Saturday, 20 September 2014

#Gamergate's Many Paths

It is probably a whole month since the Internet rose up in arms, and decided enough is enough. I lost the track of time to be honest. A whole month since instead of facing the accusations of cronyism, nepotism, clientelism, and all other words connected to the corruption, non-existent morals, and poor ethics, game "journalists" decided to declare war on gamers.

Declaring war on gamers is generally a bad idea. We fight, and squabble all the time. We fight for most minuscule things; who will get the loot, why Horde is superior to the Alliance, why there should be more left-handers in games like Link, why flying is essential in World of Warcraft, all the way to defending our hobby and convincing people, that just because you play games, that does not make you a sociopath school shooter, or sexist, or whatever misconception general public has gotten into its head in any given week. Unlike others we are used to fighting.

So when the Napoleons of gaming journalism declared war on Gamers, the equivalent of Tsarist Russia, I've got only one thing to say to these social justice warriors, misguided 3rd wave feminists, and in general anyone who stands against #gamergate for whichever reason: Winter is Coming!

Fear of the Word
Some time ago I engaged in conversation with Belghast on twitter. I was left in utter disbelief when he said, that we should not use #gamergate because his female friends feel threatened by the word. That those friends actually think someone using #gamergate would drag them on the street. I understand that Belghast is in many ways Epicurean, all he wants is for everyone to be happy, and at peace, and plant flowers in their little circle of happiness and ignore the outside world. That is all well and fine with me. If you decide to ignore the outside world I am not going to stop you.

What bothered me, was first the notion that someone can actually be scared of one single word. And after that, the fact that someone feels entitled to censor this word in a sense because it would make others feel better. #gamergate is not Lord Voldemort, you can say the word and nothing will happen. If you honestly fear #gamergate, it means you are afraid of your own past actions, and fear that what could surface might not paint the picture you want the world to see. And if that is the case, I do not feel sorry for you. The only people who have reason to fear #gamergate, are the ones who did something morally questionable in order to further their personal agenda.

Everything has its time and place. If you want to write about sexism, misogyny and feminism, do it in your own publications, magazines, and websites. As it was made rather obvious, gamers, actually want to play games, not listen to lectures why a certain game is sexist, misogynist, and all other isms that detract from the experience of the game itself. And when they lash back it is somehow gamers at blame, even though they patiently listened for years before they said enough is enough, and demanded some basic standards of those that should be reporting on the games, but do everything else instead.

What is obvious, is that #gamergate is a lot of things bunched together, and because of this we are forced to discuss plenty of different topics all valid on their own together as intertwined. That has both good, and bad sides. But in no case should you fear a word. If you fear a single word, or name, you should see a therapist, or a priest, whichever you prefer because it is rather obvious to anyone sane that you are in need of help. Go get it, it is for your own good.

Number of Opinion, Number of Paths Diverging
As #gamergate went on it became obvious that there is not only one set of goals people want to see accomplished. There are many. Some want more honesty and integrity of gaming "journalism", others just more disclosure, some want those people gone from the industry. Many people voiced their opinions, many more new voices joined the fight with the view of someone from the outside. And while some people find the motives of these newcomers suspect, I welcome them with open hands.

I think that these "journalists" are beyond help and need to go once and for all. In any other branch they would be fired for a lot lesser things. Ethics, and morality is one thing where we should not be tolerant. You either have standards, or don't have a job. There is no middle way. Because these game "journalists" are worse than rats, and will not willingly go we are forced to use more firm approach. Not visit their sites, and writing the advertisers about #Gamergate and explaining how unscrupulous, corrupt, and rude these "journalists" are. I mean, where did you ever see a journalist insult, and ridicule its audience? The answer is nowhere. So let it burn, and we will be better for it.

At least one site took this accusations to heart and decided to update its ethics across the board. The Escapist released an article reflecting on the ethical standards called Publisher's Note: The State of Gaming. I will admit that the only thing I disagree with in the whole article is comparison of gamers to the owners of sports cars. I see gamers as the drivers who use shift-stick, and see the other drivers as a bit inferior, mostly because they consider themselves "true" in comparison, but no bad blood otherwise. What gamers don't like, is when boat-lovers come along and start talking nonsense how it is unfair that cars have wheels, instead of a propeller.

The influx of fresh blood is appreciated as we can actually see what are the facts, and not just the agendas, and personal opinions. Some will disagree, and see this as just politics trying to promote their own views. Personal opinions are fine for a blogger like me. But if you are getting payed to report on the situation, than standards are higher, and these standards include fact-checking, proofs, and all other things that come to other real journalists as natural. C.H. Sommer released a video about games and sexism, here is the post where someone actually checked everything she stated in the video. It checked out.

Milo Yiannopoulos over at Breitbart seems to be tearing a new one to these game "journalists" every week, and I love him for it. His article about the state of gaming industry is a piece worth reading. As he concluded:
"The only group that genuinely isn't welcome [in gaming] is that small but noisy battalion of social justice warriors, who bring nothing but gloom and despair, and their loyal band of incompetent, unethical bloggers, who are so desperate to advertise their upstanding moral virtue to the sisterhood that they have forgotten to check their consciences. We should resist this new tyranny." 
And with that I can do nothing but fully agree. There were other voices as well. Cynical Brit chimed in, TechRaptor, and Niche Gamer are running regular updates about the movement, and what needs to be done to achieve change. Internetaristocrat, and Sargon of Akkad rumbled about the topic, and there are probably many more. And while 4chan failed us when m00t forbade any discussion on #gamergate, there are other platforms. People from 4chan migrated to 8chan. And healthy discussion can be found on the Escapist forums as well as on MMO-Champion.

What is great about #gamergate, is the fact that it is like a hydra. A hydra that was in its swamp for a long time, and did not pay attention to anyone. That Hydra did not mind other farmers settling near and started working the fields. It did not even mind when these farmers started to encroach on its swamp and transform it into the fields. But once the farmers attacked, as they felt the land they came in is theirs by default, the hydra stroke back. And no Heracles will be able to put this beast down. Because this hydra does not fight with teeth, claws, and poison. It fights with arguments, ethics, facts, and morality on its side. And all the poison it spews by accident, because its teeth are not aligned while arguing against the farmers is just a sidetrack farmers would like to transform in personal attacks made against them. There is no main head on this hydra, so when they cut one, three new rise from it.



  1. it's not for you to be 'bothered' that people can be intimidated or threatened by a word. It's for you to put yourself in their shoes and consider what it must be like to live in a world where you end up feeling threatened or intimidated by a word. Doing so is known as 'empathy' and is a basic human trait. Failing to do so makes you asocial; refusing to do so makes you an arsehole.

    1. As I am obviously asocial asshole, could you please elaborate, how can a word intimidate someone? And how can you consider such a thing for normality? I am really interested how can anyone say s/he feels threatened as soon as you say ONE WORD.

      I don't give a damn about thin skin, and easy insults. I can understand when threats are made, or insults thrown around. But to feel threatened by something you read is taking it too far. And such people are in need of serious help.

      I will not tolerate censorship in the name of goodfeel. I will not abide by feelings of those too easily offended. I will not allow anyone turn this world into Orwellian Nightmare. And if I need to chase away a group of too easily offended social warriors, so be it.

      "There are four reasons why the Cynics are so named. First because of the indifference of their way of life, for they make a cult of indifference and, like dogs, eat and make love in public, go barefoot, and sleep in tubs and at crossroads. The second reason is that the dog is a shameless animal, and they make a cult of shamelessness, not as being beneath modesty, but as superior to it. The third reason is that the dog is a good guard, and they guard the tenets of their philosophy. The fourth reason is that the dog is a discriminating animal which can distinguish between its friends and enemies. So do they recognize as friends those who are suited to philosophy, and receive them kindly, while those unfitted they drive away, like dogs, by barking at them."

      I am fine with being the cynic in this debate. I will make it my personal crusade if I have to, to purge the gaming of all easily offended, irrational people who love to instigate a fight about all that has nothing to do with the games in order to further their own personal agenda. I will hound them until they give up, and move away. Because they made it rather obvious they don't care for games, they care for their personal agendas.

  2. I agree with Seanas. Lack of empathy is what it is. Also what you call "censorship" is what I'd call "being polite". Still, if you're fine with being taken for "an asocial asshole" then I guess that's your prerogative.

    1. Don't make me laugh, Belghast. You sadden me so greatly I end up laughing. You're walking, living, breathing tragicomedy. As we established you care more about the appearance, than for the essence. You care more for being polite, than being honest. You care more for flattery, than for truth. You would rather ignore the real problem, just so you can be polite about it. You seem to think that if you think of your little happy place, world will become all on its own a happy place.

      If the approval of others is all that you ever wanted, then good for you. But it would eat me from inside to just bend and follow what others might be screaming at me to do. Because it would be polite to do so, because it does not offend easily offended. If that makes me an asocial asshole, I will take the title, and wear it proudly.

      Now hop along to your happy place, and have yourself doubleplusgood day.

  3. Since the other two didn't get through to you:
    You're being a huge asshole. Stop being a huge asshole.

    1. Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. :)