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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Gamergate; a perspective

Gamergate is the controversy.
#GamerGate is the hashtag discussing it.

However, gamergate has become a rallying cry for a group of people.
It has become the label of those speaking out about the controversy on the hashtag, and I think this is okay.

We might not be a movement in the traditional sense, but we do share a common cause, and that it enough.

GamerGate is at once very specific and horribly ambiguous;

  • It really is about Ethics in Games Journalism. No really.
This became something of a meme to insult people.
The response from critics of the hashtag is to link something completely unrelated and suggest "it's about ethics in games journalism"
This has been pushed so universally that people do not fact check.
When a claim is made that "a gator" has done something wrong, it is immediately used to attack the very concept of ethics. The "gator" in question is always an anonymous troll.

#GamerGate is now represented by hundreds of people willingly sharing their identity, meeting in public, attending events and publishing their opinions openly.
These people are demonstrably innocent of all claims of harassment. The nearest to malfeasance that can be correctly claimed is that some individuals take a joke too far or are perhaps a little obsessive in their pursuit of the truth or sharing their opinions.
That is an excess of passion, not proof of evil.
  • What the media says is not valid proof that they do no wrong.
This is a big one.
Too often I see claims that a journalist or publication supporting something means it must be true.
Guess what, these are people. People not only have personal bias, but many have an agenda.
This is not about tinfoil conspiracies, it's about the cold reality of humans.
Do people like to help their friends?
Do people like to protect their friends?
Do friends sometimes ask for favours?
What I am saying is that people that have openly declared their friendship and admiration for an individual can not then claim that helping them is a fanciful conspiracy, and that any help rendered is purely coincidence.

Do people believe in things?
Do people practice their beliefs?
Do beliefs influence actions?
Does a moral code dictate your moral decisions?
Many argue that the feminist friendly media that has lots of active feminists is somehow ENTIRELY impartial on feminism, and that any support for individual feminists is entirely incidental and personal choice.
Is that really believable?
If so, it makes them truly horrible people.
If the feminists at Digra or various publications are not advocating for what they believe is a worthy cause (feminism) then they may be the definition of evil.
It's no more a conspiracy than saying a Republican politician supports conservative causes, or a Democrat supports liberal causes. It might be a generalisation, it might not always apply, but it's hardly a great leap.
  • The fight against Tumblr is real, but it's mostly incidental.
The ethics violations are mostly conducted by the social justice crowd.
Largely this is due to a sense of righteousness. Their cause it good, so they can break a few rules.
The opposition to SJW and Tumblrinas is incidental to the cause of ethics.
Simply put, the worst offenders are often those that declare their own moral purity, and making fun of them is extremely easy.
  • This fight is beyond gaming. 
The Rolling Stone UVA story and surrounding apologetics proves this breed of unethical puritan is not limited to gaming media.
Sadly, instead of condemning false allegations and lacklustre reporting, too many "moderates" "liberals" and "progressives" excused the whole thing as "for a good cause"
That is utterly unacceptable.
It is not social justice, it is not liberal, it is COUNTER to justice.
It's horribly misguided apologetics. Good intentions are irrelevant when you support ruining the lives of the innocent and can never seem to find REAL cases to support the problems that are apparently an epidemic.
  • Nobody is denying the claims made on the hashtag about needing reform.
At no point has anyone been able to say there was no ethical misconduct.
At no point has anyone proferred an argument that nothing needs to change.
The biggest opponents of #GamerGate have adopted new ethics policies, apologies have repeatedly had to be issued for violations and the only rebuttal to anything discussed on the hashtag is "but misogyny"

There are not "two sides" to the gamergate discussion.
There is not "team ethics" and "team feminism" or "team end misogyny"
On one side there is a discussion about ethics, which features those promoting ethical journalism and those supporting open corruption.
On the other side is a group of people desperate to derail the discussion so nothing is done.

To draw an analogy, this is like saying that Gay Marriage is an issue with two conversations; One about Gay Marriage, and the other about how the bible says homosexuality is a sin and gay people are going to hell.
You see, the second "group" here has no interest in discussing gay marriage, only in pushing their religion and disrupting the conversation so nothing can be accomplished.

The fact remains that there is zero evidence that gaming is any more "misogynist" than anything else, and plenty to support the idea that nerds as a whole are far LESS sexist than the population at large.
The biggest target of mocking from the hashtag is not and has never been a woman, while many of the most popular users of the hashtag are women themselves.

To end, I'll suggest that everybody think carefully about who gains from the status quo of the last several years, and what is lost from adopting ethical policies.
That should tell you all you need to know about which "side" of the issue is honest and deserves support.