I argued why over at Polygon.
This is my favourite gaming website, so it means a great deal to me. However, I doubt anyone will understand it unless they’ve played a recent Call of Duty.
Anyway, I want to sit here and be proud and pretend I did something for once in my life.
But more importantly, go have a look at some of the brilliant responses from others – and please contribute your own. It’s hilarious and cuts to the heart of the stupidity of #Gamergate. The power of satire can always be useful.
UPDATE: Caitlin White has a succinct yet remarkably accurate write up of its history in Bustle. Great piece.
UPDATE 2: There’s a write up at Salon that’s excellent.
UPDATE 3: I also tried to respond to some #Gamergaters on reddit. I got some reddit Gold for trying, so there’s that.
Brianna Wu faces a lot of scorn and abuse right now from Gamergate. And also this.
Gamergate, realising Brianna Wu makes games, now claiming she's not a "REAL" dev. pic.twitter.com/bD6KWimnZ4
— Tauriq Moosa (@tauriqmoosa) November 3, 2014
Wu has faced and is facing harassment, was chased out her home and continues to fight against abuse – despite good reasons not to. So while facing a horde of misogynists and other horrible people, now is certainly a good time to take your big boy pants to her work! Totally!
@tauriqmoosa I don't care about her personal life, but professionally, she is making us look bad.
— Alexander (@Bane_Alex_Uk) November 3, 2014
Aside from the fact that saying a person who develops isn’t a “real” developer – which No True Scotsman cuts across like a train – it’s just… pointless.
It’s just unnecessary.
I have numerous problems with Sarkeesian’s work, not least her views on sex work. But the world isn’t coming to an end because my opinions haven’t been voiced. I don’t see why it’s necessary right now to do so. I also have other concerns.
But mainly: Sarkeesian, Wu, etc., are facing a mob of hostility from the internet and adding to that – no matter how well intentioned – is a jerk move.
Instead of using my limited time and resources to target Wu or Sarkeesian, I use it against the mob hating them.
If I can focus my criticism and use my finite time and finite energy to respond to an online mob attacking racists, I’d think gamers could do something similar for game devs and critics they don’t like. Oh, so you think Brianna Wu is a crap or fake game dev: yes, now is the perfect time to Tweet about that and make that your response (consistently in his interaction with me). And way to dismiss concerns of her safety as that being her “personal life”.
Sorry but I defended people who might hate me for my skin colour. What is so important about vidya games that it needs brave defenders targeting harmless women who everyone knows is being harassed and targeted? You have the freedom to criticise them, just as I have the freedom to tell you that’s pretty vile.
I don’t know but it seems to me more moral – ITS ABOUT ETHICS, AFTER ALL! – to use your finite energy where it’s most needed, instead of being another person trying to score points against a harmless woman on the internet.
So I’ve done a fair amount of work in ethics. I studied it as an M.Phil at a centre for Applied Ethics; I wrote on it for Big Think, write on it for Daily Beast, the Guardian and elsewhere. I teach it at a local university, to first-years, medical students and, once, even accountants. I’ve reviewed papers for major bioethics journals. I’m not an expert in it: but I can safely say I’ve “done” ethics more than most people.
And this is one reason (of many!) why I find Gamergate, this supposed movement concerned with “journalism ethics”, so insulting, so demeaning, and so contrary to ethics. I care a great deal about media ethics – particularly gaming media, as someone who also writes in that sphere – so I would love for more people to care.
Gamergate, however, makes my job a thousand times harder.
It’s clear from my hundreds of interactions with Gamergaters that, for a movement that is ostensibly about “ethics”, it sure has a lot of people that have no idea what that even means. I want to outline some various problems Gamergate has with ethics, aside from continuing to exist in the face of creating toxicity and harassment. [Read more…]
I seriously don’t understand this one narrative thread in Gamergate about how it’s giving “voice to the voiceless”.
This is the Internet. Make a blog. Pitch articles. By definition, you have a voice.
But let’s look at this idea of clutching the megaphone of Gamergate.
There’s no denying they are being heard: almost every major media outlet has covered it, from the New York Times to the Boston Globe to the Guardian. None of it favourably, all of it looking at the toxicity and abuse that is its outer, wider, flailing parts. [Read more…]
So Boston Globe‘s Jesse Singal had a write-up about Gamergate. It’s a short account, but one that he obviously researched and is a good overview for those wanting to know WTF is happening who don’t care about games. (I mean, if you want meat and fat and all sorts of details, read Kyle Wagner’s epic piece at Deadspin.)
Anyway, someone in proGamergate reddit was not pleased, labelling their link as “Another poorly-researched hit-piece, from the Boston Globe”.
Singal, praise Cthulu, decided to comment on reddit itself and it’s incredible to behold.
Me: I don’t think this is really about corruption as much as it’s about discomfort with feminism. After all, a lot of the heat seems to be aimed at small female devs/commentators of a feminist bent.
GamerGaters on Twitter: Not true! So unfair! Go to KIA!
[Goes to KIA. Suspicions appear to be mostly confirmed.]
As someone who cares about ethics in media, I’m still waiting for what exactly Gamergate wants. So far, I’ve seen childish nonsense or completely debunked assertions. [Read more…]
A harmless woman became the target of bullies online. It must be a day ending in “y”. Except of course she was involved in games and the harassers were proud supporters of Gamergate.
After bullying her, they then claimed to be victims themselves – of trying to curb bullying. See, after harassing someone, they then try say “Hey, this person feels harassed!”. I wonder why?
Then the gaters wonder why we don’t trust them when they claim to be “helping”. No doubt some are. But again: it depends on who, at that second, is using the hashtag.
You want some two-faced morality? Here you.
Chloe Sagal is in a bad space. Gamergate is doing well in its two-faced response. pic.twitter.com/NULndv85Ab
— Tauriq Moosa (@tauriqmoosa) October 19, 2014
Oh, bullying a person who is considering suicide? Please tell me more about ethics…
But if you wanted some more awfulness from Gamergate, look no further than another of its spokespeople, Mike Cernovich. (HT @stillgray)
(If unable to view Storify, find original link here)
I wrote this as a comment on gaming site I write for – on Anita Sarkeesian and the topic of disagreement in game culture. Thought I’d post it here so I could curate proper discussion, because this is an issue I’m grappling with as a game and culture “critic” – and as a person trying to be decent. [sic] all around.
I’m not a fan of her work, but don’t see why a woman facing death, rape and bomb threats, who is at least bringing conversation, requires me to do in-depth criticism, 300 youtubes of how she’s wrong about Hitman, etc.
Frankly, I’d rather defend her right to be part of the culture and focus on her and others’ safety, than how they don’t get my favourite game is actually super important and the best thing ever. Games matter less than people’s safety.
Second there are plenty of people who deserve more attention for how wrong they are about games, such as those who say it “causes” violence, journalists who flout their swag, show off and show little engagement with material of games, developers who screw their audience, Kickstarter failures, etc. All these are actually detrimental. One person’s YouTube criticism is not.
I’m actually not interested in people’s criticisms of her work. First, because I have my own; second, who needs to hear it right now? Will the industry die because your voice wasn’t heart against Sarkeesian?
Imagine meeting an astrologer who’s got death threats and demanding he pay you attention, from a screaming mob, so that you can deliver criticism of his pseudoscience. I don’t care that you’re right about astrology; I care that you’re using time and energy to criticise him when you could be using it to defend him against bullies threatening him.
I also want to add: If we want to develop a culture that handles criticism properly, we need to care about people first. For example, those wanting “social issues” removed from game reviews are wanting solidification of the current state; the state that allows so many people to reach this level of anger at harmless women. Games can’t be removed from social dynamics anymore than cars or paintings can be. How you examine such items devoid of the contexts and identities that gave rise to such things in the first place is beyond me – except that you’d be delivering the most neutral, bland inhuman aspects of it. Imagine describing the Mona Lisa by listing the colours and direction of brushstrokes – that’s what it sounds like to me when you plead for objectivity. (No I don’t think every game write-up should analyise the race/sex aspects and what the second tree really means; but I do think such things can be written and should be done without cries of it being not part of gaming – or that it’s “ruining” games.)
You want to criticise Sarkeesian – Great. Work on creating a culture where doing so is done maturely, civilly and with sensitivity to the other person as the default. By pushing through with your criticism, you’re making it clear you don’t care about the current context a harmless person is facing for merely trying to make games better. Whether she’s right is debatable; whether she – and others – should have her life and safety threatened is not. Right now, I know what my priority is in this particular instance.
Maybe one day we can debate the merits of her video – and I might actually agree with you on some points. But now is not that time and, as indicated, there are other targets more worth your criticism. Otherwise you just become part of the climate that is already a room of knives.
After dealing with trolls for an entire day – thanks to a certain prominent atheist with a million followers Retweeted me on Anita Sarkeesian – I had my article on the same issue go live. I looked at what happened when Joss Whedon and Tim Schafer endorsed Sarkeesian, what men (and non-targeted people in general) can and must do – even if misogyny and sexism appears to be a dying animal. It’s cornered beast but still has claws.