Bonus post : I can’t believe this conversation is necessary

Taking off my librarian hat for a moment to address this.

After spending a couple of days away from the whole #gamergate thing, I come back to find that the whole situation has somehow gotten worse.

 

This is a serious issue, and it’s escalated to the point where I feel obligated to speak out about it, partially because this new development hits on multiple levels.

For those of you not familiar with #gamergate, you are the lucky ones.

The event that has me so upset is this:

Anita Sarkeesian cancelled a speaking engagement after repeated threats of violence, including bomb threats, some of which were explicitly made by #gamergate supporters. Sarkeesian gets these kinds of threats every time she makes a public appearance.

#Gamergate, the “grassroots movement to fight unethical behavior in video game journalism”.

What was different at this time was that it was ILLEGAL for the university where she was supposed to speak to prevent people carrying guns from access to the event. The event on a university campus where a student threatened, in explicit terms, a mass shooting.

The #gamergate supporters are many of the same people who criticize Sarkeesian for disabling Youtube comments on her videos, claiming that she’s censoring them. Setting aside the fact that disabling comments on a Youtube video isn’t a violation of anyone’s right to free speech, getting events cancelled because of credible threats does far more to suppress free speech. And the state of Utah has decided that it is more important to protect the “right” of people to carry guns than it is to act to prevent spree killings.

Three women have now been driven from their homes because of these threats. This is not the activity of a grassroots anti-corruption movement. This is the activity of a terrorist group.

I realize that’s strong language, but I can’t see any reason for calling it anything else. #Gamergate has moved from being a misogynistic hate group to full on terrorism.

But this is just the activity of the extreme fringe! The movement as a whole is all about corruption!

No. It’s not.

Professional unpleasant person Adam Baldwin was the first person to use the #Gamergate tag. What was the context?

He was posting a Youtube video comprised almost entirely of easily disproven false allegations attacking Zoe Quinn.

The post-hoc rationalization claiming that #Gamergate was really about journalistic ethics is that the video claims that Zoe Quinn had sex with some arbitrary number of people in exchange for positive reviews of Depression Quest.

Let’s make a list of some of the problems here:

1. None of the named people ever reviewed Depression Quest

2. Even if this was true, the fault would lie entirely with the journalists who wrote those reviews. Quinn is not responsible for the moral integrity of anyone else

3. This is implied by the above, but I’m making it explicit here: Quinn’s sex life is totally irrelevent to journalism

4. Even if the complaint was true, it doesn’t justify harassment

#Gamergate was about attacking a woman for daring to be human from day one. The longer this has gone on, the worse these attacks have gotten.

We shouldn’t judge the movement as a whole based on the actions of a few people. It’s a grassroots movement without a leader so anyone can claim #Gamergate

Yes we should, precisely because anyone can claim membership

Because the movement is so diffuse, by choosing to wear the #Gamergate hat you are implicitly endorsing these people. Without any organizational structure it’s not possible for the movement to censure or disavow the extremists. The same is true of other diffuse online groups like Anonymous.

There’s nothing stopping the “true” #Gamergate-ers from starting up a new movement with a different name. A movement thatexplicitly condemns threats of violence and sexual assault. But the #Gamergate well is irrevocably poisoned, and even those “good” members who claim to be motivated by pursuit of better journalistic ethics can’t seem to stop criticizing Quinn and Sarkeesian, two women whose work is totally irrelevent to those concerns.

But the anti-GG crowd is doxxing people too!

Your point is?

Ignoring the fact that “they did it too” has never been a justification, the people who are unhappy with #Gamergate aren’t attempting to organize and coordinate their activities (by the way, secondary pressure is pretty shady). There isn’t an “#Endgamers” movement in the same way, barring some facetious trolls and articles arguing that a specific “gamer” identity is an anachronism.

I’m not criticizing #Gamergate as part of some reactionary movement. I’m criticizing #Gamergate as an individual, speaking only for myself, because I find the movement as a whole to be morally reprehensible to the extreme.

Nobody is trying to take away your video games. For a group that has aggressively argued that video games should be treated like any other art form, to respond with threats of terrorism once people start to do so goes beyond inexcusable.

 

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