I had a bunch of thoughts about GamerGate that I couldn’t quite place as answers to specific questions, so you can find them all here.
Anon1: “My view on Gamergate is that I’m tired of being looked at as some lame demographic and someone to be made a quick buck off of. These game “journalists” have a sense of elitism to me that has bothered me for a few years but never to the degree it has until recently. They treat gamers like they’ve never played video games before. I don’t like the attitude some people have taken against gamers during this whole fiasco, with devs and journalists calling gamers all sorts of stereotypical names and insults. I don’t like the arrogant mindset that entails being in a position of influence; if there really is collusion at play, I don’t like that my wallet is the prize for lying to me and countless others about games we have never played because some writers have invested in the projects.
If Gamergate has successfully achieved something, it is in outing the true personas of people who claim to be objective; they were really just douchebags all along, manipulating us into reading what they write so they can profit.
Misogyny has no part in any of this; I think that these claims are derailing the real issue at hand. Now this is not to say that I don’t believe there is misogyny in gaming. That is for a separate discussion altogether. What I’m mainly focused on is bringing back the unity and integrity that the video game community had.”
Anon2: “I’m not supportive of Gamergate [PixieJenni note: included in this section for relevance however], but I feel like I understand why folks latched onto it who aren’t misogynists. I do not support the treatment ZQ got, even if ZQ has not been a very nice person in the past to other devs I know and support. I do not support the MRAs. The whole reason is this is a pushback against the tactics of “social justice warriors”
Not everyone who wants games to be more inclusive is a social justice warrior. I want games to be more inclusive. I feel the SJW’s cause more harm than good, by aggravating folks who are sympathetic due to an inability to accept that folks have differing opinions on how best to achieve results. Personally, I have been hammered before in the past when I’ve suggested different ways of getting things done. They often say things like “you’re not a woman, you have no right to an opinion” or call you a misogynist. The irony behind it is really the two groups are very similar in how they treat dissent, which is one reason this became so virulent.
As for game reviews. Game reviewers have it hard. They’re dependent on the publishers for support in order to do their job. This hurts their objectivism, despite their best efforts. They often also are forced to review games they are not good at, in limited time-frames that distort how games are supposed to be played. They often only see the good points of a game and not the bad because of the lack of exposure they have. Also, retaliation does happen due to Metacritic. I know of one game reviewer who publishers actively avoid trying to have him review their games due to his low scores. Even developers who like him attempt to keep him from their games. This isn’t secret from gamers that these things happen, and they also hurt the credibility of reviews (I can give you a source for this and the guy who they avoid if you wish) I’m not sure there is a solution here, but many gamers know this, and this is why game reviewers tend to be viewed by some folks as unnecessary. Because of this, when Leigh Alexander put out a rather poorly written piece, folks lashed out. (her TIME article had better editing, which is another issue with games journalism- the editors are the bottom of the barrel)”
Anon3: “First disclosure: I work for the media.
Second: I barely play video games as it is.
Third, I find the whole kerfuffle fascinating– probably on the same level as you, maybe not.
As someone who works in media (not gamer media but around NBC, CNN, etc) and watches the behavior of “real” journalists, I’m quite familiar with the fact that they commonly collude with power-brokers for greater access, and steer clear of offending certain powerful people. I often refer to them as “presstitutes” when I’m not calling them “whorerespondents.” Is this misogynistic? You might think so, if you automatically have a knee-jerk reaction to “whore.” Frankly, I don’t care who does– people across all demographics refer to people whoring themselves out. I use “whorerespondent” to refer to men like Jake Tapper, who lie through their teeth about American-born Al Qaeda member Adam Gadahn NOT being the nephew of an ADL spokesman and by extension hiding the fact that the guy is a huge phony.
I also have regularly watched the media react to the advent of Anonymous on two levels. One of those levels is CNN’S Ashleigh Bannenfeld’s feigning innocence. “Ew, like who are those anon people and why are they like, sooo mean?” Keeping in mind that the mainstream media in Washington and throughout most of the country is our government’s de-facto PR arm, we can also keep in mind that, on the second level, its intelligence apparatuses haven’t really decided what to do with Anonymous– only that they might at some point have to be labelled “domestic terrorists” in a society which increasingly relies on sprunging information and eroding privacy.
I honestly have no idea where the “misogyny” line-of-political-attack came from, but I find it very interesting. Apparently Anita Sarkeesian has ties to a few of the companies directly involved in this scandal. I’m not saying anyone deserves to have harassing phone calls, or to have their life turned into a circus over bad videogames or even infidelity. Somehow the deeds of the people who “Doxed” Zoe Quinn has been conflated with campaigners who have nothing to do with these acts, but otherwise see this as a woman who slept with contest judges to promote her products and see something wrong with that level of collusion.
In chatting with people involved with tweeting on #gamergate, I likened the hiding-behind-ethics-to-promote-misogyny mantra to claiming the Ferguson protests are merely a way to hide behind legitimate race matters while using them as an excuse to rob and steal from the community.”
Anon4: “Now, the most important aspect of Gamergate for myself would be how it has personally affected me. As a long-time 4chan user, it caught my attention a few days in when I kept seeing threads about it. Note that these threads did not explode at the time of the infamous “Zoe post”, but rather after the DMCA takedown of Mundanematt’s video covering the incident, and the censoring and removal of ~25,000 comments in a Reddit thread discussing it. It was at this point that the anonymity and dedication to free speech that is to be found on 4chan enabled the Streisand Effect to take hold within the gaming community, so I find it a little disingenuous when people who know better claim it is all about misogyny and harming women in the industry. No doubt there are bigots within the supporters of Gamergate, but I have personally witnessed and experienced a lot of bigotry on the opposing side as well, so it does nobody any favours to pretend this is all just a big cover for hatred of women.
Once the situation blew up on 4chan, a lot of anons there started to dig, as they like to do whenever something juicy like a cover-up comes along (other notable, positive investigations by 4chan include finding the abuser of Dusty the cat, as well as uncovering a paedophile ((Chris Fourcand)) and having him arrested. 4chan isn’t the nasty place it is being painted to be). In the following weeks, many intriguing leads, and a few dead ends, have been uncovered by pro-Gamergate supporters both on 4chan and in other places. As the evidence piled up, more and more we expected and hoped for a swift resolution to the whole mess; an apology from the implicated parties and a promise to shape up the ethical standards (and this has been coming for a long while in the gaming community now; the coverage and bias has become farcical on many gaming news sites), but every time we found more evidence, we were further demonised by these same sites we had caught out, calling us such horrific things as terrorists, man-babies, loser virgin nerds, fat white men, misogynists, even child pornographers for crying out loud. We were told we only cared about harassing Zoe Quinn and her female friends, despite her growing irrelevance in the face of bigger scandals (and for someone who claims to wish to just be left alone, her antagonistic tweets these last 2 weeks when she hasn’t even been part of the issue seem to suggest otherwise. They are getting to the level of self-parody, and a lot of them prove she is monitoring everything the Gamergate movement does online e.g. whenever she was mentioned, the poster would be answered with “who?”, highlighting our insistence on shifting attention away from her and onto the bigger and more important issues; suddenly Zoe Quinn’s Twitter handle became “Zoe “Who” Quinn”). So over the last few weeks, gamers have been demonised, scapegoated, ridiculed, harassed, doubted, misrepresented, marginalised and shamed by the very journalists supposed to represent them. Sure a few moronic Gamergaters have done all those things too, but it is a bit different because none of those Gamergaters have had the power of the press in order to push their side of the story and make the other side out to be evil, and also because none of those Gamergaters have been representing companies or themselves in a professional capacity.
Anyway, this is where my personal interest comes in. It caught my attention and the hypocrisy and arrogance of the censorship made me stick around. I did not do anything active until #notyourshield was coined, because I felt that it gave me a voice as a mixed race gamer, a minority, to counter some of the fallacious claims made against people who share my hobby and my desire for change.”
Anon5: “I’d like to address the ‘SJW’ and DiGRA topics for now. If you want my thoughts on any others, please contact me.
I have no problem with making games about homosexuals, transgenders, anything. What I have a problem with is being told I should feel horrible for liking things that aren’t that. I got hypothermia going door to door for HRC (http://www.hrc.org/) My friend forced me to call it quits, and the director shamed me for “not doing enough”.
I’m white, straight, male. I should not be made to feel badly for any of these things, but as of late the gaming press lets me celebrate only the choices they agree with, not my fate. This is discouraging. Let people be who they are. We have enough shaming going on from the press regarding impossible body types, intellect & wit.
I was a social justice warrior. Then the justice part got taken away and what was left, well. I’m not sure if you followed Atheism+, but this reeks of that and will give you a great idea of what some are afraid of.”