Monthly Archives: October 2014

GamerGate Link Farm, 31-10-14

I haven’t been able to keep up with the number of great links about GG so I’m just starting a daily link farm, because I don’t want to lose the good ones amongst the tide.

Research shows more than half of all PC gamers are female, and they make up the majority of PC RPG players. So let’s just can the “women are only casual gamers” myth, okay?

Related to this, Laralyn McWilliams writes about why arguing whether or not people are trying to make women feel unwelcome in tech is beside the point – we need to treat it like a useability problem and take similar approaches to solving it.

#GamerGate’s plans to destroy Gawker media include not just advertisers, but targeting syndicated advertising programs like Google AdSense in an attempt to cut off funding. Seeing as the business model for online writing portals is largely dependent on web traffic, this is effectively extortion for publicising views GG doesn’t agree with. I’m sure the totes-not-anti-feminist Gators see hurting Jezebel as a fortunate fringe benefit.

Related to this, GG’s habit of referring followers to archive sites (which strip advertising) for links? Yeah, using those archive sites this way might actually be breaking some laws and be ethically dubious for intellectual property reasons.

Also related to their Gawker plans, L. Rhodes writes about why “Operations” like Disrespectful Nod & Baby Seal aren’t actually boycotts at all but blockades. A boycott relies on the strength of its numbers to make a consumer impact; a blockade depends on finding a way to give a small but zealous group disproportionate influence. We need to fight this “boycott” meme wherever it pops up. Also mentioned: why this might lead to WORSE outcomes for ethical journalism.

Stephanie Llamas on why all gamers need to be counted as gamers, and as a community we need to get rid of this idea that some people aren’t “real” gamers. Which really underpins a lot of the aggressive gatekeeping crap in GG.

Arthur Chu with a powerful and empathetic reflection on how feeling excluded can lead to the kind of angry lashing out we are seeing from GG at the moment. He provides an insight without suggesting that Gators should be forgiven or excused, which I think is showing empathy without becoming an apologist.

And Chris Plante writes about the demise of GamerGate’s credibility as a quest for ethics in games journalism. Mainstream exposure has focused on the harmful parts of the movement because that’s the only consistent part the whole debacle, and that’s what Gators seem determined not to understand. But since it has the words “Gamergate is dead” in it I’m sure the actual point will be missed just as it was with Leigh Alexander’s article three months ago.


On #GamerGate and games reviewing, or Awww, Our Little Hobby Is Growing Up

(cross-posted from a comment about #GamerGate on We Hunted The Mammoth, because this encapsulates why I think a lot of GG’s outrage is mistaken or misplaced)

I just want to know where this theoretical games journalism industry habit of assigning games to people who hate those kinds of games is happening. At least in the places where I read reviews, of course you give an action game to a fan of action games and a strategy game to a fan of strategy games, because that’s how you assess a game amongst the body of work that already exists within that genre. No different to music reviews – if someone hates classical you don’t get them to review orchestral stuff, because a) they have no working knowledge of the genre and b) there’s going to be more of an appreciation for the details among someone who does indeed enjoy that kind of music. Plus if someone hasn’t played the previous God Of War games, for instance, they can’t tell you why the latest one sucks in comparison to the last two. 😉

I think where the gamebros are losing their shit is that it’s getting harder and harder to keep games in specific genres (RPG elements in action games, strategy elements in FPSs, platformers with puzzle-solving emphasis). Add to that the explosion in indie games that don’t follow a set formula and the idea that you can find a reviewer that fits every niche gets a little ridiculous. Games reviewing is being forced to broaden its assessment criteria. Plus with “adult themes” being ever more prevalent, and the average gamer being in their 30s, it makes sense that concepts like narrative themes, setting, context within current events and social influences are becoming a part of what’s considered when reviewing a game.

Add to that the pervasive defensive crouch amongst a lot of gamers in that 30-something age bracket, who have never shaken the stigma surrounding gaming 10-20 years ago which is barely a thing anymore, and you get a little insight into why their assurance that Everything About Gaming Is Awesome is shaken when they see reviews that aren’t just cheerleading Gaming Itself but picking games apart with a critical eye – which they are mistaking for attack.

It’s a nesessary phase in the maturation of the medium. I still don’t really grok the howling opposition to games becoming Srs Bsns, except that it’s a convenient hobby horse for a certain strain of hippie-punching, How Dare You Tell Me I Can’t, tolerance=oppression! redpill-esque belief that geeks are still a persecuted class who are more enlightened and underappreciated but will some day rule the world.

Obviously they didn’t get the fucking memo that geeks do rule the world now. 😉


So, tl;dr rundown.

A friend of Brianna Wu, indie game developer, put up a meme making fun of GamerGaters.

It used this pic:


Some GamerGaters who took offense to this comparison to a crying child have websearched and found that same pic in a PowerPoint presentation about autism:

Never a movement to let detailed analysis or fact checking – or a momentary consideration about how photos are used on the internet – get in the way of calling somebody an evil hypocrite, GamerGaters have spent a couple of days covering Reddit with accusations that this just shows how SJWs are the REAL bigots! How dare they use a poor autistic kid in their attacks on Gamers!

You may be able to see where this is going…

It turns out this is a … stock photo! From Shutterstock! And in fact people who make websites or presentations don’t necessarily go out and find a kid with oppositional defiant disorder or autism, sometimes they just use a stock photo of a kid acting angry.

I mentioned this on Twitter, and used the Hashtag Of Troll-Summoning Doom (#GamerGate). I suggested a few Gators who were sincerely interested in the truth might like to go and straighten out the record on Reddit.

Predictably, I’ve been met thus far with nothing but attempts to somehow say SJWs are still the bad guys and this isn’t *really* a colossal fuck-up by #GamerGate.

This, people, is your movement dedicated to “journalistic integrity”. When faced with a matter of public record, where their own side has clearly made a mistake in assigning evil actions to their critics, where they could easily put it right … they continue attacking.

Because at the end of the day, no matter how many lofty pronouncements they make about “ethics” and “rooting out corruption” …

Attacking is all they have, and all that unites them.

Prove me wrong, #GamerGate