There’s a lot to parse about the “controversy” that has been going on, but the short timeline of facts is this:
- Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend makes an immense amount of spurious claims about her and the state of the games journalism industry
- people on internet forums take up that flag and begin to harass her, Anita Sarkeesian, and basically every other woman and perceived “Social Justice Warrior” on social media and elsewhere
- out of that harassment campaign comes a supposedly separate campaign that wants to interrogate the interrelationships between videogame journalists and the games and developers they cover
- that “journalistic ethics” campaign now exists in many colors–some are harassing, some are drawing webs of corruption, some are responding in good faith, and so on.
That’s where we are right now.
It seems to me that the participants in #gamergate are all there for different reasons and that it is mostly an accidental coalition that has formed out of a sense of being wronged. The person that I talked to in that Storify seems to just generally have a problem with a perceived lack of transparency in the world of games journalism. Another common thread that I see is that “the wrong games are being covered,” which smacks of small developers who are unhappy that their games don’t receive much press coverage. There’s yet another demographic that are literally using it as an excuse to air out all perceived wrongs–they seem to believe they’ve been wronged by all women, by the industry, by those who cover the industry, and a smattering of other, more nebulous sources.
Generally, #gamersgate leaves me with a sense of confusion more than anything else. I see a lot of chatter in the tag about it not being sexist, but then I see the immense amount of hate mail/hacking attempts/threats that women in the industry are getting. I keep seeing appeals to logic and rationality but no longform defenses of these methods or even arguments for why #gamersgate matters at all. As you can see in the conversation from the Storify, there isn’t much cohesion in the arguments being delivered from this set. It mostly seems like a decade’s worth of forum “common sense” (journos are paid off, games aren’t as good as they used to be, journos have an agenda) being thrown at a wall in order to see what sticks.
TCIW has an open comments policy, and I’m fully open to having someone explain these things to me. I am not likely to agree–this is not my first, second, or even fifth go around with these kinds of campaigns–but I do want to see a longform, rationalized explanation for why #gamersgate people feel this way about the world. Not an image macro, not a concept web, and not a twenty minute YouTube video made by a community figurehead, but a real, actual explanation written by a human. That said, I reserve the right to delete any and all toxic speech or threats from my blog. I am open to a conversation, but I am not open to being insulted or threatened.
[Edit 9/4/2014 3:31pm EST: Just a note that the comments here are moderated (as noted above) and I want to make an addendum: if you make a comment that is purely reiterating or stating things that have already been written in a comment already, I am not posting it. It clutters up the threads and adds literally nothing to the conversation. However, I am reading everything that comes in. Thank you for reading.]
[Edit 9/5/2014 9:03am EST: Thanks for all of your comments! We’ve gotten to the point where comments coming in, both for and against #gamergate, are just rehashes of the same thing over and over again (or, alternately, they are appeals to evidence when those appeals have been addressed already in the comments several times). That means that it is time to call it and close down the comments. As anyone who has moderated comments for more than ten minutes can tell you, it is emotionally draining work, and I think that all parties have made their points known already here. Once again, I thank everyone for their contributions. As always, I can be contacted through twitter if you have additional questions or remarks.]