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The "Gamergate" Debacle

Discussion in 'In The News' started by Fridge, 26 October 2014.

  1. Fridge

    Fridge Live, Learn, Laugh, Love.

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    Recently a rather large and complex subject has reared its head within the world of gaming. Depending on who you talk to it seems to be about ethics within games journalism, the acts of one woman, the harrassment of feminists, the harrassment of women and sjw's (social justice warriors).

    Big news companies like CNN and the BBC have both started to pick up on the story so I feel it's a worthy subject to speak of. Especially given that people have recieved threats to their life and have had private information revealed simply for speaking their mind.

    A few links for those who may not be in the know;

    BBC - Games industry must tackle misogyny
    BBC - Feminist journalist cancels talk after threat
    CNN - Behind the furor over #gamergate
    CNN - Actress Felica Day has privite information revealed.

    And finally something that gives a fair overview (being a wiki page I can say it did when I posted it at least);

    The Gamergate controversy


    What I want to know is what do you think it's mostly about? What are your opinions on the whole thing in general?


    I know this is a sensitive and multifaceted topic so please everyone play nice.
     
    #1 Fridge, 26 October 2014
    Last edited: 26 October 2014
  2. vaska00762

    vaska00762 R6 Siege fan

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    To be honest, I'm not even sure what GamerGate actually is. I keep on hearing conflicting stories about what it is from different sites.

    When talking about games journalism, I think most people know to avoid "10/10 needs more work" IGN, but when you consider some of the other games journalism sources, I don't think there's too much in terms corruption in them. The online sources are mostly down to personal preference (I mostly use Machinima for my games news) but you will find some other publications online that seem to be unusual in their outlook (Polygon's review of Bayonetta 2 is an example when compared to other publications). Really, the best publications to trust are the European ones like Eurogamer. But generally, from what I can tell, games journalism ethics are alright, though each to their own.
    As for the Quinnspiracy, I can't really say much other than we should probably investigate what happened, and that both the game developer and the reviewer should be set to one side. These alleged things are not unknown in the world of journalism in general, but not in games journalism, which is probably why there was such an outcry.
    As for the harassment of feminists, this has been going on for years and while this is despicable behaviour, to claim that it stems from gamers primarily is silly, people have found a scapegoat to initiate a witch hunt on. I've seen a number of Tumblr blogs which specifically blamed gamers for everything that was wrong. It's silly, almost half of gamers are women, and that moves onto another point. Do games really enforce misogyny? No, I think not, these days games (and you forget the most player games in the world at the moment are things like Candy Crush, Kim Kardashian and other mobile games) are not targeted at one particular part of the demographic, but all sorts of people. And if you follow the definition of what a gamer is, someone who plays video games, then the whole GamerGate debacle is a mislead enterprise.
     
  3. Recurrent Trotting

    Recurrent Trotting Do you feel the same?

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    haven't really followed the Gamergate thing, but this factual feminist youtube captures many of my feelings about games + feminism


    I'm not quite as comfortable as her with saying 'oh there are just a few sociopaths' though :p there seem to be organised 4channy communities of sociopaths who seem to dedicate themselves to being evil to people who criticise their stuff, which just so happens to be macho netty gamey stuff. These psychos need to be found and punished and the mass of gamers who disagree with the criticisms must be clear that this is not supporting their behaviour.

    The broader points about gaming journalism ethics are interesting :3 hopefully that'll produce a more responsible approach to gaming journalism? As ever, though, a reviewer is only as good as their reputation. Anyone giving out reviews for money would have to be a great propagandist if the game thus favoured was actually terrible :p
     
    #3 Recurrent Trotting, 26 October 2014
    Last edited: 26 October 2014
  4. DynamiteMonkey

    DynamiteMonkey Dino is best Magical Girl

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    As somebody who plays video games more than they should, I have no idea if I should be connected to and responsible for gamer culture. All I really know about with games is that one undead captain twit is blocking the stairs between me and the Bell Gargoyles. Is people like me being ignorant the problem? I have no idea.
     
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  5. vaska00762

    vaska00762 R6 Siege fan

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    Actually, I think this is probably the best attitude to have in my opinion. The great vast majority of gamers just play games, they're not involved in the debacle, they just want to play games. Grammar culture is playing video games and discussing them with each other. If gamers really want to prove to the world that we're not the source of all evil, then I think we just need to do what we do best, play video games.
     
  6. Fridge

    Fridge Live, Learn, Laugh, Love.

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    I have to disagree there, if you want real change to occur you can't sit idly by. I'd like to know that when I read or watch a review for a game that it came from someone who hasn't been paid by that company in any way.
    And surely people being sexist, racist or just generally a bigot anywhere is a bad thing and something we should stand against.
    I'm not saying you should take to the streets, or make a campaign or something. Just be informed and occasionally throw in your two cents. Saying that we should just play games and let it roll on by is like saying " why bother voting". At least to me it is.
     
  7. vaska00762

    vaska00762 R6 Siege fan

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    Perhaps you misunderstand what I'm saying. The people who are making these threats are a very small minority who somehow are very vocal. By setting an example of being mild and respectful to all other people, then others can see that we're not this great evil. The people who are just being idiots can be left to themselves, if no one is paying attention to them, then there's no point for them to bother carrying on being ignorant idiots.
    Like many x-gate scandals, the vast majority of people don't give much of their interest to it. Most of the time the scandal blows over quickly. Watergate was the only time when the scandal took years to settle, in fact most of the Nixon tapes only were publicly released last year, but that's beside the point. By being the better person, hopefully people will realise that we're no monsters.
     
  8. Fridge

    Fridge Live, Learn, Laugh, Love.

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    Yeah I think I did misunderstand in that regard, and I'll agree, if you pay them no heed they will fade as they always do.

    And I know that, comparatively, this a none issue when you look at the grand scheme of things. But I do feel that it's a important discussion to be had, even if there is a vocal and active minority doing untoward things. Like all media eventually does, games are becoming an art form, and with that comes the critical view that being an art form spawns.
    I would like for this newly acquired status to be unmarred with cronyism (if that is the correct term) and industry collusion. I'd also like for it to be a more welcoming place in general.
     
  9. Recurrent Trotting

    Recurrent Trotting Do you feel the same?

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    ok in between listening to trashy pop music :p I've read up more about this gamergate thing and can say a bit more about it specifically.

    The most striking thing about the debate is that it's hopelessly meta :p one side insists the label is a shield for harassment and the other side insists it is only about legitimate journalism-based grievances. I'm not gonna make many point, but I want to get across my take on it:

    It is clear is that what sparked gamergate was an angry ex-boyfriend wanting to criticise his game developer ex-girlfriend for sleeping with a game journalist and seeking to legitimate this by referring to gaming journalism as a shield for venting about their general evilness. However, his shield was horribly successful thanks to macho nasties in the gaming community (but by no means representative of it). These macho nasties went on the warpath in defense of a man and a macho gaming culture, using the implication of the ex-gf's deceit as a way to garner support for their hurt feelings and release a bit of steam. The resulting harassment then got the wider attention of the net, who started to pick up on the legitimate aspects of the initially spurious grievance to make points about gaming journalism as well as many, rightly, outraged feminists who wanted to emphasise the bad behaviour and anti-feminist position of the macho nasties. These dual themes continued for a while, meanwhile the harassment was getting to 4chan levels and thanks to the ridiculous levels of nastiness and the national media then got involved. The national media is not at all interested in the gaming journalism point (which is niche) but was interested in the harassment angle. That angle conforms to the typical idea of gaming culture as being tainted by immaturity and machoness. That sparks another legitimate and extremely interesting (to me anyway :p ) debate about the status of the gamer identity, part of which is the youtube video commentary by the factual feminist which I posted above. The three themes and harassment now rumble on with the ex-boyfriend seeming fairly miffed about it but still quite angry. The feminist response now takes issues with all the gamergate themes and has an unfortunate, but understandable, tendency to reduce gamergate to the original shield and the response of the macho nasties.

    The status of gamergate as a shield for harassment depends on where you're coming from in the gaming debate. I'd say that the ex-boyfriend is guilty of that, the macho-nasties are the perpetrators of it, and that some of the people who push the gaming journalism theme unintentionally condone it when they ignore or downplay the harassment that lay behind the original points about gaming journalism. The people debating the gamer identity theme are alright though in the mane I think :3

    Anyhoof, sorry for the text-wall :p if any of that made sense i'd be surprised.
     
    #9 Recurrent Trotting, 26 October 2014
    Last edited: 26 October 2014
  10. Fridge

    Fridge Live, Learn, Laugh, Love.

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    Actually you encapsulated most of it quite susinctly. As you said the media has no interest in the corruption within games journalism side because it's not as sensational as the harrassment. Which to be fair, I understand (them covering the harrassment not the harrassment itself).
    The harrassment is heinous, damned deplorable and I wish that those involved would just grow up.

    Part of what makes the whole debate so messy is that the label "gamer" itself isn't anyone single thing, and in a lot of ways it's kinda outdated. Some are defending the title of gamer, some are defending the act of playing games and then you have the ones who do hateful things like posting other people's personal information.

    Perosnally I said with the feminists but I also do want more clarity within the journalism of it.
     
  11. Stormblaze

    Stormblaze Purple song pone

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    if im really really honest (dont hate me)....I think these people are taking the whole "women in video games" thing a little too personally. There are several games with the strong independent girl as a main character...I really don't see why the feminists are going on about it. It's like they're not even looking at many games.
    This is why I prefer having man friends than girl friends. The guys really dont care and I dont care, but then Ive never been normal. Im the ultimate tomboy. Ive always been very guy like...and im straight!

    If they hadnt pointed these things out then they never wouldve made themselves such massive targets. i learnt that the hard way, but it was about other things, not gaming stereotypes.

    edit: isnt it still the same in movies and TV anyway?
     
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  12. Fridge

    Fridge Live, Learn, Laugh, Love.

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    Not really, tv and movies have entire genres that cater specifically to that market. And for the most part tv and film have been evolving with the feminist movement, true they don't get it right all the time... Or even most of the time. But their aren't many movies that are out and out sexist. Games on the other hand have quite a few depictions of sexism, the obvious go to being Duke Nukem, especially in the latest version. But before then was Lara (before recent makeover), Princess Peach, that woman from Lollipop chainsaw etc. Don't get me wrong I loved all (well not Lara) of those games and I still do. But a lot of those we're from when the medium was young and it needs to grow up and take responsibility a bit.
    I'm not asking for every game to have a strong female/black/anything else lead just that they we don't have 50 shades of white, straight, male protagonist.

    For the record I actually don't agree with most of what Annita Sarkessian (probably spelt at wrong) says. But she shouldn't be a target and its not ok to say "if she hadn't said anything she wouldn't be a target" (yeah I know I'm paraphrasing). That makes it sound like those that threaten her are somehow justified.

    As I said before for me the main point of this, and the point that I hope wins out in the debate, is for ethical, open and honest journalism.
     
    #12 Fridge, 27 October 2014
    Last edited: 27 October 2014
  13. Recurrent Trotting

    Recurrent Trotting Do you feel the same?

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    heh that was the nicest gamergatey defence I've heard in a while :p I understand why anyone offering an opinion on it contrary to what's acceptable in the respective community would be pretty intimidating

    However, I think it's important to understand that there are some macho nasties net-warrior types who do battle on behalf of hard-core gamers and adopt gamer rationales for doing so. These soldiers don't characterize the entire movement - gamer isn't really an 'identity' as such anyway :p as you say, you just enjoy playing a few games :D only to some hard-core gamers is it an identity and these people seem to be overwhelmingly male and there is a macho core of these which contains the soldiers who are active in harassing critics.

    The feminists do make mistakes too and produce overbroad criticisms of gamer culture. I think it's fair to say that there are a few warrior feminists :p On the other hoof I think they're the nicer bunch by far than the macho soldiers or maybe even the macho gamers who spin the rationales that the warriors fight for.

    Thanks :3 and I totally agree with what you've said there too.
     
    #13 Recurrent Trotting, 27 October 2014
    Last edited: 27 October 2014
  14. Stormblaze

    Stormblaze Purple song pone

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    im not supporting any sides, but i think theres just a case of huge over reaction from both sides
     
  15. Cloudane

    Cloudane Element of Mostly Excessive Verbosity

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    It's an epic mess of finger-pointing, misunderstanding and poor behaviour. The problem is, it's reached a point now where it's pretty much impossible to talk about it without causing even more misunderstandings and hate, as it's a really heavily charged debate with a lot of sort of "potential energy" in terms of emotions that can come crashing down like a ton of bricks at the merest whisper.

    People should indeed avoid sleeping around to manipulate others
    People who have been hurt should indeed stop being vindictive and doxing their ex'es for all the internet scum to go after (even if she did do bad things, two wrongs don't make a right)
    Journalists should indeed avoid bias and decline bribes to write positive things for specific people (though personally, call me cynical, I always expect it. Doesn't mean it's right, but it hardly surprises me - I don't trust the newspapers anywhere near as far as I can throw them either. That's why if I want someone's opinion on a game or a political issue, I'll ask someone I trust and respect personally or at worst search some forums)
    Games should indeed involve stronger female roles and treat females as human beings instead of sex objects for horny male teenagers
    People should indeed stop threatening and harassing other people on Twitter and being as vile online as they possibly can (and it's not just misogyny - we just have this weird and horrible culture on places like Twitter and Youtube where it's "cool" to be as disgusting and subhuman as possible)
    Extremists should indeed stop giving feminism a bad name by man-hating, exaggerating Gamergate related things to push a reverse-sexist agenda etc and should be more like Emma Watson
    Gamers should indeed stop spewing sexist, misogynistic filth

    You get the idea. There are an absolute truckload of wrongs on both sides of this argument, but if you isolate and discuss one particular thing at a time (as is often easier) it is very easy to be accused of being "one of THEM" on "THAT side". There's no need for it. Both the debacle itself and all the meta debacle that comes from actually trying to discuss it all boil down to how everyone seems to have forgotten or ignored the excellent Wil Weaton's Law: Don't be a "nasty person". Most/all of this can be avoided by just not being nasty. It really shouldn't be hard, but alas, while being nasty on the internet is still "cool" amongst this many people, it is hard. So the fact that it's NOT cool is what I think bears spreading. And then when you have to call someone out for being terribly uncool, avoid being the same yourself to that person. End the cycle of horribleness.
     
  16. Britpoint

    Britpoint 私、きになります!

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    Calling it a debacle is right. It's amazing what a few false allegations into an indie developer's private life plus a couple of poorly judged opinion pieces from writers like Leigh Alexander has spiralled into.

    Nobody gave a damn about journalistic ethics when this all kicked off. Even when it was just about Zoe Quinn allegedly getting favourable press for Depression Quest by sleeping with a Kotaku writer, the "investigation" (and I use that term in as scathingly an ironic way as I can) was into Quinn - the developer's - behaviour, not the journalist's. The guy in question mentioned on Twitter the other day that it's funny how he, supposedly the big bad in this situation, hasn't received any notable threats, while Quinn, Sarkeesian and multiple other women were driven from their homes.

    But yeah, I totally buy that this has been about journalistic ethics from the start.

    And there has been such sporadic, flimsy evidence that there is even any kind of problem with ethics in game journalism. Don't get me wrong, there are some issues, but that's all they are. There are some devs who happen to be friends with journalists, sometimes disclosure of promotions isn't as clear as it should be, that sort of thing. But we can't discuss the actual problems, such as they are, because any legitimate discussion is hidden behind this 'movement' which is making everybody look silly.

    And as for the "Not all Gamergaters are harassing women", no - of course not. But there are plenty who are, and if you're going to associate yourself with a hashtag then you also associate yourself with everyone who uses that hashtag. That's the trouble with these poorly defined internet 'movements,' - anyone can use them for any purpose. How do you find out what the "true" message of #GamerGate is beneath all that nonsense?
     
  17. XBPonyA

    XBPonyA Pegulsus is best boyfriend <3

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    Gamers just want to sit at home and game they are not sitting in a big chair, stroking a cat and laughing maniacally..
     
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  18. Redback Sigil

    Redback Sigil Resident brony sage, writer and on/off artist

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    Exactly. I play videogames, but the closest thing to following Gamer Culture I do is watching Zero Punctuation and Angry Joe videos. I just don't care about gamer culture. Not to say these sorts of issues don't need to be talked about, but they need to be talked about by people from an unbiased perspective. Not from peope trying to defend or demonise games.

    But from what I've seen, this whole Gamergate thing really is a clusterbuck. Woman produces series about how videogames and gamer culture are sexist and demeaning towards women, so how does gamer culture respond? By being even more sexist and demeaning towards specific women.



     
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  19. Symphonic

    Symphonic Metal Gear Rising: Rederpance

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    Gamergate itself is nothing more than a train-wreck of hate mongering and insanity and not worth talking about. The issues that are on the peripheral of it – games journalism ethics and the portrayal of women in video games – are in fact important, but there's likely only a small subset of people who are informed enough to actually talk properly about it.

    In this case ignoring anything GG related is actually the correct call because the sooner it goes the way of the dodo the better.

    If you wanted to get meta (and cynical) you could also use it as a case-study in mass manipulation.
     
  20. Britpoint

    Britpoint 私、きになります!

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    Ugh, I used to respect that Thunderf00t guy quite a lot. He'd do science videos and stuff about silly creationist logic. It was educational and interesting. Then he started attacking Anita while she was getting death threats (as in the renewed, ultra-vitriolic stuff not just the regular death threats) and began accusing her of making them up for self-promotion, and I just couldn't stand it any more.

    So yeah. Maybe that is a good video, but I'll never know as I won't watch any of his stuff again.
     

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