“This is harassment, pure and simple.”
June 29, 2017 4:31 PM   Subscribe

Anita Sarkeesian's astounding 'garbage human' moment. [Polygon] “The panel's first question drops. It’s about why feminism — online and in games — is an issue worthy of discussion. Sarkeesian notes Benjamin's presence and begins speaking. "If you Google my name on YouTube you get shitheads like this dude who are making these dumb-assed videos," she says. "They just say the same shit over and over again. I hate to give you attention because you're a garbage human. These dudes just making endless videos that go after every feminist over and over again is a part of the issue of why we have to have these conversations." The crowd gives her a positive response, with some whoops and cheers.”

• VidCon Debrief: With the benefit of a couple days, here are two things we wanted to talk about. [Medium]
“During the panel, a panelist called out one of the audience members for being someone who has made her life very difficult, and wished she didn’t have to give him attention because he was a “garbage human.” Look, we don’t want our panelists to insult our audience members, even when we completely understand that the comment exists in a much broader (and pretty messed up) context. Even when people have said hateful things that everyone in our office disagrees with, we have a policy, and it exists not just to protect people at the show, but to protect our ability to have these conversations.”
Our founder, Hank Green, talked with our panelist and said two things:
1. He told her that her comment had violated our policy, but that he understood that there was a broader context (which to be clear, we were blissfully ignorant of until this weekend, and remain inexpert in.)
2. He apologized to her for not having been more aware of and active in understanding the situation before the event, which resulted in her being subjected to a hostile environment that she had not signed up for.
• When Serial Harassers Try to Hijack Conversations About Harassment [The Mary Sue]
“Talking about harassment, or calling out misogyny or racism or homophobia in video games and the media as Sarkeesian does, is not claiming victimhood. Talking about what plagues us and what we can do better is not disparaging to ourselves, nor is it a direct attack on anyone else. Yet a whole lot of people in this conversation are calling themselves victims. Carl, like so many other men in online (and, let’s be honest, offline too) communities, cannot hear talk of something aimed at “marginalized voices” without feeling like his exclusion from that narrative means he’s now the real marginalized voice. He cannot hear a woman talk about abuse without feeling abused. He will go out of his way to harass and intimidate a woman and then cry persecution when she notices him. That’s as manipulative as it is pathetic. Good for Anita Sarkeesian for showing up in the first place to talk about such an awful, but pervasive and therefore necessary subject. And even better still for calling this human garbage out for his awfulness.”
posted by Fizz (136 comments total) 88 users marked this as a favorite
 
How do these loser trolls have so much fucking time to harass people? Like I'm too bagged to vacuum my house on the weekend but these guys make time to fly to Vidcon to mob her in person? Imagine if they could find something useful to do with all that time and energy.
posted by GuyZero at 4:39 PM on June 29 [128 favorites]


1. He told her that her comment had violated our policy, but that he understood that there was a broader context (which to be clear, we were blissfully ignorant of until this weekend, and remain inexpert in.)
2. He apologized to her for not having been more aware of and active in understanding the situation before the event, which resulted in her being subjected to a hostile environment that she had not signed up for.


You... wait.. what? You had Anita Sarkeesian at an event and you had no idea this was going to happen? The people who pulled this stunt are of course responsible for their own behavior, but this is egregious levels of lack of responsibility for anybody running a media-centered convention in 2017.
posted by Sequence at 4:39 PM on June 29 [222 favorites]


I would have much preferred if Hank Green had said, “During the panel, a panelist called out one of the audience members for being someone who has made her life very difficult, and wished she didn’t have to give him attention because he was a “garbage human.” Look, he is a garbage human and we're all worse off for him even attending our event."
posted by thecjm at 4:40 PM on June 29 [66 favorites]


You... wait.. what? You had Anita Sarkeesian at an event and you had no idea this was going to happen? The people who pulled this stunt are of course responsible for their own behavior, but this is egregious levels of lack of responsibility for anybody running a media-centered convention in 2017.

It is amazing how dumb people can be about these things, or at least how dumb they can play.
posted by Artw at 4:41 PM on June 29 [23 favorites]


which to be clear, we were blissfully ignorant of until this weekend

wut

Look, the only videos I watch online are music videos, SNL clips, and porn, I don't engage with gamer communities at all, and I barely used Twitter until a year ago. I still could give you a reasonably accurate rundown of the Gamergate timeline and principals.

The people running VidCon need to do some serious self examination about how they go about their lives such that they were "blissfully ignorant of" "the broader context."
posted by PMdixon at 4:41 PM on June 29 [121 favorites]


but this is egregious levels of lack of responsibility

And profound ignorance.
posted by Fizz at 4:41 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


How do these loser trolls have so much fucking time to harass people? Like I'm too bagged to vacuum my house on the weekend but these guys make time to fly to Vidcon to mob her in person? Imagine if they could find something useful to do with all that time and energy.

The Polygon piece points out one of them is making $3k/mo from Patreon. This is their full time job, and if they stop harassing women the money dries up.
posted by thecjm at 4:42 PM on June 29 [89 favorites]


VidCon being ignorant of YouTube nazis despite inviting them all seems unlikely.
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on June 29 [62 favorites]


Dear Hank, I loves ya, but here's how much we care about your policy:

()
posted by 1adam12 at 4:43 PM on June 29 [10 favorites]


How do these loser trolls have so much fucking time to harass people? Like I'm too bagged to vacuum my house on the weekend but these guys make time to fly to Vidcon to mob her in person?

Because they literally get paid to do it. They will go do this, post a video, and it will immediately get thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of hits. And they make affiliate advertising money off it.

Welcome to the new world. It pretty much sucks.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:53 PM on June 29 [82 favorites]


Even when people have said hateful things that everyone in our office disagrees with, we have a policy, and it exists not just to protect people at the show, but to protect our ability to have these conversations.

Yes, we get that you have a policy. It just happens to be a rather stupid one, focusing on appearance instead of actually dealing with the real issue. Here's a better policy - don't let abusers attend in the first fucking place, and maybe Anita wouldn't feel the need to call out someone who has made a career of making her life miserable.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:56 PM on June 29 [36 favorites]


Because they literally get paid to do it. They will go do this, post a video, and it will immediately get thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of hits. And they make affiliate advertising money off it.

Which is why I specifically avoided linking to any youtube/links/sites relating to these clowns. I will not be driving traffic or potential ad-dollars their way. Fuck these scum.
posted by Fizz at 4:57 PM on June 29 [44 favorites]


Another facet to this, mentioned in the Strange Sad Case of Laci Green, is that a lot of the anti-harassment support and information is run by individuals, so if they choose not to continue (or get red pilled), the anti-harassment resources are easily lost.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:12 PM on June 29 [10 favorites]


This saddens but does not surprise me. A few months earlier, Hank tweeted that he "didn't get why people were being so hard on PewDiePie," while PDP was in the middle of his "what's wrong with being an antisemite" meltdown. The tweet was deleted pretty quickly, with no explanation or apology. I asked for clarification in the comments on his next Youtube video, and got a dozen responses from other viewers saying I'd taken it out of context and that making jokes about wanting to kill Jews really wasn't that bad.

I stopped being a Nerdfighter pretty quickly after that. Also my comment was deleted by someone in the Hank Green Social Media Command Structure.

Hank talks a good game about diversity and respect, but how quickly does he forget to be awesome.
posted by dialMforMara at 5:13 PM on June 29 [40 favorites]


Omg you guys the comments on the Medium debrief. I can't.

Which is to say: the comments, read them do not.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:14 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


It should be noted that, by many accounts, it was not just the one guy, but the entire first three rows of the audience filled with these guys.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:16 PM on June 29 [55 favorites]


Why was the vidcon brief trying so hard to let these human shits off the hook for their own behavior? Why spend so much time on the idea that these people don't know what they're doing? Was I misreading or is this exactly like when white terrorists are mentally ill child loners and everyone else is an evil radical?
posted by bleep at 5:18 PM on June 29 [21 favorites]


One of these clowns would be a more than enough to trigger an avalanche of emotion/feelings, but three rows!??! The strength and dignity that Ms. Sarkeesian displayed when faced with this kind of abuse is something I'm not sure I'd be able to take. She should be applauded for how she handled herself. In fact, I think I'm going to head over and throw some financial support her way, to help her with her ongoing video series.
posted by Fizz at 5:20 PM on June 29 [33 favorites]


If, like me, you didn't remember who "Carl Benjamin" is you might be aware of him when that name is attached to his pompous online name and smug face.
posted by atoxyl at 5:26 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, "Sargon of Akkad". Someone in the Neogaf thread about this suggested the much better name Carl of Swindon.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:32 PM on June 29 [15 favorites]


Heeeey! She saw me about to hit her so she hit me back first! LOOK EVERYONE SHE'S SO VIOLENT!
posted by delfin at 5:33 PM on June 29 [8 favorites]


Which is why I specifically avoided linking to any youtube/links/sites relating to these clowns. I will not be driving traffic or potential ad-dollars their way. Fuck these scum.

I think Polygon did a good job of referring to them by given names, not their notorious handles.
posted by thecjm at 5:37 PM on June 29 [10 favorites]


An important concept to understand here is DARVO, a way that abusers respond to being called out:
  • Deny
  • Attack
  • Reverse
  • Victim and
  • Offender
Anybody who's witnessed abusive relationships or internet harassment has seen this pattern over and over again- Gamergate in particular mastered it and spread that mastery to other modern reactionary movements as part of their harassment arsenal.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:51 PM on June 29 [86 favorites]


I think Polygon did a good job of referring to them by given names, not their notorious handles.

Well I certainly wouldn't link to their channels but I think it's kind of important to make a connection to the more infamous identities. Per above I have no particular association with "Carl" but if they'd said "Sargon" I'd immediately say "oh no shit that guy is garbage and he's doing a garbage thing."
posted by atoxyl at 5:51 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


It's not "by some accounts", even the Vidcon organizers refer to this garbage crowd as filling the entire first three rows. And they even recognize that it is "difficult to imagine" that this garbage crowd didn't know that was an aggressive act of garbagery...while in the same post attempting their own equally difficult to believe excuse of just not knowing about the ongoing harassment towards Anita. I mean sure, my grandpa says he doesn't know about it, but he doesn't know what youtube is and so I believe him. Fucking internet media con organizers? lol good try guys.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 6:08 PM on June 29 [18 favorites]


The careful deliberate language in the vidcon brief has stuck with me, I can't get over it. Am I missing something? Why is it so careful to establish that it doesn't believe these harassers are aware of what they're doing? Are they afraid of themselves being targets?
posted by bleep at 6:43 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


The gaming world is irrelevant to me--when I think of video games, I think of Tetris--but thank the gods for women like Sarkeesian who are plain-spoken and angry, but able to hone that anger into a sharp, powerful weapon.
posted by scratch at 6:44 PM on June 29 [15 favorites]


I like the Greens, but if you've watched their videos you know how painful it is to watch them dance around politics. They're happy to talk about the facts of the case and their feelings but they just will not take a hard stand on anything.

I think I understand what they've been trying to do, which is not to alienate any viewer who could potentially be swayed. But after a point, y'know, come the fuck on, guys.
posted by phooky at 6:50 PM on June 29 [7 favorites]


The careful deliberate language in the vidcon brief has stuck with me, I can't get over it. Am I missing something? Why is it so careful to establish that it doesn't believe these harassers are aware of what they're doing? Are they afraid of themselves being targets?

I think it's a recognition that These Jerks have given them a lot of money, and since they've specifically invited somebody to discuss the widespread phenomenon of people being jerks, they need to disavow any awareness of a link between the phenomenon and their specific audience. Basically, why take a stand when you can weasel your way into some sort of neutrality, particularly since People Spent Money.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 6:53 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


Anita Sarkeesian is a fucking badass. Those cowards harassing her would cry, delete their accounts, and hide in the basement if they experienced 1/10th of the crap she's had to deal with.
posted by straight at 7:01 PM on June 29 [71 favorites]


[We are 100% not playing the "both sides are at fault" game here. Please refresh the thread - there were deletions. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:08 PM on June 29 [79 favorites]


If you run a con like this and profess ignorance of the "broader context" then you should not be running cons like this. Or you're a lying sack of shit.
posted by rtha at 7:28 PM on June 29 [40 favorites]


Carl Benjamin...makes more than $5,000 a month from Patreon. He has more than 600,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Dave Cullen...Patreon makes around $3,000 a month. His YouTube page has more than 240,000 subscribers.


Nothing stuck out for me so much as this. $8000 a month to rent two full-time hatemongers that reach 840,000 people, just over the price of two New York City bus drivers (or 3 elsewhere).

I understand there are other dynamics at work, but I expect this is their day-to-day spending, and most of their other speaking fees come with comped tickets and other strings attached, but even so, in the multibillion dollar gaming industry, this is drops in the bucket...

Which means boycotts don't have to be very big to be effective.
posted by saysthis at 7:29 PM on June 29 [9 favorites]


So would it be useful to contact the organizers of VidCon/Hank Green and tell them we don't buy that they had no idea that Sarkeesian was experiencing organized harassment, and it was gross to let her harassers attend and then scold her for calling them out?

Contact info appears to be here.
posted by emjaybee at 7:30 PM on June 29 [15 favorites]


Sarkeesian's write up on the experience is also a good read (on Feminist Frequency).
posted by cui bono at 7:42 PM on June 29 [4 favorites]


I did not know the story about laci green. Sad stuff.
posted by _Synesthesia_ at 7:43 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


I may not always ageee on some details of A.S. videos... but that was fucking well played. And... 3 ROWS!!! WTF!!! No way the organizers were ignorant of all this.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:44 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


How do these loser trolls have so much fucking time to harass people?

There's that, and there's also the fact that, if we accept they've got a ton of spare time, how is it that they're thirty-something years old and have nothing better to do with it? Like I get that they aren't married with children, for obvious reasons, but if they like fucking videogames so much, could they not stay home and play them? Of course they don't have jobs so that frees up a lot of time too.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:52 PM on June 29 [7 favorites]


How do these loser trolls have so much fucking time to harass people?

There's that, and there's also the fact that, if we accept they've got a ton of spare time, how is it that they're thirty-something years old and have nothing better to do with it? Like I get that they aren't married with children, for obvious reasons, but if they like fucking videogames so much, could they not stay home and play them? Of course they don't have jobs so that frees up a lot of time too.
posted by turbid dahlia at 11:52 AM on June 30 [+] [!]


I could be wrong, but I think this is their job.
posted by saysthis at 7:53 PM on June 29 [7 favorites]


There's that, and there's also the fact that, if we accept they've got a ton of spare time, how is it that they're thirty-something years old and have nothing better to do with it? Like I get that they aren't married with children, for obvious reasons, but if they like fucking videogames so much, could they not stay home and play them

People take vacations to go to cons (people without gf/child or dependents I'd guess )... so it's not unthinkable people would take vacation to go to a con and harass A.S. ... you know...garbage humans.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:57 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Where are all the various niche conventions finding these spectacularly incompetent organizers? I mean really now, this is pretty much Conference Organizing 101, and they just keep fucking it up?

VidCon: you need new leaders. Also, I'm a sentient adult and therefore apparently better than any of the dumbasses you've presently got running things. Call me?
posted by aramaic at 8:00 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


The VlogBrothers and, by extension, VidCon value inclusivity. They've been fortunate enough to cultivate a fairly positive community in their own corner of YouTube and approach running VidCon with that state of mind. You can say that yes, they should have seen trouble at Sarkeesian's panel coming but humans have notorious blind spots and this is theirs; make sure everyone's feelings are addressed.

The RedPill/GamerGate/Sad Puppy/assorted shitweasel crowd saw a system ripe for exploitation and mobbed it because that's what gamers do.

I would not be surprised if Hank Green decides to cede control of VidCon eventually and let someone else decide to pull out the banhammer.
posted by Eikonaut at 8:00 PM on June 29 [9 favorites]


DFTBA: Don't Forget to Bring Abusers
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:09 PM on June 29 [7 favorites]


All I have is this - From Hank's site under the VidCon link.

I think VidCon has been successful because we focus first on making sure that everyone has a great time. When people are having fun, that's when the strongest friendships, the best partnerships, and the coolest ideas are created. VidCon focuses on community, but still pulls executives from industries ranging from traditional media, to technology, to consumer electronics.
posted by Samizdata at 8:13 PM on June 29


Probably it'll just become AbuserCon now.
posted by Artw at 8:13 PM on June 29


Sounds like it already is.
posted by nevercalm at 8:16 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]




I could be wrong, but I think this is their job.

Yeah. I wanted to say "proper job" but who even knows what that means any more?
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:33 PM on June 29


someone who has made her life very difficult

I find this line in the debrief very telling. It tries to both acknowledge and minimize her experience without actually acknowledging that what is being done to her is deliberate harassment. In conjunction with the subsequent statements, it also reads to me as "the nice reasonable men (?) chastised the hysterical woman" for responding in a relatively restrained way to someone who is by all reasonable definitions a terrible human being. Basically, I agree that they're trying so hard to not piss anyone off that they've ended up sounding like they're equating the abuse with a mild response. "Yeah, he's led a vicious and ugly campaign against a woman for daring to have opinions online, but we made sure she knew that she couldn't just go around calling people names." Because once again, the victim is the one who's supposed to be maintaining civility.

And, I imagine I'm mostly preaching to the choir here, that just doesn't work to change the culture. Calling them on their bull, even if it's not polite, and/or instituting consequences for the greater infraction are the things that help improve online spaces. I think that there is basically nothing that would induce me to change my mind about having a public online presence as a woman because of how bad it can get, and that same calculation goes on in every marginalized group. And the only thing that makes me feel better about that is people like Sarkeesian being willing to fight and do the things they love in spite of it.
posted by cui bono at 9:08 PM on June 29 [28 favorites]


dinty_moore: Another facet to this, mentioned in the Strange Sad Case of Laci Green
In late May, seemingly out of the blue, Green dramatically shifted her tone on harassment. Where once she supported the abused, she suddenly began questioning why there’s “more than two genders” and arguing that “both sides of the argument are valid” for everything from racism to transphobia to misogyny. . .

In a series of videos, Green revealed that her shift was a result of “red pilling,” the term for a twisted Matrix-inspired recruitment process coined by men’s rights advocates, pick-up artists, and the “alt right.”
I've only seen a few of her videos but she always seemed really great. This is awful to hear.
posted by a car full of lions at 9:13 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


The Polygon piece points out one of them is making $3k/mo from Patreon. This is their full time job, and if they stop harassing women the money dries up.

Why the fuck is Patreon enabling professional harassment

That seems like an excellent question

What the actual fuck
posted by schadenfrau at 9:17 PM on June 29 [48 favorites]


Why the fuck is Patreon enabling professional harassment

That's the real question. I was very surprised to read that. I had been considering supporting some (unrelated) Patreon accounts but after reading that I think I'll pass.
posted by Troupe of trained rats at 9:20 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Come to think of it, the fact that YouTube and Google enable professional harassment and bigotry is even more upsetting. They are not the fucking government. They can just decide this kind of behavior is unacceptable and stop rewarding it.

And yet.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:22 PM on June 29 [36 favorites]


Also, re: Laci Green, I saw the phrase "red-pilling" and thought, oh she got into an abusive relationship

And then

While it appears that Green’s appearance on White’s channel marked an important milestone in Green’s “red pilling,” her turn may also be related to a relationship she formed with anti-feminist YouTuber Chris Ray Gun

Goddammit it all to hell
posted by schadenfrau at 9:24 PM on June 29 [25 favorites]


I have so much respect for Anita for putting up with all this bullshit and keeping going she is my hero.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:30 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


Anita Sarkeesian is a fucking badass. Those cowards harassing her would cry, delete their accounts, and hide in the basement if they experienced 1/10th of the crap she's had to deal with.
posted by straight at 7:01 PM


(i just thought this needed to be repeated)
posted by sexyrobot at 9:38 PM on June 29 [18 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty sure if I knew of even one person who 100% wanted me to die, I wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning,
posted by jcreigh at 9:39 PM on June 29 [7 favorites]


As a harassment strategy, it makes me furious: harass someone until they are legitimately upset and unnerved by things that can be played off as innocuous to people who don't know better, and then act as if being upset and unnerved proves that the person being harassed is weak or overly emotional or playing the victim.

I really wish that VidCon's response had just acknowledged that. And I can understand why they responded the way they did but it also brought up so many feelings about being believed and being taken seriously when it comes to harassment that I continue to be unreasonably mad.
posted by Jeanne at 9:44 PM on June 29 [17 favorites]


After his humiliation, Benjamin posted a video complaining about Sarkeesian's comments and pointing out that they contravene VidCon policy. He also repeated his lamentation that she is avoiding debating him and said that Sarkeesian was guilty of "smearing male gamers." Still, there is a silver lining for him. At the time of writing, the video has been viewed more than 400,000 times.

I personally cannot wait for the entire MRA movement to take a flying leap.
posted by tantrumthecat at 9:52 PM on June 29 [10 favorites]


And, again, Anita Sarkeesians biggest crime was raising more money than expected to discuss the very bland topic of women depicted in video games.

I don't mean "bland" as an insult, btw. I mean that's the topic subject that just hasn't been explored. Her videos on women vs. tropes aren't controversial or trolling or hilarious or anything. They are well produced, academic-ish videos illustrating a common recurring theme.

It's just... no one did that. She wanted 8k for a short series of videos, people volunteered more money because it hasn't been done, seriously.

And if anything has proved the need for such things, it's these bullies reaction.

The democratization of the internet is a double edged sword. If producers can get a good wage making insightful content from patreons, so can ignorant bullies.

I've watched some of femfreqs vids. They are not really my thing, but I'm glad they are there. I suspect the people that hate them so much haven't even bothered watching one of them.
posted by lkc at 9:53 PM on June 29 [27 favorites]


Gamer and nerd things are so weird because they are all so awful to each other and they accept and allow it. this is exactly why I make excuses and run away if someone starts telling me they are "nerdy" or into dressing up at conventions or whatever. So. Many. Assholes. And the guys are always a giant bunch of babies. She was obviously trying to stay semi-professional and family friendly, those comments are pretty tame. I can tell you, in my profession (which is STEM) if a group of men followed a woman to a conference and harrassed her (or vice versa) there would be a lot more bad words on the speakers part and probably police. I mean, it would be high drama! But it never happens because we're not part of a weird cult like group that allows shitty behavior from it's members.

I guess it's the same psychology as the Trump voters. Convince perfectly average people they are part of some fringe, disenfranchised group that is being victimized even when they aren't, and they will become assholes for the cause.

Run normal gamer people, stop going to these cons. Stop reinforcing the belief that there's something special about playing games for a hobby, that you are different and persecuted. You're a cat batting at strings being dangled by a computer, that's all. No one else gives a shit.
posted by fshgrl at 9:57 PM on June 29 [52 favorites]


Interesting. I'm not familiar with Patreon - how do these idiots manage to make so much money? And why doesn't Google shut them down?
posted by medusa at 10:01 PM on June 29


Tangential issue:Youtube culture is completely toxic, for the clicks.

It's like Fox News without any sense of accountability.
posted by Yowser at 10:26 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


And why doesn't Google shut them down?

They're male and (mostly) white. That is sufficient.
posted by aramaic at 10:28 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]



> And why doesn't Google shut them down?

Patreon is separate, and it makes money. As long as there is a cut.
posted by lkc at 10:36 PM on June 29


In fairness to YouTube, Patreon, et al, it's not as though "we'll look the other way as people are terrible to others, often for no good reason, so long as we can skim a profit off the top" is some bold new direction for American society to be taking all of a sudden.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:01 PM on June 29 [24 favorites]


Patreon and Youtube and conferences need to shut these guys down.
posted by pracowity at 11:13 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


The huge problem with Anita Sarkeesian is that she's right.
All the freakin' time.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:30 PM on June 29 [19 favorites]


Fuck. That many sea lions in an enclosed space is not a good idea.
posted by benzenedream at 12:07 AM on June 30 [14 favorites]


Patreon has a clause in their Community Guidelines where they state that they 'don’t allow bullying or harassment on Patreon.' I've just emailed them asking if that extends to the actions of creators they host. Will update with a response, because what Stupidname of Dickwad is doing is really, really gross.
posted by Panthalassa at 12:13 AM on June 30 [33 favorites]


To clarify, since I was typing on my phone earlier:
When kickstarter was too strict for requiring a limit to be met to get the money, there was indiegogo, where you just ... get the money.

When the cop murdered Michael Brown they went from indiegogo to gofundme. The man who murdered Trayvon Martin has lived off of bad paintings of confederate flags being sold for five figures because he murdered a black kid he didn't like.

The modern internet has been shaped by eyeballs and ad money. The web 1.0 crash happened because there weren't enough people on the internet seeing ads and going to brick-and-mortar stores. Here it is just a constant echo chamber of people paying for views and getting paid for views.

YouTube changed their monetization policy to block offensive content, but it also blocked a lot of stuff of just gay people talking about being gay. Or people saying "fuck".

That all sucks, but that's not even the most insidious part. You can actually create your own wingnut welfare circuit and find some kind of crowd-funding site until you get enough money to hire a marketer to set up the same affiliate business as the rest of them.

There's enough random dollars floating around (because everyone has some kind of debit/credit card), and enough people within (internet) reach that will agree with you and pay $1 a video/week/month/year that goes DIRECTLY to them regardless of their product.

Like, remember the sheer display of incompetence that was The Sarkeesian Effect*? They couldn't raise 1/10th of the money to make some randian point out of spite, but actually a racist magician just wanted a new used car and to move.

That was a couple years ago. These folks showing up to fill 3 rows at a conference to harass a woman who has literally done nothing but fund and deliver a quality project is disgusting.

If whathisname from the internet has such interesting things to say about games, why isn't he invited to a panel? If he is so influential, that why can't he just make his own conference? Doesn't he like money? Why don't all his genius followers just make their own games?

They don't have to, there is enough hate money flowing through to keep it going, and lonely dudes who don't see their own place as their safe space see their negative shitposting as something that's under attack.

I bet those same kids who show up with their phones believe what they're doing and think really

REALLY

think that its about something about preserving the sanctity of video games.
Which is not, and has not, ever been threatened. Because it isn't a thing that exists.
And if they believe that, they should consider how they would feel with EC comics in the 1950's standing up for a sci-fi story about a Black Astronaut that the publishers didn't want to print.

Which, is, actually the problem. They would be the same fucking way. Whatever is not exactly like them is not welcome in their thing that they do, and it just happens to be a genre of videogames. If there wasn't CoD or DoTA or whatever, there would be some other rallying thing.

The difference is that everything can be coordinated and funded by the most hateful people with the best recruiting tactics and a scorched earth mentality and not a hell of a lot to lose.

But, with the internet, they can reach more eyes and get richer than ever, which can fund more hate.

For every mefite that wakes up, gets a cup of coffee and reads mefi, there are people who get up, get a cup of coffee and are deliberately racist on the internet.
And then some.

The bed has been shit, pandoras box has been opened.

*i linked the text and not the movie name, ditto naming victims and not murderers
posted by lkc at 12:55 AM on June 30 [25 favorites]


A small, closed conference that I'm associated with that has nothing to do with Internet culture had an employee other than Sarkeesian from Feminist Frequency speak on a panel and I learned that even in that case there were security precautions. In my experience, FF is actually very good at communicating these kinds of things. So, yeah, Vidcon is being disingenuous af. They likely made a strategic decision to just let things play out because, as bleep pointed out above, Vidcon didn't want to be a target. When abusers reverse the victim and abuser roles, a lot of people play both sides because it's the conflict avoidant thing to do.
posted by Skwirl at 2:32 AM on June 30 [26 favorites]


If Mario is wank material, there are bigger problems than sexism in the gaming world.
posted by rokusan at 2:35 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Anita Sarkeesian:

"This guy has literally harassed me for months on end. He's human garbage."

Carl Benjamin:

"Look at me.
Look at me.
I am the victim now."
posted by Qberting at 2:44 AM on June 30 [28 favorites]


I worked in tech hiring and screening for a long time, through a couple of bubbles and a couple of meltdowns.

And MacD, you're not wrong that female coders or other nerds have some real advantages in getting hired at tech firms today, at least in the USA and Canada. They are in huge demand, and almost every firm in the current climate is desperate to show their progressive bona fides (yes, I know: hmmmm). I've also seen that such women have better than average chances of getting promoted to higher positions at said firms.

But, and this is a really big 'but', that's just step one: getting the job. They still face huge problems after that, in the day to day workplace and the tech culture at large, that most men in the same positions don't deal with. And if the initial reason they were so sought after in the first place was for their woman-ness... well, I imagine you can see how that isn't exactly a solution to a problem. A CEO can't call down from the mountain, holler "increase the number of women we employ!" and believe the job is in any way complete. (Sadly, many of them do think they've done the job at that point, especially after a gushing press-release-driven media piece or two about how progressive their firm is.)

Sarkeesian doesn't hit every nail on the head, no, and obviously she wants publicity, since that is kind of the point, right? But she's pretty clearly in the "net good" category, so unless there's a better champion on deck of whom I'm unaware, she'll do well enough.
posted by rokusan at 2:45 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


It's like Fox News without any sense of accountability.

... but you repeat yourself...
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:50 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Whatever is not exactly like them is not welcome in their thing that they do, and it just happens to be a genre of videogames.

To be fair, this is a problematic part of human nature that we all struggle to manage, in every area, walk of life and internet discussion.

The desire of human beings to fit in, at all costs, is strong, especially among younger, more impressionable demographics. (There's a reason that "look, these people are just like you!" is the approach that drives most advertising to millennials, for example.)

In other words, it's always difficult to go against the hivemind, even when the hivemind is demonstrably unwell.
posted by rokusan at 3:01 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


If Mario is wank material, there are bigger problems than sexism in the gaming world.

Putting aside that for some people, Mario is literal wank material - it's also a metaphorical phrase to invoke the more general rubbing of their male egos.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:30 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


So, sexism and harassment aside for a moment, if we're allowed: is there an online guide somewhere on how to get hooked up with Patreon and get paid for doing nothing other than having loud, unpopular and probably very incorrect opinions?

Because I think maybe I've been undervaluing my brand for decades.
posted by rokusan at 3:59 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


unpopular

I think this is your problem. Misogyny makes so much money because it's really popular.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:16 AM on June 30 [40 favorites]


Gamer and nerd things are so weird because they are all so awful to each other and they accept and allow it. t... I can tell you, in my profession (which is STEM) if a group of men followed a woman to a conference and harrassed her (or vice versa) there would be a lot more bad words on the speakers part and probably police.

I'm in a STEM-ish profession and I agree with this. It's not that there isn't open sexism and bad behavior -- I have seen lots of both. But the level of open grossness that seems to be a fully integrated part of gaming culture would not be accepted anywhere that I can think of related to my field, and at a minimum would likely lead to the people involved becoming unhirable, if not worse.

I think that for some people and organizations in the gaming world, the grossness (and the drama, controversy, and consequent publicity) has become a feature, not a bug, something to benefit from while avowing disapproval when necessary. Kudos to Sarkeesian for continuing to push for basic decency, but from the outside it all just looks so depressingly awful.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:21 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


I can tell you, in my profession (which is STEM) if a group of men followed a woman to a conference and harrassed her (or vice versa) there would be a lot more bad words on the speakers part and probably police. I mean, it would be high drama! But it never happens because we're not part of a weird cult like group that allows shitty behavior from it's members.

The bro-flakes have started using anonymous hotline title-9 complaints, which have to be investigated, to harass female professors so don't be so sure that shitty behavior isn't already or soon will be invading your STEM realms.
posted by srboisvert at 6:08 AM on June 30 [30 favorites]


And MacD, you're not wrong that female coders or other nerds have some real advantages in getting hired at tech firms today, at least in the USA and Canada. They are in huge demand, and almost every firm in the current climate is desperate to show their progressive bona fides (yes, I know: hmmmm).

One of the things that remains true in these circumstances is that young men are a) more likely to be entering tech at a "traditional age", and b) even at that age, are more likely to actually have the freedom to take the best economic opportunity that shows up because they don't have the same sort of ties and obligations. So in my experience, a lot of tech companies are desperate to hire women--and yet the women I know who are developers are largely actually paid *less* than the men. Hearing that women have it so easy in theory is a bit infuriating when the reality is that the women in the industry who you actually know are taking $15/hour Wordpress gigs because that's what's available in your midwestern town.

They're struggling to hire women because they've set up a system that's hostile to women and they aren't yet willing to relax most of the requirements that create that hostility. But they're seen as pandering when they do this kind of recruitment, despite the fact that they're keeping the deck stacked in favor of young white and Asian men in every other possible way.

To tie this back to the Sarkeesian Problem, women have a lot of hurdles to getting into gaming--making games, streaming, etc--that men, especially very young men, tend to not even register. Then people start talking about wanting women's viewpoints involved and they get outraged that this is unfair, without considering the unfairness of the underlying system that created the need to talk specifically about the representation of women. The underlying system was good to them, and they want to keep it that way.
posted by Sequence at 6:31 AM on June 30 [30 favorites]


I've been wondering where I should read about video games these days, having taken a long hiatus. Polygon it is, then. Thanks.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:59 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


I'm a cis het white dude and so could miss a lot of things when I'm not trying to pay attention but at least to me kotaku has been okay lately?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:51 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Sequence said: keeping the deck stacked in favor of young white and Asian men in every other possible way.

It's worth noting here that asian men (& asian women even more) run up against the "bamboo ceiling."

https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/ascendleadership.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/Research/HiddenInPlainSight_Paper_042.pdf
posted by yaymukund at 7:51 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Carl Benjamin:

"Look at me.
Look at me.
I am the victim now."
Bingo. When I read about this, and then watched the video, I couldn't help but groan. Sarkeesian had every right to react, but talk about taking the bait. Benjamin couldn't have asked for a better reaction.

This will be used to recruit people to far-right causes, just like Gamergate. I know some argue that anyone who falls for such stuff is already a lost cause, but that's a copout. Trolls and con artists, many though not all of whom are on the right, (mis)use and (mis)construe events to muddy the waters and sow discord. Knowing this, we should choose our words and react very, very carefully, so as not to provide such folks with additional ammo. Yeah, huge double standards there, I know, but anything less can and will be used against us. They lie enough as it is.

It's not popular in fourth-wave feminism to say there are "proper," if imperfect, ways and channels to deal with negative or even scary bullshit—or often ways to create such channels that don't involve lots of public drama, "sick burns," hashtags, and snarky headlines—but, well, it's thankfully almost always true. By losing her cool on stage, Sarkeesian confused (and perhaps even lost) left-leaning people who aren't as in the know and gifted right-wing trolls with a hell of a soundbite and their latest badge of honor. "Garbage Human" pairs nicely with "Shitlord" and "Deplorable," doesn't it?

The human woman in me gets this unscripted moment, but I also believe the best feminism is an effective sort. This is not that. This is what a game of Whac-A-Mole looks like. Feels empowering when you're shoving the rodent back into his hole, but that feeling quickly subsides when he reappears, with a friend, a nanosecond later.
posted by iamfantastikate at 7:58 AM on June 30


Sarkeesian practices "effective" feminism about 99.9% of the time, as far as I can tell, and these assholes target her then, too. There is literally nothing she could do, short of shutting up forever, that would make them stop targeting her.
posted by rtha at 8:03 AM on June 30 [70 favorites]


The VlogBrothers and, by extension, VidCon value inclusivity. They've been fortunate enough to cultivate a fairly positive community in their own corner of YouTube and approach running VidCon with that state of mind. You can say that yes, they should have seen trouble at Sarkeesian's panel coming but humans have notorious blind spots and this is theirs; make sure everyone's feelings are addressed.

This is, of course, bullshit. Everyone knows it's bullshit. The Greens are smart enough to know it's very prettily packaged bullshit. You cannot be inclusive to, eg, the queer community AND ALSO the God Hates Fags contingent. Inviting the latter is excluding the former. Yes, you can say that some will come anyhow -- this is often true -- so it's not THEM doing the excluding, it's self-exclusion. But this is a lie.
posted by jeather at 8:06 AM on June 30 [26 favorites]


There is literally nothing she could do, short of shutting up forever, that would make them stop targeting her.

She'll unfortunately always be a target, but when you feed the trolls, the troll population grows.
posted by iamfantastikate at 8:07 AM on June 30


It sounds like the troll population grows because they're being paid to grow by the clicks of sincere misogynists. Lots of people hate women, quite sincerely and passionately. They will pay others--trolls--to harass women on their behalf. Yes, her calling him a garbage human is clickbait--and will become money for them--but (a) they have zero problem making up clickbait anyway and (b) her continuing to exist in the world and have a job is just as provocative to them as anything she might say. The only way to stop feeding them at this point is to hide at home forever and never say anything feminist again, and that's hardly the best outcome.
posted by Aravis76 at 8:15 AM on June 30 [21 favorites]


Can we really not with the victim blaming nonsense? That's really ugly and upsetting to see here.
posted by palomar at 8:16 AM on June 30 [60 favorites]


And honestly, does anyone really think they would stop if Anita Sarkeesian "went away"? Do these fuckos ever stop whining about their targets? NOPE. This is their money making scheme, even if she and every other woman shut up and went away forever, they'd still whine and kvetch and groan all the time on their little videos about some bullshit in the world that they've decided some woman is responsible for in absentia, kinda like the way everything in politics is still Obama's fault to the nutjobs on the right.

And sadly, I truly believe that the same people advocating for Anita Sarkeesian to "stop feeding the trolls" (what a useless piece of victim blaming garbage that phrase is) would still find a way to blame her in that situation. Even though she's not there anymore, it's still a woman's fault. It's always, always, ALWAYS a woman's fault.
posted by palomar at 8:20 AM on June 30 [32 favorites]


Yeah, they could probably make "Anita Sarkeesian eats crackers like she owns the place" videos at this point.
posted by RobotHero at 8:21 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


> but when you feed the trolls

Her "feeding" generally consists of not addressing them at all, but instead talking about things that they don't like her to talk about. What you're saying - without meaning to, I assume - is that if she stopped talking about e.g. the representation of women in video games, the trolls would stop. That's not a solution.
posted by rtha at 8:24 AM on June 30 [36 favorites]


Knowing this, we should choose our words and react very, very carefully, so as not to provide such folks with additional ammo.

If they aren't "provided ammo," they'll make it up. Seriously, this advice has been given to every single non-straight-white-dude attacked by the scumbag right for the past twenty-five years and you can see where we are now. When, exactly, is it supposed to be helping? These folks will respond to nothing except effective displays of force (of the social/political/getting escorted out by security type; face-punching is a more specialized and difficult case). They will literally be shitty 24/7 until someone makes it impossible for them to do so.
posted by praemunire at 8:27 AM on June 30 [40 favorites]


Knowing this, we should choose our words and react very, very carefully, so as not to provide such folks with additional ammo.

Nope. Call a garbage human a garbage human I say.

All of my respect goes to Anita Sarkeesian.
posted by defenestration at 8:32 AM on June 30 [39 favorites]


And honestly, does anyone really think they would stop if Anita Sarkeesian "went away"?

No, they will never leave her alone. Nor Zoe Quinn.
posted by suelac at 8:43 AM on June 30 [16 favorites]


Knowing this, we should choose our words and react very, very carefully, so as not to provide such folks with additional ammo.

They manufacture their own ammo.
posted by srboisvert at 9:08 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


It sounds like the troll population grows because they're being paid to grow by the clicks of sincere misogynists.

This is key. They aren't going away because the current micro-casting/media environment pays them to be garbage humans. Not to mention the validation they receive from their fans, who are also garbage humans, or the opportunities that may come their way to network and leverage with other even more garbage-y humans. Many of these people are professional garbage humans. It's a business, much like tabloid news or paparazzi, only more garbage-y.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:12 AM on June 30 [15 favorites]


Hey guys, I hear that if oppressed or harassed people more carefully monitored their every goddamn motion and utterance, all the problems they keep whining about would go away. I bet Sarkeesian has never thought of that, maybe she can give it a try?
posted by tocts at 9:36 AM on June 30 [33 favorites]


The bro-flakes have started using anonymous hotline title-9 complaints, which have to be investigated, to harass female professors so don't be so sure that shitty behavior isn't already or soon will be invading your STEM realms.

Oh there is sexism of course. Although women talk openly amongst themselves and particularly sexist men tend to find themselves marginalized as stem management becomes more equal. It's not advancing anyone's career to be sexist or homophobic anymore. But there is NOTHING like this, this would get you banned for life and likely arrested. Security wouldn't let you in the building etc. I think these people have totally lost the thread and don't realize how far outside the pale they are. The internet also doesn't seem to realize how unacceptable this is in any other setting.

I mean, I would rip these guys a new one. They would be in tears. Then I'd get a restraining order and enforce it heavily. And they'd never get hired or allowed into anything again. I've seen it happen for way less in professional environments.
posted by fshgrl at 9:42 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


It's worth noting here that asian men (& asian women even more) run up against the "bamboo ceiling."

I definitely don't mean to imply that especially in the US that things are totally even there or anything, especially in leadership; I'm thinking more about lower-level tech hiring and the people whose current lifestyles tend to match taking advantage of those opportunities. Not that it always involves doing things that're likely to lead to one being a healthy, happy, productive adult, but young white and Asian men tend to be much more likely to have been positioned such that, say, a CS major at the best available college (regardless of location) and then moving to SF/NYC upon graduation is a totally reasonable path that people around them will support, whereas this is not true of women and black/Latinx/indigenous/etc people in the US. So those groups get "favored" in hiring, but they're substantially less likely to have their resumes in those piles to start with.

Once you get further up than that, yeah, the list of people who're getting screwed over by the system just gets larger, but the "preferential treatment" also tends to vanish.
posted by Sequence at 9:48 AM on June 30


Let's not pretend that Patreon and YouTube are just "taking a cut" of something that would exist anyway. They are providing a direct economic incentive to harass women. They have created, and are maintaining, a positive feedback loop for misogyny that inevitably leads to violence, both virtual and physical. You can't accept that stochastic terrorism is a thing and also deny that YouTube (and Alphabet) have a direct responsibility for the violence that is done to these women. They are directly growing, multiplying, feeding hatred against women.

Is this tolerated for any other group? Genuine question; I stay away from YouTube except when someone sends me a kitten video. Is there a similar economic ecosystem hosted by YouTube and Patreon that fosters racist harassment, for example?

If there is, what the actual fuck. If there isn't, still what the actual fuck.

Saying that "someone would profit off it somewhere because wing nut welfare" is some fucking weakass bullshit, too. There is a qualitative difference between crazy people cobbling together a wingnut welfare support system by selling paintings of terrible things and one of the biggest companies in the world providing the same service, if for no other reason than the latter normalizes this behavior as broadly acceptable in society. Come on.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:23 AM on June 30 [16 favorites]


Knowing this, we should choose our words and react very, very carefully, so as not to provide such folks with additional ammo.

Oh, totally, just like if women don't want to be sexually assaulted, they should choose their outfits and night-out locations very, very carefully, so as not to provide sexual assaulters with additional ammo.
posted by cooker girl at 11:53 AM on June 30 [19 favorites]


This is very much on a tangent but maybe relevant.

There is one video game youtuber whose stuff I'll watch that does often make videos in the "let's be very angry about this" genre. Which I let slide because the subjects of his anger weren't "SJWs ruining games" or whatever.

But one of his recent videos was some Youtube drama and I felt uncomfortable with it because he was going off about an individual person rather than a company, and the comments were getting pretty vile. And then his follow-up video was basically, No Seriously Don't Harass People, because of course some of his audience had gone and harassed her. And of course this happened when the subject of the video was a woman, because of course.

So he's saying don't harass, but he's still kind of riling people up for 10 minutes and then not addressing what outlet his audience has for that anger.
posted by RobotHero at 12:08 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


What you're saying - without meaning to, I assume - is that if she stopped talking about e.g. the representation of women in video games, the trolls would stop. That's not a solution.

No, I never said the trolls would stop if she stopped talking—not sure where you or anyone else got that from. There will always be trolls. I simply said there was bait, and taking it in the way she did was exactly what they (and their donors!) wanted. And that sucks because the last thing I want is for misogynists to get what they want.

We're dealing with people who already like to lie about women and women's rights, so it's best not to play into their hands. (None of us are perfect, of course, so it was only a matter of time before Sarkeesian spoke so bluntly in a situation like this, but I don't think that makes it any less unfortunate in a broader sense.) The reason this and similar situations matter is that, while there's (sometimes) not a lot we can do about people who are already entrenched in toxic culture, we absolutely do win over casual political listeners/readers/watchers and young people by taking the high road. Optics matter in culture wars.

Insults feel great in the moment (okay, and maybe after, if you're the one dishing them out), but they fuel the fire trolls warm themselves by and they get used by the apathetic to "prove" sexism and some monolithic version of feminism are two sides of the same coin—and so no one should bother with pesky social issues, right? That's false, but that notion is used to suppress progressive efforts all the time.

Caring about how these sorts of interactions get used doesn't mean I think any threatening behavior or threats have been okay, or that Sarkeesian could or can directly control them.
posted by iamfantastikate at 12:08 PM on June 30


The thing is, even if you do play your cards right, they'll just make up some grievance and use that. This is why the "you're handing them ammo" argument is toxic - they're going to create some ground for grievance no matter what, so all it becomes is a way to chide the people who are dealing with the abuse for not being the perfect victim.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:22 PM on June 30 [17 favorites]


I agree they lie all the time, but a lie sprinkled with a little truth, like the perfect soundbite, is more compelling to the uninitiated. It's not about convincing or converting misogynists, though that's nice when it does, on rare occasion, happen. It's about reaching, or at least not losing, less engaged people and people who are still learning about these subjects. We probably lose potential allies when we dish out insults. That doesn't mean they become sexist jerks; it may just mean they decide to ignore everything going on because "there's so much drama on both sides." That's...not good, I think.
posted by iamfantastikate at 12:33 PM on June 30


You're still telling her she didn't handle this right by not speaking nicely about it. That doesn't help anything. And guess what! Women have heard that 1,000 times before!
posted by agregoli at 12:37 PM on June 30 [26 favorites]


Also, people who say "there's so much drama on both sides," MIGHT BE SEXIST JERKS ALREADY. Cause they obviously have some big blinders on if they think this treatment is equal on "both sides."
posted by agregoli at 12:39 PM on June 30 [19 favorites]


We probably lose potential allies when we dish out insults.

That potential ally who blanches in the face of a woman insulting people will find some other reason to bail out when it gets difficult. You'll spend more effort keeping that ally ("Oh, no, we don't mean you, Stu...") than they provide to the cause.
posted by Etrigan at 12:39 PM on June 30 [25 favorites]


You only have to look at the highly choreographed and monetarily successful heel turn of Laci Green to realize that these are not people acting in good faith.
posted by Yowser at 12:41 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


We probably lose potential allies when we dish out insults.

People like a good laugh, and they like confident speakers who have a spine, and they like seeing bad people get their comeuppance. I think this was a perfect way to attract potential allies.
posted by mittens at 12:42 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


Does anyone have a link to the panel that wasn't taken by one of the shit con 2017 people (yes, that's one of the Twitter hashtag they were using even before their planes landed.)
posted by Yowser at 12:43 PM on June 30


iamfantastikate: "Caring about how these sorts of interactions get used doesn't mean I think any threatening behavior or threats have been okay, or that Sarkeesian could or can directly control them."

No, surely not. And you acknowledge that "none of us are perfect, of course, so it was only a matter of time". But given this, I don't know how the advice you are providing differs materially from "be perfect all the time in the face of overwhelming harassment and if you're not then you're to blame for losing this culture war." I mean, I might be misinterpreting here but it sounds to me like this is suggesting that no one should ever say even one cross word to their harasser(s) -- and, let's be real here: "garbage person" is a pretty mild insult overall -- even in the midst of actively being intimidated for fear of potentially turning off some hypothetical less engaged person because it's "so much drama." (also, [citation needed]). And I don't think she went off on a twenty-minute tirade either. Just a few statements at the top followed by a refusal to engage with those jerks.

To take this "don't alienate potential allies" logic to an extreme, we should then also criticize MLK Jr. for calling out the "white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice" in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. In that case, he's not even addressing the hardcore racists, he's calling out these potential allies directly. I mean, he literally called them more of an obstacle than the Klan and the WCC.
posted by mhum at 1:01 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]


Yeah, so, it still sounds like you're blaming the victim, iamfantastikate. She's not doing the right things, she's not doing enough, blah blah blah whatever. I gotta tell ya, though... it is in no way better that you're clarifying things by saying nothing stops the trolls. It sounds like your viewpoint here is that not only is there no way to stop trolls from trolling, but that the victims of these people shouldn't ever do anything to defend themselves. They should never show emotion at all. They should... what, ignore the bullies even though they not only won't go away, they'll threaten you and your family even harder? What? What are they supposed to do? What's the answer, if you look down on them so much for defending themselves? What can these women do to earn your respect as they try to protect themselves from violence? Or, if it's not possible to earn your respect, then what can they do that will make you stop blaming them for the way they're being treated?
posted by palomar at 1:12 PM on June 30 [14 favorites]


Where are all the various niche conventions finding these spectacularly incompetent organizers? I mean really now, this is pretty much Conference Organizing 101, and they just keep fucking it up?

For me, it's more about people dramatically underestimating what it takes to organize a conference well.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:22 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


[Couple comments removed, let's skip going in deep on annotating shitty stuff random people are saying elsewhere.]
posted by cortex at 1:28 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


While I think that calling someone else a garbage human to their face is rarely the optimal thing to do, caring too much about the optics of it just ends up placing an unreasonable standard of behavior on the 95% (?) of people who wouldn't be able to keep their cool in front of three whole rows of their harassers.

You know it's going to get turned against you if you look scared or upset. Better to look angry than to look weak. So what can you do? Not show up on panels at all unless you can demonstrate the calm of a Zen master?

I don't want to project too much on Sarkeesian here - I don't know how she was feeling or what she was thinking - but it's all too easy to imagine myself crying on a panel. It's all too easy to imagine myself being intimidated out of public speaking altogether. Calling someone who deserves it a garbage human may not be optimal but it's better than that.
posted by Jeanne at 2:43 PM on June 30 [14 favorites]


Trust me if she made some really personal and horrible insults towards those guys they'd be afraid of her and leave her alone. That's how they think and work. I've done it myself enough times to know it works very well. Being nice to them won't change their behavior. Fear and humiliation will. Strength and a ready ability to destroy individuals will.

There are loads of men out there who will talk about me behind my back but none with the balls to say anything to my face more than once and that's exactly how I like it.
posted by fshgrl at 3:26 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Trust me if she made some really personal and horrible insults towards those guys they'd be afraid of her and leave her alone.

My experience of 40-ish years of being old enough to be aware of how society and media deal with women, misogyny, etc. tells me that this is not true. If she were to make some "really personal and horrible insults" towards them they'd have even more ammunition with which to attack her as "hysterical" and "unhinged" and "bleeding from her wherever" etc. etc. et fucking cetera.

There is basically nothing any individual who's being targeted by this kind of organized harassment can individually do to make things better. This is why I support each person's choice to report, or not report, or press charges, or not press charges, and also why I feel strongly that every last one of us who cares about this needs to be pushing for structural, societal, legal changes to reduce and hopefully eliminate this kind of harassment.
posted by Lexica at 3:52 PM on June 30 [24 favorites]


Considering how easily and often it devolves into deadly violence, sexual harassment accompanied by threats should be treated as terrorism.
posted by jamjam at 6:17 PM on June 30 [11 favorites]


My experience of 40-ish years of being old enough to be aware of how society and media deal with women, misogyny, etc. tells me that this is not true. If she were to make some "really personal and horrible insults" towards them they'd have even more ammunition with which to attack her as "hysterical" and "unhinged" and "bleeding from her wherever" etc. etc. et fucking cetera.

Well sure, if she did it in a professional setting, sure. And because of her job and prominence she can't stoop to the level I'd be happy to. But 40+ years of being a woman and I know that the only thing that stops this kind of behavior is stark fear or them finding a new target. And loss of standing with other men is what all these assholes fear the most. Make them think you'll humiliate them in front of a crowd and they'll leave you alone.

If the guy is violent enough to turn around and try to murder you that's another thing but I think we can trust women to make their own decisions on that one and not just tell them they are doing everything wrong all the time. She doesn't have to be nice to these assholes or deal with the consequences and neither do I. And I'm tired of hearing that I should be. They deserve to be told in detail what utter pieces of shit they are, to their faces.
posted by fshgrl at 7:10 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Trust me if she made some really personal and horrible insults towards those guys they'd be afraid of her and leave her alone.

I know it's tempting to believe this, but I think it's dangerous to believe this without actual evidence that it's true. It's always tempting to believe that you'd be capable of responding to a threat like this in a way that would keep you safe from the things that're endangering others, but the fact that you win the arguments with the guys in your head does not mean that they'd actually respond that way in real life. This isn't the movies, and there's no evidence in all of this that you can say the magic words and mic drop and have it all go away. There are definitely women who responded to Gamergate-adjacent harassment less professionally than Sarkeesian did, and they did not get off any easier, and in some cases had things much worse.
posted by Sequence at 8:12 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


I'll say it a 1000 times. Hank Green is lying if he says he doesn't know about Anita and GamerGate and the garbage humans. But oh wait she violated his precious Code of Conduct.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:56 PM on June 30 [9 favorites]


She doesn't have to be nice to these assholes or deal with the consequences and neither do I. And I'm tired of hearing that I should be. They deserve to be told in detail what utter pieces of shit they are, to their faces.

Fully agreed that they're shit and deserve to be told so. However, I can say from personal experience, as I imagine many other female and assumed-female-by-others MeFites can, that that kind of confrontation often doesn't work and is, in practice, counterproductive.

Also, it would be nice to move away from looking at a harassed person's decision to play it cool/go low-key/put on a professional façade/pretend to be unaffected by harassment/etc. as "being nice". I've never met Anita Sarkeesian, but I doubt that any of how she's responded to this is about her wanting to "be nice". It seems much more likely that it's based on her understanding of the body of experience about how to respond to violent harassment.

You are not required to be nice if you're being harassed. If you want to get in their face with curses and insults, go for it. At the same time, please respect people who respond to being harassed by putting on an ice face, or going Teflon-skinned, or pretending to be hard of hearing, or whatever.
posted by Lexica at 8:57 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Polygon it is, then.

They have a few prominent women writing for/doing videos for them and I've been really enjoying it. Simone de Rochefort is a treasure.

Sarkeesian practices "effective" feminism about 99.9% of the time, as far as I can tell, and these assholes target her then, too. There is literally nothing she could do, short of shutting up forever, that would make them stop targeting her.

Evidence points to that not being enough. The woman who initially suggested Atheism+ as a pro-social justice form of atheism was harassed for more than a year after she shut down and left the internet and atheism. Aggressive misogynists thrive off of spewing their hatred and are reinforced by their followers, not the actions of the women they abuse, so there is nothing a targeted woman can do once those assholes have her in their sights.

"Feed the trolls" was always pernicious nonsense. The trolls feed themselves, they reinforce themselves, and they egg each other on. Hating women is a form of fandom for them, it's a way to channel their mediocrity so they will get rewarded by other mediocre white men like them. It's patriarchy at it's most pathetic - men who have failed at everything but getting other men to love them for abusing women.
posted by Deoridhe at 10:27 PM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Aaaaand now this little group of rich and merry totally-not-nazis has turned on one of their own. I'd link to it but it's just so stupid and sad.
posted by Yowser at 11:37 PM on June 30


Don't feed the trolls reminds me of being told in grade school that "if you ignore bullies, they will go away and leave you alone because they are just seeking a reaction." That was some weird kind of BS logic that parents of kids born in the 70's/80's thought was true. They were wrong then, and people are wrong now.
posted by bootlegpop at 2:15 AM on July 1 [11 favorites]


It's superfun to read the debate about this, especially the stuff about responding to harassment in a ladylike way to avoid scaring the straights. This same dynamic played out on The Bachelorette recently. Among other idiotic sideshow events, the show drafted a racist ringer white guy and encouraged him to bait all the black contestants 'til they got mad, whereupon he'd give them a lot of designed-to-enrage counsel that they should control themselves better. Meanwhile he was busily insinuating to the bachelorette that they were Angry Black Men and therefore should be denied roses. Presently people caught on and began calling the racist a snake and a bitch--though they appear to have been coached out of just calling him a racist, since that would've reflected badly on the show--and there were some lovingly filmed conflicts and then everybody who fell prey to the producers' antics, including the racist, got sent home because according to ABC, race baiting and angry reactions to race baiting are equally bad. It's all "drama." I have a side point I'll mention first, which is that every producer on that show should be forced to watch Philando Castile get shot on continuous loop until they die of thirst or despair, whichever comes first. But my primary point is that this always happens. Always. It doesn't matter how you respond. There is no safe response; there is no effective response. So you might as well do the most personally satisfying thing. Anyone sentient who has paid any attention at all to things happening in the world around them will be able to pick out who is the garbage person in these interactions.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:07 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


I think that the "just ignore them" advice is wrong but sort of on the right track.

I started video gaming on an Atari 2600 and NES, the multiplayer game I ever played online was Doom's deathmatch mode with my friend Josh from down the street over dial-up.

Sidebar, I'm just realizing right now the rise in online gaming and the spread of this toxic online gamer culture including my exposure to it coincided to a large extent with me meeting my wife. She exposed me to Metafilter not long after we met. The way I was raised left me feeling uneasy with toxic gamer/male culture but not quite into "this is wrong" territory. Nowadays, I'm a lot more aware of my privilege and much more active in calling out and condemning these assholes when I see them. I have all of you as well as my wife to thank for that. Thank you.

My approach these days is start off assuming they're not an asshole and simply made a mistake. I try to be firm but polite. Every once in a great while someone will stop there and sometimes even apologize. If that happens I do what I can to encourage more that. Mostly it's just a way for me to confirm that they are indeed an asshole thereby justifying whatever other actions are taken and getting them on the chat log and bait them into saying or doing something that will get them banned. I also find that if I can ignore whatever insults they hurl at me and just refuse to be insulted they often get ENRAGED. I mean, mostly these people are just trying to get a rise out you to reinforce their own sense of self-worth. When they can't do that they often get ticked off.

Mostly it's that I stop caring about them as a person and just refuse to engage with their weird bullshit. Which, as a random and anonymous man, it's pretty easy for me to do. It still makes me long for the days when I was an admin on a popular FPS server when I could pretty bluntly tell these jerks exactly why they were being jerks and what they should do instead (or risk being banned) and then banning them when they didn't. They'd often demand the ban be removed while at the same time not taking any responsibility for their own actions. Even so, by speaking up at a troll in games where I don't have admin powers, I will occasionally prompt other players to speak up/gang up against the offender.

Which makes me think that in my fantasy replay of the situation, Sarkeesian would very calmly (as I get the sense she did from TFA) explain that they are garbage people and then all of the OTHER men in the audience would have gotten up and told these jerks that Sarkeesian is right and that they were no longer welcome there before escorting them out. I mean, any women that want to add their weight to the crowd would be welcome but I kinda feel like it's on us men to stand up to these jerks and make it well known that it's not just "not all men" but "not MOST men" and eventually "almost no men".
posted by VTX at 10:44 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Patreon has a clause in their Community Guidelines where they state that they 'don’t allow bullying or harassment on Patreon.' I've just emailed them asking if that extends to the actions of creators they host. Will update with a response, because what Stupidname of Dickwad is doing is really, really gross.

I got a response back from Patreon telling me bullying and harassment is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and inviting me to use this Google Form (screenshot) to report a creator if they were harassing me personally (even though the form itself doesn't specify that).

Whatever, I filled it out, explaining how these dumb YouTubers treat harassment and intimidation as a game, and giving links to the Polygon article at the top and Anita's statement about the event as evidence. I said I wouldn't be able to support any Creators on Patreon until my concerns were addressed.

I've put a link to the form in my profile in case anyone else wants to use it as well. The email did state that I wouldn't be informed of the outcome of any investigation, though, so... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Panthalassa at 7:06 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


I saw a Twitter thread that made the point that harassment is often most visible as a pattern of behaviour where policies tend to focus on precise individual actions. So they could jump into action if someone says the specific words "garbage human" but will hem and haw over filling three rows of seats, because technically everyone attending the panel had to sit somewhere, right?

I guess what I conclude from my tangent above, is I'm not sure Youtube incentivizes harassment itself, but definitely incentivizes anger, in the vein of Fox News / Talk Radio / InfoWars / etc. Which might not be an ethical distinction but would be a tactical distinction if you seek policies that do address this.

( Another tangent, illustrating that relationship between anger and harassment is from this story of the POC yoga class. It's kicked off because of talk-radio host Dori Monson. Dori said he has no problem with the exclusionary practice of the class. His beef is with the presumed reaction that people will applaud this class for being progressive, while the opposite - a group of white people saying they didn’t want people of color in their class - would be “vilified.” He says he's not angry at them for having the class, he's just using them to illustrate what he sees as a double standard, but they end up the only viable outlet for his audience's anger. )

I haven't actually watched GoofyName of FantasyLand videos so I can't say for certain how close he treads that line. If the physical presence at VidCon can be established as harassment, then anything where he was recruiting fans to fill his three rows of seats could then be tied into that.

And here is an article which contains a response from Patreon regarding this.
… he has not posted content to his account since November of 2016. In addition, we have received very few complaints about his page.
Restricting it exclusively to things posted directly on Patreon would be an excessively narrow focus. Presumably people aren't paying him for doing nothing. On the plus side, the point about "very few complaints" provides an obvious solution.
posted by RobotHero at 9:59 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Presumably people aren't paying him for doing nothing.

Getting paid for doing nothing is also against Patreon's Community Guidelines...
posted by Panthalassa at 6:53 PM on July 2


Because once again, the victim is the one who's supposed to be maintaining civility
This so much in so many contexts.

Also, pretty much every time she crosses my radar for something like this I'm inspired to go give her org money, so basically these nasty garbage fools ended up funding her in a small way. Fuck them and the administration that validates their shitty garbage world view.
posted by eggkeeper at 7:43 PM on July 2 [6 favorites]


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