Where did GamerGate come from?

GamerGate is a recent, wide-ranging controversy that began in late August 2014 as a direct result of the seemingly corrupt and wildly unprofessional behavior of the gaming press. On August 16, Eron Gjoni, ex-boyfriend of developer Zoe Quinn published a blog on wordpress called The Zoe Post. In this blog, he alleged that Quinn cheated on him with several members of the video game industry, one of whom was a writer for Kotaku. This post created a substantial uproar in the gaming community. Some took the post as license to attack Quinn, while many, many others were incensed by the relationship and potential for conflicts of interest it presented in Grayson’s reporting.

Overwhelmingly, the gaming press responded to this in a markedly different fashion from previous, similar allegations and began a campaign of censorship. On nearly every gaming-related website, from user-driven sites like Reddit and NeoGAF to contributor-driven sites like Kotaku, any discussion of the topic, or even topics almost completely unrelated, was quenched immediately and without question. Even a handful of 4chan’s moderators came into play and tried to silence the discussion.

This nearly universal response and behavior pattern, wildly outside the normal bounds of the sites in question, made many people suspicious of collusion or conspiracy and questions began to be asked. Such as why it was considered acceptable for a professional journalist to have sex with a subject. Or why there was a nebulous network of financial support between developers and journalists through the use of websites like Patreon. Or even simply if ethical standards existed in the gaming journalism industry.

Major industry figures confirmed that these issues existed and insisted that they were not a problem. Then on August 28/29, 11 gaming news sites (Gamasutra, DailyDot, Kotaku, Polygon, and several others) published articles declaring some variation of ‘Gamers are Dead’ and that any and all calls for better journalism were made only as cover for ‘neckbearded misogynerds’ to harass women. This incensed a large portion of their audience and even reached well known actor Adam Baldwin, who coined the Twitter hashtag #gamergate upon his getting involved, which the movement has since adopted as its moniker.

In the ensuing weeks, gamers and the entrenched gaming press have been at odds over the issues of honest and ethical reporting laid out against claims of anonymous harassment and threats.

 

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