorship. This suggests an expectation that the mdium of games can only exist as some sort of monoculture where everyone likes the same things, and all outlets should cover all games equally. This would never work with music, and I don’t understand why it should be expected to work with games. This seems to be common in GG. How censorship has a relationship with the supposed goals of GG, I don’t know.”
@mthsblgr:  “My issue with this hashtag is that it was used to propagate a harassment campaign (first by actor Adam Baldwin) and then as a way to have a guise of legitimacy to continue and widen this abuse targeted at specific individuals.
That no organized group emerged from this and absolutely and clearly disassociated itself from the hashtag and its origin serves as a sign for me that people who were swept up by its front for some legitimate concern are not nearly as invested in their cause.
Thus it lacks coherency of purpose and continues to function as a smoke screen for further toxic behavior like spamming, unbased accusations and harassment.”
Anon5: “Generally that it’s borne directly from 4chan, or more specifically, 4chan’s /pol/ and their subsequent ironic fascism (I’m a long-time browser of 4chan). Generally people on #GamerGate don’t seem to understand that cultural criticism exists/can be applied to video games and view videogames as a hobby devoid of politics. See: Archon from the Escapist calling out “cultural Marxism” and nodding towards the Frankfurt Conspiracy Theory School. Generally this reflects New Right rhetoric towards minorities, the poor, etc… it’s incredibly fucking right wing and the insistence on “objective” truths (in journalism/sexual ethics/representation/whatever) generally reflects this belief that things can be depoliticised by focusing on the things-themselves (and failing to realise this is a form of politics itself).
See: their call for “free speech” which generally amounts to “let me keep on calling Zoe Quinn a whore”.
That TFYC seem to be pretty exploitative in the first place and have very cynically been positioned as a shield for claims of misogyny (there’s several screenshots of this floating around).
I am pretentious and doing my research project on #GamerGate this semester if you do want some more “hard” evidence down the line, but I think part of the interesting thing is that it’s been transmitted memetically.”

Anon6: “Numerous. I’ve written about games in a freelance capacity for seven years now and have not witnessed ANY of what the people behind gamergate claim to be true. It seems to be a common theory that reviews are bought and sold every day and yet, when pressed, no one behind gamergate can think of ONE example of a review being bought. They claim that Jenn Frank receiving a £5 monthly stipend (which started long before this began) from a PR person constitutes ALL of her articles being bought, which defies logic.

Do large publishers hold parties and events for their games? Yes. Has there ever been any evidence that it has led to a host of positive reviews? No. The discussion should end there as people should be able to trust that journalists (for the most part) are honest people who are passionate about games.  Which leads me onto my other issue, the idea that games writers aren’t gamers. Ludicrous. There are so few PAID writing positions in the industry, and you are ony going to get one if you can display a deep knowledge and passion about games. Simple as that. So the ongoing lie that games writers aren’t gamers is nonsense.
It also irks me that a LOT of gamergate fans continually list things that have been proven to be false as FACT. Such as the fact Zoe Quinn got oodles of positive coverage – which never happened but is still brought up to this day. Plus, they decry the articles that “proclaimed gamers dead” without even reading them – as those articles actually said that the STEREOTYPICAL GAMER (young, abusive, white male) was no longer relevant as gamers came in all shapes,sizes, genders and ages. But people just saw the headlines (which were provocative I’ll grant you) and went ballistic. Or that they will post anonymous emails (or posts on 4chan/reddit) and claim “this dev/journo/publisher stands with us” with absolutely no way of knowing that the post is legit, and the odds being that it isn’t. If gamergate users are going to start saying journalists aren’t doing enough research, or have no ethics, or are corrupt – then they need to practice what they preach and only promote facts in their arguument. Facts that have been sadly lacking so far.
Talking of facts, it amazes me that the gamergate community is so ready to jump on anything they see as a faux pas from ANY writer or dev, but champions the cause of a company whose motives are sketchy at best. [PixieJenni note: some content cut here which I am in discussion about posting as own article]

2. Are there any points #GamerGate has raised that you want to see addressed?

Anon1: “Nope. Not that there are zero good points in there, but the good points about industry issues were being raised by far smarter people long before #GamerGate took off. Games journalism, on any level, is not perfect and I think we all agree on that, but nothing about #GamerGate inspires healthy discussion about it. There’s issues that need to be worked out but #GamerGate views any failure on journalists part as something corrupt or malicious and that’s not a productive (or logical) angle.”


Anon2: “I think there are people in the movement who believe that games journalists aren’t representing their best interests. I also think there are actors on the establishment side (myself included) who have been dismissive to those people. I believe that misogynists, harassers and trolls should be ignored and mocked, full stop. But due to the nature of the movement, some good people were lumped into that.”


Anon3: “I’d like the air cleared so people’s careers don’t get ruined because of slanderous accusations. But this is a general point, and no, I don’t really see much of merit in the GG arguments. There are problems with the gaming industry, gaming press and gaming community. But they have little to do with the issues I’ve seen brought up by GG.”


Anon4: “I agree with concepts like disclosure and declaration of interest. I also think that these have been handled very well, for years, by the outlets I follow. I haven’t seen any of the targetted outlets, such as Rock Paper Shotgun, whcih I read, having problems with these issues. Rather, I feel they are being targetted because they didn’t think Zoe Quinn’s sex life was gaming news.
As such, I don’t think there is anything whcih #GamerGate is highlighting which wasn’t being handled well already.”


@mthsblgr: “I did not see any points deliberately put forward that were thoroughly formed. Topics generally raised were the state of integrity in games media and nepotism in the games industry in general. I personally see issues that are worthy of discussion in those topics but can’t see them discussed unless thoroughly distanced from this hashtag first.
I feel anything else would add insult to injury of the victims of the hate campaign whose current grievances are far from being resolved.”


Anon5: “”Corruption” in journalism insomuch as that enthusiast press is directly beholden to corporate interests and have little option but to regurgitate PR from these companies as they’re the only ones supplying them with any significant ad revenue. Certainly I think this is where some tension has built up in the past but I don’t think that independent developers are anywhere near the centre of the problem. “


Anon6: “Not specifically. As I think a lot of games writers behave accordingly now, and publications are very careful in that regard anyway. Gamergate users seem to want EVERY site to have a big ethical noticeboard, but what would that accomplish? If someone was going to take a bribe, or report on their friends or whatever, then they are taking a massive risk (with the internet being what it is – as someone is bound to find out) and the type of person that would do that would do so whether or not there was a page with a list of ethics rules somewhere. Either you are an ethical person or you aren’t and gamergate people need to understand that there has to be some level of trust.”


3. Are there any points #GamerGate hasn’t raised that you think it really should do?

Anon1: “Well one thing they don’t seem concerned with is the fact that pretty much no-one actually inside the industry agrees with them. Some publications have backed down and taken the middle ground, or attempted to appease them, but no-one actually agrees with them. I’m wondering if they genuinely believe this is because of some huge conspiracy, or maybe if they stopped and thought about it there might be a far simpler explanation.”


Anon2: “ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT SYSTEMATIC INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION IN JOURNALISM. Read this: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1s8at4s – media journalism is constructed entirely on a system of access corruption. Nobody in the hashtag is seemingly concerned with this, instead choosing to pursue personal vendettas against individuals who don’t align with their ideological biases.”


Anon3: “No, I want GG to go away. I just said there are problems, and I take them very seriously. These include the common exploitative practices in the development industry, like unpaid overtime and letting go of a development team after shipping.
But I don’t believe the GG method of approaching these subjects will be beneficial to my cause. I don’t think having hundreds of uninformed people trying to boost their egos by villainizing professionals is a good way to accomplish my goals.

I do wish we had a higher level of engagement from the gaming community when these discussions do come up. I think it’s pathetic that people get so worked up about ethical behavior now, but we didn’t have a stronger community response when developer and critics like Anita and Zoe were harassed. (And, of course, still are.)
At the end of the day, no. I think I don’t trust GGers or their methods enough to try to reorient them towards the more significant problems.”


Anon4: “I don’t beleive the tag has the legitimacy to raise any points. I can’t see a serious person responding to it.


@mthsblgr: “For me it has crystallized an issue that I believe we need to talk about on a wider level and that is how to view, perceive and engage between parties of differing levels of anonymity.
It’s become very easy to get into a dialog with anyone across cultural and societal levels and the game industry is particularly prone to make use of that in both directions (professional<->consumer).
Anonymity and the right over one’s privacy are important freedoms of choice. But I see a disparity in what we deem noteworthy when there are different degrees chosen on each side.
Again, #GamerGate did not raise this issue but it’s one that has become central in any of the conflicts that arose in regards to it.”


Anon5: “It seems to be like the audience for game media has a huge disconnect between what they want (“in-depth investigative reporting”) and what they are willing to pay for (adblock is always on). Large media organisations can suck at times but their size is precisely what allows them to devote time to things that people might not know they are interested in.
We cannot expect good content for free. Ironically enough Patreon is one of these solutions. “


Anon6: “Nope. Though it surprises me that their focus is mainly on journalists and indie games/devs. These two groups have no money and very little sway in the industry at large. If you don’t like a certain persons thoughts or reviews then there are literally hundreds of sites,blogs and youtube channels you could visit instead. So why target the small fry? Who controls when and where information is released to the press? Who holds back review copies of games they know to be bad? It’s the big publishers – but they seem to get a free ride in gamergate which is why so many doubt their true motives.”




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