The Problem with ‘Ethics in Journalism’: Why GamerGate is a Problem We Need to Talk About (Rationally)

I have thus far been silent on TLF about GamerGate – not because I have nothing to say, but because I wasn’t certain that my lovely and fabulous editors wanted to deal with the potential backlash. But after a short conversation today, we decided that it would be better to say something than to remain silent. Much of this post has appeared earlier on my personal blog, with some additions and modifications to update and expand upon relevant points.

One of the big developments this week in GamerGate is that the world – as opposed to the internet – has taken notice. The “movement,” such as it is, has come into the public eye. Pieces have appeared in Rolling Stone, Newsweek, The New York Times, twice in The New Yorker, and five times on (to say nothing of on tv), at least at my last count (which might be off). This is in addition to pieces on Gamasutra, Kotaku, IGN, GameSpot, and Polygon, which are too numerous for me to even think about linking. Celebrities like Felicia Day, Chris Kluwe, and even the Hulk* have weighed in, and others – like Joss Wheedon – have tweeted their support for those being harassed. (*Not the ‘real’ Hulk.)

And just this week, Anita Sarkeesian appeared as a guest on The Cobert Report. The important thing about the interview wasn’t anything in particular that was said. In fact, the interview itself was fairly lackluster for a variety of reasons, foremost of which was the fact that even the persona of Stephen Colbert couldn’t bring himself to go after Sarkeesian with his usual flair, which is understandable. After all, Sarkeesian has been the target of so very much hatred and harassment, that even satiric harassment seems inappropriately disrespectful. Furthermore, it’s difficult to make light of GamerGate any more than Colbert did (before she came on stage) – and that wasn’t much. In short, the segment itself wasn’t great – but it was great that it happened. And it was even better that the audience on the show was vocally and enthusiastically supportive of a woman who has seen far too little of that and far too much from the other side.

But before I launch into a discussion of the importance of media coverage of GamerGate, a little history. Just in case you’ve lived somewhere off-grid, GamerGate started as a hashtag from Adam Baldwin, ostensibly over corrupt gaming journalism ethics, and derailed so quickly that it never actually made it to any sort of legitimate discussion thereof. That’s not to say that there aren’t things to discuss concerning “ethics” and “games journalism,” just that the hashtag went off the rails so quickly that this particular discussion never went anywhere useful, actionable, or productive. Even the initial “scandal” which spawned the tag – that developer Zoe Quinn had exchanged sexual favors for a positive review from a journalist working at Kotaku – is blatantly factually erroneous (neither the journalist in question nor any journalist at Kotaku never reviewed her game, Depression Quest).

Since then, the internet – and Twitter especially – has exploded with pro- and anti-GamerGaters howling insults, sending threats, and generally behaving like infants, with a few staunch adults thrown in here and there. (For a sense of what the conversation on Twitter looks like, check out Andy Baio’s research project.) Many gaming, feminist, and pop culture outlets – like Feministing and Geek Feminism – have been cautious about engaging the discussion out of fear that they will become subject to the rage of Gaters – like Quinn, Day, and Sarkeesian. Others – like Mangotron – were covering GamerGate and withdrew that coverage because of harassment.

Many members of the gaming community – whether Gaters or not – have long been accustomed to the sense that they are screaming into the void. Recent news attention shows us now that the void has both eyes and ears – it has been watching and listening all along.

What remains to be seen is whether the creatures of the void are going to prove to be monsters or angels or something in between; whether the airing of GamerGate’s extremely dirty and smelly laundry will galvanize an army of detergent-wielding knights or coalesce into a stained-sock-golem that will wreak havoc on the gaming community.


Some, like The Verge’s Chris Plante, think that this mainstream media coverage is a sign that GamerGate is dead or at least in the last throes of dying. While Plante’s opening premise – “As an activist movement with the ability to inspire positive change, Gamergate is dead” – is not wrong, it is a tiny bit misleading, since I’m not convinced that GamerGate ever had the capacity to “inspire positive change,” given where it began. That’s not to say that the now-infamous byline of “ethics in games journalism” doesn’t need some “positive change,” just that I’m skeptical that GamerGate was ever really about that (also, that the kind of change that would benefit games journalism is what they were talking about in the first place).

His point that “GamerGate died ironically from what it most wanted: mainstream exposure,” is also accurate, insofar as it suggests that GamerGate is not benefiting from mainstream news coverage or the list of celebrities who have now spoken up against it or in favor of feminism (now including Stephen Colbert). And Plante’s quip that “When a fictional ideal of repressive rhetoric thinks your movement is too much, then it’s time to reconsider,” is amusing – although I would suggest that Colbert’s “response” was more in line with his actual politics than his persona’s.

The problem, as I see it, is that Plante’s piece is more hopeful than it is reflective of what’s going to happen within the GamerGate movement. As of October 30, for example, OperationDiggingDiGRA (more on that here) was still examining the work of games academics for signs of feminist conspiracies. GamerGate isn’t about journalism ethics anymore, if it ever was (a fact about which I’m rather skeptical), although the conversation about ethics in journalism is one that Plante rightfully suggests can take place elsewhere and in a healthier way.

GamerGate is about couching privilege as a “right” and defending that privilege as though it were the most basic tenet of human dignity. And it just isn’t. It’s about mostly straight white men desperately attempting to cling to the (oppressive) power they possess in a “culture” (is gaming really a “culture”? But that’s another post for another day) that they feel has always belonged to them. It’s about the deliberate exclusion of diverse voices in a medium that is rapidly expanding and already includes those voices – which is where the whole backlash came from to begin with. GamerGate, specifically, is about a retrogressive desire to maintain a fictional status quo that never really existed as compensation for perceived loss.

And I’m just not seeing that as “dead.” Women have been able to vote in this country since 1919, and we still don’t make the same amount as equally-qualified men. Jim Crow laws were abolished in 1964, and racism against African Americans continues to be pervasive and institutionalized. GamerGate isn’t on the same scale as these, certainly (although it is the product of a similar social problem), but it isn’t going to just go away in three months.

I hope Plante is right, and this is the beginning of the end for GamerGate. I’m just not going to hold my breath.




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Comments (13)

100% as always.
I think people like Kluwe and Terry Crews can do a lot to combat this. As I’ve said before, I think a lot of this awful, despicable behaviour stems from the oversight- and consequence-free nature of the internet. There is no dad to take the gamergater by the ear and make him apologize. Doxxing the doxxers and taking away their anonymity would be one way (like that wonderful Australian writer who contacted a rape-threateners’ mom).

Positive male role models could be another. I really believe that the complete lack of male role models (other than a lesser Baldwin) is the root of this problem.The man-children of the “movement” get a lot of feedback from bandwagon-jumping quasi-celebs and MRA snake-oil salesmen. Most of the criticism of gamergate comes from easily dismissable persons, like ~women~ and progressive writers. I would love to see the big developers issuing a joint statement just saying “enough already, or there won’t be a Halo 5”.

The notion that this is about ethics in video game journalism is one that is too absurd to take seriously. There can’t be many journalists less ethical than those reviewing video games, with the possible exception of automotive writers. All video game publications are completely dependent on ad money from the companies that make the games they are reviewing. This has been a dilemma since day one. So why on earth is THIS the poop that broke the gamers’ sock?

“(neither the journalist in question nor any journalist at Kotaku never reviewed her game, Depression Quest).”
Isn’t this one negative too many?

I’m not so keen on the contacting-gaters-parents route. It implies that there should be some onus on the victim to “fix” what’s happening, which is ridiculous. In the case of the Australian woman, part of the reason she did so was that her harassers were minors, so it makes more sense in that case, but most Gaters probably aren’t minors, and victims shouldn’t have to DO anything in order to stop it. The onus should be on everyone else to NOT do it in the first place, and to not tolerate it when it happens in front of them. That won’t fix all of it, certainly, but it does help.

There’s still also the dual nature of having celebrity males speaking up – they aren’t going to be harassed because they have permission to speak up. It’s nice to have the support, certainly, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of having women be listened to in the first place. It’s a difficult issue.

I’m also not sure about the role-model thing. People like to keep coming back to the idea of having a “father-figure” for a lot of male youth who act out in different ways, but that perpetuates the problem by assuming that there’s something intrinsically male about them that can only benefit from a paternal role-model. We need to stop having specific gender-identifiers altogether if we want to deal with it – and we need to change our culture in order to do that. Any culture that still adheres to the idea that there are intrinsic differences beyond basic physiology between males and females is going to have problems with gender… as ours shows very well. Men and women just aren’t as different psychologically as media have led us to believe, and by forcing proscriptions on either gender, we hurt them both.

And yes, there is one to many “n”s in that sentence. It should read “…Kotaku ever reviewed…” Well-spotted.

The onus should not be on the victims to fix anything. I didn’t mean to imply that at all. I envisioned some kind of Anonymous, doxxing harassers. And it isn’t THE solution, of course.

OK, you make a lot of sense here again. Maybe role model is too strong of a word. I sort of mean “good example”. I don’t mean that Kluwe should be every Gaters’ substitute daddy, rather that he is unassailable as a ‘legit’ gamer. The gender thing matters slightly, as Gaters probably see all women as part of The Conspiracy To Ruin My Fun.

I understood (some of) the criticism against Sarkeesian, as it was obvious she wasn’t into games the way she claimed to be. The same goes for criticism against any non-gamer. The “hey, they are not part of our group, they don’t understand us” defense is quite common in any group.

So when Felicia Day spoke out, I – naively – thought she wasn’t going to be harassed at all, as her nerd credentials are immaculate. She can’t be accused of using this as a platform to make a name for herself, as she is already famous both as a nerd and as a creative person. She was immediately doxxed and threatened despite all of this, which sort of proves that it isn’t about ethics and ‘our wonderful gaming culture’ at all.

When it is impossible for a popular female gaming celebrity to be taken seriously by the Gaters, the only solution I can see is more men speaking out against their despicable behaviour. Yes, gender shouldn’t matter, but we’re so far from there now. We basically have to turn Gaters into normal human beings first, before we can even broach the topic. And they apparently won’t listen to any women at all, so the only way to reach them seems to be through men in unassailable positions of maleness and gamerness, telling them what constitutes acceptable behaviour. THEN send in the women. I wish it wasn’t the case, but it looks like it is.

“Gaters probably see all women as part of The Conspiracy To Ruin My Fun.”
This is not and never will be the feeling of anyone within Gamergate, but has been and always will be how the people actually under fire by gamergate (people in the majority of gaming media and various parts of the industry of in collusion with them) try to portray the group in order to distract from the criticisms leveled against them.

There is also nothing linking Gamergate to the doxxing and threatening of her, and people all across the board have been victim of that, myself included, and it has been found that a number of third party troll groups have been behind most of it. I don’t think you followed through on the Felicia Day issue or even were aware of criticism she had long before any of this, but assuming it at all ‘proves’ anything about Gamergate’s intentions and purpose is absurd and insulting.

I should also mention the very large number of women who have been strong supporters of Gamergate from the start who would likely give you the middle finger and glare knives in your direction for your insinuation that they don’t exist. That has been an issue they have been fighting for since the start, that assumption that “no women support gamergate because it’s all men”. No. There are some women Gamergate will not a single women Gamergate will not listen to. They will mock a person who speaks absurdities, respond negatively to outright insults about their character, but respect well made arguments that don’t treat them with disdain.

You are being unfair, unkind, and saying things that are outright false about the people within Gamergate. The worst you can say in truth is that there are some women who Gamergate disagrees with or are against because of what they’ve said or done, but at least they don’t pretend those women don’t exist or outright ignore them. Which is something that can’t be said about you.

Well, this will be short because it ipad typing kinda sucks. I connected with gamer gate, and yes for me it was about ethics in journalism. Like, even before the net since the days of magazines I sensed corruption but never had a voice. Now, you might accuse me of “protecting privilege” but I thought gaming media’s automatic wholesale and uncritical acceptance of Sarkeesian’s narrative (one that was strangely devoid of any real deep gaming insights) was a sign of the problem.

I don’t think anyone is arguing that games journalism isn’t in need of some help with “ethics” in various capacities – I just don’t think that’s what GG has turned into or ever really has been at its core (although the idea of reforming ethics in games journalism undoubtedly attracted people like yourself because it does need some help).

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I don’t wholesale embrace Sarkeesian’s reading of games (you can click on my name and it will show you all the things I’ve written, including various responses to Sarkeesian’s videos) – but I do absolutely think that she has the right to make her series without fear of harassment, threats, and doxxing. I also think that people should be able to criticize what she has to say without being labeled misogynist or “protecting privilege” depending on what it is they have to say and the manner in which they say it. That’s what free speech is actually about – being able to engage in a critical BUT RESPECTFUL discussion about ideas on all sides. Personally, I happen to think that while Sarkeesian is in the right ballpark she’s dropped a few balls here and there – and those are the things worth discussing.

I also have to say that while I’m a huge proponent of free speech, I am NOT a proponent of either hate speech (or bullying or harassment or threats) nor am I a proponent of false information. I don’t think that people – GGers or SJWs or anyone else – should be permitted to spread lies and false information in order to support their opinions. I do think that they can have opinions, but that those opinions should be based on evidence (real evidence) and use logic. And I’m fine having discussions about whether or not a game or a scene in a game is or is not sexist (I have been persuaded, for example, that having Jasmine in BioShock be an exotic dancer does actually contribute value to the game and is therefore not simply there out of sexism or laziness). I am not fine being told that my opinion does not count simply because I am female, being told things that are simply not true, or having someone ignore evidence simply because it contradicts their desired beliefs.

Now I’m not saying that any of these negatives are things you (Darren) have or have not done. As far as I know, you’re a perfectly nice human being who genuinely cares about the actual ethical problems in games journalism. But there are a lot of GGers out there who don’t really care about ethics in games journalism and care only about “protecting privilege.” However, being able to raise valid criticisms of Sarkeesian’s videos is not inherently doing the latter – it can very much be the former.

I do think, though, that “gaming” has not wholesale accepted her criticisms – I think there is a portion of gamers who have and a portion who have just as wholesale rejected what she has to say. I think that both these viewpoints are the loudest out there, so it may seem that “everyone” thinks Sarkeesian is either a saint or a medusa, but I think what is actually happening is that most people fall in the middle and just don’t say anything for fear of being targeted by either side.

What I do think is important and valuable about Sarkeesian is that she is willing to criticize the medium – and I think that is worth celebrating, even though I don’t agree with everything she has to say in her videos. And I think that the reason she has become such a media darling is because she’s speaking up in a very public way – and because her speaking up has made her a martyr due to the horrific treatment she has received from so many gamers (GG and otherwise). If I had to choose between Sarkeesian and GG, I’d rather have Sarkeesian, although really I fall somewhere in between.

I find it somewhat peculiar that you actually didn’t jump on board with Gamergate given what you’ve said in the past and are even saying right now in that lat comment. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say there is no option to be neutral and that you “have to pick a side! With us or against us!”, I just mean that you are always on the exact same wavelength I see from the vast majority of Gamergate, and if someone were to show anything you’ve written in the past about Anita with no date given to the post, then they’d assume it was an article from a Gamergate blog. I have been following the whole ordeal closely from the get-go, lurked a number of places talking about “5 guys” and “the quinnspiracy” before the gamergate hashtag was even made.

I’m reading your comment and was scratching my head the whole time saying to myself “but she’s saying all the things gamergate supporters say, constantly crying out for some reason and discussion, to allow free speech instead of trying to shut up anyone with a single criticism to make, wanting to dig for the truth instead of blindly accepting lies just because someone respected on a single partisan side says them. Then I get to the last couple paragraphs and I’m reminded of why you’re against Gamergate.

“But there are a lot of GGers out there who don’t really care about ethics in games journalism and care only about ‘protecting privilege.'”

Who? Where? I hear people say that, article after article says that, news report after news report, all echoing the words of a few people in gaming media, or of course Sarkeesian when she joined in the drama, but I have never been shown a single case of anyone actually worried about a loss of privilege, or women entering into their hobby, or anything of the such in this entire debate. I have asked, and only been told it was obvious and to google it, as if I’m not internet savvy enough that I’d bother writing a query like that if I hadn’t thoroughly googled it.

That has been the media spin from the start that really kicked off gamergate, it was the thinking behind the infamous “gamers are dead” articles that are often attributed as the main reason the whole thing didn’t die down as another piece of short lived internet drama to be forgotten by most in a few weeks. It really made people angry. No, not because they had some privilege that they felt was threatened, but because that is what the articles claimed about them, and they thought that was genuinely insulting to be painted that way. Here you have a large and diverse collection of communities for all kinds of genres, internationally, and the media that represents them comes out on the same day with over half a dozen articles saying they’re all a bunch of straight white males afraid of women taking their toys, and their culture is dead. Well of course people will be mad that a media turns on their own audience like that. That’s part of the corruption they’re talking about. It’s not a desperate gasp of a dying culture, it’s an angry “what the hell are you talking about?” from a very much live and energetic culture being told it is something it isn’t.

We all know the issues with media corruption in gaming, we all know the real issues with sexism in gaming, I know that you know as well because I’ve read stuff from you before. I always liked seeing your critiques on Anita’s videos as your points weren’t blindly in her favor or coming from an existing annoyance or dislike towards feminism. I also know, from what you’ve written before, that you know her character and the merit of the criticisms she has made compared with the actual existing issues with sexism in gaming, and how there’s quite a disconnect between the two.

I’m just bothered here because on the one had you see all the issues that are the things Gamergate was started over, and the main things they all talk about, but yet your description of the entire movement and all that has happened is no different from the way any of the media, which are being criticized for bias, nepotism, and corruption, are presenting the movement. It’s the same annoyance I have as someone from St. Louis when people online talk about Ferguson. Their entire awareness of the area, the laws, and the entirety of the shooting itself, are all from the various lenses of various media with their own agendas or politics to push, or who very much want to sensationalize the story to pull in more views. I’m seeing the same thing here. I watch the entire situation unfold before my eyes and then I see people who were on the movement’s side before the movement was made, being convinced that the movement was “derailed” or “corrupted” because that’s the current story that is being push. I remember when they were still trying to pass us off as “misogynistic manbaby straight white male harassers afraid of women playing games”. We last long enough to defy that playground name calling and they switch the story a few times, with the current finally acknowledging that we have actual complaints to make, but then shrugging them off by saying “Oh, well they did have the right idea, but obviously they’ve been derailed”. Well before they said we were derailed they tried saying that we “started” bad and should start a new movement because “the well has been poisoned” and this one was “dead”.

I’m sorry Kristin, but you have been misled.
Gamergate does not need to end because it is doing so much good, and no matter how much the media it set out to protest whines that Gamergate is after someone else and not them (usually ‘women’ in some nebulous sense because it’s just so easy to claim someone is sexist to discredit them), the fact remains that Gamergates actions have been great. People continue to uncover corruption in the industry, continue to raise money for causes being ignored by gaming media, continue to stand up to a media that has done nothing but hurl abuse at the group since the start, and continue to exist and grow. It’s not going to end soon. In all likelihood it is going to be around for years to come, as an aspect of the gaming community that doesn’t tolerate the relationship the gaming industry and media have had since as far back as the 90’s, and doesn’t tolerate any of the issues that we all know have been plaguing the industry for years.

Don’t fall for their nonsense about Gamergate. There is a new article every week about how Gamergate is dead, and it’s 4 months strong now in spite of those. If you wish it dead, you will be disappointed, but you only wish it dead because you have been horribly misled about what the group is.

How on earth did you get the idea that any large number, or any small number even, within Gamergate is worried about losing their privilege? Do you think anyone in GG is afraid of change? Isn’t it the media’s privilege that is the issue? We all want change! We all know the issues the entire industry has been suffering from for so long, and we want it to be changed. The only people worried about losing their privilege are people in gaming media, who had long enjoyed their relationship with the publishers. They’re the ones wanting to go back to “how things were”, to preserve the “old ways” and the “old days”, to keep things from changing, from progressing.

I appreciate that you’re reading TLF, and thank you for being respectful in your comment.

I think you and I are on a different internet, or at least moving in different ecircles. I’ve been talking about this – and in these terms – since long before the media or even GG picked up on questions of gender, race, representation, and criticism. I have spoken publicly at conferences and lectures about the mistreatment of women online (and not just GG). I am a feminist, a critic, and an academic, and have seen GGers act both positively and negatively over the past several months, have read pieces written by every available side, and STILL I come to the conclusions stated above.

I am happy that you are interested in open discussion and forward progress. I think the industry and gaming community need more of that. But I do not think that GG is the right collection of people to foster that, for a host of reasons. It is your right to believe in whatever you wish, but I will kindly ask you to presume that I have done my research (that is my primary occupation – to do research – as an academic) and have not in any way been misled by media coverage since my opinion was formed before they began covering it. I will not repeat myself or my reasons here, nor will I engage in further discussion about how I have or have not been “misled.”

I will not now or will I ever stand with GamerGate. There may be people in GG who agree with things I have to say, and that’s fine. But I do not wish to ever be associated with either GG or its opinions.

Sorry if I came off as a little rude and assumed you were at all ‘ill-informed’ on the topic. I have, in the past more than in recent months, followed a lot of what you have written and said on these issues and that combined with what I have seen of Gamergate is what confuses me so much about your stance on it. If it’s simply neutral or a desire to avoid the drama and nonsense that comes with jumping in either for or against it, I can understand and very much respect that. I don’t get that impression and I don’t feel I understand where you’re coming from on your stance on Gamergate.

Maybe it is as simple as seeing completely different parts of the internet, but I am in no way boxed in anywhere. I’d like to think that when it comes to internet communities, blogs, social media, etc. I am very well traveled. There’s nothing I avoid or hide from, and I do more than just lurk. So when you say what you think about the group and the people involved, I am fooling myself in drawing in the connections to others who have said the same, and where they said they gained their perspective, and what I saw in pursuing those sources, and I’m doing myself no credit in assuming you drew your conclusions from the same sources or are merely repeating opinions of others, I am in fact doing you a disservice there. Sorry.

The most likely reason for our different takes on the movement are differing opinions on what may be “appropriate” behavior from various individuals who stand out in the group or are seen as ‘leaders’ despite the very unstructured nature of the group. Hailing from a long history of online games I’m overly forgiving of what many are put off by from most gamers. I don’t think that is what you mean though, as it is more to do with vulgarities and not actually important to the issues aside from more insensitive slurs tossed around.

What is important is that I am getting the impression you are making a very unfair assessment of what is a very diverse group. I’m not talking about the usual forced conversation many on either side have trying to insist the other is the one with the most “straight white males”, and that their own has more “minorities and women”. I’m referring the the diversity of communities, of perspectives, and of, essentially, internet cultures. I was very heartened from the start of Gamergate by the groups that actually came together to form it. Here were a number of online communities that only a few months previously had been at each others throats, but because each had a subset of ‘gamers’ they all threw their differences aside to protest an issue they saw in a hobby they all shared.

If what put you off of Gamergate are the 4channers and most often racist /pol/ celebrities making videos, or a few more conservative individuals with terrible opinions on other unrelated topics, etc., then I feel that would be unfair. For every extreme I’ve seen in this group I’ve seen the polar opposite of that extreme represented just as well, and even more who are moderate to them all, but all of them, most importantly, respectful of each other and understanding regardless of even the harshest ideological differences. I don’t think it matters. What’s of value is the dialogue, the diversity of thought, and that the conversation is taking place and despite differences people are being treated as people and respected for their contribution to the dialogue and still respected when there is disagreement. That is what I see.

Again, I am only guessing as to what you found off-putting about Gamergate, so I’m sorry if all this has so far just been a lot of nonsense that does not relate to you at all.

All you have said for your position has been vague besides you labeling of the group as mostly being people upset with a loss of privilege. I respect your opinions on the issues of sexism in the gaming industry and communities, and find them of great truth and value. I respect the work you do for those issues greatly. I enjoyed your criticism of Anita early on not out of a dislike for her but because at that time no one was truly giving any amount of real criticism and all I could find was either people who loved her or people who despised her, and not real analysis given to something I felt very much needed such. I say this because I am wanting to avoid someone reading this and assuming I’m am merely being reactionary or opposing you because of what ‘side’ I seem to be aligned on. I believe discourse is important and value strong opinions more than polite questions that dance around hoping not to upset by being too contrary. I want to present a few hard points in hopes of a hard response to them. I feel I did not receive a response from you previously that addressed much of what I said, but rather a defense of your character, and I believe it was my fault and exactly what my own post deserved given what in retrospect are very unfair accusations and assumptions.

This is what I actually have issue with:

“It’s about mostly straight white men desperately attempting to cling to the (oppressive) power they possess in a ‘culture’ (is gaming really a ‘culture’? But that’s another post for another day) that they feel has always belonged to them.”

I cannot agree at all and with respect stand my ground. I think you are wrong in suggesting it, wrong in stating it as truth, and wrong in premise. There is no fear of any real or imagined group within Gamergate’s supporters that is worried about a loss of power or culture to “straight white males”. It is not merely wrong, It is outright absurd. There is no basis for it. I challenge the very idea that it is at all credible or has any backing to it. I challenge the idea that any sizable portion of Gamergate cares in the slightest about white male privilege to begin with. I want to know where you get this idea, how someone comes to this conclusion without being led to it, but from simply observing the group on their own. I challenge you to address your assertion better. It is too vague in yet direct in stating ‘what Gamergate is’ that there is not even an argument to make against it except to say that it is wrong. Give it some backing at least. You can’t merely state “this is what it’s about”. I’ve never seen you treat anyone else like that. Usually you look for the pros and the cons, the good and the bad, what they’ve done right and been right about, and what they’ve done wrong or were wrong about. The most you said in its favor was that the group had good intentions but were quickly “derailed”. Which is not true except from the perspective of the gaming media, who are the ones so intent on derailing and insisting it is about things it is not about.

Second complaint, I think you are equally wrong in stating that the movement had a good start but was ‘hijacked’ or ‘derailed’. A strange paradoxical assumption I see many make when they look into Gamergate is that they enter it asking questions concerning social issues or people who talk about those issues, and of course get a response based on those, but then they come to the conclusion that Gamergate is entirely and even majorly about those issues, that it’s not “about ethics in journalism” because they don’t look for those, they don’t ask about those, and when they observe they see only people who are forced to respond on those issues and being denied the ability to talk about the issues they want to talk about.

Gamergate is not allowed by any outside groups to talk about ethics in gaming journalism or in the industry. The media narrative is that Gamergate is “about/perpetuate misogyny”, and when confronted the topic is always on that, always on people like Sarkeesian, when in all seriousness she had nothing to do with Gamergate before people began claiming all her “harassers” were GG people, and she joined in herself. People in GG tried to avoid talking about her but she has forced her way in so dramatically that she has become a permanent adversary to the group and been made a martyr of by the gaming media.

Go to Gamergate. Go to anyone on any forum or site in which people involved in the movement talk. Ask them about ethics in gaming. They will gladly talk about it. They are denied it everywhere and by everyone. When they speak of it they’re ignored and countered with questions, or more often accusations, of misogyny.

Third and final complaint, the group is still going strong after all this time and it will continue. Its purpose is to challenge the industry and the media by calling out their flaws that are all too often ignored or only mentioned in the sidelines of the gaming community. It’s not a movement that will dry up any time soon and some element of it will most certainly remain for years. The group got its biggest kickstart from small time sex scandal to large protest movement when a series of articles stated gamers were “dead”. From then on there is a never ending, and truly laughable stream of articles stating Gamergate/gamers/etc. are dead/are dying/will die/need to die. You joined into the conversation on Gamergate by writing the same, that you think it should end. If you want it to end the is that last thing you should say. By this point it only strengthens the resolve of people within Gamergate. This isn’t a complaint to your opinion as I think I understand why you think it needs to end and can respect that, but I’m merely pointing out what a mistake it is to phrase it as you did.

The thing is though, it’s all well and good to say Gamergate isn’t the kind of movement we need, but unless you’ve got something better already started then I don’t think it’s to be tossed out. If you think it’s not a good movement because it doesn’t address the issues you have been addressing for years and think are important, you’re right. It’s not about those. That is a side issue to people in Gamergate. You’re not the only one that has been fighting for those issues for years. Anita’s biggest flaw is acting as if she was the first to address those issues or the one who began dialogue. Her biggest fault is that she acts as if any of what she has said that is of value is news to anyone, or new to anyone. Even when the media ignored or didn’t care for the issues the gaming community was leagues ahead of where Anita is now. The biggest criticism to be made against her is that in polarizing the issue and in how she responds to criticism, she has set progress back several years. What I believe Gamergate, despite not even majorly being about issues of sexism in the industry except as a reaction to people calling them misogynists so baselessly again and again, is that they’ve undone her damage by bringing people together who were so far from each other, so dead set against each other, to talk about women in gaming among so many other vital issues to the community and the industry, and share opinions and ideas, and have dialogue that would not have otherwise happened.

Well thanks for the reply. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, and ultimately I thought: yeah! this anita lady should make her videos and such, but ultimately I was disappointed for a number of reasons, chief of which was her apparent lack of any deep knowledge or passion for the games she talks about. But I still wanted to hear from a female gamer, and I still thought the project (or shining a light of poor reps in gaming, and poor treatment) was a worthy project, and because the different perspective could be interesting in itself.

So that’s where I am. I don’t mean to pile any responsibility on you or anything, but now I look to you for some insight and info, and for what it’s worth I think you’re up to the task.

I appreciate that you think so, and I’m certainly going to do my best. I will not be making any videos, though. Just lots and lots of typing.

My guess is that Sarkeesian probably has more knowledge about SOME of the games that she simply doesn’t share in the videos because that would be tangential to her given task. The issue is that she hasn’t established her credibility to her audience – kind of like the literature review section that one has in an academic monograph. I’m not sure that such a section would have a place in a video series, but doing a video to introduce herself and her experiences with gaming before she began the series might not have been a bad idea. I’m not saying that she needs to “prove her gaming cred” in order to have the right to make the videos, but, rather, that establishing her awareness of games and the conversations around them simply might make her audience more likely to listen.

But se la vie.

I could talk a lot on how I feel about the way gamers have been slandered, stereotyped, and vilified during all of this. But I’ve found that discussion and personal opinions don’t mean a lot in the face of main stream media attack articles.

I’ll just leave a link to the timeline. You can form your own opinions.

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