Everyone is poised to attack anyone. But it's all a joke.
December 16, 2014 9:31 AM   Subscribe

How Chan-Style Anonymous Culture Shapes #gamergate Twitter user A Man In Black attempts to untangle the gamergater mindset using identity -- any identity as vice, and lack of identity as a chief virtue.
posted by boo_radley (212 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks, that was an interesting read and very enlightening to this outsider.
posted by languagehat at 9:44 AM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]




Having had quite some experience of chan culture (not 4chan specifically, but other chans) this strikes me as pretty much on the money.
posted by Dysk at 9:46 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


This... is extremely thought-provoking. I think he's really onto something.
posted by Andrhia at 9:47 AM on December 16, 2014


I find this sort of presentation more difficult to read than it should be; a reminder that (for me, at least) Twitter is not a perfect vehicle for long-form writing. This is why I still maintain a blog and then link over from Twitter.
posted by jscalzi at 9:56 AM on December 16, 2014 [25 favorites]


Awesome, awesome. I've already used this to defend myself against sealioning.
posted by No Robots at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


Can someone bite-size this gamergate thing for me? I don't really understand it, though I've tried to read about it. Something about men harassing women for gaming?
posted by DriftingLotus at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2014


As I said in the previously, this is a good analysis, but I think he's giving a lot of weight to the idea that lots of channers actually care about this collectivist ethos he's ascribing to them. Some of them do, surely. But not enough to keep this shit-train rolling on their own.

Let's not forget that the other quasi-official home of Gamergate is on Reddit, which, if we were going to speak in generalities about its site culture, tends to have higher self-regard and a sharper sense of entitlement than your average anon on 4chan.

It took both of these to make the terrible garbage baby that is Gamergate, and a few opportunistic right-wing culture warriors, along with a village of generic unexaminedly misogynistic idiots, to raise it.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2014 [17 favorites]


Is there an easy way to get this "storified" twitter song into a more readable format? This looks like an interesting thing to read, but I don't have all day to jerk my eyes down 4 inches after every sentence and roll my mouse wheel after every 3rd.
posted by General Tonic at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Sorry, but: bullshit.

This is not a "culture clash"; this is people being noxious, unmitigated assholes. Yes, chan culture operates differently than the rest the Internet, and from the broader culture in general. But that is no excuse for demanding that others adhere to its highly idiosyncratic (and, to most people, obnoxious) standards. Most people are not interested in participating in the orgy of vulgarity and nihilism and self-loathing that defines chan culture. This is evident from the vast majority of human civilization that is not 4chan.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:59 AM on December 16, 2014 [31 favorites]


Kotaku In Action is currently trying to get Valve in trouble with the EU trade commission for refusing to sell a new mass murder simulator. I don't know that there is much more to say about it, other than that they are total fucking idiots.
posted by empath at 10:01 AM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, chan culture operates differently than the rest the Internet

I find a lot of this on all kinds of discussion boards.
posted by No Robots at 10:01 AM on December 16, 2014


This is not a "culture clash"; this is people being noxious, unmitigated assholes. Yes, chan culture operates differently than the rest the Internet, and from the broader culture in general. But that is no excuse for demanding that others adhere to its highly idiosyncratic (and, to most people, obnoxious) standards. Most people are not interested in participating in the orgy of vulgarity and nihilism and self-loathing that defines chan culture. This is evident from the vast majority of human civilization that is not 4chan.
escape, I think that's the point that the original writer (tweeter?) is actually making. From other stuff he's said on the topic, he doesn't seem to be excusing the behavior, rather explaining the philosophical pool it's emerged from.

There's a lot of interesting writing about *chan and imageboard culture, and how its incomprehensible hostility is shaped by a deep antagonism to individual identity. I'm not sure how anyone who's ever escaped from a cult or an abusive religious background can read that and see it as an excuse for the behavior. Rather, it's useful and enlightening because it explains why a lot of traditional forms of dialogue and engagement bounce off of these groups, like rocks skipping on the surface a pond.
posted by verb at 10:03 AM on December 16, 2014 [46 favorites]


escape from the potato planet: "But that is no excuse for demanding that others adhere to its highly idiosyncratic (and, to most people, obnoxious) standards. "

I don't think that aMiB is asking for understanding or adoption. There have been a lot of people who have looked at the GG shitstorm and asked, "What kind of person acts like this?" I think this article (page? tweetstream?) is an attempt to answer that narrow question, or at least inform the reader of a component of that mindset. If I had thought that it was a defense of GG I would not have linked to it.
posted by boo_radley at 10:03 AM on December 16, 2014 [11 favorites]


This is not a "culture clash"; this is people being noxious, unmitigated assholes. Yes, chan culture operates differently than the rest the Internet, and from the broader culture in general. But that is no excuse for demanding that others adhere to its highly idiosyncratic (and, to most people, obnoxious) standards. Most people are not interested in participating in the orgy of vulgarity and nihilism and self-loathing that defines chan culture. This is evident from the vast majority of human civilization that is not 4chan.

I believe his point is not that people should adhere to chan culture but to say this is why these people are saying these things that sound completely hypocritical to the rest of us.

On edit what verb and boo_radley said.
posted by edbles at 10:05 AM on December 16, 2014


So long story short, Gamergate is what happens when chan culture attempts to interact with normal human discourse. And Storify is what happens when someone attempts to write something meaningful on Twitter.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:16 AM on December 16, 2014 [14 favorites]


Can someone bite-size this gamergate thing for me? I don't really understand it, though I've tried to read about it.

here you go
posted by poffin boffin at 10:22 AM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Most people are not interested in participating in the orgy of vulgarity and nihilism and self-loathing that defines chan culture

Yeah, most people take their vulgarity, nihilism, and self-loathing in masked and measured and more culturally acceptable doses instead.
posted by namespan at 10:22 AM on December 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


escape, I think that's the point that the original writer (tweeter?) is actually making

Twit. I think the word your looking for is twit.
posted by el io at 10:24 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


this is likely too facile an analogy but I couldn't stop thinking of swarm culture (say like ants and bees) during much of his description. Total submersion of self for the collective.

Also it seems that such a culture could be easily manipulated by a sub mass of dedicated agenda driven folks.
posted by edgeways at 10:28 AM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Can someone bite-size this gamergate thing for me? I don't really understand it, though I've tried to read about it. Something about men harassing women for gaming?

And for talking about gaming, or merely hinting that gaming may not be welcoming to girls and women, or pointing out that women who develop games don't use their vaginas to entrap men for a good score on their games.

But yeah, "men harassing women for gaming" is pretty much it in a nutshell.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:31 AM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


As I said in the previously, this is a good analysis, but I think he's giving a lot of weight to the idea that lots of channers actually care about this collectivist ethos he's ascribing to them. Some of them do, surely. But not enough to keep this shit-train rolling on their own.

I don't think they care about it or even think of it in those terms at all on a conscious level, but they sure enact it. It's like fish and water - they're swimming in it, so they can't necessarily see it.

This is not a "culture clash"; this is people being noxious, unmitigated assholes. Yes, chan culture operates differently than the rest the Internet, and from the broader culture in general. But that is no excuse for demanding that others adhere to its highly idiosyncratic (and, to most people, obnoxious) standards.

The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. It's a culture clash alright, and channers are unmitigated assholes for not recognising that their culture is not universal, for not having the simple basic human empathy to understand that not everyone operates according to their principles. It's an explanation, not an excuse.
posted by Dysk at 10:31 AM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't think any random channer would have come up with this as a rationale for behavior, mind. But I think this is a good explanation of the unexamined bedrock underpinning the accepted norms and standards of channish behavior, in the same way that Calvinist thinking underpins a lot of American norms and standards; eg. most people wouldn't agree that children in poverty explicitly deserve to starve, because it sounds too harsh when put that way. But they're happy to see school lunch funding cut.
posted by Andrhia at 10:32 AM on December 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


The more I understand it the more I want a wall around it and it kept away from normal people.
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


GamerGate in a Nutshell.
(a one-act play by grubi)
FEMALE CULTURE CRITIC: The portrayal of women in video games seems sexist.
GAMERGATER: Shut up, bitch.
FEMALE CULTURE CRITIC: That hardly seems fair.
GAMERGATER: I'm going to stalk/murder/rape you.
FEMALE CULTURE CRITIC: You're being a jerk.
GAMERGATER: WHY ARE YOU OPPRESSING ME?
aaaand scene.
posted by grubi at 10:37 AM on December 16, 2014 [170 favorites]


How to End Gamergate - I liked this article as it seems to be the only sane way forward that doesn't involve both sides eternally locked in burning everything to the ground.

Relevant quote that applies to Metafilter too:
Gamergate “debate,” such as it is, currently boils down to people screaming “It’s actually about ethics in gaming journalism!” and “It’s actually about misogyny in the gaming world!” at each other on Twitter. People are forced to take sides or else get caught in the crossfire.
posted by unixrat at 10:39 AM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


both sides, victims and criminals
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:41 AM on December 16, 2014 [33 favorites]


Metafilter: A garbage baby with a village of generic unexaminedly moronic idiots to raise it.

I keed. I keed. I kid because I love.
posted by jonp72 at 10:43 AM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I like this - I used to think chans were a really interesting phenomenon, before they got so outwardly destructive and it wasn't worth it anymore.
posted by atoxyl at 10:45 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


How to End Gamergate - I liked this article as it seems to be the only sane way forward that doesn't involve both sides eternally locked in burning everything to the ground.

I was gonna do a snarky reply about how Slate would publish How to Negotiate With Terrorists as their next contrarian scoldpiece, but apparently they've already done that.
posted by almostmanda at 10:50 AM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


What an obnoxious article. I mean look what is the 'pro-gamergate' column of his chart: revanchist misogynists. on the 'anti-gamergate': hipsters! see! both sides!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:51 AM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Song-a-day guy is still killing it. Kill All SJWs is delightful and here he is singing hateful youtube comments left under his videos (TW: homophobic/racist slurs).
posted by Corinth at 10:52 AM on December 16, 2014 [10 favorites]


That link was really well thought out, thanks OP.

I also didn't think I would like the format to begin with but it actually made something pretty high on the meta-logic scale approachable, nay enlightening even, in a Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone syntax sort of way.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:52 AM on December 16, 2014


What an obnoxious article. I mean look what is the 'pro-gamergate' column of his chart: revanchist misogynists. on the 'anti-gamergate': hipsters! see! both sides!

It's #slatepitch in a nutshell: "If you would just give in to their demands and allow yourselves to be silenced just like they want, this whole thing will definitely be over soon and never ever ever ever come up again. Also: both sides are equally bad and it really is totally about ethics in gaming."
posted by zombieflanders at 10:52 AM on December 16, 2014 [22 favorites]


Thank you for sharing - very interesting and basically easy to digest break down of a culture clash I wasn't aware of.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:55 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I liked this article as it seems to be the only sane way forward that doesn't involve both sides eternally locked in burning everything to the ground.

The sane way forward is to go about your life as if gamer gate doesn't exist, and wait for it to inevitably burn out. And it will, because it's full of mostly idiots.
posted by empath at 10:59 AM on December 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


*Mostly* idiots?
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:00 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


> This is not a "culture clash"

I agree. A lot of that was accurate -- describing #gg vs. twitter as different values and styles of interaction is kinda true -- but he seems to think that the culture he's using to explain #gg is unselfconcious and naive:
Channers detest tripfriends for trying to draw attention to themselves. They are fertile ground for "professional victim" accusations.

Why would Zoe Quinn talk about her life and the harassment she's been enduring if it weren't to draw attention to herself? Chan thinking.
That's not the thinking, that's the excuse. Maybe it works at the #gg level, but if you're talking about anonymous as a subculture I think it's more telling to look at the metagame aspect of stuff like:
On chan boards, false flagging isn't just normal, it's perfectly accepted.

Yelling "[thing] sucks and all its fans are idiots" is normal, even if you like [thing]. People even often start arguments with themselves.
No one says: "Zoe Quinn is asking for it" because they sincerely believe it; they say it because it's an acceptable rhetorical move within the context of that subculture (if there's sincerity, it's in: "I said the words, you know what that means"). Telling a story that keeps the game moving is part of the game itself and when someone's specific identity is in play, it's standard to accuse the target of inviting their own abuse because they crave attention.

Similarly, doxxing isn't "the highest crime because it pierces anonymity," doxxing is big for two reasons:
  1. because it allows more piercing harassment
  2. because it offers up discrete pieces of a person's identity to workshop into the least-flattering (and hopefully most enduring) story possible.
Doxxing doesn't offend values, it paints a target. Big difference.
When everyone's anonymous, lying about yourself is harmless and normalized. Channers come to expect it.

So why wouldn't someone do this perfectly normal thing to aggrandize themselves?
If chan culture explains a lot of #gg (I think it does), then that second tweet is giving them either too much credit or too much credulity. They are not emerging, blinking, into a world they just don't understand. They know what they're doing.
posted by postcommunism at 11:01 AM on December 16, 2014 [15 favorites]


I have my own hobbies and idiosyncratic subcultures, but I do know how the rest of the world operates and don't get indignant that no one else wants to play the games I play within those isolated environments. You know why? Because I am a grownup who lives in the outside world, not a self absorbed narcissistic asshole.

I think we are already well aware that gamergate is about spreading a nihilistic form of assholery to the outside world, and that is precisely the problem with it.
posted by deanc at 11:04 AM on December 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


But it's invisible to channers, and thus #gamergate. It is the water they swim in.
Like okay, I can see that for a lot of the #gg folks. But it's ignoring that chan culture delights in invading spaces and pushing people off the internet. It's not invisible, it's part of the chan reputation.
posted by postcommunism at 11:11 AM on December 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


And the bizarre "feminists" GG-ers describe (the man-hating monsters who want to "cull" all men): not real. And when they link to the Tumblr/Twitter/FB feeds of such mythological creatures, they are pretty much just MRAs in disguise, the perfect example of a straw man.
posted by grubi at 11:12 AM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah, that Slate article...while the list of Gawker's sins is helpful in numerous other contexts, that article just isn't selling me.

The "both sides are bad!" attempt at sounding even-handed and fair is getting really old. It's not even-handed or fair. It's just a cheap dodge out of calling things as they are and owning up to it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:12 AM on December 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


> The sane way forward is to go about your life as if gamer gate doesn't exist, and wait for it to inevitably burn out. And it will, because it's full of mostly idiots.

I once heard a legendary Space General was able to defeat an entire horde of rampaging Killbots without lifting a finger.

(This is my tongue-in-cheek way of not reciting Niemöller's "first they came" poem.)
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:19 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


The sane way forward is to go about your life as if gamer gate doesn't exist, and wait for it to inevitably burn out. And it will, because it's full of mostly idiots.

I dunno, it's been half a year now and everyone seems just as entrenched as they were.

It's a tire fire on the internet - black smoke pouring everywhere and no end in sight.
posted by unixrat at 11:21 AM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


And the bizarre "feminists" GG-ers describe (the man-hating monsters who want to "cull" all men): not real. And when they link to the Tumblr/Twitter/FB feeds of such mythological creatures, they are pretty much just MRAs in disguise, the perfect example of a straw man.

"Berta Lovejoy And The Trolls Of r/RedditArmie" -- a short piece on a fake 'feminist' commenter, whose comments are consistently upvoted by an organized group:
In recent weeks, an increasing amount of Redditors and YouTube users have taken notice of Berta and picked up on her strange style of commenting, questioning her identity in threads and comment sections. They were right to be suspicious.
posted by cjelli at 11:21 AM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's a tire fire on the internet - black smoke pouring everywhere and no end in sight.

No its not. Its one group setting the tires on fire, and the other group saying, 'HEY STOP SETTING MY TIRES ON FIRE.'

Also, the only people responsible for gamergate who aren't gamergaters themselves are cops. Their illegal actions should be investigated and prosecuted.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:36 AM on December 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


Their daily pageviews have declined by 75% since october. It's all over but the crying at this point. And the finger-pointing and blaming, probably.
posted by empath at 11:42 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I dunno, it's been half a year now and everyone seems just as entrenched as they were.

This is the same "both sides are guilty" bullshit from that Slate article. There have been innumerable opportunities for the gators to prove that it's not about misogyny, or harassment, or Zoe Quinn's sex life. They've even been asked to join in on actual efforts to improve ethics in games journalism that pre-date their temper tantrums. And yet, when given all those chances, they've shown themselves incapable of doing anything but the same stupid shit. They're still stalking women who disagree with them, there's still "Jewkeesian" comics being posted, they're still using the false claims about "reviews" of Quinn's game, they still believe in a gamer Journolist, they still whine that a tool one of their targets made for themselves and others to block them on a privately-owned service is censorship and a violation of their right to free speech.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:42 AM on December 16, 2014 [13 favorites]


No matter what the argument GG-ers make now, I always return to:

What did Anita Sarkeesian actually do to deserve rape threats?
posted by grubi at 11:44 AM on December 16, 2014 [27 favorites]


Their daily pageviews have declined by 75% since october. It's all over but the crying at this point. And the finger-pointing and blaming, probably.

Netcraft Reddit confirms it! Gamergate is dying!
posted by Talez at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


My favorite Gamergate conspiracy theory is that media outlets were paying Weird Twitter to mock them. I love the idea of a six figure check written out to Diaperbaby Lover 420.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:49 AM on December 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


The storify felt like it had a lot of good points to me, but felt flat somehow, and I think postcommunism's comment is very very accurate in helping to flesh it out; the Man In Black undersells the degree to which the channers are aware of the emotional impact of their rhetorical moves.

The link is pretty great overall, though; I'd seen it on twitter a little while ago, and am happy to see it posted here!
posted by Greg Nog at 11:53 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love the idea of a six figure check written out to Diaperbaby Lover 420.

Chud_fucker69 doesn't do this for free
posted by Greg Nog at 11:56 AM on December 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


Twit. I think the word your looking for is twit.

This reminds me of a social-media exchange I saw a while back in which two journalism classmates of mine were celebrating the imminent downfall of Twitter and "all the twits who tweet!" now that Google Plus had come out.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:57 AM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


Can someone bite-size this gamergate thing for me?

Really, it's all about ethics in game journalism.*

*Actually it isn't, as the links upthread make clear.
posted by Gelatin at 12:09 PM on December 16, 2014


The sane way forward is to go about your life as if gamer gate doesn't exist, and wait for it to inevitably burn out. And it will, because it's full of mostly idiots.

I dunno, it's been half a year now and everyone seems just as entrenched as they were.


The zoepost first went up in mid-August, so it's only three months. Feels like forever, though.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:10 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Reading A Man in Black's tweet essay was interesting as an explanation for toxic behavior. It's a little like how, if you try to export the mores of teenage boys hanging out in the rec room into normal society, things rarely go well.

It also made me wonder if Heraclitus wasn't a time traveler used to expressing his ideas as tweets. It read kind of the same. Actually, "Donkeys prefer garbage to gold" is kind of an apt aphorism in this context.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:11 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


The zoepost first went up in mid-August, so it's only three months.

Well, four, actually. But yeah.

Feels like forever, though.

Christ, yeah, it does.
posted by grubi at 12:13 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


What did Anita Sarkeesian actually do to deserve rape threats?

"Actually, #gamergate officially condemns misogyny and harassment."

*writes 30 tweets sealioning some poor soul including a link to a 3-hr anti-Sarkeesian video by a redpiller*
posted by zombieflanders at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


1. Anything good a gamergater does (donations to charity, for instance), reflects well on gamergate as a whole as well as each individual gamergater.

2. Anything bad a gamergater does (harassment, doxing, being a neo-nazi or rape apologist) has nothing to do with gamergate or any individual gamergater.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 12:17 PM on December 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


No one says: "Zoe Quinn is asking for it" because they sincerely believe it; they say it because it's an acceptable rhetorical move within the context of that subculture (if there's sincerity, it's in: "I said the words, you know what that means").
You're right that they don't sincerely believe that she literally asked everyone to harass her. I think what this post details, though, is the specific ways in which that culture evaluates discourse, punishes outgroup behavior or identity, and so on. It explains what *chan and GG folks mean when they say "she asked for it"—which is vile, but important for folks who are interested in understanding what's going on and combatting the root of it, rather than just a particular highly-publicized campaign.

I'm not suggesting that someone has to take a masterclass in How Shitty People Think to disagree with them, but I don't think it's useful to slag on the folks who do explain the inner workings of a given subculture's value system. From a sociological perspective, it's useful and worthwhile to understand them because these things are often patterns rather than one-offs.
posted by verb at 12:19 PM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


3. For a crash course in what gamergate really is, simply tweet "#gamergate fucking sucks" and hundreds of people will tell you what gamergate is until you delete your twitter account and change your phone number. In addition, you will also get a Free Gamergate Background Check and Credit Report, delivered via anonymous email to your spouse, work supervisor, deceased parents grave, and a guy you talked to once in line at the movies.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 12:26 PM on December 16, 2014 [31 favorites]


The best part of this essay is explaining chan culture. I'm sort of an observer and grudging admirer of it. I'm too old and too moral to dip in, but I kind of like the nihilism of it.

I cringe a bit at giving the chans the word "chan culture" though, since it implies it's on the same level as "American culture" or "gamer culture" or "Metafilter culture" or something. While some interesting stuff has come out of the chans it's mostly random, incoherent, often deliberately offensive. And so, so adolescent. If I were 15 I have no doubt I'd be really in to 4chan, or whatever the cool kids have moved on to now. And that's fine. As an adult, well, I prefer adult places.

Reddit is my happy-medium place for Internet culture now. It's organized and moderated enough to be mostly useful, but still pretty random and woolly and young. There's a lot of bad on Reddit but there's a significant amount of good too.
posted by Nelson at 12:33 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


In addition, you will also get a Free Gamergate Background Check and Credit Report

From the makers of No-True-Scotchgard™!
posted by zombieflanders at 12:33 PM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't know. Is a comment like "There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society." should I assume that that's not a view held by mainstream feminists?
posted by I-baLL at 12:40 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


And the bizarre "feminists" GG-ers describe (the man-hating monsters who want to "cull" all men): not real.

Well, they're real, but there is only one of them and it is Mallory Ortberg and she is a fucking delight.
posted by maryr at 12:42 PM on December 16, 2014 [11 favorites]


Is a comment like "There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society." should I assume that that's not a view held by mainstream feminists?

If you're asking whether mainstream feminists use the word "sexism" to differentiate between prejudice which is backed up by institutional power versus prejudice which is not backed up by institutional power, then yes, quite a few of them do. If you're asking whether mainstream feminists hold the view that there's no such thing as prejudice against men, the answer is that I don't know any who do because of fucking course there's such a thing as prejudice against men, but since it is not backed by institutional power, a different word is used for it. Hope this helps!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:45 PM on December 16, 2014 [28 favorites]


The important part is that we closely scrutinize feminism, because that's totally the subject of this thread and definitely makes a difference in whether or not women, as a group or as individuals, deserve intense gender-based harassment for their hobbies, tastes, and professions.
posted by almostmanda at 12:49 PM on December 16, 2014 [36 favorites]


I don't know. Is a comment like "There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society." should I assume that that's not a view held by mainstream feminists?

To be clear, is your question whether a comment like that is held by mainstream feminists? Or are you asking about that comment specifically?
posted by cjelli at 12:50 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


The responses to that quote show it is not a consensus viewpoint. Why are we even discussing it? Wasn't there some other topic we were talking about before the subject became how crazy feminists are?
posted by maxsparber at 12:58 PM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society.

I think that minority and oppressed groups can hold prejudiced beliefs against more powerful groups, but that it's less important as a social issue, since without power, there's very little harm they can do, and so should be a lower priority if you care about these sorts of things.
posted by empath at 12:59 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know. Is a comment like "There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society." should I assume that that's not a view held by mainstream feminists?

That is a world away from

the bizarre "feminists" GG-ers describe (the man-hating monsters who want to "cull" all men)
posted by Dysk at 1:00 PM on December 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


(To clarify, this is not me disagreeing with the above Sarkeesian tweet; it's me trying to help by putting a finer point on it.)

Is there sexism against men? Is there racism against white people? Yes. In the sense of each ism being purely academic (meaning without cultural context): a prejudice against someone because they are a member of a group that they did not choose to be a part of.

But in a functional, real-world sense, the answer to those questions is No. Because when asked in the current context, in which white people and men are the dominant force and hold most of the power, then power cannot be leveraged against them the same way.

As a result, any sexism directed at me (as a man) or racism directed at me (as a white person) doesn't have the same impact. It can do little to me beyond hurt my feelings. Sexism against women does waaaay more than hurt feelings; it can ruin careers, put the target in danger, destroy lives. Racism against minorities does waaaay more than hurt feelings; it can ruin careers, put the target in danger, destroy lives.

GG-ers/MRAs are frat boys in a very real sense. People who have lived with the privilege of being a part of the dominant group. And someone dared to question the validity of that. Hence their massive butt-hurt.

Because when you question whether it's right for white men to hold all the power even discuss fair treatment in mainstream society of people who are not white men, then they view it as an attack on their identities. How many rich people made rich by inheritance feel as if they are entitled to those riches? Most of them. They have decided to see themselves as deserving, and anyone who questions that as being Wrong Wrong Wrong. Now switch out "money" for "power" and the dynamic still remains. But nobody's taking away their power — they're simply questioning the nature of that power and the exercise of that power.

tl;dr: Sexism/racism against men/white people does exist, but only outside the context of society. There are two definitions of each ism: one with the implication of power, one without.
posted by grubi at 1:10 PM on December 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't know. Is a comment like "There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society." should I assume that that's not a view held by mainstream feminists?
That is a world away from
the bizarre "feminists" GG-ers describe (the man-hating monsters who want to "cull" all men)
Precisely.
posted by grubi at 1:13 PM on December 16, 2014


Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose.

He who values nothing is invincible.

Oh postmodernism, what have you wrought.
posted by PMdixon at 1:14 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


People ask why I'm a feminist. The complex answer is this is how I was raised. I saw strong, capable women in every aspect of my life. I saw my father, a strong personality in his own right, never fail to treat my mother, equally strong in personality, as a peer, an equal. Sure they would argue, they'd even scream at each other. But gender was never a point of attack. Ever. And upon entering the world as an adult, I have seen women and men equally capable of creating great art, being horrible monsters, and everything in between.

So the simple answer I give when asked why I am a feminist? Because I've been paying attention.
posted by grubi at 1:20 PM on December 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


(sorry; this discussion isn't about me. feel free to ignore.)
posted by grubi at 1:20 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can I ask politely and with all respect (honestly) that all sarcasm be clearly marked as such? I'm pretty sure I can identify it, but sometimes I just don't know.
posted by edgeways at 1:21 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why ahould we give a squirty shit about GG and its gang of idiots? I don't understand why we can't just ignore them. Their victims should, of course, report abuse and threats to the FBI. But why engage them? Why follow them? Why pay them any heed at all? It takes two to tango. Stop dancing with them.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:31 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


GG-ers/MRAs are frat boys in a very real sense. People who have lived with the privilege of being a part of the dominant group. And someone dared to question the validity of that. Hence their massive butt-hurt.

I think the toxic aspects of chan culture tend to come from a place of feeling like one is not getting to enjoy the benefits of unearned privilege one is being told that they have. Like, I read 4chan and I don't see frat boys. I see geeks. Social outcasts. Internet weirdos. But instead of thinking, yes, white privilege and the patriarchy is keeping everybody down, we're in this boat together, they're all like, wait I'm a straight white male, where's my submissive girlfriend, where's my high-paying job, where's my effortless success, where is my slice of the privilege pie.

So what do they do? They punch down and act like the existing power structures are the natural system of order. They step on less-privileged groups to reinforce their place in the hierarchy.

In a way I think it's almost worse than living in a bubble of privilege you've never had to question. They can see the bubble from the outside, and they're trying to claw their way in.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:36 PM on December 16, 2014 [41 favorites]


Not shocked to see that not taking responsibility for one's actions is a foundational tenet of Anon. Still, laying it all out like this was a real eye-opener.
posted by wires at 1:38 PM on December 16, 2014


Why should we give a squirty shit about GG and its gang of idiots? I don't understand why we can't just ignore them. Their victims should, of course, report abuse and threats to the FBI. But why engage them? Why follow them? Why pay them any heed at all? It takes two to tango. Stop dancing with them.

The same reason to talk about any terrible/harmful/toxic thing. It's easier to fight something that you understand.

For example, if you have a son, understanding this sort of stuff is useful in raising him not to have the kind of assumptions and prejudices that would lead him to find this sort of thing attractive. That's why I read it, anyway.

I get your worry; by giving them this sort of anthropological treatment, are we legitimizing them? Showing too much sympathy? But you can study a thing (like the KKK) without legitimizing it. They are a real group that has done real harm. Their victims don't have the luxury of avoiding them, and their actions suppress discourse by making people afraid to discuss them online. Which affects everyone.
posted by emjaybee at 1:40 PM on December 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


maryr, if I find out that gamergater's begin to bother Mallory Ortberg based upon your comment - I will hunt you down and draw dicks on your face with a sharpie. She is a world treasure and should be worshipped! (JUST KIDDING about the hunting you down part ... I'd just be sad for her)
posted by Gor-ella at 1:40 PM on December 16, 2014


I really loved this Storify, but it's only part of the story. Gaming culture has been toxic for a long time, pre-dating the *Chans by quite a while. I still remember the "I'm gonna make you my bitch" days of Doom & Quake. Most of us who have been with gaming for a while know how terrible some gamers are and how they're often the most vocal people in the community.

And that's just part of the nastiness of male geek culture as a whole.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:44 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


So what do they do? They punch down and act like the existing power structures are the natural system of order. They step on less-privileged groups to reinforce their place in the hierarchy.

Yes, exactly! That's something I wanted to mention, but spaced when it came time to type it.
posted by grubi at 1:45 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also interesting is that 4chan itself ejected the gamergators a while ago. Doubt think they kicked the nazis out though. Moot seems like a guy with one foot in, one foot out, trying to grow up somehow, become some sort of "respectable" internet entrepreneur, while his life's work so far is... 4chan.
posted by atoxyl at 1:57 PM on December 16, 2014


Why should we give a squirty shit about GG and its gang of idiots? I don't understand why we can't just ignore them. Their victims should, of course, report abuse and threats to the FBI. But why engage them? Why follow them? Why pay them any heed at all? It takes two to tango. Stop dancing with them.

With GG becoming yet another minor, ineffective Internet fringe group, ignoring them now might be the best thing to do. They have about as much influence now as the folks who believe in chemtrails.

But, back in August or September, when it looked like gators might be reproducing wildly, I think it was important to take a stand and point out their idiocies and prejudices. Not to try and convert anyone who already drank the kool-aid. Those guys were hopeless at the time. But as a way to reach the silent lurkers. To show the undecided what a shit sandwich this all was. To show members of the afflicted groups that they did have supporters who realized how absolutely ridiculous this all was.

There's a thread on SubredditDrama right now about the latest Reddit misogynistic and racist outrage. Some of the posts in that thread talk about being a member of the group under attack and how isolating it feels when everyone seems to be against you. It's very important to show the hate isn't universal and that there is still a degree of kindness, sanity and support out there.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:57 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why should we give a squirty shit about GG and its gang of idiots? I don't understand why we can't just ignore them. Their victims should, of course, report abuse and threats to the FBI. But why engage them? Why follow them? Why pay them any heed at all? It takes two to tango. Stop dancing with them.

Because they're not giving some people the OPTION of ignoring them. Read this article from someone that's going to try to ignore them, which includes lots of reasons that she hasn't just been ignoring them all along. My career is not about stopping Gamergate.
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

- Elie Wiesel
posted by stoneweaver at 2:11 PM on December 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


Chan culture being about rebellion against identity and power may have been one that was unintentionally created by Moot when he created 4chan (I was there in the very early days, circa 2003).

It was a message board where anyone could post to, and the only rule was that everyone had to be anonymous - there were no user identifiers. If I start a conversation with you, and you reply, and then I reply again, there's no way to tell if I'm the same person you were talking with earlier, or someone new pretending to be me. It was a crazy concept, but it gave rise to a very powerful idea: if everyone is Anonymous, then we are all the same: your views, my views, even if we disagree and fight and argue, we are the same. I could argue for one side of the discussion, then immediately switch to the other side: no one could know, no one would care. Ideas trump identity: your reputation, credentials, YOU as a person are unimportant. Only your ideas. A millionaire, the president of a country, a homeless person, an 8 year old kid: everyone is equal on 4chan, because it strips away identity and only leaves the idea. Fighting and arguments are a joke, because, they can't hurt anyone (everyone is anonymous). The only thing that exists is the idea, and good ideas can't be hurt or destroyed.

On 4chan, if someone had started threads and arguments arguing the same things Zoe and Anita were arguing, these ideas of sexism in games would have been enthusiastically accepted and viciously attacked simultaneously. Ideas emerge organically, group-think evolves in a decentralized way. If it's a good idea, it will gain traction and be enfolded into the larger group-think. If not, it won't. By identifying themselves, they've made themselves a target, the same way anyone at 4chan makes themselves a target by using a tripcode. By identifying themselves and using their personal credentials and reputation as a signal booster for promoting their idea, they've made it about them, not about their idea. It's cheating.
posted by xdvesper at 2:27 PM on December 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


There's a thread on SubredditDrama right now about the latest Reddit misogynistic and racist outrage.

You know what, I'm done with reddit. Just deleted my account.
posted by empath at 2:29 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


If it's a good idea, it will gain traction and be enfolded into the larger group-think.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
posted by No Robots at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


I-ball: "Is a comment like "There’s no such thing as sexism against men. That's because sexism is prejudice + power. Men are the dominant gender with power in society." should I assume that that's not a view held by mainstream feminists?"

FAMOUS MONSTER: If you're asking whether mainstream feminists use the word "sexism" to differentiate between prejudice which is backed up by institutional power versus prejudice which is not backed up by institutional power, then yes, quite a few of them do. If you're asking whether mainstream feminists hold the view that there's no such thing as prejudice against men, the answer is that I don't know any who do because of fucking course there's such a thing as prejudice against men, but since it is not backed by institutional power, a different word is used for it. Hope this helps!


This will get complicated. Welcome to Feminism 201.

Sexism does affect men - but not in the way many people rhetorically use it. That is, the sexism isn't something perpetuated by Feminists, but is rather part of how culture was bent to make women Less-Than to men's More-Than and then bent further by women objecting to being Less-Than.

So, once upon a time there were People, who were men with power, and everyone else, who were supposed to serve the People. Not-people included slaves, servants, women, children, etc... all of whom were expected to be grateful to the People for doing the hard things and taking care of them. (See also: Colonialism).

After a while, the not-people grew jealous (read: the People noticed the not-people were getting more influence, and some of them started thinking maybe the not-people might actually be People, and some laws were passed so not-people had the right to have bank accounts, not be worked for 12 hours a day for no pay, etc...) and pushed for Equality using rhetoric the People had used to talk to each other, and some of the People were startled into passing People status on to Women, Blacks, Asians, etc...

Now previously, all of the characteristics in the world applied to People. People could be good or bad, nurturing or cruel, sweet or sour, they could wear pink or blue, be musical or not, be good at math or not, etc... etc... All of the characteristics were theirs. But now suddenly there were these other people who had characteristics too! And so the People - now called white men of wealth and influence - started to want to distinguish themselves from other people who were gaining rights, and they did it through dividing up characteristics and assigning as many of the "bad" ones as they could to the other people.

So women got nurturing (and the kids), weak, and tempting. And poor white people got profligate and uneducated. And Black people got dangerous and stupid. And Black women got an addition of slutty, which they shared with poor women of all colors and which makes them ok to rape again. And Asian people got intellectual and effeminate which became small penises in men and perfect girlfriend in women. Etc.. etc... All of these characteristics had positive sides, because that's how characteristics work, but the emphasis of them on others were to turn all of these new people claiming to be People a reason why they should still value and be grateful toward the REAL people, who were the white, wealthy, influential men. (I'm leaving out several axis of discrimination for the sake of space and simplicity, but as near as I can tell a similar process occurred for each.)

Suddenly, because of these prejudices, White men of influence and power found themselves in smaller and smaller boxes. In order to keep their perceived position of power and influence, they had to pretend to not be all of these things they were. They had to pretend to not need people, to not have emotions, to not have needs because all of those things were associated with "weak" and "emotional". They got to keep anger, but they couldn't express it in a healthy way, so incidences of intra-group violence began to rise, and that fed into extra-group violence and homo-social behavior where a group of men would find their connection to each other over the bodies of not-men, be they gay men, men of color, or women.

So we're at a point where men and manliness and masculinity are rigidly policed by men because doing so is seen as a means to influence and power - and frankly accurately so. Societally, men always get more influence than women, whites always get more influence that people of color, and straight people get more influence than gay people, etc... etc...

Men have reacted to the call for equality by women by attempting to divide the world up between "man things" and "woman things", violently policing each other into "man things" only, and thus limiting their own free expression and knowledge of themselves in search of an ever-elusive goal of power and influence. And when they fail to get the power and influence they want with other men, they have an easy way to terrorize women, or black people, or poor people into deferring to them using violence and threats of violence.

So there is sexism against men. The sexism that says men can't wear skirts or pink. The sexism that says men shouldn't be needy or nurturing. The sexism that says men shouldn't go to the doctor, or plan social events, or hang out and talk with their friends. The sexism that says men should only show "weakness" and vulnerability to one woman, which destroys their ability to make loving, nurturing friendships with other men. The sexism that says being violent and aggressive is exclusively male and the best way to demonstrate one is a manly man. The sexism that says men should be less involved in the lives of their children, shouldn't kiss bruised knees and hold hands during shots, and comfort sobs, and track vaccinations.

But this is not the sexism most people talk about when they say sexism against men. What they are talking about is women not having sex with them on demand, and women not giving them their children, and women asking for child support, and woman wanting money when they didn't work during the marriage, and women getting jobs, and women wanting to and sometimes actually leaving them, and women not wanting to be touched by them, and women having sex with people who are not them, and women holding jobs, and women not holding jobs, and women not giving them money. None of that is sexism; all of that is women insisting they are People, who are allowed to have power and influence and self-agency.

What's sexism is men enforcing amongst themselves being not-women.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:40 PM on December 16, 2014 [78 favorites]


Can we just ignore the textbook "but what if feminists really do want to kill all men?" sealioning and move on already?
posted by zombieflanders at 2:46 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Afaict Gamergate is a placeholder for resentment backlash by poorly socialised young men being told that the stuff they like (which was and is created largely for poorly socialised young men) is dumb and they are dumb for liking it.

I mean it is dumb, but it's always fun to get angry about things in a group, and the stakes (slightly better stories in videogames) are low enough that the rhetoric and vituperation can fly free like monarch butterflies in spring.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:03 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


By identifying themselves and using their personal credentials and reputation as a signal booster for promoting their idea, they've made it about them, not about their idea. It's cheating.

It would've been cheating if Zoe and Anita had done so on 4chan. They didn't. They did it elsewhere, outside 4chan's sovereignty, where their rules don't apply. Where it wasn't cheating.
posted by Dysk at 3:10 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


By identifying themselves and using their personal credentials and reputation as a signal booster for promoting their idea, they've made it about them, not about their idea. It's cheating.


Because they posted about toxic misogyny in games and gaming culture on their own websites/twitter feeds/youtube channels, they were cheating? I call bullpuckey.
posted by suelac at 3:24 PM on December 16, 2014


I think the toxic aspects of chan culture tend to come from a place of feeling like one is not getting to enjoy the benefits of unearned privilege one is being told that they have.

I've spoken before about what an amazingly moronic tool I used to be.

Let's be clear - I was poor white geek trash. Picked on HS, not well educated or world wise, and coming from a working class family with little to no accumlated wealth. My total HS graduation presents were about 75 dollars and a bottle of Jameson. I was smart enough to go to college, but that was for posers and anyway, who could afford it ?

When I would read about white male privilege I would wonder what the hell these people smoked. Seriously. I got harassed by the cops the same as my black friends did, for example. The benefits of the patriarchy were invisible and the negatives were extremely prevalent.

Now, yeah - obviously, all of the things I was seeing were largely class based and to a certain extent self inflicted (poor white trash gonna poor white trash). Escaping that world and moving up was, well not easy, but I had a better time of it that many in my cohort, especially the NA and AA friends I had. It took a while to see that "the patriarchy" doesn't include all men and indictments of it therefore didn't include me.

So yeah. I kinda get how a young man thinks feminists are full of it. From their perspective - where shit sucks and the power structures are oriented against them (albeit in different ways) - the issues of feminism ring a little hollow.

Hopefully, they'll outgrow it. I did.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:25 PM on December 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


being told that the stuff they like (which was and is created largely for poorly socialised young men) is dumb and they are dumb for liking it

No, that's not what they're reacting to, because anyone who watches any of Anita's videos sees that she makes clear that it's okay to like this stuff, but we can and should expect better from game designers and manufacturers.

It's like claiming that the writers who noticed how poorly Hemingway treated women in his books were calling every college English department stupid.

This kind of analysis is not an attack on the audience. It's a criticism of the source text, and the creators, not the audience.
posted by suelac at 3:27 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Afaict Gamergate is a placeholder for resentment backlash by poorly socialised young men being told that the stuff they like (which was and is created largely for poorly socialised young men) is dumb and they are dumb for liking it.

Not really. It was people saying, "hey, there's people that like what you like, but the way it is now makes them not want to." They created the "they hate gamers!" narrative from that, and have played the part of the aggrieved ever since then.

Because they posted about toxic misogyny in games and gaming culture on their own websites/twitter feeds/youtube channels, they were cheating? I call bullpuckey.

A perfect illustration of where the genesis of the profoundly stupid "professional victims" dumbfuckery comes from, isn't it?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:33 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is there some sort of Anti-Godwin whereby when you mention Elie Wiesel you automatically win the discussion?

But seriously, I've said it before that I'm, at best, on the fringe of this but I think women have more support of the indifferent kind than they imagine. It's sad and weak-sounding to put it that way I suppose, but it does give a tad bit of hope to things like this getting better the more attention (and understanding) that is directed at the subject... eventually.

Women: We casual, mature, non-twittering, non-anon usernamed gamers who only use the internet to understand Destiny's leveling system (because wtf)... we salute you.

Anyway,well said stoneweaver, well said.
posted by RolandOfEld at 3:35 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not really. It was people saying, "hey, there's people that like what you like, but the way it is now makes them not want to." They created the "they hate gamers!" narrative from that, and have played the part of the aggrieved ever since then.

Well that was arguably the intent of the social justice critique, but that is not how it was taken.

Social change progresses in waves of activism and backlash; gamergate is an indication that this wave is over, but it's not like we're going backwards.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:46 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


> If it's a good idea, it will gain traction and be enfolded into the larger group-think. If not, it won't.

More accurately, if it's a popular idea, it will gain traction. The objectively good or bad nature of the idea has nothing to do with its adoption in this scenario, and myopic viewpoints like this are difficult to meditate on when you're a fish who never leaves the water.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 3:56 PM on December 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


More accurately, if it's a popular idea, it will gain traction.

That's a tautology.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:14 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


By identifying themselves and using their personal credentials and reputation as a signal booster for promoting their idea, they've made it about them, not about their idea. It's cheating.

This is an absolutely ridiculous explanation, I'm sorry.

I have no doubt it's an explanation that people engaging in or defending gamergate will try--denying that sexism even exists is a huge component of any misogynist backlash, and only the most extreme and shameless sexists will admit that they're sexist. So they will seize upon any justification.

But it makes no sense at all. It doesn't explain anything about what has happened. People who use 4chan don't turn their wrath upon anyone and everyone who promotes their views non-anonymously. That's so clearly not what sets these people off.

And furthermore, it is super gross to blame the reaction on victims daring to voice their views about equality and social progress without hiding their faces. Hiding who you are is something you might do to protect yourself--but not hiding who you are is in no way a moral or ethical failure. Ugh. This reminds me of people who blame victims for harassment or violence because they shouldn't have spoken up at all.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:18 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


It took a while to see that "the patriarchy" doesn't include all men and indictments of it therefore didn't include me.

Not to be a dick but "patriarchy" refers to male domination of society - pretty much everybody is part of it I'm afraid.
posted by atoxyl at 4:23 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


So many of them not only tolerate but celebrate Milo Yiannopoulos and Roguestar and Breitbart, etc. that it's a clear double-standard at play.
posted by RobotHero at 4:24 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Afaict Gamergate is a placeholder for resentment backlash by poorly socialised young men being told that the stuff they like (which was and is created largely for poorly socialised young men) is dumb and they are dumb for liking it.

Well. Keep in mind that "the stuff they like" in this case was initially harassing and mocking a female developer for allegations of sexual impropriety. That's more about the stuff they hate, rather than the stuff they like...
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:40 PM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


> If I start a conversation with you, and you reply, and then I reply again, there's no way to tell if I'm the same person you were talking with earlier, or someone new pretending to be me. It was a crazy concept, but it gave rise to a very powerful idea: if everyone is Anonymous, then we are all the same: your views, my views, even if we disagree and fight and argue, we are the same.

I disagree. Anonymous encouraged a posting culture that ultimately became all about the ability to legibly post as and read threads by anon. Being able to recognize when the second post in a thread was OP bumping or someone pretending to be OP bumping to make people to yell at OP or OP faux-incompetently saging himself to bait additional posts. I guess it was a leveling, but not in the service of idea exchange: ideas and conversation in any given thread were usually less important than being able to properly react to that thread. Sometimes reacting correctly meant you would call and respond, sometimes it meant you would riff or hijack or disrupt. But in any case, the point was to do it in such a way that you invited the audience to participate and prove that they could read anon too -- and that other people couldn't. Posting as a signaling game shaped the culture of the boards much more than any free exchange of ideas.

Granted, this is a /b/ heavy take, and 2003 /b/ is a mystery to me.
posted by postcommunism at 4:41 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


god i hate encyclopedia dramatica. i went there to figure out what wizardchan was. brb washing my brain off.
posted by rebent at 7:11 PM on December 16, 2014


Why the hell are we even reading someone who writes:

So chan culture has an ingrained hostility against both identity and power. People will viciously attack tripfriends and mods. Tripfriends are people who use tripcodes, simple hash identifiers, to have a sort of permanent identity. It's usually a homophobic slur instead of -friend. I'm not going to say chan culture is perfect, but it sort of functions in its own bubble.

Those last three sentences, in that sequence, should be enough to write this guy off. You don't say "I'm not going to say X is perfect, but" about a person or subculture who uses "tripfag" as a term. Not to mention the hundreds of other such terms they use that go unmentioned in this blather about "anonymity" and "culture".

The "anonymity" arm-chair sociology is just more "all about X" distraction. Apart from the fact that it is a (semi-)anonymous online forum, everything described in this storify essay is entirely characteristic of almost every mass hate movement on record stretching back literally thousands of years. The sublimation of the individual; the rigorous internal self-policing; the dense in-group terminology; the self-contained "bubble" excluding outside information; the coordinated attacks directed at any deviants, even (or especially) those who have not declared any allegiance to the group values in the first place; the medley of hates (racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc); the frequent pretense (or even belief) that it's all a joke; the ideological grounds that shift with the winds; the self-victimizing, and (more recently) a self-defense co-opting liberal notions of a "culture" or "identity" that needs protecting; etc, etc. There's nothing fundamentally different or new here. Yes, the anonymity/online aspect might be new and worthy of sociological or criminological investigation, but it's not in any way a core part of the explanation of what's going on. What's going on is, in terms of the behavioral patterns, almost identical to hundreds of other mass hate movements. Claiming this is something special or unique to "chan" is worse than slatepitching, it's actively aiding these assholes.
posted by chortly at 7:35 PM on December 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Not to be a dick but "patriarchy" refers to male domination of society - pretty much everybody is part of it I'm afraid.

Not exactly. Isn’t "the Patriarchy" just some conspiracy theory that blames all men, even decent men, for women’s woes?
Not all men are Patriarchs. A Patriarch is a man who has special power and influence over not just his family but also in society, due to privileges gathered through intersections of age, wealth, achievement, lineage, patronage and the exploitation of others as these attributes add to his place in the elite social hierarchy.

Non-elite men do not generally actively conspire with Patriarchs (although they may aspire to become one): the patriarchal pattern however means that subordinate men are ranked above subordinate women in the traditional socioeconomic hierarchy from which Patriarchs skim the cream, meaning that men (as a group) benefit more from the injustices of Patriarchy than women do (as a group).
posted by Lexica at 7:43 PM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


running order squabble fest: "Well. Keep in mind that "the stuff they like" in this case was initially harassing and mocking a female developer for allegations of sexual impropriety. That's more about the stuff they hate, rather than the stuff they like..."

Many of them will swear up and down that that's not when GamerGate started, it only really really started because of Leigh Alexander's "Gamers are dead" article, by which they mean Leigh Alexander's "Gamers are over" article, where she objects to "the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion," which is totally a thing someone would complain about before there was a GamerGate.
posted by RobotHero at 7:53 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Or at least they'll swear it until they think they've found the dirt that will destroy Zoe Quinn for good this time, then it's all about Zoe again until that dirt turns out to be bullshit, at which point it's back to Literally Who?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:02 PM on December 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Many of them will swear up and down that that's not when GamerGate started, it only really really started because of Leigh Alexander's "Gamers are dead" article, by which they mean Leigh Alexander's "Gamers are over" article, where she objects to "the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion," which is totally a thing someone would complain about before there was a GamerGate.

PixieJenni has nicely documented many of Gamergate's misconceptions, including this one. She's noted that Adam Baldwin's introduction of the "Gamergate" hashtag predates the articles by one day.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:49 PM on December 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Some other relevant articles involving analysis of GamerGate and -chan culture.

Limiting the Damage from Cultures in collision by Anders Sandberg, asking te question of what can be done to reduce the consequences of radically different internet cultures colliding.

Safeguarding Research: A scholarly roundtable discussion of gamergate and the -Chan culture by people describing both the nature of gamergate, and it's affect on them personally.
posted by happyroach at 8:51 PM on December 16, 2014


Is there an easy way to get this "storified" twitter song into a more readable format? This looks like an interesting thing to read, but I don't have all day to jerk my eyes down 4 inches after every sentence and roll my mouse wheel after every 3rd.

Tried to do that a while ago on my blog - as well as bringing newbies up to speed. (Self link - using the linked Storify as one of the core sources).
posted by Francis at 4:14 AM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I didn't think it was possible for me to be less sympathetic to #gamergate, but somehow this articulation of "4/8Chan culture" has done so. What's worse is that by casting itself as a "culture", certain cultural critics fall victim to the temptation to engage it on its own terms and try to figure out how to reconcile the "two cultures" (one being civilized humanity and the other being 4/8Chan).
posted by deanc at 6:43 AM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


holy shit, wikipedia wars are intense.
This makes the #Gamergate talk page look cozy.
posted by Theta States at 7:19 AM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


aMiB has posted a new essay-esque Storify: Patreon and Common Carrier Sociopathy.

For those not following GG with baited breath, this is related to a discussion that began a day or so ago about how Patreon is supporting child porn by allowing funding for 8chan. I believe that this was begun by PixelGoth, a former-and-now-very-apologetic-and-angry GGer, and can kind of be thought of as an actual anti-GG / anti-8chan effort.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:38 AM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Please don't judge all Wikipedia wars by the standards of Gamergate. Even by the standards of the wars that make it to Arbcom (the worst of the worst), that's exceptional. I don't know another Arbcom case where they've doubled the amount of evidence people are allowed to submit.
posted by Francis at 8:51 AM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Going To Maine: "aMiB has posted a new essay-esque Storify: Patreon and Common Carrier Sociopathy."

Oh man, this is a corker of a line:
It's a nuanced and thorny problem! Also did you know they keep the amount they profit down to a very reasonable margin?
posted by boo_radley at 9:27 AM on December 17, 2014


maryr, if I find out that gamergater's begin to bother Mallory Ortberg based upon your comment - I will hunt you down and draw dicks on your face with a sharpie. She is a world treasure and should be worshipped! (JUST KIDDING about the hunting you down part ... I'd just be sad for her)

At one point on Twitter she was actively baiting GG'ers. It was pretty good. I don't think many engaged with her.
posted by maryr at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Kelsey McKinney: It took Reddit one day to pull down Sony hack data — and a week to remove nude celebrity photos
When photos of vulnerable women turned up online, Reddit moved slowly. Not with this week's Sony hack. When it's a powerful company whose privacy hackers violate, the website apparently can move swiftly. Within 24 hours, Reddit has deleted posts, blocked users, and banned a subReddit related to the hack.

It's true that Sony does have more legal weight behind it than Jennifer Lawrence would when demanding that hacked material come down. But Reddit's actions in these two situations — one where it moved quickly, and another where the company dragged its feet — do make one thing unbearably clear: Reddit is a site that values a corporation more than it values women.
[...]
Reddit moved quickly for Sony — and slowly for hacked female celebrities.

Those photos first appeared on Reddit on September 1. It was a full week before Reddit banned the subreddit they existed on, and by then, the photos were everywhere.

To get a nude photo removed from the internet requires a victim to jump through several hoops. First, a woman must hold the copyright to the photo (so either she needs to have taken it, or apply for the copyright.) Only once she proves she has that copyright can she ask individual sites to remove the image. But that doesn't guarantee that they will do it in a timely manner, and it certainly doesn't keep that image from circulating around the internet.

Reddit executives, most likely, removed Sony's information because it reeked of legal troubles for the company that they didn't want to deal with. By quickly removing the Sony files, Reddit is preaching that words matter. Ethics matter. Trust matters. That is, so long as those ethics and words and trust protect large corporations and their interests.

Women, however, and their concerns and their personal invasion, don't hold the same clout. Women, Reddit is saying with this decision, do not matter — at least not as much as an entertainment company does.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:43 AM on December 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Please don't judge all Wikipedia wars by the standards of Gamergate. Even by the standards of the wars that make it to Arbcom (the worst of the worst), that's exceptional. I don't know another Arbcom case where they've doubled the amount of evidence people are allowed to submit.

thirty. four. thousand. words!

I do not know much about the internals of WP, so yeah I will not assume this is typical. Are you an editor there? Can you, or any other wiki-familiar person, give some inside baseball commentary as to how it is going down?
posted by Theta States at 10:45 AM on December 17, 2014


Subheading in that article: Sony's got it's leaked materials down in one day

VOX EDITORS: YOU HAD ONE JOB.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:00 AM on December 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, KiA has rediscovered the existence of aMiB. Which makes me wonder just how fragmented GG is, really. There have been posts about him before, and he's certainly been bothered on Twitter. I sort of wonder how much different members access the different media.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:42 PM on December 17, 2014


Are you an editor there? Can you, or any other wiki-familiar person, give some inside baseball commentary as to how it is going down?

I'm an editor - not a prolific one, but I've a few connections. And for inside baseball, 34,000 words is really really annoying a lot of people. It's about treble or even quadruple the average Arbcom case and those are generally the worst of the worst. Which is seen as a mix of funny and exasperating, and means that the ruling may well be in favour of peace and quiet - and the status quo. You can see how the general community that's paying attention feels about Gamergate from the state of the article. Jimmy Wales got fed up enough of their pestering he challenged them to write what they think the article should say (it's going nowhere).

Personal assessment, either three or four people are going to get censured hard by name. Two pro-gamergate and one or two (one's near certain, and one's probable - but probably only a topicban) anti-gamergate. IP addresses are going to be permanently stopped from editing Gamergate (and probably related articles) but with the three or four most prolific editors gone from the article it's going to quiet down.

In short it's going to be thoughtful, balanced, slap both sides down hard - and leave a status quo that is about as against Gamergate as the current article.
posted by Francis at 1:42 PM on December 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


Wikipedia has it's own work in progress draft Gamergate article that will probably replace the current one at some point.
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on December 17, 2014


I don't love the Storify long-Twitter approach, but as I writer I can see the attraction of getting favorites and retweets after every single paragraph or even line you write.
posted by msalt at 3:43 PM on December 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't love the Storify long-Twitter approach, but as I writer I can see the attraction of getting favorites and retweets after every single paragraph or even line you write.

It has the (perhaps debatable?) virtue of forcing you to try and make every 140 characters a distinct thought, which is pretty useful. While your thoughts run across multiple tweets, Storify will make that look incredibly tacky and it'll be a pain to follow.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:50 PM on December 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


"Those photos first appeared on Reddit on September 1. It was a full week before Reddit banned the subreddit they existed on, and by then, the photos were everywhere."

Reddit does not host photos. It's like saying that Metafilter hosts photos.
posted by I-baLL at 4:17 PM on December 17, 2014


True. But if you change it to "links to photos" the point stands.
posted by msalt at 4:59 PM on December 17, 2014


IIRC they have a stake in Imgur.
posted by Artw at 6:34 AM on December 18, 2014


The problem being discussed was the differing response to the subreddits and the links. Reddit didn't leave the Sony stuff up for a week, or expend copious amounts of digital ink making whiny excuses about it, or do the absolute minimum amount they could. The point is that Reddit as a community and a business venture demonstratively holds corporations in higher regard than women, and if you want to refute that, you can attempt to do so. Nitpicking about Imgur (who has been at least partially funded by Reddit) is a derail that ignores the larger issues.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:50 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


As an aside, but somewhat related re: hosting of questionable content, there is a current suggestion that people quiz Patreon about its hosting of a funding page to support 8chan, on the grounds that it provides a forum for pedophiles, and bumps right up to the line on the kind of pictographic content allowed by law.

It's a very different question, of course, but that sort of puts me in mind of the removal (and replacement) of the Gamergate-courting rampage killing game from (and on) Steam's Greenlight crowdvoting platform. Both organisations would probably ideally see themselves as acting like the cloaca of a mighty hawk - merely the muscles that push out both new life and effluent. However, the PR implications are sort of relevant...
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:58 AM on December 18, 2014


Metafilter: acting like the cloaca of a mighty hawk
posted by Andrhia at 7:17 AM on December 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


Looks like that draft Wikipedia article on Gamergate just got posted as the main article, if anybody is interested. It's a little more elegant but doesn't change much in terms of general content.
posted by Artw at 9:56 AM on December 18, 2014


One question I've never quite figured out: In all the drawings of Vivian James I've seen (not that I've seen a lot), she seems to be a simliar design to Tomoko from Watamote (particularly the eyebags)-- is this intentional or am I just projecting or what?
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:30 PM on December 18, 2014


I have to share this wonderful correspondence from a gator and a reply by Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia:
Hello Jimmy,

I'll keep this concise. I'm a computer science student, and Wikipedia has gotten me through just about all of my undergrad schooling. I am immensely grateful for it, and as such I donate a meager amount of money at every donation drive. It's the least I can do. I'm very near graduation, and will soon be living off of a software engineer's salary, not student loans. I'd like to start giving substantially to Wikipedia in order to pay that knowledge forward.

Here's the problem: Wikipedia's complete lack of any sort of attempt at neutrality regarding Gamergate is giving me serious ethical qualms about doing so. I don't want to financially support an organization that claims to be a neutral, impartial source of information on all things that then goes on to try to push an agenda and spin a narrative of an author's choosing. And then after the deletion of the Wikia page documenting editor abuse and corruption, I CERTAINLY don't feel comfortable giving money when the founder of the site publicly condones such actions.

I'll still use your site to look up mathematical formulas and listings of TV episodes, but you've lost respect and credibility with me. I won't be donating again until/unless Wikipedia starts to address glaring issues.

Sincerely, [name]
And in response, JIMMY WALES:
Hi [name],

I'm happy to inform you that our current fundraiser is the most successful in our entire history.

But there's something deeper that is wrong with your argument - Wikipedia is not for sale, not to any donors, so even if donations were dropping, that would not mean to me that we should compromise on our principles of quality and neutrality in response to a pressure group.

My point here is not to say that there is nothing wrong with the article - I actually think it needs a fair amount of work. But I want you and others to understand that threatening people is not helpful.

I've recently seen web pages in which people who are - and I don't know how else to put it - vicious assholes - are gathering data to attack the personal lives of volunteers. It is very difficult for me to buy into the notion that gamergate is "really about ethics in journalism" when every single experience I have personally had with it involved pro-gg people insulting, threatening, doxxing, etc.

No, not all pro-gg people. But there's a huge contingent to the extent that for good people - and I respect your letter and assume good faith that you are a good person - the name "gamer gate" is toxic.

Even if 90% of the supporters are good and 10% are bad, the bad are poisoning the message for everyone. That's not an evaluation of right and wrong, just an observation of a clear fact.

You see, a big part of the problem is that #gamergate is not a movement, but a hashtag. And so there is literally no way to have any quality control of any kind. There is no way to see what is or is not a position of gamergate.

I have had several people over the past weeks say to me "It is not about mysogyny." I was prepared to believe that. But discussions usually very quickly move to attacking a female game developer for events surrounding her personal life. That's sick.

The contingent of people who are interested in putting pressure on institutions within game journalism to expose corruption need an actual organization - with a mission statement, with a board of directors, with elected people who represent the movement. Barring that, you should very much expect the media to continue to accurately report that the Gamergate community is associated with online harassment and misogyny. But actually, in fact, it is.

I know that may pain you to hear. You thought you were taking part in a movement that would be about ethics in journalism. A movement that would stand for the rights of all gamers. That would welcome women into the world of gaming and would shame those who would engage in personal attacks on the basis of gender. I admire all of those things.

But #gamergate has been permanently tarnished and highjacked by a handful of people who are not what you would hope.

You might not be the person to lead it. I don't know who is. But I strongly recommend that someone organize a "gamer's union" of sorts, with a real mission statement, with real rules, with real organization and leadership.

Bitching and moaning on a twitter hashtag is getting you nowhere, particularly for the reasons I have outlined in this note.

--Jimmy Wales
And of course this all happens on the same day that "Mr. Fart" of #gamergate continues his creepy ass stalking campaign with crowd-sourced gator help.
posted by Theta States at 7:21 PM on December 18, 2014 [16 favorites]


[–]Carpeaux [score hidden] 42 minutes ago
I see where you come from, but I don't agree. I don't see the name gamergate is a synonym of harassment and whatever. History is written by the winners. If we win this, gamergate will be considered a positive force of defense against bullshit.


At last, a firm mission statement from GamerGate: a positive force of defense against "bullshit"
posted by Greg Nog at 8:26 PM on December 18, 2014


And of course this all happens on the same day that "Mr. Fart" of #gamergate continues his creepy ass stalking campaign with crowd-sourced gator help.

Fart has the delightful distinction of not only being an established harasser of youtuber Dodger, but has recently been banned from @PressFartToContinue (his original Twitter account), @fartchives and @fartthethird. Still cooking with @fartfour and @fivefart, though, which is just embarrassing. I'm really curious what tools Twitter has to detect that a user is circumventing bans. I expect the answer is none, and that's shameful.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:27 PM on December 18, 2014


It must annoy that guy to no end that the actual @fart is a funny writer, but yeah, Twitter's unwillingness or inability to combat stalking, harassment, etc., is shameful.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:47 PM on December 18, 2014


Of course, Roguestar (currently @_RogueStar_) is proudly boasting in his avatar that he's been banned 11 times, so in some ways pressfart is still small time.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:51 PM on December 18, 2014






That answer from Wales is awesome.
posted by sukeban at 3:31 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Sealioning of Jimmy Wales sounds like a children's book from the era of Cautionary Tales.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:52 AM on December 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


wow

when i first saw the sealioning comic i was like "uh, don't really get it, but i guess that would be an issue.

but then that twitter page - it's like they are intentionally trying to be exactly like in the comic! Reality is stranger than fiction!

and wow, just right over the head with those people, i swear...
posted by rebent at 5:28 AM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'll still use your site to look up mathematical formulas and listings of TV episodes, but you've lost respect and credibility with me. I won't be donating again until/unless Wikipedia starts to address glaring issues.

I will still totally use all the free benefits and privileges your site provides as a favor to you., but I just cannot bring myself to give you a dollar once a year to use said services, because you refuse to allow my to post my side of my story about how a Twine game is victimizing me.
posted by edbles at 7:18 AM on December 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


Also:

But there's something deeper that is wrong with your argument - Wikipedia is not for sale, not to any donors, so even if donations were dropping, that would not mean to me that we should compromise on our principles of quality and neutrality in response to a pressure group.

Fuck yeah Jimmy Wales.
posted by edbles at 7:20 AM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


The feds are taking an interest in #GamerGate.

No worries, gaters assume the FBI are investigating Brianna Wu and others for lying about death threats.

No, really...
posted by Theta States at 7:31 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


After weeks of that fundraising message at the top of Wikipedia, I finally kicked in three bucks, and filled out the survey afterward so that they know it was because of their measured, polite, firm, non-prevaricating response to GamerGate.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:53 AM on December 19, 2014


It's been taken down, but someone posted rape story featuring Zoe Quinn as an Amazon self-published book.
posted by almostmanda at 8:18 AM on December 19, 2014


Do a twitter search on "To:Jimmy_Wales" and my god, they are STILL sealioning him.
These are tweets sent to him:
"I sure hope wikipedia dies"
"you being irrational is the reason I won't donate to wikipedia"
"jimmy, why? ;("
"Our opponent is the media. One that has never had any rules. They responded poorly to criticism. Libel ensued"
"Some people look at facts, you talk about what others gossip about. It's like u are still in highschool"
"GG is famous for harassment because it's the smokescreen used to cover corruption. Stop and think about that."
"I like how people like you LET anonymous jerks drown out people who are actually trying to do good. You're a problem."

And many comparisons of persecution of gamergate to how blacks were perceived before the civil rights era...

OK enough of this goobergarbage.
posted by Theta States at 12:39 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is honestly, the first time I've wanted to contribute to Wikipedia.

One thing a I'm thinking, is that it occurs to me that a lot of those nonsensical posts aren't aimed at Jimmy Wales, but rather fellow GamerGaters. That is, they have their own language and culture, so these posts are really aimed at, and make sense to each other.

This is also how I interpret a lot of the bizarre posters that come out of the GamerGate communities. Of course they don't make sense, because they're actually internal propaganda.
posted by happyroach at 12:21 AM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, a lot of #GamerGate nonsense is more intended to be performative than persuasive.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:25 AM on December 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


So they're counting coup. How tribal.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:47 AM on December 20, 2014


/. had it right with their not-logged-in default, "Anonymous Coward"
posted by mikelieman at 8:03 AM on December 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Jimmy Wales is a saint. His twitter mentions are insane.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:32 AM on December 20, 2014


Our Tactics for Gamergate are Outdated - Brianna Wu
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:23 AM on December 20, 2014


I am loving Wu's leadership.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:51 AM on December 20, 2014


So Brianna Wu's Patreon is raising money for a salary so that her game studio can hire someone. I am not sure how much that helps "women in tech"?

I suppose she will be hiring a woman, but that's just one job, at the studio that Wu owns. So, okay, one more woman is still better than no women--but the Patreon says Wu wants to hire someone to help deal with the harassment and make sure the game she is working on ships on schedule. That sounds more like a "personal assistant to Brianna Wu" position than a "woman in tech" position.

I can see why, if the harassment is taking so much of her work and personal time, she might need an assistant to help her. Still, saying the money helps "women in tech" is a little misleading.

Hopefully, Brianna Wu will realize this. Maybe Wu could provide a paid internship opportunity to a woman majoring in game design, so that person could work as her assistant and shadow Wu, with Wu serving as a mentor. Then, when the internship was over, the assistant would at least have an in to be the next game designer SpaceKat Studios hires. That would definitely help a "woman in tech".
posted by misha at 1:20 PM on December 20, 2014


I suppose she will be hiring a woman, but that's just one job, at the studio that Wu owns. So, okay, one more woman is still better than no women--but the Patreon says Wu wants to hire someone to help deal with the harassment and make sure the game she is working on ships on schedule. That sounds more like a "personal assistant to Brianna Wu" position than a "woman in tech" position.

You know, misha, it is absolutely possible that gamergate may have a place for you as one of their Feminists Against Women - certainly, they could always do with a few more!

However, if we are not full-time defending the poor lambs of Gamergate from the savageries of feminmimnism, we can take the time to read the actual link, rather than the KiA gloss, which says:
Thanks to my Patreon, GSX’s full time staffer will document this behavior for law enforcement leaving me free to speak out for change in the industry and make inclusive games.
So, the aim of the employee is (1) to document harassing behavior against women in games, to chill general harassment, and (2) to give Wu more free time to advocate with the new-found celebrity Gamergate has given her. We could even look at the stated aims of the Patreon on the Patreon page itself:
Here's where you come in: If you appreciate what I do, please chip in so I can hire some help with the Women in Tech advocacy I do. I need someone to help me with the medial parts of dealing with my attackers so I can focus on my work, making and shipping games. I imagine we'll also have them work on women in tech advocacy.
We've already had one work of fiction about one of Gamergate's targets this week - no need to add another so soon.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:12 PM on December 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


Oh, and I guess (3) to attempt to prevent harassment from preventing Giant Spacekat from making games quickly enough to be economically viable, providing a morale boost, freeing up resource to harass other targets and cementing the lesson that harassment works.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:19 PM on December 20, 2014


Feminism Minimism... Feminisminimism. Good one, ROSF!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:47 PM on December 20, 2014


You seem bent on personally insulting me, rofl.

What in gods name is gamergatish or even remotely anti-feminist about suggesting Brianna Wu actually use the money she is raising under the guise of supporting women in tech to give a job to A WOMAN IN TECH?
posted by misha at 5:10 PM on December 20, 2014


I think that the concern is that BW has provided some definition for why she considers this position to be more than just her personal assistant and to be providing value to the women in tech scene as a whole, and you seem to be disregarding that description in your complaint.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:05 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


The details weren't there earlier. When I first posted.
posted by misha at 6:27 PM on December 20, 2014


You posted at 1:20pm on 20 December. The Patreon went up on the 19th. Wu's blog post clearly went up before you posted, because it's right there above your post, and you appear to be replying to it. Those are the two documents I quoted.

Not that this matters, of course. Women will keep getting harassed, and people will keep finding fault with their behavior, and making helpful suggestions. qv the "don't publicise the death threats you're getting" refrain. We've already gone over this once in MetaTalk. There's no profit in trying to do it again.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:39 PM on December 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


I have to agree with Brianna Wu that we've reached a phrase where Gamergate is both largely discredited, AND the true believers are continuing their campaign against women in gaming and tech.

Everything that the war of publicity can do has been done. Truly winning the larger war though, will require legislation to make the penalties for online harassment stronger, and institutional changes to make it so anonymous harrassers can be quickly identified and tracked. As long as gaters can hide behind anonymous accounts, they will be able to continue their harassment with impunity.

TLDR: The death of privacy can't happen soon enough.
posted by happyroach at 7:18 PM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I went and checked out her Patreon, the details weren't up,
and I have no clue where you are coming from with the rest of your comment, but whatever. Enjoy picking fights if you like, I am going to watch the Christmas lights.
posted by misha at 8:29 PM on December 20, 2014


Wu's entire studio is made up of women, so far as I know. She spoke on Isometric about focusing on women who wanted to learn to make games and who had non-typical learning histories as part of helping them to build up their skills and cred. One of the points she made was that women often don't have a very direct path through programming due to the "leaky pipe" of women being discouraged from computer science and programming, and then having difficulty getting hired by companies due to implicit sexism against women's resumes (something which has been studied by social scientists). She herself learned through Lynda.com and saved her money to open her own gaming studio, which shipped an all-female game, Revolution 60, earlier this year (which I highly recommend - the combat system in particular is incredibly fun).

She has two games in the works, one of them based on the idea of a woman who tried to sell it to several gaming companies without success before speaking to Wu.
posted by Deoridhe at 8:32 PM on December 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have to share this wonderful correspondence from a gator and a reply by Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia
posted by Theta States at 10:21 PM on December 18

The sealioning of Jimmy Wales continues.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:10 AM on December 19


Just a quick update: The sealioning continues unabated.
Jimmy Wales... how do you do it?
posted by Theta States at 11:08 AM on December 22, 2014


Apparently the outrage at Patreon for hosting 8chan has resulted in Fredrick Brennan's getting kicked from the service. Hoo-ray. Of course, nothing is simple, and Brennan now has a Patreon for videos of Hachi the cat. Meanwhile, KiA is trying to get ZQ kicked from the service.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:04 PM on December 22, 2014


Oh hey and Jimmy retweeted me! Thank god for ggautoblocker.
posted by Theta States at 1:49 PM on December 22, 2014


TLDR: The death of privacy can't happen soon enough.

Uh, no thanks?
posted by atoxyl at 5:00 PM on December 22, 2014


Actually isn't the ability of gamergators to doxx people and threaten them IRL an example of the "death of privacy?"
posted by atoxyl at 5:07 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hard to say - if they weren't anonymous no way would they be carrying out their criminal acts.
posted by Artw at 6:11 PM on December 22, 2014


Atoxyl, death of privacy refers to all acts being accountable to public scrutiny and regulations. Sure, people could be doxxed. But the doxxers, as well as malicious actors using that information, would be labeled and prosecuted as such. Our current security and government (and hell, our media and public opinion) are definitely not up to the task of regulation, but that's another issue.
posted by halifix at 7:26 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also comparing putting names to usernames and putting social security numbers and addresses to names alongside death threats is always somewhat dodgy.
posted by Artw at 8:09 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's clear that no one knows exactly what doxxing means, what the standard is, and unscrupulous people are using this as leverage. Gamergate vampire Mike Cernovich, for example, is claiming that Zoe Quinn not only doxxed him but swatted him. Why?

Because she retweeted a tweet that stated his publicly embraced identity and his publicly advertised business address. Turns out that he works out of his home, and people backed off when they found that out. The original tweet also encouraged readers to report him to the police for harassment of Zoe Quinn by emailing to an email address given.

Now, I think that was a stupid move, since the original tweeter had already reported him to that same police email address, and at best it would just pressure and annoy the police with repeated crime reports, at worst it would piss them off and prevent any prosecution. It was a borderline harassment claim as well.

Nonetheless, there was no doxxing, and certainly nothing anywhere near swatting involved. Yet GGers ate it up, because doxxing is somehow the unforgiveable sin even if no one is sure what it really means (and Cernovich doxxes openly). That's where I found that article about chan culture enlightening.
posted by msalt at 11:38 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that Cernovich is claiming doxxing over that (and especially swatting) is utterly laughable, contemptible, and robs those terms of any meaning whatsoever. If Cernovich considers having his public identity and business address out on the internet to be doxxing, then he very clearly doxxed himself by tweeting it (which again, completely pathetic and laughable as a way of conceptualising of this) - all Quinn did was boost the signal.

You may as well call it doxxing if someone links to the 'about' page that you have on your website with details about you.

Anyone who buyts Cernovich's claims has the awareness and capacity for critical thinking and analysis of a mouldy potato and should not be listened to on anything, ever.
posted by Dysk at 2:08 AM on December 23, 2014


Because she retweeted a tweet that stated his publicly embraced identity and his publicly advertised business address.

In fact, I think she retweeted a tweet that linked to a blogpost that did that, in a screencapped image that she couldn't see because she (according to her account ) was on airport wifi and images weren't loading, and immediately removed the link when she found out that it contained identifying information. The person who posted the blog took full responsibility, and also removed the information once it became clear it was his home address.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:25 AM on December 23, 2014


In the wake of GG's rage over 8chan getting booted from Patreon, Dan Olson wrote up a medium piece documenting some of the content and the idiocy of GG's fig leaf defense: The Mods Are Always Asleep. (Trigger warning, obvs) @Discordiankitty has posted a storify covering her experience dealing with the contortions of gators over the whole thing. Also, Olson has apparently been doxxed, because gamergate.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:34 AM on December 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also! A delightful medium piece from 8chan's management (I'm assuming Hot Wheels, here) talking about the difficulties of running his BBS & his opposition to MetaFilter-style moderation because "large moderation teams are easily corrupted": Free speech online: it’s more than just law
posted by Going To Maine at 11:39 AM on December 23, 2014


Ah, the old "We're loaded with borderline child porn and other gross stuff because we're lazy, not because we want to be!" defense.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on December 23, 2014


Actually, it's about ethics in sexually exploiting children.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like child porn is being used as a protective totem. If a board doesn't have CP, it doesn't support free speech. If it does have CP, you can't remove it because that requires looking at it. it's a Catch-Twentyporn.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:14 PM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


That @Discordiankitty piece is interesting. It really does turn into "no there isn't" and then "yes there is, but it is barely legal, and therefore it's the price of free speech."

I'd say her paraphrases are fair -- in fact, illuminating -- but because they are paraphrases, and because they expose the strange logic behind what is tacitly a support for sexually explicit material regarding children, she's is pilloried for it. The worst is the guy who keeps calling her "honey" while arguing that being aghast that there is this material online is intolerable because there's no evidence any of it is real, it's vaguely legal, and any other viewpoint is fascistic, anti-free speech, and puritanical.

I mean, having the temerity to condescend in an explicitly gendered way while at the same time allowing the presence of sexual material regarding children? That's about as far down the rabbit hole as possible.

But, oh my God, a game designer had a consensual relationship with a journalist that resulted in no positive coverage, and that's really the heart of things, that's the rupture in the universe that must be sealed with as much force as possible.
posted by maxsparber at 12:30 PM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


What amazes me is that Reddit will be pull the same shit at times, and that's a financial entity with, presumably, legal exposure.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on December 23, 2014


That connection has been noted (or at least alleged) by KiA. And 4chan has skirted the law around it quite a bit. (My understanding is that the banning of some loli stuff from 4chan boosted 8chan's traffic. Brennan has tweeted that he hosts it in order to compete with moot, which is a bit gross.) I have to say that the precise ins & outs of child porn law are something of a mystery to me.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:57 PM on December 23, 2014




Which is largely the same thing rewritten in paragraphs instead of tweets.
posted by RobotHero at 3:24 PM on January 3, 2015


LOL, GamerGate thinks R. Stevens is unfunny.
posted by maryr at 8:11 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, humour is subjective.
posted by RobotHero at 9:48 AM on January 7, 2015


I'm more interested in this:
OP couldn’t even be arsed to draw a comic.
They just used sprites someone else made.
Which appears to be the strategy of internet argument where you decide on something that you think is probably true, don't need to bother verifying if it's actually true, and then criticize someone for that.

Which you could say is similar to the "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" debate style that Man in Black attributes to the chans. Though it doesn't necessarily mean that particular commenter is a channer. I think it's a bad habit that could easily arise independently.
posted by RobotHero at 10:05 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh look the hashtag is exploding again today. GG is upset because Intel launched a $300 million diversity initiative, and the presentation included logos for Feminist Frequency and DIGRA, two of their major bogeypeoples.

It's a shit show, as you'd expect.
posted by Theta States at 12:42 PM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


IGDA (the International Games Developers Association) rather than DiGRA (the Digital Games Research Association) - but either would do, in the sense that both have both been targeted for and condemned harassment.

I imagine, to round out the initials, they will also be pretty unhappy with the IGF (Independent Games Festival) award nominations today, since they are also sporadically at war with the IGF, and various nominees are women, feminists etc.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:56 PM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where exactly did they think the sprites had been stolen from?!
posted by maryr at 2:01 PM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Where exactly did they think the sprites had been stolen from?!

People who don't create anything are often confused by the idea that somebody would create things. Sprites come from video games, therefore anybody who uses sprites must have stolen them from a video game.

(That's an indictment of gators, not a defense of R. Stevens, who's been doing Diesel Sweeties for 15 years without figuring out what jokes are and how to tell them.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:06 PM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]




Theta States: "Oh look the hashtag is exploding again today. GG is upset because Intel launched a $300 million diversity initiative, and the presentation included logos for Feminist Frequency and DIGRA, two of their major bogeypeoples.

It's a shit show, as you'd expect.
"

Ah, that's fantastic.
posted by boo_radley at 10:12 AM on January 8, 2015


Ah, that's fantastic.

My favourite were all of the tweets like "Well GG is PRO-DIVERSITY, so this is a huge win for #gamergate!!!"
Like, real grown adult peoples are making these cognitive leaps.
posted by Theta States at 10:50 AM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Absolutely. A big theme lately in KiA is that the only reason fewer women enter computing & science is that SJWs keep telling women they'll make less money and be treated badly. So the only problem is that caused by feminists.

(But there's always at least one guy jumping in with "But girlz just like Candy Crush and Bejeweled so you can't expect them to program" even as others push "girls like big boobs&butts first-person shooters too, you're infantilizing them with your anti-sexism.")

That joins long-running concepts like "Zoe Quinn engaged in domestic abuse vs. Eron Gjoni, " calling her ZQ or Literally Who instead of her real name because that proves you aren't obsessed with her, and constant language of corruption meaning "writers having friends in the industry they cover."

Thankfully they've let go of the meow thing for the most part. But the echo chamber is strong, liking and upvoting each other into mutual insanity.
posted by msalt at 2:20 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I continue to try to provoke /r/KiA, which is fun. Sometimes I'm downvoted 30 or more times, but I've even come out up one or two on occasion. It's worth the loss of reddit karma to me.

[–]Camhed 4 points 23 hours ago
Most of the female "gamers" are more stuff like Candy Crush or Bejeweled which explains why so few go in to game development.


[–]msaltveit -3 points 21 hours ago
I hear ya -- if there aren't guns and big boobs, it's not a REAL game. And yet, why don't women like those games? Bitches be crazy, amirite?
posted by msalt at 2:30 PM on January 8, 2015


I wish you wouldn't do that, msalt. they label all such comments as "falseflags" which lowers the chances that they can be called out on it. Who's to say that the "boobs&butts first-person" commenter wasn't also just trying to provoke KiA?
posted by rebent at 3:06 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am not really a fan, either, msalt. Concern trolling is still trolling. You can be right about what you believe but wrong in how you choose to get that message across.
posted by misha at 3:31 PM on January 8, 2015


I understand your concern, but I am very open about my intentions and more often just lambaste people directly. In context, my sacrcasm is clear. I'm pretty well known there at this point, and IMHO there is no possibility of my intention being misinterpreted as a false flag. "boobs and butts games" is a descripition that, not surprisingly, I'm the only one in KiA uses. Note that the original is upvoted and I'm downvoted.

In fact I make no effort to hide my identity on reddit either, my userid is basically my name and my public writings come up not rarely in football subreddits, which is also part of my critique of the weird anonymity culture in KiA and on reddit generally.
posted by msalt at 4:03 PM on January 8, 2015


My crit is that it's easy for them to dismiss as a straw man because if you're the first one to mention boobs and guns they just wave it off as putting words in their mouth. Yet again, the anti-GG are misrepresenting us, blah blah blah.


And to me there are more interesting bits.

There's at least three unspoken assumptions built into the claim: "Most of the female 'gamers' are more stuff like Candy Crush or Bejeweled which explains why so few go in to game development."

First assumption is what exactly is "like Candy Crush or Bejeweled?" Puzzle games? What about Tetris? You jumped immediately to "no guns and boobs" which they dismiss as a strawman. Even if it was their unspoken assumption, they didn't have to articulate that assumption, so they'll dismiss it.

Second assumption is that women play those games, however it is they are defined, more. This is the least interesting assumption and the only one that might be true.

Third assumption is the best, though. How would that explain why they don't go into game development? Does running around shooting stuff with a gun prepare you for game development more than lining up gems? Did they define "like Candy Crush or Bejeweled" as every game except Wario Ware D.I.Y.?
posted by RobotHero at 9:11 AM on January 9, 2015


Good points. It's head spinning how so many in KiA argue that sexism and misogyny doesn't exist and use such intensely sexist arguments in the process.
posted by msalt at 4:12 PM on January 9, 2015


Absolutely. A big theme lately in KiA is that the only reason fewer women enter computing & science is that SJWs keep telling women they'll make less money and be treated badly. So the only problem is that caused by feminists.

Welcome to bizarro land! Look at this tweet: Every time someone blames #Gamergate for harassment committed by those unaffiliated, they are enabling that harassment by shifting blame.

ummmmmm no. This is their script evolved from "the person who sent you a death threat didn't sign it #gamergate so it's not our responsibility, even though they were the person we happen to want to destroy for speaking out against us..."
Yes, now claim that anyone dare assign GG responsibility are the ones enabling the harassment.
I'd *facepalm* but they are just too toxic and dangerous to just shake your head at and totally ignore.

The fresh rhetoric of "well that wasn't gamergate, but really you had it coming to you" is some of the worst I've seen from them.
posted by Theta States at 8:11 PM on January 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


August Never Ends -- by Zoe Quinn
It’s a head splitting cognitive dissonance to be fielding requests for help from friends who have just gotten swatted at the same time as giving someone else numbers on the harassment and abuse perpetrated by GamerGate because someone he’s talking to thinks it’s over and never had a big impact on people in the first place. This entire week has been spent putting out fires started by scriptkiddies and adults who should know better but are too empty to care about their victims. I’ve been trying to take a day to just be a regular person, recenter myself, and have the energy to get back to work with the same enthusiasm I tend to have, but every attempt gets cut short by some fresh, new, horrible news about someone trying to get into my accounts, a new asinine conspiracy theory being used as an excuse to dox people I went to high school with, friends freaking out because anonymous message board people are talking about how to mail them bombs, or just another death threat. At least the death threats have become somewhat routine.
The cold, hard, sad truth about gamergate in 2015. It is essential reading and as bleak as it implies.

Go hug your mom.
posted by Theta States at 11:11 PM on January 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


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