I have been quite vocal on our Twitter about the controversy for the past year. For those unfamiliar with what exactly Gamergate is, here are 3 videos to use for primers. If you have about 30 minutes to spare, I highly recommend watching these and just getting familiar with the consumer revolt. It’s been quite the interesting ride.
UPDATE : Since this article has been published in August, as of Oct 25th 2015 WTF Magazine has received a verification checkmark marking them as a legit force to be reckoned with in media. Stay tuned folks
I have observed this movement morph into quite the monster. You talk to people online about it or even mention it on Twitter or Facebook, depending on what you prefer, you can be assured to be met with a gambit of replies ranging from ‘It’s about ethics in games journalism’ to ‘it’s about purging political correctness from gaming’ to ‘it’s about harassing women out of gaming’ and ‘it’s about misogyny, racism, terrorism, etc etc.’ The replies that one receives can be overwhelming for people that aren’t used to the internet and how some conversations happen online.
Gamergate itself is a prime example of how ‘not’ to respond to inquiries to allegations of certain influential people in mass media and games media of having certain unethical transgressions. The online discourse over this controversy has led to so much pain for so many people on both sides of the discussion that it’s a lot to take. I don’t condone harassment of anyone in the form of releasing personal information. I however do not care if you get ”offended” on the internet by people who you don’t agree with and silencing those people that you disagree with by using your influence in media is one of the main reasons why I’ve stuck around in this revolt long as I have
This past year has been marvelous to watch even as cringey as a lot of the exchanges I’ve seen on Twitter alone (and been involved in obviously being one of the ”bigger voices” so to speak in the revolt). Our Twitter account has become a hub of sorts out of 10s of thousands of Twitter accounts for the revolt as information goes about it. If all of this shows me anything it shows just how powerful a leaderless, grassroots collective of like minded people with differing political stances really is. It’s amazing to see how far this thing reaches worldwide due to so many non-American participants in the discussion alone. Being vocal in the discussion has made our Twitter presence explode where we have monstrous reach on Twitter alone just on the solo account. All this is from being network in with Gamergate people. It’s mind blowing how far the social reach the tag has from a purely SEO standpoint. The message is being heard loud and clear and I thank all the people that support the consumer revolt for blowing up our brand and helping get us out in the lexicon. I love you guys n gals.
Moving on, gamergate supporters’ biggest pet peeve I’ve noticed is how the MSM has tried time and time again to paint the people using a hashtag as all white, virgin, basement dwelling misogynists when I see and still see many minorites, women, marginalized voices, etc. voicing their opinions on the revolt. If anything after the dust settles with this revolt, I hope that MSM realizes that painting any controversy with a broad brush isn’t the way to report on anything let alone a huge and loosely collective group of people using a hashtag on the internet to discuss issues in games press and beyond.
Now to quickly address Gamergate criticisms. The revolt is made up of very different people with differing opinions on basically everything and there will indeed be discontent whenever opposing personalities clash with one another. It’s human nature. Yes, there are some awful people that support the movement but the good people outweigh the bad by far and it’s not fair to dismiss opinions based on personal bias and a crafted political narrative that has been prevalent for the past year.
Whenever a huge group of people discuss a controversial topic, there will be issues like this. It doesn’t make every single person that has used the Gamergate hashtag on articles, Facebook, or Twitter etc. etc. a bad person. It doesn’t matter which ‘side’ of the discussion they fall on. People are entitled to have their opinions no matter how offensive it is to anyone. I’ll vehemently defend the people that hate me’s right to voice their opinions as much as the people that like me can. I’ve had my fair share of spats with people I loathe online but again, taking their voices away is just as bad as taking supporters of the revolt’s voices away. My opinion of things have moved on from a ‘scorched earth’ approach to fixing games journalism / media as a whole to more of an amicable approach due to realizing that I can’t control people or how they think or feel. It’s an eventuality that one comes to from seeing the conversation morph as it has. It’s been quite amazing to see how all of this has unfolded to say the least.
Since the inception of the Gamergate tag by Adam Baldwin, the media has attempted to re-enforce negative stereotypes that I myself have fought for years to make the term ‘gamer’ not a negative connotation for the past 25+ years personally. I used to get into fights in grade school and highschool for playing Nintendo and being ‘nerdy.’ The personal offense I took by being told I’m a demon for daring to pick up a controller and play vidya lit a fire under me that has kept me going for better part of a year even though I’ve backed off a bit these past few months due to work schedules. I still try to weigh in frequently, out of habit, when I find things I find interesting and the pure networking power of Gamergate is a wonderful thing to watch.
The network of people that are intertwined now after a year aren’t going anywhere. We’ve exercised our consumer rights and consumer power and we’ve taken a stance against being told we’re horrible people while demanding to be treated better as human beings. Sure there has been a lot of hiccups and bumps in the road, but nobody is perfect. Gamergate is made up of people and people aren’t perfect. I refuse personally to buy into the ‘omg this one guy/girl with a big following is a dick so everyone following him is a dick’. I prefer to use my own personal experiences.
The biggest thing that has kept Gamergate going is quite arguably the histrionic flailing of its opposition. This comes about in the form of dramatic recountings of ‘literally shaking over gamergate’ type scenarios that have consistently whipped up such a fever pitch of hysteria when it first broke and still today has spurts of it. Some of these scenarios are hilarious to how Gamergate got linked to a dog dying to how Gamergate was responsible for a drive by shooting and onto more cringeworthy events of Gamergate being linked to multiple tragedies for the past year unfairly.
Game media has the opportunity to end all of this. They have from the start by just engaging in the ethical concerns and not hyperfocusing on the harassment narrative. I do however understand that the revenue from putting out those 12 articles on Aug 28th, 2014 must have been nice but the downside of those articles outweigh the good. Gawker sure has felt the wrath of a constant chipping on their armor like thousands of woodpeckers sending emails to advertisers. It’s been quite the show indeed.
So, in closing, I just wanna say, here’s to a year of smears. We’ve essentially weathered a multi-billion dollar media blitz in the likes of numerous tv appearances of supposed ”victims of Gamergate” to countless articles that ended up spawning the most cringeworthy episode of Law and Order SVU to date. The hysteria around the discussion has reached such a fever pitch at any given moment that it’s been damn near impossible to keep up with it and I’ve been talking about it for a year and I STILL barely have any idea what’s going on sometimes.
I just hope that after all is said and done, that we can finally be left alone to play games without having to worry about the perpetually offendotrons trying to invade our hobby and dictate what is right and wrong to us without even taking the time to get to know us. That’s all I ask but asking for that seems to be like asking for a miracle these days.
Here’s to you everyone from one lowly asshole on the internet amongst 100s of thousands in this discussion. One year of madness….Whew.
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