Wikipedia Having Trouble Figuring out what “Reliable” Means re: #GamerGate
Remember when conservatives said political correctness is a social disease and everyone laughed? Ahh… good times, good times…
Apparently, “four people” have crammed the site’s GamerGate article full of allegations about misogyny, generally sourcing the persons making the allegations as reliable due to being “the subjects” of the article. Excuses are trotted out (hah, horsepun) for why all other PoVs are excluded, including mainstream news articles and industry veterans who are not part of the movement but speak up for it.
"Titanium Dragon", the central figure arguing against these practices, asserts he was doxxed for them. He has since been banned, not long after this statement from Ryulong:
"Stop claiming the page isn’t neutral. You just keep repeating the same fucking arguments… This is all there is in the media to discuss the subject… You need to be banned from this article, as does Torga, PsuedoSomething, Honestyislebestpolicy, and IAmJohnny5 or whatever."
This is Cherry Pie, your roving sniperpony reporter, wondering just what universe he landed in… and how to get back to the nice, sensible Moohave wastelands of New Pegas.
Silverstring Media Endorses Misandrist, “Open Letter” Appears to Mirror Game-Journalism Moves
"i’m a misandrist. that means i hate men."
It goes downhill from there, in an article published by Polygon in July, just two months ago. Polygon is one of the companies that, earlier this month, was part of the “Gamers are Dead” media mini-blitz.
If you notice on the left there, just to class it up a bit she called a fundraiser to get more women into game publishing "fucking blood money". It is worth noting that a previous piece by Allen, published last year, is almost note-for-note the tack game journalism sites have taken since the scandals which triggered GamerGate began.
One part in particular calls for unabashed censorship:
"You will anger readers by taking a stand. Some of them will leave… Do it. Piss them off. Take the risk."
"Make a decision now that they are not worth your time and that the ad revenue they provide is not worth the toxic atmosphere they bring to your sites. They’re not worth continuing to bear the reputation of being an unsafe place for people who are not straight men…”
”Let them practice their “free speech” somewhere else. They can start their own blogs or they can go find a website that still condones their behavior. Your websites are not public parks. You have no obligation to let people say whatever they want on your sites…”
"This will mean shedding some readers, burning some bridges, and suffering harassment. But you need to take that risk."
The article ends thusly:
"Try to remember, though, that it’s exciting to head off in bold new directions and try to think about how excited we would be to see you do just that. You can help. Take the risk.”
It seems that the big heavyweights in gaming journalism, as did those at Jonestown, “took the risk”. Ms. Allen’s work is endorsed by Silverstring Media:
Silverstring Media Targets #GamerGate for Twitter Infograb
Original leaker fired within 24 hours of release as result of doxxing attack.
Silverstring confirmed as employing/owned by persons with long histories of publishing hate-speech directed at “gaming culture”, routinely involving extreme stereotypes. Same persons have also had numerous articles to the same effect published in gaming journals, originating the anti-gamer “narrative” long before #GamerGate crisis.
FROM THE TRENCHES: #GamerGate
TL;DR: What was a skirmish is now a legitimate war, folks, I’m reporting from the middle of it as objectively as I can, and if you’re a gamer, you may well find yourself affected by the outcome even if you never heard of any of these people…
Not that I weep a great deal at the potential loss of one of furry fandom’s oldest (self-appointed) mortal enemies, but news is making the rounds that Moot —- 4chan’s founder —- is breaking the site down as a direct result of the ongoing #GamerGate crisis.
Channers themselves are claiming they were had by a setup in which /b/ was baited into a vicious raid on Tumblr, resulting in (by their own estimates) 1-3 suicides. A further alleged suicide attempt was by the niece of Gawker’s CEO. In conjunction with Gawker, numerous feminist groups rallied against 4chan.
While most of this is the stuff of rumors to me, one isn’t: Moot photographed himself at a feminism rally where “gamer culture” was targeted for extreme hate speech and stereotyping.
Subsequent to that, a scandal involving a feminist game developer sleeping with a news reporter from Kotaku erupted into a savage back-and-forth exchange where the usual sorts of unacceptable threats were made. This time, however, most of the gaming industry’s biggest news organs took a side: attacking “gamer culture” in the same angry, stereotypical terms heard previously at the rally Moot had attended. It is of interest to note that Gawker is Kotaku’s parent company.
After the Kotaku sleeparound scandal broke, one of its senior staffers held up as a point of pride that Kotaku does not ask for disclosure from its employees when they have affairs with parties of interest —- a basic industry safeguard against quid pro quo situations and nepotism. It also serves to avoid situations where appearances can be damaging to the company’s credibility… but Kotaku declared their only concern was that quid pro quo did not actually happen.
Common gamers, angry at being lumped in with the worst dregs and blanket-accused of misogyny in general, rallied to create the group now known as GamerGate —- a term coined by actor Adam Baldwin, likening the growing scandal to Watergate.
While that sort of hyperbole is common to political commentary in the US, things have not blown over since —- they have worsened, deeply so, and across a broad spectrum of otherwise-loosely-related fandoms/industries.
When Moot returned from a trip, he ordered all GamerGate-related threads killed. Furries may recall that they themselves are the only other group hit by Moot, on 4chan, with a permanent sitewide ban after a series of mutual raids in 2006 led to lawsuit threats for illegal use of furry artists’ copyrighted work.
Since then, 4chan and 8chan members have been in open revolt. Entire boards appear to be dissolving or shutting down. Claims have been made that Moot swapped out most if not all of his mods very recently, to be replaced by feminists affiliated with the same organization.
That organization, Silverstring, has recently been discovered entering into talks with a datamining company to sift #GamerGate accounts for “positive” data… whatever that is.
Meanwhile, Breitbart London (of all outlets) managed to get tranches of emails out of a private mailing list called “GameJournoPros” —- whose founder, Kyle Orland (senior editor at Ars Technica) stated he was inspired by and modeled the list after…
…wait for it…
If you need a few minutes to go read that, flip the hell out, and come back, feel free.
Similar to what happened with JournoList, GameJournoPros developed a comfortably incestuous relationship between nominal competitors in the press, with the result that they began coordinating what stories to cover and how. This was the source of the attack articles on “gamer culture”, justified by allegations of “widespread misogyny” that “must be expunged”.
Straight from nominally-independent reporters to a phalanx of angry, press-empowered activists.
Orland himself wrote: “I don’t want to in essence reward the jerks doing this by giving their ‘issue’ any attention at all … I’m not even going to give the bullshit ‘journalism ethics’ excuse for these attacks the time of day.” Indeed, he doubled down with a declaration of giving the woman in the affair preferred coverage for her just-released indie game. “Maybe we should just use this as an excuse to give more attention to her work… I know I’ve been meaning to review Depression Quest since its Steam release.”
All of the involved news groups then banned commentary on the subject on their own sites. A reactive boycott, widespread due to the number of ban-happy sites, has been firming up for weeks, with the result that visitor count to most of the sites has plummeted. Nonetheless, they have once again doubled down, effectively driving gamers concerned about the issue to the only gaming site which will still allow forum use: The Escapist, home of such Internet lights as Yahtzee (Zero Punctuation).
Polygon editor Ben Kuchera then went after The Escapist, demanding the threads be shut down on grounds of “harassment of a developer” (the same developer, in fact, which had slept with the Kotaku reporter). The Escapist refused. The main GamerGate thread there is now over 280 pages long due to a lack of other outlets.
While this has been going on, the GamerGate entry at Wikipedia has been taken over by moderators who insist the entire movement is about misogyny. By this time, articles from reputable sources such as Forbes had come out, citing a lack of evidence for the allegations, but the moderators responded that “no reliable articles exist”. “Reliable sources focus on the misogyny and harassment primarily, and whatever message there may be about ethics as a footnote,” said Ryūlóng. The article summarizes GamerGate as having “poisoned the well”. Meanwhile, tracing back the sources which Wikipedia will accept all devolve to feminist groups with long-standing positions that misogyny is endemic to gamer culture.
The approved article goes so far as to misquote the Forbes article, claiming that it confirmed an anti-feminism bias in the movement… it did not, instead asserting a similar bias on the part of the Breitbart reporter who originally broke the story. To the contrary, Forbes excoriates the Social Justice Warrior movement —- the part of this fracas which agrees with, and engages in themselves, attacks on gamers as a whole.
Bans were enacted against editors who insisted that the site’s standards for sourcing be adhered to, such as Titanium Dragon. All editing for the page has now been locked out until September 2015, “to promote compliance with the policy on biographies of living people”. Given that GamerGate is not a person, it is not known whose biography is supposed to be under protection.
One of the most tragic casualties so far has been Twitter member Polar Roller, a black games developer who created the instantly-popular #notyourshield hashtag to refuse use of his minority status as a means to attack GamerGate… of which he was a member, and which the movement’s opposition continued to claim was strictly composed of “white privileged misogynist males”. Polar Roller’s personal information was dug up, complaints were levied with his employer alleging foul things, and he lost his job as a result. His Twitter page shows comments from people claiming he is a white male masquerading as a black man.
Most of this has happened in the last few days.
Most recently, another email leak prompted a scathing article from One Angry Gamer: “In fact, e-mails already confirm that they had discussed what they would and would not print, including Polygon writer Ben Kuchera attempting to coerce The Escapist editor-in-chief Greg Tito in shutting down and censoring a forum.” The Ars Technica article attacking gamers, as one example, went through numerous edits after it had been published due to incorrect or simply unsupportable allegations.
And finally, the mass release of celebrity porn to the Internet in recent months turned out NOT to have been orchestrated by 4chan, despite the use of its logo on the page. Apache Server data showed the site “emmayouarenext.com” (which targeted the actress who played Hermione in “Harry Potter”) belonged to Rantic PR. Rantic’s actual employer is unknown at this time. The site now sports a distinctly anti-4chan logo.
Ladies and gentlemen… there is a war on out there, and there is a big push from major players underway. If things go like they seem they will, Internet culture as a whole will absolutely change —- I would like to say for the better, but given the rhetoric I myself have seen from the very people Wikipedia cites as good authorities on GamerGate, I can’t. Just one example, and I’ll leave you be:
LEIGH ALEXANDER, from her original “Gamers are Over” article in Gamasutra: “You don’t want to ‘be divisive?’ Who’s being divided, except for people who are okay with an infantilized cultural desert of shitty behavior and people who aren’t? What is there to ‘debate’?… actually, those people do represent your community. That’s what your community is known for, whether you like it or not… young white dudes with disposable income… those were games’ only main cultural signposts: Have money. Have women. Get a gun and then a bigger gun. Be an outcast. Celebrate that. Defeat anyone who threatens you. You don’t need cultural references. You don’t need anything but gaming.”
She has since defended this article as being “pro-diversity”.
T-minus one hour
On a lighter note: *squee!*
OOC: Fan Politics and the Art of Not Being a Moron
Feel like losing a good five to ten Faith Points in Humanity?
Do a search, right here in Tumblr, on “Ken Penders”. Please put away all sleeping pills and sharp implements beforehand.
Yesterday, I’d never heard of the guy. If you’re not a rock-core member of Sonic the Hedgehog fandom, you probably haven’t either. Who is he? A former long-time comic creator for the Archie Comics line, licensed by Sega as support for the Saturday Morning cartoon show.
Penders’ work was so good, much of the Sonic fandom revolves around concepts, situations and characters he —- not Archie, not Sega —- came up with.
FIRST PROBLEM: Archie had never signed Penders to a work-for-hire contract. Everything original he came up with, he owned as a matter of US copyright law —- something Archie clearly had no idea about, because after they let him go, he formally filed with the US Copyright Office regarding what he legally owned.
Like most corporations would in the same situation, Archie Comics flipped the fuck out and sued.
SECOND PROBLEM: Archie forgot that when you go to court, your word isn’t good enough. If you wanna claim you signed a guy to a contract which automatically gave your company all rights to everything he created while employed, you need to actually have a contract you can show.
They didn’t. So the judge said he was going to throw out their lawsuit.
They stalled, saying they wanted to settle with Penders but that Sega was tying their hands. Judge said, I have had enough of your shit, get your act together or out you go.
So Archie and Sega settled with Penders. One of the terms included Penders getting approval authority on use of one of his characters, if either company wanted to use her in a future product.
IMPORTANT PLOT POINT: None of this prevented Archie or Sega from ever using these characters —- they just had to coordinate with the owner. At a minimum, they could have worked up a licensing agreement of some kind. Which would have been, you know, sensible.
Nope! Can’t have that!
Archie and Sega retconned all of Penders’ original material so they would never have to deal with him again. This, for all intents and purposes, destroyed the franchise as its fan base knew it.
SO WHY THE BLOODY BOLLOCKS SHOULD I CARE?
I’m writing this because I’m annoyed. If you’re not, that’s fine, don’t mind me, I’m just venting.
Not about Penders, or Archie, or Sega, though. Their problems are between them. No, I’m annoyed by the Sonic FANDOM… at least, that part of it I’ve been able to see which has any opinion whatsoever on Penders.
Because they’re being hateful, obsessive, petulant morons about it.
Do they blame Archie for retconning the property? Hell no, they know Archie doesn’t care what they think to begin with, and they want someone to hurt. Archie burned down the House of Sonic —- they piled up the rags, poured the gas, and lit the match —- because they didn’t like the idea of having to say “please and thank you” to a guy whose control over the house amounted to opening and closing a side door.
The guy who stood up for his civil rights against a multibillion-dollar corporation, one which already has a reputation in the comic industry for bilking its creative talent and then getting burned when said talent stands up for itself (see: DeCarlos), HE’S THE VILLAIN.
Get this straight, Sonicos: Pender won his court case because Archie done fucked up. Archie itself wasn’t even damaged by this, but like most corporations they never learned to share.
AND YOU’RE ENABLING THAT.
But I think the one thing that finally got me to sit down and write this? Was seeing Penders raked over the coals for shit he did when he was still working on the comic, which nobody cared about at the time. Like repurposing a famous poem about not standing up for someone else because you’re different from that person.
No one pitched a fit when it was used in a Sonic comic. Nobody railed about how it demeaned the Holocaust and showed Penders to be a closet anti-Semite. Nope, not a peep —- until someone needed to go find a reason to ramp up their hate for Penders being declared in court settlement to own the backstory for goddamned anthropomorphic echidnas.
If you really feel like your entire fandom’s been destroyed by its creative talent being recognized as the owners of what they created…
…well. I could end with some suggestion on how or why you should kill yourself, but… then I’d be you.