Debarkle Chapter 28: Gamergate 2014 meets Vox Day

[content warning for descriptions of internet harassment and extreme misogyny]

A fun fact that I learnt today from Wikipedia is that the word “gamergate” means a worker ant that can reproduce sexually and the term is pronounced something like “gamma-gate”[1]. That will be about the only wholesome fact in this chapter. For the rest of it, the chapter covers what Wikipedia entitles the “Gamergate Controversy”. What this chapter is not going to be able to do is give a full and authoritative account of the controversy. Instead, I want to look at some of the precursors to Gamergate that influenced later events in the Debarkle story and where Gamergate intersected with some of the key players in the Sad Puppy Hugo Award controversy.

The major events in Gamergate ran from August 2014 and into 2015 and beyond. However, for this chapter, I will only be looking at 2014. It is also a distorted view of the controversy. Vox Day presents himself as a significant figure in Gamergate but third party accounts do not. Nevertheless, for the purposes of the Debarkle narrative, the influence of Gamergate on Day and the political and personal coalition that arose from that is important. I’m getting ahead of myself though.

I will not be referencing every factual claim about Gamergate but instead I’ll be using four main sources for key events and for establishing the significance of events:

The Infogalactic entry is interesting because it is one of the few pages on the Wiki that is a substantial re-write of the Wikipedia page. The Wikipedia page itself was one of the areas of conflict in the Gamergate controversy, including a protracted edit war as different groups attempted to frame what the nature of the controversy was.

Readers will note, that what I haven’t done yet is introduce the topic and that is because the nature of the controversy, even down to a short précis to introduce the topic, was itself made into a partisan factional conflict. I’ll illustrate with a comparison:

Here is the opening of the Wikipedia entry:

“The Gamergate controversy concerned an online harassment campaign, primarily conducted through the use of the hashtag #GamerGate, that centered on issues of sexism and anti-progressivism in video game culture. Gamergate is used as a blanket term for the controversy as well as for the harassment campaign and actions of those participating in it.”

‘Gamergate controversy’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 April 2021, 04:29 UTC,

Here is the Infogalactic version:

“The ‘Gamergate controversy’ occurred when the publication of a sex scandal in August 2014 led to industry reactions that confirmed longstanding rumors of a cultlike clique in the video game industry that conspired to promote unqualified friends as industry experts, write false news stories to promote a political agenda, and blacklist developers and fellow journalists who did not share their politics. The indie clique was also accused of rigging award shows to promote games that members of the clique had invested in.”

‘GamerGate’, Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core, , 12 May 2018, 11:20 UTC

Now to be clear, I firmly believe that there is an external reality and that ‘truth’ is meaningful. One of those two paragraphs is a better description of events than the other and it should be no surprise that it is the first of the two. However, if we are looking for a point where the growing bifurcation in the perception of reality became tangible in the way that would dominate our lives from 2016 onwards, then I would point to these two paragraphs[2]. Even so, when considering many of the foot-soldiers in this particular front in the culture wars of the last decade, it is reasonable to assume many of them were convinced that they were genuinely fighting against the “false news” of elite cliques of insiders who operated in a way that was “cult-like”.

But before we dive further into the events of Gamergate we need to look at some of the historical background.

Fans, Chans and Gamers

There are multiple roots to the Gamergate controversy. I’m only going to pick out those that are either immediately pertinent to making sense of events or those that would have an influence on other events in the Debarkle history (up to and including the event we opened with in the introduction: the storming of the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021).

One clear influence was the development of a self-identified ‘gamer’ culture. The history of commercial video games has been broad and diverse, with games variously marketed at children, families and adults. A significant proportion of people buying and playing video games have always been women. By 2014 smartphones, tablets such as the iPad, and handheld gaming devices had further increased the market for video games covering wide demographics. However, a section of the market had been developing since the 1990s that focussed on young men[3] with sufficient resources and time to spend on high-end gaming devices (consoles or PCs) and games that taxed those devices in terms of speed and quality of graphics. Around this developed a competitive culture with all the typical features of fandom including the more toxic qualities. This was further fueled by games with online multiplayer aspects. However, it was also culture with a very dysfunctional relationship between the companies that produced the games and the players, which itself created a climate of mistrust.

However, gamer culture was only partly based on video games. The web also offered spaces in which gamer culture could propagate in particular via the video-sharing platform YouTube and by community spaces such as the various game-orientated subreddits on the discussion platform Reddit.

This is only part of the story though.

In 1999 at the University of Central Arkansas, a Japanese student called Hiroyuki Nishimura set up a kind of bulletin board service that he named 2channel[4]. The site was created for Japanese fans to discuss pop culture or indeed any topic they liked. However, by being hosted in the USA, 2channel (or 2chan as it became known) could skirt the stricter internet censorship laws of Japan. As a consequence, the site became something of a free-for-all in terms of content, as well as a popular place for Japanese nationalist and racist politics. The hosting provider of 2channel was a Philippines-based American called Jim Watkins.

The popularity of 2chan led to the creation of similar so-called image boards[5] for English speaking users, most notably 4chan which was created by Christopher Poole in 2003[6]. 4chan helped spawn the hacktivist group Anonymous[7], whose often absurd campaign against the Church of Scientology is in its own way a kind of clash between phenomenon spawned from fannish cultures. 4chan’s weakly moderated communities were a breeding ground for unusual interests, meme, pornography and right-wing extremism. The site was also vulnerable to people exploiting it to share child pornography and other illegal activities that in principle were banned.

In 2013, frustrated by even the relatively weak restrictions on 4chan, programmer Frederick Brennan established 8chan as a rival imageboard intended to have even fewer restrictions.

The ironic meme culture, shock tactics, use of racist slurs and brigading[8] tactics popularised in chan culture were also influential in more moderated spaces such as YouTube and Reddit and influential on Gamer culture in general.

Gamergate Precursors

During the 2010s a kind of ecosystem of environments feeding into each other with varying degrees of moderation had evolved. YouTube and Reddit being mainstream web services with darker reaches and some toxic communities. We have 4chan and 8chan (and a variety of other chans) and we have spin-off places like Encyclopedia Dramatica[8] and Kiwi Farms[9] which help people wishing to engage in trolling and harassment coordinate. At the same time, the internet was home to a growing “manosphere” of assorted forms of semi-organised misogyny, as we discussed in chapter 17. With more women asserting themselves in spaces that many male internet users regarded as theirs, many women found themselves targets of specific harassment campaigns.

in 2007, programmer and game developer, Kathy Sierra became a major target for harassment after writing about the underlying motives of internet trolls in general. The campaign was led by white supremacist Andrew “weev” Auernheimer.

“Inspired by her touchy response to online commenters, Weev said he “dropped docs” on Sierra, posting a fabricated narrative of her career alongside her real Social Security number and address. This was part of a larger trolling campaign against Sierra, one that culminated in death threats. Weev says he has access to hundreds of thousands of Social Security numbers. About a month later, he sent me mine.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html?pagewanted=all

The campaign against Sierra eventually led her to withdraw from conferences and eventually from public appearances, essentially ending her public career.

In 2010, a group of 4chan users began a harassment campaign of an eleven-year old[10] after the child spoke about their sexual activity in a YouTube video. Despite the obvious vulnerability of their target, the harassment included revealing personal details and the use of fake calls to law enforcement to bring police round to their targets family home. The incident is not normally discussed in the context of Gamergate but for our context, it is notable that Vox Day reacted to news coverage of 4chan manipulating the police into harassing with amusement, describing the incidents as being “absolutely hilarious”[11]. The tactics of highlighting a potential victim, ‘doxing to reveal personal information to aid further harassment, and using fake police complaints, continued to be deployed in future harassment campaigns.

In 2012, media critic Anita Sarkeesian launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a video series that would analyse video games from a feminist perspective. Her Kickstarter led to a protracted harassment campaign against her and other women. The harassment campaign backfired as the additional publicity led to her project being funded quicker.

In 2013 video game developer Chloe Sagal was targetted by Kiwi Farms. The harassment campaign would last for years and it may have contributed to their suicide in 2018[12].

Also in 2013 Zoë Quinn’s text-based interactive story game Depression Quest gained many positive reviews at game review sites[13]. Their attempts to get the game distributed on the game service Steam led to yet another harassment campaign organised at the imageboard WizardChan.

In July 2014 (just a few weeks before the ‘start’ of Gamergate), game developer Brianna Wu published an opinion piece at the gaming/pop-culture magazine Polygon, outlining with four case studies the range of harassment women in the game industry were facing:

“The industry is currently in the midst of a massive cultural shift. There’s a growing disconnect between the nearly half of gamers that are female, and overwhelmingly male population of games journalists and game developers. When you wonder why women aren’t rushing to fix that balance, remember this is the fucking emotional and even physical minefield they’re signing themselves up for. Growing a thicker skin isn’t the answer, nor is it a proper response. Listening, and making the industry safer for the existence of visible women is the best, and only, way forward.”

https://www.polygon.com/2014/7/22/5926193/women-gaming-harassment

The “Quinnspiracy”

On August 15 2014, Zoë Quinn’s former boyfriend Eron Gjoni began posting accusations about Quinn in the comment sections of multiple mainstream websites. The accusations included specific claims about people Quinn had slept with, one of whom was games journalist Nathan Grayson who had written for the game website Kotaku. Within days Gjoni’s accusations had been picked up by groups at 4chan and other similar communities and spun it to a specific claim: that Quinn had slept with games journalists to get positive reviews. Later both Kotaku and even Gjoni himself debunked the specific claim that Quinn had slept with Grayson in exchange for a positive review, in fact, Grayson had only written about Quinn once and that was before they had a relationship[14].

At this point, the harassment campaign against Quinn escalated into doxxing with information about their family’s phone numbers released. Action taken by moderators on Reddit and on other sites to crack down on breaches of rules against harassment and doxxing in discussions about Quinn was then cited as evidence of collusion between Quinn and website owners. The common term for the surrounding campaign was the ‘Quinnspiracy’.

Vox Day comes into the picture via an interesting route. As noted above, Day had been broadly supportive of 4chan in principle, as well as harassment campaigns. However, Day’s first Gamergate related post doesn’t mention Quinn or the surrounding campaign as such. Instead, Day claimed that 4chan and Reddit were undergoing a kind of leftist crackdown with a take over by “SJWs”[15]. Day compared these events to his expulsion from the SFWA.

“My purging from SFWA was, as I warned at the time, a small harbinger of much bigger things to come. Don’t think you’re safe simply because you’re not controversial. It’s not only the controversy they hate, or even the open resistance, it is the mere fact of failing to kowtow to their dogma.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20140823080924/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/08/another-purge.html

Day hadn’t pulled these complaints directly from 4chan but instead from the forum of one of his manosphere allies, Roosh V aka Daryush Valizadeh. Roosh was (his views have changed in some ways) a particularly disturbing Pick-up Artist blogger with extreme views on rape[16]. Day was directly quoting from a thread on Roosh’s forum already dedicated to accusations against Quinn. What is relevant here is that even at this early conspiratorial fear-mongering of SJW takeovers was the central story. Quoting from the original comment Day had picked up:

“The next day a mod who wasnt outed contacted us. To our horror he told us that the new mods are complete sjws and openly call for permabans for alot of 4chan “board culture”.
As we dug deeper we found out that the same thing was happening to alot of subreddits. Normally we would say fuck em. But they told us that tons of non sjw mods had thier accounts sieged and them ip banned.”

unknown commenter at RooshV Forum, quoted by Vox Day https://web.archive.org/web/20140823080924/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/08/another-purge.html

A cycle ensued: the harassment campaign against Quinn (and later others) provoked either action from moderators or threats, which was then spun as a feminist or leftist crackdown on the discussion of ‘issues’ (eventually “ethics in game journalism”) and as attacks and censorship against gamers.

Day’s first “Quinnspiracy” post was on August 21, six days after Eron Gjoni’s first accusations against Quinn. Unsurprisingly Day once again managed to make the issue about himself:

“As for Zoe Quinn, she’s the same sort of no-talent nobody that has been getting serially promoted for simultaneously possessing a vagina while feigning an interest in games for as long as I can remember. I’m old enough that I can remember one of the early girl game pioneers, Brenda Laurel, putting her hand on my leg and expressing an inordinate amount of interest in whatever I was saying back when CGDC was still at the Santa Clara Westin, the only thing that is different now is that a) Laurel had genuine talent and b) the Johnny Wilsons and Chris Lombardis and Mike Wekslers and Terry Colemans of the gaming media had integrity.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20171107072226/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/08/kotaku-and-quinnspiracy.html

I will stress again that Day was a minor player here and little more than an observer. However, a second theme in the wider campaign is visible — diminishing the relevance and significance of Quinn as a developer. Initially, this might look paradoxical, after all, if Quinn was a nobody then why all the ensuing fuss? The tactic of diminishing the targets of the campaign (reducing them to the term “literally who?”) served three roles:

  • as a kind of denial that a harassment campaign was targetting them
  • as a way of implying that the victims of harassment were claiming that they were being attacked as a way to gain sympathy and publicity
  • as way of further denigrating the victims as nobodies

This diminishing strategy was used on Quinn initially and then, as the campaign widened on the former target of Anita Sarkeesian and then onto Brianna Wu and other women or other people in the games industry pushing back against harassment.

By August 27 both Quinn and Sarkeesian had moved out of their respective homes due to doxxing and fears of violence.

Gamergate

On August 28 the actor Adam Baldwin christens the widening campaign “Gamergate” on Twitter. Baldwin (no relation to the more famous Baldwin actors) was a conservative-leaning actor who had gained some celebrity status in science-fiction circles because of his role in the space-adventure series Firefly.

Baldwin is also our second point of connection between Gamergate and the Debarkle story. However, I’ll need to flashback a year. In 2013, the publicity around Larry Correia’s ‘Opinion of Gun Control’ post (see chapter 19) led to Correia being invited onto a radio show hosted by actor Sean Astin of Lord of the Rings fame. That appearance led to Adam Baldwin contacting Correia on Twitter, leading them to become friends. Baldwin is even name-checked in Correia’s April 2014 announcement on the success of the Sad Puppies 2 campaign, as they both were attending ComiCon and had dinner together.

Correia himself was not an active campaigner for Gamergate and in 2014 touched on the issue in a blog post only once in that year, after Anita Sarkeesian cancelled a talk at Utah State University after major threats to her safety:

“Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak about how women are portrayed in popular media, and especially in video games. Late Monday, someone sent an email to about a dozen USU offices threatening a deadly massacre if she were allowed to speak. It threatened “the deadliest school shooting in American history.”

https://www.deseret.com/2014/10/20/20550872/utah-gun-law-that-canceled-usu-speech-is-an-embarrassment

The university was not allowed by Utah law to ban the concealed carrying of firearms on campus, a rule that Correia regarded as right and proper. On the Gamergate issue, Larry had this to say:

“I’ve never gotten into GamerGate here on the blog, but basically Anita Sarkeesian is a professional victim, Social Justice Warrior, who thinks you are enjoying yourself wrong, and if you disagree you are a racist, homophobic, misogynist. If you are a regular blog reader who followed Sad Puppies at all, same thing, same crusaders, same song, different industry.”

https://monsterhunternation.com/2014/10/21/fisking-the-deseret-news-anti-ccw-article/

Correia may not have been actively pushing the Gamergate campaign through his blog but as his comment above suggests, his Sad Puppy campaign and Gamergate were “the same thing, same crusaders”. Gamergate campaigner Daddy Warpig had been a follower of Correia even prior to Gamergate but as the campaign continued, Gamergaters found their way to Correia’s blog via numerous routes.

“We’re fighting the good fight across the internet. We won’t win soon, but we’ll fucking win.”

Commenter “@GamersGate2014” https://monsterhunternation.com/2014/10/14/french-grimnoir-cover-prints-on-sale-25-off/#comment-47370

Meanwhile, Day was still pushing his usual misogyny and self-promotion:

“Notice that it’s all the same lunacy that we’ve seen in the SFWA, only not quite as out of control because there are more barriers to entry. Quinn-van Valkenberg tends to remind one of a female John Scalzi, albeit with less talent for self-promotion. Game development is hard work and requires some logical thinking as well; it’s not just a simple case of scribbling a few short stories, sending them to a female friend who will publish them in some barely qualifying market, then calling yourself a writer and spending the next twenty years going to cons, talking about books you’re never going to write, and relentlessly trying to push the industry leftward. The SJW problem in gaming and their tedious, decades-long crusade for More Women tends to revolve around the journalists because that’s the one area where absolutely no talent or mastery of the subject is required anymore.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20140830002956/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-female-dev-on-quinn-debacle.html

Day had multiple motives for aligning himself with Gamergate at this time. As well as the misogyny, trolling and anti-SJW rhetoric, Day had something to sell:

“My own game now in development, FIRST SWORD, came under some criticism from the likes of Manboobz and other petty SJWs a few months ago because I made it clear there will be no female fantasy gladiators. Historically speaking, female gladiators were the light comic relief between the real action; they were often set against midgets, for example. These complaints had no more effect on my design decisions than complaints about prostitutes had on Rockstar or complaints about scanty armor on female characters have had on every game company everywhere. But it is more than a little ironic to see that there are pinkshirts who will actually complain about the fact that I am refusing to design female slavery, in which women would be literally bought and sold as property, into a game.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20140913231652/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/09/video-game-sex-war.html

The game was intended to be a gladiator-themed fighting game set in Day’s fantasy world of Selenoth but we’ll come back to the company developing the game in Chapter 33[18]. The relevant point to the story of Gamergate is that those involved were a toxic mix of the cynical and the credulous. 4chan culture was replete with people attempting to get an emotional rise out of other users. At the core of it was people who gained genuine pleasure from internet feuds regardless of the content. That pleasure from pointless arguments wasn’t created by the internet[19] but modern technology allowed such feuds to be more toxic and far more damaging. Beyond that were people who saw Gamergate as a front in a culture war where aggressive tactics and less-than-true propaganda was justified by a righteous cause and beyond that were a larger, more gullible mass of people who identified as gamers who were falling for a hyped-up story that they and their hobby were under attack. It was a perfect environment for grifters to find ways of monetising the gullible or using Gamergate as self-promotion.

The attempts to monetise Gamergate started early. Just over a week after the first accusations against Quinn, a far-right activist and you-tuber Davis Aurini began soliciting funds to make a critical documentary about Anita Sarkeesian at a price tag of $15 thousand dollars a month[21]. YouTube itself was a major platform for self-promotion. Gamergate aligned you-tubers such as the Internet Aristocrat and Sargon of Akkad used the controversy to boost their profile[22].

Vox Day gained two major allies as part of the career-boosting power of Gamergate. One, Mike Cernovich[23] was, like Day, a blogger who up to this point had been mainly focused on pick-up artistry and general anti-feminism. Cernovich had little impact on the later Sad Puppy events of 2015 but would play a significant role in political events of 2016 and beyond.

The second (and more famous) figure was Milo Yiannopoulos, at that time a journalist at the right-wing website Breitbart. Yiannopoulos also latched onto Gamergate relatively early and prior to the adoption of the ‘Gamergate’ name. His first piece for Breitbart on the issue was on September 1, 2014, and explicitly framed the issue in the title as “Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart”.

“It’s easy to mock video gamers as dorky loners in yellowing underpants. Indeed, in previous columns, I’ve done it myself. Occasionally at length. But, the more you learn about the latest scandal in the games industry, the more you start to sympathise with the frustrated male stereotype. Because an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers, are terrorising the entire community – lying, bullying and manipulating their way around the internet for profit and attention.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20181018100006/https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2014/09/01/Lying-Greedy-Promiscuous-Feminist-Bullies-are-Tearing-the-Video-Game-Industry-Apart/

Yiannopoulos also latched on to one of the recursive claims that helped fuel Gamergate’s growth:

“Let’s be honest. We’re all used to feeling a niggling suspicion that “death threats” sent to female agitators aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And indeed there is no evidence that any violent threat against a prominent female figure in the media or technology industry has ever been credible – that is to say, that any feminist campaigner on the receiving end of internet trolling has ever been in any real danger.  Even in the most famous American case, that of Kathy Sierra, there is no evidence the target was ever at risk.”

ibid

A common right-wing talking point is to minimise or outright deny the level of discrimination, intimidation, violence or even deaths that groups targetted for hate face (women, historically racially discriminated against groups, LGBTQI people, disabled people and others). This tactic extends beyond the more overt bigots towards the broader and more libertarian inclined right who regard measures to prevent attacks on victimised groups as government overreach. Minimising or denying the problems is intended to undermine calls for legislation against hate crimes but it is also used to either implicitly or explicitly claim that advocates for victims are lying and that news stories about hate crimes are somehow leftist propaganda.

With Gamergate, Yianopoulos was taking this denial a step further. Women (on the whole) were being targeted for harassment but if women complained about the harassment then they would be depicted as exaggerating or lying, which was then cited as examples of how “feminists” were attacking “gamers”…which of course helped fuel further harassment.

In October 2014 Kathy Sierra (see above) explained the dynamic in a blog post that was republished in Wired.

“It begins with simple threats. You know, rape, dismemberment, the usual. It’s a good place to start, those threats, because you might simply vanish once those threats include your family. Mission accomplished. But today, many women online — you women who are far braver than I am — you stick around. And now, since you stuck around through the first wave of threats, you are now a much BIGGER problem. Because the Worst Possible Thing has happened: as a result of those attacks, you are NOW serving Victim-Flavored Koolaid.”

https://www.wired.com/2014/10/trolls-will-always-win/

The very act of pushing back against a harassment campaign is used as fuel for a harassment campaign and as that campaign is fundamentally aimed at discrediting the victim in the eyes of other people on the internet, the pushback is cited as evidence that a victim is a terrible person, which is used to draw other (more gullible and easily influenced) people into the campaign. Any steps that are taken against a harassment campaign (copyright takedown notices, appeals to moderators of forums or even just publically complaining about it) are then cited as attacks on a community and as authoritarian censorship. In the classic bully move, these kinds of actions are regarded as fine when in-group figures do them[25].

Yianopoulos quickly become an active participant in Gamergate, using Breitbart to further fuel the controversy with the release of details of a game journalist email group. Several journalists were using the group to discuss the growing Gamergate issue and this discussion was framed as further evidence of games-media plotting against gamers.

As 2014 progressed the focus of Gamergate became the targetting of advertisers of gaming magazines. The strategy was to punish critics of Gamergate, using the logic that the “corrupt” journalists must be the ones criticising Gamergate on the grounds that Gamergate was a campaign against corruption. These email campaigns scored some notable successes with chip-manufacturer Intel withdrawing its advertising from the game magazine Gamasutra in October 2014. However, coverage of Gamergate in mainstream media was increasing which led to it being harder for Gamergate’s framing as being about “ethics in journalism” to fool tech companies into effectively cooperating with a campaign that was being openly manipulated by troll-communities and right-wing extremists.

Push back from the owners of various platforms where Gamergate was being coordinated was slow and insufficient to prevent the campaign from spreading. 4chan enforcing rules against users posting personal information of others had led to a shift of Gamergate traffic to the smaller rival 8chan. That increase in traffic was both good news and bad news for 8chan — the increased traffic made the site harder to run but also the increasing attention being paid to Gamergate meant increased media attention to the kind of content being hosted on 8chan.

In November 2014, The Daily Dot revealed the extent to which 8chan was hosting child pornography and paedophile content.

“On numerous public forums, 8chan users share graphic images of children, plus links to hardcore child pornography. No content is hidden. Thousands of posts are accessible within two clicks of the homepage. 8chan’s founder, Fredrick Brennan, created the site in response to what he sees as the ongoing and vast loss of free speech on the Internet. On 8chan, “anyone can say what they want and mean,” Brennan told the Daily Dot.”

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/8chan-pedophiles-child-porn-gamergate/

It is not clear if Vox Day was an active user of 8chan at that time and, of course, many users of the imageboard may well have been unaware of the extreme material in other sections of the site. However, Day continued to promote 8chan as a source and its founder Brennan as an authoritative source, sending more of Day’s followers to 8chan.

In the mess of misinformation in 2014, Day could breathlessly pass on claims that were simple fabrications. On November 6 2014, Day publicised a supposed leak from the head of Gawker media that owned the games site Kotaku (a major target of Gamergate). He expressed some scepticism about the supposed leak which implied that the media group was infiltrating Gamergate but summarised his position:

“From what I’ve seen, more people than ever are lining up behind it as it becomes increasingly obvious that #GamerGate is not about harassing women given the fact that there hasn’t been any harassment beyond that supposedly directed at LW1, LW2, and LWu back in August.
GamerGate concerns one thing and one thing only. People designing, developing, and playing the games they want to design, develop, and play. Everything else flows from that.
The thing is, it doesn’t actually matter if this is fake, real, or a real plant meant to sow discord. The lesson for #GamerGate is the same. Ignore the moderates, ignore the placators, ignore the tone-police, and keep doing what you’re doing. The only thing a 4GW organization has to do in order to keep succeeding is a) don’t stop, and, b) don’t centralize.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20141105005547/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/11/gamergate-is-doomed-again.html [26]

A few days later Day cited 8chan’s founder, Fredrick Brennan (aka “hotwheels”[27]) that the leak was in fact a fabrication. However, as Day had made clear in his first post on the leak, that the leak was fabricated was neither here nor there:

“I found it hard to believe that anyone, even a drama queen like Denton, could be that melodramatic, so it’s not exactly shocking. But I also think it will be amusing if anyone thinks this will have any effect whatsoever on GamerGate. Death threats, media attacks, fake leaks, drinking the blood of innocents, it makes no difference at all.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20201111191051/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/11/hotwheels-explains-nick-denton-fraud.html

Gamergate continued to grow and remained a major news story through 2015 and into 2016 with its capacity to cause harm undiminished for many months. However, even before the end of 2014, its influence was waning rapidly. Early victories depended on several factors:

  • Isolated victims whose protests against being targetted was used to fuel further attacks
  • Corporations failed to understand what was going on and hence concede to demands to what they took to be a consumer-led campaign
  • The lack of any central, identifiable Gamergate leadership made it easy for supporters to rationalise any harassment as being a minority of Gamergaters or as external provocateurs

However, as Gamergate’s enemies list grew in size and began to encompass figures such as the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, harassment victims were less isolated and mainstream media coverage became more focused on the harassment aspect. The impact of Gamergate led to mass media coverage which led to people (including potential advertisers) being better informed. The consumer revolt aspect of Gamergate undoubtedly existed — discontent among gamers was a ready motivation to draw people in. However, Gamergate as a campaign had little or no intrinsic connection between the events and actions in the campaign to any positive outcomes.

Ignoring much of the above from the misogyny, the harassment, the connection to far-right extremists or child pornography and somehow cutting away all the overtly shitty bits of Gamergate and focusing just on the idea of it being a campaign about “ethics in journalism”, Gamergate was unfocused, lacked clear demands and had poor connections between the actions activists were taking and making progress in those vague demands.

At Vox Day’s Wikipedia semi-clone, Infogalactic, the article on the controversy gives us access to a parallel world where pro-Gamergates won the frantic edit wars that occurred at the real Wikipedia in 2014. The Infogalactic[27] article was written by a former Wikipedia editor who regarded the eventual Wiki version as misleading[28]. It stands as an attempt to describe Gamergate in its best light while still retaining links to common facts with the rest of reality. Yet, you can read this more positive spin on the article and still be none the wiser as to what the supposed “ethics in games journalism” campaign was supposed to do or how it was supposed to do it. Under the user name “Fenris”, Vox Day commented on the article saying:

“The article is much improved. Well done. However, too much of it is about the reaction to #GamerGate, criticism of #GamerGate, and the impact of #GamerGate versus #GamerGate itself. Now, perhaps that is appropriate for a page dedicated to the GamerGate controversy, but none of it is actually related to what #GamerGate is. My suggestion is that we have two separate pages, one about #GamerGate per se, and another about the overall controversy. The media may not be able to describe #GamerGate, but those of us who are GamerGaters certainly are. As it stands, there is more discussion of the Literally Whos than there is of any GamerGate figure, operation, or meetup. Remember, we are NOT limited by the Wikipedia notion of “reliable sources”. “

Fenris 19:16, 21 October 2016 (UTC) https://infogalactic.com/info/Talk:GamerGate

Gamergate continued on for many months, well into 2015 and 2016. Nearly five years after Vox Day’s comment at his own encyclopedia, no “separate page” about GamerGate per se was ever created. As a campaign about “ethics in journalism,” it achieved nothing other than to cause a lot of emotional pain and to leave many of its more naive supporters confused and frustrated.

However, in other ways, Gamergate was far, far from being a giant fuss with no positive outcomes. For Vox Day it meant new followers (and for Larry Correia as well). It was a radicalising and polarising fight that helped recruit many people into a nexus of political allies, including online misogynists, ironic imageboard trolls, white nationalists and supporters of radical internet free speech. It also promoted a central and abiding myth. Gamers were told that their hobby was ‘really’ run by a cult-like clique that conspired to promote unworthy people and spread propaganda to promote a leftwing agenda and blacklist people from work who did not share the objectives of that agenda. It was a myth that was easy to apply to other industries or, indeed, to the world in general.

We aren’t done with Gamergate in this story but for now, we still have more of 2014 to catch-up on.

Next time: time for a break and visit to the land of fanzines, File770 and the work of Mike Glyer


Footnotes

133 thoughts on “Debarkle Chapter 28: Gamergate 2014 meets Vox Day

  1. I know the wikipediaarticle about gamersgate and that is it. In Germany videogames of a special kind were under attack from politicians before, the so called “Killerspiele”. (I don’t think a definition does exist)
    While I play some, my brother is the gamer in the family (at the moment playing Assasins Creed). The existance of stuff like Gamersgate is one of the reason I don’t like multiplayer onlinegames.
    For me that chapter wasn’t that hard to read some others stressed me more.

    I will (having read the article on Manboobz, today better known as We hunted the Mammoth) comment on Vox Game. While it would feature Gladiators, the playercharacter would have been a Gladiatormanager and this this one isn’t costumised is not somethink that Beales weaselwords can explain. (Btw a horrible playercharacter) Of course his reaseaning is rubish and it is a fantasyworld, Orcs were planned if I remember correctly.

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    1. Ah, thanks. I couldn’t really work out what the game was supposed to do, other than have gladiators in it. I’d like to pretend that it is actually a game about being the HR department of a gladiator company and you don’t see them fight but just talk to them about the company KPIs and their leave balance

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Regarding the debate about the so-called “Killerspiele” (mostly first person shooters, which were blamed for a couple of school shootings and other mass shootings in the 2000s), one thing I’ve never understood is that the politicians and citizens’ groups who wanted the so-called “Killerspiele” banned never paid any attention to Gamergate at all. After all, the existence of Gamergate, a massive harrassment and intimidation campaign that was actually born from videogame culture rather than the tenuous links between videogames and the shootings of the 2000s, was the perfect argument for banning certain videogames. And yet the people who dedicated their lives to banning certain videogames (mostly, parents and relatives of people who had been killed in those shootings) completely ignored the one massive piece of evidence in favour of their cause.

      Coincidentally, Gamergate also changed my view on the “Killerspiele” debate. Before, my view was basically:”I don’t play those games, but they have a right to exist. And besides, I have been vehemently opposed to busybodies who want to censor films, TV shows, comics, etc…”for the children” since I was fifteen.

      After Gamergate, my view was: I don’t care if those moralistic busybodies ban your games. You’ve brought it on yourselves, because there are way too many violent misogynist trolls in your community.

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      1. I think the problem is that the two groups – the “moral panic” videogame censors and the GamerGate lot – actually have too much in common to be natural enemies. Both of them have the underlying attitude that because *they* don’t like something (video games in general for one, female gamers and non-misogynistic gaming for the other), then *nobody* should like it, and anyone who does is bad and wrong and needs to be stopped. “Live and let live” just… isn’t a thing, for either group.

        I could even imagine there being some actual overlap between them – hypocrisy is regularly found on the extreme authoritarian right wing, and I could easily see someone banging away happily on MegaDeathKill XVI Online, convinced that *he* (yeah, probably “he”) has the right level of maturity and can handle it, but women and children definitely ought to be shielded from it, for their own good of course. Consistency is not a virtue for some people.

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      2. I sometimes think the explanation why German politicians don’t use Gamergate as an oponent, is that I doubt that a lot of Germans (who aren’t fans) are aware of Gamergate. We seemed to have missed it.
        Now I am not a fan of shooters (Mass Effect if it counts, is the only one I remember the name of) but I have a strong fear that the debate would lead to somethink forbidden that I would mind (all games that are 18+ and The Witcher or Dragon Age beeing banned, would be somethink I hate).
        Now I there weren’t the toxic multiplayergames, I would ask how much the Gamergatemembers are really Gamers, if I remember how much the puppies were Fans of Science Fiction.or the Comicgaters knew about Comics.

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      3. @stevejwright

        I think the problem is that the two groups – the “moral panic” videogame censors and the GamerGate lot – actually have too much in common to be natural enemies.

        The fact that some members of Gamergate actually brought Jack ‘video games are murder simulators’ Thompson on board is a pretty strong point in favour of that view. It was more about hating the right people than anything actually about games.

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      4. A few corrections though. Jack Thompson was never “brought onto” Gamergate, most mentions of him in Gamergate forums show that he and Anita Sarkeesian are frequently compared as moral critics of gaming. At most, he was interviewed for the “Sarkeesian Effect” documentary. This was initially attempted to be promoted on GG spaces, but it was largely mocked and rejected when Aurini was revealed to be a con artist.

        And his actions were never justified, he was only brought up to point out that the press has a double-standard when it comes to reporting on death threats. Additionally, the most prominent moral critic of video game violence was Donald Trump, which GG also widely mocked for his moral panic:

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      5. No John. Again, No. Always No.
        Now take your disinformation and gaslighting elsewhere. It’s still not welcome here.

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    3. The wikipedia article about Gamergate (and internet history in general) is pretty flawed, due to the fact that it cannot cite primary sources. Knowyourmeme offers much better information, in that it can directly cite internet posts instead of second-hand summaries by sometimes-sensationalistic media outlets:

      https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/gamergate

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      1. Jessica, what disinformation? I’d be happy to correct any false statements I’ve made, but knowyourmeme has solid citations for all their claims

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      2. No, I don’t play your games.

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      3. Aaron, can you please just identify anything that I’ve lied about? I can cite virtually everything I’ve described.

        I have no idea what Jessica’s tweet about nazis has to do with me, I’ve never said anything remotely racist or bigoted, ever.

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      4. And now you’re sealioning. We see you. We see your gaslighting for what it is.
        You know very well what my post about Nazis meant. Your deliberate disingenuity doesn’t work here.

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      5. He’s been Sea Lioning since he got here. before gamergate was a thing.
        There, fixed it for you.

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      6. Aaron, it’s really not helpful to any discussion to drop into a thread just to hurt insults and obscenities, it only contributes the the problem of toxicity that this article seeks to address. I don’t want to spam links, but yes I can provide receipts and proof for every one of my claims. Go ahead and quote something you think I lied about, and I’ll give the citation. I’ve posted some and I can post dozens more, but I don’t think anyone has the patience for that.

        Really, it’s not a big deal

        Jessica, I have no idea what relation a nazi in a bar has. I’m not decked out in any nazi symbols or hate regalia. Can at least acknowledge that nazis aren’t the only people that could possibly disagree with you?

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      7. Nazi in a bar is an analogy. I can’t find a link but the Nazi in the example is both literal and figurative. I don’t have a version to hand but a guy is drinking at a bar with an affable bar tender. A skinhead (say, or somebody with some sort of Nazi symbol etc) comes up to the bar and asks for a drink. The bar tender reacts very strongly, refusing the skinhead a drink even though he wasn’t causing any trouble. The skinhead walks off. The guy asks the bartender why he hates skinheads so much and the bartender says its not that but if he serves the skinhead, the next night he’ll be back with two friends and they’ll want drinks and the next night they’ll bring friends and before he knows it the bartender will be running a bar for skinheads were nobody else will want to go.

        Put another way, let a pro-Gamergate person talk about Gamergate and all of a sudden that’s all you’ve got. It doesn’t have to be literal Nazis.

        I’ll just have a look at my Twitter notifications…oh maybe 150+ (lost count) notifications related to our GG conversation [that’s not a complaint, just an observation of how the dynamic works] of which yours were the only ones that got to a ‘this is worth engaging with level’ with my very low bar of ‘this worth engaging with’. People ran out of patience with GG arguments a long time back. I thought people might give me a bit of slack because of my hobby but I’m definitely trying the patience of people I like.

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      8. No John. Again, No. Always No.
        Now take your disinformation and gaslighting elsewhere. It’s still not welcome here.

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      9. Hey camestrosfelapton,

        I appreciate your civility and open-mindedness, you seem to be pursuing the article in good faith and I don’t want to get in the way of that. I apologize if my twitter interaction brought unwanted negative attention to you. Gamergate is long dead but there are still people angrily posting about it, trying to get the “real” story out, not aware that their anger drives people away.

        [snipped by CF]

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      10. Apologies, I snipped off the rest of your reply because I’m drawing the discussion to a close now. I’ll acknowledge that what you were posting was positive approaches by people involved in Gamergate towards women in game development so that people understand I was not removing something overtly objectionable. However, this discussion is not gaining me what I was interested in and upsetting visitors so I’ll bring it to a conclusion rather than opening up a different aspect of the discussion.

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      1. In which case there’s one spot where you haven’t mis-spelled it that you may want to fix.

        Just after the phrase “ignoring much of the above”

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  2. “…a cultlike clique that conspired to unworthy people…”
    Not sure if this is a typo or a construction with which I’m unfamiliar.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t care about Gamergate, I just want the dirt on Glyer and File 770. After all, anything that our beloved JCW has called a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” has to be hot, hot, hot. Hotter than Three Mile Island. Hotter than Vox’s pick-up artistry. Man, I can hardly wait.

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  4. Was Infogalactic presented in an earlier chapter? It would be fun with an Appendix with all Beale’s failed grifter plans, from the war mouse and forward.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Even so, when considering many of the foot-soldiers in this particular front in the culture wars of the last decade, it is reasonable to assume many of them were convinced that they were genuinely fighting against the “false news” of elite cliques of insiders who operated in a way that was “cultlike”.”

    No, it is not reasonable in the least to assume any such thing. Gamergate was based on a lie, one that was, as Zoe Quinn was able to prove later, not only a deliberate lie but one planned out between her stalker ex and 4chan trolls who didn’t like her trying to market her game. And when even the stalker ex debunked his own lie, none of them cared. Baldwin didn’t care to find out if it was true or not; it just turned out to be part of his misogyny (which deeply saddened many fans of his work in Firefly and Chuck.) And not one of the “foot-soldiers” ever went after gaming companies for bribing reviewers or game reviewers for supposedly taking bribes except for Quinn’s boyfriend who, again, had not taken any bribe from Quinn.

    But nobody cared because the campaign had nothing to do with corruption or reviews. It had to do with the facts that A) women who had been pushed out of the gaming industry in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s were pushing back in as designers; B) women gamers made up 50% of the gaming community and game companies were starting to not totally ignore them anymore; C) women were gaming well in multiplayer online games despite constant harassment from the less successful man players and setting up successful Twitch streams and the like; D) more women were managing to do game reviews and industry coverage; and E) women were continuing to study games and gaming culture as part of cultural analysis and feminist study.

    In other words, women existed in gaming and were getting more prominent focus. And for gamerboys who believed the marketing that gaming companies had done in the 1990’s and early oughts where they were the special boys who were the only important customers of games and the only ones really good at games, this was disastrous to their identity and status. And it was happening throughout geek fandom as well — comics, movies, toys, tech industry, online enterprises, but especially in games. The cherished myths of the men were getting punctured, but on the Internet they could still swarm the presumptuous women and harm them offline as well. Gamergate was first off about showing how they were more powerful and important than women in games (the ones who wouldn’t play the accommodating “cool girl” and thought they had the right to equal opportunities.)

    And second, when they’d managed to harass various women successfully several times, it was about showing how powerful they were as a loosely organized force in the gaming industry itself — that they could harm game companies, review websites, game designers, etc. if those entities did not significantly bow down to their will and their supposed status. Only the gamerboys should be listened to, only they were important and only they should be reflected in how games were designed and what game characters looked like. When some confused companies pulled ads from a site Gamergaters were going after, causing problems for the website, they crowed and thought that was just going to continue. It didn’t and gaming companies continued, slowly, updating their characters and game designs into the 21st century. (While those game companies also didn’t stop giving reviewers free merch, etc.)

    But Gamergate did provide a model for political agitators pursuing social conservatism and dirty tactics. Breibart and the other rightwing media sites latched on to the Gamergaters and started aiming them, recruiting for the alt right, itself a political creation meant to harness men’s dissatisfaction with being less catered to and criticized, as political agitators and grievance warriors invested in white supremacy as an attack tactic. Milo was sent by Steve Bannon to exalt the Gamergaters, which got them more media coverage — most of it turning negative by 2015. But while the game companies were hesitant from Gamergate complaints and continue to be pretty sexist on their own, Gamergate did not lessen shifts towards more equal representation. Instead, it highlighted how nasty and unreliable the gamerboys were as customers — and that they weren’t all that necessary either.

    And Gamergate’s grievance campaigns also gave Larry and Beale a model that they thought they could utilize and bring some Gamergaters in to have an impact on SFF lit. And they did. It was a retro, reactionary, nonsensical tantrum against all the main marginalized groups and how they shouldn’t have visibility, interest, popularity and awards. The wrong people with the wrong politics had perceived power. And so the Sad Puppies, like the Gamergaters, kept making up stories about those they saw as inferior threats conspiring to take over, and trying to find one that would stick. Instead, what they’d get besides some Hugo nominations they could trot around, was rule changes to the Hugos to prevent further damage from voting slates, stronger attempts to protect women authors from online harassment and increased publicity for marginalized authors.

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    1. When you look back at Firefly and Chuck, you realize his characters were dumb macho sexist right-wing gun humpers like him. They just had better writing than his real life, and were surrounded by a lot of more appealing characters.

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      1. I always wonder whether Adam Baldwin is a case of method acting gone terribly wrong, i.e. he started to actually become the sexist rightwing gun nut he was playing, or whether Joss Whedon and the Chuck showrunners cast him to play a variation of himself, only better written.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Well Firefly is on Disney+ now and I’ve never watched, so I might have to now to assess Adam Baldwin’s acting.

        My Mel Gibson theory is that the bits were he’s acting calm & rational is why people who know him say he’s a good actor

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      3. Camestros — That’s why Gibson’s Hamlet is so funny: he plays the famously indecisive Dane as an action hero. “Now could I drink HOT BLOOD!” he says, and you worry he’s going to seek out Horatio and open a vein or two. He does have calm moments, but he doesn’t seem uncertain in them, just gearing up to go berserk again. (I don’t recommend it, though — there isn’t enough humor to make it worthwhile.)

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      4. I’ve heard the description before that misogynists don’t like women, they just like to… ahem… women. Several people analyzed the ways in which Jayne, despite being a gun loving basically right wing sexist dude, seemed to actually LIKE the women he slept with (and the ones he didn’t but wanted), despite not really being socialized as to how to talk to them. Baldwin doesn’t give that impression, especially in the wake of Gamergate.

        This has mostly just led me to dismiss Baldwin as a worse person than Jayne, not to make me like Jayne much better.

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      5. Baldwin was good at those characters because he understood them but he was acting and doing it well. Fred Thompson, Kelsey Grammar, etc. are good actors, but in real life they started as moderate conservatives who grew increasingly disgruntled with changes that favored civil rights and made them feel less respected in the world. They ignored the point of the stories they were helping to tell. And Baldwin is a gun enthusiast as mentioned which seems to cause so many to become irrational. His titling the Gamergate controversy presented to him was throw away misogyny — he just didn’t care. But when he got an enormous amount of backlash from it in fandom that had loved him but was overwhelmingly progressive, he doubled down instead. Because women are supposed to suck up sexism and abuse and people did not, in large part because of those precursor events Camestros talked about where it was seriously violent. (I believe the guy called weev went to jail for a bit from that harassment doxing campaign or something similar.)

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      6. I’ll always have a soft spot for Adam Baldwin. When Chuck was on the air, my son and I watched the show together. He was around ten or so, and became very invested in John Casey’s story arc (the character played by Baldwin), as Casey slowly developed into a better person. (I still remember him exclaiming “Oh, Casey!” when he reverted to his old taciturn behavior one episode.) One of those years we went to Dragon*Con, and told our son that we would get him an autographed picture of Baldwin, but that he would have to do the talking. When the moment of truth came, my son was too shy to say anything, and Baldwin noticed and was as nice and gracious as could be, and managed to coax a little chat out of my son, who told him how much he liked Casey. We still have that autographed photo in my son’s room.

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      7. That’s a nice story about the gracious side of Adam Baldwin, Hyman Rosen.

        I’ve found that Chuck is a show that really connects with ten to fourteen year old kids, particularly boys. When I was still teaching English, I would occasionally show my students an episode of Chuck (in English with subtitles, so it had educational value), and they always loved it.

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      8. @Kat: “I believe the guy called weev went to jail for a bit from that harassment doxing campaign or something similar” –He was involved in harassing and doxxing Kathy Sierra, or at least he claimed he was and bragged about it, but he never got in legal trouble for that. He went to jail later for a hacking incident that was a weird combination of public-spirited “we’re alerting you to security flaws” and malicious “let’s just dump everyone’s data publicly”. But that and even the earlier harassment kind of pale in comparison to the ghastly Nazi shit he’s been up to since then.

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    2. “Gamergate was based on a lie, one that was, as Zoe Quinn was able to prove later, not only a deliberate lie but one planned out between her stalker ex and 4chan trolls who didn’t like her trying to market her game. ”

      A few corrections though. Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend never accused her of trading sex for reviews, that was something the press incorrectly attributed to him for several years. The initial controversy was over the fact that her boyfriend at Kotaku and RPS had been providing her with exclusive promotional coverage without disclosure. There’s nothing wrong with a journalist covering their partner’s work, they just have to disclose it instead of pretending they found a diamond in the rough. That, and there were a handful of other game journalists caught doing the same thing.

      “And not one of the “foot-soldiers” ever went after gaming companies for bribing reviewers or game reviewers for supposedly taking bribes except for Quinn’s boyfriend”

      This is also false, Gamergate was the first one to raise the alarm about influencers (such as Pewdiepie) failing to disclose their sponsorships from WB for their Shadow of Mordor coverage. That, and their email campaigns demanding that press outlets update their disclosure guidelines for receiving promotional materials from those same game companies

      “In other words, women existed in gaming and were getting more prominent focus. And for gamerboys who believed the marketing that gaming companies had done in the 1990’s and early oughts where they were the special boys who were the only important customers of games and the only ones really good at games, this was disastrous to their identity and status. ”

      And this is also pretty demonstrably false, it was Gamergate’s belief and perception that women were *always* a part of gaming culture. Not just as consumers, but as developers, designers, and critics. Their forums are filled with instances of them celebrating the accomplishments of women in gaming and STEM, how many examples would you like?

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      1. //Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend never accused her of trading sex for reviews, that was something the press incorrectly attributed to him for several years//

        Blaming the press for repeating the claim that helped start Gamergate is an odd take.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The fact that the claim by Eron Gjoni did not appear in the Zoe Post doesn’t mean he didn’t arrange for it to be claimed by other people, which is what I believe the IRC logs show.

        The smarter people (which includes Gjoni) tended to go with the claim that Grayson had given Quinn’s game positive coverage without disclosing his personal relationship with her.

        The fact that the positive coverage is “included Depression Quest in a list of 50 Twine games in an RPS article” and that the coverage was not in any way undue or excessive (similar coverage came from other people that Quinn had no personal relationship with) means that the complaint is one about disclosure, not about undue influence, which is a very long way from the “corruption” that is regularly claimed.

        The date when their relationship changed from a professional one between journalist and subject to a personal one and the date the article was written (plausibly some time before publication, given editing) are both unknown and both fall into the same period of a few months, so it’s entirely credible that the decision was made – as they have both consistently claimed – before the relationship turned personal.

        Now, it’s certainly true that a number of Gamergate people sought to adopt a standard that any personal interaction between any journalist or person employed by a media outlet and any game developer or person employed by a publisher or studio should be disclosed in any story that journalist or outlet publishes about that publisher or studio. But they never sought to apply that disclosure standard with any consistency; listing every time that a journalist had ever had drinks with anyone employed by EA would result in disclosure lists far longer than the articles. It’s a completely unrealistic standard.

        What I never saw from any Gamergate figure of any significance or importance was any kind of clear set of ethical standards for the interaction between journalists and developers that Quinn or Grayson broke (assuming he didn’t write about her after their relationship became personal – the breach of ethics here, if there is one, is Grayson’s, not Quinn’s) that would not also require hundreds of other disclosures which they never once cared about.

        However, I would make a partial correction to Kat. The initial Zoe Post did not make the claim that Quinn had traded sex for favours – it claimed that they had cheated on Gjoni and lied about it, in spite of their claims that they had ethical standards against that sort of thing. The initial argument was hypocrisy – Quinn had called for higher standards in the gaming industry and was breaking her own standards (that the standards she had broken were a separate set of standards and we only had Gjoni’s word that she ever laid out those standards was not mentioned). It took several days for the “ethics in journalism” stuff – ie the link to Grayson and to his journalism – to pick up steam, which is what happened after the IRC conversation where Gjoni got others to promote that angle.

        If I remember correctly, the #burgersandfries came from the original Zoe Post and #quinnspiracy was the version about sleeping with journalists for coverage, which is what was renamed #gamergate after Adam Baldwin.

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      3. Richard Gadsden: The initial Zoe Post did not make the claim that Quinn had traded sex for favours – it claimed that they had cheated on Gjoni and lied about it, in spite of their claims that they had ethical standards against that sort of thing.

        Why the fuck would such a post – regarding the personal relationship between two people who had fought and broken up – be legitimate evidence of anything relating to gaming journalism?

        This attitude that a lot of men have, that womens’ bodies and sex lives are theirs to police and use as they wish, is a cancer on our society.

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      4. Richard, a few corrections:

        “The fact that the positive coverage is “included Depression Quest in a list of 50 Twine games in an RPS article” and that the coverage was not in any way undue or excessive”

        Nathan Grayson had featured Zoe and her game in 3 articles, not just 1. He interviewed her for an RPS article before her first and only game was finished, and featured her twice on Kotaku. It might seem trivial now, but in 2014 indie devs lived and died based off of getting any mainstream coverage. Additionally, Nathan Grayson was the only one actually giving her proto-game any coverage. All other coverage she got at the time was in reaction to her claiming to be the target of a separate harassment campaign from Wizardchan- 6 months before GG existed. No harassment was ever documented, Zoe simply claimed that the negative reviews on her greenlight page must have been the result of a conspiracy. And also that silent phonecalls to her house must have been from Wizardchan, not sure how she came to that conclusion, but the press repeated it. Knowyourmeme is the only site that documents the weird ‘Wizardchan saga’

        Anyway, Grayson’s defense was that he and Zoe weren’t officially a couple until two days after his most recent article about her. Effectively, she had gotten a Polaris gamejam cancelled by refusing to allow them to use any footage of her, after filming had wrapped up. Nathan wrote about her experience, and then the two flooded their social media feeds with photos of them getting drunk together in a weekend at Vegas.

        Gamergate had also found much more egregious examples of Kotaku journalists giving “first look” coverage to indie devs that they happened to be dating or living with. Again, not a problem as long as they disclose it instead of pretending they discovered some diamond in the rough, as it’s not exactly fair to the indie devs that worked way harder but couldn’t get the time of day because they didn’t have the privilege of being roommates with a journalist.

        On a related note, there was a game developer who was frustrated that Kotaku wouldn’t even announce a release date for his game. So he made a bet with a friend that he could get them to publish any trite that doesn’t have anything to do with games, as long as it touched on some racial or social issue. So he emailed them claiming to be a black woman who learned to drive from GTA, and of course they published it without verifying anything.

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  6. An ability for corporations to understand what was going on and hence concede to demands to what they took to be a consumer-led campaign

    I think you mean to say here that corporations didn’t understand what was going on? I’d suggest something like, “Corporations failed to understand what was going on, and conceded to demands from…”

    [8]A sit initially created to record disputes on LiveJournal but which

    First, “site”; second, finish the sentence.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You know, hearing Correia refer to ANYBODY as a professional victim, Mr. Whinypants “I’m not getting my just rewards because ESSJAYWUBBLEYOUS are RUINING SCIENCE FICTION” is the sort of thing designed to destroy even the hardiest of Irony Meters.

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    1. Oh good grief, yes. The guy who had a protracted meltdown because somebody told him there was a comment he never saw (which didn’t actually exist) saying that he wasn’t a real gamer? Can you imagine if he had even a fraction of the abuse that was thrown at Anita Sarkeesian?

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      1. Fascism has been producing thin-skinned wannabe masters of the human race who insist they worship toughness and abhor weakness for a century now. Longer if you count the predecessor movements–Boulanger and D’Annunzio practically leap out at this.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You know, he was whiney and theatrically hypersensitive in person, too. I made a point of being in the audience for his single-person panel at the 2014 Westercon in SLC, and it was like a one-hour cosplaying of the Monty Python “Help, help, I’m being repressed” scene. E.g., he already had his victim narrative worked out from the Reno Worldcon three years before, and since I’d been Renovation staff and pretty well-connected, his account of high-profile snubbing didn’t pass the sniff test. That is, I’d been there, hadn’t seen that, and greatly doubted his very wild tale was even a tiny bit true.

        I briefly considered putting my hand up, getting recognised, and saying “Hi, I’m a fan of your books and occasional target-shooter, who is also an effete, bicoastal, Ivy League liberal and very minor SMOF, and keep hoping you’ll lighten up and cease pretending that people like me hate you when we just don’t” — but decided I didn’t want a role in his psychodrama.

        Liked by 6 people

      3. @Space Oddity

        It’s not fair to call people thin-skinned when they refuse to countenance microaggressions silently.

        Like

      4. “It’s not fair to call people thin-skinned when they refuse to countenance microaggressions silently.”

        What are you trying to say here Hyman? That fascists suffer “microaggressions” over being fascists and that justifies them being fascists?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. “This chapter is not going to be able to do is give a full and authoritative account of the controversy.” needs to either add “What” in front or strike “do is”, or something similar.

    Like

  9. A stylistic suggestion: you’ve got a lot of “X would do A”, and it’s not clear to me that that usage adds anything nifty over “X did A”. Maybe simplify?

    Like

    1. She demanded to remain in an exclusive relationship with Eron at the time, and had admitted to having affairs with 5 other people at once, including a married man and her boss. Joss Whedon faced the same exact accusations from his ex-wife, and he was uniformly denounced as an abuser for doing so. Nor was his ex held responsible for any online harassment that went his way as a result.

      Like

      1. Seriously Cam? Why is this person here?

        Again, “John Farlow the 2nd,” Quinn’s relationship with Gjoni is none of your damn business. It was not justification for a massive harassment campaign against her. And the claimed justification of the harassment campaign was not that they had a bad relationship or was unfaithful but that Gjoni lied and claimed that they had traded sexual favors for a positive game review. Or can you not keep track of Gamergate’s own lies? Why are you obsessed with a personal relationship that never had anything to do with you?

        Your attempt to whataboutism with a strawman diversion to Joss Whedon highlights the exact nature of Gamergate sexism where there is a refusal to understand societal power dynamics or admit to systematic violence against women and non-binary people. Joss Whedon was not declared to be abusive because he cheated on his ex-wife. He was abusive because he sexually exploited young actresses who worked for him and who were dependent on him for their careers. He also was retaliatory and violent with Charisma Carpenter and other actors on his sets — abusing his power and endangering Carpenter’s pregnancy. And it also appears to be the case, from what she’s now publicly said, that he sexually harassed Michelle Trachtenberg when she was just a teenager on Buffy.

        When his ex revealed that Whedon had sexually harassed and exploited the actresses who worked for him, which was part of the reason she sought a divorce from him, she was subjected to online harassment by Whedon fans for telling the truth. As opposed to Gjoni, who lied about Quinn. And Whedon did not face “online harassment”, despite admitting he’d abused his power over his actresses. Whedon faced consequences and outraged shock from people on learning that a man who had publicly advocated feminism was in fact a sexually harassing sexist. However, since Whedon is very powerful in Hollywood, the total consequences he actually faced were slight. He continued to be a powerful producer and director, including being called in to pinch hit complete the Justice League movie.

        And on that set, as Ray Fisher and other actors in the film have come forward about, Whedon was abusive, racist and exploited his power. It’s a pattern of using his power for exploitive and discriminatory abuses, including some violent incidents. Whether he will fully face consequences for that in Hollywood is unlikely.

        That you think you can compare what happened to Zoe Quinn over a lie by an ex used as an excuse for an abusive hate campaign that included offline death threats and Whedon being exposed as a harassing abuser who exploited his position and power shows exactly what Gamergate was about. It wasn’t about ethics or even about games. It was about attacking and punishing women, especially women trying to participate in geek industries or ever commenting on those industries.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This is an interesting illustration of what had rapidly become Beale’s principle online modus operandi–attach himself to the right wing movement du jour with which he had some ideological sympathy, carve out a territory to the right of that, and then collect angry followers who were chomping at the bit at their leaders’ perceived timidity while building connections to fellow movement outliers. Gamergate and the Puppies were going to be his most successful uses of this, before seeing a rapid decline in its effectiveness afterwards for a variety of reasons.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Not the least of which is that he pretty much got overrun and trampled by the mob he was getting in front of. Now his clever word games and ability to use the thinnest of possible dogwhistles and barely plausible deniability while saying horrible things are seen as the ‘timidity’ to the people he’s been helping to churn up with said horrible things.

      One would think that somebody who so venerates Aristotle would recognize hubris in action.

      Though it appears hubris meant something different but still very relevant back then. Indeed, to quote from the Wikipedia page on Hubris:

      Aristotle defined hubris as shaming the victim, not because of anything that happened to the committer or might happen to the committer, but merely for that committer’s own gratification:

      … to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: naive men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.

      Crucial to this definition are the ancient Greek concepts of honour (τιμή, timē) and shame (αἰδώς, aidōs). The concept of honour included not only the exaltation of the one receiving honour, but also the shaming of the one overcome by the act of hubris. This concept of honour is akin to a zero-sum game.

      Gee, doesn’t that all sound familiar…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ayyup. Another problem was that Gamergate and the Pups were a high water mark for the Alt-Right–afterwards Beale was largely dealing with the same group of people, many of whom found that where he was concerned, familiarity bred contempt. Whereas before he could always move on to a new group as his reputation dwindled among the last batch of marks, now it was either moving on… to people who already knew him, or moving on to people who were being radicalized by people who already knew him. And that also affected his ability to stay above the fray when something was starting, so that he could scope it out, and then find the maximal ‘far right enough to stand out, but cagily put enough so I can claim I’m not Nazi’ position. As he was more broadly known, he frequently had to move faster and that meant taking positions before he could be quite sure they worked. Oh, he tried to wiggle out where he could–note the “wait at least 48 hours’ rule he instituted on any action Trump took–but he was frequently forced to do stuff beside issue encouraging noises that could be backed away from swiftly as needed.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes, this seems to be Beale’s main focus — status. He keeps trying to make headway to be an authoritative authoritarian pundit, a leader of various movements. Prime example: when he tried to do in Comicsgate what he’d done with the Sad Puppies and tried to take the name Comicsgate for his own operations, which deeply upset other grifters and pundits who’d been there first. They basically told him to get lost.

      It’s not that he hasn’t had any success at it or lacks followers, but he doesn’t stick with anything and though he has money to finance his own vanity projects, he doesn’t have the backing of one of the right-wing rich that is going to younger mouthpieces like Shapiro, etc., and his inability to tour the U.S. for years hampered notoriety. Every time there’s some sort of reactionary screaming in SFF fandom, Beale seems to pop his head up and we have to hear his anguished prose. And yeah, he does seem to have been eclipsed on the rhetorical level of outrage since Trump flipped over the table in the U.S.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Got to love M1lo’s projection here:
    Because an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers, are terrorising the entire community – lying, bullying and manipulating their way around the internet for profit and attention.”

    When in fact it was
    … an army of sociopathic dudebros and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically incorrect American far-right bloggers, are terrorising the entire community – lying, bullying and manipulating their way around the internet for profit and attention.”

    As always, they accuse their opponents of doing exactly what they do.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. >The ironic meme culture, shock tactics, use racist slurs and brigading[8] tactics

    should probably be “use of racist slurs”

    > would all be continued to be deployed

    Could delete the first “be” and drop the conjugate — “would all continue to be deployed”

    > Push back from the owners of various platforms were Gamergate was being

    Should probably be “various platforms where Gamergate”

    Like

  13. For posterity, I’m copying a RT that currently shows up below this:

    @ChuckTingle

    as man name of chuck i have written over 350 tinglers and even i think it would be exhausting to be a dang conservative THAT IS CRYING ABOUT THING YOU MADE UP 24 DAYS A WEEK 7 YEARS A MONTH never ending fake outrage what a lonesome life

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I still feel that you’re missing any real insight into the behavior the the antagonists. It feels as though I’m reading about the actions of a bunch of crazy people.

    Sadly, just reading the news every morning often makes me feel that way too . . . maybe I’m asking too much of you here.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is going to be a bit scattershot, but GamerGate is a huge topic and there’s a lot to unpack.

    1. There is an interesting confluence of language between the Pups and GamerGate. The whole “LW” pose they took with respect to Quinn, Sarkeesian, and Wu is remarkably similar to the Pups’ “I’ve never heard of this guy” rhetoric. It was also about as convincing. When the story broke into the mainstream, I remember there was a lot of ridicule directed at the Gamergaters for their obviously ridiculous posing on this front.

    When the Gamergaters were still trying to pretend they were about “ethics in gaming journalism”, they made a big deal about how they wanted “objective” reviews (although they never could seem to describe what that meant other than “reviews that I agree with”). This was reflected in the Pups rhetoric as well – I recall a relatively common refrain was “there is no objective way that so many stories I don’t like could have won”. I distinctly recall Hoyt giving an interview to some podcast at MidAmericCon in which she claimed that “objectively” there was no way that the books that had won Hugos should have won them. I also recall Beale trying to “objectively” prove the relative merits of books using Amazon ratings.

    2. Baldwin is an idiot. He frequently doesn’t understand basic idioms and language. I recall him saying he had “laid down his life” for his wife and daughters, and arguing with people who pointed out that since he wasn’t dead, he clearly hadn’t done that.

    3. During Gamerghate, when I was still using Twitter, I had a series of direct interactions with Gjoni. He is a slimeball. Even though, at the time, it had been demonstrated that most of his claims were entirely false, he still maintained he was justified in writing what he did, because Quinn had not stayed with him when he wanted her to.

    4. One of the “big causes” Gamergaters claimed motivated them were the so-called “gamers are dead” articles, which they believed demonstrated showed media collusion against “Gamer culture”. Never mind that the timeline didn’t match anything they claimed (Gamgergate was already in full swing before the articles came out, so they couldn’t have been a cause for it), and never mind that Gamergate was already a notable news story – nope, the only reason those articles could have been written was media collusion. This also matches with the Pups’ claims that the media was colluding against them by coordinating articles about them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. (Apparently Quinn is non-binary and going by they pronouns now.)

      Yep, you would have thought that the Pups would have been thrilled to get media coverage for their cause, as it would draw more people to come pay and vote for them. But when they got it, the media viewed them as a simple offshoot of Gamerghate and usually viewed the more reactionary Beale as in charge (which was accurate.) The Pups’ claims made no sense, they were sending harassment after marginalized SFF authors and a lot of the coverage was negative on those points. So then there was a lot of backing away and trying to distance themselves from Beale and his publishing house and claiming the media must have it out for them as a conspiracy because the media was still finding Gamerghate fascinating for clicks.

      But the media also treated the Pups’ whining, as they did the Gamerghate whining, with both sideism consideration, as a “debate” the geeks were having. But given the huge size of the gaming industry, the Pups were just a supplementary item on lists rather than very interesting as their own thing. So their match flared out quickly in the greater world, leaving just the exasperation of the written SFF community.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. “Gamgergate was already in full swing before the articles came out, so they couldn’t have been a cause for it”

      Do you have a citation for this? The hashtag #gamergate didn’t even exist until Adam Baldwin tweeted it just a day before the “Gamers are dead” articles got published, and it was appropriated by 4channers arranging a press boycott campaign in the following week. There’s no evidence of any plot to harass any women prior to those articles either. That’s not to say that women didn’t get harassment, they clearly did. But there’s no indication that it was anything other than the acts of trolls acting alone, as they had been doing since the internet was born.

      “Even though, at the time, it had been demonstrated that most of his claims were entirely false, he still maintained he was justified in writing what he did, because Quinn had not stayed with him when he wanted her to.”

      Didn’t he post chatlogs proving his version of events? And Eron even uploaded video of him logging into facebook to prove they were authentic. They pretty clearly show Zoe begging him not to leave her, even after she admitted to the affairs

      Like

      1. 1) The gamers are dead articles were about the toxic masculinity and harassment of women by certain types of gamers who declared themselves the one true gamers, etc. They started being used as an excuse for Gamergate after the attacks on Quinn started. Some of the upset about the articles may have occurred before the launch of the hashtag but other articles about gamer ideology being dead or needing to be dead were in response, in whole or part, to the supposed Quinn controversy and all of them were declared to be part of the justification for the harassment of Quinn and other women, even though that issue was completely unrelated to the supposed Quinn controversy.

        2) The original “Gamergate” impetus was the claim by Quinn’s ex that she had traded sexual favors for a good game review from a reviewer she eventually dated. That was the supposed scandal that set everything off. It was a lie by her ex. He even eventually admitted it was a lie. Baldwin did not check to see if it was an accurate claim or not; he simply accepted the claim of a sexual bribe as true, coined a name and it was used as a hashtag to justify harassment of Quinn. That escalated to and included other women “Gamergaters” decided to target, leading to stalking, bomb threats and attempts to crash or otherwise harm websites that objected to the harassment mobs and toxic gamer ideologies.

        3) The history of Quinn and Gjoni’s relationship was irrelevant to and none of the business of anyone but those two people. To justify a harassment campaign against Quinn by Gjoni and people who didn’t like Quinn marketing her game, they made up the lie of a sexual bribe for a good game review. Numerous “gamergaters” continued to push the lie even after it had been debunked, causing Quinn to have to go into hiding in fear for her life. Gamergate was a fake scandal from the beginning. They never went after the big game companies who do give reviewers swag, nor did they ever prove that pay for play was a rampant problem in the industry or that it was even the focus of any of their hate campaigns.

        4) Instead, they went after people like Sarkeesian, because she was doing studies about games and critical analysis about symbolism in games — which had nothing to do with ethics in game journalism over game reviews. Nothing about Gamergate had anything to do with game reviews except that the Gamergaters didn’t like any reviews that negatively criticized sexism or other forms of discrimination in games, which had nothing to do with an ethical dilemma of reviewers being bribed for positive reviews by game companies. Gamergaters also rampaged against any changes in games that allowed for more options in diverse representation of game characters and in particular went after woman game designers, women game journalists and women gamers of any standing in the field. None of it was about ethical problems in the industry or bribes for reviews.

        There was no scandal. Quinn and Gjoni may have had a bad relationship but that had nothing to do with the gaming industry. But Gjoni’s lie about his ex of a fake breach of ethics provided the excuse for many online trolls to go after women online and in numerous cases to dox, stalk, swat and otherwise harass them offline as well. Many gamergater mouthpieces were then recruited by Breibart and the alt right, along with manosphere trolls, to further harass other political targets until the Gamergate name became so toxic, including incidents of violence, that it ran out of steam as a label.

        And after that, “it’s about ethics in game journalism” became a joke punchline meaning a fake rationale for harassment and attacks. Because there was no “gate” — it was a lie, a fake scandal Gamergaters didn’t even bother to keep going. And that’s all it ever was.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not going to the rounds with “John Farlow the 2nd” on this. Basically, every claim Farlow has made in this thread (in every single comment he has made) is false, and was shown repeatedly to be false when Gamergate was happening. All he is doing now is repeating the same tired claims that were made at the time and is Sea Lioning now.

        The “Gamers are dead” articles” came out before Gamergate started. They could not have been the cause. The reaction to them was entirely misogynistic – the authors who bore the brunt of Gamergate’s ire were female game reporters – one of whom was driven out of the industry by the harassment.

        And “no evidence of any plot to harass women”? Gamergate had been going on for a couple of weeks *before* Baldwin dubbed it so – it had been called “Burgers and Fries” before that, because of the “5 Guys” claim that Gjoni had fabricated. The harassment of both Quinn and Sarkeesian had hit a high pitch before that point. Pretending that it only started when Baldwin named it is a common dishonest rhetorical tactic used by Gamergaters to try to wall off the sleazy, slimy origins of the “movement”.

        Also, the harassment was not “trolls acting alone”. That is another dishonest dodge used by Gamergaters. Harassment of women *was* the movement. There was nothing else to it. It took weeks *after* Gamtergate had started before anyone came up with “ethics in gaming journalism” as a rallying cry to try to cover up the fact that it was nothing more than a means of targeting women. The *primary voices* in Gamergate spent all their time attacking women online. Pretending otherwise just reveals you to be a slimeball, like all the other Gamergaters.

        Gjoni’s claims were all fabrications. This was proven time and again. His “evidence” was also fabricated. The only people who continue to push it are completely dishonest.

        John, you’re not worth any more time or effort. Like all Gamergaters, your opinions are completely worthless because they are based on fabrications and lies. You should have never gotten out of the moderation queue, because you have nothing of value to contribute.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I forgot, it had also been called the “Quinnspiracy” before Baldwin came up with the name they eventually used. Gamergaters like to pretend that there were three different things going on (Burger and Fires, Quinnspiracy, and Gamergate) and pretend they weren’t all part of one long-running harassment campaign, but like all things said by Gamergaters, that is a lie.

        And that is why the so-called “gamers are dead” articles (almost none of which actually said anything remotely close to “gamers are dead”) could not have been the “cause” of Gamergate. The articles were written *in response* to the ongoing harassment campaign. They *articles* were a reaction to Gamergate, they weren’t a cause.

        Gamergaters like John here, trying to pretend otherwise, were just lying.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. After line-editing to date, the text is pretty clean. I’m donning my somewhat disused copyeditor hat, anyway.

    To be picky, in “I’m only going to pick out those that are either immediately pertinent to making sense of events”, the word “only” is better moved next to what it modifies, i.e., to follow “pick out”.

    “children, families and adults”: No love for the serial comma? I see you using it some other places (inconsistently), so please consider opting to either consistently use or consistently not use it. (Other places where you drop the serial comma after using it for a while include “unusual interests, meme, pornography and right wing extremism”.and ” ironic meme culture, shock tactics, use of racist slurs and brigading[” and “misogyny, trolling and anti-SJW rhetoric” and “discrimination, intimidation, violence or even deaths” and “LGBTQI people, disabled people and others” and “unfocused, lacked clear demands and had poor connections” and “the land of fanzines, File770 and the work of Mike Glyer”.)

    “The web also […]”: This noun usage strikes me as meeting the classic definition of a proper noun, i.e., you’re not talking about just any web, but rather the World-Wide Web. Ergo, IMO it should be always capitalised in this context. If you’re talking about spider emanations, a fabric crafted on a loom, a plant or animal brachiating physical structure, a connecting piece of machinery made of thin metal, or something analogously like one of the foregoing, then that is a common noun (“a/the web”).

    “In 1999 at the University of Central Arkansas, a Japanese student called Hiroyuki Nishimura, set up”: The comma before “set up” serves no purpose.

    “stricter internet censorship laws of Japan”: By the exact same logic, it seems to me “internet” in this context is a proper noun, too. I remember quite clearly when there were many internets, but there came to be one Internet. The latter is what you’re talking about, so please capitalise.

    “The hosting provider of 2channel was a Philippines-based American called Jim Watkins.” The preferred verb when referring to human beings is “named”. Things get called something. Persons and beloved pets get named.

    “The popularity of 2chan led to the creation of similar so-called image boards”: In my opinion, you should not use the expression “so-called” without explanation, as you risk the ghost of Tolstoi visiting and waving a pistol at your meaningfully. Incidentally, later in the piece, you switch to the term “imageboard”. Perhaps you should pick one.

    “most notably 4chan which was created”: Comma before “which”. I’m restraining myself from suggesting addition of many commas in places of natural pausing if reading your text aloud, places where a comma would aid clarity.

    “clash between phenomenon spawned from fannish cultures”: Surely, this should be “phenomena” (and you may call me Shirley if you wish).

    “YouTube and Reddit being mainstream web services with darker reaches and some toxic communities.” Sentence no verb.

    “and we have spin-off places like Encyclopedia Dramatica[8] and Kiwi Farms[9] which”: comma before “which”.

    “people wishing to engage in trolling and harassment coordinate”: Surely should be “coordination”.

    “in 2007, programmer and game developer, Kathy Sierra”: The comma before “Kathy” serves no purpose.

    “to law enforcement to bring police round to their targets family home”: I believe the word should be “around”, not “round”. Also, “targets” needs an apostrophe (target’s).

    “the additional publicity led to her project being funded quicker”: As you need an adverb at the end, rather than an adjective, the better wording would be “more quickly”.

    “Their attempts to get the game distributed on the game service Steam, led”: The comma before “led” serves no purpose.

    “comment sections of multiple mainstream websites”: Obviously, it’s your judgement call, if you wish to adopt the neologism “website”. Personally, I see no gain over the phrase “Web site”, except for SMS composers on smartphones who hold a grudge over any expectation that they include a space character or use a shift key.

    “Day’s first Gamergate related post”: Please add a hyphen between “Gamergate” and “related” because they function jointly as a compound adjective.

    “with a take over by “SJWs””: I think that “takeover” is accepted as a normal noun, at this point. No space.

    “I will stress again that Day was a minor player here and little more than observer”: Seems to need “an” before “observer”.

    “Initially, this might look paradoxical, after all if Quinn was a nobody then why all the ensuing fuss?”: As written, this is a run-on sentence; you could fix it with a semicolon.

    “Correia himself was not active campaigner for Gamergate”: Looks like there should be an “an” before “active”.

    “but we’ll come back to the game and the company behind in a later chapter”: Seems to need “it” after “behind”.

    “a far-right activist and you-tuber Davis Aurini began”: “you-tuber” is a proper noun, and so should be “YouTuber”. Also, the name reference is parenthetical, so use parentheses for Ghu’s sake, e.g., “a far-right activist and YouTuber (Davis Aurini) began”.

    “Gamergate aligned you-tubers”: Not only is “you-tubers” more properly a proper noun (hence “YouTubers”) but also “Gamergate aligned” is a compound adjective, hence should be hyphenated.

    “One, Mike Cernovich[23] was”: The name reference is parenthetical, so it needs the same punctuation on both sides to set it off (in this case comma before and after, not just before).

    “on September 1 2014”: Comma after “1”.

    “and more libertarian inclined right”: “libertarian inclined” is a compound adjective, so please do the needful.

    “the push back is cited as evidence”: I think “pushback” is now accepted as a noun.

    “However, coverage of Gamergate in mainstream media was increasing which led:” Comma before “which”.

    “and some how cutting away all the overtly shitty bits of Gamergate”: “somehow” doesn’t need the space character.

    “to promote a leftwing agenda”: IMO, there’s no real advantage to neologism “leftwing” (which you also use in the footnotes) over the established coinage “left-wing”.

    “Pew Research centre”: Being in Washington, D.C., it bears the name Pew Research Center.

    “more women in the US-owned a game console than men”: To avoid inadvertent comedy, you should insert “did” just before “men”.

    “A site initially created to record disputes on LiveJournal but which evolved into a more toxic site which encouraged harassment”: The second which should, to support your intended meaning, become “that”.

    “our Debarkle protagonists, Vox Day and Larry Correia have both cited”: That pair of names are a parenthetical phrase, so the comma before should be matched by one after (following “Correia”).

    Like

      1. You’re very welcome. Balancing a hyphen within the hanging chasm of a compound adjective seems to be out of favour, these days, but definitely aids clarity.

        Besides, I’ve designated myself “Founding member of the Hyphenation Society, a grassroots-based, not-for-profit, locally-owned-and-operated, cooperatively-managed, modern-American-English-usage-improvement association”

        That is, however, a mild exaggeration for comic effect, as I pointed out separately:

        Q: Should the phrase “anal retentive” be hyphenated, or not?
        A: Always when it’s used as a compound adjective. Never when it’s a compound noun.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. <>

      People in England (and maybe Australia?) use “called” for a person. So does Spanish.

      Like

      1. I certainly didn’t say we don’t in English use the phrase “called” for a person. I’m just saying “named” is the preferred usage as it doesn’t impliedly treat people like objects. It’s a matter of avoiding accidental nuances one might not normally even spend time thinking about, if not writing carefully.

        There’s something about discussion of line-editing, though: There’s always someone who wants to argue against best practices, usually based on imagined edge-cases.

        (I speak only very bad Spanish, so ought not to discussed best practices, but cannot fathom the relevance in this context unless Cam is intending to branch out boldly into Cervantes fanfic.)

        Like

  17. There’s some Gamergate pushback coming in the comments. I’m letting them through but this is a heads up. You can choose to engage or not as the case maybe but avoiding escalation would be good when considering tone.

    Like

      1. Nah, he isn’t civil. He is spouting pure bullshit and that has nothing to do with civility.

        Like

      2. Greg, continuing with attacks on Quinn about her personal relationships is the absolute opposite of civility.

        I think Camestros should be ashamed for letting those comments out of moderation.

        Like

      3. It’s not an “attack” to accurately describe someone’s abusive actions. I haven’t called anyone any names, Zoe herself admitted to the affairs, along with the members of the industry she had the affairs with.

        The exact same accusations of abuse have been levied against men in the past, to which the press gleefully reported without any concern of the harassment that would be sent their way. Joss Whedon’s ex-wife accused him of similarly having affairs with his co-workers, and the press rightfully called him abusive for doing so. But Joss Whedon’s a much more public figure, so it’s not a fair comparison

        On the other hand, last year Zoe Quinn made the same accusations of ’emotional abuse’ towards game developer Alec Holowka, which also resulted in him getting harassed off the internet. Instead of denouncing the harassment and blaming Zoe for causing it, the press simply reported the news against him. Which in turn resulted in his harassment, his firing, him getting blacklisted from the industry, and days later- his suicide.

        You could call it an unforeseen consequence- if Zoe hadn’t explicitly predicted the outcome. She wrote a book about the dangers of online harassment campaigns, and had given talks and speeches about what online harassment does to people with mental illness. Zoe herself claimed to be nearly driven to suicide by tweets. She knew Alec was mentally ill, and was getting help, but made the accusation in order to deflect from revelations that her support network (Crash Override Network) had volunteers that were sexually harassing women. It’s an incredible double-standard on the part of the press, you have to admit.

        Like

      4. That’s the game they play. They pretend to be civil so that their extremism gets taken seriously. They need to be thrown out the moment they appear.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. The fact that no one can point out anything that I lied about, or are EXTREMELY hostile to being asked to identify one of my lies, should raise a red flag. I’ll gladly admit to any inaccuracies or false statements I’ve made.

        I’m not personally bothered by getting called names, I’ve experienced it since I was a kid online.

        Like

      2. John Farlow the 2nd: The fact that no one can point out anything that I lied about

        You’ve repeatedly brought up Quinn’s relationships and sex life as if they are justification for something something. They aren’t. This dishonesty alone is enough to discredit the rest of what you say. Gamergate started as an ex-boyfriend trying to get revenge, and there are screenshots of it. Everyone knows how the Gamergaters then tried to retcon it as being about “ethics in gaming journalism”, when it was only ever about harassing women.

        Either you know this, and you’re being deliberately dishonest, or you’re one of the idiot dopes and fools that the Gamergaters duped into believing their bullshit and shilling for them. Which is it?

        Just stop. Your dishonesty is not fooling anyone here. 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No John. Again, No. Always No.
        Now take your disinformation and gaslighting elsewhere. It’s still not welcome here.

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      4. The fact that no one can point out anything that I lied about

        Literally every claim you’ve made has been dishonest. Every. Single. One.

        Let’s start with this: After I pointed out that the “gamers are dead” articles could not have been an impetus for Gamergate, you posited the lie that they were, and then lied about how Gamergate started, using the dishonest parsing used by Gamergaters that ignores the “Quinnspiracy” portion of your harassment campaign.

        You’ve claimed that Gamergate wasn’t about harassing women, but you’ve spent the bulk of your efforts trying to make the case that Quinn was a bad person who deserved the attacks she received, and previous little time talking about “ethics in gaming jorunalism”, and every claim you’ve tried to make about “ethics” has actually not been an example of something unethical, and at least a couple haven’t even been about journalism.

        You’re a liar John. Everyone here knows it.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. JJ, glad to hear back,

        “You’ve repeatedly brought up Quinn’s relationships and sex life as if they are justification for something something. They aren’t.”

        At no point did I justify Quinn’s harassment and threats. What happened to her was reprehensible and shouldn’t have happened. But it’s not an act of “revenge” for a victim of abuse to describe the abuse they’ve faced.

        If it was Gjoni’s intention to get revenge, then he wouldn’t have withheld so many other salacious details about Zoe’s life that sexist trolls would have had a field day with. Such as her meth addiction at the time, the fact that she was a former stripper and professional porn model, and that Kotaku journalist Nathan Grayson paid for her to abort Gjoni’s child. Gjoni refused to talk about these details to anyone, until after Zoe herself revealed them, because they weren’t related to the abuse he experienced.

        (Note- Zoe talked about these things in her book, before you accuse me of slandering her. Yes I paid money for it, yes I read it to get her side of the story)

        Now for Aaron:

        “Let’s start with this: After I pointed out that the “gamers are dead” articles could not have been an impetus for Gamergate,”

        You argued that the articles couldn’t have been an impetus for Gamergate, because women were getting harassed prior to them, and therefore it must have been Gamergate orchestrating the harassment. Except, there’s no evidence of that. I’ve dug through every archived thread on 4chan about the ‘Quinnspiracy’, and couldn’t find any plot to contact or harass Zoe. It was just shitty gossiping, no different from the constant threads mocking the meltdowns of male indie developers, and coming from a bunch of people that felt that sexist harassment only served to make her rich and deflect from her own abusive behavior

        And there was virtually no discussion of Anita in those threads, or on the #Burgersandfries IRC channel, until AFTER she reported fleeing her home.

        If you want me to start digging up and posting archived 4chan threads from 2014 to prove it, I can do that, but I might need some time.

        But you sound kind of upset recently so I hope the rest of your evening goes well. I know you want to support women in the gaming industry, we all should, but there are literally hundreds that are more deserving of your support than the one that keeps getting outed by her own friends and coworkers as an abusive con artist.

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      6. John Farlow the 2nd: At no point did I justify Quinn’s harassment and threats.

        My point is that you should not have brought up Quinn’s sex life and relationships at all.

        That you did is an utter act of dishonesty, which shows exactly where all your arguments are coming from: a place of dishonesty.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. No. You can’t let them even start.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Yep, but if you’re on the outside trying to decide who is telling the truth and who is not, the ones who’re smart enough to “tone police” themselves have a big edge.

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      1. I’m surprised you think it requires evidence. When you’re listening to two people discussing a point, the one who sounds reasonable and rational always comes across much better than the one who’s screaming insults. It’s a lesson that the Puppies need to learn more than anyone, actually.

        But if you don’t think that’s self-evident, I’m not going to try to argue the point with you.

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      2. So you don’t have anything to support your claim. You just think it has to be correct because that’s how *you* perceive debates. Your anecdote does not equal data.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Let’s put it this way, if your claim was correct, then Jeb Bush would have been the Republican nominee in 2016, and Clinton would have been President.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It depends, insults are never a good idea for a debate. On the other hand anger can also make you seem right (from a onlinemafiagame).
      On the other hand people trust people more they know and have reasons to see as truthful.
      Arguments and logic hopfully mater also. (and what the person sees as morally okay)
      But we aren’t on neutral ground here. I mean I give you that I expected worse from the headsup but except the Zoe Quinn stuff (which is way to much a topic) it is uninteresting and boring for me not problematic.
      Perhaps the link is usful.
      I am torn because I prefer civil discorse, but the post go into territory that are uncomfartable or irrelevant and I don’t think are helpful for the discusion except to let some people do way to much work.

      Liked by 1 person

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