Essay: “DrWut”

I became aware of the GG situation well after the Zoe Quinn affair. I went online one day and I saw discussion about mass censorship on many internet boards. That drew my attention and I became acquainted with what was a pretty ordinary story of not-really-a-celebrity gossip. Shortly thereafter a staggering amount of articles came out with amazing coordination telling me that gamers were dead. That I should not have a say on my hobby because I was part of a group of virgin dorito-stained neckbeards who wanted to drive women out of their hobby. As a non-dorito-stained, non-virgin neckbeard who has exactly 0 problems with women doing whatever the hell they please I took offense to this and decided to inform myself better about the situation.

And turns out the situation was kind of bad. I saw a group of journalists who have no ethical qualms in reporting allegations of sexual misconduct against game developers with no regard for their subject’s career. Who refuse to retract and apologize when the allegations turn out to be false, even when their subjects are, to this day, still insulted and harassed by misinformed people. These journalists have no problem taking to twitter to have shameful emotional meltdowns, to insult people or to threaten other journalists/devs to end their careers just because they don’t like something they said or wrote.

I saw these same journalists, who would normally jump at the juicy clickbait, circling the wagons when the accusations of sexual misconduct were levered against a game developer that had sexual and/or financial ties with them. They decided the best way to react, instead of addressing their readership’s concerns and talk to them like human beings, was to put out article after article insulting their readership, insulting concerned customers, insulting just anyone who didn’t blindly agree with them.

When people dared to suggest that two dozen people who knew each other could be coordinating, journalists dismissed it as a tin-foil hat conspiracy theory. Unsurprisingly, it was discovered that these journalists were indeed communicating with each other and even pressuring each other to censor discussion in forums and boards (something they have no business doing, by the way). And still they denied it had any importance whatsoever. At this point I decided that these people think we are idiots who are not aware of how sometimes “independent” outlets coordinate in PR campaigns to create the next hot topic.

So after all I am concerned that we have a group of people with very little tolerance and restraint having an undue amount of influence within the industry. Deciding which indie games succeed or fail, blacklisting people for spurious reasons, who can and will accuse whoever they don’t like of racism/sexism/whateverism and sic the trolls on them while they promote people they like without even the smallest attempt at being objective. I am also personally outraged about the refusal of these people to even address the concerns of their readership or to bother talking to them like human beings.

A game developer recently said that having the rage of the internet mob on you is like facing the Eye of Sauron. I worry that some people who style themselves as “leaders” or “megaphones” are using their soapboxes to direct the Eye of Sauron and using it to foster cronyism, favoritism and an ambient of paranoia, since any slip of the tongue, any offense, real or imaginary, could result in these people deciding that you are going to be the next troll fodder.

DrWut

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Essay: “Ronack”

I think it’s fair to say that #Gamergate has changed tremendously over its existence. What started as a simple question of “Yeah, but, was there a conflict-of-interest” turned in to massive movement involving all kinds of people with all kinds of goals of their own. I’ve seen it all happen. Though, at first, I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about it as I am today. All I knew at first was that it was all about an ex-boyfriend airing his dirty laundry, which was more than enough for me to stay out of it. But then I began to see all of these questions about her and several journalists. What happened between them, and did they give her any coverage because of their friendship? From there on out things started to snowball unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. People and websites that I used to trust had become something else in my eyes. Something worse, because of the way they were behaving themselves. And it wasn’t just journalists, websites and content creators. No, I saw some of my online friends behave in ways that made me lose a lot of respect for them. So, one part of what #Gamergate means to me is a loss of the Internet I once thought to know, and a quest for a new and improved corner of the Internet.

Another aspect of what it means to me is a demand for ethics and standards. We believed in these journalists and developers to be more than what we’ve come to expect from the world outside of our community. Yes, we knew that they had to keep the business side in mind, but we at least expected them to stay true to their community. However, large chunks of the gaming industry seem to be rotten. And that’s something that I want to see fixed, even if it means these chunks have to be outright removed. Though, I wish that won’t have to be the case.

For me, though, the most important part of what #Gamergate means is that it’s a fight against bullies. I’ve been the victim of bullying throughout most of my school career. It’s only in the final three years that I was truly free from it. I’ve seen it happen first hand, and I know perfectly well just how horrible it can make people feel. There’s too many stories out there of people that have been bullied in to committing suicide, for example. Over the passed few weeks we’ve heard people speak up about how things work in the gaming industry, and what’s been happening to them because of #Gamergate. People are getting fired because their bosses have been harassed, journalists (and even regular people) are getting threatened or doxxed for daring to speak the truth about #Gamergate, developers are getting blacklisted because they want to do things their way and many more stories like these. So, for me, #Gamergate also means a fight against bullying and a fight to make sure that current and future victims land on their feet.

Ronack

Essay: “What #GamerGate Means To Me…”

It’s a hard question, harder than what I thought it would be. I identify myself as a gamer, I have played games most of my life and they have shaped me in more ways than I previously thought possible. I have a lot of passions and hobbies but gaming has always been and always will be my main hobby.

I have been an avid follower of gaming news outlet for decades, ranging from early printed magazines to the modern gaming sites. I love reading news about gaming and I loved it when to see people who had the same passions as me had such grand avenues of communication.

Gaming was regularly attacked by mainstream media and I always ended up in arguments with non gamer acquaintances who openly preached that games ‘fry your brain’ and ‘make you violent’. It was refreshing to see that there were avenues to defend my hobby and I felt reassured that I wasn’t the only one who defended gaming.

That was the case up until a few years ago. Initially it was a small trend in certain gaming sites that criticized certain aspects of gaming; it felt odd to me, on one hand I thought that some criticism was warranted but on the other I never saw the particular things that were criticized in my gaming life. The gaming sites had earned my trust however and as thus I let it slide.

Years later the criticism became downright false, acidic and unwarranted. The things that they were criticizing gaming about weren’t there or they were taken out of context. What was worse was that no one was pointing this out. I felt that I was going insane as a result.

This is what cultivated in me becoming a supporter of GamerGate; the outright lies and unwarranted criticism angered me and when the revelations started coming in that everything was down to collusion and financial gain…

I lost all trust I had for certain people. They broke that trust with their actions, I followed and listened to them, basing my purchase habits on their word but they never returned that trust with some basic respect towards me and the rest of their audience. I don’t think that they will ever regain that trust from me.

In the end, #GamerGate is about my broken trust towards people I used to respect. #GamerGate showed me that I am not alone in feeling betrayed and that there are legitimate concerns in regards to the corruption among gaming journalists. Perhaps I am a fool, I always knew that there was some corruption in the industry but I never believed it would go this far.

I never believed that a small clique could hijack most of gaming news site in order to push an agenda and I never believed that they would even go as far as to attack game developers and the gaming audience.

I just wanted to play games and be informed about games; that’s why I trusted them. They then used that trust to push an agenda. With that agenda in mind they attacked anyone who they considered an enemy, game developers, fellow journalists and even ordinary gamers. None of them were left untouched by their false agenda. I want this to stop and that is what #GamerGate is to me.

Stopping people from abusing their power in the industry.

Dragoongfa

Essay: “What GamerGate Means To Me”

The Internet is the greatest expression of free speech the world has ever seen. One of the amazing things about living in America in the 21st century, is you can say anything you want, with no fear of censorship, ideological monitoring, or repercussions. As long as you are not directly encouraging others to break the law, or committing willful  slander or libel, no one is going to stop you from voicing your opinion, or punish you for expressing unpopular thoughts. There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers, and the Internet has given us the freedom to ask any question we like, recieve a plethora of answers, and become better, more informed citizens of the world in the process.

That’s what I used to think. Then, I unexpectedly found out that the majority of the sites I visit regularly, do not in any way share my view of the 21st century. To them, the 21st century is a time when the voices of hundreds of thousands of people can, are, and should be silenced, the instant those voices prove uncomfortable for someone well liked in their insular community of Internet celebrities. For them, the 21st century is a doublethink nightmare of being so tolerant, that they cannot allow anyone less tolerant than they to speak a word, for fear that the utterance might offend their refined and inclusive sensibilities. They see a world where some questions are so stupid, so offensive, so out of bounds, that no one should ever be allowed to ask them, under any circumstances.

You see, I have recently come to find out that I am a cretin. I am, apparently, an ignorant, bigoted, childish, brutal, manbeast. A source of such virulent evil and rampant misogyny, that nothing I could ever say, should be allowed to be seen or heard, in even the most obscure forum. That I would think to crawl out from under the rock I so evidently live under, and dare to question those of so much higher a station, and so much more enlightened a worldview, just proves how unrepentantly odious I truly must be.

Luckily, the glorious meritocracy that is the Internet, has provided an entire caste of properly educated, wellborn monitors to save the world from my insidious and corrosive misconceptions of freedom. A cadre of valorous defenders of all that is correct and proper, to uphold the values that we little people are too petty to comprehend. These valiant heroes of everything sacrosanct, have diligently taken upon themselves the onerous burden of shielding the fragile constituency they represent, from my hateful, perniciously unregulated, and unmitigatedly stupid questions concerning their propriety and conduct.

That is not the world I wish to live in. That is not how this thing we call the Internet is supposed to work. That is not the role I expect the chattering class of bloggers to fill. And that, I suppose, is what #gamergate means to me, and why I refuse to accept the new rules of conduct that are being forced upon me.

Lee Lloyd

Essay: “Kyle W.”

There is a group of Journalists in Games Media who desperately need to be stopped. Not only because the underhanded, manipulative way they’re going about libeling us is wrong, but because their Ideology, a Distorted, Dark Version of Feminism, is going to wreck a hobby that I love & has helped me through some tough times. Now more than ever. So, Devin Wilson has said Fun is a “Neurological Trick”  But SO WHAT. It’s a Trick *we all NEED.* I have a vertebrae that has broken loose from my spinal column & the disc beneath it has collapsed. My Spinal Cord is under tremendous pressure & it screams pain signals into my brain 24/7/365. But you know what? A Good game can take my mind off of it for awhile, withOUT drugs.

Spending some time trying to defend the galaxy against the Reapers in the Mass Effect series, or adventuring with my friends online in Neverwinter Nights 2 or the classic Baldur’s Gate, helps me to forget. The challenge of trying to live peacefully in Civilization, to build a society that can avoid war, but still thrive, hours can go by before I remember what my body is telling me.

But it doesn’t have to be a problem as extreme as mine. You could have been hurt by one you love, but wandering the majestic mountains of Skyrim eases that hurt for a time. The pressure at work could seem overwhelming, but saving those people from the terrorists in Call of Duty with your friends for an hour or two can allow you to refocus. Perhaps you’re tired of being socially awkward, of just not being able to understand people. It’s confusing & frustrating. The world is a dark and incomprehensible place. The rules make no sense! Yet guess what? You’ve discovered that you have skill in World of Warcraft, the rules of the game make the world seem more sensible & that skill has given you a reputation. That reputation created a group around you and suddenly you realize that these people understand you. You work well together. You find you have things to talk about that aren’t gaming related, these people have become your friends.

In this process of discovery, in this #Gamergate & #notyourshield, I’ve seen so many smart, earnest, educated, funny, heartwarming people come together for a common cause. It makes a joke of the claims put against us that we are unreasonable Misogynists. Many of these people I would like to become friends with, maybe many of these people I would not get along with in normal life at all. Yet I would still respect them. Because they understand as I do, what gaming has done for us.

However, those hiding behind DiGRA? These arrogant academics and their SJW allies? They don’t want to be a part of that community. They don’t want to even try to enter in openly and fairly and let their ideas compete in the marketplace. They don’t even care about doing business that would support the Industry. They just want it to burn. They want to tear it down and who knows what would come out of the ashes? Nothing good, nothing ethical, nothing fun. Please help us, don’t give up, we need you *all*. This may be the greatest game any of us will play in our lives. Let’s play to win.

Kyle W.