Internet culture puts trolling on a pedestal
November 24, 2014 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Developer Randi Harper came up with a simple solution to help people deal with the harassing tweets they've been receiving from Gamergators: the GG Autoblocker, a perl script that identifies likely GGers and adds them to an ever-evolving block list. This has been a popular move in some circles, and an unpopular one in others. In response to some of the "feedback" she's been receiving, Harper has written Still Here, a two-part post on being a woman in tech: A Memoir, Call To Arms
posted by Going To Maine (414 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
Okay. I'm old, I'm white, I'm male. Just so you know where I'm coming from.

You are always allowed to block incoming traffic to you. Period. End of statement. Have a problem with that? Fuck you, you're wrong.

Blocking incoming traffic to others is a larger question, but you are always allowed to say "fuck if I'm listening to your bullshit." By extension, you are allowed to publish a list that other people -- if they chose to -- can use to block random assholes. If you are not careful about who's on that list, it's not likely to be popular. If you are careful about that list, well, let me put it this way.

Thank Ghu the GG Autoblocker list exists.

Now, if it was mandatory that everyone use some auto block list? Then, well, then we have an issue. But if you offer a block list and give people the choice to use it? You are doing a good thing. Even if I disagree with that list, you are doing a good thing. There's a huge difference between 'Here's a tool you can use" and "Here's a tool you must use."

Oh, and fuck you GamerGate.
posted by eriko at 9:08 PM on November 24, 2014 [108 favorites]


In ye olden, Usenet days, this kind of block-list was called a kill file, although I don't recall if people typically shared their kill files. I also don't recall if people got super-worked up about getting plonked.
posted by mhum at 9:13 PM on November 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


If @BarackObama created a bot like @freebsdgirl's, designed to block followers of people he doesn't like @Twitter, we'd call it censorship.
Nope, I'm still not understanding GamerGate. In fact, the distance by which I fail to understand GamerGate seems to be getting longer and longer.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:13 PM on November 24, 2014 [50 favorites]


we'd call it censorship.

Stupid comparisons are still wrong, news at 11.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:23 PM on November 24, 2014 [15 favorites]


If @BarackObama created a bot like @freebsdgirl's

Then @BarackObama would be fucking awesome.

And, you know, I had no idea she was part of FreeBSD. I've been running FreeBSD since FreeBSD 3.3.

So, you know what? That makes her more right.* Suck it, haters. I'd listen to you whine, but OH LOOK KILLFILE.

And, you know, if you're mad that she's makes it so she doesn't have to listen to you? Maybe you should try to be worth listening to -- because if you're not, *PLONK*.

* I mean, she was completely right, but anybody helping FreeBSD gets a +3 to everything, which makes her...more right. Because math.
posted by eriko at 9:24 PM on November 24, 2014 [21 favorites]


benito.strauss: "we'd call it censorship."

Oh yeah. Remember what the precipitating event was that caused weev (and dozens of his like-minded trolls) to drive Kathy Sierra out of public life in 2007? It was proposing that blog owners should moderate their comments section. That simple proposal was proclaimed as "censorship" by those jerkwads. Plus ça change...
posted by mhum at 9:40 PM on November 24, 2014 [19 favorites]


What did KFC do to get on the ban list?
posted by Hazelsmrf at 9:41 PM on November 24, 2014


...we'd call it censorship.

DumbfoundedMalReynolds.gif
posted by aaronetc at 9:43 PM on November 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


mhum, not only did people share their kill files, but on some forums it was an offense worth banning to publicly post when you had put someone else into yours.

It usually went < plonk >. (Except now too many escape codes for me to replicate without the spaces).
posted by meinvt at 9:52 PM on November 24, 2014


That list blocked Game Developers and then was endorsed by the Independent Gaming Developers Foundation as a tool to stop "harassers" without demonstrating the harassment performed by the developers the IGDF claimed to stand for and work for.

Then they pulled it from the website, because of course you don't want to be seen a. Not supporting your connections that pay your bills or b. accusing many as guilty by association "harassers" by following supposed "harassers".

That's the story, not some unemployed PERL scripter with a penchant for personal victimization in the face of criticism.
posted by FiveNines at 10:17 PM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I was just thinking the other day that shared blocklists would be a pretty neat Twitter feature. In my fantasy universe, you could do Boolean operations on the sets formed by various users' blocklists (e.g. block the union of these users' lists, block the intersection of these, never block these, etc.).

This was prompted by thinking that jscalzi's blocklist would be worth subscribing to.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:24 PM on November 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


That list blocked Game Developers and then was endorsed by the Independent Gaming Developers Foundation as a tool to stop "harassers" without demonstrating the harassment performed by the developers the IGDF claimed to stand for and work for.

That's a story I suppose. To me the IGDA thing seems like a red herring; the fact that an autoblocker that's roughly three weeks old has flagged some accounts that aren't actually bad isn't surprising, and if you look at the commit logs you can see that Harper & co. are actively whitelisting folks who should be approved. I'm much more impressed that the list has already been adopted by more than a thousand folks to get crap out of their timelines, and the testimonials about how the program has made peoples' twitter feeds quieter, nicer places.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:28 PM on November 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


Nope, I'm still not understanding GamerGate.

What's to understand? They are entitled misogynist assholes who are also deeply stupid and lack any sense of self awareness.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:30 PM on November 24, 2014 [64 favorites]


I was just thinking the other day that shared blocklists would be a pretty neat Twitter feature.

This totes exists, though it isn't directly from Twitter! It's actually what the block list is leveraging. Check out blocktogether.org.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:30 PM on November 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


*plonk*
posted by notyou at 10:31 PM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's the story, not some unemployed PERL scripter with a penchant for personal victimization in the face of criticism.

Hey, this sort of personal attack isn't cool. If you're going to run a critique, avoid personal attacks and add substance to your claims.
posted by CrystalDave at 10:32 PM on November 24, 2014 [43 favorites]


@Going to Maine: If Burger King put out a list of all of the "worst fast food restaurants" in America and, instead of gathering more precise data from fast food restaurants, took the data from cities with the worst fast food. Imagine after the fact it was found out there were Burger Kings in that list?

Now what if those Burger Kings listed were in fact some of the better, on average, restaurants in Burger King? They would lose business for sure!

What if those Burger Kings are of equal quality to other "better" fast food restaurants? Well, there goes their reputation. No one wants to eat at the worst!
posted by FiveNines at 10:39 PM on November 24, 2014


The internet I grew up on (which is to say, the one that showed up my freshman year of high school) was replete with misogyny and the sort of juvenile idiocy and entitlement that have come to characterize the gamergate "movement".

Since then, some things have changed. Some haven't. Some things that changed did so for the better, some for worse.

One thing that hasn't changed: you don't fuck with perl coders.
posted by 7segment at 10:46 PM on November 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


I love these women so very much, I don't even have words for it.
posted by Deoridhe at 10:47 PM on November 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


FiveNines, what you tell is so alarming. Do you have some examples of those game developers injustly blocked?
posted by sukeban at 10:47 PM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


What did KFC do to get on the ban list?

Followed two or more high profile gators as well as anyone who ran the script against their own list of followers and then contributed the results to the block list.
posted by Reyturner at 11:03 PM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


That analogy really doesn't have any relation to the topic at hand, FiveNines. The issue is that Gamergate keeps calling for, at best, "action-based blocklists", where if you want to block someone, you have to prove they've (really really) been harassing (according to an ever-shifting definition of what counts as 'harassment'. Note that hiring a PI to stalk someone doesn't count under their definition), and only then can you block someone (but you aren't allowed to share that with anyone else).

What Randi Harper has done here is far more effective. (Going off the codebase as I last saw it, since last I heard it was midway through a major revision) If you follow a significant percentage of the ringleaders/key abusive people in Gamergate (And yes, it's pretty well established that each of the as-yet-seen 7 visible source people are abusive, with most of them having been suspended from Twitter for violating the ToS due to their abuse multiple times), then you're on a voluntary blocklist. And if you've been caught falsely (though short of "documenting their abuse", there isn't a good reason to follow them), then there's a documented process for getting whitelisted.
BlockTogether further allows you to block people who mention you who are also new accounts. I believe future versions of GGAutoBlocker are also going to take this into account as a heuristic.

In other words, if someone is actively following multiple prominent members of SPLC-recognized hate groups and unwilling to clarify why, the odds are pretty good that they're at least amenable to the hate those people are preaching, and I'm not terribly concerned if I don't see their messages popping up to sea-lion even more women developers.

I mean, the IGDA's been more than willing to condemn these people and work with the FBI to track down their abuse, allowing people to voluntarily choose not to be forced to see what they have to say seems pretty mild by comparison.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:08 PM on November 24, 2014 [32 favorites]


KFC oh god, the steal, the take, the no talent kale.
The obvious loser.
posted by Mblue at 11:08 PM on November 24, 2014


@sukeban: Two verfied, one anonymous to avoid further backlash, posted on reddit. More as gathered by TechRaptor.com. Even Roberto Rosario, chairman of IGDA Puerto Rico has his name on the list.

This is the archive link to the IGDA page with original link before it was changed then, ultimately, removed.
posted by FiveNines at 11:09 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


FiveNines: who gives a shit? If I told you right now I've just blocked you on Twitter, would you care? Does that affect you in the slightest way?
posted by ctmf at 11:15 PM on November 24, 2014 [42 favorites]


So Roberto Rosario, in an effort to prove he'd been unjustly labelled a harasser and decrying accusations of "pre-crime", invoked the #GamerGate tag which resulted in further harassment of Randi Harper?

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
posted by Reyturner at 11:21 PM on November 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


I'm not going to go to reddit, less so to KiA, but @siloraptor is following such interesting feeds as Internet Aristocrat, Milo, 8chan, Occupy Wall Street (occupied by Justine Tunney, a neoreactionary), Mike Cernovich, Not Your Shield, The Devs of #GG, Rogue Comissar and a shitload of people with GG avatars.

So yeah, it doesn't look like a false positive for me.
posted by sukeban at 11:21 PM on November 24, 2014 [23 favorites]


Hazelsmrf: The block list blocks people who follow GG luminaries, basically. Some people--in particular a lot of marketing-oriented Twitter accounts--have scripts going that just follow back everybody who follows them. Therefore, the block list can be manipulated by bad actors to a degree, but they do have the whitelist appeal process. I don't know if KFC might have just ended up there by accident. If the Good Men Project, which skews way too liberal to be of any interest to the GamerGate crowd, ended up on there by accident, then I'm Queen Victoria.

FiveNines: Even if you've never harassed anybody ever, you still don't have a right to the time and attention of anybody on Twitter. If you've really been blocked in error, it's not hard to get whitelisted. I was never obligated to listen to Fred Phelps, thank god, and I'm not obligated to listen to you, either. I will happily say that the IDGA should have been clearer about what it did. But that's a pretty small problem and nothing to do with freebsdgirl.

Perl is spelled just like that, by the way, Perl, and while it isn't to my taste, slamming someone for using Perl has to be the weirdest insult I've seen come out of GamerGate. And--"unemployed" appears to be just a flat out lie. Given how many people seem to have taken leave of their senses and decided that Enclopedia Dramatica's a reliable source, though, I assume GamerGate pictures her supporting herself by selling babies and meth.

This feels like the corollary to Lewis' Law--someone's response to being blocked on social media nearly always proves why they should be blocked on social media.
posted by Sequence at 11:23 PM on November 24, 2014 [68 favorites]


if someone is actively following multiple prominent members of SPLC-recognized hate groups and unwilling to clarify why, the odds are pretty good that they're at least amenable to the hate those people are preaching
It's also worth noting that "You follow these people" wasn't a method that emerged ex nihilo. Assorted "guides to participating in GamerGate" have—for months!—offered step-by-step instructions on setting up new twitter accounts, following other notable GamerGate personalities, and "signal boosting" their tweets with RT's and followup conversations.

What this has meant is that many of the drive-by harasser accounts were not simply random people, but *fresh accounts whose only defining characteristic was following a bunch of other GamerGate people*. Building a blacklist based on follow patterns was a response to the operating instructions GamerGate uses to mobilize its Twitter campaign.
posted by verb at 11:24 PM on November 24, 2014 [64 favorites]


From the AMA linked to: "At our core our vision and philospy is aligned with Gamergame." [their spellings] And they're pretty consistent... later on they complain about those horrible "SJWs".

So, they're a Gamergater. System seems to be working.
posted by zompist at 11:25 PM on November 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm completely befogged by this Burger King example, I think because IGDA and Burger King have completely different reasons for existing.

Really, CrystalDave nails it. This seems like a great, unofficial effort from a developer to make something that's helping a lot of people. It's a shame that it's still under active development and that some folks are getting their tweets blocked who shouldn't, but the list is public - getting off it isn't super hard. Meanwhile, Randi Harper has been getting treated quite badly by Gamergate folks over the whole thing.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:27 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


So yeah, it doesn't look like a false positive for me.

I suppose you could reasonably argue that someone following accounts like those could just be tracking the thing rather than positively subscribing to it. You'll get false positives, probably.

That said, who cares? Heuristics tend to come with error, but they're awfully useful in the cases where things like shared blocklists are desirable. This one sure seems like a decent approach to the problem.
posted by brennen at 11:27 PM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I guess maybe another precedent for this kind of global, shared kill file/block list are (were?) the anti-spam block lists, along with the whole issue of white-listing mistakenly blocked domains.
posted by mhum at 11:29 PM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh fuck, GamerGators have invaded Metafilter. Mods, don't let them get even the slimmest of footholds. Stop this now.
posted by Yowser at 11:38 PM on November 24, 2014 [40 favorites]


And for the record, Randi is exceptionally well employed, which is why she doesn't fear repercussions beyond the physical.
posted by Yowser at 11:39 PM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


If anyone doubts how effective the block list is, pick 50 people at random and check their feeds. It's amazingly accurate given its austensibly crude criteria.

Also, there is a whitelist.

Also, you can unblock anyone you want to.
posted by Yowser at 11:44 PM on November 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


If @BarackObama created a bot like @freebsdgirl's

Well, George W. Bush created it, but Obama's FTC keeps it current. It's called the National Do Not Call Registry, and it's awesome.
posted by straight at 11:45 PM on November 24, 2014 [39 favorites]


You'll get false positives, probably.

Oh noes! I might miss a tweet from some random stranger who might not be a GamerGater! Twitter is ruined!
posted by straight at 11:51 PM on November 24, 2014 [50 favorites]


Assorted "guides to participating in GamerGate" have—for months!—offered step-by-step instructions on setting up new twitter accounts, following other notable GamerGate personalities, and "signal boosting" their tweets with RT's and followup conversations.

Thanks for the reminder! This is doubly valuable, because of a recent "Operation" that's spread through /r/KiA and 8chan (the main grounds for this): #OpSkyNET. (Why they keep making names and comparisons to themselves as villains I'm not sure) Basically, OpSkyNET is where Gamergaters band together on Twitter, and follow each other. (Yes, that's it.) So since this flags exactly that behavior... yeah. I don't feel like I'm losing anything here.
Now, if only #OpMute could be so successful...
posted by CrystalDave at 11:53 PM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Gamergate is here? It's gonna be an acid-trip week as we read the incoherent ranting of cargo cultists attempting to emulate the language of the informed, empathetic, educated, and socially competent.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:55 PM on November 24, 2014 [24 favorites]


"They are entitled misogynist assholes who are also deeply stupid and lack any sense of self awareness."
This is a generalization about a group of humans, some women and visible minorities, you know nothing about as individuals but judge based on the use of a hashtag.

I called a Perl scripter (an informal term for programmer), a PERL scripter, and person that does not have any formal employment, unemployed.
posted by FiveNines at 11:59 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a generalization about a group of humans, some women and visible minorities, you know nothing about as individuals but judge based on the use of a hashtag.

Yes, oddly enough I have judged these people based on their statements and actions, and not their personal attributes. I am exceedingly comfortable in my charcterisation
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:02 AM on November 25, 2014 [95 favorites]


This is a generalization about a group of humans, some women and visible minorities, you know nothing about as individuals but judge based on the use of a hashtag.

#notyourshield, that spontaneous grassroots campaign that wasn't engineered by the burgersandfries IRC channel at all.
posted by sukeban at 12:05 AM on November 25, 2014 [20 favorites]


visible minorities

!!!
posted by dialetheia at 12:06 AM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]



Oh noes! I might miss a tweet from some random stranger who might not be a GamerGater! Twitter is ruined!

Did you, uh, read the rest of my comment?

posted by brennen at 12:09 AM on November 25, 2014


This is a generalization about a group of humans, some women and visible minorities, you know nothing about as individuals but judge based on the use of a hashtag.

#gamergate is a garbage zone of garbage people that love to eat garbage and call it caviar


\/ like, direct sea-lioning here, it's great how predictable this is
posted by smasuch at 12:10 AM on November 25, 2014 [14 favorites]


@His thoughts were red thoughts: enjoy your favorites I guess? Would you advocate the same for others towards groups you may claim allegiance to?

@sukeban: Care to post evidence to that claim? Does it apply to those who use the hashtag now? What about this video?
posted by FiveNines at 12:11 AM on November 25, 2014


This is a generalization about a group of humans, some women and visible minorities, you know nothing about as individuals but judge based on the use of a hashtag.

Assumptions about a group are easy and logical when a group considers themselves part of a movement which was founded by a slut-shaming hate mob who were angry about some accusations which were easily disproved. A group that let itself be named by their spiritual leader who thinks Obama is out to infect America with ebola. A group that shelters the sort of people who gladly harass people out of their homes, and will frequently target women while leaving men alone. A group which maintains its main discussion forum on a site which gladly hosts child porn. A group which has repelled almost everyone except for MRAs, reactionaries, Holocaust-deniers, and got a big thumbs up from Stormfront. A group which obsesses over "SJWs" and "feminazis" and doesn't actually do much of anything about "ethics in gaming journalism".

A group which hasn't actually accomplished anything positive in its three months of existence.

Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and make a generalization that it's a worthless, hateful movement which is fortunately dying and will be remembered only as one of the last gasps of the useless old guard.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:12 AM on November 25, 2014 [77 favorites]


(dude, the @ stuff is not really done here)
posted by dialetheia at 12:13 AM on November 25, 2014 [27 favorites]


Did you, uh, read the rest of my comment?

Yeah, sorry, I wasn't quoting to argue with you, brennen, I just meant to comment on the general idea that a false positive on a Twitter block list would be a bad thing.

I thought the whole point of Twitter was that it was a whitelist of people you actively wanted to follow.
posted by straight at 12:16 AM on November 25, 2014


I do like sea lions and am glad to see one here. Are sea lions a great mammal or the greatest mammal? I welcome any and all enthusiastic debate so long as you ultimately agree that sea lions are the greatest! Even better than ponies or kittens.

If you do not agree, I shall be forced to continue my polite and insistent questioning.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:16 AM on November 25, 2014 [21 favorites]


What about this video?

Sigh.
posted by sukeban at 12:16 AM on November 25, 2014 [15 favorites]


I just meant to comment on the general idea that a false positive on a Twitter block list would be a bad thing.

No worries. Sorry to be a bit jumpy about it.
posted by brennen at 12:18 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like this entire affair has resulted in the unreasonble maligning of the noble sea lion.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:18 AM on November 25, 2014 [39 favorites]


Noble sea lion? You can hear them from miles away, and they mostly just flop on the docks and beg for food/eat human scraps. Around here they even make people shoo them away with sticks for community service. If only there were some sort of internet stick-shooing protocol...
posted by Earthtopus at 12:23 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


They're a cross between the sea lion and Humpty Dumpty.
posted by ctmf at 12:23 AM on November 25, 2014


sukeban: Sigh is not a response. You claim that members of #notyourshield are sock puppets. Please provide evidence to that claim. I am discussing this in good faith, providing evidence, and not misrepresenting your statements unless you'd like to point out where I did and I will clarify.
posted by FiveNines at 12:24 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Would you advocate the same for others towards groups you may claim allegiance to?

Would I advocate that groups and movements be judged on their actions? Yes.

It's not my fault that a group that you apparently 'claim allegience' to is a bunch of reactionary woman-hating nutbars who don't understand the concepts of journalism, censorship, ethics or evidence. That's on you.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:25 AM on November 25, 2014 [39 favorites]


Randi is not unemployed. https://plus.google.com/app/basic/+RandiHarper
posted by Yowser at 12:25 AM on November 25, 2014


Is this a parody of the sea lion thing? Or are you being serious right now?
posted by ctmf at 12:26 AM on November 25, 2014 [17 favorites]


You claim that members of #notyourshield are sock puppets.

No, I haven't.
posted by sukeban at 12:31 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Even *if* Randi's employment status mattered at all to the subject of blocklists on Twitter, which it doesn't, would that obviate any individual user's decision to blacklist content for any personal reason whatsoever, or use any tools to help them do so?
posted by Earthtopus at 12:32 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


[Comment deleted. Fivenine, you need to back off the taking-all-comers things and making yourself the center of this discussion. You've made your points, now ease up a bit, please. (And everyone else, it would help to move on. Thanks.) ]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:35 AM on November 25, 2014 [15 favorites]


Earthtopus, re:Randi's employment status, I was just trying to counter the repeated claim that she is unemployed.

Btw metafiltrr, this is classic sea lioning you're seeing from fivenines. Let him continue, and he'll invite all of his friends.

Mod, feel free to delete all of my comments in the a thread. And preferably nuke this entire thread from orbit before it's too late; a new article can be submitted.
posted by Yowser at 12:37 AM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't love the idea of block lists, because you will get false positives, probably quite a few of them, and, as a principle, I don't like the idea of siloing oneself from all differing opinion. However, and its a pretty huge however, the behaviour of many of the people on the blocklist has been disgusting and for those people (mostly women) who have had to deal with unending harassment whenever they post something remotely critical of the special topics that GGers care about I can absolutely see why a tool like this would be useful.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:37 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thanks to this thread I finally understand what Sea Lions are all about.

I don't even understand what the debate is about. It's not just that I cannot understand the argument. I literally cannot identify the thesis.
posted by cotterpin at 12:42 AM on November 25, 2014 [16 favorites]


Thanks to this thread I finally understand what Sea Lions are all about.

Fish, mostly.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:46 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hey, I like Perl!

On Twitter, someone linked some Gamergate material, something about "millions of the video game dead," that made me realize - you know otherkin, the furries who claim they're reincarnated fantastic animals? Gamergaters are like that, only with video games.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:56 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Some people--in particular a lot of marketing-oriented Twitter accounts--have scripts going that just follow back everybody who follows them."

Wait, this script may automatically block marketers?

How is this a bad thing?

That's not a bug, that's a product.
posted by el io at 1:04 AM on November 25, 2014 [25 favorites]


Some Gamergate numpty turned up on the DiGRA mailing list a few weeks back trying to start this kind of inanity (i.e. requests for 'evidence', taking the position of arguing in 'good faith').

My favourite part was when he (I am completely fine with assuming it was a he) accused 'us' (i.e referring to all other users of the list with the plural pronoun 'you') as being unethical games journalists. While I'm sure that there are many journalists that subscribe to the list its primary user base are academics that study videogames and its primary role is to announce upcoming conferences/ job postings, and to seek assistance tracking down sources/resources, etc. DiGRA does after all stand for Digital Games Research Association.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:05 AM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


I feel like it's safe to assume they don't know what the word "journalist" means, or "journalism," or even just most words in general
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:13 AM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


I literally cannot identify the thesis.

It basically goes something like - "oh noes, they are trying to take our special toys away and make us act like adults with basic social competency rather than spoilt man-children who have serious resentment issues or something with women." Only cloaked in the issue of ethics in journalism, as if that was an issue that only became a thing a few months ago and has nothing to do with what the major publishers that make their special toys have been up to over the years.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:13 AM on November 25, 2014


Oh, that as a thesis I do get. I meant a thesis regarding Harper's block list. There was at least one objection to it that it blocked somebody and got endorsed by somebody else, which was more evidence of unethical behaviour in games journalism and yadda yadda yadda.

Apparently if you receive harassment, it's just part of being on the internet and you should deal with it. However, if you make a tool that automatically blocks harassment, that would be unfair due to false positives and lack of due process. It's funny how fairness and entitlement go hand in hand.
posted by cotterpin at 1:46 AM on November 25, 2014 [19 favorites]


Oh, that as a thesis I do get. I meant a thesis regarding Harper's block list.

It doesn't make sense, but it's basically "NO FAIR. IF YOU DON"T LET ME THREATEN YOU WITH RAPE, THAT'S CENSORSHIP AND YOU ARE HITLER".
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:52 AM on November 25, 2014 [50 favorites]


Thank God I never signed up for Twitter.
posted by Segundus at 1:52 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


Hooooly shit, actual gramblegoats spotted here, in the flesh, on Metafilter. Never thought I'd see the day.
posted by Jimbob at 2:08 AM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


A cursory look at KiA should indicate what the movement is about these days. /r/gamerghazi has been tracking the # of journalism-related posts on the front page; a few days ago it finally hit zero.
posted by archagon at 2:15 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


gramblegoats

I like this construction.

gamblegouts
goobergits
goatergoots
gumblegaps
gomergatts
gattergints
geetergents
gootergunts
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:19 AM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


What is interesting to me about these block/kill lists is how their perceived power affects the users & controllers rather than the people blocked. (who as mostly trolls are boring) You can block people for any reason of, but if you give the power to do it to someone else it is easy for that power to be another tool for social competition. I know that there is the similar/original "blockbot" run by people from the A+ forums and from the limited interaction I've had with people involved with it - that seems to have had several competitive leadership purging events and purity drives in its time ending up with people who originally had a large hand in popularising it now being on what they thought were their own block lists.

The automated nature of this list obviously increases the false positives but decreases the competitive social pressure for "control" of the list. Interesting to see if/how the mechanism evolves and the definition of a "gamer-gater" changes now that people are granting one person definitional power over who is green/blue team. Although there appears to be an "appeals group" already so non-monarchical power structures rapidly developing.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:38 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I mean, Twitter isn't really a community, per se; the blocklist solves a well-defined problem, that being: if I'm an outspoken woman in the game industry, how can I prevent my Twitter feed from filling up with spam and hatred, at a rate of something like 10 or more tweets a minute?
posted by archagon at 2:51 AM on November 25, 2014 [9 favorites]


I wish when having political arguments on the net I could get away with GG tactics...

Look, unless you have substantial answers and can address all of the points in this video and this video, you are obviously in the wrong, and have no idea what you're talking about. And you're dodging the issues and truth brought up in those videos. Don't bother even trying to continue a discussion until you've answered the issues brought up on those videos.

(example videos used, I'm not specifically endorsing those videos, but let me know if they are good).
posted by el io at 3:11 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I feel somewhat blessed that my twitter feed is still free from these twits and I don't need to figure out how to use this. Just judging by the trolling in this thread, I'd be driven mad by this shit.

Also any friend of FreeBSD is a friend of mine; FreeBSD helped provide my livelihood for six years.
posted by octothorpe at 3:39 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


That was hilarious. I hope he doesn't invite his friends, though; gamgergort is amusing only in very small doses.

I usually don't tweet enough about games culture to need this list, but it'll be good to have it in my back pocket in case that changes. Without (I think) siloing myself off in an echochamber, I believe firmly that blocking off useless drains on my attention makes my life a lot better, and grumblegirthers definitely fall under that heading.
posted by daisyk at 4:00 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


The GamerGate cycle: spot a woman doing a Thing; be outraged (x5 if it involves a woman trying to keep herself and other women safe from GamerGaters); make several hundred hour-long youtube videos; from some grand youtube alchemy form the group conclusion that the Thing the woman is doing is either unethical or illegal; try to drive the woman out of her house or get her fired or otherwise ruin her professional or personal life; when challenged on their conclusions, link a random youtube video from any point in the alchemy in the knowledge that no-one can stand watching any of them on screen for more than a few seconds.

Ethics!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:05 AM on November 25, 2014 [39 favorites]


In ye olden, Usenet days, this kind of block-list was called a kill file, although I don't recall if people typically shared their kill files. I also don't recall if people got super-worked up about getting plonked.

Oh they did indeed. There were huge battles fought in the news.* Usenet admin groups about free speach and how it's censorship because automated spamming and the like isn't allowed in the Big Eight. All the harassment, doxxing, threats, smears (like y.t. being smeared as a pedophile for posting anti-spam notices in rec.arts.comics.*) , it was all there

Which also reminded me of Russ Allberry's mighty rant about what Usenet is for from which this is very much relevant still, several technologies further:
Do you know what it's like to have a friend of yours randomly on a whim decide something in a newsgroup you created is interesting and engaging enough to post to Usenet for the first time? And then to experience the horrible, sinking knowledge that with that post he's likely to get his mailbox flooded with spam? Or the raw fear that he'll then never post again, scared away, when this place that has given you so much could give that to him as well, and that he could give the same to other people? And that, damn it all, he's one of the cool people in this world, and you don't know what these groups are all for, in the end, but if they're for anything at all, they should be for people like him?
posted by MartinWisse at 4:07 AM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


The reason people are sharing their block files is because the harassers are just creating new accounts when the old ones get blocked or banned. This way they can only harass one person before the process starts over. I follow Zoe on Twitter and before I used the autoblocker anything she posted would have a bunch of replys calling her a whore and so forth. Now I can read the Twitter accounts of people I'm interested in without a bunch of noise, and if I block the KFC corporate account too, oh well.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:17 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


You know, I'd love to have an opinion on the KKK, but the fact is that there are women in the KKK, and people with disabilities...and, you know, I don't know anything about them as individuals....I'd just be making a decision about them based on their membership in some group. Maybe I should post a question to AskMetafilter about whether or not that would be ethical.
posted by Bugbread at 4:19 AM on November 25, 2014 [31 favorites]


#NotAllGrandWizards
posted by sobarel at 4:21 AM on November 25, 2014 [38 favorites]


Their tactics are very religious in nature. Reminds me more than a little of how I was taught to witness to the "lost" in my fundamentalist church. To be polite, ask questions, push verse after verse, etc. It's all about conversion and never taking no for an answer. This is basically what the gators tell each other to do when talking to non-gators. The gator above was following this script to the letter, with lengthy videos replacing scripture.

This is what's particularly creepy about the whole thing to me. Why would a group with a supposedly narrow focus (reform of gaming journalism) need people to 'convert'? I've supported a ton of causes and none of them, ranging from Utah wilderness protection to gay marriage advocacy groups to the Democratic Party, have ever taken the notion that I needed to fully convert or that I should convert others beyond advocating for specific ideas or candidates.

Gamergate is a secular cult which exists only to perpetuate itself.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:21 AM on November 25, 2014 [30 favorites]


Aah this is so great. Not least of all the "false positives" red herring. I mean you just can't make people give a shit about that, hence the shrill CENSORSHIP hyperbole.

Poor censorship: such a misunderstood word.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:34 AM on November 25, 2014


Gamergate is a secular cult which exists only to perpetuate itself.

That and to make a quick buck for the right wing hucksters who have attached themselves to it like hagfish on a whale carcass.
posted by PenDevil at 4:42 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sea lions, herring, hagfish... will this slandering of the ocean kingdoms never cease?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:53 AM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


I've mentioned in the other threads that I am using this blocklist, and here's my experience so far:
-I'm blocking 18,280 users as of this morning. I also experimented with the A+ blockbot, so my number is probably several thousand higher than the GGAutoblocker list.
-It works astoundingly well in terms of blocking the vast majority of #GG accounts. The initial criteria (block any user following two or more of these users: [list ~10 GG "leaders"]) is beautifully simple, and I hope making it more complex doesn't hinder it.
-I can go to Blockedby.me to see a list of who I'm blocking, their bio, when they joined, and what their last tweet was. I just checked--most are still tweeting the same GG talking points, word for word. A couple have moved on to trolling (or maybe being sincere! IDC) about Ferguson. Some run heavily in PUA circles. Some are actual, literal nazis. I have gotten a few false positives, but the consequences of that seem pretty low. None of them have been people I was following before.
-I had to stop following @ggautoblocker because they are using its followers as a target list.
-It doesn't block anyone from your searches. This sucks. It also doesn't hide replies to people who are blocked, which is even worse. You see a lot of one-sided arguments with this setup which, even if I agree with the side I can see, is annoying. It feels wrong to pressure anyone to use this, but for it to really work as intended, it needs wider adoption so those people don't take the bait.
Basically, I find Twitter to be an astronomically large place already, to the point where hiding the frothiest of users is only scratching the service of what I would have to do to make it a place where I was comfortable speaking out. I'm a good use-case for this tool. It makes my timeline more manageable, and I will definitely keep using it.

Also, after typing that out, the word "block" has lost all meaning.
posted by almostmanda at 5:20 AM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


Gamergate is a secular cult which exists only to perpetuate itself.

It's more like some kind of sociological short-circuit, like Pontypool.

"Mrs. French's cat is missing. The signs are posted all over town. "Have you seen Honey?" We've all seen the posters, but nobody has seen Honey the cat. Nobody. Until last Thursday morning, when Miss Colette Piscine swerved her car to miss Honey the cat as she drove across a bridge. Well this bridge, now slightly damaged, is a bit of a local treasure and even has its own fancy name; Ethics in Games Journalism"
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:24 AM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


To be fair, everything on social media is a secular cult which exists to perpetuate itself these days - that is the consequence of journalism/activism becoming dependent on ephemeral, viral social media for its impact. Which means twitter and by extension - all notable discussion on the internet - is dominated by people whose primary pastime or actual job is to engage in a competitive match for status and attention by triggering emotional responses that induce sharing and engagement. (primarily with either amusement through care responses and Benign Violation Theory. And/or by triggering Sanctity/degradation, Fairness/cheating memes to rally the greens or the blues).

This was the case before of course to a certain extent, but social media is a huge force multiplier.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 5:35 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Having read Harper's memoir and call to arms now makes me respect her even more for her decision to enter the fray and create this blocker. Because, as she says:
It is incredibly difficult to be viewed as being both technical and an activist for feminism. To many people in this industry, you’re either one or the other, and I had fought so long to be respected for my technical contributions. I didn’t want to lose that. I was afraid that if I spoke out, the only thing conferences would ever want me to speak about was being a woman in tech, when I have so many other things to offer. To this day, I have always refused to be on a women in tech panel, because I have such a deep-seated fear of being typecast solely as an activist.
That's the fundamental dillemma for women in tech (and elsewhere): suck it up and be one of the lads with a slim chance of at least being taken seriously as a techie, or speak out and get ten times the abuse *and* not have that grudging respect. Consciously or unconsciously, the industry rewards women who put up with abuse, punishes those who don't. (And worse, there's a market for women who are not just putting up with the status quo, but eager to defend it like e.g. the 4chan sponsorerd Fine Young Capitalists pandering to the harassers' dollars.).
posted by MartinWisse at 5:40 AM on November 25, 2014 [46 favorites]


I think that is an important point, it is part of the performance - you either get to be a social justice person as your identity, or you get to be the technical person above the fray only worried about the code. (If you are a woman) trying to do both you don't fit into a neat box so get ostracised. (Men get more leeway, but the world really doesn't need more white male nerds attacking other white male nerds on someone else's behalf)

This is a self-reinforcing stereotype - "everyone knows" women who speak out about sexism, or who become managers or who don't have kids are "pushy" or "bitchy" - so the only people willing to speak out become those who are not afraid of being associated with the stereotype or those powerful enough that they cannot be stereotyped easily.

Which means you get abuse from the green team for conforming to the stereotype and from the blue for not conforming enough. Look at the equal opportunities abuse & criticism Marissa Meyer and Sheryl Sandberg get for example whenever they have tried to talk about feminism while still maintaining their careers. Everyone just wants to shove them back into a box where they can talk over them. Even more brave for someone not in that position of power to try and take some steps against the trend.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 5:59 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the "sealioning" concept, because IMHO polite challenging discussion is always a plus. Hell, I'm doing it in KiA right now and have had both interesting discussions and actually have convinced some people (or at least had them concede major points.)

The "look at his video" thing is heinous though. Use your words.

There is outrage there about the GGBlocker but no one there can really articulate what's wrong about it. People keep urging the faithful to write emails, to government even, complaining but the best they can come up with for why these blockers are wrong are vague mumblings about "collusion" -- dude, that must means cooperation unless there's something illegal -- or "that's blacklisting, which is illegal" -- WTF? I had to educate people on McCarthy -- or references to the terms of service at Twitter -- which specify "unlawful" purposes, which brings us back to the legal issue.
posted by msalt at 6:03 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Kadin2048:

"This was prompted by thinking that jscalzi's blocklist would be worth subscribing to."

It's not; I block almost no one.

On the other hand, I mute quite a lot of people on Twitter.

It's a different dynamic. If I block you, you know it (because among other things Twitter won't let you send a tweet to me); if I mute you, you do not, unless I tell you. And being who I am, I like the idea of these dunderheads thinking they are making devastating points against me when in fact they're talking to a wall. Argue with that wall, dude! The wall loves it!

The people who argue that me (or any other private individual or entity) blocking or muting them on Twitter is the equivalent to censorship self-identify as too ignorant about the dynamics of free speech to take seriously. That said, this is also why I prefer mute over block. I'm not doing anything to impede their speech; I'm not even impeding their ability to direct their speech toward my Twitter account. They can "@" me to their heart's content! I'm just not obliged to listen, or care.

Of course, that's what infuriates the gamergate dunderheads -- the idea that they aren't worth listening to and that you are not required to tolerate either their enraged spittle or their exhausting sea lion act. But in fact they aren't and you're not, especially on Twitter, which is not well tuned for substantive discussion. If someone tries to sea lion me there, I'll often mute them because in addition to being tiresome, they're signaling that they just don't understand the medium at all. And why would I want to bother with them in that case.

In any event I firmly encourage people blocking or muting people on Twitter (or elsewhere). Life is short and spending it in the company of spittle-flingers and sea lions seems a bad way to spend one's relatively few moments conscious of the amazing universe in which we are privileged to live.
posted by jscalzi at 6:04 AM on November 25, 2014 [85 favorites]


Forgive my ignorance; what is muting? I find it interesting that blocking won't even allow someone to retweet you.
posted by msalt at 6:06 AM on November 25, 2014




I'm just not obliged to listen, or care.

This! Freedom of speech does not mean "guarantee everyone must listen to me!" Stand on the box on the corner and shout your heart out - I'm not obliged to listen. It's a great system.

And the thing about walling yourself off from other opinions.... Misogyny, harassment and rape threats aren't exactly new, so I don't feel like I'd be missing anything there.
posted by rtha at 6:12 AM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the "sealioning" concept, because IMHO polite challenging discussion is always a plus.

That's because you haven't had to deal with a flood of people "politely" arguing with you when you're trying to do other stuff. It's the death of a thousand cuts, where you have dozens of people superficially challenging you without ever engaging in real debate.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:16 AM on November 25, 2014 [21 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the "sealioning" concept, because IMHO polite challenging discussion is always a plus. Hell, I'm doing it in KiA right now and have had both interesting discussions and actually have convinced some people (or at least had them concede major points.)

Except it's not polite. The language is polite, but the argument is not.

Look at this thread for an example. How many posts until Harpers's technical ability and agenda are questioned? Ten. Does it matter if you do it politely, and dress it up like a debate with links to supposed evidence? You're still trying to label someone as a discredited person whose opinion should be dismissed out of hand
posted by cotterpin at 6:26 AM on November 25, 2014 [31 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the "sealioning" concept, because IMHO polite challenging discussion is always a plus.

Yeah, but polite discussion also requires listening.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:33 AM on November 25, 2014 [20 favorites]


It's hard to have polite, challenging discussion with people who will turn to rape threats and emails to my employer when I say something they disagree with.
posted by almostmanda at 6:38 AM on November 25, 2014 [37 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the "sealioning" concept, because IMHO polite challenging discussion is always a plus.

Except when it's not. I got sealioned yesterday by mentioning GamerGate in a reply to a colleague on Twitter. I know Twitter is public, and my tweet to him was public, but that doesn't mean that having a discussion with a colleague there implies that I want to have a debate. (Especially since Twitter might be the worst possible place to try to have a debate.)
posted by Ted Mielczarek at 6:41 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have friends on twitter who are women in tech. I've seen the abusive behavior when they say anything about #GamerGate. This block list is a good thing.
posted by idiopath at 6:47 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the "sealioning" concept, because IMHO polite challenging discussion is always a plus.

There's a difference between "polite challenging discussion" and "someone lectures you about how wrong wrong wrongity wrong you are but they're just superficially polite about it". Sea-lioning is always the latter.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:53 AM on November 25, 2014 [9 favorites]


Blocklists are awesome.

We use one on our firewall to block known bad hosts. We use one on our caching proxy server to keep users from bad bad bad websites. We use one on our email server to reduce spam. We use one on our PBX to prevent cold calls trying to sell us whitepapers from Symantec.

Yeah, false positives suck, and false negatives, too. But whatever. A 99% reduction in workload on me and my cow-orkers is a huge win.

It's sort of amazing that Twitter - a company worth 3837456 billion dollars - can't seem to implement simple block/ignore tools. I mean, third part support is great and all, but jeez.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:55 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't use the autoblocker personally, but I'm glad it exists. For the last several months my Twitter feed has been full of people getting into shouting matches with gamergaters. Individuals would get worn out, but there was always someone somewhere who was ready to engage.

The autoblocker's impact has been profound on my game-industry-heavy feed. Simply by having high profile people use it, I benefit from the generated herd-immunity. I can go for days without seeing gamergate mentioned on Twitter now. Conversations about games are back to being about actual development and community happenings again.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 7:02 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


but @siloraptor is following such interesting feeds as Internet Aristocrat, Milo, 8chan, Occupy Wall Street (occupied by Justine Tunney, a neoreactionary), Mike Cernovich, Not Your Shield, The Devs of #GG, Rogue Comissar and a shitload of people with GG avatars.

With that lineup, @siloraptor is exactly the kind of person I want to have blocked automatically for me.
posted by Theta States at 7:05 AM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


I benefit from the generated herd-immunity

OK, while others have made the point repeatedly above & elsewhere (and they were apt points), the ongoing conceptual affinity between GG & Pontypool is starting to freak me out a bit.

Like ... maybe I should be talking in French now, just to be safe?
posted by aramaic at 7:09 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm blocking 18,280 users as of this morning. I also experimented with the A+ blockbot, so my number is probably several thousand higher than the GGAutoblocker list.

Query: if I'm actively following (whitelisting) someone, does that override the blacklist? 'cos, you know, that sounds like a useful tool. In fact, I can think of a few more clusterings it can be applied to.

I feel like classic liberal positions ("the answer to bad speech is more speech", "freedom of speech is a wonderful thing - right up there with the freedom not to listen") have simply disappeared from the public consciousness over the past five years or so, to be replaced with a shrillness that feels very alien to me. Makes me feel old.
posted by Leon at 7:13 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I actually think "the answer to bad speech is more speech" gets trotted out a fair amount, though usually in the "this is why you shouldn't block people" camp.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:21 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


the ongoing conceptual affinity between GG & Pontypool

Gamergate. Gamer. Gate? Gamer...gate. Gamergate. Game.Er. Gate.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:22 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


Query: if I'm actively following (whitelisting) someone, does that override the blacklist? 'cos, you know, that sounds like a useful tool. In fact, I can think of a few more clusterings it can be applied to.

Block Together's homepage states they won't block accounts you already follow. You can also share your personal blocklist with other people who use Block Together.
posted by almostmanda at 7:23 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Leon: "I feel like classic liberal positions ("the answer to bad speech is more speech", "freedom of speech is a wonderful thing - right up there with the freedom not to listen") have simply disappeared from the public consciousness over the past five years or so, to be replaced with a shrillness that feels very alien to me."

Well they are bullshit, from the point of view of any group consistently spoken against without the power to raise an equal platform from which to speak back.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:25 AM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


I tend to think blocklists are a bad solution, evidence of something more deeply broken. Which is pretty much true in this case. GamerGate is broken, and is actively breaking Twitter, and there is no better solution. So OK. But it still feels wrong to me, not that I have a better option.

I wonder how well Twitter's internal architecture handles large block lists? My guess is blocking was implemented on the assumption someone blocks at most a handful of people. I wonder if they're having to reimplement or optimize systems to handle block lists of 10,000+?

Twitter did take a small official step a few weeks ago, partnering with Women, Action, & the Media to centralize and escalate reports of harassers on Twitter. I'm curious how well it has worked, I hope WAM has the right to summarize the results of the action. FWIW Twitter seems to be moving faster in shutting down the worst of the harassment accounts, I've seen accounts blocked in hours instead of days.
posted by Nelson at 7:25 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


False positives on this blocklist make it absolutely useless and discriminatory, and also illegal. If even one person is unjustly blocked on twitter, it's censorship. That's why every morning I go through the few thousand emails Gmail has categorized as spam over the last day and go through them one by one to make sure that there are no false positives. I call on GamerGate to follow my lead.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 7:29 AM on November 25, 2014 [46 favorites]


almostmanda: That's awesome. So in the general case it just needs three params - a list of seed accounts, a threshold value, and a degrees-of-freedom value. Hmm...

ArmyOfKittens: you are wrong, and there is no synthesis possible between our points of view.
posted by Leon at 7:29 AM on November 25, 2014


My understanding is that the WAM reporting has been working, but the bans are temporary, so either they run out and the user goes back on Twitter like nothing happened (Nero) or the banned person just makes six more accounts and keeps it up (RogueStar). The blockbot seems to be having the most effect, though a mute bot would probably work just as well.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:51 AM on November 25, 2014


Blocklists are awesome. I had a killfile a mile long on Usenet and I have a killfile one person long on MeFi.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:56 AM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


If even one person is unjustly blocked on twitter, it's censorship.

I'm still working on my first cup of coffee, so I'm not sure whether this whole thing was sarcastic - but in case it wasn't, then no, it's not censorship.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:56 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


The rest of the comment makes the sarcasm pretty evident. Drink more coffee!
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:58 AM on November 25, 2014 [17 favorites]


The problem with the "polite" part of sea lioning is that it represents an intense feeling of entitlement. I have momentarily followed all the social obligations of not threatening you; you therefore have to listen to me and answer all of my questions. If you fail at doing that, no matter what the merits of my argument, I'm right. It's an attempt to engage in a war of attrition while other people are attempting to engage in conversation, employing siege tactics against people who are trying to just live their lives. GamerGate is at war. I'm at breakfast. These are not compatible states.

I think the one thing I can get behind here is that we all deserve more coffee.
posted by Sequence at 7:59 AM on November 25, 2014 [55 favorites]


I have momentarily followed all the social obligations of not threatening you

Yeah, sea lioning is basically the children's game of "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you! Why are you getting mad? I'm not touching you!" wrapped up in a thin veneer of politeness.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:00 AM on November 25, 2014 [33 favorites]


On the pontypool bit, has anyone come at internet culture from the reverse perspective? That memes are spreading, reproducing idea-forms that propogate via human meat space? Inculcating with identities (person with no prior disdain towards social justice has that opposition meshed with their strong gamer identity) to escape death (forgetting)?

I'm sure someone in a blog at least has gone on at length about it, can't find it though. Weird to think about, as if the tail wags the dog. Or as if we thought we were the dog, and may have been, but are really, or are now, the tail being wagged.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:01 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Stage 1: Denial.
Stage 2: Anger.
Stage 3: Bargaining.

Stages 4 and 5 can't get here soon enough.
posted by Roentgen at 8:03 AM on November 25, 2014


On the pontypool bit, has anyone come at internet culture from the reverse perspective? That memes are spreading, reproducing idea-forms that propogate via human meat space? Inculcating with identities (person with no prior disdain towards social justice has that opposition meshed with their strong gamer identity) to escape death (forgetting)?

"Words lose their meaning when you repeat them," as Pontypool's tagline goes.

Like "ethics" and "journalism".
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:03 AM on November 25, 2014


To be fair KFC also blocks arteries so it is not like they are innocents.
posted by srboisvert at 8:04 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


The sea lioning comic was really helpful in clarifying what the whole concept is about. Basically "I just want to publicly yell about how much I hate you people and tell everyone what horrible things you think, so how dare you show up and publicly disagree with me."

Yes. That has been my experience in dealing with GamerGate people. They like to publicly yell about how much they hate people like me, and how much they hate the things I stand for, and if I dare to show up and publicly disagree with them, they'll pull the sea lion routine, and if I stick around long enough and let them continue, they'll start attacking me. Doesn't take long, gets vicious fast... kinda like actual sea lions.
posted by palomar at 8:05 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


A 99% reduction in workload on me and my cow-orkers is a huge win.

[Absolutely Brilliant Typo! I applaud your absurdist fingers.]
posted by srboisvert at 8:10 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


[Absolutely Brilliant Typo! I applaud your absurdist fingers.]

Cow Orker has a long history in the IT industry.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:14 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sea lioning is basically Tone Argument v. 2.0 - just as no grievance will ever be framed politely enough, no evidence will ever be good enough, either.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:18 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


I suspect without looking that my twitter account (which is for my science fiction publishing small press) might be on the block list, because I follow back pretty much everybody who isn't obviously a robot or SEO marketer, and because gamers tend to be into science fiction, so probably quite a few gators are following me. In the fullness of time, somebody will notice that I'm on there (if I am) and have me whitelisted. I can't imagine worrying about being on this list. If some people miss some of my tweets, well, so what? Twitter is a firehose - most people don't see most tweets anyway.

The existence of false positives on such a list is such a small problem it's basically a rounding error.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:30 AM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


This "Plonking" you speak of, I find it intriguing. Is it, perhaps, available in the real world, possibly in gun form?
Oh wait, that would probably just be a gun...never mind. :[
posted by sexyrobot at 8:44 AM on November 25, 2014


FiveNines at 1:17 AM on November 25:
That list blocked Game Developers and then was endorsed by the Independent Gaming Developers Foundation as a tool to stop "harassers" without demonstrating the harassment performed by the developers the IGDF claimed to stand for and work for.

Then they pulled it from the website, because of course you don't want to be seen a. Not supporting your connections that pay your bills or b. accusing many as guilty by association "harassers" by following supposed "harassers".

That's the story, not some unemployed PERL scripter with a penchant for personal victimization in the face of criticism.


I want to go back to this original comment and underscore how skewed of a characterization of the situation it is, and how utterly mean and petty the final part is.

The IGDA page was extremely comprehensive in it's harassment support advice and techniques. The GGautoblocker was only given as a link of additional resources at the end, for when all other tactics had not abated the harassment.
They did not say that everyone on it was a harasser, but that it would block most of the harassers. GG saw that and feigned playing victim and manufactured their outrage that "oh golly gee, they just accused us ALL of harassing women". It's classic Fox News reactionary manufactured rage to a non-scandal.
It was there a morsel of hope to those who were being crushed under the weight of #gamergate dogpiles.

The real scandal is that actual professional adults would be following such obvious trolls that have a deeply negative impact on women in tech/gaming.

If you support #gamergate, you are complicit in the obvious harassment it enables. You are a cog in its mechanism that hurt women (and others) in tech.



Randi Harper is just another woman who stood up and said "Fuck your bullshit, #gamergate". And GG responded as they always do to outspoken women: TEAR HER LIFE APART.
Dig up every thing they could.
Investigate every aspect of her online history for any comments that offence can be feigned from.
Find her family, her dead sister's photos, and spread and use them.
Contact her employer, contact all associates, and paint her as some mythological demon with choice details from the oppositional research.
Try to threaten. Try to humiliate. Try to destroy.

Gamergate is out for blood, and women are their prime targets because they have the deepest toolchest of tactics to attack them, and any victory is as good as the next for their morale. They know they can't effect AAA developers, so they pick off individual women.
One by one, they have been chased out of the industry, or at least from online. Each a notch in gamergate's belt, each part of the echoed message "don't you dare think of standing up next".

It is fucking vile. It's all so petty.
Good on Randi for standing up to this bullshit. I wouldn't wish what she, Brianna Wu, Anita Sarkeesian, or all of the other women (and there are many,) have dealt with, on my worst enemy.
These are not perfect human beings. They aren't idols. None of us are. And yet still they stand resilient.
posted by Theta States at 8:46 AM on November 25, 2014 [77 favorites]


Well said, Theta States. Also:

That's the story, not some unemployed PERL scripter with a penchant for personal victimization in the face of criticism.

This tactic drives me crazy and it's everywhere in GamerGate:

"I'm not going to talk about (or even name) the woman who's being harassed, I want to talk about Lofty Ideals. Besides, she's unqualified and hysterical ."
posted by murphy slaw at 9:01 AM on November 25, 2014 [32 favorites]


@freebsdgirl:
It's been pointed out to me that I'm on metafilter. I have no idea what metafilter is.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:01 AM on November 25, 2014 [18 favorites]


It's interesting watching the GamerGate kids sling hate at Raspberry Pi because the org's official Twitter account uses the blocklist. And it's obvious to the GG kids that the only reason the org would even want to use the blocklist is because of Liz Upton, head of communications. See, she's an evil SJW who only has her position because her husband is one of the founders, so clearly she's incompetent and stupid and fucked her way into her position.

They're turning Milo Yiannopolous on her next, judging from that thread.

Oh, but GamerGate doesn't have a problem with women, you guys. It's definitely not a ragtag band of misogynist assholes or anything.
posted by palomar at 9:02 AM on November 25, 2014 [16 favorites]


MetaFilter: I have no idea what metafilter is
posted by Going To Maine at 9:02 AM on November 25, 2014 [29 favorites]


"I'm not going to talk about (or even name) the woman who's being harassed, I want to talk about Lofty Ideals. Besides, she's unqualified and hysterical."

Don't forget "shrill"!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:03 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think you could probably just create a script blocking anyone with a One Piece, Naruto, or Death Note avatar and achieve a similar effect with less effort.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:06 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's a good idea, but image processing is actually pretty darn difficult. Maybe the block list could be used to estimate the likelihood that particular avatars are characters from One Piece, Naruto, or Death Note?
posted by Going To Maine at 9:09 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thank God I never signed up for Twitter.

Though be aware (surely you're aware) that it's possible to have a Twitter account and follow one's own odd little niche interests and public figures and whatnot and never have seen a single thing about this stupid shit ever, thank fucking goodness.
posted by aught at 9:09 AM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


> Sea lioning is basically Tone Argument v. 2.0

It's a conversational DDoS by dudes who want to roleplay the arguments they win in the shower.
posted by postcommunism at 9:10 AM on November 25, 2014 [66 favorites]


I think you could probably just create a script blocking anyone with a One Piece, Naruto, or Death Note avatar and achieve a similar effect with less effort.

Trust me, I've been trying out OpenCV image recognition for avatars already, to see if was possible. Actually for their "G Backwards-G" green-&-purple rape joke logo (since that's consistent)
posted by CrystalDave at 9:13 AM on November 25, 2014


It's a good idea, but image processing is actually pretty darn difficult.

GG has "official" colors (green and purple*) that most of them use in their Twitter avatars, I would sort of love to see them completely lose their shit over a script that blocks based on detection of those colors

*and if you have your head sufficiently buried up the ass of chan culture, this is somehow a rape joke
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:15 AM on November 25, 2014


honestly just searching for and blocking those shades of green and purple would probably work; they're incorporating it into those weheart logos now, too.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:15 AM on November 25, 2014


Let's not forget that every sea-lioned discussion also leads to breathless requests that you view lengthy Youtube propaganda videos that enrich the dudes who posted them. But, you know, ethics.
posted by almostmanda at 9:18 AM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


It'sHappeningRonPaul.gif
posted by Going To Maine at 9:21 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yeah, right now my Twitter feed is 50% Ferguson and 50% how EU tax law is going to affect independent knitting pattern publishing. These people are massively destructive in their little world, but their world is pretty little.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:21 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Gamergate is ridiculous and not even worth arguing over, but talk of Plonking takes me back to my heady days as "owner" of alt.fan.sonic-hedgehog, where I learned a great deal about arguing on the internet.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:23 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Every nitwit who cries "censorship" over a fucking twitter blocklist/mutelist I just want to pummel with hardback copies of Lady Chatterly's Lover and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in a laundry sack.

Lemme see you "hadoken" your way out of that.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:24 AM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


Trust me, I've been trying out OpenCV image recognition for avatars already, to see if was possible.


Well, I'm not a coder, so I'll take your word for it.

But really, unless you've watched this video or this video, I'm not sure we can even have a conversation about this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:25 AM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't understand, TheWhiteSkull! The red pill videos usually work!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:26 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Every nitwit who cries "censorship" over a fucking twitter blocklist/mutelist I just want to pummel with hardback copies of Lady Chatterly's Lover and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in a laundry sack.

Use Ulysses, it's heavier.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:31 AM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


So has anyone watched one of these videos? Will I start chanting “ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD GAMERGATE,” after I actually bother to watch?
posted by octothorpe at 9:37 AM on November 25, 2014


I have not. There's classic films that are shorter than some of those videos that I could be using to enrich my mind instead!

One of the things that I find super baffling about that whole subculture of nonsense is how someone could film themselves going on a vitriolic three-hour rant picking apart one specific person, and then look at it and then say "yep, this makes me seem reasonable and not at all obsessive and furthers my goal of having my ideas taken seriously without accusations of ad hominem, Ima post this to YouTube and link it to everyone who criticizes me".

Like, at what point do you go so wrong in your analysis of human perception?
posted by Phire at 9:42 AM on November 25, 2014 [28 favorites]


I heard about this a while ago and thought it was fan-fucking-tastic.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:46 AM on November 25, 2014


octothorpe: "So has anyone watched one of these videos? Will I start chanting “ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD GAMERGATE,” after I actually bother to watch?"

I watched the video where the guy is providing commentary on the Sarkeesian Effect trailer and laughs at how many skulls that neonazi guy has. But not any videos by actual gamergaters; I learned that lesson well when I accidentally watched a video by the amazing atheist and had him keep showing up in my recommendations for months after.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:47 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


So has anyone watched one of these videos? Will I start chanting “ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD GAMERGATE,” after I actually bother to watch?

I tried to watch the "Gamergate in 60 seconds one". It's basically a stream of factoids without any context; you might swallow it whole but it's hard not to listen and not realize that some kind of information is being left out of the picture.

I also tried to watch two of thunderf00t's anti-Anita Sarkeesian videos. I had to stop each one after about 30 seconds when it became clear that they were utter nonsense. Honestly, it's not even at the level of a news organization, because he seems unable to actually connect any dots. It makes me sad & concerned that anyone thinks his points are worth their time, since it suggests the scope of the battle to be fought.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:47 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a generalization about a group of humans, some women and visible minorities, you know nothing about as individuals but judge based on the use of a hashtag.
You appear to be confused about where you are. This is MetaFilter, where we generally judge based on evidence. This is not reddit, where we judge based on how many people agree with us.
posted by scrump at 9:49 AM on November 25, 2014 [38 favorites]


*looks for upvote button next to scrump's comment*
posted by rmd1023 at 9:54 AM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


*gives scrump metafilter gold*
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:58 AM on November 25, 2014 [20 favorites]


Dudes getting bent out of shape because they don't get to say rude things to unwilling targets? GamerGate has finally merged with Street Harassment! Now if we can just bus some of these guys to Ferguson.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 10:01 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ferguson has suffered enough.
posted by LindsayIrene at 10:03 AM on November 25, 2014 [15 favorites]


Whatever you do, don't google gamersgate and Ferguson together. You'll already know what you're going to find and it won't make you feel better to see your instincts justified.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:06 AM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


El Sabor Asiatico: "Dudes getting bent out of shape because they don't get to say rude things to unwilling targets?"

<GamerGateHat>I'll have you know, all 350 of my replies were unfailingly polite. How dare you imply that I was being rude. I am an individual and as...1/6</GamerGateHat>
posted by RobotHero at 10:08 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


Whatever you do, don't google gamersgate and Ferguson together.

*full-body cringe*
posted by dialetheia at 10:09 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think you could probably just create a script blocking anyone with a One Piece, Naruto, or Death Note avatar and achieve a similar effect with less effort.

Hey hey, there's no reason to impugn The Big Three over this. #NotAllShonen
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:30 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


Hey hey, there's no reason to impugn The Big Three over this. #NotAllShonen


The Big Three? The big three what? Adolescent male wish-fulfillment fantasies? I mean, I don't even understand what's happening in them most of the time. Stretchy pirates? Ninja school?


In my day, Anime was about normal things! Like misunderstood teenage boys in giant robots fighting other giant robots...or actual giants...or whatever the fuck those things in Evangelion were...



I'm kidding of course. Besides, for adolescent wish-fulfillment, I lean more towards Girls und Panzer- because who doesn't want to drive a tank, and work together to save the school, and make friends! *goes back to editing clips from Girls und Panzer into battle scenes from Fury*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:54 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: I have no idea what metafilter is

$20, same as in town.

So, way back I used to hang out at a gaming forum that had some smart people with occasional bouts of "ironic" sexism that was finally too much. After the first wave of Gamergate, I went there again to see their reactions. And you know what, apart from two people, even the biggest trolls* on the board had written comments condemning GG and harassment. As for Gamergate, that a killfile could be considered controversial by people who make death threats, I don't even.

*with the old-fashioned meaning of the word
posted by ersatz at 10:55 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


green and purple " *and if you have your head sufficiently buried up the ass of chan culture, this is somehow a rape joke"

I am sure it is no accident that green, white and purple are the original Suffragette colours. Some dickhead obviously thought this was hilarious.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:10 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am sure it is no accident that green, white and purple are the original Suffragette colours

Actually, it does seem to be an accident. The origin of the color scheme, for the curious.
posted by whir at 11:13 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


I feel like classic liberal positions ("the answer to bad speech is more speech", "freedom of speech is a wonderful thing - right up there with the freedom not to listen") have simply disappeared from the public consciousness

I'm old enough to appreciate what you mean, but I don't think it's a change in values, it's a change in response to communication channels. The things you reference applied when you basically just had a newspaper or radio or TV. It took effort to write a letter to the editor and to out yourself as Caring About an Issue but needed to be done to refute the idea the silent majority felt oppression of minorities (as an example) was ok or that such a silent majority existed. It might even result in you being ostracized from your social group.

Nowadays people mindlessly Like a status on Facebook no matter how outré to show they're involved and care. As someone else suggested above, Gamer Gate on Twitter was actively depressing me even though I wasn't actively following it. Tech people I do follow were taking on trolls and it was dripping into my feed and getting to me. I don't need to see their shit speech; we're all familiar with it and a zillion pages of it is available at the drop of a search button. The problem with trying to engage in more speech here is it's self-defeating. It's Cú Chulainn fighting the ocean: while it's noble to take on wave after wave, there will always be more waves. The only possible result is we lose someone on "our side" to disinterest/ burnout.
posted by yerfatma at 11:22 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


So has anyone watched one of these videos?

I tried to find (via googling) and watch "The Red Pill Video". Don't know if I got the right one, it was a 40s-ish divorced guy droning on VERY SLOWLY about having to support women financially. It was impossible to stick with, and I'm a yet older divorced guy. The length was about 15 minutes, I got through 2-3 and think I have a high tolerance.

Weird that a bunch self-described geeks and introverts can't use writing.
posted by msalt at 11:32 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh dear. Hi, everyone. I appreciate the post, and (most of) the comments. :)

There's a few things I'd like to reply to, but instead of making a comment for each one, I'll cover all of it here.

In regards to FreeBSD-related comments:

FreeBSD rocks. I've been a part of the project for 10 years, and I love them with all the love there is to love with. They really are my extended family. It really sucks that they are now getting harassed by people that seem to think that FreeBSD employs me. Ironically, due to my position in FreeBSD, some of those emails come directly to me. While FreeBSD is not going to take a public position (as well they shouldn't), the support I've received from within the project has been tremendous. Although I've asked most to stay quiet, Colin Percival stepped up to speak on the KiA reddit thread, as he was my good friend and FreeBSD mentor. It went about as well as you'd expect.

...unemployed PERL scripter with a penchant for personal victimization...

I'm happily employed. It's nearly impossible to be even a mediocre DevOps engineer in the bay area and not have a job. As far as my choice of language, I've always been a fan of perl. It's my go-to for quick hacks like this. If anything, I would think that using perl would point to being quite employable, since it tends imply at someone that's been around a while. Most of the newer engineers don't seem to bother learning perl. Those that use it tend to be sysadmins that have been around for over a decade.

I tend to think blocklists are a bad solution, evidence of something more deeply broken.

Agreed. I'm not fond of the idea of massive blocklists, but it was the only solution that I was able to design that didn't break Twitter's ToS. The ToS are unfortunately but unsurprisingly designed to protect Twitter's business interests, and not the users of the service. Doing anything to change the core twitter experience for a user (such as pre-filtering of tweets via a proxy service) is a direct violation of the ToS. However, having a mob of thousands of users verbally attacking a single person is acceptable. I work with what I've got.

I had to stop following @ggautoblocker because they are using its followers as a target list.

Holy crap. I did not know about that, but I shouldn't be surprised. Do you see any value in having a private account? I'm not actually sure if it's possible to view the followers of a private account or not. On second thought, it probably is. sigh. The best I can recommend is to follow the RSS for the site for updates. I'll be posting more there as things happen.

If I block you, you know it (because among other things Twitter won't let you send a tweet to me).

This is incorrect. The only way to know if a user is blocking you is if they try to fav/RT/follow you. They can still tweet you. In fact, if you're not using the web client, twitter doesn't even filter blocked users from your mentions. Your client has to do that for you. Twitter doesn't really do a good job of maintaining most of their clients, as far as I can tell. I can confirm that both TweetDeck for Windows and Twitter for OSX let some of the blocked users through if you're blocking a large amount.

This post got longer than intended, but I just wanted to reply, clear some stuff up, and than you all for the kind words. However, since I didn't create a youtube video of some greasy dude sitting on a couch ranting for 90 minutes, a minority of the lurkers viewing this thread may not be able to understand it. ;)

If anyone has any questions they'd like to ask, I'd be happy to answer them here - within reason.
posted by freebsdgirl at 11:35 AM on November 25, 2014 [154 favorites]


The targeting of women by GGers is very obvious. I regularly challenge and mock people in KiA, and have even engaged twitterers I follow on the subject, and have received no abuse (tempting fate).

Perhaps because my twitter is 99% about NFL football and my online voice is, I think, pretty butch. I'm tempted to create a feminine programmer persona and poke the beehive to see what happens.
posted by msalt at 11:35 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


GG has "official" colors (green and purple*) that most of them use in their Twitter avatars (*and if you have your head sufficiently buried up the ass of chan culture, this is somehow a rape joke)

What the fuck? Those are my "I miss New Orleans" colors that I use everywhere I can. God, these stupid assholes ruin fucking everything. I cannot believe how much I hate them, I didn't think I could hate anyone this much.
posted by Errant at 11:40 AM on November 25, 2014 [9 favorites]


I feel like classic liberal positions ("the answer to bad speech is more speech", "freedom of speech is a wonderful thing - right up there with the freedom not to listen") have simply disappeared from the public consciousness over the past five years or so, to be replaced with a shrillness that feels very alien to me.

I hear those things pretty regularly, I just think most people realize that they're not applicable when it comes rape and death threats.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:41 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


FreeBSDGirl: However, since I didn't create a youtube video of some greasy dude sitting on a couch ranting for 90 minutes

Just so we're clear: both sides of the GG debate engage in this sort of sexist, inflammatory rhetoric.

As long as this continues there will be no resolution. Neither of y'all have clean hands and don't kid yourselves that you do.
posted by Setec Astronomy at 11:50 AM on November 25, 2014


Holy crap. I did not know about that, but I shouldn't be surprised. Do you see any value in having a private account? I'm not actually sure if it's possible to view the followers of a private account or not. On second thought, it probably is. sigh. The best I can recommend is to follow the RSS for the site for updates. I'll be posting more there as things happen.

It's probably not worth changing anything over--I mostly noticed that a few new-ish random-alphanumerical Twitter accounts, public and private, were starting to follow me (and the public one was following other @ggautoblocker followers). It was creepy, but I blocked and reported and haven't had any pushback yet. I don't think switching to private is necessary.

It's definitely a great tool, and Twitter has become much more usable as others adopt it and stop getting baited into unwinnable arguments. I hope you're handling the attention okay--I imagine it's draining to be the focus of #GG's roving eye.
posted by almostmanda at 11:52 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


"More speech" is a great answer to arguments, and has in fact been used plenty to rebut false and disingenuous claims from the GG crew. It is not an effective response to harrassment, though.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:52 AM on November 25, 2014 [23 favorites]


Just so we're clear: both sides

ffs
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2014 [68 favorites]


Leon: ""the answer to bad speech is more speech""

I think aphorisms like this presume a great deal about the context in which the "speech" exists. For example, it seems like this would definitely hold if we're talking about actual conversations or reasoned discourse. It may also hold in cases of propaganda and misinformation campaigns (i.e.: that those should be countered with counter-propaganda and true information). However, when the speech itself is used as a weapon (e.g.: harassment campaigns, death threats), it's hard to see how this still holds.

Is the answer to spam more email?
posted by mhum at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


FreeBSDgirl: No questions, much support, keep on being hardcore.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2014 [21 favorites]


What the fuck? Those are my "I miss New Orleans" colors that I use everywhere I can. God, these stupid assholes ruin fucking everything. I cannot believe how much I hate them, I didn't think I could hate anyone this much.

SAME. I almost wore an outfit based on green and purple today and decided against it because thinking about their bullshit made me feel ill and I didn't want to be reminded of it all day. See also: Five Guys burgers was ruined for me for weeks, I've only barely gotten over that one.
posted by dialetheia at 11:55 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


SAME. I almost wore an outfit based on green and purple today and decided against it because thinking about their bullshit made me feel ill and I didn't want to be reminded of it all day.

I refuse to let these fuckers ruin She-Hulk.
posted by almostmanda at 11:57 AM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


> both sides of the GG debate engage in this sort of sexist, inflammatory rhetoric.

man that was not an example of sexist rhetoric
posted by postcommunism at 11:57 AM on November 25, 2014 [40 favorites]


Neither of y'all have clean hands and don't kid yourselves that you do.

There is no neither. There is only Gibbletgrist, and the random collections of folks who dislike Goobergrimble. The difference here is that a random collection of people only have to say that they disagree with any particular whackjob who posts some craziness. Garblegrab, which wants to be a movement, needs to exert some additional effort.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:58 AM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


There is no neither. There is only Gamergate

welp, time to cross the streams
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Going To Maine: "Garblegrab, which wants to be a movement"

Actually, now they want to be a consumer revolt. You need to stay up to date.
posted by RobotHero at 12:07 PM on November 25, 2014


I mean if you can seriously convince yourself that an opt-in blocklist with a documented review process is some kind of oppression, you have badly fumbled some rolls against Current Events Knowledge and Self-Awareness.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:07 PM on November 25, 2014 [18 favorites]


TotalBiscuit is a fucking joke.
posted by kmz at 12:12 PM on November 25, 2014 [15 favorites]


I think the interesting thing that makes this block list different from say, an anti-spam blocklist is the relative importance of avoiding type 1 and type 2 errors. Usually a type 1 error (false positive) is worse and to be minimized aggressively. You'd hate to be blocking people's important business email.

In this case, from the list user's POV, who cares about a type 1 error? You might block someone on Twitter you've never heard of, and probably wouldn't want to hear from anyway? There are no "important business tweets" to be careful of. But the type 2 errors let people continue to harass you.

Also, I'm having trouble imagining a case where being on the block list would be offensive unless your goal was to continue talking at someone who explicitly does not want that. It kind of requires a bit of a guilty conscience. If I learned I was on the block list, my reaction would be a) Huh? That's weird. b) Shrug. W/ev.

Maaaybe c) Hey, I'm not a harasser, can I get off the list? But I doubt I would expend much effort for something that has no practical effect on me.

Making it algorithmically generated was brilliant. Now there's no "She's calling me a harasser! I'm going to sue for what-I-think-libel-is!" It's not a 'harasser' list, it's a 'people who follow these other people' list. True or not true? True. There you go.
posted by ctmf at 12:14 PM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


TotalBiscuit is a fucking joke.

Can you elaborate? I know roughly nil about him (beyond that he seems to be a popular youtube guy & a pro-gamergate fellow), and would love some knowledge.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:15 PM on November 25, 2014


TB is not involved with gamer gate, nor does he give It much credibility. He just heard people say "well this is a conversation about ethics in journalism and women in video games " and then found the biggest journos he could and had a conversation with them about ethics in journalism and women in videogames. He touches on gamer gate in both and the dismissed it pretty quickly.

I mean if you are green v blue you can probably twist his words as pro or against you - but he is someone who is battling Cancer and holding down 2 full time jobs, give him some slack
(side note my iPhone autocorrectects gamergate to gamer hate which is much better)
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:16 PM on November 25, 2014


I'm not a fan of the idea of labelling anyone as a "harasser" based solely on who they're following on Twitter, if that's a thing that's happening an not just imaginary victimhood on the parts of some GG folks, but if the terminology is "potential/likely harassers", I don't see the big deal. "Person who's likely to blather about stuff I don't care about" also seems perfectly reasonable.

GamerGate in general seems somewhat baffling to me. It's not like gaming media is a bastion of impeccable journalistic ethics, with all the endemic advertising and reliance on publisher goodwill for various types of access, but even the parts of GG that are explicitly anti-harassment seem way too hung up on misunderstandings of media criticism and casual relationships between people in the same industry.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the idea of being unable to control the perceptions of a public hastag, but it seems somewhat inevitable, especially with one whose origins were as questionable as this one. Ultimately the only thing that defines an anonymous label with no official organization attached to it are the statistical tendencies of its actual use.
posted by Wandering Idiot at 12:18 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've also read a couple of "this is why GamerGate is wrong, dangerous, and stupid" attempts to summarize things, at least three of which have been linked from metafilter. They're also not very convincing. The more I look at any strong opinionated advocacy about GamerGate, for or against it, the more it seems bizarre that this many people seem to think it important. Anyway, it's all very amusing. Carry on, keyboard warriors.

It's important because gamergate is about normalizing harassment against women by shrouding it in concerns of journalistic integrity. But hey, normalizing harassment against women by just dismissing it as a spat between internet cliques works too, I guess.
posted by smasuch at 12:19 PM on November 25, 2014 [36 favorites]


Has Mefi suddenly become extremely sluggish for everyone, or just me?
posted by ctmf at 12:19 PM on November 25, 2014


Just so we're clear: both sides of the GG debate engage in this sort of sexist, inflammatory rhetoric.


It's not a debate, and hasn't been for a long time now, if it ever was, which I doubt. I'm a games developer, and I appreciate that there are people with genuine concerns about improving gaming journalism, which definitely is in need of an overhaul with respects to publishers strong-arming review scores and having review embargoes and so forth.

Sadly, all of the people who seem to be committed to producing thoughtful, interesting games journalism and writing have been pretty much dismissed as biased or unobjective, while at the same time those dismissing them have often been uncritically accepting of anyone showing the tiniest bit of alignment with them.

Games journalism is, or can be at its best, cultural criticism, analysis and commentary. Cultural analysis and commentary necessarily happens from personal viewpoints, through lenses of critical or cultural theory. There is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to the analysis of art and entertainment.

There are definitely, interesting conversations to be had about these things. However, the whole thing is hopelessly, inextricably entangled in a mire of harassment, anti-feminist paranoia and awfulness.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:25 PM on November 25, 2014 [21 favorites]


TB is not involved with gamer gate, nor does he give It much credibility.

totalbiscuit identifies as pro-gamergate.
posted by nadawi at 12:26 PM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


jscalzi: On the other hand, I mute quite a lot of people on Twitter.

Interesting. I am a very casual user of Twitter and was unaware that this distinction existed. (I live a charmed twitlife and have not yet had to do either, although I'm sure my time is yet to come.) I think the 'mute' behavior is preferable as well, just for the idiots-screaming-into-the-abyss effect; I didn't know that blocking didn't allow for this. More's the pity. Perhaps there's a way to share mute-lists as well.

(I've also thought that the 'shadowban' function on some online forums is particularly elegant too. It has a sort of tree-falling-in-the-forest Zen thing going for it.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:29 PM on November 25, 2014


Anyway, it's all very amusing. Carry on, keyboard warriors.

It's important because gamergate is about normalizing harassment against women by shrouding it in concerns of journalistic integrity. But hey, normalizing harassment against women by just dismissing it as a spat between internet cliques works too, I guess.


As it was nicely put in the Call to Arms (but too long for the post title): GamerGate does not matter. I do not care about GamerGate. The only people that care about GamerGate are the people that are part of GamerGate. What I care about is the cultural shift that’s becoming more apparent because of the popularity of GamerGate, so thanks for giving us feminists a cause to rally against. This was going to happen eventually. It’s where everything has been headed. If it wasn’t about supposed ethics in game journalism, it would have been about flavors of Mountain Dew.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:30 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


He identifies as pro someone who leaked the shadow of modor embargo and the fact that that person identified with gamergate - saying that makes him I favour of all gamergate is like saying anyone who endorses snowdens leaks is pro-KGB because snowden now works for the kgb.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:30 PM on November 25, 2014


As long as this continues there will be no resolution. Neither of y'all have clean hands and don't kid yourselves that you do.

Sometimes the beam is in your brother's eye.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


He identifies as pro someone who leaked the shadow of modor embargo

Huh? He says "someone pro-gamergate (i.e. me)" - that means he's referring to himself.
posted by dialetheia at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


you're shifting those goalposts pretty fast there - pointing out that he himself identifies as pro-gamergate is not saying he agrees with absolutely everything gamergate has done - in fact, i'd say one of most frequent things said by people who identify as pro-gamergate is that they don't sign off on absolutely everything done in the name of gamergate - it's right up there next to "ethics in gaming journalism!"
posted by nadawi at 12:35 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


From the very beginning, TB has been throwing in his lot with the scumbags. When Zoe Quinn was first being harassed, before GG was even a term, he posted the most scummy hedgy bullshit ever about it. Basically not even mentioning harassment at all and talking only about how the harassing videos/posts shouldn't have been taken down, how Quinn's sex life was totally a problem, ETHICSETHICSETHICS, etc. Then the constant minimizing and mansplaining bullshit with harassment against Quinn, Sarkeesian, Wu, etc. And the latest gem, complaining about "crowdfunded welfare" on Patreon.
posted by kmz at 12:37 PM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


He identifies as pro someone who leaked the shadow of modor embargo and the fact that that person identified with gamergate - saying that makes him I favour of all gamergate is like saying anyone who endorses snowdens leaks is pro-KGB because snowden now works for the kgb.

Well: "Shadow of Mordor was not only not an issue of journalistic ethics BUT it had the whistle-blown it by someone pro-Gamergate (ie. me) and the PR company in question was pressured into changing their contracts. The idea that 'Gamergate' did not care about this issue has no basis in reality. Revisionist history, nothing more."

'by someone pro-Gamergate (ie. me'), rephrased, is 'I am pro-Gamergate.' Not pro 'someone who leaked stuff in this one instance,' pro-Gamergate as a whole (though what he thinks Gamergate is and what his embrasure of that means I couldn't tell you). I also read the second part, about 'revisionist history,' as saying that since he cared about this issue, and since he is pro-Gamergate, then Gamergate cared about that issue -- that he is in some sense representative of the movement as a whole.

The does leave open what he thinks Gamergate is, but by his own statements he sees himself as a representative supporter and member.
posted by cjelli at 12:38 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


in fact, i'd say one of most frequent things said by people who identify as pro-gamergate is that they don't sign off on absolutely everything done in the name of gamergate

Yes, that has been the ultimate scapegoat since day 1. They want to continue to be part of their [movement | revolt | chanbox] but don't want to have any responsibility for the harassment they enable.
posted by Theta States at 12:39 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


see also
posted by Theta States at 12:43 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


Ok I apologise, that does seem like a shitty comment then, I misread it as saying he had recieved information from someone else who identified as pro-gamergate and then he acted as the whistleblower.

Still, he has never said he is pro gamergate in any of his videos - which have actually been thoughtful and made constructive conversation about the position of women in games and ethics of journalism. Would be a shame if that was derailed my my iPhone screen and his lone shit YouTube comment.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:43 PM on November 25, 2014


He identifies as pro someone who leaked the shadow of modor embargo

That "someone" who leaked the Shadow of Mordor embargo was TotalBiscuit himself.

I mean, he actually says that in the sentence: "it had the whistle-blown it by someone pro-Gamergate (ie. me)".
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:43 PM on November 25, 2014


oh god the sea lions make it stop.
posted by bitterpants at 12:49 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


TotalBiscuit's videos contain a constructive conversation about the position of women in games? That's interesting, because his Twitter feed contains interesting views on women in general. And given that he's flat-out said that he thinks the death threats Anita Sarkeesian received are not credible because she's still breathing... I'm hard-pressed to see how any reasonable person could look at his work and call it constructive.
posted by palomar at 12:53 PM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


I mean if you can seriously convince yourself that an opt-in blocklist with a documented review process is some kind of oppression, you have badly fumbled some rolls against Current Events Knowledge and Self-Awareness.

Someone told me I was arrogant because I had put together an appeals board to handle whitelist requests. I didn't want to manage the whitelist myself, as I'm too close to the situation, thus biased. I thought I was just being ethical. Who knew?

I'm not a fan of the idea of labelling anyone as a "harasser" based solely on who they're following on Twitter

Neither am I. I think people are likely to pick up the behavioral patterns of their social circles, but it's not an absolute certainty. IGDA chose some unfortunate wording, and at times I perhaps haven't been as clear as I could be, too. Sometimes I let the onslaught get the best of me, but I'm trying to be more careful about the words that I use. To the best of my knowledge, I haven't directly called everyone on this list a harasser.

I think the 'mute' behavior is preferable as well.

Mute is not properly implemented on some clients. For example, TweetDeck still uses client-side mute and does not use the API to push it server-side. If you mute someone from TweetDeck and check twitter from your iPhone, you're still going to see that user.
posted by freebsdgirl at 12:55 PM on November 25, 2014 [23 favorites]


Gawd, the "both sides" false equivalence horseshit again. Laughably transparent. "You know, both sides in this Angry Wasps v. Picnicking Adults dispute have a lot to answer for here."

I am personally glad this thing blocks people who are friends with these idiots. Apologia turns my stomach almost as much as straight-up touting this puerile nonsense.

(also welcome freebsdgirl)
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:59 PM on November 25, 2014 [30 favorites]


freebsdgirl:

"If you mute someone from TweetDeck and check twitter from your iPhone, you're still going to see that user."

I use the Web instance of Tweetdeck across all my devices for this reason; it keeps my mute list consistent.
posted by jscalzi at 1:00 PM on November 25, 2014


Still, he has never said he is pro gamergate in any of his videos -

except - it isn't tb's lone shit comment - if all you've seen is his videos you are pretty uninformed about his involvement with gamergate. i used to really like his videos - they were full of his bias, but useful for deciding if i wanted a game or not. he's pretty much trashed all that good will with his comments about gamergate. he's playing a very disingenuous "lets hear both sides!" game while actively throwing his lot in with gamergate.
posted by nadawi at 1:02 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm honest to god surprised that nobody has submitted this thread to KiA yet with a title involving the words "Randi Harper" and "circlejerk". Normally the appearance of someone on twitter outside of twitter is like a batsignal for sea lions.
posted by Talez at 1:02 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


eponysterical!
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:07 PM on November 25, 2014




how about for the next metafilter fundraising drive we just say inflammatory shit about gamers and then see how many sea lions pay $5 to sign up and tell us we're wrong
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? at 1:08 PM on November 25, 2014 [37 favorites]


jscalzi:

Using the web interface is pretty much the only way to use twitter without running into bugs with API implementations. Also, as far as I know, clients don't implement any of the features available to verified accounts (but I have no confirmation of that).

Fun fact: the JSON blobs returned from the twitter API include the american and british spellings for the word favorite. Tweets are 'favorited'. Users have a 'favourites_count'. It's getting more and more difficult to blame clients for API implementation issues.
posted by freebsdgirl at 1:09 PM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


(note how tb keeps referring to it as a blacklist and compares it to napalming a village)
posted by nadawi at 1:10 PM on November 25, 2014


I'm honest to god surprised that nobody has submitted this thread to KiA yet with a title involving the words "Randi Harper" and "circlejerk". Normally the appearance of someone on twitter outside of twitter is like a batsignal for sea lions.

$5 signup. Maybe somebody should submit it.
posted by Leon at 1:13 PM on November 25, 2014


Oh, man, this is fantastic. One of the GamerGate people forked freebsdgirl's project and replaced the seed list of Twitter accounts with 'Known SJW agitators'. I've been added to the block list! GamerGate refuses to engage with me! It's like Christmas!
posted by verb at 1:14 PM on November 25, 2014 [71 favorites]


Maybe somebody should submit it.

Why do you hate our mods?
posted by PenDevil at 1:14 PM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


PenDevil: Point. Raise to $10 first?
posted by Leon at 1:15 PM on November 25, 2014


And given that he's flat-out said that he thinks the death threats Anita Sarkeesian received are not credible because she's still breathing...

His original comments and his followup/defense, both in text, in case anyone was as unfamiliar with this as I was and doesn't feel like listening to the audio.

tl;dr, he believes that it is actually about ethics in games journalism, and that "I don't believe you can blame a hashtag for the actions of a few psychos."
posted by cjelli at 1:16 PM on November 25, 2014


Maybe somebody should submit it.

Maybe if I park my sailboat by this gushing oil tanker, I can get some of that sweet FEMA cleanup cash!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:19 PM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


"I don't believe you can blame a hashtag for the actions of a few psychos."

There seems to be some confusion on what a hashtag even is. It's intentional that they're trying to conflate {a person who may have discussed GamerShite and included the hash tag} with {the 'movement'}, then saying, hey, don't blame that first guy for the actions of the second, you [hyperbolic comparison to evil thing].

No shit. Nobody is doing that.
posted by ctmf at 1:24 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ok, I the things you are linking too are a different narrative from what I was aware of from his videos. In all cases these non-video things you are linking to are both careless and harmful from him. His video discussions of the topic are top class and interesting but, yeah seems he has said some seriously dumb things about it elsewhere. I can understand how he gets that perspective, but I did think he had a broader range of influences than this suggests.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:24 PM on November 25, 2014


a batsignal for sea lions.

The mental image this conjures of a bunch of real sea lions dressed like the Batman lumbering about Gotham fighting crime is delicious.
posted by winna at 1:26 PM on November 25, 2014 [20 favorites]


One of the GamerGate people forked freebsdgirl's project and replaced the seed list of Twitter accounts with 'Known SJW agitators'.

Try not to signal boost that too much. It is not GamerGate related. It was created by a real life stalker who has been targeting women outside of GamerGate. Info at the link.
posted by freebsdgirl at 1:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


how about for the next metafilter fundraising drive we just say inflammatory shit about gamers and then see how many sea lions pay $5 to sign up and tell us we're wrong

Counterproposal: just hold a fundraiser to hire a guy to run a jackhammer outside my house all day for a month. Either way I get a huge headache out of the deal.
posted by cortex at 1:31 PM on November 25, 2014 [56 favorites]


Is that the same guy that tried to fork your code to make his own pro-GG blocklist and failed horribly?
posted by Talez at 1:32 PM on November 25, 2014


Try not to signal boost that too much. It is not GamerGate related. It was created by a real life stalker who has been targeting women outside of GamerGate. Info at the link.
Ugh, thanks for the heads up—I thought the name was familiar, but thought it was just one of the many GG names that I've seen floating around. Glad I didn't post my previous snarky thoughts about it to Twitter.
posted by verb at 1:33 PM on November 25, 2014


The mental image this conjures of a bunch of real sea lions dressed like the Batman lumbering about Gotham fighting crime is delicious.

It'd be better than Gotham, that's for sure. The Penguin and assorted Sea Lions all in a race against time to see who can get to Fish first...
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:38 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


verb: I was very amused to see that contrast in reactions: the GG types I've tried to engage are deeply upset that they're being deprived a “fair shake”[1] while there's been near-unanimous praise for the idea of being on a list of people GG would ignore tempered only by concern that not enough of them will use it.

1. This is an unpaid social obligation I've only recently been informed of – I guess it pays to be quick since you'll need to make time to interview roughly the entire population of the United States if you're on Twitter.
posted by adamsc at 1:38 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


adamsc: "deeply upset that they're being deprived a “fair shake”"

Holy shit that twitter exchange. I'll quote here for great (revealed) truth:
@Bitter_one13: @acdha I have a right to be analyzed individually, to be given a fair shake. Feel free to call that entitled, I'll suffer that for fairness

@acdha: @Bitter_one13 Would you expect a stranger on the street to feel an obligation to take time out of their day to talk if they didn’t want to?

@Bitter_one13: @acdha I'd expect to get a word out and THEN be told to piss off.

@Bitter_one13: @acdha And that comparison falls flat on its face: the blocker stops me from being heard entirely. And people don't have to respond to me.
If you want a peek in to the mind of a street harasser, this has got to be one version of it, right? And, yes, that's fucking entitled.
posted by mhum at 2:12 PM on November 25, 2014 [32 favorites]


Hooooly shit, actual gramblegoats spotted here, in the flesh, on Metafilter. Never thought I'd see the day.

If it weren't for the mess that the mods would have to clean up, I'd be happy at the idea of lots of goobergropers giving money to Mefi and being shortly thereafter mocked and blocked.

I know nothing about FreeBSD or Randi, but the idea that "I have developed a tool that means I don't have to listen to your rape threats and attempts to ruin my livelihood anymore" is some sort of Evil That Must Not Stand deserves a loud and thorough mocking.
posted by emjaybee at 2:14 PM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


Randi made my life immeasurably better after weeks of nonstop harassment by GG. I can't say enough good things and am so appreciative. The Gator apologists here are very welcome to fuss at me about this on Twitter, where I won't see them & their attacks on me, my family, and my life.
posted by anildash at 2:20 PM on November 25, 2014 [59 favorites]


mhub: it was a struggle to respond in a way which could possibly lead somewhere remotely productive. The sad part is that it's very representative of the entire group as far as I can see — people who feel excluded and don't realize that the way they react is the cause. Very reminiscent of xkcd 1027, which I guess is unsurprising given the overlap with the MRA/PUA community.
posted by adamsc at 2:21 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


freebsdgirl, given the amount of nonsense and harassment you must be receiving from anonymous internet randos right now, I really appreciate that you were willing to come to a web forum that you'd never heard of, where many or most people are pseudonymous, and engage with us on this. So thanks for that.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:23 PM on November 25, 2014 [56 favorites]


Whatever you do, don't google gamersgate and Ferguson together. You'll already know what you're going to find and it won't make you feel better to see your instincts justified.

#GamerGate, meet #Ferguson; #Ferguson, meet #GamerGate
posted by homunculus at 2:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


really appreciate that you were willing to come to a web forum that you'd never heard of, where many or most people are pseudonymous, and engage with us on this.

Quite a few people sent me the link this morning, and they all had good things to say about MetaFilter. It's hard to keep my emotions in check sometimes with all that's going on, and my defenses are now always up. But after talking to a bunch of friends from FreeBSD and watching some of them interact with GamerGate, I'm trying to use their behavior as an example. Engage in polite discussion when there's something of value to add, and ignore the trolls as engaging with them would accomplish nothing. Easier said than done. :)
posted by freebsdgirl at 2:35 PM on November 25, 2014 [37 favorites]


given the overlap with the MRA/PUA community.

This has always struck me as a large part of what fuels GG.

Bigots have the sense, generally, to muffle their nonsense in a public sphere, but I've noticed a very sizeable up-tick in the number of people on social networks almost embracing misogyny as a lifestyle choice. GG and other related situations ("ShirtGate" springs to mind) seems to encourage these characters to dump their poison in full view.
posted by panboi at 2:37 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


[...] they'll start attacking me. Doesn't take long, gets vicious fast... kinda like actual sea lions.

Also they both smell vaguely like fish.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:44 PM on November 25, 2014


I have little sympathy for anyone who's been blacklisted because they have an "auto-follow-back" policy - because this shows a pretty weak understanding of the actual utility of Twitter. It's not Facebook. You're not "friending" your aunt because she "friended" you. The whole point of Twitter, the thing that makes it a useful platform, is that you curate your feed to see the things you want to see. You follow people because you find what they have to say interesting. People follow you because they find what you have to say interesting. If I follow someone, I have no expectation that they should follow me back immediately - why would I think they would want to read my inane rantings just because I followed them?

If you're just autofollowing anyone who follows you out of, I don't know, politeness, or something, then you're (a) bound to get burned by something like this (b) encouraging follow-back spam and (c) going to generate a poor Twitter experience for yourself, with your timeline full of random crap you'll never be able to wade through.
posted by Jimbob at 3:51 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


freebsdgirl: I really admire how you've stuck it out in tech so long, despite all of the abuse - and how personal and vicious that abuse was. Thank you as well for being understanding of we much-more-hidey women, and your dedication to trying to make it possible for all different kinds of people to speak without having to manually filter out incredible amounts of abuse. You make the world a better place.
posted by Deoridhe at 3:58 PM on November 25, 2014 [16 favorites]


>good things to say about MetaFilter.

Matt and the mods make this house a home. Can't say enough about them.

>Engage in polite discussion when there's something of value to add

If I could ask you a question, what do you suggest we, the generally horrified public, "do" to help? So far I've made some mocking comments about them to no effect. Engaging a mob on twitter seems a fools errand, and wouldn't do anything for actual stalkers and the dangerous using this as cover or fuel. Is there some tougher harassment laws we should support? A lawyer and bodyguard service kickstarter?
also thank you and the freebsd team for everything!
posted by anti social order at 3:59 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


My personal action against gramblegoats in recent weeks is to try to make them believe that they're not true supporters of the movement unless they get #GamerGate tattoos. That way they may be visibly marked as a warning in future social interactions. I don't think I've been successful, though.
posted by Jimbob at 4:03 PM on November 25, 2014 [16 favorites]


As long as this continues there will be no resolution.

there will never be a resolution - just the small choking sound of boys gobbling their very last red pills and realizing that the world really hasn't changed and isn't even listening to them

also - geelgebubers
posted by pyramid termite at 4:12 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Geelgebubers is a lesser duke of hell in the Dictionnaire Infernal
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:17 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


no, he would be a lesser duke of puke in the dictionnaire l'enfants
posted by pyramid termite at 4:21 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


GamerGibbons, referring back to the Thank You Hater! youtube video that did the rounds a while back.
posted by um at 4:35 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


GooberGander. Just sayin'. As in, that Goober over there is looking this way, hope he doesn't start following us while JAQing off like last week...
posted by tigrrrlily at 4:41 PM on November 25, 2014


It's hard to keep my emotions in check sometimes with all that's going on, and my defenses are now always up.

That sucks and I'm sorry, but you're doing awesome work that hopefully will make things better for lots of people.

I realize I'm at a tipping point age-wise that I don't know whether to be delighted or exasperated that someone, somewhere stopped trying to jerk off long enough to mutter, "Fucking white knight!" because of this comment. You missed a spot, sweetheart.
posted by yerfatma at 4:45 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Benegame Cumbergate?
posted by cortex at 5:06 PM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


Engelgate Humptygamer?
posted by yerfatma at 5:37 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


My attention is just that, Mine. If I want to block you, who the fuck cares? I have the right to read or not read what I want.

Maybe take the hint if people are blocking you.
posted by mkelley at 5:56 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Malcolmgamer Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (whistle) Northcott Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat Gilbert (sings) 'We'll keep a welcome in the' (three shots) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers Pratt Thompson (sings) 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat (sings) 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' Barton Mainwaring (hoot, 'whoop')gate
posted by pyramid termite at 5:57 PM on November 25, 2014 [9 favorites]


(Extremely Silly Party)
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:08 PM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


There's an a"anti-SJW" blocklist going around which is full of people who would be considered "SJWs" by the GooberGators - though it's also picking up some randoms like my matey, who doesn't really talk politics on Twitter, so my theory is that it's picking people who use the GGAutoBlocker (though I don't know how they get that information). A lot of us are celebrating (we are official SJWs!) but it turns out that list may have come from a stalker.
posted by divabat at 6:23 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Benegame Cumbergate?
--
Engelgate Humptygamer?



Slut Bunwalla!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Here's my question, and I had it before Randi showed up (Welcome!). Let's say someone wanted to write about some aspect of the tech industry's historic and current misogyny. Trollers will show up in spades. How might this person, male or female, human or alien from Mars, try to protect oneself before writing said imaginary, entirely hypothetical article that will send the crazy pro-gutlessgoober guys into action? And by protect I mean lock down all private info. Should I be asking this on AskMeFi or is is okay because Randi invited us to ask questions?
posted by Bella Donna at 6:32 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bella Donna, I don't want to mansplain or step on Randi's toes, but I have a couple of bookmarks that you might find useful:
* What To Expect When You’re Expecting (the internet to ruin your life)
* What To Do If Trolls Have Doxx'd You With A #trollattack
* I thought the Feminist Wiki had suggestions, but I can't find anything from a quick glance.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:58 PM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


Thanks for those links, Pronoiac!
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 8:32 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


This suddenly reminded me of the recent ZedShaw post about trolls. Freebsdgirl being a coder in the hierarchy. Not strictly grumbleberry related, but I think social issue is similar.
posted by lkc at 9:39 PM on November 25, 2014


DoctorFedora: "I feel like it's safe to assume they don't know what the word "journalist" means, or "journalism," or even just most words in general"

I saw an interaction that captured this beautifully. Brianna Wu (@spacekatgal) had tweeted a series of things about (misquoted from memory) "I recognize that I've had a lot of advantages that others haven't had, including my parents financing me for [shitloads of money]; here are some of the ways I'm trying to use my advantages to open doors for others."

Some goobergummer tweeted back: "Oh my god. Please check your privilege."

Um*. Yeah. That's exactly what that was, asshole.

* I never use this construction because I recognize that it inherently includes a "…dumbshit". Except, yeah.
posted by Lexica at 9:45 PM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


I have no problem with this except [you are dying to know right?] that not everyone who follows a particular person or group does so because they agree with them. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer type of thing. I don't know the heuristics though. How many opponents of gamergate do you need to follow in order to appear to not be a supporter of gamergaters? I can see where someone who might want to follow the gamergaters might also not agree with them.

I guess it's too broad and crude a net for my taste but I haven't been the target of harassment.

I've had a twitter account for some time but I've used it less than I've used my pencil sharpener.

I like the shadowmute as detailed above by jscalzi.
posted by vapidave at 10:11 PM on November 25, 2014


If I could ask you a question, what do you suggest we, the generally horrified public, "do" to help?

GamerGate or the larger cultural issue of harassment? I could give 2 craps about GamerGate. It's just a symptom of a much bigger problem. I've got a few thoughts that I'm trying to turn into coherent ideas as I talk to other women that are actively speaking out against harassment. We need better laws, especially in regards to online threats. For that matter, we need a better definition of precisely what constitutes an actionable threat. But that's going to be a big fight. As far as individual efforts go, I'm still putting something together. Keep an eye on the blog. :)

How might this person, male or female, human or alien from Mars, try to protect oneself before writing said imaginary, entirely hypothetical article that will send the crazy pro-gutlessgoober guys into action?

I think it depends on what kind of impact you're trying to make. Right now, there's a strong need for people that aren't anonymous to come forward and tell their stories. That's a difficult thing to ask for because the environment is so hostile, so I can understand the need for anonymity.

Let's be completely realistic. If you use your real name on the internet, if someone tries hard enough, they'll be able to find you. It's harder if you've created an entirely different identity completely with gmail, proxy service, and browser in incognito mode. This isn't really something I've tried to do, though, so others may have better ideas. This is a bit outside my realm of knowledge.

My stance has been that if I'm as public as possible about everything, it's really hard to weaponize personal info against me. This doesn't keep them from doing things like contacting my employer, but that's why I notified management of what was happening before it ramped up.

Speaking only from my own experience, the trolling isn't so difficult to handle when there's also a huge number of kind words aimed my way. YMMV. Some people are not in a position to be able to do this. Some might be triggered by all the abuse, and that is completely understandable. I wish there were better ways to protect them.

If anyone else has ideas, I'd love to hear them.

In the past month, I've talked to open source projects that want me to tell them how to improve their diversity, targets of twitter harassment that have asked me to create a blocklist for mobs that don't have the same easily identifiable characteristics, countless men that want to know what they can do to make things better, and countless women that are afraid to speak up because they know how high the price can be. I've tried to be there to offer internet hugs and a kind ear when people are at their wits end due to the constant onslaught they are facing. One of the most difficult things I've had to face since I spoke out were the questions of how to make it all better. It's a lot of pressure. I haven't had time to think about it as much as I'd like. I'm trying to juggle the media while iterating on code and researching how to define an ethical and transparent policy for this new collaborative open source project (despite being a FreeBSD committer, it's not like I've ever had to manage one of these things myself), all while batting away trolls, notifying friends & family that they might be contacted for reasons that are difficult to explain, keeping a social media presence, providing support for ggautoblocker, and managing a full-time job. I'm getting 4 hours of sleep a night when I'm lucky, but it feels like I haven't slept in years. Sorry if that was too honest. I'm a bit tired. :P

I need time to sit down and plan. I've got ideas, but they are so very rough, and I know there are other women working on these issues that I need to contact. I've been too busy reacting to current events to be able to do that so far.
posted by freebsdgirl at 10:16 PM on November 25, 2014 [45 favorites]


Some goobergummer tweeted back: "Oh my god. Please check your privilege."

Um*. Yeah. That's exactly what that was, asshole.


They're magic words. They don't know what they mean, but they make gamergoaters sound like "SJWs" so they throw them around in case they stick. It's so charming.
posted by sukeban at 10:49 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


So it's like Cargo Cult Discourse?
posted by benito.strauss at 10:57 PM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


honestly just searching for and blocking those shades of green and purple would probably work

I'm sorry, but that idea is totally ridiculous. It's not like gamer gate invented the combination of purple and green.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 11:19 PM on November 25, 2014


#GamerGate, meet #Ferguson; #Ferguson, meet #GamerGate

oh god why did i look
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:24 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


cosmic.osmo: "I'm sorry, but that idea is totally ridiculous. It's not like gamer gate invented the combination of purple and green."

No, but as has been discussed above, we're talking Twitter here. If you get some false positives, it's no big deal. So you might block a few twitter streams about She-Hulk or the Joker...but so what? Plus, if you really like @TheGreenGoblin or @TeleTubbies4Evah, you can just whitelist them yourself.
posted by Bugbread at 11:35 PM on November 25, 2014


It'd be better than Gotham, that's for sure. The Penguin and assorted Sea Lions all in a race against time to see who can get to Fish first...

No. No, I do not want any part of this. No one wants any part of it. All of GomerGrate should be put on an ice floe and pushed out to sea. A civilized society has no need for sociopaths.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:55 PM on November 25, 2014


And the latest gem, complaining about "crowdfunded welfare" on Patreon.
Wait, what?

I mean, I have conservative friends that are against welfare (well, some welfare, I don't have any that are against all welfare), but holy hell, normally the conservative complaint against welfare is "that's the job of charity". But who can actually be against charity? Yeah, I funded a friend for an artistic endeavor they were engaging in, and I also sometimes buy books that friends write (one came in the mail today, yay!)...

Yeah, it's like welfare, except it's not, at 'worst', it's like charity, but the person is actually doing a thing... Which sounds like patronage.

Sorry for the derail, but I didn't think conservatism could get more mean-hearted than it already was.
posted by el io at 1:34 AM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


el io: "But who can actually be against charity?"

It goes beyond that. It's not charity, it's capitalism. Paying someone what you think a product or service is worth. It's the way that conservatives think art funding should work (as opposed to using tax money).

el io: "Sorry for the derail, but I didn't think conservatism could get more mean-hearted than it already was."

Conservatism is often very shitty, but this isn't an example of it. They're not actually opposed to Patreon out of an actual hard-hearted dislike of charity or patronage. They're opposed to Patreon because the people using Patreon are the SJW folks. If, for example, SJWs didn't use Patreon but GGers did use it, to fund GG video producers or the like, they would probably praise it as capitalism in action. The words ("charity", "capitalism") are just window-dressing for "I like it" or "I don't like it", not an actual reason for liking or disliking. (in this case)
posted by Bugbread at 2:16 AM on November 26, 2014 [11 favorites]


#GamerGate, meet #Ferguson; #Ferguson, meet #GamerGate

oh god why did i look




Yeah- on top of everything else, now I'm pissed off at them for tainting a perfectly good Frans Hals painting!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:20 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have no problem with this except [you are dying to know right?] that not everyone who follows a particular person or group does so because they agree with them.

This is why Twitter needs to publicize lists more: you can add accounts to a list without following them, and make the list private so the people on it aren't aware. It's how I keep up with various reprehensible accounts without having to worry about interacting with them or their armies.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:27 AM on November 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


> "I also tried to watch two of thunderf00t's anti-Anita Sarkeesian videos. I had to stop each one after about 30 seconds when it became clear that they were utter nonsense."

I'm reminded somewhat of the essays that some young earth creationists on the web like to link to when they find a choice spot to attempt an argument against evolution. Look, here's an essay! Written by someone with a PhD and everything!

These essays are endlessly long, and if you make the strenuous effort to read them, it turns out they are complete nonsense. Babble about how humans can't have evolved from monkeys because monkeys still exist, and how entropy proves evolution is impossible (because apparently the sun doesn't exist, I guess.)

If you press the people who have linked to these essays, you'll at least some of the time find that they haven't even read them. Frankly, I would guess this is true most of the time.

The point isn't to present an argument, or even to link to an argument to make sense. It's to link to *something*. To say, look, someone, somewhere, at some time, took the time to attempt to make a case for what I believe. People agree with me. I am not alone. Therefore, I am credible.

It's not an argument, it's a talisman.
posted by kyrademon at 6:03 AM on November 26, 2014 [26 favorites]


The videos also allow them to not dirty their hands with the actual arguments and discussion part that might cause some of them to change their minds. They get to have all of the "fun" parts of combative discussion--self righteousness, callouts, getting the last word in, others cheering you on--without the hard work or vulnerability of actually putting yourself out there to be proven wrong. The video does the heavy lifting for you, so nobody gets burned out or forced to account for factual inaccuracies. Nobody has to confront or talk out a more nuanced position. There's no space allowed for real discussion--they bug you until you engage, spout talking points, and then link to videos when their talking points run out. Those who disagree too strongly get threats and doxxing.

I feel like if #GG understood how transparent this is to the rest of us, they would understand why they aren't taken seriously. Their "polite discussions" are the conversational equivalent of taking a hostage. Nobody is going to talk to you openly and honestly if you attach consequences to their disagreement.
posted by almostmanda at 7:18 AM on November 26, 2014 [16 favorites]


If I could ask you a question, what do you suggest we, the generally horrified public, "do" to help?

My suggestions:
Promote and support women in tech/games.
Call out misogyny, especially the casual misogyny that is rather pervasive.
Support policies, initiatives and attitudes that reduces any toxicity in STEM.
Ignore the goobergrates, and avoid giving them any platform.
posted by Theta States at 7:33 AM on November 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


So it's like Cargo Cult Discourse?

My husband and I have been talking about this for a while and it seems to be an apt analogy.
posted by immlass at 7:37 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's not an argument, it's a talisman.

Did anyone else hear the *mic drop* or was that just me?
posted by Theta States at 8:09 AM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


One of the best examples of the cargo cult thing is #NotYourShield. I think they really believe that all anti-GGers think all women/PoC/LGBT folks are automatically right and morally unimpeachable, and therefore seeing them supporting GG would make our heads explode, or something.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2014 [10 favorites]


Ooh, I like the term shadowmute - it's like it crosses Shadowrun and Wintermute.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:08 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have little sympathy for anyone who's been blacklisted because they have an "auto-follow-back" policy - because this shows a pretty weak understanding of the actual utility of Twitter.
posted by Jimbob at 5:51 PM on November 25


This is only sort-of true. My timeline is useless to me due to my follow-back policy (though I don't follow-back spammers since I don't want to encourage that sort of thing), but it was always useless to me, because I started out following several verbose writers and a few hilarious accounts which drowned out people like my sister. I use lists extensively instead, and I never look at my timeline, which might as well not exist as far as my Twitter experience goes.

Feel free not to have sympathy for people complaining about this list on that basis - I don't have any either - I'm just pointing out that not everybody uses Twitter the same way.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:10 AM on November 26, 2014


I think it says something that the two fears on display here are that the critics of GamerGate will ignore you, versus the supporters of GamerGate will give you their full attention.

The asymmetry suggests there may be something that doesn't apply equally to "both sides."
posted by RobotHero at 9:54 AM on November 26, 2014 [11 favorites]


Making it algorithmically generated was brilliant. Now there's no "She's calling me a harasser! I'm going to sue for what-I-think-libel-is!" It's not a 'harasser' list, it's a 'people who follow these other people' list. True or not true? True. There you go.

In fact, if you're still around, freebsdgirl, my suggestion for the ggautoblocker plan is related to that.

Stop maintaining a whitelist. Maybe provide the empty file that would be a whitelist, but make each individual user put names they want in it.

The reason is, the block list is generated. It's not a judgment call, it's a purely factual list of "people who met this criteria as of X date." If users take that to mean a list of harassers or even high-likelihood-to-be-harassers, that's up to them.

But then you have an appeal process, and some people get removed and not others. At the point where you tell someone "Nope. You're staying on the list," now you're making a value judgment against them.

I know it seems like an effort to be "fair," but it's a PITA and probably could give someone the shaky legal toehold they need to harass you even more with lawyers, like happened with the inventors of the first email block lists.

The most I would want to do is maintain and publicize a list of people who have requested removal, possibly with a brief (140 character, naturally) reason for the request. Between that and the whitelist functionality built in, the end user could investigate and on their end if they cared to.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or a software developer. You probably know better than I do. Just a suggestion to consider.
posted by ctmf at 10:11 AM on November 26, 2014


I think it says something that the two fears on display here are that the critics of GamerGate will ignore you, versus the supporters of GamerGate will give you their full attention.

ignore you : laugh at you :: their full attention : kill you
posted by Going To Maine at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but that idea is totally ridiculous. It's not like gamer gate invented the combination of purple and green.
No, but as has been discussed above, we're talking Twitter here. If you get some false positives, it's no big deal...

If you don't care about false positives, why not just make a whitelist of the right kind of people? It seems that would be more effective way of shutting them out than blocking people individually based things like color.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 11:10 AM on November 26, 2014


I just checked the #gamergate hashtag (*shudder*) and 2 things:
1) I would love to do a "Kids React" style thing where you get random adults who have not heard of GG (easy to find) and see them try and make sense of the stream of tweets.
2) they have a new operation: #BreakTheBot, which seems to be trying to get everyone to follow the seed accounts for GGautoblocker. How would that break anything? If anything it gives us a much easier way of identifying active gaters and reducing false positives.
posted by Theta States at 11:23 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Every nitwit who cries "censorship" over a fucking twitter blocklist/mutelist I just want to pummel with hardback copies of Lady Chatterly's Lover and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in a laundry sack

Now that's what I call a book club
posted by oulipian at 11:24 AM on November 26, 2014 [30 favorites]


Oh OK I dug further. RogueStar (or one of his many many backup accounts in case of suspensions) says that if they all get 18000 followers each they will somehow be "breaking the bot".

Current stats:
FartToContinue 7823
Roguestargamez 5677
RealVivianJames 3545
Chobitcoin 2707

Someone's going to have to churn out a bunch of new eggies for extra follows.
posted by Theta States at 11:28 AM on November 26, 2014


How would that break anything?

I'm sure getting blocked is only phase I. It's not just 'get blocked,' it's 'get blocked without participating in any harassment.'

1. Get a million fresh accounts blocked.
2. Overwhelm the whitelist maintainers with whitelist requests, essentially DDoSing the whitelist mechanism.
3. Use any failures to whitelist for breathless accusations of censorship and bad faith.
4. Hope a real person with an actual legit reason to get whitelisted gets lost in the DDoS, and then use THAT for breathless accusations of bad faith.

Another good reason to just stop maintaining a central white list altogether.
posted by ctmf at 11:43 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


RogueStar (or one of his many many backup accounts in case of suspensions) says that if they all get 18000 followers each they will somehow be "breaking the bot".

Remarkable. I guess saying they'd break the bot by sending RogueStar $5 would have been too transparent?
posted by RobotHero at 11:44 AM on November 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sounds like an excellent plan for promoting ethics in game journalism
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:45 AM on November 26, 2014 [11 favorites]


h OK I dug further. RogueStar (or one of his many many backup accounts in case of suspensions) says that if they all get 18000 followers each they will somehow be "breaking the bot".

If you check the notes, you'll see that @CHSommers got taken out because she has so many other followers that it slows the heck out of running the bot. If they can crank up their own follower counts, it'll presumably also slow down the bot. (Although, if they start following everyone it also seems like freebsdgirl & co. could just increase the number of GG folks you need to follow to be counted. So...)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:47 AM on November 26, 2014


There are all sorts of weird restrictions in the Twitter API so there might be a legit technical reason behind it, but Twitter memes are really bad at citing their sources so who knows where 18k came from.
posted by RobotHero at 11:48 AM on November 26, 2014


Or they could be hoping to exceed a list size constraint somewhere, or make the script unusable performance-wise because of throttling?

The github page for ggautoblocker seems to imply that a couple of names had to be removed from the seed list because it made performance unacceptable. Maybe they're trying to get every seed name in that category.
posted by ctmf at 11:48 AM on November 26, 2014


They're gonna have a fit when they find out that the A+ Blockbot blocks a hand-selected set of people, some of which are merely "tedious and obnoxious," without violating the TOS.
posted by almostmanda at 11:50 AM on November 26, 2014


Twitter memes are really bad at citing their sources so who knows where 18k came from.

I'm guessing from the the fact that @_icz4r has ~18.5 K followers, and was dropped as an autoblocker seed because the count was too dense.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:53 AM on November 26, 2014


Got confirmation from freebsdgirl, #breakthebot won't do anything since she has twitter API tokens.
There used to be a page where you could authorize ggautoblocker for your account, thus give her a token. Not sure of the link though.
posted by Theta States at 12:09 PM on November 26, 2014


Thanks for the links, Pronoiac, and thanks for the response, Randi. There are so much better ways for all of us to spend our time. Including the haters. This stuff just baffles me.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:21 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Part of the problem is the bad people see this kind of effort as a game. "These reasonable women are trying to avoid seeing death threats. Let's figure out how to make that impossible." It's disgusting sociopathic behavior.
posted by Nelson at 12:25 PM on November 26, 2014 [16 favorites]


Apparently this is the latest of Sony's sexist Vita(/PS4) ads. It's terrible.

My stance has been that if I'm as public as possible about everything, it's really hard to weaponize personal info against me. This doesn't keep them from doing things like contacting my employer, but that's why I notified management of what was happening before it ramped up.

Welcome to Mefi, freebsdgirl. Your management is smart to employ competent people who stand their ground and you keep on keeping on.
posted by ersatz at 2:22 PM on November 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


So it's like Cargo Cult Discourse?

This is such a great analogy, so I'm going to take this opportunity to point people in the direction of Eyebrows McGee's excellent explanation of it from a MeTa thread a while back.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:31 PM on November 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


This is such a great analogy, so I'm going to take this opportunity to point people in the direction of Eyebrows McGee's excellent explanation of it from a MeTa thread a while back.

That had to have been one of the all-time sickest burns in MeFi history. It was so beautiful.
posted by dialetheia at 6:07 PM on November 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


Part of the problem is the bad people see this kind of effort as a game.
I've seen this sentiment on the Reddits. They say they're going to win because they're gamers and they always win the games they play.
But, video games are designed to win as long as you put enough time into it. So it may be a long haul.
posted by hot_monster at 8:28 PM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd be happy to answer [questions] here - within reason.

freebsdgirl, this broke my heart to read. You must be dealing with a ton of junk when you have to warily offer to answer question in a new space.
Metafilter's pretty cool. It's a sea lion-free zone.
Welcome.
posted by hot_monster at 8:36 PM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's a sea lion-free zone.

It's a mostly sea lion-free zone, as the start of this thread attests. The rest of us (and, of course, the excellent modulous ones) will do our damnedest to shoo them away, I'm sure.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:39 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


They say they're going to win because they're gamers and they always win the games they play.

As further evidence of their lack of self-awareness in nearly all things, the second graph on this 2009 article shows that a relatively low number of players of the most "hardcore" games bother to play these games to completion. (So in this context, that might be heartening. My understanding is that this sector of the industry is in fact sustained by the big-spending target audience losing interest and quickly moving on to the next shiny release?)

And speaking of lack of self-awareness, here's a telling infographic they spit out a couple weeks ago. Note especially the lower-right corner's "Media" category and how wildly and demonstrably misguided it is, on a topic with which you'd expect them to have particular expertise: I guess it would be expected for them to believe that "[n]egative stereotypical portrayals of women have all but disappeared from mainstream media in the last two decades," but the insistence that the reader won't be able to name even one instance of a "positive and non-stereotyped portrayal of a nerd or gamer" shows a blindness at the heart of even the thing they're supposedly most focused on. (Though I'm torn on whether to be delighted or dismayed at "nerd" being implicitly positioned as a third gender.)
posted by nobody at 5:47 AM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


And speaking of lack of self-awareness, here's a telling infographic they spit out a couple weeks ago.

GRAPHIC DESIGN

MEN - they like to make it look good and functional

WOMEN - they like to make it look good and functional

GAMERS - red and green lettering on a puce background - it's the NEW BLACK!!
posted by pyramid termite at 6:19 AM on November 27, 2014 [8 favorites]


Had an odd twitter interaction this morning. It cumulated in me telling someone to please stop supporting a harassment movement (gamergate,) as is often my end position.
They replied "just saying it over and over doesn't make it true".
Fine, whatever.

Check his timeline? He is involved in a long debate against people upset that the "fart" dude had been suspended. This guy approved it, saying (rightly so) that "fart" was a stalker and harasser. #gamergate don't care though, they'll take all comers to build their power.

It is this kind of gross disconnect that I can't quite help people see. Here he is decrying the fact that gamergate is absolutely supporting a stalker and harasser, and doesn't see how gamergate enabled and promotes harassment...
posted by Theta States at 6:40 AM on November 27, 2014


nobody: "the reader won't be able to name even one instance of a "positive and non-stereotyped portrayal of a nerd or gamer""

Wait, okay, "gamer", I'll buy (I'm not a huge TV/movie viewer, so I don't know if it's true or not, but I can see it as theoretically possible). But "nerd"? "Nerd", unlike "gamer", is intrinsically a stereotype. It's like "jock", a stereotype of athletes. If you were to portray a jock non-stereotypically, you wouldn't be portraying a jock, you'd just be portraying an athlete. Same thing with nerd: how can you make a non-stereotyped portrayal of a stereotype?
posted by Bugbread at 7:30 AM on November 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


War Games made Matthew Broderick a star, and I think he came off pretty well.
posted by msalt at 10:41 AM on November 27, 2014 [6 favorites]


nobody: "the insistence that the reader won't be able to name even one instance of a "positive and non-stereotyped portrayal of a nerd or gamer" shows a blindness at the heart of even the thing they're supposedly most focused on."

Bahahaha, they have somehow missed that there are entire TV channels about gamers and gaming.

But okay, I'll give them one for free: Jurassic Park features a girl who saves the day with her knowledge of Unix. Bam! One positive portrayal.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:07 AM on November 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


msalt: "War Games made Matthew Broderick a star, and I think he came off pretty well."

ArmyOfKittens: "Jurassic Park features a girl who saves the day with her knowledge of Unix. Bam! One positive portrayal."

I take back everything I said about "nerd=intrinsic stereotype". Excellent examples. I'll see your Matthew Broderick and Jurassic Park girl and raise you a Neo from the Matrix.
posted by Bugbread at 2:07 PM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Flynn from TRON is pretty durn cool!
Nice guy, owns his own arcade, hacker, computer science guy. Win win win.
posted by hot_monster at 4:27 PM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Tony.
Fucking.
Stark.
posted by Bugbread at 4:37 PM on November 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


"War Games made Matthew Broderick a star, and I think he came off pretty well."

Real Genius is a pretty good example too. Hackers, also.

Also all the recent super hero movies and TV shows. Tony Stark - computer and engineering whiz kid, spends a lot of time in his basement tinkering. Saves the world, good with the ladies, looks cool doing it. Felicity in the CW show Arrow, Barry Allen in The Flash. Both self-described STEM nerds.

Like all of their arguments, this one holds no water.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:38 PM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Same thing with nerd: how can you make a non-stereotyped portrayal of a stereotype?

Yeah, that is pretty warped upon itself, and a dearth of "positive portrayals"? That I just can't get. Maybe they just mean within the context of episodes of BBT? I dunno.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:44 PM on November 27, 2014


If only we could just dob in all the gammergoot tools to their mums, like this.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:57 PM on November 27, 2014 [9 favorites]


It is this kind of gross disconnect that I can't quite help people see. Here he is decrying the fact that gamergate is absolutely supporting a stalker and harasser, and doesn't see how gamergate enabled and promotes harassment...

No true Scotsman?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:44 PM on November 27, 2014


Bruce Banner in the recent Avenger movies. Scully from The X-Files. Willow in Buffy.
posted by harriet vane at 4:57 AM on November 28, 2014


Ichabod Crane was really getting into online shooters in a recent Sleepy Hollow. Spike from Buffy and Angel has been shown playing games.

Also, Wreck-It Ralph was a love-letter to games past and present.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:09 AM on November 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Actually, now they want to be a consumer revolt. You need to stay up to date.

So what you're saying is that the gamergators...
⌐■-■-( ∙_∙) --> (⌐■_■)
...are revolting.

YEAAAAAAAAH!
posted by Going To Maine at 9:19 AM on November 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


If only we could just dob in all the gammergoot tools to their mums, like this.

The DM Reporter just posted a sample of the comments on the Daily Mail article about this.
posted by rory at 6:29 AM on November 30, 2014


The DM Reporter just posted a sample of the comments on the Daily Mail article about this.

Gross.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:23 PM on November 30, 2014


Twitter Support has just added new ways to report abusive and harassing Twitter users. I don't think this move ends the need for block lists, but perhaps it will help identify more trolls.
posted by Nelson at 9:37 AM on December 2, 2014


Is that an alligator I see in the hypothetical abusive tweet?
posted by kmz at 10:19 AM on December 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Someone on Twitter pointed out that the abusive user being blocked in the demo video is a 'gator.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:19 AM on December 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Goddamnit kmz.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:54 AM on December 2, 2014


Zoe Quinn has just posted a really-quite-good piece on lessons learned about ethics in games journalism from Gamergate on medium.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:56 PM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Are *you* on the that'll teach that awful Randi Harper to autoblock people Social Justice Warrior autoblock list?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:58 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Are *you* on the that'll teach that awful Randi Harper to autoblock people Social Justice Warrior autoblock list?

Searched for a laff, and holy shit, yes I am.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:04 PM on December 2, 2014


is this still the same list from the stalker?
posted by nadawi at 2:08 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Heh, me too.
posted by Lexica at 2:15 PM on December 2, 2014


Are *you* on the that'll teach that awful Randi Harper to autoblock people Social Justice Warrior autoblock list?

Damn, this is thorough. I made it on and I'm just some schmuck who barely tweeted about it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:37 PM on December 2, 2014


is this still the same list from the stalker?

Yes. He was stalking prior to gamergate, so maybe don't spread this thing around.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:40 PM on December 2, 2014


Are *you* on the that'll teach that awful Randi Harper to autoblock people Social Justice Warrior autoblock list?

Bizarrely, yes. Excellent. I haven't tweeted a damn thing about gootergoats, but I started following Randi a few days ago, so I guess that's all it takes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:44 PM on December 2, 2014


Zoe Quinn has just posted a really-quite-good piece on lessons learned about ethics in games journalism from Gamergate on medium.

That is an excellent piece, thanks. I also liked this succinct list she linked to, of actual ethical concerns in games journalism.
posted by whir at 10:19 PM on December 2, 2014


There's a new post about locking down personal info, listing 11 sites you can opt-out of in an hour or two.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:25 AM on December 3, 2014


New-GG-Lows Dept: For anyone who hasn't been following Brianna Wu's Twitter feed for the past few days, here's a roundup of the harassment she received after tweeting that her dog was ill. Randi Harper gets a mention too.
posted by rory at 2:06 AM on December 3, 2014


Wow, so one of the gators went to freebsdgirls work and took a selfie out front.

Seriously? yea, totally nothing creepy about that.
posted by emptythought at 3:43 AM on December 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's totally okay though because he apologized to GamerGate for doing it.

Also I just learned that GamerGate is in my iOS autocomplete now.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:15 AM on December 3, 2014


> here's a roundup of the harassment she received after tweeting that her dog was ill

Jesus Christ. Poor Brianna Wu.
posted by postcommunism at 5:02 AM on December 3, 2014


That sort of thing is the consequence of the "professional victim" narrative a lot of them buy into. If a designated "professional victim" ever mentions anything bad that happens, then top priority is the internet detective machine catch her in a lie. And if she doesn't react to something in precisely the same fashion you imagine she should, that's close enough to catching her in a lie, right?
posted by RobotHero at 7:35 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


When well-meaning people harm those they supposedly protect: Ashe Dryden shares more of the fallout of being harassed and threatened, including people who are trying to be allies perpetuating the problem. Following on my previous comment it sounds like some of the anti-GamerGate people are treating this stuff as a game to be "won" too.
posted by Nelson at 7:55 AM on December 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nelson: "When well-meaning people harm those they supposedly protect"

In a way, that's buying into the entitlement of the internet skeptic, that we've got some obligation to do whatever it takes to prove to them that the harassment is real.

Even the "selfie in front of her work place" I feel uneasy about, because that's going to spread around the address of her work place.

A while ago, there was someone who tweeted he put a dead squirrel in Zoe Quinn's mailbox. And I thought about it from Zoe's perspective. If that tweet was truthful, I would be tempted to throw around the pictures as vindication that GamerGaters are engaged in reprehensible behaviour. But it would make more tactical sense to pretend you never found a dead squirrel in your mailbox so the person who put it there won't know they got the right address.
posted by RobotHero at 8:29 AM on December 3, 2014


I could also imagine just never wanting to think about the dead squirrel again. Being defined publicly as "the person harassed by GamerGate" is terribly shitty.
posted by Nelson at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]




It's funny, before GamerGate I would have shied away from self-identifying as a "Social Justice Warrior." For me, the term brought to mind overly earnest kids on Tumblr with more, er, generosity of spirit than common sense, advocating for the rights of otherkin and whatnot.

But I am just fucking tickled to find myself on a blocklist of presumed SJWs being circulated by this reprehensible shit parade.

Here's a fascinating storify explaining *chan-style anonymous culture, how it works on its home boards, and why it doesn't translate on Twitter.

This is a good analysis, but the whole "movement" aspect of GG seems antithetical to the precepts of chan culture. It's like 4chan's nililism married to Reddit's sense of self-importance, the worst of both sites given form and purpose.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:15 AM on December 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


That analysis from @a_man_in_black is great, almostmanda, thank for posting it. It's also a great example of how thoughtful essays don't translate to Twitter, trying to read that through Storify is :-(

The thing that frustrates me with discussions of "chan culture" is that the culture is not very productive. I love me some memes too and there are some other funny and creative things that have come out of the chans, but in general it's just a cesspool of nonsense and worse. So it's a bit galling to read this essay, his thesis of "a clash of two cultures". It's more like a creative culture vs. a bunch of anonymous barbarians. There's definitely a place for nihilism and young people being a bit irresponsible and I am glad the chans exist. But when it spills over to the productive world it's a problem.
posted by Nelson at 9:32 AM on December 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is a good analysis, but the whole "movement" aspect of GG seems antithetical to the precepts of chan culture.

All this changed with Project Chanology, in my opinion, when you saw people identifying with 4chan (/b/ in particular) suddenly taking part in attacks against the Church of Scientology - and all that was kicked off because a leaked Tom Cruise interview that /b/ was having fun passing around their respective YT accounts and laughing about were getting taken down en masse. Before this, the greatest mobilizations you would see would be against some hapless person on the internet committing the sin of being attackable - whether some random Stickam user, a Sonic fan who was clearly on the autistic spectrum, or financial Dommes. That's what was meant by "doing it for the lulz". There was no morality behind it; these people were kicked around because they could be.

Once Chanology got started, though, you had not just massively orchestrated cyberattacks against the CoS but actual meatspace protest demonstrations. And it most certainly was run under the banner of it being some kind of morality war (just as gatoraders are doing now). That was six years ago. While Chanology wasn't exactly successful, it did set the stage for the idea of them being some force for TRUTH and JUSTICE. And from there, the self-importance has been in a state of continuous inflation.

I think a_man_in_black is right that anon tends to revile attention seekers, but they don't exactly revile them for this reason alone. The first counterexample that comes to mind is Boxxy, a figure very brazenly and obviously seeking attention for her goofy antics, but /b/ loves her. What they dislike isn't attention seeking; it's disagreement with anything their hivemind holds dear. All their talk about True Internet Freedom and whatnot is hypocritical bullshit. They are not pro-anonymity nor anti-attention-seeking as much as they are a bunch of entitled boys who - like so many other young men - see the world is changing, that their presumed power is on the wane, and they will shout down, threaten and harrass anyone who dares express a POV that isn't taken straight out of the 1950s.

This isn't "chan culture" clashing with everything else. It's about college-aged reactionary males lashing out at everyone else.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:27 AM on December 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


Tim Schafer and 24 other dudes from the gaming industry (including guys from the Idle Thumbs podcast--you won't believe what Nick Breckon looks like) star in the latest Feminist Frequency video: 25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male.
posted by straight at 10:57 AM on December 3, 2014


Looks like freebsdgirl is going to the authorities about the guy that showed up at her work to get #gamergate famous.
posted by Theta States at 1:25 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Nelson: "I could also imagine just never wanting to think about the dead squirrel again. Being defined publicly as "the person harassed by GamerGate" is terribly shitty."

The GamerGators must think it's wonderful to be defined publicly as "the person harassed by GamerGate" because they're constantly accusing people of doing it on purpose.


I guess what I was saying is I can understand the temptation to grab whatever new depth a Gator has managed to sink to and wave it around, thinking, "surely this..." but at this point, isn't anyone who could be convinced that supporting GamerGate does more harm than good already convinced?
posted by RobotHero at 4:23 PM on December 4, 2014


Looks like freebsdgirl is going to the authorities about the guy that showed up at her work to get #gamergate famous.

Relevant tweet from freebsdgirl of her email to the EFF asking for their help.
posted by rory at 3:11 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you want some delicious snark, there's a nice r/gamerghazi thread cataloging the times when r/KotakuInAction has attempted to bring gamergate to other subreddits and been laughed out of the room.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh my god, the first link from that r/gamerghazi thread is absolute 100% solid gold: "Kiwikku goes to bitcoin," in which the bitcoin subreddit tells gamergate to die in a fire.
posted by dialetheia at 11:02 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


RobotHero: "I think it says something that the two fears on display here are that the critics of GamerGate will ignore you, versus the supporters of GamerGate will give you their full attention.

The asymmetry suggests there may be something that doesn't apply equally to "both sides."
"


I will amend this according to the Man In Black storify linked above. Some of it also can be what expectations do they have for a conversation on the internet.

I saw this in my feed. Someone objecting the the "sea lion" meme with the opinion that it's not an intrusion because you mentioned GamerGate on the twitter. And so yeah, is every single tweet on a subject an invitation to debate that subject with every internet stranger who comes along?

And it's framed as a cartoon of "This is what you think is happening" "This is what is actually happening" which got me thinking of my own counter-example. What I came up with was Columbo on one side, Moon-hoaxer on the other.

Which got me watching the Buzz Aldrin punching a guy video and I noticed, one of the first things the moon hoaxer objects to is that Buzz is giving a lecture about the moon landing. Then he asks Buzz to swear on a bible that he walked on the moon. So it does now strike me as a good parallel, because this guy has the attitude that Buzz can't talk about the moon unless he convinces him personally that he was there and jumps through whatever hoops are necessary to do so.

Clearly there are interesting and useful things that Buzz can say about the moon landing that are not debating whether it happened, and to interrupt these other things until the moon hoaxers are convinced would be stifling.

Similarly, I would argue some posts on Twitter about GamerGate and/or harassment in games culture and/or ethics in games journalism are not going to be enriched by debate with whatever internet stranger happens to object to their first principles. Sometimes a discussion is improved by the participants holding a common ground of beliefs and building on those, rather than re-establishing those beliefs over and over. This is not always an echo chamber or preaching to the choir or circle-jerk or whatever else you want to call it.

(This same dynamic has come up in a lot of feminist online blogs, where they'll get commenters disputing 101-level stuff which would hold the whole class back if they have to stop for that all the time.)

So some people use Twitter for things that are not debating with whatever internet stranger comes their way, and the block list helps enable that.
posted by RobotHero at 2:17 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


It also comes up in the Brianna Wu discussion, Gators saying, "if you're so worried about your dog, why are you on Twitter?" If she has actual friends on Twitter, she's trying to reach out to them, trying to hear some kind words, but to someone who thinks the entire and sole purpose of Twitter is to argue that might seem strange.
posted by RobotHero at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2014


Idle Dilletante (who is also doing a heck of a job) has put up a thorough post documenting the hateful obsessiveness of Eron Gjoni. It's a nice antidote to that medium post by Gjoni's friend who helped him with the zoepost and claimed that it was totally okay.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:26 AM on December 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Freelance writer L. Rhodes has put together two amazing , open-letter-esque Medium pieces on Gamergate. No new facts, but clear, educated writing and description: To The Fair-Minded Proponents of #Gamergate, To The Rest of #Gamergate. It'd be nice if one or both of these could make it to the top of KotakuInAction.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:36 PM on December 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nice but unlikely.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 AM on December 7, 2014


Well, one of the did get posted to KiA, but since the post title was "The Pig Iron Man - or - How to Pretend to present the best argument of your opponent whilst committing as many fallacies as possible in your rebuttal", I have a suspicion about how it'll go down...
posted by Going To Maine at 8:01 AM on December 7, 2014


Good lord. That lawyer dude has reached new levels of Truly Batty.

I don't know whether he really is this nuts, or whether everything he does is a cynical ploy (in this case, I suppose to attract more MRA guys and bolster his I R Alpha! posturing).

[manfightdragon's twitter on this subject was incredibly amusing yesterday, just scroll back a few pages.]
posted by pseudonymph at 9:16 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not surprised by anything they do anymore, but complaining about , and potentially DDoSing a charity for disabled gamers refusing their donation from a porn drive Is pretty bad. Sadly I can't even say it's a new low.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:00 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


The thing I hate the most about gamergate is one of their most obvious and internally promoted strategies:
Just keep attacking your enemies.
Wait for them to slip up in ANY WAY. Take anything out of context, if need be.
Use that against them mercilessly to "destroy them".
Then? "Win".

When you are an anon mob fighting against actual real individuals with their lives on the 'net, there is a huge power imbalance. And wait isn't this supposed to be about ethics or something?
Nope, it is now about identifying enemies and then working to destroy them. Enemies of ethics? Who knows, but enemies. Must destroy.

It is so confusing to see gg use language like "we will win", but not having any identifiable win state other than having chased every person who spoke ill of them off the internet.
posted by Theta States at 6:08 AM on December 8, 2014


What's amazing to me is that the entire thing has persisted -and, indeed, continues to persistent- without a coherent rationale. As Film Crit Hulk noted back when, there's nothing there... and yet the actions persist. It's as if the reaction to GG is creating the movement. At this point, it exists as force to oppose the objections to it.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:21 AM on December 8, 2014


Okay, listening to the podcast has renewed my interest in the Twitter blocklist. But I'm an idiot. How do I actually physically subscribe to that thing (and please explain it to me like I'm your grandma)?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:03 AM on December 8, 2014


From the gamerghazi best of collection linked above, I found this remarkable piece of inane bat-shittery.

If it was a little higher res i'd make it into a mouse pad.
posted by lkc at 7:08 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


That is gloriously silly.
posted by winna at 7:36 AM on December 8, 2014


How do I actually physically subscribe to that thing

Log in to Twitter. Visit the blocklist page. Click "block all and subscribe." Twitter will ask you to authorize Block Together to have access your Twitter account; click "sign in" to do so. That should do it.

(I commented a month ago on a different post that I enabled this blocklist in frustration, despite being a "fight speech with speech" dude with no personal skin in the game. I stand by that and recommend this blocklist to others. I can always open a tweet in an incognito tab when I really want to to see all the replies, but nearly every time I do, I end up regretting it. The improvement of the Twitter experience, just in reading replies to people I follow, easily justifies any false positives.)
posted by structuregeek at 7:42 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also recommend the blocklist; It makes my feed readable, and you can tell when someone said something stupid because there are usually replies in the conversation and you can get the gist of what was said.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:48 AM on December 8, 2014


It is so confusing to see gg use language like "we will win", but not having any identifiable win state other than having chased every person who spoke ill of them off the internet.

Yup. Followed an interesting thread on the topic over the weekend on an unrelated forum - coupl'a gators discussing their gripes and grievances. The takeaways -

1) Yes, it's misogyny. They want woman out of gaming, off the internet, and removed from any hobby or cultural activity traditionally considered the province of male intellectual-escapist culture.

2) Women worry and confuse them. They feel they're being mocked. They feel as if women who come into their communities are trying to seize power and force them out. They feel as if the safe places they could retreat from "normal" society, where they are perpetually on the bottom rung of the pecking order and unable to keep track of whatever behavioral nuance causes other people to pick on them or reject them, are under direct attack.

This is likely where the "fake nerd girl" trope comes from as well.

I'm... I'm beginning to wonder if direct opposition to GG is going to be embroilment in an endless guerrilla war. The depth of feeling on these topics is pretty intense and aggrieved, and the people feeling them very clever and resourceful and focused on their perceived grievances.

The current tactics of making them more isolated, humiliated and marginalized may backfire when what you're fighting against is monkey-brain male social insecurity.

I have no ideal how to adapt current strategy in a way that's satisfactory to everyone involved. There may be no win scenario for anyone, just endless conflict. God, that's depressing.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:09 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Log in to Twitter. Visit the blocklist page. Click "block all and subscribe."

I keep getting an error message that tells me I need to be logged on to do that. But I AM logged in to Twitter. Is there something else I need to log onto?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on December 8, 2014


Are you logged into the website from the same browser, or using an app? If this is on mobile, the links might be going to the app.
posted by lkc at 8:40 AM on December 8, 2014


Are you logged into the website from the same browser, or using an app?

Same browser. I even pull up Twitter in one tab to confirm it's logged in, and then try to "block all and subscribe" in a second browser.

I've actually got the "auto-log-in" via a cookie, though, does that matter?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 AM on December 8, 2014


Is there something else I need to log onto?

Apparently Block Together may require you to authorize / log in with Twitter first? Try going to main page (blocktogether.org), clicking "Sign up using Twitter." Once that's done, repeat the process I gave earlier.

(The fact that all of this hoop-jumping is necessary because Twitter won't provide better tools itself is beyond absurd.)
posted by structuregeek at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2014


Yeah, that was a stab in the dark, but seemed like an easy "did you try turning it off and on" suggestion. I'll defer to proper experience.
posted by lkc at 8:51 AM on December 8, 2014


And I will bet my hat that today's gators are tomorrows truthers.
posted by lkc at 8:56 AM on December 8, 2014


Apparently Block Together may require you to authorize / log in with Twitter first?

If I'm already auto-logged in (a cookie, I assume), do I need to log off and then log on "for real"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:16 AM on December 8, 2014


Actually, lemme table this until I'm home and can faff around more.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on December 8, 2014


I'm... I'm beginning to wonder if direct opposition to GG is going to be embroilment in an endless guerrilla war. The depth of feeling on these topics is pretty intense and aggrieved, and the people feeling them very clever and resourceful and focused on their perceived grievances.

I was trying to write a detailed prediction in response to this comment, but kept deleting it. I just don't know. I have no idea what it will eventually become, because it's so weirdly led-but-not-led, the members have such a poor command of facts, everyone keeps hoping it will go away... I mean when you literally have the CEO of a game company try to recruit a revenge porn artist and get roughly zero blowback about it, it says something about the state of the industry.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:17 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the links, everyone. These 3 articles really do a great job of summarizing everything:
To fair-minded proponents of #GamerGate
To The Rest of #gamergate
Eron Gjoni, Hateful Boyfriend
posted by Theta States at 10:57 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


GG has been primed for co-opting into the larger culture wars from the birth of the hashtag. YouTube personalities like the one Baldwin endorsed provide a similar function to, say, talk radio in the 80s. Combined with chan/anon culture—the underground newsletters and pamphleteers in this analogy, more diffuse and diverse but also far more toxic—they give "disenfranchised" voices a soapbox/community. This rudimentary group identity is what made them such attractive targets for grooming by partisan journalism (Breitbart), think tanks (AEI), and individuals fighting a rearguard action in their own struggles (Assange/WikiLeaks, Dawkins). Plus, of course, the outright lunatic fringe: anti-semites, patriots, truthers, etc.

I continue to think that the most active GamerGate participants will quit in disgust when they realize that they are "core gamers" trapped in a free-to-play model: an endless grindfest with no obtainable win state, only the illusion of progress. The remaining persistent/compulsive types will keep interacting with the skinner box until they run out of resources, or until the game no longer provides the feedback loop they require. What these former "whales" choose to do with their time and energy when sending emails to advertisers and harassing people on Twitter is no longer satisfying enough is the real question, and the real fear.
posted by structuregeek at 11:00 AM on December 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


I wrote a much longer comment, and chose not to post it.

I've been catching up on this stuff and can't properly flesh it out for a while without giving myself thumb RSI.

I just want to say this, and I apologize if this is redundant:

Gamergate is just and ONLY a modern re-tread of "they are coming for our women/jobs/guns/bibles/lifestyle" that has dominated the hate and violence of the rest of American history.

They simply added video games to that list, bluff their numbers on anonymous forums, and say "s/he's #notyourshield" instead of "s/he's one of the good ones".

There are pawns, of course, all the way to the top, and opponents who will say or do dumb shit.

BUT!
This is a movement of cowardice and threats, chest-puffing and deception, as these things always are;

And these fuckers are too small and chickenshit to even get booked on Springer.

I hope every last person who made or incited a threat in this mess gets to sit in a cell,

But I will be a goddamn zebra if these fuckers ever muster into a march.

And that is the silver lining.
posted by lkc at 11:15 AM on December 8, 2014


(On post -- structuregeek -- excellent metaphor!)
posted by lkc at 11:18 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


And, sorry --
I keep writing and putting it aside.

Last thing I'll say:

I work for Cbs interactive.Like where several gaming journalism sites are.

Where the collective staff and particular let's have decried this whole fucking thing.

I have the same work address as jeff gerstmann of giant bomb.

If these fuckers had any grievance they would rally in our courtyard,

But the turnout would be embarrassing, so they threaten over terrier Twitter.

Right? Like I'm surrounded by people who get by doing games journalism

And there has never been a single fucking minute in the many many many years I've been here that anyone has been the least bit concerned about the public reaction of ethics in gaming journalism.

And reddit is just around the corner, with wired, and zynga and a bunch of other fucking companies.

Number of actual protests?
About ethics in ... tech journalism? Games journalism?

Yeah, guess.
posted by lkc at 1:59 PM on December 8, 2014




freebsdgirl has made a highly entertaining markov bot, @randi_ebooks. It's pretty good at hooking stupid gronkergunts.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:56 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Theta States, that response by Martin Pittenauer (game developer) is awesome. Thanks!
posted by msalt at 9:39 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nichegamer, a "neutral" news site, posted a pretty good interview with David Jaffe in which he does a good job of taking GG to task. As might be expected, the comments generally suggest that his points are flying over their heads, but there are some bright spots in the mire.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:13 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


"The 'gamergate' controversy cost Gawker Media 'seven figures' in lost advertising revenue, the company's head of advertising Andrew Gorenstein said at an all-hands meeting on Wednesday afternoon, according to two people in attendance at the meeting."

Well, crap. So much for damage control.

"Biddle asked how much the company was spending on its content management system Kinja, and Denton replied that it was about five times as much as his tweets had cost the company, leading to laughter from the audience."

Loose tweets sink revenue sheets.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:04 AM on December 11, 2014


that article is interesting for all sorts of reasons and helps add more context to the memo it discusses (which is sort of insane and interesting all on its own). while the money seems like a big deal, the article is clear that the actual bottom line wasn't harmed really, but it did cause big internal shake ups.
posted by nadawi at 10:20 AM on December 11, 2014


The headline says seven figures lost but I never saw that supported anywhere in the article or links. Does anyone break news only in the headline and lede of a story? Could seven figures have meant seven people? The body of the article says this:

Ultimately, the gamergate controversy had more of an effect on Gawker's management than its bottom line. The company's revenue has increased 30 percent year-over-year, and Denton announced to the newsroom before the all-hands meeting that the 2015 editorial budget is $14 million. But the internal dissension over gamergate was one of the things that prompted Denton to replace Johnson with Craggs and name a seven-person managing partnership to run the company.
posted by msalt at 11:12 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


"The 'gamergate' controversy cost Gawker Media 'seven figures' in lost advertising revenue, the company's head of advertising Andrew Gorenstein said at an all-hands meeting on Wednesday afternoon, according to two people in attendance at the meeting."

It is weird they lead the story with that, but then never mention more about the context of what Gorenstein said.
Was he joking? Was he worried?

Later on in the article it says "The company's revenue has increased 30 percent year-over-year"
Wikipedia cites that Gawker had $60 million in revenue, back in 2009.

So even they actually lost some advertising due to GG, it is tiny compared to their revenue growth, which makes it suspicious that the Gorenstein comment is leading the story with zero context.
posted by Theta States at 12:50 PM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


If the numbers being thrown around are not bullshit...

If Gawker had $60 mil in revenue in 2009, and revenue increased 30% year-on-year, then in 2014 it had $222 mil in revenue.
If GG cost it "seven figures", that would be between $1 mil and $9 mil.

That would mean that GG cost it between 0.4% and 4% of its revenue.
posted by Bugbread at 5:57 PM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Solidly-in-the-GG-tank, contemptuous-of-gamers journalist Milo Yiannopolous has written the review of Dragon Age: Inquisition that his readers have been asking for. The responses to it are an amazing example of how far apart the GG crowd are from everyone else. r/gamerghazi has noted that the review fails as "objective" because it gets facts wrong, and that while it might succeed as a subjective review it liberally insults all sorts of people. Meanwhile, r/KotakuInAction seems to think it's mostly intended to be humorous and is generally pretty good.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:52 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget the announcement of his new vanity press #gamergate book that he is planning for February! With the wonderful cover featuring... himself!
posted by Theta States at 2:25 PM on December 15, 2014


Don't miss this excerpt from the first chapter that was "leaked" to Twitter by Dan "Ben There Dan That" Marshall, along with a preview of the cover art.
posted by straight at 4:56 PM on December 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's some stunning ethics work right there.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:48 AM on December 16, 2014


I was listening to a recent Nerdist podcast yesterday; Wil Wheaton was on, and Wil said something about Adam Baldwin that was very intriguing in light of Baldwin's involvement in Gamergate.

Wil was actually talking about something different - Baldwin's propensity to rile up his followers to go troll Wil on his own Twitter feed. Wil finally saw him at a party and took him aside to say, "look, if you have a problem with me, I wish you'd talk to me directly instead of doing that." But Baldwin said he didn't have a problem with Wil at all - it was just a lulzy thing, and he tried to pass it off as "hey, I'm getting you attention and that's a good thing." He actually even laid off Wil for a while when Wil asked him to.

The thing was, though, was that Wil said Baldwin had told him something really telling -

"My followers are IDIOTS, man! They'll do whatever stupid thing I tell them to!"

....So is this maybe the smoking gun that Baldwin only started GamerGate for the lulz?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:59 AM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


"My followers are IDIOTS, man! They'll do whatever stupid thing I tell them to!"

That is... I wonder how much of this is an offshoot of "cool" being coded as not caring about anything. It is, ironically, a very liberal thing and part of why satire and irony are so huge, but it feels like it's become the current zeitgeist across the board, at least below a certain age.

Or maybe it's an age thing? I still find it "cool" but I'm less and less comfortable with being cool or lauding cool as something to aspire to, the way I did when I was younger.

It hurts to engage and let things matter and feel the effects of things, though.

There's also this weird contempt for the hoi polloi across the board that seems to bolster contempt of women, ethnic/cultural minorities, and people with commonly discriminated against characteristics in a given context - as in, the language is all about "the stupid masses" but the ultimate people losing are the ones who always have been, even when the language is about fighting back against the man and stuff like that.

Fighting against the man would be, for all intents and purposes, social justice work - and always has been - and also deeply political, but the rhetoric being used is about individuality and bootstraps and apolitics, and am I the only one deeply confused both by the competing rhetorics and by the fact that boots on the ground responses seem fairly uniform, with white guys rising to the top again?
posted by Deoridhe at 1:17 PM on December 16, 2014


more recent #gamergate thread
posted by Theta States at 7:04 AM on December 17, 2014


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