Saturday, 8 November 2014
Fatigue of #Gamergate
Recently I have started seeing more and more infighting among those that use #gamergate in order to oppose the lack of ethics in game journalism. Honestly, we had it coming for quite some time now. Every war at some point comes to a standstill, and with #gamergate, it was bound to happen. Every revolution can burn bright only for certain amount of time before Jacobins come into play and start saying what is right and what is wrong with our consumer revolt.
#Gamergate was always a group of individuals that banded together because they shared a common goal. It was never a coherent group with any kind of leadership. Imagine a band of barbarians used to fighting individual battles facing against the Roman legions. They all have their own tribes, interests and ambitions, only common thread among them, is their enemy. That is the closest thing you can compare with people in #gamergate. We are far from organised, everyone does his or her own thing, and most of our battles until now were won because of our numbers, persistence, and focus on the enemy. We knew how to exploit the weaknesses of our enemies, because just like Romans underestimated Spartacus and his rebels, so our opponents underestimated #gamergate.
#Gamergate flew on the wings of its success and a couple of prominent voices. But those voices were always just an inspiration to keep up the good fight against the issues in game journalism. Once you start talking about the harassment, and misogyny, and everything BUT ethics in game journalism you lose your own ground. You are no longer in charge of narrative. You are playing a game of catch that you can never win. You are sailing up the wind, and there is no chance you will make that happen.
There is couple of recommendations I have for those that are part of #gamergate. Focus on the real issues. The insults, harassment, and anti-#gamergate being idiots is not relevant to #gamergate, so just ignore it. Nor is it relevant if there are "shills" among our ranks. If there are ignore them and be done with it. Accusing them of "shilling" will accomplish absolutely nothing but breed more infighting. And you know who enjoys in watching #gamergate fight among themselves the most? Our opposition. Focus on the real stuff. You do not have to prove over and over and over again that you are not the one harassing others, and point out how anti-#gamergate does that. It takes away from the discussion we all came here to have. And all the time we spend fighting against false accusations is time spent not calling out the unethical behaviour of the game journalists.
Say what you mean once and be done with it. This is not a matter of faith that you need to repeat until you actually belive it. No need to keep repeating how you have nothing with the harassment, or threats, or whatver they accuse #gamergate of. Those that stand with you, already know that, while those against you, will not believe you in any case. Do not expect others to do your work for you. In #gamergate everyone carries his or her own weight. If we get a boost from a more prominent public figure, it is cool, but it is not important. It is you and you alone that needs to do the legwork, not Cynical Brit, Internet Aristocrat, Christina H. Sommers, or Milo Yiannopoulos.
If you expected to accomplish anything just by favouring and retweeting tweets of the more prominent voices you were gravely mistaken. Deeds, not words are those that count. Sending emails to the advertisers, and boycotting the sites you find to be unethical is what will eventually get results. Just agreeing with one side will get you nowhere. Even if you are in the right it will get you nowhere. So, if you got a problem with Polygon, Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun, and Gamasutra, stop visiting those sites. Do not just use adblock and feel proud of yourself. You accomplished nothing with that. You are still reading them, and you know you do not like them. What are you? A masochist? Find the alternatives, and forget about the sites you cannot stomach. I recommend Niche Gamer, TechRaptor, and Gamesnosh.
I do not like compromises. I don't believe you can meet someone half way in the things that are absolute. You either condemn the unethical behaviour, or you do not condemn it. There is no middle ground here. And if you are not condemning, we have a serious problem at our hands. Accepting the offer of peace in a war our "enemy" started is not an option until we get some serious changes. Beyond them admitting they were just wrong, beyond them just saying they're sorry. People need to realise their actions will always have consequences, and if you step on a snake's tail expect to be bitten. If the snake was not poisonous you will learn the lesson of not stepping on the snake's tail. And if it was poisonous, you will end up dead because of your foolishness and incaution. In any case, it will be a lesson to you. It is a harsh world, and I do not intend to watch out for anyone. You are big enough to take care of yourself and think for yourself. Thus, everyone should take the responsibility for their actions. Saying sorry is not taking the responsibility, it is weaselling out of responsibility.
#Gamergate is like Warhammer 40k Orks. They were created to fight Necrons and their masters and they are really good at it. But as orks go, they grow stronger only when they have strong enemy. If their enemy is weak, so are the orks fighting against it. I know some of you might feel disappointed. You went into this fight expecting to slay the evil dragon, but ended up only scaring it away (for now), especially of late as you started fighting all the mirages and illusions the damned dragon created. Well there is nothing we can do about it but wait and continue to fight once the dragon dares to come out in the plain sight.
What needs to be said is that #gamergate did, does, and will probably continue to do great. But that is difficult if we continue to fight among ourselves. I know it is hard. After all it might seem the war is over as there is no worthy enemy left. But as all wars go, they do not end until treaty is signed. And this one just entered its calm phase, where we are able to regain our strengths, and catch our breath before the next battle begins. Hundred Years War lasted for 116 years, but they did not fight all of those 116 years. There were long periods of relative calm inbetween.
So my dear #gamergate, you need to think what you want to do with yourself. Engage in meaningless scuffles with everyone on the internet, or ignore the irrelevant and focus on what started all this. Lack of ethics, and immoral behaviour of those that call themselves game journalists. It is on you, and solely you, #gamergate to decide how you want to do things. All of you will do however you want, and outside support feels great, but do not expect to win anything if you spend more time slinging stones at each other and various phantasms instead of focusing on the big bad boss. If that is what you will do, then total wipe on the boss is the only outcome you can expect.
If you are part of #gamergate just for a bit of afternoon entertainment, and to unwind, sure, to each his own. But if you want to change something, you need to do something as well. There needs to be energy invested in something in order to accomplish something. And if there is something I do not want to see, is #gamergate imploding on itself.
I will finish this with an old story. A king had many sons. As they were always fighting and bickering among themselves, the old king was quite worried for the future of his kingdom. In his final hours he decided to bestow one last lesson on his many sons. He called forth the eldest, the strongest of them all. He handed him a spear, and asked him to break it. The eldest broke it in two without any effort. The king asked the others if they could do it as well. They all agreed. Then the king brought hundred spears tied together in a bundle, and told the eldest to break them all at once. As much as he tried, he could not do it. The spears bent, but stayed unbroken. Then the king took out one of the spears and broke it himself. He struggled, but he broke it. He took out the second one, and broke it as well. He took the third spear into his hand, and his sons finally learnt the lesson. United they are strong and can hold against everything. Divided they are weak, and easily defeated.