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.
You can email your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. At around two months in, why are you still a part of #GamerGate?
@tehcrazgaming: “Without adding in dramatic flare, this is only two months into something called #GamerGate. I have had to defend my love for games for years and I feel that #GamerGate has taken on another chapter in that. At the beginning, I was only tangentally interested in what was to become #GamerGate. The connections seen between Zoe and Nathan, to me, seemed thin (but enough to be addressed) and that it felt like tinfoil hat theories. Though once people started digging and connections were found from Patrica Hernandez and Anna Anthropy (I apologize if I botched the spelling) that had a very clear conflict of interest, the lack of disclosure upset me and being talked down to for being upset about it made me start using my voice to call for ethics reform.
So now, two months in, I have just had my stance on the lack of ethical integrity reaffirmed when John Funk, former editor for The Escapist and current Asset Manager for Polygon, said in an AMA when asked about Patricia Hernandez’s conflict of interest said:
Question Do you find situations like Patricia Hernandez living with someone while writing about them problematic?
Answer: Potentially. This is coming closer to the gray line than anything like “X knows Y” or “X backs Y on Patreon” largely because if they live together, X is dependent on Y doing well financially for things like, yknow, paying rent.
That said, I don’t think it’s necessarily automatically 100% bad, either. If it’s a potentially interesting game they’re making that’s worth covering on its own, having a person close to the source for interviews, perspective, etc can be valuable. (And if the game is free-to-play and there’s no financial stake in it, then the earlier concern is certainly lessened). But if the game is being sold, the only part at which I’d balk would be having Patricia review it, because that then ties a direct financial stake into it.
But I’ve never worked at Kotaku so I can’t say what goes on in their newsroom. I have worked under Brian Crecente, and he runs a very tight ship – nothing but respect for him – but I’m not sure if Patricia came on to Kotaku after he left or what.
(http://www.reddit.com/r/GamerGhazi/comments/2itl5s/im_a_former_games_journalist_the_escapist_polygon/cl5na4b Link to the specific comment, third question)
This greatly upset me and pretty much made me double down on my stance. #GamerGate was told they are only a hate movement, a terrorist movement, and that the lack of ethics was only a front and had no validity. Then John Funk confirms that there is a problem. And I would like to say, I don’t think John is knowingly brushing ethics aside when he says this. I think that he knows/ believes things are above board with interactions and, because he knows/believes, that these incidents are not unethical. But the statement that he doesn’t think it is a problem. Everyone brings up the SPJ’s code for a reason. The first line under acting independently is:
“Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.”
It shows that there is a disconnect and given how we have been addressed to some legitimate critisim, that there are some journalists and organizations that don’t care.
That is the primary reason I am still with #GamerGate but not the only reason. One major thing I have noticed is that, in combination with the #NotYourShield movement, the assumption that people who use the #GamerGate tag are straight white males until proven otherwise. Even this late, today Tom Mendelson of The Independent called @PlatinumParagon a ‘totally legitimate and actual human female’ (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B0GQZLUCQAE_AO5.jpg:large)
and, after referring to her as a misogynist and her asking him to prove that she is one, his response is “find a mirror I guess.” (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B0GKSMXCMAEBS8V.jpg:large)
#Gamergate has been labeled as a hate movement since it’s inception and has been utterly slammed by media over and over on this while having a blind eye turned to it and that is, in no way at all, fair. Note, I am not absolving any horrible things that has been said or done by anyone in #GamerGate. This is saying that this sort of sexism and harassment isn’t locked to #GamerGate and no one has given it proper attention.
2. What do you specifically want to see happen before it comes to an end?
@tehcrazgaming: “I have always believed that each ‘side,’ and I know you have issues with using that term, is operating on two points that do not intersect in opposition while yelling at eachother over which one is more important and blaming and dehumanizing the opposition. I want to see the latter stop. It is easy to forget that we are dealing with human beings behind the 140 characters of text on twitter. I would like for acknowledgement of the horrible things that have been done against the members of #GamerGate, such as Boogie, Erik Foreman, @QueenyMartha, and various others that have been receiving death threats and harassment as well.
As far as journalism goes, I would like reviews to answer one specific question. “Is this game fun?” Using Polygon’s review for Tropico 5, the writer praised the gameplay systems, the feeling of power it gave, the visuals of a tropical location, and slammed the game for not being funny and that “Tropico 5 constantly reminded me of all the blood staining my hands.”
The writer even praised the game’s multiplayer, something that most city building simulation games do not even attempt to have. But then, the score? A 6.5. After praising every baseline system within the game, the game gets a slightly above average score. To me, it reads that he hated the humor, the fact that you get to act like a dictator and be as corrupt as you wanted, and slashed the score for it. While the counter argument is ‘It is just a number” holds valid, it shows that there is a lack showing an objective representation of the product based on the core elements of the game. The 6.5 rating would would have been fine if the article didn’t praise so much of the gameplay mechanics. Other outlets spoke to the game being more of the previous four games with not much innovation. That surely justifies a 6.5 rating more than “This game played great but I hate what power it gave me.”
I also want journalists to stop speaking down to their audience like they are idiots. I have seen journalists regularly insult their audience for challenging them on why violence against a woman character is any different than killing 50 male characters prior. These are adult topics and, spoiler alert, not everyone asking them is looking to try and hardline a stance.
And as a final point, to rear back some of the op-ed material and tone for an actual op-ed. The Bayonetta 2 review from Polygon had a tone of someone who loathed the game for it’s depiction of the main character. It truly read like someone who was statically listing off the systems, post art critique, without giving any sense to if the damn game was fun. One third of the review was talking about how the game was a gross pandering of sexual imagery. The first third.
There is room for critiques and concerns, but a review for a game should atleast highlight if the game is fun. I am not saying to hide these thoughts, but positioning of the segment and the amount of time spent is a big deal. An Op-ed/podcast is more fitting to deal with those issues in detail.”
3. What do you consider its achievements thus far?
@tehcrazgaming: “I feel that the achievements thus far are more subtle in nature than the overt ones. Of course we have websites such as The Escapist revisiting and changing their ethics statements and Kotaku and Polygon clarifying their ethics statements. As a note, no matter how you feel about Kotaku and Polygon, they did atleast address issues regarding things as Pateron and I still believe Polygon’s policy to have a distinct potential for a conflict of interest regarding Pateron. #Gamergate and 4chan, despite it now having moved to 8chan, also raised money for The Fine Young Capitalists and created a rather neutral character in Vivian James that, I feel represents a huge demographic of gamers in that Vivian just want to play games.
While those are great achievements, I feel that the subtle ones are far more meaningful. Through this entire bedlam, those in support of #GamerGate were able to combat this mindset that only straight white gamers are the ones who enjoy the current state of games. They also banded together and showed great support for other gaming publications that are small or in their infancy, such as NicheGamer, Revue Labs, TechRaptor, and GoodGamers.us.
I also think that it has exposed everyone to something important: No matter what your stance is on anything, shitty people exist in the world. People from all walks who are pro-#GamerGate or anti-#GamerGate have shown they can be cruel individuals who are more than fine with treating people like scum. And some of them feel they are justified in doing so. Prior to the University scare, the vitriol was starting to lull and more moderates were starting to converse, beginning to see that this polarization of the issue was a bit excessive. But now, it seems that people are doubling down, but for a moment I saw a glimmer of people beginning to talk and beginning to acknowledge the oppositions points at some level. But then the threat happened, #GamerGate was blamed and everything regressed a good week or so to extremely polarized stances.”