Gamergate: Born of Chan-Style

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Post by LadyLuck on Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:23 pm

I think Dan's point still comes back to the original topic, and does so well. Chan-style communication is fundamentally all about entertainment. It works with respect to entertainment because like Dan said, its innately low-stakes; no one ever "loses" in any meaningful way. Anything that could be construed as "losing" can be wiped away by rolling up a new (anonymous) account. So things like rape and death threats being common-place truly isn't a big deal when strictly confined to such an environment. This all comes to a broader theme of some people failing to recognize lines between fantasy (entertainment world) and reality on a subconscious/behavioral level. I'm sure almost no one out there thinks WoW exists in real life. But there are plenty of people who don't understand what attitude and mindset is ok in WoW but not IRL (and vice versa!), of all the flavors Dan outlined. And such individuals do not respond well when their environment reacts in obviously non-gamey ways (women standing up for themselves as human beings, shades of grey existing in various issues, no immediate rewards). That last one DNL's been railing against on his blog for years - how many articles have we heard about how "just because you grind 1000 approaches does not make you entitled to fuck the princess"?

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Post by reboot on Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:37 pm

LadyLuck wrote:I think Dan's point still comes back to the original topic, and does so well. Chan-style communication is fundamentally all about entertainment. It works with respect to entertainment because like Dan said, its innately low-stakes; no one ever "loses" in any meaningful way. Anything that could be construed as "losing" can be wiped away by rolling up a new (anonymous) account. So things like rape and death threats being common-place truly isn't a big deal when strictly confined to such an environment. This all comes to a broader theme of some people failing to recognize lines between fantasy (entertainment world) and reality on a subconscious/behavioral level. I'm sure almost no one out there thinks WoW exists in real life. But there are plenty of people who don't understand what attitude and mindset is ok in WoW but not IRL (and vice versa!), of all the flavors Dan outlined. And such individuals do not respond well when their environment reacts in obviously non-gamey ways (women standing up for themselves as human beings, shades of grey existing in various issues, no immediate rewards). That last one DNL's been railing against on his blog for years - how many articles have we heard about how "just because you grind 1000 approaches does not make you entitled to fuck the princess"?

These are great points. In addition, behaviors that develop in insular, largely homogenous groups often do not translate well when they spill into the outside world or into different communities with different social norms as can happen so easily with online communications/communities.

I think even the most rabid Chan person knows how to communicate IRL to a degree and probably would never threaten to rape or kill their boss, coworker, teacher, etc face to face or even over the phone, especially since there can be consequences worse than a burner account being banned. Online, though, they do not understand that they need to tailor communication to the environment once they step out of their safe space and that what works as effective communication in their sphere is not effective elsewhere. Their inability to see this is why Sarkeesian, Quinn, etc. are getting their stories told in reputable publications online and off with few to no quotes from a GamerGate supporters. They can not communicate effectively to anyone except fellow travelers.
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Post by username_6916 on Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:31 pm

Channers dislike moderation for the same reason that hackers dislike the anti-circumvention portion DMCA: It's an authoritarian affront to individual liberties. It creates 'forbidden' knowledge.

I think that this broad anti-authoritarian stance is the biggest commonality between the *chan culture and #gamergate. And quite frankly, I think that's a good thing, for much the same reasons that I think that Open Source is a good thing.




The reason that Sarkeesian, Quinn, etc. are getting their stories told and KingofPol, Xbro, Brad Wardel, Lianna K, etc. are getting their stories suppressed is a fundamental bias in the press towards their friends, co-workers, professional acquaintances and people who ideologically agree with them. No change in tactics or identity would change this.

Quite frankly, it's journalists' job to verify what people are saying about #gamergate for themselves. This is why @a_man_in_black's excuse about "They can't even spend as much time studying GG as I do." falls flat in my mind.

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Post by The Wisp on Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:56 pm

username_6916 wrote:Channers dislike moderation for the same reason that hackers dislike the anti-circumvention portion DMCA: It's an authoritarian affront to individual liberties. It creates 'forbidden' knowledge.

I think that this broad anti-authoritarian stance is the biggest commonality between the *chan culture and #gamergate. And quite frankly, I think that's a good thing, for much the same reasons that I think that Open Source is a good thing.

Threatening people is also an affront to their liberties.
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Post by username_6916 on Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:13 pm

Exactly. Hence why I see things like the IGDAs "It would be a shame if anything happened to your indy game" messages, or the "bring back bullying" comments from one of the Kotaku honches, or the "I can destroy your career" comments from Leigh Alexander, or the firing of the creator of #notyourshield from his job after he was doxxed, or how folks KingOfPol with SWATing and sent Milo that syringe in the mail as oppressive and an affront to individual liberties.

It's far less fair to group #gamergate supporters in with whomever issued that absurd terror threats against Sarkeesian than it is to group all #gamergate opponents in with all the folks that have done all the things I mentioned here. After all, the big names supporting #gamergate, such as TotalBiscuit, roundly condemn this sort of thing whereas the big names supporting games journalism largely support blacklisting and intimidation.

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Post by kath on Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:07 pm

username_6916 wrote:Channers dislike moderation for the same reason that hackers dislike the anti-circumvention portion DMCA: It's an authoritarian affront to individual liberties. It creates 'forbidden' knowledge.

But that's a very specific type of moderation that would create 'forbidden knowledge'. How does 'if you behave like a jerk, you will be called on it, and there's no reason for people to tolerate that' create 'forbidden knowledge'?

username_6916 wrote:
The reason that Sarkeesian, Quinn, etc. are getting their stories told and KingofPol, Xbro, Brad Wardel, Lianna K, etc. are getting their stories suppressed is a fundamental bias in the press towards their friends, co-workers, professional acquaintances and people who ideologically agree with them. No change in tactics or identity would change this.

What is your evidence for this? What is the reason that we should take your read of this, rather than use our own critical faculties to make our decision? You haven't provided your reasoning, just your pronouncement.

username_6916 wrote:
It's far less fair to group #gamergate supporters in with whomever issued that absurd terror threats against Sarkeesian than it is to group all #gamergate opponents in with all the folks that have done all the things I mentioned here. After all, the big names supporting #gamergate, such as TotalBiscuit, roundly condemn this sort of thing whereas the big names supporting games journalism largely support blacklisting and intimidation.

No, it isn't. Because you can identify the people involved in the opposing position, and you can tell whether one individual is behaving ethically or not. In GG, the point of the way it's set up is to avoid being ale to identify individual players. There are certainly situations in which might need to do that to forward a good cause and protect the safety of the activists, though that would certainly be an ethically dangerous position to be in, because it removes accountability. The nonsensical "ethics in games journalism" "motivation" for gamer gate, which has been broken down in detail, isn't a good cause. Neither is "there are too many people who aren't like me making games" or "people are making games I don't like". Since there are no individuals, gamergate and its supporters are understood as the sum of the things done in its name. If there are no individuals, it doesn't make a lot of sense to try and distance yourself from it (and also, you always have deniability).

Additionally, I don't think people are lumping them together in that they thing everyone who is pro-gamergate is doing those things. But given that the "ethics in journalism" argument is spurious, there's no real "point" there that makes sense. So therefore, everyone who is supporting it is evidently supporting the "women shouldn't make games", anti-diversity thrust of it (this, again, has been detailed earlier in the thread). So of course everyone gets painted with that part of the brush. And that's already enough of an issue.

username_6916 wrote:Exactly. Hence why I see things like the IGDAs "It would be a shame if anything happened to your indy game" messages, or the "bring back bullying" comments from one of the Kotaku honches, or the "I can destroy your career" comments from Leigh Alexander, or the firing of the creator of #notyourshield from his job after he was doxxed, or how folks KingOfPol with SWATing and sent Milo that syringe in the mail as oppressive and an affront to individual liberties.

Could you post links to these conversations please? Because there's both awful things here ("bullying is OK") and holding people accountable for bad behavior. If someone is setting their industry back because they don't think diverse people should be represented, and telling other people that, makes those other people not want to work with them .... I don't think that's a problem, because the behavior is relevant to their work (especially if it's "this person thinks it's OK to threaten people online" - if you're doing that, it's a good reason for no one else to want to deal with you ever), and it's not unfair for people to hold you accountable for it.

But, I don't know the specific instances, so if you could post links to the events you're talking about, that would be awesome.
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Post by Enail on Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:36 pm

<mod>Folks, I think the general debate on Gamergate has been kind of done to death over on the blog, and I don't think it's likely to go anywhere new or productive. So could we please keep this thread focused on the connection with chan culture? </mod>

(And on a personal, not modly, note, I'm finding that a really interesting way to look at it, and the whole anonymous culture thing is quite fascinating, so I don't want things to get derailed for that reason too!)
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Post by LadyLuck on Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:29 pm

The reason that Sarkeesian, Quinn, etc. are getting their stories told and KingofPol, Xbro, Brad Wardel, Lianna K, etc. are getting their stories suppressed is a fundamental bias in the press towards their friends, co-workers, professional acquaintances and people who ideologically agree with them. No change in tactics or identity would change this.

No. Just no. Just no no no. Anti-GG is getting better press then GG because they frequently display better communication skills and professional conduct. That's precisely what we've been getting at this whole time - GamerGaters default to chan-style communication, which actively damages one's credibility outside its original medium. The anti-authoritarianism bit is very true, however. But it plays into my prior point, about how nothing is "serious" in a chan medium. But the important element that underlies all of this is a lack of consequence; there's nothing to hold an individual channer accountable for their actions. That's why this behavior will go elsewhere on the internet, but you won't see these people engage in it IRL. In essence, it's really a question of what they can get away with, as is the case with any group of humans without little to no accountability (cops, military, etc). This also explains why trolling has such a huge brinksmanship element.

Unfortunately, this anti-authoritarianism, in this crude mob setting, at its heart is simply "YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!". And yeah, its exactly as immature, naive, and stupid as it sounds. It entirely ignores the fact that there are very rational reasons to allow someone else to tell you what to do. It also ignores that many social rules (like "don't send death threats") have reasons for existing outside the consequences imposed upon them. The chan-mob exhibits little to no ability to climb the moral hierarchy in this regard - it is incapable of progressing from "I shouldn't do it because it might get me in trouble" to "I shouldn't do it because it is disruptive to those around me ("wrong")".

In fact if anything, the former is perverted to "I SHOULD do it because it might get me in trouble" (again, predicts/implies "trolling" behavior). An individual's actions are expected to be completely blind to how it affects the whole, be it positively or negatively. This is why perceived attempts at "manipulation" are attacked so viciously. This is also why GamerGate has failed to police its followers from bad behavior. Because on a certain level it doesn't want to be policed, because it thinks all policing is bad. And it shouldn't be a shocker that the movement that refuses to police itself, is one in sore need of it... Basically GamerGaters don't want accountability nor responsibility; they want the rest of the world to bend to the chan-fantasy because it lets the individual say/do whatever they want. And its for these reasons that it doesn't surprise me that chans latch onto causes primarily in the interest of straight white men. Holding one accountable for actions does a lot more to protect the marginalized then the privileged.

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Post by username_6916 on Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:03 am


But that's a very specific type of moderation that would create 'forbidden knowledge'. How does 'if you behave like a jerk, you will be called on it, and there's no reason for people to tolerate that' create 'forbidden knowledge'?

One person's 'being a jerk' is another's 'forbidden knowledge'. Saying this number is acting like a jerk, if you happen to be the HDDVD standards committee. Saying that Naythan Grayson had an undisclosed close personal relationship with a source that he wrote about is acting like a jerk if you happen to be friends with the folks at Kotaku. 


The reason that Sarkeesian, Quinn, etc. are getting their stories told and KingofPol, Xbro, Brad Wardel, Lianna K, etc. are getting their stories suppressed is a fundamental bias in the press towards their friends, co-workers, professional acquaintances and people who ideologically agree with them. No change in tactics or identity would change this. 

What is your evidence for this? What is the reason that we should take your read of this, rather than use our own critical faculties to make our decision? You haven't provided your reasoning, just your pronouncement.

We have the leaks from gamesjournospros which do speak about setting the agenda. We do have third party commentators and reporters like Cathy Young and David Auerbach who question the narrative commonly presented in games media. Or you could read /r/kotakuinaction your self, and see how much acceptance harassment has there and compare that with the media narrative.

There are certainly situations in which might need to do that to forward a good cause and protect the safety of the activists, though that would certainly be an ethically dangerous position to be in, because it removes accountability. The nonsensical "ethics in games journalism" "motivation" for gamer gate, which has been broken down in detail, isn't a good cause.
And this is one of those circumstances. The opposition to #gamergate has made it perfectly clear: Disagreeing with their media and critical elites is an act of hostility that will result in retaliation. Anonymity is a necessary defense in this envrioment.

And, this does get into one of the big differences between *chan culture and hacker culture ( at least as ESR defines it). ESR outright states:
The problem with screen names or handles deserves some amplification. Concealing your identity behind a handle is a juvenile and silly behavior characteristic of crackers, warez d00dz, and other lower life forms. Hackers don't do this; they're proud of what they do and want it associated with their real names. So if you have a handle, drop it. In the hacker culture it will only mark you as a loser.

He talks about it a bit more broadly here. In one of the comments, ESR agrees that there are circumstances where anonymity is necessary.


>The only exception to this that I can think of would be if you were a hacker bound within the confines of a suppressive sensorship driven regime like say, Iran. Especially if you were coding for a project like TOR in which case revealing your real name could not only kill your tube time, but your very life as well.
Yes. I think most hackers have a firm grasp on this category of exception.

While the stakes are quite a bit lower here, I still think that #gamergate falls under this category.

Additionally, I don't think people are lumping them together in that they thing everyone who is pro-gamergate is doing those things.

I think that's exactly people are doing.


But given that the "ethics in journalism" argument is spurious, there's no real "point" there that makes sense. So therefore, everyone who is supporting it is evidently supporting the "women shouldn't make games", anti-diversity thrust of it (this, again, has been detailed earlier in the thread). So of course everyone gets painted with that part of the brush. And that's already enough of an issue.
I don't think it's spurious. And more broadly, disagreeing with the Social Justice (tm) crowd doesn't mean that you think "women shouldn't make games" or that you are against diversity. In this instance, it means you are in favor of greater intellectual diversity, which I think is a good thing.  There are viewpoints that are very much missing from games journalism and I think we are the worse for it.

Going back to the post that started this thread, this whole thought that ideas should be challenged goes far beyond *chan culture. The value of intellectual  diversity and the marketplace of ideas is seen far beyond any of this. And I really don't understand @a_man_in_black's criticism that challenging ideas is somehow hostile or harassment.


Could you post links to these conversations please? Because there's both awful things here ("bullying is OK") and holding people accountable for bad behavior.

Remember, the "bad behavior" we are talking about is dissenting with people like Leigh Alexander.

Instances in question:

* "Bring back bullying" was a tweet from Sam Biddle, a writer for Gawker.
Gamergate: Born of Chan-Style - Page 3 MeNQuTe
* An officer for the IGDA warns people to watch what they say.

* The IGDA later went on to endorse a block list of people who follow supporters of #gamergate.

* Jason Miller was fired from his workplace as a result of his support of #notyourshield:Gamergate: Born of Chan-Style - Page 3 9ieHMu9

* KingOfPol was Doxxed and had the fire department distpatched to his house.

* Milo Yiannopoulos received a syringe in the mail after being doxxed

* And so much more...

It does raise the question of why this sort of thing isn't being reported by the greater media, while harassment of  gamergate opponents is driving media narrative. And, with folks like Milo who are decidedly not followers of *chan culture involved in some of these incidents, I'm not entirely sure I buy the whole "*chan people can't communicate outside their own subculture" expliantion.




This is also why GamerGate has failed to police its followers from bad behavior. Because on a certain level it doesn't want to be policed, because it thinks all policing is bad. And it shouldn't be a shocker that the movement that refuses to police itself, is one in sore need of it...

And how do you explain efforts like the gamergate harassment patrol, or how folks spammed the /gg/ board on 8chan to keep doxx hidden?

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Post by BasedBuzzed on Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:04 am

The question could also have something to do with age brackets, methinks, especially in the light of a post by Harper, the woman who created the blocklist, that well-meaning youngsters are PM her the dox of GGers via FB(hunting for the screencap ATM). There could be a segment of edgy kids and a segment of respectably-talking adults who do largely hang out in the same age brackets. Thus the adults think edgy kids are outliers, while the edgy kids think everybody else is just as bad as them, just pretending they're not out of PR reasons.

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Post by reboot on Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:19 pm

Enail wrote:<mod>Folks, I think the general debate on Gamergate has been kind of done to death over on the blog, and I don't think it's likely to go anywhere new or productive. So could we please keep this thread focused on the connection with chan culture? </mod>

(And on a personal, not modly, note, I'm finding that a really interesting way to look at it, and the whole anonymous culture thing is quite fascinating, so I don't want things to get derailed for that reason too!)

MOD: This is a second warning. Please keep the conversation tied to the connection with Chan culture and no other GamerGate related issues. If you ignore this caution this thread will be locked

MOD OFF
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Post by Suika on Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:25 pm

I think people just have a tendency to jump on a bandwagon if the premise seems good. The general theme on the originating board for the gamergate movement have in particularly been that gaming isn't really at it's optimal point right now, due to overexposure and so.

In addition to that I would also argue that it's less -chan culture and more about board culture.
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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:43 pm

I don't want to single username_6916, but I'm glad s/he posted because there are some examples in his post of what I'm talking about.

Gamergate and their rhetoric makes perfect sense from the point of view of Gamergaters---if you interpret reality through the prism of video-games.

Media conspiracies. Untrustworthy femmes fatales. "acts of hositility," "necessary defense". Retaliation from "Media and critical" elites. A band of anonymous and misunderstood outcasts fighting an uphill battle in the name of freedom.

These are standard devices in video games and entertainment media.

And you can use them to write a story around yourself where you are the heroic protagonist(s).

And like many videogames or entertainment media, so long as those devices are there, the story itself can be completely incoherent.

As long as you've written those devices around yourself, you can feel righteous without having to look around and see if you are actually RIGHT. It also makes it hard to take in or understand dissenting views because...because...it doesn't fit the STORY. And the story is: We're the good guys.

The thing is though, videogame and storytelling devices are designed to take people AWAY from reality. They're there to draw attention to the game, not the gamer. Games are fun if I'm enjoying the story and the gameplay and the level design and the graphics. They aren't so much fun when I think about the reality that I'm spending the precious hours of my life sitting in front of a light and sound machine pressing buttons while my pizza gets cold.

I don't want to single out GamerGaters or even chan culture as the only people in the world who do this. There are a lot of us out in the world who when we are faced with a clash between the stories we tell ourselves and reality decide that our stories are right and reality is wrong. That's doesn't make us bad people.

But it DOES make it hard to find common cause with or understanding from people who have different stories or see the world in different ways.

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Post by username_6916 on Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:32 pm

That's exactly the charge I would make towards the media's coverage of #gamergate. It seems that the news media here is far more interested in furthering the narrative of the poor, harassed feminist women and people who happen to be their personal friends against a digital lynch mob than it is about about trying to understand the point of view of #gamergate supporters and their claims.

Just because you're a 'journalist' doesn't make your truth any better than ours.

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Post by reboot on Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:32 pm

username_6916 wrote:That's exactly the charge I would make towards the media's coverage of #gamergate. It seems that the news media here is far more interested in furthering the narrative of the poor, harassed feminist women and people who happen to be their personal friends against a digital lynch mob than it is about about trying to understand the point of view of #gamergate supporters and their claims.

Just because you're a 'journalist' doesn't make your truth any better than ours.

The reason that the media has not given a listen to GamerGate supporters likely has more to do with communication style conflicts and the exhibited ignorance by GamerGaters about how journalism works. All the yelling about biased reviews just makes journalists roll their eyes because all reviews are biased. They are opinions.

This also comes down to the analysis that RBS posted starting this thread. The Chan style of communication just makes people look ignorant and irrational outside of its ecosystem. GamerGaters might get some press if they could figure out how to talk to outsiders in the outsiders style and structure.
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Post by UristMcBunny on Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:53 pm

I think it would also help if GamerGate could get some news out about what their actual goals are. I mean, I've not seen any actual, defined, specific lists of what they actually want. "Ethics in games journalism" is an incredibly vague term, and doesn't apply to most of what I've seen them complain about - where is the ethical conflict in progressive viewpoints getting exposure in games journalism, for example.

Do GG people want to tackle the issue of games reviewers basically being bribed to give AAA games higher scores to their games? Or the issue of big games developers controlling who gets to review their content by restricting early access to reviewers they approve of? If not, what specific, identifiable problems in games journalism do they want to tackle? And what specific mechanisms do they have in mind as methods for achieving that? (For example, one of the mechanisms by which Ferguson protestors seek to improve the issue of police corruption and brutality in their home town is by mandating the use of body cameras on officers).

A specific, concrete list of demands would give the general public more to latch onto to understand the movement's goals, because right now the only people who understand what GG wants is the people who are already supporters of GG, and even they often don't seem to be able to offer detailed information. One crucial part of the communication issues is that the GG folk don't seem able to separate between styles of communication they use with each other in their own circles and with the general public. The end result is the impression the average person has of GG is based just on their interactions with GG supporters, and those interactions are typically not positive.

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Post by Lemminkainen on Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:15 am

Gentleman Johnny wrote:
Lemminkainen wrote:
I don't think that being unsuccessful has to be boring, though.  The people who I can think of who most enjoy political activity are anarchists* and neoreactionaries, and their positions are so far outside the Overton Window ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window ) that they will not succeed in their lifetimes-- and the smarter ones know that they won't.  But they still seem to find doing political stuff engaging, meaningful, and powerful.  The anarchists do their street stuff and describe it as being fun and joyous even though the police routinely gas, beat, and arrest them for it.  I think that they in particular might have something meaningful to say about how to make political activities more engaging.

My issue there is it makes it sound like engaging is the enemy of the effective. Yeah, anarchists and their way out there ilk have fun with their movements and protests but that's because they have near zero concern for whether or not anything actually changes. Its. . .political masturbation, an engagement in politics for self gratification rather than actual change. I've been in these protests, seen the giant puppets and the guys in pig masks and corporate suits, the signs, the chants, the marches and none of them are designed to engage anyone who doesn't already agree with the protesters.

I think that I agree with some aspects of your assessment, but not with your moral evaluation. For a lot of the weirder anarchist-types, the point of actist-y behavior is to realize their utopia on a small scale (both geographically and temporally) within their own lifetimes, and build communities which operate on non-coercive principles which will eat broader society from within rather than overthrowing it all at once.

Reading over that, I'm inclined to rethink my earlier assumptions about the futility of the anarchist position. Making the world immediately around you better can significantly improve a lot of people's lives, it's something that everybody can do right now rather than waiting for a nice moment of historical crisis, and it provides a nurturing environment for larger movements to grow.


--Returning to topic:

Something that maybe bears more discussion here is the issue of how Chan culture and other aspects of internet life shape identity politics. In an anonymous environment, particularly one without persistent identities, elective identities tend much more important than involuntary ones, because anonymity can conceal everything about you except the opinions you express. It basically inverts the hierarchy of identities-that-matter that people encounter in real life, where involuntary identities tend to be most important because they are visible either in people's appearances or in aspects of their communication and self-presentation which are hard to conceal completely from others (ie: surname, accent, the gender of your sex partners, etc.) So, an identity-based political movement which organized around anonymous messageboard culture would probably focus on different identities than identity-based movements which show up elsewhere.

A lot of gamergate's activities have been about defending identity categories which most people see as elective-- particularly "gamer" and "nerd."* As far as I can tell, it seems like most GG people who aren't just misogynists looking for political cover wound up jumping on the bandwagon after that rush of "Gamers are Over"-- type articles hit, and another group jumped on after that Gawker editor's "Bring Back Bullying" comment.** The websites associated with these attacks became the targets of GG boycott campaigns-- unlike the rather vague "ethics in game journalism" thing, this particular issue seems to be the focus of a lot of actual GG action, so I think that it is a very real concern for a bunch of GG sympathizers-- they view/viewed a lot of the anti-GG writing as the beginning of an oppressive attack on some of their most important elective identities, and on the principle of considering elective identities important in the first place, and wound up identifying with GG in an "enemy-of-my-enemy" sort of way.*** This also fairly elegantly explains the #notyourshield people-- they're just more concerned about elective identities than non-elective ones.****


*The way that some people deploy "nerd" has really intensely ableist connotations, which complicates this a bit, but I'll set that aside for the purpose of this post, which already is complicated enough.

** The way this situation played out is an excellent reminder of why it's important to be careful with one's rhetoric. Sam Biddle alienated and hurt lot of people with that tweet, for basically zero positive payoff.

*** I'm not asserting that this position is correct-- only that it's one which a lot of people sincerely hold and have really strong feelings about, and which is really important to understand if you want to understand their motivations.

****Which I actually totally get! For example, in my own personal hierarchy of identities, "intellectual" comes in much, much higher than "queer," and as a result, I'm much more easily angered by anti-intellectualism than by homophobia.

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Post by kath on Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:50 am

Thanks for the links, Username. I'm not addressing them directly so that I can try to stay on topic, but I appreciate that you provided them.

It's interesting, because I read the nature of GG as difficult to pin down / without a spokesperson as mostly a feature, rather than a bug, for some of the people who want to keep it rolling, and I think it does / could, as mentioned in the articles, stem from the anonymous culture. If you can't talk to anyone about it directly, or pin it down to one thing, or even really effectively engage with specific individuals about it (since a bunch of other individuals just call you totally wrong if you try) ... there's really know way to engage with it. So it is just an ongoing, crazy fight. And I get the impression that sort of thing - chaos and wars and so on - is a spectator sport to some of the people who want to keep it going. So that works against the people using the same hashtag who are trying to talk about a concern. Because if that happened, the people getting jollies from watching and causing madness would have nothing to watch in regards to that topic, and it would probably die out relatively quickly. Or at least, it would only be as interesting as other discussions of how niche criticism is done.
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:30 pm

Dan_Brodribb wrote:
And you can use them to write a story around yourself where you are the heroic protagonist(s).
Back in my LARP days, my team of loveable rogues had a more pithy way of expressing the overall sentiment.

Me: Why are we going to win?
Them: Because we're the good guys!
Me: And why are we the good guys?
Them: Because we're going to win!

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Post by Caffeinated on Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:36 pm

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for this thread. It's the first time I've felt like I've had a glimmer of understanding of what GG is about. It was really disheartening to think it was just this giant mass of people who didn't like women and wanted women out of gaming culture and wanted women to shut up on the internet. But looking at it from the lens of chan-style communication and social norms, and elective identities (I love Lemminkainen's post talking about that), it makes much more sense.
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:38 pm

[quote="Lemminkainen"]
Gentleman Johnny wrote:
I think that I agree with some aspects of your assessment, but not with your moral evaluation.  For a lot of the weirder anarchist-types, the point of actist-y behavior is to realize their utopia on a small scale (both geographically and temporally) within their own lifetimes, and build communities which operate on non-coercive principles which will eat broader society from within rather than overthrowing it all at once.

Reading over that, I'm inclined to rethink my earlier assumptions about the futility of the anarchist position.  Making the world immediately around you better can significantly improve a lot of people's lives, it's something that everybody can do right now rather than waiting for a nice moment of historical crisis, and it provides a nurturing environment for larger movements to grow.
 

Yeah, that's why I'm referring to those protests specifically. I'm a big believer in building the world you want to live in starting with your immediate circle. Mind you I've encountered plenty of cliqueishness, elitism, authoritarianism and passive-agressive coercion in supposed proto-anarcho-utopian spaces. To be fair, the attitude that got me in trouble was specifically "well what are our goals? We should do whatever is most effective at achieving them. If that means petitioning City Council, getting involved with other outreach groups and getting involved in the community outside of our narrow scope, we should do that," as opposed to "we muts never acknowledge he legitimacy of the government even if it gets us what we want".

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Post by LadyLuck on Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:26 pm

I agree with what Lemmin says about elective identities. Everyone in GG definitely is in agreement that one should be a gamer first, other things second. But to me, that's still a fantasyland, and still is just another way of expressing underlying sexist ideologies. For one, even if an involuntary identity can be hidden, you can never make it go away. I can't change or erase all the experiences I've had through the lens of being a woman. Yet chan culture thinks I can and should - if I call something out as being sexist, it's seen as putting my "woman-ness" before my "gamer-ness". *This is not how identities work* Furthermore, just because I have the ability to pretend I'm not a woman online *DOES NOT MEAN I SHOULD HAVE TO*. Whenever something sexist occurs in chan culture, the expectation is that women pretend they're one of the guys and laugh along with it. To them, because I can personally hide from the obvious harms of sexism by pretending I'm a man online, means that any harm felt by me is a choice, and therefore if I claim to be harmed, I'm trying to "play the victim". But I'm still a woman behind the keyboard, and will never stop being one. It plays into the "Women can have equal rights - if they act just like men" narrative, up to and including encouraging women to pretend to be men. It encourages the idea that woman-ness is inherently shameful, that we women are inherently shameful. And that most definitely is wrong.

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Post by JP McBride on Mon Dec 15, 2014 3:33 pm

UristMcBunny wrote:I think it would also help if GamerGate could get some news out about what their actual goals are.  I mean, I've not seen any actual, defined, specific lists of what they actually want.  "Ethics in games journalism" is an incredibly vague term, and doesn't apply to most of what I've seen them complain about - where is the ethical conflict in progressive viewpoints getting exposure in games journalism, for example.

Kazerad has a pretty good list of things to start with:

I would like implicated journalists to give some response to the accusation that their coverage of the Zoe Post engaged in victim-blaming. This isn’t something I’m just going to forget about if they don’t cover it, because the very fact that mass media is able to shame an abuse victim for speaking out makes abusers everywhere more dangerous.

I would like to see some public response to NotYourShield and other minorities who feel they are being misrepresented, erased or generalized by gaming media. A lot of people have been uniting under the shared perception that they will be treated as invisible unless they fit a certain mold, and something has to be done to dispel (or at the very least, confirm) that.

At this point, I would also like to see some defense from gaming journalists that they are bringing something positive to the industry. As I’ve mentioned before, I currently have a hard time seeing their institutions as anything other than a liability to both consumers and creators, and I would like to be convinced otherwise.


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Post by BasedBuzzed on Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:38 pm

LadyLuck wrote:Whenever something sexist occurs in chan culture, the expectation is that women pretend they're one of the guys and laugh along with it.

You're supposed to go along with the mode of communication, not the ideological trappings. "Tits or GTFO"? You post a picture of manboobs. You tell him that he's a drooling nimrod if he can't find bazillion better-quality pics of boobies on the net. You post a picture of tits, songbirds, and if he whines you just dump the most grotesque birdman-furry porn you can find and call him a weakling for not being able to fap to it. You tell him to go back to /b/ with his shitposting. You intentionally post hyperbolic callout language and laugh at him if he flips out over it, pretending that it was bait all along.

LadyLuck wrote:But I'm still a woman behind the keyboard, and will never stop being one. It plays into the "Women can have equal rights - if they act just like men" narrative, up to and including encouraging women to pretend to be men. It encourages the idea that woman-ness is inherently shameful, that we women are inherently shameful. And that most definitely is wrong.

You could view it as a Butleresque parody of gender roles, in which you as a woman adopt an exaggerated masculine persona in order to show the fragility of gendering traits.


In all seriousness, this strikes me more as empathy, sensitivity and emotions other than anger being considered shameful and the misogyny flowing in from there, because a similar 'whiner' label gets stamped on folks on the spectrum and LGBT+ minorities. Probably a chicken-egg problem, as plenty of insults aimed at the sensitive involving gendered slurs(pussy, mangina, etcetera).

Edit: also of interest-https://archive.today/6J5W4

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Post by username_6916 on Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:32 pm


The reason that the media has not given a listen to GamerGate supporters likely has more to do with communication style conflicts and the exhibited ignorance by GamerGaters about how journalism works. All the yelling about biased reviews just makes journalists roll their eyes because all reviews are biased. They are opinions.

And yet, when we have figureheads who are decidedly not *chaners and not anonymous speak in ways that are not what describe *chan-style we end up with the exact same coverage. We have had lots of those: From Total Biscuit to Cathy Young, and yet we still trot out the same old excuse.

I also think that the whole idea of opinion-free reviews is something of a straw man. Total Biscuit expands on this topic a bit better than I could.

I think it would also help if GamerGate could get some news out about what their actual goals are. I mean, I've not seen any actual, defined, specific lists of what they actually want.
By this standard, the Republican party would also qualify because Ron Paul has a lot of policy disagreements with Rick Santorium.

One crucial part of the communication issues is that the GG folk don't seem able to separate between styles of communication they use with each other in their own circles and with the general public.

I'm not sure that there's even a way to make any distinction between your own circles and the general public on-line.


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