2015: The year /baph/ /b/reaks?
January 19, 2015 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Gamergate documenter @a_man_in_black has written another article for BoingBoing, this time about /baphomet/ on 8chan: The Invasion Boards That Set Out To Ruin Lives.
Mefites with long memories might find some of the terminology that comes up familiar if they read this 2008 article by Julian Dibbell: Mutilated Furries, Flying Phalluses: Put the Blame on Griefers, the Sociopaths of the Virtual World.
Meanwhile, /baph/ monitor and current bête noire @Cernowatch has put up yet another storify about why "Don't feed the trolls" is not a sustainable strategy for dealing with 8channers.
posted by Going To Maine (164 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
8Chan is pretty much the worst openly operating site I know of on the net. It goes way beyond the harassment campaigns into things like openly hosting boards for posting sexualized images of children. I really hate that "GamerGaters" have come to represent the views of gamers. I don't want to be remotely associated with those people.

I don't know what to do to stop them though.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:31 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I never thought I'd be nostalgic for mailing list flame wars.
posted by tommasz at 10:43 AM on January 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


They're doing a great job of stopping themselves. They have no hope of success. No influence. No power. Their public image is fathoms below the surface. They're synonymous with hate, harassment, and, recently, child porn.

In terms of ever accomplishing their goals, their group is dead already. All that's left to do now is for the dead-enders to cause as much damage as possible on their way out.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:45 AM on January 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't know what to do to stop them though.

One of the links complains about how Apple, Patreon, Gofundme, and other companies don't really care enough to do anything about this - but as the problem gets more visible (thanks to the relentlessness of the GamerGater types), it could get easier to pressure these companies to work against abusers. Even just getting one company to update its TOS to ban harassers would be some progress. Not that this would be easy to do...
posted by teponaztli at 10:46 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


They're doing a great job of stopping themselves. They have no hope of success. No influence. No power. Their public image is fathoms below the surface. They're synonymous with hate, harassment, and, recently, child porn.

It's worth bearing in mind here that "they" doesn't mean gamergate in this instance. "They" means hardcore trolls, and they've been around for quite some time. Gamergate is obviously commingled with this, but the real issue is the the trolls and the CP. (Dan Olson noted this at some point after his own article on CP on 8chan; he lambasted GGers for not getting that once CP entered the picture the issue suddenly became much larger than their random cause.)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:51 AM on January 19, 2015


There's no separation.
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on January 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


The feds can hack and remove .onion sites but a board that openly hosts this stuff is just allowed to continue existing?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:54 AM on January 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


From @iggygalvez: "FYI, there has been 4 confirmed SWATings so far. One resulted in the death of the family dog. :( #StopGamerGate"
posted by Going To Maine at 10:55 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Going to Maine gets at what I meant there.

The trolls seem happy to jump from cause to cause. Some noble, some obviously vile, some faux-noble like Gamergate. I think there needs to be a more active effort from the tech companies to develop the tools to address this like teponaztli says and also for the government to regard this as a serious issue. And yeah, the internet public needs to take it more seriously. When men see women harassed, call it out. Don't ever encourage doxxing, even if you might think one particular target might deserve it.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:57 AM on January 19, 2015


In terms of ever accomplishing their goals, their group is dead already. All that's left to do now is for the dead-enders to cause as much damage as possible on their way out.

"as much damage as possible" is the goal.
posted by Foosnark at 10:59 AM on January 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


There's no separation.

I hate to get all #NotAllGG in here, but I do think separating these issues is important. There are plenty of 8chan trolls in GG, but griefers have been griefing for a loooong time. This is a deeper issue.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:59 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I recently had a dream where I had a random success like Notch that left me with not just fuck you money, but fuck all ya'll money, and one of the things I did with it was set up a massive honeypot to trace and identify these people over a period of a year or so. Dream me handed the dossier over to Oprah who somehow managed to trick everyone (or their parents...) into being in the audience for a big reveal, putting faces to words. Then I woke up. In summary, don't put dream me in charge of anything important.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:03 AM on January 19, 2015 [37 favorites]


Even just getting one company to update its TOS to ban harassers would be some progress

Lots of companies do this already. I used to work for one, in the year 2000. and not to diminish what happens to women - but god, the emails I'd get from otherwise grown ass middle class adults....

Facebook has some really well developed block tools. Twitter.... nothing at all. That someone had to develop a third party blocker is one way for twitter to outsource development as a money saver, I guess.

But mainly, the problem is a social one, and it is difficult to solve social problems with technological solutions. I mean, that Cernovitch guy is perfectly willing to cheerfully attach his name to all sorts of bad behavior. It's a thing I used to call "half-bad behaviors". My abusive ex was great at it - she'd engage in behaviors that were just shy of getting anyone to do anything about it, but this constant low grade weaponized annoyance was enough to really drive anyone insane. But there is fuck all you can do about it, except hope they cross a line, or find something else to do.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:07 AM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is there really openly shared or hosted child porn? That seems like it would be an express ride to a federal prison.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:12 AM on January 19, 2015


Is there really openly shared or hosted child porn? That seems like it would be an express ride to a federal prison.

Yes, but it isn't. The wheels of justice grind slow, especially so when it comes to the internet.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:14 AM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


But mainly, the problem is a social one, and it is difficult to solve social problems with technological solutions.

Yeah, and I don't want to sound like some kind of Silicon Valley type who thinks tech will solve everything. I just don't know what else could make a difference, and as much as there are sites who do block this sort of behavior, there are also plenty that don't. I'm sure there will always be some way to do horrible things, but you can a least make it more difficult - if it's not as easy to do, at least some people will lose interest (or, if I'm completely wrong, they'll get that much more determined).
posted by teponaztli at 11:15 AM on January 19, 2015


Yep, there's openly hosted child porn.

The Mods Are Always Asleep is a great if difficult essay about this, about what's done openly on 8chan, the trading and talking about sexualised images of children that are allegedly on the legal side, rather than what they call real child porn.

WARNING: the essay has examples of the sort of image to be found there, blurred, which is not very nice to look at and you might not want in your browser history even blurred.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:16 AM on January 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't think that at this point or ever there was actually that much difference between Gamersgate and the supposed trolls hiding in the "movement"; that's just notruescotsmanism in action.

Gamersgate was born of 4chan, was started as a trolling action by Eron Gjoni to hurt and stalk his ex-girlfriend, was taken up by the sort of professional asshole and troll that hangs around 4chan, than taken over by even bigger professional assholes like Baldwin as new front in the kulturkampf.

There's no innocent side to GamersGate.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:20 AM on January 19, 2015 [23 favorites]


But mainly, the problem is a social one, and it is difficult to solve social problems with technological solutions.

Yeah, and I don't want to sound like some kind of Silicon Valley type who thinks tech will solve everything. I just don't know what else could make a difference, and as much as there are sites who do block this sort of behavior, there are also plenty that don't.


From @Cernowatch: "Donate any amount of money to the Cernowatch Patreon and recieve your official doxing from /baphomet/. This is an unbelieveable offer." (Actually, you can donate privately, so maybe you'd want to do that...) (But seriously, sometimes the best short term solution is to pay someone to watch and take notes.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:20 AM on January 19, 2015


I hate to get all #NotAllGG in here, but I do think separating these issues is important. There are plenty of 8chan trolls in GG, but griefers have been griefing for a loooong time. This is a deeper issue.

Griefing has certainly been going on for forever and a day. However, at this point the GGers who were (foolishly) concerned about "journalistic ethics" have gotten bored or grossed out and jumped ship. The only ones left are the reactionaries and the trolls. I don't think there's an overlap between GG and troll culture. I think the former is a subset of the latter.
posted by brundlefly at 11:21 AM on January 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's no innocent side to GamersGate.

I wouldn't say there is, I just think that this problem is older than GG. If GG is the thing that really breaks mainstream awareness of it, then great. But the issue is older.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:21 AM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think we're all in agreement that it's basically the same set of trolls who go wherever women have the audacity to exist without fear or shame - many of the same names are still are virulent in the atheist/skeptic community, for example. They will go wherever women have the audacity to try to exist.

But I also think it's important to point out that the GamerGate movement did not start out as a legitimate movement that was corrupted by trolls (as some still try to claim). It was gross and mysoginistic all the way down.
posted by muddgirl at 11:27 AM on January 19, 2015 [28 favorites]


The trolls seem happy to jump from cause to cause. Some noble, some obviously vile, some faux-noble like Gamergate.

I think we have had a problem, culturally, with accepting that bad behavior in service of good goals is bad, period, and I think it causes us problems pretty regularly. Certainly I believe it muddies the waters in ways that makes getting social support tough.
posted by phearlez at 11:33 AM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have always liked how Rami Ismail specifically referred to the ethics & disclosure folks as people "co-opting" the original movement.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:34 AM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I realize that sometimes the wheels turn slowly when it comes to justice, but the trading of child porn is happening right there, out in the open. I don't understand why the wheels couldn't move faster and scoop up a bunch of these creeps with the equivalent to a message board sized net. I mean, if there was a room with, say, twenty people, and they were swapping child porn across a table, from one hand to another's, and the police/FBI knew they were in that room, and a hundred people were standing outside of that room, pointing and shouting, " They're in there; grab them!" then I imagine they would. I realize it's not as simple to nab criminals on the Web, but it can't be *that* hard either, can it? Damn.

I don't mean to turn this into a different discussion; it's just so hugely disturbing what's going on these sites. The larger issues the Boing Boing piece bring up are also disturbing and the article is very enlightening. Thanks for posting it.
posted by but no cigar at 11:37 AM on January 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ugggh so I checked the GG hashtag only to find prominent GG kids chortling about the idea they have any responsibility in SWATings or the dog's death.

They really don't get it. I mean, these people have built up a fortress of self-reinforcing propaganda where they are righteous heroes battling game bosses.
posted by Theta States at 11:41 AM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


If they were sharing pirated movies the doors would have been kicked down by now.
posted by brundlefly at 11:41 AM on January 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


alt.syntax.tactical was being used to organize raids back in the early nineties. We're on the second or third generation of trolls at this point.
posted by bonehead at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Several years ago, a forum that I manage was invaded by denizens of another forum late at night. I was up until past four removing violent images and obscene messages that insinuated child rape. I finally traced them back to the other forum and sent their mod (who certainly knew about the attack, as it was being openly discussed) a message explaining that several of their members had been stupid enough to use their .edu addresses to sign up on my site. I made no threats, just pointed out that little fact. They were in full retreat a few minutes later, and I even received several apologies.

You know who carried out this attack? It was a forum of law students. "Just blowing off steam!", they said.

I still keep a record of their names and .edu addresses. I figure if I ever need free legal representation in the state of Florida, my little list will be very handy.
posted by Soliloquy at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2015 [49 favorites]


I never thought I'd be nostalgic for mailing list flame wars.

Oh man, I did. From 99-02 or so, I spent some time being a moderator on a moderately popular site for a moderately popular online game. That was the first time outside of Usenet I'd had to spend time with a generation that *didn't* have to work at it to just share the space online. As I faded out of the picture then, I realized I was saying good bye to the Internet trolls of old. I wasn't a fan, but I'll take an over-erudite asshole over my extended family members' ignorant racism and echo-chamber based trolling on Facebook ANY day.
posted by DigDoug at 12:03 PM on January 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dream me handed the dossier over to Oprah who somehow managed to trick everyone (or their parents...) into being in the audience for a big reveal, putting faces to words.

Oh God, if ever there was a time for this .gif...
posted by Ryvar at 12:32 PM on January 19, 2015 [33 favorites]


When I hear about this sort of person, I think maybe Guantanamo Bay isn't so bad, but we've just put the wrong people there.

Asshole online = asshole IRL.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:44 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think we have had a problem, culturally, with accepting that bad behavior in service of good goals is bad, period, and I think it causes us problems pretty regularly.
posted by ryanrs at 1:23 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I still keep a record of their names and .edu addresses. I figure if I ever need free legal representation in the state of Florida, my little list will be very handy.

Blackmailing dumbasses to get representation may not be the best way to resolve legal issues.
posted by srboisvert at 1:31 PM on January 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


Dibbel's article is an interesting addition for me, because one of my formative experiences on "The Internet" was discovering LambdaMOO over a wonky Telnet connection a year or so after the infamous Mister Bungle incident.

These aren't new questions, and anyone who's built or participated in online communities has seen the "I like to watch it burn" people and understands their impact. It's not shocking that a community composed entirely of "watch it burn" folks would be... less than enduring.
posted by verb at 1:45 PM on January 19, 2015


(Well. Let's correct that. Not "enduring" but rather "not particular cohering at anything other than burning things and fragmenting itself." It's pretty enduring, if you draw the line carefully enough.)
posted by verb at 1:56 PM on January 19, 2015


I have a hard time characterizing shit like 8chan raids as pure "I just like to watch it burn" behavior. They have a pretty clear, defined bias and their actions are targeted to terrorize and silence vocal women and their supporters. And it has been this way for a long time.

It's not like they're trickster archetypes poking equally at every hornet's nest.
posted by muddgirl at 1:57 PM on January 19, 2015 [23 favorites]


Don't ever encourage doxxing, even if you might think one particular target might deserve it.

The squishy definition of doxxing seems to be a big part of what makes this kind of trolling possible, as soliloguy's example demonstrates.

Sincere question: why should bad actors online deserve protection of their anonymous identities? Draw whatever line you like: CP, encouraging suicide, death and rape threats. isn't there some line people cross where they have forfeited their precious right to anonymity?
posted by msalt at 2:01 PM on January 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


I have a hard time characterizing shit like 8chan raids as pure "I just like to watch it burn" behavior. They have a pretty clear, defined bias and their actions are targeted to terrorize and silence vocal women and their supporters. And it has been this way for a long time.

It's not like they're trickster archetypes poking equally at every hornet's nest.
I think it's complicated. They want to watch things burn, but they go after easy targets, relatively speaking. And in our culture, women are the easy targets. They are not taken as seriously, they are vulnerable to more kinds of social attacks, and so on.

"I like to hurt people" is a pretty heinous ethos, and "disproportionate impact" is something that is important to consider, but I think that it's playing their lulzing to treat them as ideologically motivated rather than ideologically opportunistic

But then, I don't know. I've never been on the target-side of their bullshit, and I don't actually have to endure it. It's very easy for me to look at it analytically, as an abstraction, while other peoples' lives are being ruined. So I don't want to make too many sweeping pronouncements.
posted by verb at 2:10 PM on January 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


On a related note, this GGer's wall-of-text post on /baphomet/ has been rising on r/KiA. It's certainly one angle on how a member of GG wants to construe themselves in relation to 8chan.

That said, It's interesting that he assumes that /baph's residents are the same people who were on 4chan pre-Chanology. Since that would blow up his age range, there's an underlying assumption that these sort of horrible folks will always show up. Life during Internet wartime, etc.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:18 PM on January 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Man, do I hate the world lulzing. If anyone wants to raid me, just make it so every word in the whole universe is lulz.

"I like to hurt people" is a pretty heinous ethos, and "disproportionate impact" is something that is important to consider, but I think that it's playing their lulzing to treat them as ideologically motivated rather than ideologically opportunistic

I would agree that they think that they're just being opportunistic, not ideologically motivated, but realistically it doesn't matter. How do you tell the difference between someone who's a misogynist at heart, and someone who's only pretending to be a misogynist to piss women off? Answer: Who cares?

Personally I prefer to get my jollies punching up, not punching down.
posted by muddgirl at 2:23 PM on January 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Sincere question: why should bad actors online deserve protection of their anonymous identities? Draw whatever line you like: CP, encouraging suicide, death and rape threats. isn't there some line people cross where they have forfeited their precious right to anonymity?

If I thought it would stop there, maybe, but for every "Doxxers find the girl who abused the kittens" there are a hundred people being targeted over poorly justified bullshit. Encouraging the tactic encourages them too.

I would put the issues mentioned in the box of, "things that should be handled by service providers in partnership with police." I know law enforcement is far from ready to start handling this stuff well, but that has to be the goal.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:33 PM on January 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Personally I prefer to get my jollies punching up, not punching down.

Oh in their narrative, they're definitely punching up. These are people who believe they've been victimized their entire lives by the system, and that certain people - who are popular and have lots of followers / fans and have real "voice" in media / magazines / websites - that they are the privileged ones they're punching up to. In the world of the internet where reach and power is defined by how many people you can influence and how many fans fawn over you, you can bet their narrative is that they're punching up.

Just like any other conflict both sides believe in what they're doing, or there wouldn't be intractable conflicts like these to begin with
posted by xdvesper at 2:35 PM on January 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


I would agree that they think that they're just being opportunistic, not ideologically motivated, but realistically it doesn't matter. How do you tell the difference between someone who's a misogynist at heart, and someone who's only pretending to be a misogynist to piss women off? Answer: Who cares?
Right, I agree. I think one of the reasons I spend a lot of time thinking about that is that a colleague of mine is big into the Cult Of The Rational Man view of things, and gets very lectury and explainy about how important it is to engage with and not "villainize" anyone, including these horrorshows.

"Watch It Burn" people are not potential converts or allies-to-be or misguided folks. They revel in hate and say so and if they are hurt by the fact that you say they are terrible, they should stop literally declaring to the world that their only motivation is to be terrible.

They are not an ideological threat to be engaged with or sidestepped or whatever. They are a structural problem for civilization.
posted by verb at 2:36 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh in their narrative, they're definitely punching up. These are people who believe they've been victimized their entire lives by the system, and that certain people - who are popular and have lots of followers / fans and have real "voice" in media / magazines / websites - that they are the privileged ones they're punching up to.

Yeah, that's kind of what I'm getting at too msalt. Once you say, "This is justified in certain situations," then people who should not be trusted to make such decisions begin to think their own cause is justified. Far away from chan troll culture we had things like publicly spreading personal information about abortion doctors. They are "murdering babies!" What could be better justification than that?

And we have seen where that has led.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:49 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


(This is maybe one of those areas, along with high quality fact checking, that professional journalists should be handling even in the age of citizen journalism. If someone more responsible investigates and publishes a lot of my fears here go away.)
posted by Drinky Die at 3:02 PM on January 19, 2015


One of the links complains about how Apple, Patreon, Gofundme, and other companies don't really care enough to do anything about this - but as the problem gets more visible (thanks to the relentlessness of the GamerGater types), it could get easier to pressure these companies to work against abusers. Even just getting one company to update its TOS to ban harassers would be some progress. Not that this would be easy to do...

Serious question; how is Apple enabling harassers? Or, at least, what could Apple do to prevent harassment? I can't see that in the links.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:12 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


On a related note, this GGer's wall-of-text post on /baphomet/ has been rising on r/KiA. It's certainly one angle on how a member of GG wants to construe themselves in relation to 8chan.

It's a fascinating take on the movement, because there's a certain... fascism inherent in it. For all their smack talk about "freedom of speech" they really seek to enforce, via mob rule, the notion that you can't speak up, lest you be found to be "making yourself important" and they will police you until you shut up.

And they don't target the Rush Limbaughs and Bill Mahers of the world. They don't harrass any actual leaders or others who have access to media. ABC did a GG report and to my knowledge the people involved in that haven't been doxxed. So, they avoid targeting men, yes, but mainly people with actual resources and recourse. They uniformly harass people they consider weaker than themselves.

For the crime of being outspoken.

GG - Cowards and hypocrites, all of them.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:28 PM on January 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


aw i wanted to see if i was born after eternal september began but i missed it by two years
posted by thug unicorn at 3:38 PM on January 19, 2015


Baphomet did dox Caitlin Dewey, the Washington Post writer who did a very unflattering story on 8chan.

After the Nightline story, GG's been sealioning Ryan Cardone, an ABC product manager. One of them was even threatening. As far as I know, he hasn't been doxed yet.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:48 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


why "Don't feed the trolls" is not a sustainable strategy for dealing with 8channers.

I really wish this had caught on sooner. Myself and many others have been saying "no, giving them attention is not what they want and refusing to give it to them will not make them go away or protect anyone" on here for ages.

Now the general consensus seems to be shifting over and people are beginning to accept that. But no, "just ignore them" was always a tool that assisted and protected them.

Sincere question: why should bad actors online deserve protection of their anonymous identities? Draw whatever line you like: CP, encouraging suicide, death and rape threats. isn't there some line people cross where they have forfeited their precious right to anonymity?

I, honestly, don't think they do unlike others. This behavior is already seen as not that big of a deal apparently. Fire it back at them.

Someone should buy some hosting and a site and just make a public directory of the personal info of all these assholes. I've been waiting for an actually militant response to this since the beginning, some group willing to use their own tactics against them. Fuck this observe and report shit. I guarantee these whiny diaper babies could not handle even a week of what they've been putting people through.

When i was doxxed and harassed for months, doing worse in reverse was the only way i made them go away. I just don't really see how "if the police won't do anything, lets just document as much as we can and hope they eventually do" is really that great of a strategy.

It reaches a certain point in which taking the high road is just allowing shitty people to act shitty indefinitely.
posted by emptythought at 4:08 PM on January 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


I'm with you, emptythought. I've commented before that what's really needed is for all players to have some skin in the game. Not to trivialize, but poker is no fun either when you're playing against someone who doesn't stand to lose anything.

Ideally, the deterrent would be law enforcement and jail, not vigilante 'more-of-the-same' retaliation. Absent that, though, I think retaliation is better than letting them keep playing consequence-free. Law enforcement needs to figure this out before it becomes an even more ugly free-for-all.
posted by ctmf at 4:19 PM on January 19, 2015


And what if the retaliation backfires because you fucked up and published the wrong name? Are you still on that moral high ground that justifies your mob justice?
posted by Drinky Die at 4:26 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


No. That's why law enforcement needs to get their shit together and take this seriously before that starts being a thing. Until then, I don't fault anyone for doing something rather than nothing.
posted by ctmf at 4:45 PM on January 19, 2015


No? And no where did i imply that.

All i really have to say is that the only thing to be said for the current strategy is having the moral high ground.

The choices seem to be stand and get slaughtered or engage and possibly create some collateral damage. And i'm not so sure that just accepting it and hoping the authorities who are theoretically supposed to deal with it finally get off their asses is better than the hypothetical of fingering the wrong person.

I mean hell, gators have done that several times already anyways. It's not like avoiding engaging is avoiding collateral damage.

When this has gone on this long, and done the damage it's done, i'd absolutely forgive not caring about the moral high ground. It's not like the "good" side doing one wrong thing suddenly invalidates everything they've said. And it's not like anyone in a position of authority gives a fuck anyways.
posted by emptythought at 5:15 PM on January 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is the logic where we end up with Reddit falsely accusing people of being terrorists. I'm not talking about some hypothetical here. This is where "I have the moral high ground" internet mob justice ends up.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:23 PM on January 19, 2015


I'll also note that there are some different levels of doxing and I'm way more comfortable with the kind that finds people's real names and contacts their employer's HR and gets them fired and/or emails their mom and gets them grounded than the kind that publishes their address publicly on a hate board and sends SWAT teams.
posted by NoraReed at 7:46 PM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Even though that kind fucks up and names the wrong people? Well, it probably won't happen to you.

Who cares! Let's get some racists fired, or at least bulk-dox people who appear to be maybe racist based on this screenshot I found on Tumblr posted by a pseudonymous stranger with an anime avatar.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:10 PM on January 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


well there is a reason that I say I'm more comfortable with it and not totally ok with it and endorsing it

also I really wish Gawker would, when doing that kind of article, avoid framing it with the ablelist "psycho" kind of language; giving that kind of phrasing credibility really damages people with mental health problems (you might say it causes collateral damage)
posted by NoraReed at 8:20 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I didn't like that phrasing either. In my view we should not be at all comfortable with the site though. As soon as you set up this sort of mob justice hub, you open it to this abuse. Abusive trolls will spot the ease with which this stuff can be manipulated instantly.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:25 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The opposite of a Social Justice Warrior is an Anti-Social Injustice Coward".

(paraphrased from reddit, of all places)
posted by lkc at 11:05 PM on January 19, 2015


The wall-of-text that Going to Maine posted is really illustrative. The _entire_ damn thing is "if you don't want to be targeted, keep your head down". Okaaaaay.

More importantly, this guy mentions people with "high self-esteem" as obvious targets.

Which is a good indication of where they're at: Don't feel good about yourself, or some dickheads on the internet will threaten your family.
posted by lkc at 11:30 PM on January 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


And to pre-empt the "4chan is not /b/" or "4chan kicked #GG off", here is a recent thread of /lit/ running a woman off the internet, for daring to talk about books she likes. ( reddit 4chan thread )

#knowthyenemy or some such.
posted by lkc at 11:36 PM on January 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Fuck, lkc, now I kind of want to leave the internet too.
posted by daisyk at 12:08 AM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Regarding doxxing, I've always found that online gaming groups in particular have the highest standards against doxxing, yet it's something that has become inextricably associated with gamergate. (Of course their defense is that none of it was done by them)

In every online gaming forum I've been active in, it's expected you redact any identifying information from screenshots - even another person's screen name like "starfox43". Deliberately circumventing this rule is grounds for banning.

The expectation is that if someone has wronged you, you can't make a complaint against them specifically. You say, a person did this thing, and I think it's wrong. This is a reflection of the community values or exposes an unexpected loophole or flaw of some kind. How can we as a community remedy this undesirable state of affairs?

Ok fine, perhaps not in such an articulate manner, but that's how the system works even if it's only enforced by the vigilance of the mods.
posted by xdvesper at 12:45 AM on January 20, 2015


And to pre-empt the "4chan is not /b/" or "4chan kicked #GG off", here is a recent thread of /lit/ running a woman off the internet, for daring to talk about books she likes.

Mother of God. That's just disgusting and horribly sad.
posted by brundlefly at 1:02 AM on January 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


The fact that swat teams are even dispatched to act--with potentially lethal force--on anonymous tips is another gross side of this many-sided turd.
posted by maxwelton at 1:41 AM on January 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


This behavior is already seen as not that big of a deal apparently. Fire it back at them.
This is kind of where I've ended up on this too - it's clear that all areas of law enforcement at every level have shrugged their shoulders and said 'eh, what ya gonna do?'. That seems like a de-facto endorsement of taking an eye for an eye. If it's OK for abusers to do this sort of shit with impunity, then it's OK for everyone. Fuck the moral high ground.
posted by dg at 3:53 AM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'll also note that there are some different levels of doxing and I'm way more comfortable with the kind that finds people's real names and contacts their employer's HR and gets them fired and/or emails their mom and gets them grounded than the kind that publishes their address publicly on a hate board and sends SWAT teams.

So, what's your feeling on what happened to the author of plebcomics?

For the uninitiated, plebcomics is a woman who draws a comic that mocks tumblr activism and recently had branched out into mocking some anti-gamergate folks, and not so long ago got -- thankfully temporarily -- doxx'd and harassed out of her job by… yup, anti-gamergate folks. She's not the only doxxing victim of such people, and not the only woman who's received harassment and threats from people who claim their raison d'être is to be against harassment and threatening of women.

(in case you can't tell, I am kind of in the "wish all the pro- and anti- folk would gather in one place together and get hit by a meteor" camp at this point, after having seen plenty of the ugliest stuff both sides have to offer)
posted by hrwj at 4:42 AM on January 20, 2015


I'm looking at the doxx site that hrwj made reference to. The originator of the doxx--which only consisted of links to her social media accounts, by the way, though pleb had unwisely overshared on those accounts--anyway, the one who posted the doxx seems to have some kind of personal grudge with pleb, and is fed up with everyone else involved.

Characterizing all that as "anti-GG" is specious.

(I will not link the doxx, but they are not hard to find)
posted by LogicalDash at 5:13 AM on January 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


If we find a way to defeat the trolls we find a way to defeat the deep state agencies of the CIA and the NSA. It is the same fundamental problem.
posted by vicx at 5:51 AM on January 20, 2015


I would like proof that it's "anti-gg" behind that as well.

Or that she didn't false flag it.

And I totally know it's a tu quoque argument I'm putting forth here.
posted by qcubed at 5:57 AM on January 20, 2015


Characterizing all that as "anti-GG" is specious.

Considering the number of people who openly rejoiced at what happened to pleb… it's hard to justify "well, they maybe didn't load the gun, point it at her and pull the trigger, so that's OK, they just celebrated that she got shot".

Or that she didn't false flag it.

Wow. I'm not even sure what to say to that, honestly. Do you apply that same standard to everyone who claims to have been doxxed/threatened/harassed?

(my broader issue is with "doxxing and destroying people's lives is OK when they're people I disagree with", which does seem to be a common attitude and frightens the heck out of me because I wonder when -- not if -- I will end up being someone they disagree with)
posted by hrwj at 5:58 AM on January 20, 2015


(in case you can't tell, I am kind of in the "wish all the pro- and anti- folk would gather in one place together and get hit by a meteor" camp at this point, after having seen plenty of the ugliest stuff both sides have to offer)

Ooh look, the ol' "both sides are bad, blah blah blah". Haven't heard that one in a New York Minute.
posted by kmz at 6:23 AM on January 20, 2015 [18 favorites]


> Wow. I'm not even sure what to say to that, honestly. Do you apply that same standard to everyone who claims to have been doxxed/threatened/harassed?

Nope. Just applying GG arguments to those who have been doxxed/threatened/harrassed.

Because apparently not supporting GG is the same as being anti-GG. We're exactly alike.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander or some cesspool shit. Like I said, it's a tu quoque argument.
posted by qcubed at 6:43 AM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, I'll be honest. I'm kind of done with the whole mess, myself, but I'm finding it very difficult to believe anyone who is equating the two sides as equal or similar to be arguing in good faith.
posted by qcubed at 6:50 AM on January 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Someone set up an anon twitter account to monitor baphomet, and posted a recording of a recent SWATing.

For anyone who doesn't feel like listening to it: it is not "here's an anonymous tip"; it is "I have an AR-15 and three hostages and I'm going to murder them"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:19 AM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I will find it darkly and horribly humorous if the thing that leads to the police becoming less militarized is people getting angry about video games.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:25 AM on January 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


For the uninitiated, plebcomics is a woman who draws a comic that mocks tumblr activism and recently had branched out into mocking some anti-gamergate folks, and not so long ago got -- thankfully temporarily -- doxx'd and harassed out of her job by… yup, anti-gamergate folks.

From Going To Maine's wall-of-text link, above:

/baphomet/ hates Gamergate, in Gamergate it sees the domesticated chan culture that ruined it's original home on /b/. It sees moralefags trying to be nice to people who don't deserve niceness. It thinks Gamergate is a poor joke and will never get anything done. If /baphomet/ took a side in Gamergate, it would more likely be anti more then pro, but is actually chaotic neutral.
The reason /baphomet/ targets anti-Gamergate is because they are the bigger "lulcows", people with undeserved but very high self esteem who think they're doing something good for the world.


I think it's less likely that whoever doxxed this webcomics lady is "anti-gamergate folks"; I think it's more likely that it was a pro-raid channer that thought it would be more fun to sow discord by A) hurting someone, and B) contributing to the "both sides" malarkey.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:28 AM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't see how attacking women because they have "undeserved but very high self esteem" can be described as anything other than deeply, deeply mysoginist.
posted by muddgirl at 7:30 AM on January 20, 2015 [22 favorites]


I think it's more likely that it was a pro-raid channer that thought it would be more fun to sow discord by A) hurting someone, and B) contributing to the "both sides" malarkey.

And notice that, instead of attacking the many, many, many men who are anti-"SJW" or whatever, the attacker picked a vocal woman.
posted by muddgirl at 7:32 AM on January 20, 2015 [14 favorites]


Baphomet hates gamergate, which is why it acts as gg's muscle. By that standard, Sammy Gravano must have just loathed John Gotti.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:18 AM on January 20, 2015


Next week's This American Life
posted by Going To Maine at 10:58 AM on January 20, 2015


Ahhhh just had gators on twitter trying to tell me how Zoe deserves everything and she had this coming to her because of sex.
These idiots never stop, do they?
posted by Theta States at 12:16 PM on January 20, 2015


THEY'RE NOT OBSESSED!
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


THEY'RE NOT OBSESSED [WITH ETHICS IN GAMES JOURNALISM]!
posted by OmieWise at 12:53 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


IT IS ABOUT ETHICS IN GAME JOURNALISM NOT ZIE QUINN NOW LET ME GIVE A CONCRETE EXAMPLE OF WHAT I MEAN BY ETHICS, YOU SEE ONE TIME ZOE QUINN DID A THING.
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on January 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


Regarding pleb, I believe her. I think I've seen some sort of campaign about doing that. Why do I believe her?

I discovered pleb some time ago because of a couple of her comics on the whole "truscum" thing. They were pretty good comics; some of her other stuff I didn't get because I didn't know what she was going after, but the anti-truscum-people ones at least were a nice blowing-off-steam release to see.

My first exposure to GG came when I heard about what happened to her. And I do believe it was because she took a pro-GG stance and mocked Anita and Zoe et al. that she was targeted, and that she was targeted by people who'd consider themselves anti-GG, because it's an instance of a pattern I see far too often.

To me, the whole thing is yet another instance of a group of mostly white/straight/cis dudes, plus a handful of affluent/well-assimilated women, appropriating a bunch of issues and claiming exclusive right to be the ones to speak on them. And that inevitably produces yet another round of Let's Attack The Minorities Who Have Wrong Opinions About This. Because once the claque of appropriators have got their little machine going, any and all women, PoC, LGBTQ, etc. folk are expected to simply get out of the way, shut up, nod approvingly and not make any fuss about being ignored/unlistened to/talked over yet again.

Those who don't, because they want their voices to be heard, or because they don't particularly want to have this group talking on their behalf, or because they disagree with the way their issues are being portrayed by people who often by definition have never experienced said issues, get attacked. Quite viciously. See: plebcomics, who dared to express her own opinion and paid the price. See also plenty of sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic invective thrown in the direction of any other minority who is suspected or found to hold a wrong opinion on GG or its key figures (inseparable at this point), and plenty of glowing high-fiving retweets and donations for the people who do the throwing.

So I don't need a conspiracy theory involving the chans and false flags and whatnot, because the script of this was written a long time ago, and is simply being acted out yet again. If someone wants to cavil and nitpick and try to come up with conspiracy theories that help them feel they're on the right side so they can sleep at night, I can't really stop them. And having learnt my lesson about what happens when people do, I probably won't even try too hard to correct them. In fact, this comment is the most I'll do in that vein.
posted by hrwj at 1:37 PM on January 20, 2015


You forgot to say #NotYourShield.
posted by kmz at 1:53 PM on January 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


What do you think was "appropriated" in this case?
posted by Going To Maine at 1:57 PM on January 20, 2015


(in case you can't tell, I am kind of in the "wish all the pro- and anti- folk would gather in one place together and get hit by a meteor" camp at this point, after having seen plenty of the ugliest stuff both sides have to offer)

Most of the big name anti-GG don't have the option to give up the fight because they're actively fighting an anonymous mob that is trying to get them killed. This comment is already gross and full of false equivilance, but the lack of choice these women had in being targeted by this hate group makes it even grosser. If you're so disinterested in this fight that you want it to go away through any means, why not use the privilege you have as someone without skin in the game to stop engaging with it, instead of this both-sides-are-bad bullshit?
posted by NoraReed at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2015 [22 favorites]


So I don't need a conspiracy theory involving the chans and false flags and whatnot

Evidently you just need a conspiracy theory about a "claque of appropriators" with a "little machine".
posted by Greg Nog at 2:08 PM on January 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


So I don't need a conspiracy theory involving the chans and false flags and whatnot, because the script of this was written a long time ago, and is simply being acted out yet again. If someone wants to cavil and nitpick and try to come up with conspiracy theories that help them feel they're on the right side so they can sleep at night, I can't really stop them. And having learnt my lesson about what happens when people do, I probably won't even try too hard to correct them. In fact, this comment is the most I'll do in that vein.

GG planned ops involved faking their personal shields, and ways to infiltrate what they saw as anti-GG groups. It's not so much "conspiracy theories" as "this sounds exactly like the kind of thing they spoke openly about doing."
posted by zombieflanders at 2:09 PM on January 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


"A group of assholes who use doxxing to harrass and silence women may be the perpetrators of a dox" isn't a conspiracy theory. It's Occam's Razor.

This appears to be a Tumblr thing which is why I haven't heard of it before. I'll take this opportunity to say that even jerks like the author of Pleb Comics don't deserve to be doxxed merely for holding opinions I don't agree with, or for mocking opinions that I do.

On the other hand, assholes like 8chan raiders hide behind their anonymity and our politeness with often-disastrous consequences, and it seems to me like the only way to end that is to take away that anonymity. I'm still struggling with how to resolve that with my belief in privacy.
posted by muddgirl at 2:14 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like, we can talk about whether it was

1) True GamerGaters
2) /baphomet/ AKA Individual Bad Actors AKA No True GamerGaters
3) Anti-GamerGate People

who are out to ruin this pleb lady's life for fun, but given that no one has stepped forward twirling a moustache shouting "IT WAS MEEEE", I can't see how Option 3 is any more likely than Options 1 or 2.

Option 3 seems much less likely to me than Option 2 emboldened by Option 1, since Option 3 doesn't seem to have designated burgersandfries-style boards and subreddits set up specifically to doxx random cartoonists.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:21 PM on January 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, weird; I thought your mention of "Anti-GamerGate" was something you made up, hrwj; I see that it seems to be in common use among the KotakuInAction subreddit as an imagined organized group. I now feel gross for humoring that phrase.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:24 PM on January 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


really it sounds a lot like syringes in the mail - a just-so story made to bolster claims of both sides and get well meaning nerds who are bad at critical thought to take up their cause. gamegate was started explicitly as a harassment campaign with the ideas of ethics and #notyourshield to hide the true intent coming up within the first couple of hours after thezoepost. it's really sad to me when people are taken in by the gators bs.
posted by nadawi at 2:27 PM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, I think that it's fascinating that "doxxing" has become a sort of proxy battle for much more complicated issues. Outside of the chan culture that holds anonymity as the one god-given right all may claim as their due, "doxxing" is not inherently problematic.

Rather, it's the implied threat that comes with having an angry mob that hates you suddenly in possession of your home address, phone number, work history, etc. Divorcing the concept of doxxing from the surrounding campaigns of harassment and intent-to-destroy is what allows trolls to claim moral equivalence. When Zoe Quinn linked to the facebook account of TFYC's founder, for example, she was accused of "doxxing." When someone suggested that a Pro-GamerGate Lawyer was engaging in illegal stalking, and said that people should contact local police, "Anti-GG's engage in SWATing" turned into a rallying cry that you still hear today.

"Reporting possible criminal activity to a non-emergency police number" and "making a 911 call claiming to have hostages at the house of someone you hate" are now treated as equivalent.

If Vietnam was the first "Nightly News" war and the 91 invasion of Iraq was the first "24/7 Cable" war, I think it's fair to say that this shows us what a war fought in an era of postmodern social media would look like. An aggressor, shielded by millions of Twitter accounts, all explaining that the invaded is the REAL aggressor.

Then again, I suppose that's not particularly new, either.
posted by verb at 2:31 PM on January 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well, that or they are deeply shitty people with a massive set of double standards.
posted by Artw at 2:38 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


a "claque of appropriators" with a "little machine"

I keep wondering what it is. Is it a hand crank pasta maker? One of those slap n chops?
posted by poffin boffin at 2:44 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


There were and are toxic elements within online activism. A lot of Gators have tried to portray themselves as opposing that, but in practice oppose the ideology while embracing the problematic tactics. (Sometimes turned up to 11.)

I'm not going to flat out reject option 3 as a possibility.

There is definitely a double-standard that Gators will quickly go for option 3 but when something happens to one of their designated punching bags, they'll gladly go for, "Maybe it's just a third party who wants Gators to look bad, it's impossible to be sure," or good old option 4: She doxxed herself.
posted by RobotHero at 2:46 PM on January 20, 2015


I keep wondering what it is. Is it a hand crank pasta maker? One of those slap n chops?

when I was a preteen I did not know what a blowjob was and I imagined it involved some kind of machine; I think I had some combination in mind based on a penis pump I saw in an Austin Powers movie and a caulk gun. this is what i imagine
posted by NoraReed at 2:48 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I so don't understand any of this.

I say that not so much as drive-by snark (and apologies for that) but in case maybe it is helpful to know that a reasonably with-it and tech-savvy person just truly cannot keep up with all of the jargon, code-names, and inside jokes that permeates this whole subject matter. That is to say - if there is something important in all of this for the outside world (and I am not saying there isn't), understand it is not leaping off the page in present form.
posted by Mid at 2:53 PM on January 20, 2015


To me, the whole thing is yet another instance of a group of mostly white/straight/cis dudes, plus a handful of affluent/well-assimilated women, appropriating a bunch of issues and claiming exclusive right to be the ones to speak on them. And that inevitably produces yet another round of Let's Attack The Minorities Who Have Wrong Opinions About This.

yeah, sounds like something really familiar

can't put my finger on what it is, though
posted by smasuch at 2:54 PM on January 20, 2015


> And I do believe it was because she took a pro-GG stance and mocked Anita and Zoe et al. that she was targeted, and that she was targeted by people who'd consider themselves anti-GG, because it's an instance of a pattern I see far too often.

Okay. The fact that the tumblr site that doxxed her makes no mention of GamerGate means what, then?

> To me, the whole thing is yet another instance of a group of mostly white/straight/cis dudes, plus a handful of affluent/well-assimilated women, appropriating a bunch of issues and claiming exclusive right to be the ones to speak on them. And that inevitably produces yet another round of Let's Attack The Minorities Who Have Wrong Opinions About This. Because once the claque of appropriators have got their little machine going, any and all women, PoC, LGBTQ, etc. folk are expected to simply get out of the way, shut up, nod approvingly and not make any fuss about being ignored/unlistened to/talked over yet again.

So, the fact that GamerGate tends to marginalize, sideline, or outright attack any of their token minorities whenever they stray from the party line means what, then? Would you like a link?

> So I don't need a conspiracy theory involving the chans and false flags and whatnot, because the script of this was written a long time ago, and is simply being acted out yet again. If someone wants to cavil and nitpick and try to come up with conspiracy theories that help them feel they're on the right side so they can sleep at night, I can't really stop them. And having learnt my lesson about what happens when people do, I probably won't even try too hard to correct them. In fact, this comment is the most I'll do in that vein.

You know, hrwj, I too would like to live in a world of epistemic closure where I'm always right.
posted by qcubed at 3:02 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]




How long before the gribble glorpers seize on that as evidence of a conspiracy?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:20 PM on January 20, 2015


So, the fact that GamerGate tends to marginalize, sideline, or outright attack any of their token minorities whenever they stray from the party line means what, then? Would you like a link?

Between that and this:

You know, hrwj, I too would like to live in a world of epistemic closure where I'm always right.

I think I see what you're trying to do, and I think you should click my profile. Because if you notice my comments since de-lurking earlier today, there's a theme of the kinds of really shitty stuff certain minority groups get subjected to. One of those is people who claim to be on the same side, but who vociferously argue "well, you can't criticize me until you've criticized these other people sufficiently to satisfy my invented-on-the-spot requirements for consistency".

There's already fifty million words an hour spilt onto the internet about GG people being evil. I feel I can take that as read, and point out that there are also other problematic things going on which disincline me toward any sort of support for the self-proclaimed "anti" side as well.
posted by hrwj at 3:55 PM on January 20, 2015


I feel I can take that as read, and point out that there are also other problematic things going on which disincline me toward any sort of support for the self-proclaimed "anti" side as well.

So do you support any actual action to end online harassment? Or are you just shrugging your shoulders at /baph/'s actions?
posted by smasuch at 4:09 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


To me, the whole thing is yet another instance of a group of mostly white/straight/cis dudes, plus a handful of affluent/well-assimilated women, appropriating a bunch of issues and claiming exclusive right to be the ones to speak on them.

This is an extremely dismissive and literally untrue statement. You are hand waving away all the women who have experienced some form of GG harassment as "mostly dudes". You can criticize people's actions (if you feel you must) without erasing the experiences of others or saying that we're just "assimilated", whatever that means.

I'm a little tetchy on this subject because despite being neither a game developer nor a game journalist (only a very small time amateur blogger) recently my name has started popping up on "enemy" lists. I just moved in with my partner a few months ago, and I've already had to have the "so you might get weird emails or ha ha maybe the police will show up and shoot our dog ha ha I'm sure that wouldn't really happen but just in case" talk, which is not really how I wanted to spend part of my Saturday.
posted by jess at 4:16 PM on January 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


How long before the gribble glorpers seize on that as evidence of a conspiracy?

Gribble glorpers gonna gribble glorp.
posted by homunculus at 4:40 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I think I see what you're trying to do, and I think you should click my profile. Because if you notice my comments since de-lurking earlier today, there's a theme of the kinds of really shitty stuff certain minority groups get subjected to.

I agree.

> One of those is people who claim to be on the same side, but who vociferously argue "well, you can't criticize me until you've criticized these other people sufficiently to satisfy my invented-on-the-spot requirements for consistency".

I don't think there are really "sides" to this, per se. There's GamerGate, which rallies around a few hashtags and spews vociferous hate, harassment, and what not, while using a fig leaf about ethics, except they don't really seem to care much about the ethics part.

Then there's everyone else, who sees this, and says, "It's not OK. It needs to be confronted and called out and stopped."

Problematic thing is problematic.

Yes, I'm repurposing your words. Exactly how I did in my first response to you, regarding plebcomics. But those words I repurposed in that instance? I haven't seen them uttered, except ironically, by people who aren't with Gamergate as some sort of shield.

> There's already fifty million words an hour spilt onto the internet about GG people being evil. I feel I can take that as read, and point out that there are also other problematic things going on which disincline me toward any sort of support for the self-proclaimed "anti" side as well.

I'm sure there are bad actors on both the Gamergate side and everyone else. But I think the problem here is that you seem to think that this actually has sides, not one "consumer revolt" with a major in-group bias, cult-like reinforcement of factually incorrect beliefs, and everyone else who thinks their nasty reaction and the whole mess they've created is sickening and vile.

I mean, if you think the problem is just that everyone on both sides is white/cis/het/male, I don't know what to say about that, given that a lot of those arguing against Gamergate tend to not be, and most of the figureheads Gamergate lauds tend to be exactly what you describe...
posted by qcubed at 4:44 PM on January 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't think there are really "sides" to this, per se. There's GamerGate, which rallies around a few hashtags and spews vociferous hate, harassment, and what not, while using a fig leaf about ethics, except they don't really seem to care much about the ethics part.

Then there's everyone else, who sees this, and says, "It's not OK. It needs to be confronted and called out and stopped."


This is more or less how I feel, too; I don't see myself as "the Anti-GamerGate side" so much as just operating on the normal baseline human level that it is bad for emotionally-stunted whiners to organize harassment campaigns.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:51 PM on January 20, 2015 [19 favorites]


So do you support any actual action to end online harassment? Or are you just shrugging your shoulders at /baph/'s actions?

Let's try this again, shall we?

There's a script that can be recited from memory at this point, of how certain kinds of movements tend to go, and it consists of:

Act I: A group of people who are comfortably in the majority gender/ethnic/orientation/identity group, plus a few well-off and well-assimilated members of photogenic minorities start campaigning on behalf of people who are not comfortably in the majority gender/ethnic/orientation/identity group.

Act II: Some of the people on whose behalf the campaign claims to be point out that, really, the self-proclaimed leaders of the campaign aren't all that representative of the people they're claiming to speak for, don't really get the diversity of actual people and opinions among the groups they're claiming to speak for, and are talking over rather than listening to the voices of those actual people and that this is all kinds of problematic.

Act III: The self-proclaimed leaders and the followers they've attracted break out the deflection tactics. The biggest, best and most devastating one is "you aren't allowed to criticise us, since you haven't sufficiently criticised the evil people we're campaigning against!"

Act IV: It goes all to hell, because any attempt to point out that the campaign or its leadership is problematic in certain ways (like: ignoring/silencing dissenting voices from the people it claims to operate on behalf of) gets bogged down in an endless stream of deflections, where anyone who's the least bit critical is forced to prove their bona fides again and again and again according to ever-more-stringent standards of "now, criticise this group, now this one, now this one, nope, you still haven't done enough for us to want to listen to you".

Act V: Since no critic from the group the campaign claims to be for has been able to clear the impossibly-high threshold necessary to be allowed to consider voicing concerns about the campaign, anyone who did attempt to voice concerns now is dismissed as having been "not really one of us" or, more commonly, as having really been one of the evil people we're all against, and aren't we glad we drove them all out! When I first started hearing about this "GamerGate" thing a while back I sadly watched this act go down almost in real time, as the dissenters failed to clear the impossible bar and were promptly branded as gender traitors, shills, internalized misogynists/racists, Uncle Toms, "just one of the boys", sock puppets and every other denial of humanity and identity one can think of.

I wish I did not know this script so well. I wish I were not watching it in action in this comment thread. I wish I'd remembered to keep my mouth shut, since that's how it ends up anyway.
posted by hrwj at 4:56 PM on January 20, 2015


I wish I did not know this script so well. I wish I were not watching it in action in this comment thread.

I guess one option is to actually talk to the people in this thread rather than bemoaning an imagined script being played out by an imagined Enemies Group
posted by Greg Nog at 5:00 PM on January 20, 2015 [18 favorites]


How long before the gribble glorpers seize on that as evidence of a conspiracy?

It was basically immediate. Because of course GG isn't about Zoe or Anita or Briana but hot damn they sure seem to be hanging on to every damn thing they do.

When I first started hearing about this "GamerGate" thing a while back I sadly watched this act go down almost in real time

Mm, yes, I have in fact seen it over and over again with GG turning on its own.
posted by kmz at 5:09 PM on January 20, 2015


This script you keep referring to, I have a few questions, just so I know where you're coming from:

> A group of people who are comfortably in the majority gender/ethnic/orientation/identity group, plus a few well-off and well-assimilated members of photogenic minorities start campaigning on behalf of people who are not comfortably in the majority gender/ethnic/orientation/identity group.

Who's campaigning on behalf of whom here? Those not in support of Gamergate aren't really campaigning for anything other than, "Maybe we stop with the horrid stuff?" At least, so far as I can tell.

Who's the minority in question, and who's the majority in question? Are we talking about GSM and racial minorities, vs. Straight/White?

> Some of the people on whose behalf the campaign claims to be point out that, really, the self-proclaimed leaders of the campaign aren't all that representative of the people they're claiming to speak for, don't really get the diversity of actual people and opinions among the groups they're claiming to speak for, and are talking over rather than listening to the voices of those actual people and that this is all kinds of problematic.

The people who are complaining the self-proclaimed leaders don't represent them. Are we talking about #NotYourShield here? And what leaders are we referring to?

> The self-proclaimed leaders and the followers they've attracted break out the deflection tactics. The biggest, best and most devastating one is "you aren't allowed to criticise us, since you haven't sufficiently criticised the evil people we're campaigning against!"

Who's putting forth this argument? Citations, please. Something about wanting to trust but needing verification.

> It goes all to hell...

Okay, who's putting forth this argument?

> Since no critic from the group the campaign claims to be for has been able to clear the impossibly-high threshold necessary to be allowed to consider voicing concerns about the campaign, anyone who did attempt to voice concerns now is dismissed as having been "not really one of us" or, more commonly, as having really been one of the evil people we're all against, and aren't we glad we drove them all out!

Which campaign are you referring to? Who's been cast out?

> ...were promptly branded as gender traitors, shills, internalized misogynists/racists, Uncle Toms, "just one of the boys", sock puppets and every other denial of humanity and identity one can think of.

Who were these people?

I'm honestly curious, because you seem to have knowledge and read things that I haven't, and all of these things you're referring to are a mystery to me.

Almost as much of a mystery as to why Gamergate seems to focus so much ire on Anita Sarkeesian, who is neither a game developer nor a game journalist, for a movement that is ostensibly predicated on the notion of ethics in gaming journalism.

And almost as much of a mystery as to why /baph/'s target list seems to line up exactly with those /gg/ seems to have their five minutes^W weeks^W months of hate for.
posted by qcubed at 5:17 PM on January 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Your little narritive falls down pretty quickly in the face of the fact that there's no "campaign" on one side, just people who think SWATting and harassing women is Not Good. So this supposed ideological purity purge is sort of hard to imagine since there's no group to purge.

Tl;dr: see Concern Trolling
posted by phearlez at 5:23 PM on January 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


It was basically immediate. Because of course GG isn't about Zoe or Anita or Briana but hot damn they sure seem to be hanging on to every damn thing they do.

No, see, they are just very against people not being harrased, for ethical reasons!
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM on January 20, 2015


Let's try this again, shall we?

No, I'm not going to follow you down your hypothetical, "but who's the REAL racists" road of an argument. It's even got a handy built-in "you didn't agree with me, so it proves you're the real bad guy!" escape route.

Your stated opinion of "both sides" being equally bad is totally, clearly, wrong. I know this. I've been seeing gamergate happen since day 1, since it was just an ex-boyfriend being horrific online.
posted by smasuch at 5:45 PM on January 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


And that's just day 1 of "actual gamergate". Zoe Quinn was getting shit about Depression Quest way before then and people have been harassing and threatening Sarkeesian for years. It only "started" then because that gave it a name and a tipping point, but there have been jackass boys trying to drive women off the internet for years now, especially in the gaming community.
posted by NoraReed at 5:54 PM on January 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


I stopped reading in the middle of act 1 because reality.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:12 PM on January 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


These clowns running baph and 8chan are going to end up in the sights of a U.S. prosecutor real soon, if not already. I would bet by the end of the year we see arrests and prosecutions.
posted by humanfont at 6:26 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


It seems pretty clear if you like Glasl's model, that one group has been racing to escalate this at every opportunity from the get-go. There isn't even an "other side". Just a bunch of people saying dude, fucking stop. Look where the model leads.
posted by ctmf at 6:27 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a script that can be recited from memory at this point

I think the concept of marginalized people being talked over by well-meaning straight, white, cis folks is a valid one and something that all allies should keep in mind, I just don't really see how it applies to GamerGate at large. GG is a campaign against women who have opinions about video games (and about GG, but that came later). By denying the existence of real women who are experiencing real harassment, aren't you doing the exact thing that you're speaking out against? Like, please stop talking over the women who are directly affected by this.
posted by jess at 6:52 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


hrwj: "Act I: A group of people who are comfortably in the majority gender/ethnic/orientation/identity group, plus a few well-off and well-assimilated members of photogenic minorities start campaigning on behalf of people who are not comfortably in the majority gender/ethnic/orientation/identity group."

What campaign was that?

In which act do we get to the ethics in journalism?

What qualifies someone to be "well-assimilated" in your opinion?

Which minorities are photogenic?
posted by RobotHero at 7:08 PM on January 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


My favorite is gamers as oppressed minority.
posted by Artw at 7:17 PM on January 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh yeah and specifically this is relation to the "well-assimilated" question:
'internalized misogynists/racists, Uncle Toms, "just one of the boys"'

How are you not doing the same thing when you talk about the "well-assimilated?"
posted by RobotHero at 7:26 PM on January 20, 2015


a bunch of garbage
posted by hrwj at 3:55 PM on January 20


Everyone knows what you're doing, dude. Thanks for the $5 but you're going to hate it here and you should probably head on back to 8chan.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 7:48 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


> Everyone knows what you're doing, dude. Thanks for the $5 but you're going to hate it here and you should probably head on back to 8chan.

I mean, it's possible hrwj is a sea lion or part of #OpWhateverThey'reCallingItNow.

But on the off chance they're not, I really would like to know where they're getting their information, which corresponds as much to my experience and understanding as Emerson's does to Birmingham, UK.
posted by qcubed at 7:55 PM on January 20, 2015


Oh, and hey, when a gamergater actually gets swatted and it's in the news like it was for Israel Galvez, Grace Lynn, or a random lady whose only "crime" was following a critic of Gamergate, then come back here and tell us both sides are the same.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 7:56 PM on January 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry, one last thing: if "anti-Gamergate" is actually full of evil conniving SJWs who are doxxing and swatting innocent Gamergate supporters, where is this happening? Where are the boards? There are hundreds of screenshots of 8chan and reddit where there is an organized, cooperative effort to go after critics of Gamergate. You can't point to any equivalent on the opposite side.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 8:30 PM on January 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Awful Peice of Crap: "and it's in the news"

Well, that's completely unfair because the news is so biased against them, remember?
posted by RobotHero at 8:46 PM on January 20, 2015


Ashley Lynch, the Canadian woman who was SWATed, gives her take on how the news media can be expected to converge on a hot story and have professional relationships: Gamergate Myths: Corruption, Collusion and Professional Victimhood.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:24 PM on January 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Dang. I typically don't bother reading about whatever latest horrible thing happened to someone but she does a great job laying out the whole experience of being in the news to show it can happen fast, it can involve people who are friend of a friend or whatever, without it necessarily being collusion.

Also I had a Poe's Law moment with @true_stories_GG. I had to look up that account to confirm that it is in fact a parody.
posted by RobotHero at 10:34 PM on January 20, 2015


My favorite is gamers as oppressed minority.

DON'T YOU KNOW THE PAIN THEY FEEL? THE SUFFERING THEY BEAR THAT CAN ONLY BE TEMPORARILY ALEVIATED THROUGH CONSUMER PURCHASES OF THE NEXT AAA TITLES?
posted by Theta States at 5:52 AM on January 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


At some point an AAA game edged up against a real ethical complaint in some way, it may have been the Mordor thing, and the response of GamerGaters was that they couldn't boycott it because they actually wanted to buy it.
posted by Artw at 6:38 AM on January 21, 2015


So apparently /baphomet/ is going to the Dark Web/DarkNet/whatever. Which is, of course, exactly what ethical people engaging in totally legal activities not involving anonymously trying to get people killed do. You know, for games.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:20 AM on January 21, 2015




hrwj, I am genuinely interested to hear what you think GamerGate is about, because what you're describing with your Act I, Act II, etc. is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike GamerGate.

I've already heard various claims that GamerGate is about Zoe colluding with journalists, no, GamerGate is really about Gamers Are Dead articles, wait, now it's really really about censorship, wait now it's about keeping politics out of games journalism, and your comment here leads me to believe that in whatever part of the internet you got your information, there's yet another retroactive story floating around of what GamerGate is really really really about. The marginalization of non-photogenic minorities?



Artw: "At some point an AAA game edged up against a real ethical complaint in some way, it may have been the Mordor thing, and the response of GamerGaters was that they couldn't boycott it because they actually wanted to buy it."

With the Mordor thing I've heard either
1) It doesn't matter because they're Youtubers, not journalists
2) Youtuber TotalBiscuit is pro-GG and he did a exposé on the Mordor thing, what more do you expect the collective us to do?
or as you said
3) Well, I can't stay mad at them if it's a game I actually want
posted by RobotHero at 7:33 AM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


2 would have more weight if he wasn't so big on 1, of course.
posted by Artw at 8:26 AM on January 21, 2015


Semi-related, as 8chan and Baph wouldn't exist without the 4chan gamergate ban: 4chan founder Moot steps down.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:59 AM on January 21, 2015


8chan was created in 2013, so it's not accurate to say it wouldn't exist.
posted by RobotHero at 9:11 AM on January 21, 2015


You know, I thought about double checking that statement, and then didn't. Shoulda gone with my gut.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:15 AM on January 21, 2015


re:moot
"I'll need time away to decompress and reflect, but I look forward to one day returning to 4chan as its Admin Emeritus or just another Anonymous," he says, "and also writing more about my experience running 4chan on my personal blog."

Not gonna lie, I will buy his book if he writes one.
posted by Theta States at 9:56 AM on January 21, 2015


At some point an AAA game edged up against a real ethical complaint in some way, it may have been the Mordor thing, and the response of GamerGaters was that they couldn't boycott it because they actually wanted to buy it.

Not only with Shadows of Mordor, but I can think of 2 other times off the top of my head. Left 4 Dead 2's announcement caused a lot of anger because it came so soon after the release of Left 4 Dead, which still had problems that were now going to go unfixed. And then COD:Modern Warfare 2, which was being boycotted over not having the option of user-hosted dedicated servers.

Both games were huge hits. This pic says it all about Modern Warfare 2.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:45 AM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Semi-related, as 8chan and Baph wouldn't exist without the 4chan gamergate ban: 4chan founder Moot steps down.

and from the horse's mouth.

probably deserves a separate FPP.
posted by postcommunism at 12:34 PM on January 21, 2015


probably deserves a separate FPP.

"4chan: less moot"
"4chan: no longer lieks mootkips"
posted by Going To Maine at 1:35 PM on January 21, 2015


Margaret Pless (idledilettante) is writing about #gamergate for daily kos: Domestic Terrorism: the new front line in the War on Women.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:04 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]




It's actually not that bad. The current ArbCom voting is leaning towards admonishing anti-GG editors but topic banning or outright banning pro-GG editors, even though they did find less-than-stellar behavior across the board. It seems they're taking into account the nature of on-site and off-site harassment that anti-GG editors have had to deal with. The arbitrators are still voting, so it may take some time to see how this all plays out.
posted by Woodroar at 2:19 PM on January 22, 2015


That looks really bad. Outside of Masem the GamerGaters are all on throwaway accounts, so the more active regular users getting restricted or banned means that article is going to be swamped in no time.
posted by Artw at 2:48 PM on January 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Who were the proGG editors in that list?
And: holy shit what an intense process.
posted by Theta States at 9:26 AM on January 23, 2015


>Who were the proGG editors in that list?
The Devil's Advocate, Tutelary, Titanium Dragon, Loganmac, Willhesucceed, ArmyLine, DungeonSiegeAddict510, Xander756 are all considered pro-GG and are being sanctioned. Some had been sanctioned previously, but this is like a high court confirming those sanctions. They've also made it easier to give 1-year bans to additional editors who attempt to push an agenda.

Sadly, after a few later votes, several anti-GG editors are being sanctioned as well.
posted by Woodroar at 10:15 AM on January 23, 2015


Well, from the article I linked:
The original GamerGate operation targeted the "five horsemen:" Ryulong, NorthBySouthBaranof, Tarc, TheRedPenOfDoom, and TaraInDC. All were sanctioned in the draft decision.
Three of them, the most vocal in countering the gunge gummers, have now been topicbanned. One has been told not to treat Wikipedia as a battleground.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:17 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


(I mean admittedly more than one of those five names are well-known to ArbCom and have been wrist-slapped for poor behaviour before, but ArbCom well and truly screwed the pooch on this one; by instituting those topicbans and other admonishments they've told the gristle gappers that these targeting tactics work, not to mention allowing them to reframe how the entire horrific phenomenon is documented on what is likely the most widely-used reference work in the world)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:24 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


At least five more anti-GG—or pro-Wikipedia policy—editors have stepped up since the ArbCom process started. Keep in mind that ArbCom isn't concerned with every editor working on the article. The wiki run by Gamergate lists over 30 "hostile" anti-GG editors with just a few of them being sanctioned by ArbCom. And their list is actually out of date, because I don't see any of the newer anti-GG editors on that list.

Yes, it sucks that some good editors won't be able to help any longer, but this shouldn't affect the balance of the article.
posted by Woodroar at 10:42 AM on January 23, 2015


I'm on that list, and I'm sure as he'll not putting in the kind if sustained effort required on that page to stop it becoming a SPA-fest.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


ugh I read through that list and I want to scrub myself with a wire brush.

There just seems to be no way to stop these guys.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:11 PM on January 23, 2015


There just seems to be no way to stop these guys.

drones
posted by poffin boffin at 1:57 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


[Without litigating the definition-or-not of doxxing, maybe let's just opt towards being less inclined to link to "and here's a whole bunch of info about THIS PERSON" dossier type stuff in here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:14 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


On r/Gamerghazi, a user has put together an immense timeline if folks want to to go and read up on GG's greatest hits.

Also, this past weekend L. Rhodes put out a new article on online mobs: How Internet Mobs Get Vicarious Retribution And Evade Their Share of Accountability.
For those who haven't been following, she's been crushing it with several other excellent articles: To fair-minded proponents of #Gamergate, To the Rest of #Gamergate, and Censoring and Redacting: On a moral & political ambiguity arising over the freedom of speech, as illustrated by #GamerGate.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:56 PM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


zombieflanders: "Katherine Cross explains how game criticism from men and women is taken differently (Storify)"

From that one and also this one also from Katherine Cross there's the theme that many Gators are sincere but blind to their own bias.

"Oh, it's not because they're women, it's because they said mean things/ they're just looking for attention/ etc." but then (consciously or not) applying double-standards where dying your hair purple or wearing too revealing clothes or too much makeup is a sign you're an "attention whore."

Which is how, I think, self-proclaimed "equal-opportunity assholes" like the /baph/ crowd can come across as just another wing of GamerGate in spite of their claim to be beyond ideology. If they share the same bias, that's going to show in who they think are deserving of being targeted by /baph/
posted by RobotHero at 11:19 AM on January 25, 2015


One of the things I will say for GG is that I'm impressed at the speed with which they seem to put together propaganda images.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:33 AM on January 25, 2015


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