I’ve been mostly silent on the subject of GamerGate for some time now, mostly because I don’t like to jump hastily to a stance or a point without absorbing information. A *lot* of information. So today, I’m ready to make my stance official on GamerGate.
I just don’t give a shit.I suppose that deserves some clarification, and I’ll absolutely provide it, but first let me give anyone who might be reading this a bit of background.
GamerGate was a movement that came to be when a jilted boyfriend (in some eyes, rightfully so) exposed supposed ethical dishonesty surrounding his ex, Zoe Quinn, and her relationships within the gaming industry that many ultimately felt could have positively benefited her game Depression Quest.
Since then, the movement has blossomed to take a stance for ethics in games journalism. Unfortunately, the movement has been polluted by individuals and groups who would rather use the GamerGate hashtag for harassment or their own selfish means.
Now, the reason I don’t give a shit about GamerGate, is because this is not a special or unusual case. Literally every movement, no matter how positive in it’s time, will have some level of infestation that causes it to become toxic. Now, some may argue that GamerGate is deeply infected, and anyone who genuinely feels strongly against ethics in journalism should embrace a new hashtag, but the fact is – it happens all the time.
Here’s a small example. I think feminism is a very strong, positive movement. It calls for equal treatment for all genders by helping to dissolve a lot of misconceptions and behaviors either directed at women and even directed at men. It is, at its core, a positive movement. But what do you do with extreme individuals who hijack the cause, calling for all men to die, claiming that men are scum, and turning into a “women’s power” movement instead of what it originally was?
That’s a case of a good cause being corrupted. Perhaps feminism hasn’t been as corrupted as GamerGate, but it certainly has a very negative reputation.
But I still don’t give a shit about GamerGate. Nor do I give a shit about anti-GamerGate stances, either. Want to know why? Because it’s a cycle that will never, ever, ever, ever end.
Let’s say that the individuals currently in GamerGate who hate what the movement has become decide to embrace a new movement to focus on what they truly care about – ethics in journalism. Lets say they call it “GamerPower”. How long do you think it would take for the usual crop of scum, asshole, and nutjob to pollute THAT movement too?
It never ends. Every movement nets its extremists, and even if GamerGate were gone tomorrow, everything would live on. People would still get harassed, doxxed, swatted, and insulted. It will NEVER end.
So, what can we take away from this? Well, ethics in journalism is a good thing. There is legitimate cause for a stance against unethical behavior in gaming journalism, among EVERY other type of journalism. Are there assholes and dipshits on BOTH sides of the arguement? Abso-fuckin-lutely.
For every case of harassment and bad behavior on one side, there’s an equal and opposite case on the other. Heck, just recently, Totalbiscuit – a known pro-GG individual – was attacked for… retweeting a charity gaming stream. Wait, what?
Yeah, that’s right. Totalbiscuit, a partner with the Ablegamers Foundation, retweeted a streamer who was hosting a charity stream. Almost immediately thereafter, the streamer threw a hissy fit on Twitter, because he immediately felt that TB’s actions would cause a huge influx of pro-GamerGate individuals that would, in his words, “fuck up this whole thing.”
Now, keep in mind, NOTHING HAD HAPPENED YET. All TB had done was promote a charity stream to his 391,000 Twitter followers, and the streamer lost his damn mind. Now after that, TB got into a bit of a dumbfounded dispute as he wondered – rightfully so – how anyone could get outraged that publicizing a charity stream would be such an outrageous act. And from there, he was harassed relentlessly.
I don’t know if the stream suffered because of these actions. I don’t know if the usual extremists hiding in the GamerGate hashtag decided to cause trouble, but this was a stupid move that could have been oh so easily ignored if said streamer had just… ignored the RT to begin with.
Drama out of nothing. That’s what a lot of this seems to be. There’s disgusting and selfish and stupid behavior on both sides of this argument, and lets just say that I’m really glad I don’t work in the gaming industry.