Essay: “Runic Knight”

I think in order to understand my feelings on gamergate, I have to share my experience with it. Gamergate was something I watched come into existence. I was one of the first posters to talk about the released Zoe Post when it first dropped on the escapist, weeks before “GamerGate” itself. It was where I cautioned people against using Zoe’s actions described in the post as an attack against feminism and social crusaders at large. I also commented on how if the accusations were true, she would have done more damage to the public perception of  female developers then any who came before her. I did not know how close I may have been with that remark.

As time went on, I saw reddit eat itself in deletions and censorship. I watched people investigate the topic after the gaming media refused to. I watched censorship grow from reddit to other sites and forums, and saw connections between zoe and friend and mods involved be revealed as to why they were being censored,  giving rise to the “Quinnspiracy” as people saw the death of discussions on sites traced back to her interference and personal friendships. I watched people cry out to the gaming journalists to cover the story and do something about the ethical and professional failings. And I watched the gaming news media close ranks, scorn and mock those asking for integrity as nothing but “misogynists”, and ultimately create the drive that fueled GamerGate in full. From there gamers were called dead and insulted amid dozens of simultaneous, planned articles, twitter exploded with fury and insults, gamers mobilized in response and battlelines were drawn.

At every step I watched gamers, confused, frustrated and attacked, try to reach out to have their concerns addressed, only to be spat on, insulted, threatened, called terrorists, harassers and worse. When the gaming news media would not report on the topic, gamers looked into it themselves. When their discussions were censored, they asked why. And when they found evidence of dishonesty and professional conflict of interest, they tried to go to the sites’ management and editors themselves first. At nearly every turn gamers were snubbed, insulted, accused and blamed for having the audacity to expect integrity. It was only much later that I and many others realized the amount of collusion involved in the industry.

To me, gamergate represents the outrage, confusion and betrayal many gamers felt at how the gaming journalists abandoned all pretense of duty towards the being the voice of the audience they report to in favor of trying to dictate reality and cause change through information control. It represents the fundamental disconnect of what the gaming journalist’s role in the gaming community actually is, who they have to answer to and who ultimately will decide if the sites they are on will exist in a year or not. Gamergate is a call to end tyranny of a journalistic press that sought not to report on gaming itself for the community, but to try to change and shape the community to fit their ideological stance.

It is a consumer revolt against an abusive and industry-harmful business practice, and an attempt to rid a deep seated corruption that gamers have seen hints of for many years now, but only recently saw the full depth of it reach.

Runic Knight

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