Infamous. Thoughtless. Careless. Wikipedia and Gamergate. 💻
January 24, 2015 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Infamous. Thoughtless. Careless. Mark Bernstein on recent editorial decisions at Wikipedia: "The infamous draft decision of Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) on Gamergate is worse than a crime. It’s a blunder that threatens to disgrace the internet." posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (390 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, now the Scientologists know what they have to do to bend Wikipedia to their will.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:56 AM on January 24, 2015 [17 favorites]


So basically, Wikipedia has taken the side of GamerGate, and anti-feminism in general. ThIs is really not good.
posted by happyroach at 9:56 AM on January 24, 2015 [26 favorites]


"The Handmaid's Tale That Anybody Can Write"
posted by infinitewindow at 9:59 AM on January 24, 2015 [80 favorites]


The results if the Arbcomm aren't technically in yet, but looking at what's there it seems like the longstanding users who have been trying to hold the front against the GameGate hordes are getting heavily sanctioned - as well as a smattering of GamerGate accounts, which hardly matters since those are all disposable.

I very much doubt that this is down to a conscious decision on the part of Wikipedia's administration, rather they higher up you go in the hierarchy of baseline editor the more detached from reality they get and the more attached they are to rules lawyering while ignoring the purpose of those rules.

It's still shocking how badly they've been gamed here though.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on January 24, 2015 [29 favorites]


From the Guardian article:

There’s a crossover between the two conflicts. One of the five editors banned from editing articles on gender had previously been an active edit-warrior in the debate over whether or not to move (Chelsea) Manning’s page – but arguing against the move. He “was a major anti-Chelsea editor who then came out as false flagging,” Brady explains. In other words, he was arguing against moving the page in an emphatically hostile manner, in order to discredit the people genuinely holding that view.

“I think what this shows is how poisonous Wikipedia politics has become,” Brady says. “It’s a game of provocation chicken, both sides try to work as close to the ill-defined edge of acceptable behaviour to provoke the other into crossing it.


Sounds like high school.
posted by philip-random at 10:02 AM on January 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


It should probably be pointed out that Mark Bernstein has been thinking about hypertext and digital culture since before there was a Web. When a person like him talks about the possibility that this "may well permanently discredit not only Wikipedia but the entire open Web" there's some reason to take the concern seriously, even if you think (as I do) that the statement is probably a bit hyperbolic. It's always been a lot easier to manipulate Wikipedia's processes than many people would like to admit; Bernstein has made the details nicely explicit here — and rightly condemned them — in a way that I think is useful as a critique for non-GG reasons as well as for this particular terrible decision.
posted by RogerB at 10:03 AM on January 24, 2015 [72 favorites]


While it's too early to write "Wikipedia: Stormfront for misogynists," this does make my already deep misgivings about the site as a source of factual information even deeper.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:17 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I can't take this seriously. On the one hand, Wikipedia is a very public information resource, and I agree very strongly that the GamerGaters must not be permitted to turn the pages on Quinn, Sarkeesian, et al into their own little defamation party. On the other hand.... they aren't?

From what I understand here, there has been absolutely no change in the policy that discussing the sex lives of these women on Wikipedia is off limits. Also, I understand that many GamerGater-affiliated accounts are being banned or sanctioned. It's just that some of the Anti-GGers are also being sanctioned for not edit warring in good faith.

Obviously, the Anti-GGers are on the side of the angels here, but given that the pages on Quinn and Sarkeesian are currently entirely reasonable (and have been every time I have looked at them), the core complaint here seems to be exactly the sort of Wikipedia-Editor-Superdrama that we've seen so many times before. There are plenty of sane people who will continue to immediately revert offensive and harassing content without us having to pretend that a couple of users getting their privileges restricted on WP is a massive social issue.
posted by 256 at 10:18 AM on January 24, 2015 [18 favorites]


Violent misogyny is so pervasive that it becomes the default, unless organizations take affirmative steps to stop it. This is the problem with nominally "impartial" fora, like Wikipedia.
posted by wuwei at 10:18 AM on January 24, 2015 [66 favorites]


From Gawker:
"The Wikipedian community is something like 90 percent male, and if Bernstein's numbers are correct, its highest ruling body has a similar demographic makeup. That the world's seventh-most popular website would look at Gamergate and decide that what's needed is a silencing of feminist perspectives is depressing, but it's hardly surprising."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:26 AM on January 24, 2015 [22 favorites]


Joey Michaels: While it's too early to write "Wikipedia: Stormfront for misogynists," this does make my already deep misgivings about the site as a source of factual information even deeper.

I think it's best to take anything deeply controversial or divisive on wikipedia with a grain of salt. This doesn't diminish the usefulness of the site for strictly factual information.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:26 AM on January 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


The proper balance between the competing narratives she sleeps around and there is no way that is any of our business is not some sources have said she sleeps around.

Apart from the tone-deafness of this decision in excessively penalizing the socially-conscious, feminist bloc en masse, Wikipedia's admins and arbitrators seem to have confused the middle ground here with a truly neutral point of view.
posted by The Confessor at 10:28 AM on January 24, 2015 [21 favorites]


I can't take this seriously.

I can: the sanction against the anti-GG accounts is not just "stop edit-warring in GamerGate articles." they're banned from editing "any article on gender or sexuality, broadly construed."

That goes far beyond trying to arbitrate a dispute over a few specific pages; it's a very broad subject ban that sends the message "vocal feminists shall not be allowed to edit feminism pages."

I understand that many GamerGater-affiliated accounts are being banned or sanctioned.

That's not what Bernstein's summary says: "No sanctions at all were proposed against any of GamerGate’s warriors, save for a few disposable accounts created specifically for the purpose of being sanctioned."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:30 AM on January 24, 2015 [37 favorites]


I think these concerns are important and we should watch to see how the Gamergate Controversy page evolves. Fortunately there are more than 5 feminists on the Internet and most of us can still edit wikipedia. Perhaps we can use this controversy to recruit female editors to wikipedia.
posted by humanfont at 10:30 AM on January 24, 2015 [16 favorites]


It would be very difficult to sneak something that was an outright lie onto an article with a decent number of eyeballs on it, and the BLP policies make that doubly so for anything dealing with a living person. However I can see a renewed push for claims about GamerGate actually being about ethics coming down the line, as well as attempts to whitewash the article, downplay the harassment and remove all mentions of misogyny. Keeping a lid on that sort of thing is basically what those editors were blocked for.

Oh, and thanks to the Guardian article some GamerGaters want to declare the Guardian an unreliable source.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Perhaps we can use this controversy to recruit female editors to wikipedia.

Yes, because clearly Wikipedia is friendly towards women's voices.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:31 AM on January 24, 2015 [29 favorites]


Wikipedia these days is entirely hostile to new voices and nobody is going to turn up there without an agenda. It's kind of a crappy community since it went over from expansion to refining/deleting.
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on January 24, 2015 [45 favorites]


It strikes me that this kind of stuff is much, much more important than we give it credit for being. Admins do some absurd amount of the editing... I think I'm seen that Wikipedia doesn't have an 80/20 rule, they have a 99/1 rule, where 99% of the edits are done by 1% of the users.

A Wikipedia article isn't like an newspaper article: its content isn't stable, but it's going to persist over the very long term. That means that we can't ever look at an article and decide it's good or bad: if half or a third of the time the article contains libel, that's more than enough to fuck things up for the person being attacked. If the persistent talk page contains libel, the same thing goes.

So if you don't have good institutions backing the admins at Wikipedia, (which means having good PEOPLE) you're going to destroy this resource in short order.

I don't think this is hyperbolic. My students don't plagiarize 4chan, they plagirize Wikipedia. And most journalists are doing just the same thing, cribbing from the same sources. So what happens when Wikipedia becomes 4chan?
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:34 AM on January 24, 2015 [58 favorites]


It's worth noting--and it'll take some time reading and following a lot of links--that one of the accounts that should have been sanctioned is someone who's pro-GG, runs a pro-GG subreddit, and in the latter capacity has helped organize the harassment of the very Wikipedia editors being sanctioned.

And ArbCom is doing exactly nothing about that.

It points to a significant flaw in Wikipedia: as long as you remain plausibly within the rules, you win, no matter what. Getting angry is an instant lose--and many, many people rely on exactly that to get what they want. GG explicitly set out to do something here, they were public about what they were setting out to do, and ArbCom has handed it to them on a silver platter.

To say nothing of the chilling effects on admins who will now, quite rightly, be extremely leery of setting foot in the morass. GG now has a more or less free hand to rewrite the popular conception of what's going on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:36 AM on January 24, 2015 [43 favorites]


The thing that amazes me most about Gamergaters is their dedication. This shit is organized. Gators must invest many hours a week working at their bizarre campaign of misogyny.

And what the hell is the motivation for that? I could almost understand if it were just a bunch of angry nerds unthinkingly imitating other angry nerds—just randomly dashing off shitheaded tweets between rounds of GTA4, or whatever.

But it's become so much more than that. There are message boards, networks, virtual PR offices—all dedicated to coordinating this vast harassment and suppression campaign. It became a hobby; then it became a cause; now it's virtually a conspiracy. (A particularly sad and transparent conspiracy, but a conspiracy nonetheless.)

Channers and video game nerds are not known for their attention spans; nor are they known as team players who are good at coordinating large political efforts. Yet Gamergate has captured their imaginations in an unprecedented way. It's tapped some previously dormant well of focus, discipline, and motivation. It's like a vast legion of nerds, formerly content to call each other "faggot" on Xbox Live and masturbate to pornographic Pokémon fan art, has found meaning in life for the first time—and that meaning is to relentlessly slut-shame any woman on the Internet who they judge to have stepped out of line.

It would be pathetic if it weren't so alarmingly big. I keep waiting for it to burn itself out, but it's starting to look like a tire fire: something that will choke certain neighborhoods of the Internet with noxious clouds for years to come.

Someone unfamiliar with Gamergate asked me to explain it to them the other day. I couldn't. It makes so little sense that I didn't even know how to explicate it.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:38 AM on January 24, 2015 [108 favorites]


since it went over from expansion to refining/deleting.

i've never understood why they don't allow articles to be 'forked'. Managing the pruning would be much easier and less contentious than trying to create artificial consensus.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:40 AM on January 24, 2015


Misogyny-based organizations have been around for kind of a while
posted by LogicalDash at 10:40 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


i've never understood why they don't allow articles to be 'forked'

Forking is the antithesis of NPOV.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:42 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


How can anyone who's ever played a video game claim video gamers don't have attention span, discipline, or organization?

Have you never read an article on EVE Online or Dark Souls? I kind of think managing a smear campaign is a natural next step for someone who ran a large corporation in EVE, which is sometimes jokingly referred to a spreadsheet with a space battle-themed GUI interface.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:43 AM on January 24, 2015 [29 favorites]


Wikipedia is run by editing cabals that have extreme interest in their content by its keyword association. This means they kill stuff to feature their own garbage, fighting over article space. I propose people use the cloud, ads, crowdfunding to selectively import Wikipedia sub-articles as pages, to begin a new editing policy by creating very detailed paragraphs related to a very specific set of information, like main page sub-sections and disambiguation combined. That way the reader will determine what detailed section they will choose from their search. Editing cabals will not be tempted to crap flood the links because they would hurt their cause. People will disagree still, but with less control generally.
posted by Brian B. at 10:45 AM on January 24, 2015


Sorry, are you trying to say that editors are motivated by google ranking?

Not the case. They're motivated by their own magnificence and the need to make sure THE TRUTH is told.

Which is why all I do these days is randomly tidy up non-controversial things.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:47 AM on January 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


i guess someone could just fork the whole wikipedia project.... and while they're at it they could actually innovate on the 'wiki' format , which seems to be trapped in amber from 1992.

Forking is the antithesis of NPOV.

the whole idea of a "neutral point of view", is so archaic and has no intellectual basis. I thought this was the future. I mean, being able to encompass contradictory points of view on topics would be *amazing* in wikipedia
posted by ennui.bz at 10:48 AM on January 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


"No sanctions at all were proposed against any of GamerGate’s warriors, save for a few disposable accounts created specifically for the purpose of being sanctioned."

That is an entirely self-contradictory statement, right off the bat. Pro-GamerGate accounts were sanctioned, but they don't count? And the part about them being created specifically for the purpose of being sanctioned is obviously conjecture.

Further, he's talking only about a specific group of pro-GG people who were engaged in arguing on GG-related talk pages. A great many GG accounts have been banned for offences like directly defacing the pages of Sarkeesian and Quinn. These defacements are always quickly reverted and the offenders quickly banned.

Wikipedia has not sided with GG, they have sided against five particular editors who happen to be anti-GG. Except they haven't? From what I understand, the draft decision is being revised and none of these people may end up being sanctioned in any way.

Talk about a tempest in a teapot.
posted by 256 at 10:50 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's not archaic, most people just don't understand what it means.

NPOV doesn't mean 'present both sides equally,' it means 'present the commonly-accepted and -published knowledge.'
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:51 AM on January 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


From what I understand, the draft decision is being revised and none of these people may end up being sanctioned in any way.

Go read the voting summary at the bottom of the PD page. Several of the anti-GG editors--specifically, three of the five who were targeted by GG, who have been doxxed/outed, and harassed at work and in their private lives--have been permanently sanctioned from editing any topics even remotely related to the whole mess.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:53 AM on January 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


Perhaps we can use this controversy to recruit female editors to wikipedia.
Perhaps we can use this controversy to recruit women and good men to start building an alternative to wikipedia. Something like this was inevitable with WP's monopoly on the 'internet mindspace'. There were always good alternatives to Encyclopedia Britannica, so why not now? Why has the 'open and free internet' become a place for SO MANY virtual monopolies or duopolies to exist (all of which are headed by dudes with similar backgrounds... I get it, the 'Nerds' won, and they're worse than the Jocks who bullied them).
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:56 AM on January 24, 2015 [21 favorites]


I mean, being able to encompass differing points of view on topics would be *amazing* in wikipedia

So, like, allow two versions of an anti-GGer's page: one that says she sleeps around and one that doesn't?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:56 AM on January 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


And just a few short months after honoring the memory of Adrianne Wadewitz, ArbCom spits in the faces of feminists. Sickening.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, like, allow two versions of an anti-GGer's page: one that says she sleeps around and one that doesn't?

I don't think libeling people has any intellectual justification... but you could certainly have a page edited by people who are critical of that particular person. the key is really in managing the number of forks. for something like gamergate there will always be a pro/anti dialectic which makes it pretty straightforward.

the idea that wikipedia is 'authoritative' is really dangerous for lots of other reasons beyond GG. part of the problem is that the wiki format itself is not extensible. generating these kinds of dialectical splits is actually really important "semantic" information which a wikipedia really ought to be collecting.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:06 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


the deeper problem, as I see it, is simply that wikipedia doesn't really cut it when it comes to ongoing, unresolved controversies. And I don't really know how it could? It matters too much to too many people.

Further to my previous comment, this whole situation really does make me feel like I'm a parent and my teenage kids (of both sexes) are having it out over something that is more complex than their still not fully evolved empathic centers can handle. So it's gotten deeply personal and hurtful and I'm upstairs listening to them shriek at each other and all I can think to do is not take sides but to separate them somehow ... and then hopefully, once the various emotions have settled somewhat, try to get to the bottom of things. But at some point, in the interests of peace in the home, I will consider declaring the whole topic unmentionable until everybody's at least twenty-five.
posted by philip-random at 11:08 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why should there be pages dedicated to people pushing an ideology divorced from facts?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:08 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's important for self governing bodies to keep a keen eye on their cognitive biases.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:09 AM on January 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


the deeper problem, as I see it, is simply that wikipedia doesn't really cut it when it comes to ongoing, unresolved controversies. And I don't really know how it could? It matters too much to too many people.

WMF needs to take a strong stance, implemented as an office action (editors cannot do anything contrary to an office action, see WP:OFFICE) that ideology is not acceptable, and that for a wide variety of topics human knowledge is quite settled on the matter.

Absolutely, Annika. I'm trying to remember the right link--if it's not the top-level, it'll be linked from WP:BIAS--but the idea of systemic bias has been mulled over. With the usual lack of action because of the demographics of the userbase.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:12 AM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


but you could certainly have a page edited by people who are critical of that particular person. the key is really in managing the number of forks. for something like gamergate there will always be a pro/anti dialectic which makes it pretty straightforward.

The trend toward a post-factual culture is already advanced enough; reality itself is becoming balkanized: it's trivially easy now for people to avoid seeing, hearing or reading anything they don't agree with. Allowing Wikipedia to do the same is just going further down the same path.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2015 [31 favorites]


It's not archaic, most people just don't understand what it means.

NPOV doesn't mean 'present both sides equally,' it means 'present the commonly-accepted and -published knowledge.'


Which has been quite useful in preventing the GamerGate article from turning into one big MS Paint diagram of "The Conspiracy". On balance is actually say until this little purge Wikipedia and it's rules have held up quite well here.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gamergate was a long time coming. Talk to women involved in gaming in any capacity and many of them will tell you it was there before it had a name. While the harassment is indefensible and awful, the whole Gamergate capsizing may do some good, in the sense that now it's not nearly as easy to deny the misogyny in games culture as it used to be. It's been pretty vindicating to watch it, actually. It's not really surprising that it's still going strong, either; it didn't come out of nowhere and it's got years and years of pent up misogyny to burn. Here's to hoping it burns up faster now that it's all out there and frothingly intense.

Wikipedia's reaction is not surprising either. The gender ratio is extremely skewed and the site has been leaning toward MRA/Gamergate/petulant spoiled white cis dude causes for a good while. Nevermind that their ideal of absolute objectivity is insane and impossible, and impractical to apply to many wide ranging topics.
posted by byanyothername at 11:15 AM on January 24, 2015 [26 favorites]


The trend toward a post-factual culture is already advanced enough; reality itself is becoming balkanized: it's trivially easy now for people to avoid seeing, hearing or reading anything they don't agree with. Allowing Wikipedia to do the same is just going further down the same path.

way too true. I honestly wouldn't mind if I went looking for GamerGate stuff on wikipedia and came upon a page that said, "We've tried hard but we just can't figure out how to make this work within the culture of this site. So for the foreseeable future, this particular topic must be categorized as UNRESOLVED."
posted by philip-random at 11:17 AM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


NPOV doesn't mean 'present both sides equally,' it means 'present the commonly-accepted and -published knowledge.'

IMHO that's a dodge. "commonly-accepted" enforces a sort of average of 1's and 0's which makes the articles for a whole host of controversial topics on wikipedia basically useless. reading them you can trace the whipsaw between contradictory viewpoints and the end result is that accurate information ends up being omitted in the search for a fruitless NPOV.

just read the article on Israel. each sentence is the result of a dialectical struggle whose outline is only apparent by digging through the history.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:20 AM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


What solution would you propose, then, that at least attempts to keep Wikipedia within the realm of the factual and not essentially a bunch of dueling axegrindy blog posts?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:23 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


~The thing that amazes me most about Gamergaters is their dedication. This shit is organized. Gators must invest many hours a week working at their bizarre campaign of misogyny.

GamerGate falls squarely in the wheelhouse of techies, geeks, and other assorted computer nerds. A group that more-or-less lives their life online, has the savvy to work the tech like no one else, and (in my experience) has a frighteningly strong river of misogyny running through their ranks. It's also a group that does not take kindly to anything even remotely negative said about their world, including (especially?) gaming. Think: The emotional maturity of 12-year-olds with the technical savvy of MIT grads. Then add the anonymity afforded by the web.

I'm not surprised at all by any of this.

This bullshit Wikipedia is pulling, though...That does surprise me. And disappoints me thoroughly.

~I think it's best to take anything deeply controversial or divisive on wikipedia with a grain of salt. This doesn't diminish the usefulness of the site for strictly factual information.

Thing is, almost anything on Wikipedia can be turned into controversy. All it takes is the right crowd of GG-ish asshats to come along and make their voices heard. Once other hate groups get wind of what GGers have pulled-off here, I expect a flood of similar actions to descend on all matter of different Wikipedia pages.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:23 AM on January 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


just read the article on Israel. each sentence is the result of a dialectical struggle

Wikipedia is more of a process than a thing.
posted by colie at 11:24 AM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Why has the 'open and free internet' become a place for SO MANY virtual monopolies or duopolies to exist (all of which are headed by dudes with similar backgrounds... I get it, the 'Nerds' won, and they're worse than the Jocks who bullied them).

Hmm, because "free and open" isn't mutually exclusive to a a small monopolistic or oligopolistic structure from arising, and in fact, many ways helps it along. Especially if you have something like the Internet, which gets huge benefits from the network effect.

I mean, one way to see it is a "free and open" Internet is like a huge grassland. It's easy to settle, but it's also easy for some bandits on horseback to go around terrorizing everybody. If the Internet was less free or at least less standardized and had mountains, rivers, swamps, and also walls as well, it'd be much harder for the bandits to swoop in and make a mess.
posted by FJT at 11:26 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


just read the article on Israel.

I might suggest you've picked a deliberately extreme example here that can't be seen as represenrative. There's a reason Metafilter basically doesn't have posts on that subject anymore.
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on January 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Once other hate groups get wind of what GGers have pulled-off here, I expect a flood of similar actions to descend on all matter of different Wikipedia pages.

Oh absolutely. It's incredibly illuminating to consider this ArbCom decision in light of the past decisions about Scientology and the whole messy Eastern European debacle.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:26 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing that amazes me most about Gamergaters is their dedication. This shit is organized. Gators must invest many hours a week working at their bizarre campaign of misogyny. And what the hell is the motivation for that?

Well...

It's like a vast legion of nerds, formerly content to call each other "faggot" on Xbox Live and masturbate to pornographic Pokémon fan art, has found meaning in life for the first time

I'm sure their motivations are legion, but I imagine this is one of those things that helps to keep them motivated.

Perhaps we can use this controversy to recruit women and good men to start building an alternative to wikipedia. Something like this was inevitable with WP's monopoly on the 'internet mindspace'. There were always good alternatives to Encyclopedia Britannica, so why not now?

What were those good alternatives to EB? As for an alternative to wikipedia to reflect a "women and good men" viewpoint, why won't that end up just as a liberal version of Conservapedia?
posted by amorphatist at 11:30 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


What solution would you propose, then, that at least attempts to keep Wikipedia within the realm of the factual and not essentially a bunch of dueling axegrindy blog posts?

I think articles should be allowed to fork when there isn't a NPOV but the process of forking should be rigorously managed. "axegrinding" is a problem of intellectual standards, which needs to be enforced in either case. obviously everyone has their own unique point of view, but categorizing the points of view on a topic is itself a "fact" which is important to collect.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:31 AM on January 24, 2015


The Israel defenders on Wikipedia most definitely are organised and funded. The GG nerds not - but this is what makes them in some ways more toxic.
posted by colie at 11:32 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the fire world of zealotry, whether home to the religious or politically intolerant, the first step is to discredit any source that disagrees with you.
posted by four panels at 11:33 AM on January 24, 2015


categorizing the points of view on a topic is itself a "fact" which is important to collect.

Those articles exist, and reported dissensions from the dominant view are generally incorporated into articles, and split off into their own when the sections become unwieldy.

I think articles should be allowed to fork when there isn't a NPOV but the process of forking should be rigorously managed.

For what articles is there no NPOV that is based on fact and not ideology?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think articles should be allowed to fork when there isn't a NPOV but the process of forking should be rigorously managed.

What does that mean in practice? If I search for "GamerGate", does that mean that I'm presented with a choice of two pages? How do I know which one I should read? (Or am I completely misunderstanding what you mean by "fork" here?)
posted by amorphatist at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


If the Internet was less free

Rest assured that lots of well-resourced people and institutions are hard at work on this problem.
posted by brennen at 11:39 AM on January 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


just read the article on Israel.

I might suggest you've picked a deliberately extreme example here that can't be seen as represenrative. There's a reason Metafilter basically doesn't have posts on that subject anymore.


i don't want to troll this thread so this is my last comment....

but 'Israel' is a perfect example of a topic which needs to be in wikipedia (unlike gamergate, which doesn't) but having a NPOV is, practically, a fantasy, even if you think a NPOV, in principle, exists. the end result is that the article on Israel is a mishmash intellectually and a horrible timesuck (i'm sure) to manage for everyone involved.

wikipedia has real problems beyond GG and I think many of them derive from naive ideas (IMHO) like NPOV.

If I search for "GamerGate", does that mean that I'm presented with a choice of two pages? How do I know which one I should read? (Or am I completely misunderstanding what you mean by "fork" here?)

yes, two pages, and you will have to read both. (although i'd actually argue that "gamergate" should have 'none' pages) having one page on many topics generates a false sense of authority, which is ultimately what these people are fighting over. remove that authority and the fights get much more reasonable.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:41 AM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Internet is part of the world, and we all need to start recognizing that. It's not some separate fantasyland without effects when you're away from the keyboard.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


yes, two pages, and you will have to read both.

Is it limited to just two? What's to stop those pages being branched again and again?
posted by amorphatist at 11:46 AM on January 24, 2015


yes, two pages, and you will have to read both.

That makes no sense. One article on GamerGate--the NPOV article--presents fact.

Any fork from that would be ideological stomping grounds for the GG people to continue their campaign of harassment and hatred. Why should that exist?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:49 AM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am extremely underwhelmed by this guy saying
First, this is the end of the Wiki Way. We have a blueprint now that shows how any decently-funded group with a modicum of access to the media – which is to say any group (unlike GamerGate) not patently criminal – can take control of any part of Wikipedia it pleases. You need a PR agency with a few offices in different cities and a phone – resources whose lack complicated GamerGate’s position.
He may have some sort of repute for his commentary on other issues but I can't imagine he's taken a very broad look at Wikipedia in the last half-decade if he thinks Wikipedia has been resistant to PR agencies and has only now become vulnerable to them. There are a completely ridiculous number of articles that are quite obviously just brochures that some PR firm or political campaign has cut and pasted in with hordes of blatantly obvious single-purpose accounts playing goalie against substantive changes.
posted by XMLicious at 11:50 AM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


He may have some sort of repute for his commentary on other issues but I can't imagine he's taken a very broad look at Wikipedia in the last half-decade

He's a longstanding Wikipedia editor who submitted evidence to ArbCom in this case. He knows whereof he speaks, and he's not at all saying that the project has been resistant to PR agencies. All they do is astroturf, it's usually easy to spot and even easier to fix. Coordinated attacks designed to get other people removed so you can control the narrative is something that ArbCom, in the past, has shut down with extreme prejudice; again I reference the Scientology and EEML decisions.

Now, however, ArbCom has absolutely handed any similar conspiracy a blueprint of how to act, and told them how blatant you can be about it with nothing being done.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:57 AM on January 24, 2015 [19 favorites]


Why should there be pages dedicated to people pushing an ideology divorced from facts?
I was about to mention Conservapedia, but in answer to amorphatist, the true facts usually do have a liberal bias. I suspect the Wikipedia pages of American History are based on the same "the winners write the history" that Americans learned in school (and which have only been getting seriously challenged much too recently).

And what XMLcious said. Check out the Twitter account congress-edits "a bot that tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress". Just the other day somebody at a Senate office edited a bunch of articles on various Senate Committees (necessary because of the change in power there, but shouldn't somebody OUTSIDE the building be doing it?) as well as somebody in the House editing "List of college mascots in the United States".
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:58 AM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Exactly, oneswellfoop, ennui.bz is suggesting that Wikipedia and Conservapedia are somehow equal. Not so.

And eh, if it's changing straight-up factual information (Senator BoughtbyEnron is now head of the Waffle Committee, Senator KochOwnsMe has moved to the Ice Cream Committee), no problem, IMHO.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:01 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


wikipedia has real problems beyond GG and I think many of them derive from naive ideas (IMHO) like NPOV.

I haven't participated in Wikipedia beyond the occasional typo fix in years specifically because of the way that rules lawyering basically is the experience of editing Wikipedia, once you try to do any amount of serious work, and the way that this plays right into the hands of a bunch of deliberate bad actors with agendas. Wikipedia is an unbelievable resource, and arguably one of the two or three most important intellectual projects of our time, but for me it just isn't worth the absurd frustration of contributing.

I think the real reason that it'd be worth forking the project as a whole, or coming up with a good framework for adopting and hosting forks of individual articles, is that a lot of things about NPOV, No Original Research, and the notability guidelines are sort of like the Prime Directive in ST:TNG: Superficially well-intentioned, but continually in the way of good practice and good-faith effort.

I suspect the skeptics are right about the difficulties of a mechanism for forked articles within the framework of Wikipedia itself, but I'd love to see more effort on actually creating a more democratic / distributed alternative to the project.

There are a completely ridiculous number of articles that are quite obviously just brochures that some PR firm or political campaign has cut and pasted in with hordes of blatantly obvious single-purpose accounts playing goalie against substantive changes.

Yeah. And these people win routinely because, structurally, there is just no way to out-procedure-jockey them more than a fraction of the time.
posted by brennen at 12:03 PM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


From the second link:
What is conspicuously absent from the discussion is any trace of explicit concern for the way Wikipedia has been exploited as a platform for spreading baseless speculation and innuendo about the sex lives of women who have been targeted – targeted either because GamerGaters want to drive them out of the industry, or because some GamerGaters think this is fun.
A prominent journalist took me to task because, in “Infamous,” I assert the first motivation, while the second is equally consistent with the known facts. I grant that they might be doing it for kicks, but I assume that most people would have some rationale for doing such awful things.
Who the hell argues that terrorism should be excused because the terrorists are just doing it for fun? If your behavior threatens people's jobs, relationships, emotional stability, and physical safety, I don't care what your motivations are and no one other than your lawyer or therapist should, either.
posted by jaguar at 12:05 PM on January 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


Lunch counters wernt welcoming of blacks either, just as wikipedia hostile to female editors. You want to change wikipedia you have to keep showing up and bring more. Make sure the insults and harassment are brought to greater attention. Through this you can shame the harassers.
posted by humanfont at 12:08 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


If the Internet was less free

Rest assured that lots of well-resourced people and institutions are hard at work on this problem.


I've been casually mentioning to friends for months now that beyond, of course, the horrific treatment several people have had to endure under it, the next great tragedy of GamerGate will be how much of a catalyst it'll be for the inevitable restrictions on privacy and content freedom in the U.S. because We Simply Can't Have Nice Things.

I don't know if it'll be next month or next year, but when SOPA or its equivalent is finally passed- and rest assured, it eventually will be- GamerGate will be heavily mentioned in, ironically, the Wikipedia article about it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:10 PM on January 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


> What were those good alternatives to EB?

Older editions of the EB.

And their sweeping of recent information into their annual Book of the Year supplements was an idea I recommend to the Wikipedia folks. It would be just fine for Wikipedia proper to be three to five years out of date by policy and have some sort of up-to-the-minute addendum as a place to stash and segregate the larger steaming piles like this one that various warrior tribes aren't bored with fighting over yet.
posted by jfuller at 12:12 PM on January 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


a lot of things about NPOV, No Original Research, and the notability guidelines are sort of like the Prime Directive in ST:TNG: Superficially well-intentioned, but continually in the way of good practice and good-faith effort.

That's an excellent analogy. And like ST, often honoured more in the breach than the observance. NOR I'd have to disagree with though--it's a pretty simple rule and the one least gamed, in my experience.

Notability is a ridiculous concept except inasmuch as there does need to be some barrier to entry or the project becomes even more of a bloated and nearly-impossible-to-manage mess than it already is.

I'm with you on NPOV needing a reform, or at the very least people needing to understand what it actually means. Perhaps replacing it with something along the lines of "articles must conform to reality."

Lunch counters wernt welcoming of blacks either, just as wikipedia hostile to female editors. You want to change wikipedia you have to keep showing up and bring more. Make sure the insults and harassment are brought to greater attention. Through this you can shame the harassers.

It is not the responsibility of women to force open unwelcoming environments. It is the responsibility of assholes to stop being assholes. Why should women have to be cannon fodder for harassment just to shame the harassers?

It would be just fine for Wikipedia proper to be three to five years out of date by policy and have some sort of up-to-the-minute addendum as a place to stash and segregate the larger steaming piles like this one that various warrior tribes aren't bored with fighting over yet.

More or less exactly this was proposed--it was called Pending Changes, and there would have basically been a 'stable' version of a given article, with changes hashed out on a linked page, more or less (I'm somewhat oversimplifying)--and was shot down by the idiot community. It should have been imposed from on high by the WMF.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:17 PM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


George_Spiggott: " I mean, being able to encompass differing points of view on topics would be *amazing* in wikipedia

So, like, allow two versions of an anti-GGer's page: one that says she sleeps around and one that doesn't?
"

Then you collapse the wiki-wave function by observing the page, and then one exists and the one you aren't viewing doesn't exist. I'd call it Schroedinger's Page.
posted by symbioid at 12:22 PM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


It would be just fine for Wikipedia proper to be three to five years out of date by policy and have some sort of up-to-the-minute addendum as a place to stash and segregate the larger steaming piles like this one that various warrior tribes aren't bored with fighting over yet.

The problem with this is that it assumes you can usefully model things as [set of non-controversial articles] and [set of things people are fighting about]. In the time I still cared enough to engage, I found it more-or-less impossible to improve articles on:

- Colorado gubernatorial candidates
- the history of anarchism
- Martin Luther, Lutheranism, and the Protestant Reformation

One of those things was related to an ongoing, actively contested Thing In The News. The other stuff being closely managed by ideologically driven gatekeepers enforcing an esoteric personal agenda centered around events and ideas going back 100 to 500 years...

(As an aside, I haven't checked in for ages, but the Anarchism stuff, an eternal dogfight between various factions of the left and the Objectivist-tinged right, was always kind of hilariously demonstrative of the pathological case of consensus processes.)
posted by brennen at 12:24 PM on January 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


George_Spiggott: " I mean, being able to encompass differing points of view on topics would be *amazing* in wikipedia

So, like, allow two versions of an anti-GGer's page: one that says she sleeps around and one that doesn't?
"

Oh wait, it's more Everrett-MWIpedia, where the pages all exist in their own universe, not that the viewed one exists and the other one disappears...
posted by symbioid at 12:26 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


NOR I'd have to disagree with though--it's a pretty simple rule and the one least gamed, in my experience.

Yeah - I guess what I should say is that I think NOR is a defining aspect of the the thing that Wikipedia is, and you get a certain outcome from that, but that I'd like if there was a good encyclopedic venue that encouraged and supported original research. I dunno; maybe it would be unmanageable, but this is one of those things where I think Wikipedia is only one possible version of the wiki encyclopedia, and I'd like to see what others could look like.
posted by brennen at 12:28 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


WikiNews does original research all the time.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:30 PM on January 24, 2015


From the Guardian article, an excerpt about Tarc:

One of the five editors banned from editing articles on gender had previously been an active edit-warrior in the debate over whether or not to move Manning’s page – but arguing against the move. He “was a major anti-Chelsea editor who then came out as false flagging,” Brady explains. In other words, he was arguing against moving the page in an emphatically hostile manner, in order to discredit the people genuinely holding that view.

Seriously though- with feminists like these, who needs MRAs?

Here's a less overwrought summary of the "Five Horsemen" Bernstein puts forward as the feminist martyrs of this ArbCom finding:
  • Tarc is an out-and-out troll that has a long history of posting transphobic and otherwise hateful comments. They'll be topic banned indefinitely.
  • Ryulong has been repeatedly sanctioned over the years for reasons unrelated to feminism. In this case they doxxed someone, misled about sources, and was rude. They'll be topic banned for a short period of time (3 months), warned and prevented from revert-warring across all WP.
  • TaraInDc (an SPA (single-purpose account) like those Bernstein mentions his enemies are fond of using) was rude. They'll be topic banned for a year- though they have already stopped using the account.
  • TheRedPenOfDoom was rude. They'll be asked to play nicer in the future.
  • NorthBySouthBaranof was rude and misleading about sources. They'll be asked to play nicer in the future.
The sanctions are proportional. Only those who demonstrate a pattern of abuse were topic banned. The editors who were acting in good faith but violated Wikipedia's sense of decorum were warned. The notion that this is some kind of slight against feminism or repression of a viewpoint about GamerGate isn't supported by the facts.

Bernstein's articles on this topic are deceitful concern trolling that rely on the fact that people would rather be outraged than wade through the horribly-formatted jargon-filled documents that ArbCom produces.
posted by elsp at 12:31 PM on January 24, 2015 [15 favorites]


the pathological case of consensus processes

Yeah, this. Consensus is a fine ideal but it runs up hard against people opposed to reality.

I'd like if there was a good encyclopedic venue that encouraged and supported original research

I get that, and kind of agree. My concern is then who factchecks the research? At least theoretically if you're citing your sources anyone can read the same source.

Opensource research though... it's an interesting concept and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Bernstein's articles on this topic are deceitful concern trolling that rely on the fact that people would rather be outraged than wade through the horribly-formatted jargon-filled documents that ArbCom produces.

What about those of us who understand the jargon and have waded through much of the (publicly available) evidence and agree?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:35 PM on January 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


Since I haven't waded through the ArbCom documents; fffm do you think the guys being sanctioned didn't act badly or rather do you think they acted badly but don't deserve sanction?
posted by Justinian at 12:41 PM on January 24, 2015


I'm honestly surprised people take Wikipedia so seriously, including the author. Perhaps it's because I'm a woman, haha, but it's obviously completely shit for anything that's not dry, factual data. The chemistry pages, for example, are awesome. The pages on history and politics or anything even slightly complicated are a fucking joke and I thought everyone knew that?

The whole site is just conventional wisdom, sketched in with few details here and there.
posted by fshgrl at 12:43 PM on January 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


The latter. (to Justinian)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:44 PM on January 24, 2015


The complaints of rudeness are ridiculous, the irrelevant stuff is irrelevant, and nothing has been done about several blatant problem accounts that, for instance, frequently misrepresent sources vastly in excess of any accusations here.

It's a crock of shit.
posted by Artw at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


Ah. That's a much tougher hill to die on, fffm. But I guess you fight GamerGate with the admins you have and not the admins you wish you had.
posted by Justinian at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2015


It is. And were the sanctions against the anti-GG folks merely a finger wag, I'd be fine with that. Instead, they're being banned from the subject, which is exactly what GG set out to make happen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:02 PM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


It is not the responsibility of women to force open unwelcoming environments. It is the responsibility of assholes to stop being assholes. Why should women have to be cannon fodder for harassment just to shame the harassers?

Yeah, but you're talking about a different thing. "What should happen in a just world" isn't the same thing as "what it would actually take."

That's not to say we shouldn't work toward the just world. Just that waiting for that to exist or acting only as if it already does and ignoring the pragmatic solutions as "shouldn't have to..." won't get much done.
posted by ctmf at 1:05 PM on January 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


yeah, elsp, all that is superficially true, but considering that nobody new wants to step in and help prevent the article from becoming this, then sanctioning all the people who have been willing to do that at the cost of being harassed and doxxed (SERIOUSLY look at how much ryulong and others have been openly harassed) - that is pretty much giving the trolls what they want. Basically the people who care about getting the facts straight and following reliable sources (amazingly, despite the troll-obstacles!) are being kicked off the article.

There are heaps of pro-gamergate SPAs and zombie accounts, and KiA posts coordinating edits on the wiki articles, but because the majority are throwaway accounts or offsite planning, they aren't getting sanctioned on-wiki. nearly every admin who did something to enforce the gamergate general sanctions was dragged into the arbcom case for "involvement" when they were clearly just trying to prevent rampant BLP violations and edit warring against consensus, but the admins still got scrutinized because enough gamergate voices showed up to complain. (luckily those haven't made it to the proposed decision.)

someone who isn't me wrote an arbcom statement to the effect of: it's really hard to believe that new people are going to want to step in to defend BLP violations if the cost is getting harassed by leagues of trolls. dealing with offsite harassment and threats from strange idiots every freaking day because you are preventing people from adding BLP violating, outright made up garbage to a volunteer project that might make you a little "rude" and suspicious of new accounts that happen to show up.

Also artw if you're who i think you are, you are great and i deeply admire your concise zingers every time you show up on my watchlist
posted by ghostbikes at 1:06 PM on January 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


I clicked on a few links at random. Apparently, some of Ryulong's edit-warring included the removal of "ostensibly in opposition to unethical video game journalism" from the opening paragraph, as if the mere mention that it was at one point supposed by some to be about something other than misogynist harassment was somehow objectionable. It left the version I read there when I actually wanted to find out what Gamergate was supposed to be hopelessly vague and misleading.

From the looks of the current wikipedia entry, it appears they've since stopped the fighting long enough to get something that is at least a lot more informative up there.
posted by sfenders at 1:11 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Here's a less overwrought summary of the "Five Horsemen" Bernstein puts forward as the feminist martyrs of this ArbCom finding:

Neutral point of view, indeed. That's some pretty poisonous rhetoric you're playing with there.
posted by KathrynT at 1:16 PM on January 24, 2015 [24 favorites]


The article is pretty much permenantly protected now. There is a draft article which is occasionally copied into the main article, a system that has worked quite well, and the odd edit request made on the talk page that is implemented by admins.

The draft has managed to eliminate the gigantic lede, which is a huge step in the right direction IMHO.
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


and yeah, i'd agree that mark bernstein's phrasing is overwrought, and he hasn't been behaving at his best on-wiki (he just got blocked for a month for violating his topic ban, said topic ban I believe was originally for posting a couple of soapboxy impassioned "guys this is really going to be a HUGE problem for wikipedia if it's not fixed" type statements). I don't think that matters if the meat of what he's saying is true. it seems that after this decision is finalized, gamergaters are going to get to control the narrative- facts and reliable sources be damned.

and: the "five horsemen" isn't MB's name for them. 8chan or KiA started that and has been conspiring to get them banned ever since it was clear they were the main wikipedia editors willing to stand up to this shit. it's the same idea as the use of "codenames" to bitch about and insult Brianna Wu, Zoe Quinn, etc on various forums. total troll trash.
posted by ghostbikes at 1:27 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's some pretty poisonous rhetoric you're playing with there.

Not really? They've suffered an injury, for a cause, and are being used as a rallying point for that cause, so calling them martyrs seems the mildest of conversational hyperbole?

Unless I misunderstand you, of course.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:33 PM on January 24, 2015


You know they've started having a lot of initial splash-screen-type banners on the site now whenever they're having a funding drive?

I wrote to their donations email address informing them that because of this, I will now NEVER donate to them at all (and I was just about to finally be able to do so, after having used the site for 10+ years...oh well, sucks to be them, I guess).

That address is donations@wikipedia.org.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:41 PM on January 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Gamergate tried this approach of threatening to cancel donations. It doesn't work and it would be awful if it did. You would be better off writing to Wales directly or the editors enumerating your concerns about their decision without highlighting your previous donations.
posted by humanfont at 1:48 PM on January 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm disappointed in this, mostly because i hate comic book guy wikipedia editors almost as much as i hate gators.

I was really hoping they'd decide to engage in open warfare and ruin each other.

It's been discussed on here many times before, but wikipedia is a haven for the absolute worst people you knew, or knew of in high school. the bad type of d&d and TCG nerds that would report you for making 12 copies on the xerox when you were only allowed to make 10, and then get praised for it. The type of people who fought progress and public opinion every step of the way because rules then, who never learned better or wanted to stop.

Honestly, although all may not agree with me, i think the thing to do here would have been to go "here is everything they present, and their story" and "here is what they have done". I realize that to an extent(and especially on the pro-gg side) no one would be happy with that, but i don't think it would be hard to look at that and infer whatever you were going to, and that you'd have to be pretty deep in to the rabbit hole to not go "wow, that's kind of objectively fucked up behavior".

Then again, never in my life have i seen wiki editors come to a consensus that was "there, you both get what you want". It really does seem like the best solution here though, let them dig their own grave.

Really disappointed in the whole topic bans thing, even if it isn't the whole story as presented. It just reminds me WAY too much of well... high school, and places i've worked, and projects i've been involved in, and a million other things. It's not quite you get mad you lose, but it's basically give too much of a shit when someone is doing something you know is wrong(especially when others agree with you to bolster that feeling) and you get silenced.

I would make some snarky no original work comment, but monsanto gets to edit the monsanto page, so i shouldn't be surprised.
posted by emptythought at 1:49 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


>I was really hoping they'd decide to engage in open warfare and ruin each other.
That's kind of what happened. Some pro-GG editors were aggressive, and some anti-GG editors were aggressive right back. It was bad for a while, and they're mostly the ones getting topic banned now. (Of course, I think there were extenuating circumstances that should have been considered, and maybe they will be before voting is complete.) In the last few months, we've also had the ability to request sanctions against specific editors, which has also worked. Overall, invective is on the decrease.

There are still plenty of anti-GG editors who remain more-or-less civil and keep the article stable, reverting the occasional BLP violations and such. Part of the ArbCom decision should make it easier to ban editors who just show up to start arguments or troll—something overwhelmingly done by pro-GG people—which also will help going forward.
posted by Woodroar at 2:07 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really fucking hate the term "anti-GG" applied to anyone who happens to be a normal editor rather than a shill for a hate group as well.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on January 24, 2015 [43 favorites]


That's fair. I mean, I resisted using it myself in the beginning. But I don't know of a better term for us other than "anti-pro-Gamergate" and I don't want to go down that road. Just saying "editor" could mean anyone.
posted by Woodroar at 2:19 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Woodroar: "But I don't know of a better term for us other than "anti-pro-Gamergate" "

"Actual Human Being"?
posted by boo_radley at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


I like it!
posted by Woodroar at 2:40 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


The pages on history and politics or anything even slightly complicated are a fucking joke and I thought everyone knew that?

Pages on ongoing, contentious topics are really not something that Wikipedia does well, but extending that to all of history or politics doesn't make sense. If you really think that Wikipedia's articles on, say, the American Revolution, are "a fucking joke," then I will have to assume you haven't read them.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:47 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm in way over my head here ... articles about GG and Wikipedia and on-line worlds always leave me feeling like I'm reading about a war in another dimension. An war that affects my own world, but that I can never get a full grasp of.

With that, I keep reading and hoping for some factual context - which I can't find. So if anyone can help (I'm sure I'm not alone):

- The article implies that the five editors are being sanctioned for toxic behavior, not for their views. Are there any actual examples?
- How often are editors sanctioned?
- And does wikipedia offer any numbers on how many GG editors have been sanctioned?
posted by kanewai at 2:55 PM on January 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


He's a longstanding Wikipedia editor who submitted evidence to ArbCom in this case. He knows whereof he speaks, and he's not at all saying that the project has been resistant to PR agencies. All they do is astroturf, it's usually easy to spot and even easier to fix.

If it isn't fixed year after year, though, how easy it would theoretically be to fix really doesn't matter. Particularly if you're counting as "fixed" the case where an editor who spots some particularly egregious sycophantic copy runs through and indiscriminately deletes chunks of an article for "balance", both PR agency copy and actual researched and cited content, one sentence at a time to ensure that their edit count gets cranked up, and then the paid-and-hence-indefatigable PR accounts come back in and restore a re-paraphrased version of the brochure with different junk citations over the next few weeks and months.

In years past when I still cared enough to look you could track through the list of articles the various swarming accounts would edit, Google the names, and find which PR firm had all of them on its client list.

Wikipedia going from being a place where the articles for most companies and local and state politicians are brochure crap to a place where all that is still crap, and also the article on GamerGate is brochure crap, is an extremely incremental change, not the end of a golden era.
posted by XMLicious at 2:57 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


considering that nobody new wants to step in and help prevent the article from becoming this

OMFG that is just hilarious. I had to stop reading at this point because I was laughing too hard:
Media coverage of the events overwhelmingly focused on the harassment, generally ignoring the movement's proclaimed concerns with the state of games journalism.
Oh come now, mocking relentlessly is hardly ignoring.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:59 PM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


kanewai: here is the arbcom case evidence page.
posted by ghostbikes at 3:11 PM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


>The article implies that the five editors are being sanctioned for toxic behavior, not for their views. Are there any actual examples?
Here are Ryulong and Tarc at their worst. Of course, they only responded that way because of near-nonstop harassment and sealioning from Gamergaters.

>How often are editors sanctioned?
>And does wikipedia offer any numbers on how many GG editors have been sanctioned?
Probably not enough, but here's a list of Gamergate sanctions from the time they started in the end of October. MarkBernstein a few times, plus 3 other actual human beings. :) And a whole lot of Gamergate supporters.

Plus ArbCom is considering permanent topic bans against 8 Gamergate supporters.
posted by Woodroar at 3:16 PM on January 24, 2015


Here are Ryulong and Tarc at their worst.

If that's their worst--I haven't gone through every single link on /evidence--then the sanctions make even less sense.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:23 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Okay, so I just went and read Wikipedia's Gamergate page...and it seems to be pretty severe to the pro side. ("Severe," not as in "too cruel" or "unfair," but as in not any evident defense of the conspiracy view. Rightfully so, IMHO.)

So, to me it would seem that Wikipedia here is depicting the sane and factual account of Gamergate, not a view unfairly influenced by the insane pros. What am I missing? Where has the text gone astray?
posted by touchstone033 at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering: If that's their worst--I haven't gone through every single link on /evidence--then the sanctions make even less sense.

That was just a single link, though. There really was a pattern of repeated uncivil ("battleground") behavior and edit/revert warring, some misuse of sources, and even BLP-violating statements about Eron Gjoni, Milo Yiannopoulos, and so on.

That being said, for a time there it really was a handful of editors against what felt like dozens of Gamergaters. I don't blame them for losing their tempers and saying things that, in retrospect, they should not have.
posted by Woodroar at 3:36 PM on January 24, 2015


This article is really light on facts. Before I condemn Wikipedia's decision as wrong, I'd really need to see examples of the edits of these editors. Ultimately, the goal of Wikipedia should be to have balanced coverage of any issue that has multiple sides. It is unclear if these editors were attempting to provide balanced coverage or not. Ideally, the editors would be those who are roughly neutral, rather than zealots for either side.
posted by ayedub at 3:37 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


What does 'balanced' coverage of GG look like, ayedub?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:40 PM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


The hive mind will be anti-gamergate until she becomes the new queen. Oh wait sorry wrong gamergate, for a minute their I thought this was about ants.
posted by humanfont at 3:48 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


ayedub – that sounds good in practice but quickly gets very close to elsp's false-equivalence whitewashing. It's really easy to state that in the ideal Wikipedia everything should get a nice objective discussion and be settled purely on merits but that only works if both sides are acting in good faith. In this case the GamerGate side is rules-lawyering about every conceivable slight while simultaneously being engaged in one their signature harassment campaigns attempting to silence anyone who opposes them while loudly demanding that a bunch of known-fabrications be treated as reliable sources. Is someone who responds rudely after reverting the 100th edit by a sock-puppet account really a zealot or just a normal human being who recognizes that these “innocent mistakes” are part of a wider strategy?

The real problem, as has been noted repeatedly by others, is that ArbCom fell for this and set a record saying that anyone who can create a few sock-puppet accounts and badger someone until they say something rude will be punished.
posted by adamsc at 3:50 PM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


No dog in this twister game, not a gamer, blissfully ignorant of gamergate more or less. BUT

It strikes me that historically, Wikipedia's great claims to strength rest on two things: numbers and time. While any given page might include wrong shit at any given time, the number of eyeballs on it and the amount of time available for editing will almost invariably lean toward good encyclopedic practices and reliable information.

Despite the hand-wringing of the early anti-Wikipedia people (esp. the old encyclopedia partisans), I think it's clear that Wikipedia has been right about those claims: the site is a remarkable source of very good information and ample links to vetted sources.

This situation--the banning of feminist editors from gender-related topics--is terrible and clearly an instance of Wikipedia's (labyrinthine) rules being gamed by fuckers.

But I suspect that Wikipedia's strength will also hold true in this case. The ArbCom ruling may be a setback, but time and numbers will win out and within a year or so the Gamergate Controversy page will be as reliable as most other Wikipedia pages.

At least I hope so.

Anyway, fuck a misogynist.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:51 PM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really hope that 2014 doesn't turn out to be the last year I donate to Wikipedia, but if this bullshit persists, it may be.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:25 PM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


So a friend of a friend wrote to Wikipedia in concern, and here's what they came back with:

" Thank you for writing to us.
"I assure you that Wikipedia is not systematically silencing feminists or encouraging misogynists. I encourage you to read the Wikipedia article on the Gamergate controversy yourself, rather than relying on others' opinions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_controversy
As you can see, the article is not biased towards Gamergate proponents. In fact, it clearly states that "the accusations behind these concerns have been largely rejected by media critics and commentators as ill-founded and poorly supported". It also very clearly states that the attacks by Gamergate supporters have been "broadly condemned as sexist and misogynistic".
"The recently proposed topic ban for certain editors on Wikipedia is not restricted to feminist editors. It extends to a number of pro-Gamergate editors as well. These editors (both pro- and anti-Gamergate) were found indulging in inappropriate conduct including violation of Wikipedia's neutrality rules, uncivil behavior, edit warring and/or harassment. Wikipedia aims to create an environment that fosters cooperation and encourages amicable resolution of disputes.
"Wikipedia is NOT a medium for for publishing opinions, perspectives or analyses: personal blog posts or editorials are the right avenues for such advocacy. Editors using Wikipedia as a platform for advocacy, whether anti- or pro-Gamergate, are discouraged by the Wikipedia community. Irrespective of their personal opinions, Wikipedians are expected to follow Wikipedia's neutrality policy when editing an article.
"The recent article published in The Guardian, and other articles based on it, rely on the opinion of Mark Bernstein (who is one of the editors banned as per the community sanctions). The article also omits several details, which can be found in Arbitration Committee's proposed decision:
https://en.wikipedia.org/.../GamerGate/Proposed_decision
The vast majority of anti-Gamergate and feminist editors continue to be allowed on Wikipedia (as is obvious to anyone reading the Wikipedia article "Gamergate controversy"). The topic bans on most of other editors (including a handful of anti-Gamergate editors) are temporary, ranging from hours to days.
"If you have any specific concerns about the article, you can mention them on the talk page of the article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Gamergate_controversy "

Thoughts?
posted by heathenduchess at 4:34 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Dads of Tech. Courtesy of The Baffler, Astra Taylor and Joanne McNeil take us on a tour of the tech world that begins with women telephone operators at the turn of the last century and ends with Gamer Gate as the logical consequence.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:40 PM on January 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Mealymouthed horseshit?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:41 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


(not you, hydropsyche)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:41 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The recent article published in The Guardian, and other articles based on it, rely on the opinion of Mark Bernstein (who is one of the editors banned as per the community sanctions).

Perfect example of the house style encouraged by Wikipedian culture: passive-aggressive insinuation carefully couched in deniable terms. Oh no, they'd never encourage anyone to draw a connection between Bernstein's having been banned and his opinions, as if this were just a matter of him personally being piqued and raging out, not a thorough critique of their policies and institutional culture. They totally didn't insinuate that at all, they just happened to mention those two facts in super-close succession for no reason. If you thought otherwise it's not their fault.
posted by RogerB at 4:46 PM on January 24, 2015 [20 favorites]


hydropsyche: heh.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:47 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really hope that 2014 doesn't turn out to be the last year I donate to Wikipedia, but if this bullshit persists, it may be.

It's funny, Wales' responses to Gators is what prompted me to donate most recently. Now the broader community seems to be walking that back some.
posted by CrystalDave at 4:53 PM on January 24, 2015


joseph conrad is fully awesome: I completely missed it the first time around. My spouse read it yesterday, having been linked there from somewhere, and he spent all day today talking about, until I finally had the chance to read it. And holy shit is it as good as he said it was. That discussion in November, however, was wretched. I'm really sorry I wasn't around then. Thank you for posting interesting things to MetaFilter, even when only assholes read and comment on them.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:59 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


General agreement with feckless and RogerB.
posted by heathenduchess at 5:09 PM on January 24, 2015


The article on GG was not at all "pro" the last time I checked and it doesn't particularly seem to be now. Much of it documents the mainstream media response, which has been pretty thoroughly disapproving. To a person who goes to WP for the entries, not the process, it sure doesn't look like it's been hijacked by GG. I have to admit I don't fully understand what's going on with this ArbCom thing, but it's a decision applying to five people that hasn't taken effect, and may well not?

The overall impression I get suggests their higher-level internal politics might be gameable and out-of-touch, sure, but not exactly that "Wikipedia has taken the side of GamerGate, and anti-feminism in general."
posted by atoxyl at 5:30 PM on January 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


What alarmed me about this move wasn't just about that one article, though - from what I've read, the editors were banned not just from working on the Gamergate article, but working on ANY article that had anything even VAGUELY to do with womens' rights or gender issues. And that made it sound like there was a bit more going on than just "y'all are too close to the Gamergate article".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:39 PM on January 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yeah, funny that. It's almost enough to make one suspect it might not actually be about ethics in Wikipedia editing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:44 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Poorly socialized gamers with a, 'he-who-games-the-rules-wins,' mentality have been with us for a very long time. As long a no one has the authority to tell them, 'sit down, shut-up, and think about how to be an adult,' (it may be the opposite of a realistic solution, but testing for being an irredeemable asshole is even more fantastical,) they will continue to be with us. As long as folks believe in the power of free expression without the responsibility of civil discourse or least in a fact based reality (recently on mefi a similar reality tunnel with equally stunning levels of BS was discussed) and the horde of GG's include member like this we have only one clear solution. We must shut down the Internet. Then we can develop and administer a test for one's Internet license. We just treat the Internet like HAM Radio used to be treated. The airwaves may be public but for the sake of the Gods the little savages need to be given a reason to at least pretend to be adults.

Possibly an unrealistic solution.

It may be that mefites just need to take over Wikipedia and institute a Reign of Supportable Facts amongst the editorial populace. Take the GG tactics and use them against the originators.

There is no road like the high road. Every time we try to build one the bastards of the world skip it and take the quick and easy path.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 6:26 PM on January 24, 2015


The overall impression I get suggests their higher-level internal politics might be gameable and out-of-touch, sure, but not exactly that "Wikipedia has taken the side of GamerGate, and anti-feminism in general."

Banning the people that GG specifically named as targets for their harassment (which has included doxxing and harassment of at least one person's employer) is handing GG a victory. Taking the side of rules over reality is as near as taking GG's side as makes no odds.

the editors were banned not just from working on the Gamergate article, but working on ANY article that had anything even VAGUELY to do with womens' rights or gender issues. And that made it sound like there was a bit more going on than just "y'all are too close to the Gamergate article".

Broad topicbans are a standard and foolish component of WP sanctions. And yes, in this case it very much suggests that the named editors have some sort of problem with gender issues (which, ok, is pretty applicable to Tarc)--it's that same old false equivalence nonsense.

'sit down, shut-up, and think about how to be an adult,'

This is more or less what the WMF needs to say, and enforce as an office action.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:35 PM on January 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


This is why I use Wikipedia primarily to source TV air dates and, sometimes, episode summaries.
posted by jeather at 7:55 PM on January 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


When the Chelsea Manning article name controversy happened, the article was moved to "Chelsea Manning" about a month after the MetaFilter post. Likewise, now that the initial flurry of events is over, there is no way in hell that the article about the GamerGate controversy will ever reflect, overall, a pro-GamerGate view. The GamerGaters are losing the war, they just don't know it yet.

Wikipedia's demographics are a major obstacle to achieving a higher level of quality. If everyone in this thread who is not already an active Wikipedia editor were to become one, it would have a major impact on its internal culture. Wikipedia has only a few thousand truly active editors, amounting to maybe a dozen or so active in each broad subject area. It could use more progressive voices. Please don't abandon it to the trolls because of its flaws. It remains one of the top ten most frequently visited sites on the web. The ratio of impact to time invested in contributing is enormous. I started contributing last year when I realized that nothing I write in any other context would ever get the amount of traffic that the Wikipedia article for that same topic would get.
posted by hyperbolic at 8:12 PM on January 24, 2015 [16 favorites]


Plus ArbCom is considering permanent topic bans against 8 Gamergate supporters.

I believe you mean "against 8 disposable throwaway accounts used by Gamergate supporters".
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:15 PM on January 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


>Pope Guilty: I believe you mean "against 8 disposable throwaway accounts used by Gamergate supporters".
Some or even most of them, absolutely. But one of these editors has over 19k edits going back to 2007, another 15k going to 2013, and still another almost 5k going to 2004. Normally, I would call them committed Wikipedia editors.

And the funny thing is, banned Gamergaters appear to stay banned, even on throwaway accounts. I can recall only one blocked Gamergater returning to sock. Granted, that only means one has been caught doing so, but it was pretty obvious and they were caught almost immediately. Maybe some are good enough to completely change up their editing styles to avoid detection, but I doubt it. Socks usually screw up and get caught.
posted by Woodroar at 8:51 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing about Gamergate is they don't even really have a "side." As far as I can tell the closest they come to a real grievance is that somebody wrote an article that said gamers are over blah blah allegations about Zoe Quinn's sex life? I actually think the current framing of the Wiki article is not bad - it's called "Gamergate controversy," which avoids the pretense that "Gamergate" is a real thing that happened, and goes on to cite (because a positive side of Wikipedia's culture is that it requires citations) things that people in the real world have to say about "Gamergate" - which mostly means people who have been targeted talking about their experiences, traditional media covering the topic of sexism and harassment, and so on. One could argue about whether NPOV is achievable and whether it should be held as an ideal the way it is, but it turns out that when you try to present "real" sources about GG in a neutral light it still makes the "movement" look empty and the people look bad.

I do think topic bans are a really bad approach. And I don't really want to attack Bernstein because drawing attention to this issue helps make sure the decision doesn't get implemented in its original form. But if these people are all banned and nobody steps up and the Wiki page is a GG mouthpiece six months from now or whatever I'll eat a hat or two.
posted by atoxyl at 9:10 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe you mean "against 8 disposable throwaway accounts used by Gamergate supporters".

Wikipedia doesn't give a whole lot of weight to random people showing up with an axe to grind. There's absolutely a lot to criticize about the wikibureaucracy but in theory that's why it's there.
posted by atoxyl at 9:15 PM on January 24, 2015


If the point is that topic banning people over this is bad for the rest of the site I probably agree though.

(sorry for the triple comment)
posted by atoxyl at 9:19 PM on January 24, 2015


The thing about Gamergate is they don't even really have a "side." As far as I can tell the closest they come to a real grievance is that somebody wrote an article that said gamers are over blah blah allegations about Zoe Quinn's sex life?

I don't follow the GG controversy much, mostly my eyes just glaze over when my husband starts talking about it. From what he says about it though it's more about ethics in gaming journalism than anything about anyone's sex life? I just know that I read two subreddits, one that was the gamergate side (kotaku in action I think?) and the anti gamergate side, and one side looks a lot less reasonable and to me that side was NOT gamergate.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 9:59 PM on January 24, 2015


This is the link that my husband gave to me when I asked him about Gamergate, I don't see why this is supposed to be bad?

What is GamerGate
posted by Hazelsmrf at 10:04 PM on January 24, 2015


From what he says about it though it's more about ethics in gaming journalism than anything about anyone's sex life?

No, it's really not. The original allegation was that a woman was unqualified to review video games because she had had a romantic relationships with a game creator, and the ongoing harassment campaign has been designed to send enough rape threats and allegations of sexual infidelity or impurity to women, their romantic partners, their bosses, their co-workers, their family members, and anyone else in their lives that these women drop out of any professional engagement with video games.

"Ethics in gaming journalism" is actually such a fig-leaf phrase designed to obfuscate the misogynist terrorism that it's become a punchline.
posted by jaguar at 10:06 PM on January 24, 2015 [17 favorites]


OH COME ON. SERIOUSLY?

From what he says about it though it's more about ethics in gaming journalism than anything about anyone's sex life?

"Actually,"
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:23 PM on January 24, 2015 [24 favorites]


You know they've started having a lot of initial splash-screen-type banners on the site now whenever they're having a funding drive?
I wrote to their donations email address informing them that because of this, I will now NEVER donate to them at all (and I was just about to finally be able to do so, after having used the site for 10+ years...oh well, sucks to be them, I guess).
That address is donations@wikipedia.org.

Same here. I know it's kind of a dishwater response and easy to say 'yeah, you just found a convenient excuse to ignore all the banners', but I'm in the same position of being finally able to support some of the things I've used and found valuable. Had been trying to decide where best to throw a few dollars at, so now WikiPedia gets taken off the short-list.
posted by dg at 10:28 PM on January 24, 2015


OH COME ON. SERIOUSLY?

I'm assuming good faith for now, though I checked the date of the user registration, but... yeah.
posted by jaguar at 10:29 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


from the first night after the zoepost went live the channers were planning the ethics angle and the not your shield angle to hide their harassment. there is no argument against this. i would feel badly for those taken in by the gator side except we're all on the internet and anyone can read the chat logs, so at this point i just have to assume willful ignorance.
posted by nadawi at 10:39 PM on January 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


Heh, the first thing I did was check the profile because that reads exactly like a very poor attempt to play concern trolling and I thought it might be a brand-new account for that purpose, but ... yeah. I guess everyone's entitled to their opinion.
posted by dg at 10:41 PM on January 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is the link that my husband gave to me when I asked him about Gamergate, I don't see why this is supposed to be bad?

What is GamerGate


That article is, I'm sorry, a pack of lies.

Read some of the MetaFilter threads, both comments and linked articles, for a better idea of what GamerGate really is (warning, it's really misogynistic and unpleasant and possibly triggering for anyone who's experienced stalking or sexual harassment or assault):

The ethics tutorials end when dissent quiets

IN ANY CONVERSATION YOU ARE ALSO DEALING WITH AN EMOTIONAL TRUTH

#Gamergate, as we know it now, is a hate group.

Just some shitty nerds in an IRC channel.

Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 (Tropes vs Women in Video Games)
posted by soundguy99 at 11:08 PM on January 24, 2015 [36 favorites]


Thanks for the list of related posts. I was trying to get one together myself, but kept getting sidetracked. Another link I'd add is this broad summary of Gamergate for an academic audience (free registration or bugmenot required), with the caveats that I know two of the authors and that the examination of the IRC logs is potentially triggering.
posted by frimble at 11:21 PM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I cannot tell you how disappointed I'd be if someone in my life said something pro-gamergate. Wow.

I wonder what it is about rules-lawyering that appeals to a certain type of person. I swear that's the major appeal of religion to, like, half the people who profess belief.
posted by maxwelton at 12:38 AM on January 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


From what he says about it though it's more about ethics in gaming journalism than anything about anyone's sex life? I just know that I read two subreddits, one that was the gamergate side (kotaku in action I think?)

I don't want to come down too hard on your husband, but his claim about 'ethics in gaming journalism' is fairly easy to disprove even using the sources he gave, never mind by reading any of the links others have provided above. Let's look at the top voted posts in KotakuInAction over the past week. The first is a quote saying GamerGate is note a hate group. The second is attacking gaming journalists for having ethics that led them to write that a game that was supposedly a satire on raping schoolgirls with tentacles was a bad idea. The third is a tweet calling a female game developer a 'colossal attention-seeking hypocrite'. The fourth is celebrating that a news video on women who have been harassed by GamerGate supporters got lots of 'thumbs down' on YouTube. The fifth is about a controversial forum administrator who has been attacked by GamerGate retiring.

Only one of those five can be said to be about 'ethics in gaming journalism' and, as I said, it is against them. And, unsurprisingly, the ethics in question are about saying that trivialising rape is kind of a bad thing.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:56 AM on January 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


From what he says about it though it's more about ethics in gaming journalism than anything about anyone's sex life?

The simple thing to ask your husband is: why are none of Gamergate's major targets journalists? Zoe Quinn isn't. Anita Sarkeesian isn't. Brianna Wu isn't. Randi Harper isn't. Chris Kluwe isn't.

As a followup question, ask your husband: In a male dominated industry (both game development and gaming journalism are majority male; development ridiculously so), why did Gamergate almost entirely select women as their targets? And why did Gamergate specifically target outspoken feminist women? Women who do not work as journalists nor had any influence over how gaming journalism is written?
posted by honestcoyote at 1:36 AM on January 25, 2015 [22 favorites]


I love how quickly it falls apart at that point. It's sort of a rorschach test.

Like, are you willing to buy the idea that women control journalist dudes with their feminine wiles and magical booby lazers?

If yes, then they're being harassed because omg they TRICKED the male journalists...or....something

If no, then the entire thing completely collapses, if it didn't already before then.

There really are quite a lot of people who really just wanted an excuse to latch on to that "attention whore" narrative and grab a pitchfork though. People who desperately grab at straws like that weird "i did a photoshoot with zoe quinn and she's a terrible person"(i'm not going to link it, it's bizarre dramz bullshit, google it if you really want to read it) to go SEE SHE DESERVES TO GET CALLED OUT DUHHH.

The longer this goes on, the more it feels like a feedback loop. These women they singled out are terrible because they're attention grubbing... but almost all of their attention comes from GG... but they're obviously getting a ton of attention, and they didn't do anything to deserve it, so...

They managed to create a logic chain that actually makes slightly less sense than zero tolerance "it takes two fighters to have a fight" kind of school and workplace policies. The only way the cognitive dissonance can work itself out is if at some base level, you have a bunch of fucked up beliefs about women, and women getting any public attention(not to mention women being "sluts" and whatever).

So yea, the husband-link-reading thing reminded me, but it's a really sad thing to discuss with people you know. Especially people you've known for years, but only to the level of casual acquaintance, friend of a friend, or not all that close of a friend. If they get past the first couple waves of events and begin to push back at "but what did SHE do?" when you pretty much outline nothing, then you're pretty much falling in to a black hole where you realize that they actually just have some really fucked up stuff inside of them about how women act, and just beliefs/feelings about women in general.

I mostly just wish someone could condense the whole series of events in to some super simple derailing for dummies/this type of site that just gave like, a 5 or 10 point itemized list of what the deal is with it from the side of reality that i could link people to, and then listen to their response afterwards. Because it's definitely a depressing, tiresome conversation to have over and over again.
posted by emptythought at 3:47 AM on January 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


emptythought: I think a reduced version of https://storify.com/EffNOVideoGames/stopgamergate-it-has-always-been-a-spin is a good starting point – if seeing the idea literally develop on 4chan as a cover story doesn't convince someone, it's unlikely they'd read a longer piece anyway.
posted by adamsc at 6:47 AM on January 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


the other thing to remember is that the comment that spurned all of us into link dumping is either sincere or it's sealioning - that's the fucked up brilliance of what the gators are doing - they have long conversations about how best to appear sincere to trap those evil sjws in their hypocrisy so they can show the undecided who the true marginalized group is - they brainstorm different phrases, go out and try them, and then report back to which ones worked and which ones didn't so the community can refine it. a woman claiming she's looked at both sides, doesn't really have an interest, and is using her husband as the entryway to her non-biased opinion is pretty typical, and to me rings of being disingenuous.
posted by nadawi at 7:19 AM on January 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


This is the link that my husband gave to me when I asked him about Gamergate, I don't see why this is supposed to be bad?

The response that gave the list of metafilter posts on it will be very informative, but it also may take up a couple days of your time to read through (particularly if you read the supporting links in those posts).

If you want something more objective on what gamergate really is, try this wikpedia article. Seriously though, this wikpedia article will give you a better sense of what it was about, without losing an afternoon/week of (depressing) reading/research.
posted by el io at 7:19 AM on January 25, 2015


Is not "Gamergate" a fundamentally stupid name? Anything except "Water-" and then "-gate" is, really, but at least there's an actual scandal at the heart of many x-gates. Not like that's the most serious issue with this mess, but I can stand it no longer.
posted by thelonius at 7:23 AM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


well - i mean, the name was coined by an actor who isn't exactly known for his wit...

also, might be careful pointing people towards wikipedia since they have shown themselves eager to be gamed by these fools.
posted by nadawi at 7:25 AM on January 25, 2015


ayedub: Ultimately, the goal of Wikipedia should be to have balanced coverage of any issue that has multiple sides.

Does that make sense as a directive though? The Wikipedia controversy I know a little about was around climate change, where ArbCom came down on the side of "there is a debate, therefore we need to show balance" and banned people who were experts on the science side because they couldn't tolerate nonsense being presented as fact.

See George_Spiggot above.
posted by sneebler at 7:57 AM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


...sealioning... gators...

Could someone give some definitions of these terms as used in this discussion? I'm not getting anything out of urbandictionary and the frequent mention of marine creatures is making this thread difficult to follow.
posted by indubitable at 8:12 AM on January 25, 2015


sealioning is showing up and disingenuously claiming to know nothing, so please explain everything to me from the beginning while I make barking noises

gator = gamergater
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:17 AM on January 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


got it, thanks.
posted by indubitable at 8:19 AM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sealioning
posted by MaritaCov at 8:19 AM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


yeah, sorry, i use gator reflexively at this point - it's a way to discuss them on twitter without being bombarded with sealioning and harassment.

sealioning was coined in this comic.
posted by nadawi at 8:19 AM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Sea lioning" is a slang term for when, if you say something opinionated about some group, someone else will almost instantly come along and be sort of aggressively civil at you, pressing you to have a "civil conversation" about what you said, but all their statements are Mapuche more like passive-aggressive defenses of the group you've grumbled about. And every move you make to shut the conversation down will get you excruciatingly polite, and persistent, complaints that they are merely trying to engage with you politely about something YOU said in public, and shouldn't they have the right to defend themselves?

The term came from a web comic where someone depicted a sea lion doing that to someone who slagged sea lions.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


hahaha i feel like we are sort of sealioning the description of sealion with the unintended repetition.
posted by nadawi at 8:25 AM on January 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


I heard you liked sealioning so I'm sealioning in your sealion so you can sealion while you sealion
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:36 AM on January 25, 2015 [16 favorites]


The core idea of sealioning is that it's somebody inserting themselves into a discussion they're not part of and using the pretense of civility to demand you defend yourself and your opinions, asserting a right to your time and effort. It is specifically not an effort to have a real, civil conversation but instead to use the pretense of civility as a tool of harassment.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:07 AM on January 25, 2015 [12 favorites]


Right, but could you explain in more detail what you mean by 'sealioning', please? I'm just trying to have a civil discussion about sealions, here, and you just won't clarify things when I ask so how can we converse about this?
posted by rmd1023 at 9:27 AM on January 25, 2015 [25 favorites]


I think it's also important that, in sealioning, it's someone from a position of privilege who keeps interrupting.

Or, at least, that's how I understand it.
posted by meese at 9:27 AM on January 25, 2015


Not to interrupt, but Mark Bernstein has posted Reckless, a follow-up to the linked blog entries.

It begins "I’ve been blocked at Wikipedia" but isn't mainly about himself but about the latest fun 'n' depressing happenings there.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:11 AM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Woah woah woah, I was being serious... I mean I live with the guy and know he doesn't hate women or condone violence, so I was truly trying to reconcile the two. I may not post that much but I read metafilter every.day. And I usually always agree with the discussion that takes place. I consider myself to be fairly socially progressive and I just couldn't understand why the general Metafilter opinion on this subject was so at odds with what I have heard from my husband over the past few months. That's all, no ulterior motive there, no sealioning.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 10:45 AM on January 25, 2015


There are probably pockets of people within Gamergate who are sincerely just concerned about ethics in gaming journalism. But they should be aware that the overwhelming public face of Gamergate is an overtly misogynist campaign of vile harassment. If I were a man concerned with ethics in gaming journalism, I would distance myself from anything calling itself Gamergate.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:50 AM on January 25, 2015 [14 favorites]


now you have more than enough information to go through and see why our opinion is generally shifted the way it is - i hope once you read through it you can show your husband what sort of movement he's aligned himself with and how (hopefully) he's been used as a pawn by men with very nasty views of women and progressivism in general. you might also inquire how he reconciled his views with the neo-nazis and overt sexists who make up a vocal part of gamergate.
posted by nadawi at 10:50 AM on January 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


As was mentioned in this post, a large portion of what is included in "GamerGate" is a group of people whose only goal is to wreck things and make a mess in the name of "lulz". Getting Wikipedia to do this sort of thing? That's lulz-worthy. That it dovetails into an idiotic and so obviously inane "cause" like GamerGate only adds to the lulz, I imagine. Part of the reason GamerGate doesn't seem to make any sense is because I get the impression that a large portion of it doesn't really care whether or not it makes sense and are just along for the nihilism.

Speaking as a socialist liberal, this is essentially the Internet version of the GOP. You have a group of footsoldiers shrieking and making noise and throwing support for what they see as a "moral crusade" and then you have the group that is only in it for its own purposes, to wreck anything it doesn't like and which doesn't benefit it. Neither cares much about the other half, but together they can work wonders and, as many have pointed out, they'll eventually get us SOPA or the ilk.
posted by Legomancer at 11:19 AM on January 25, 2015


Wow, that "what is gamergate" is some piece of work. It's like a Limbaugh dittohead saying he's got nothing against black people, he's only against thugs.

Bonus points for the list of thirteen supposed causes with the actual one that makes them scream with frustrated rage carefully placed last. As for the cod-anime female mascot; words fail.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:26 AM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are probably pockets of people within Gamergate who are sincerely just concerned about ethics in gaming journalism.

To be honest, LM, I think I would describe it as more like there are pockets of people out there who got wind that there was some kind of "attack on gamers", got interested because they consider themselves gamers or similar to gamers, did some very cursory research that only got them the pro-GamerGate side of the story, swallowed the propaganda that it's about "ethics in journalism", and thought, "Oh, yeah, sure, I'm all about journalistic ethics, that seems reasonable." And never dug any further beyond that.

Which is to say, I don't doubt their authentic concern, but I've got some problems with their lack of interest in actually examining and thinking critically about the "cause" they've aligned themselves with.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:31 AM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I consider myself to be fairly socially progressive and I just couldn't understand why the general Metafilter opinion on this subject was so at odds with what I have heard from my husband over the past few months. That's all, no ulterior motive there, no sealioning.

Well now you know and you can explain to your husband that he is more or less condoning misogyny and violence against women. Actual women have been harassed out of their homes and their jobs, have had SWAT teams called to their houses--someone's dog was shot in one of those raids just the other day.

GamerGate is actually evil, and he got taken in by the superficial veneer of reasonableness. As did you, it seems.

THE MORE YOU KNOW ★
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:17 PM on January 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


yeah, the ethics in journalism thing falls apart immediately when you notice that the main targets have not been journalists. or male.

I'm sorry about your husband, Hazelsmrf. I hope for your sake he just hasn't deeply examined it. maybe if you talk to him about it he can understand that there are some really toxic beliefs about women underlying the whole thing.

I'm glad you're on here, and I feel terrible that you got jumped on- it's just that most views that are even remotely supportive of gamergate are so far removed from... like... normal levels of respect for women, that it's unusual to see them on this site. I also remember seeing weird trolls here before trying to defend their anti-feminist GG viewpoints, so that reaction isn't based on unfounded paranoia - it's how they roll, generally.
posted by ghostbikes at 12:53 PM on January 25, 2015


I also remember seeing weird trolls here before trying to defend their anti-feminist GG viewpoints, so that reaction isn't based on unfounded paranoia - it's how they roll, generally.

Yeah. The thing is, your comments were like word-for-word out of the grumble glooper playbook, and if memory serves more or less exactly how they behaved when they showed up here--I'm pretty sure the banhammer got a workout that day.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:27 PM on January 25, 2015


Why would anyone who cares about the consumer and journalism issues claimed by Gamergate want to continue to associate with that hashtag? It is a bit like being concerned about crime and then associating with the KKK. Sure in your mind the Klan isn't really about lynching and cross burnings, but very few will agree with that position. As a result instead of directing your energy at the issues you care about, you end up spending your time explaining the true meaning of Gamergate--- an explanation that most people are not going to agree with you on. I just don't understand the obsession. Perhaps Hazelsmrf can enlighten us.
posted by humanfont at 1:50 PM on January 25, 2015


you end up spending your time explaining the true meaning of Gamergate

The true meaning of gabba gristle is harassment of women. The 'ethics in journalism' thing is the tiniest of fig leaves, and they use it to artificially inflate their support numbers by banking on your average person who thinks that hey yeah, journalists should behave ethically not bothering to look any further than the surface.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:00 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


as an update to the wikipedia arbcom case, it looks like the case is winding down, and arbitrators are starting to vote to close it. as it stands, none of the site bans have passed, and pretty much every topic ban has passed except for NorthBySouthBaranof, who is one of the editors who has been instrumental in defending against gamergater abuse. I'm glad at least that he will continue to be an effective editor on the pages.

The topic bans are bans on editing pages related to "(a) Gamergate, (b) any gender-related dispute or controversy, (c) people associated with (a) or (b), all broadly construed."

I think the gender-related part is shitty because a few of the topic bans are going to feminist editors which are apparently sorely needed on wiki. However it also might stop some of the more dire gamergate blowhards from puffing up MRA related articles and promoting things like "cultural marxism" (Frankfurt School#Conspiracy Theory) that has been getting a lot of gamergater attention.

Hopefully the buzz the case has gotten will lead more cool-headed feminist editors into the topic area, and more people who are willing to stand up to trolls/misogynistic and rules-gaming crap (I said, as I sat there and read the wiki edit logs and did nothing).
posted by ghostbikes at 2:23 PM on January 25, 2015


TheRedPenOfDoom is also only being admonished, which is awesome. (I mean, that he's not being banned. It obviously sucks that he's being admonished.) TRPoD was probably second, behind Ryulong, in drawing abuse from Gamergate.
posted by Woodroar at 2:35 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are probably pockets of people within Gamergate who are sincerely just concerned about ethics in gaming journalism.

I know somebody who bought the whole ethics in journalism thing for about a day (and as he's a journalist with an inside view of journalism, I'd say that's a button of his that's easy to push). It didn't take long for him to catch on, and once he did he was all the angrier about it for having been momentarily duped.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:28 PM on January 25, 2015


I've been very interested in the Gamergate on Wikipedia battle. I've been following it for months, read all the archives, followed the various Arbcom requests and the actual case, and read so many user talk page battles over this I can't count. Oh, and associated pages like Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, the many requests for sanctions, etc. One thing about Wikipedia is that nearly everything is preserved for anyone to see. If anyone is really curious I'd recommend at least reading the talk archives for Gamergate controversy. I know there are a lot which in itself is unusual for such a new article. But it's a good way to get a handle on what went into the making of this article.

I notice a few people saying that the article looks fine and not in Gamergate's favor. The response from Wikipedia quoted earlier also claims that Mark Bernstein is wrong in part because the article is fine. In my opinion, the article is only so accurate because of the people who are now being punished by Arbcom. A lot of people helped but the task of holding back the hordes of Gamergate supporters fell largely on a few people, especially prior to November. This is because it really required daily vigilance to help this article. It also meant being willing to become a Gamergate target.

If you read the archives you will see the exact same arguments, over and over and over. The arguments are answered, sources and policies supplied, only to come up again sometimes the same day. By the 50th time (seriously, look how long those archives are) with a new set of Gators people get rude, shortcut their arguments, dismiss nonsense rather than patiently talk to throwaway Gator accounts. Also, every time the article went away from full protection it was immediately vandalized. Finally, I'd note that many times the Gator argument was simply "this article is biased!" with no examples given, no policies referenced. Nothing specific to address. Over and over again.

Because the Gamergate supporters had no leg to stand on they kept losing and the article didn't look the way they wanted. For example, they hate that the article gives misogyny as the reason behind the controversy. So what would happen is a Gator would give an impassioned plea as to why this isn't fair. Then someone like NorthbySouthBaranof would list all the sources that say its about misogyny and challenge the Gator for reliable sources to support any other narrative. Then, at best, the Gator might cite Breitbart or something and then be linked to a page explaining that Breitbart is not a reliable source anywhere on Wikipedia. To resolve this the Gator ought to bring it to the Admins responsible for determining reliable sources in general. But instead they'd just bring it up on the Gamergate page again. This is just one simple example. I'd say there were about 5-10 rotating arguments.

So because they kept rightfully losing, Gators on 8chan and Reddit identified first four and then five editors who stood in the way of their narrative. Maybe if these people were gone they'd find a way to sneak Breitbart in or get the word "false" removed from the accusations against Zoe Quinn. At the very least they'd get revenge because being smacked down so many times was very insulting. A Gator requested arbitration from Arbcom. Denied. Again. Denied, but a disciplinary system for handling behavioral sanctions was established for the Gamergate talk page and related others. This would have handled the "rude" behaviors but a week later a Gator again requests arbitration, not even giving the discipline system a chance. This time the committee accepts because "where there's smoke there's fire" I suppose. They should have just banned that gator IMO and not taken the case.

At the same time, 8chan and Reddit, main Gamergate hubs, are doing two things aimed at their targets, "The Five Horsemen":

1. A prolonged campaign of harassment across all social media. This is the standard Gamergate playbook for anyone they hate, but remember these are just normal Wikipedia editors doing a thankless job already.

2. Gathering "evidence" for the arbitration case, a mass crowdsourced effort to find as many "rude" or questionable edits as possible. To make it worse, Arbcom kept giving them extra time and space.

The targeted editors had no one but themselves to make a defense; they had no crowd of people helping them make a case and note that at the same time they're being doxxed and harassed every day. In addition, Arbcom refused to consider anything happening "off site" all while off site campaigns were directly affecting the case.

The problem with banning these people is it legitimizes the targeting campaign. Gamergate even tried going after one of the arbitrators, a woman who might be a feminist. For now the arbitrators protected one of their own, but they left ordinary editors out in the cold. And who is to say that if Gamergate just keeps complaining about her or anyone else that they won't eventually get their way so Wikipedia can keep the peace?
posted by Danila at 3:36 PM on January 25, 2015 [40 favorites]


If you asked a random GGer specifically what "ethics in gaming journalism" had been breached, how likely is it that he* would be able to cite anything but a particular actual real non-anime woman game developer having dirty evil bare naked sex with a gaming journalist?

*Because let's face it it'll be a he
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:38 PM on January 25, 2015


How likely is a GGer going to be able to cite any real, actual evidence? The last one I talked to claimed to be under the impression that Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu were all professional journalists who were trying to use their positions of power in the journalism industry to steal money and have the video game industry shut down. Of course, once I shut that down he found plenty of other BS from the GG YouTube brigade.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 4:01 PM on January 25, 2015


In my opinion, the article is only so accurate because of the people who are now being punished by Arbcom.

This is absolutely the case.
posted by Artw at 4:06 PM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is no real evidence. Leaving Quinn aside for a moment, they don't even pretend to have evidence against the others. Sarkeesian was targeted solely because of her videos. They essentially want to censor her. Wu was initially targeted because she made fun of them. She's still targeted because she won't shut up. Harper (freebsdgirl) was targeted because she created the Twitter GG auto-generated block list (ggautoblocker), and really hurt their feelings. Leigh Alexander, like Sarkeesian, was targeted for expressing an opinion unpopular with gators.

Going back to Quinn, all they had to do was look for positive reviews of Depression Quest from the people who allegedly slept with her. And there are none. There are positive reviews, but those were written by people who had no connection with Quinn. There's no evidence whatsoever of corruption of any sort.

Going back to censorship, as much as gators have anything to do with gaming journalism, this is pretty much the heart of what they want. Anything or anyone which displeases them must shut up. Now. And they mislabel this disagreement as corruption. Giving Bayonetta 2 a 7.5 in a Polygon review was held up as corruption because gators demanded the score be higher. Game reviewers discussing social issues, as they relate to games, was also held up as corruption. Game journalists who had a private mailing list were somehow participating in "collusion", and thus corruption, because they had the gall to speak to each other in private, and not live in an isolated pod cut off from all human contact.

It's just fucking petty. All of it. All of this pain and damage caused because these idiots decided to take the word of Quinn's crazed ex as gospel, and because they couldn't stand to hear women say things they disagreed with. Gamergate is nothing more than an extended tantrum of mostly men yelling "Shut up! SHUT UP! WHY WON"T SHE SHUT UP?!?"
posted by honestcoyote at 4:28 PM on January 25, 2015 [23 favorites]


George_Spiggott, he would also cite Leigh Alexander's insidious scheme to use her incredible and frankly terrifying monopoly on games journalism to take videogames away from the poor young men who have done nothing to earn her ire, as documented by the venerable Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers.

Their well of crazy is wide and deep. Here, have a bucket of incomprehensible MS Paint diagrams.
posted by byanyothername at 4:45 PM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Someone on the talk page is pushing a crazy-ass Vox article that explains that GamerGate is just the result of Liberals automatically disagreeing with anything Brietbart or Hoff says .
posted by Artw at 4:59 PM on January 25, 2015


Tpage for which article? (GG or GG_controversy) I have a morbid fascination.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:02 PM on January 25, 2015


Here's the dumb Vox article.
posted by Artw at 5:10 PM on January 25, 2015


I am dumber for having read that horseshit.

It may as well have been titled "Hey #GamerGate, don't target me."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:20 PM on January 25, 2015


I dug up the receipt/thank-you email for my wikipedia donation from last year and grabbed the details to indicate that I really am a past donor and replied that if this shit stands, I won't be donating again. It's a tiny drop in the bucket, but at least it's a drop in the "actual past donor" bucket.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:24 PM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have always been interested in Ants and Ant societies. I find it curious that the ant stories in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate appear at just around the same time other things happen...
posted by ovvl at 6:11 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


[jeez, people, give me a minute here! Cleaned things up, there's no need to pile on the obvious gg-talking-points guy. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 6:20 PM on January 25, 2015 [17 favorites]


The funny thing to me is that this whole alleged ethics in journalism conspiracy concerns some games that, while they've gotten some attention in indie circles, are played by substantially no one. I mean, ”Zoe Quinn slept with some journalists and that's why her game was the best selling game ever" would be a pretty juicy scandal, but the fact is that none of the games we're talking about have had much impact. Even if it's true, it just isn't a big deal.
posted by chrchr at 6:24 PM on January 25, 2015


aw, looks like I just missed a real live GatorGuy on Metafilter. bummer.

do the wikipedians in the house have any advice for a new editor who wants to channel some of this outrage into doing positive things for the 'pedia? Obviously not by diving into the gamergate article collection for another infinity years or so- but I'm in the camp of being pretty darn intimidated by editing wikipedia in any serious way, mostly because I don't really want to get into arguments with people. but it seems like arguments with people kind of need to happen? especially in areas like this...? I don't know.
posted by ghostbikes at 6:36 PM on January 25, 2015


aw, looks like I just missed a real live GatorGuy on Metafilter. bummer.

Really, the best part was watching us (very much including myself, btw) trip over each other trying to snark at him as fast as we could.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:40 PM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


do the wikipedians in the house have any advice for a new editor who wants to channel some of this outrage into doing positive things for the 'pedia? Obviously not by diving into the gamergate article collection for another infinity years or so- but I'm in the camp of being pretty darn intimidated by editing wikipedia in any serious way, mostly because I don't really want to get into arguments with people. but it seems like arguments with people kind of need to happen? especially in areas like this...? I don't know.

At this point, I'm in agreement with Bernstein - the problems are too ingrained into Wikipedia to really be solved. At this point, it's time to build something new, that understands how such Byzantine systems can be manipulated.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:41 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah. WP is broken. The rules lawyers always have more time and more energy than you do. If editing matters to you, hit 'random page' and fix whatever's there, don't add it to your watchlist, and then repeat.

If fixing the systemic problems is important to you, go bash down a concrete wall with your head until the feeling passes. Trust me when I say it'll be less frustrating and more productive.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:46 PM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


wow, well that's depressing.
posted by ghostbikes at 6:51 PM on January 25, 2015


I feel like that's exactly what the GG dinguses are saying too, as in, UGH this article doesn't use OUR FACTS, wikipedia is SO OVER. so that feels wrong to me, I guess. but I understand the sentiment, even if I'm not 100% feeling it yet.
posted by ghostbikes at 6:54 PM on January 25, 2015


These days I mostly hang out on the Articles for Deletions page and add citations to anything that looks like it can be saved. I find it oddly relaxing.

Sometimes this enrages the fuck out of people, mind.
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on January 25, 2015 [14 favorites]


Sorry. I've been editing there on and off for ~9 years and the decline has been stark. It's not about 'ugh no real facts' (although that's part of it), it's that for the most part the place is run by teenagers and/or USENET-style trolls who will belabour every point and wear you down until you give up. Reality be damned.

Let me illustrate by way of example. Back in the mists of time I was GMing a game of Rifts. One of the players got hit, from behind, by someone using a laser pistol. I (stupidly) allowed them to roll a save--they succeeded. I said basically "okay, we're playing a game. How would you suggest your character dodged something silent, from behind, when you had just said something about exactly where you were looking?"

The answer: RULES I MADE MY THROW I DON'T GET HIT. (I can't remember how much damage it would have done, but we're talking scorch marks not character death.) He would not back down. I eventually gave in (more fool me) and out of pique dropped him into a random encounter that left him a grease spot.

99.9% of active Wikipedia editors are that guy.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:02 PM on January 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


aw, looks like I just missed a real live GatorGuy on Metafilter. bummer.

If an ill-natured stranger showed up at your favorite watering hole with the intent of kicking up a ruckus, how quickly would the management have given him the heave-ho? Let's just be thankful that this one guy had to pony up a fin as a cover charge to waste the mods' time on a Sunday night rather than an angry mob bum-rushing the joint if there were no admission fee.

Meanwhile, over at Badass Digest, their gaming editor has delivered an impassioned denunciation of Gamergators, 8chan, /baphomet/, and all their fellow-travellers and useful idiots. And recent controversy around Adam Baldwin's scheduled appearance at one of Australia's big fan conventions has provided more impetus for the 'gators to rally round their besieged hero.

If there were any optimism that 2015 was going to be a saner year on the 'net, things are not off to a good start.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:13 PM on January 25, 2015


I actually did have some long conversations about gamergate with my husband today. He works in the gaming industry and he's a gamer so it's a thing for him. My "gaming" knowledge is playing Dragon Age on my PC, Everquest and World of Warcraft. My entire experience with this subject was watching one video months ago by some Internet Aristocrat guy and the shaming of Zoe Quinn, so I understand WHERE it all started. I don't necessarily understand how it got from THERE to where we are now. He did mention names of *male* journalists that GG has targetted but in the end, I figure that people are pretty set on their views on this whole thing. I will again back away from it and not touch it with a 20 foot pole :) Thank you for explaining it to me though, it is something that I hear about every day when he is talking about something, but it's nothing that I really ever paid that much attention to. I will do better!
posted by Hazelsmrf at 7:15 PM on January 25, 2015


I don't necessarily understand how it got from THERE to where we are now.

You've been given lots and lots of links that explain exactly that. It started with the harassment of Zoe Quinn and metastasized into harassment of many other people.

I figure that people are pretty set on their views on this whole thing

That's your takeaway?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:18 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


It may be that mefites just need to take over Wikipedia and institute a Reign of Supportable Facts amongst the editorial populace.

Gamergate controversy - From Mefipedia, the home of supportable facts

The Gamergate controversy is an evil, sad and transparent conspiracy of shitheads that has taken over Wikipedia and been given a free hand to edit it as they see fit. It threatens to destroy not only Wikipedia, but the entire Internet. It has been compared to such universally hated organizations as the GOP and the KKK.

Some commentators have suggested that Gamergate is losing the war to turn the Net into a giant cesspool of misogyny and hate. Others fear that by carefully engineered sealioning intended to drive sites like metafilter to heights of rhetorical excess that will discredit it with the masses that are no doubt reading this far down in the thread, the lulz-seeking idiots will succeed in their dream of getting Bayonetta 2 appreciated for the masterpiece that it clearly is.

I think GG deserves most of the hate it gets, but it's probably for the best that metafilter isn't in charge of editing wikipedia.
posted by sfenders at 7:19 PM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well what do you want me to say FFFM? That my husband is a misogynist pig? He's not. He's a loving, funny, warm guy that loves games. It's really hard for me to reconcile that with the whole hate group thing. There's not just fact there, there's a ton of emotion too. I've seen stuff that basically amounts to: Person 1: You suck. Person 2: No YOU suck. Person 1: Did you see that he attacked me! I'm not saying that there aren't actual issues, but I don't think either side is as squeaky clean in all of this.
posted by Hazelsmrf at 7:24 PM on January 25, 2015


He did mention names of *male* journalists that GG has targetted

I think the way GG treats men, including male journalists (when they somehow manage to successfully identify a journalist), is very different from the way it treats women. Did these male journalists who irked GG get the full load of death threats, stalking, harassment at work, etc.?

Heck, Joss Whedon even called some GG folks terrorists and the worst he got was a couple of very polite "that's not really fair" comments. He isn't a journalist, but then, neither are most of the people GG targets.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 7:25 PM on January 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Mostly harmless gross."
posted by Artw at 7:26 PM on January 25, 2015


do the wikipedians in the house have any advice for a new editor who wants to channel some of this outrage into doing positive things for the 'pedia?

You've got a couple options for ways to get involved on Wikipedia, depending on what your goal is.

If you just want to dip your toe in and do some small, useful work on Wikipedia that's not likely to get you yelled at, the Community Portal is a good launching pad. There you can find lists of articles that need various small stuff (Fix spelling and grammar, Check and add references, Add an image, etc) that's often do-able for someone who's just getting their bearings. If you're an able writer/editor, the Guild of Copyeditors is also always looking for help.

If you're interested in helping fight misogyny and/or the gender gap, the going can be a bit treacherous for a new user. The main discussion venues for that are the Gender Gap Task Force and the GenderGap-l listserv. However, both of those places can be a bit persnickety about new users showing up and trying to jump in with both feet before they have a sense of the culture (the mailing list significantly less so, though), and as you've seen from the topic of this thread, the whole idea of "fighting misogyny/gendergap" is side-eyed by some elements of the community. You'd be better off getting a little editing experience under your belt before joining the active discussions, if only so you have a solid handle on the jargon.

How best to get experience? Well, you could use the Community Portal from above, and just get a feel for things over time. Or if you want to maximize your good/time ratio, you could try working on some articles which are particularly important for addressing gender/bias related issues. WikiProject Countering Systemic Bias keeps a to-do page listing requested articles, edits, expansions, etc that are relevant to the gendergap and/or Wikipedia's systemic bias toward white, male, American, straight, etc etc subjects.

Unless you are amazing at RTFMing before touching anything, though, you're not going to want to start by creating an article from scratch. It's incredibly difficult these days to get anything through the twelve million levels of patrollers, deletion policies, style guidelines, etc unless you're already a fairly experienced Wikipedian. I'd suggest trying one of the articles that needs expansion from that to-do list, especially if you have access to academic or news sources beyond what Google can serve up (speaking of which, if you do, the Resource Exchange would love to have you!).

If you're a little wary of trying anything on your own, the Teahouse is a great resource for new users who have questions or want a little bit of guidance as they figure things out. The "hosts" there are selected for their ability to help newbies without jumping down their throats, and they're female in higher proportion than the rest of Wikipedia, so it's a pretty safe space, both attitude-wise and gendergap-wise.

If you have specific questions, feel free to MeMail me; I can almost certainly set you up with an experienced editor in whatever topic/field you're interested in helping out with.
posted by Fair, true, and boring as hell at 7:27 PM on January 25, 2015 [17 favorites]


...yeah, okay, you are sealioning.

You're drawing a false equivalence between a networked and organized group that coordinates harassment campaigns that have driven actual women out of their actual homes and their actual jobs with the people who think that's bad.

I never said your husband is a misogynist pig. Giving the time of day to Gamergaters is supporting misogynist piggery, however.

It's not about ethics in games journalism. It's about one asshole spreading false allegations about an ex girlfriend, and a whole bunch of trolls latching onto that to harass a whole lot of women. End of story.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:29 PM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ooh, also, this category is a great starting point for WikiProjects (which is to say, groups of users who organize to improve articles about a particular topic) relevant to women. Moving up a level, here's a category for WikiProjects related to systemic bias, in general.
posted by Fair, true, and boring as hell at 7:31 PM on January 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would advise not getting involved with the Gamergate article unless you know exactly What the state of play is at that moment in time and have read a half dozen confusing and long winded policy pages (partially NPOV, RS, and WEIGHT). Also be aware aware that repeatedly making a change that has been reverted is a fast track to getting banned, so don't do that.
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM on January 25, 2015


fshgrl: "I'm honestly surprised people take Wikipedia so seriously, including the author. Perhaps it's because I'm a woman, haha, but it's obviously completely shit for anything that's not dry, factual data. The chemistry pages, for example, are awesome. The pages on history and politics or anything even slightly complicated are a fucking joke and I thought everyone knew that? "

Well, even there, the issue is mainly modern politics and history that directly ties into modern politics. Check, for example (chosen at random from ancient Chinese history) the page on Qin Shi Huang. Or the Peasant's Revolt of 1381. Historical stuff that doesn't relate to the Armenian Genocide or Israel or the Boston Tea Party or whatever other modern hot topics is just fine. Anything that relates to stuff people are upset about today becomes a cesspit.

None of this really relates to the issue at hand, I'm just saying that there are huge swaths of stuff Wikipedia is bad at, and I'd never look up there, and there are huge swaths of stuff that it's good at, beyond just hard sciences and the like. It's just so goddamn big...
posted by Bugbread at 7:33 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Remember that GG also went looking for dormant accounts to use so signup dates wouldn't be a red flag.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:36 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh yeah if i even try to get into wikipedia editing i would NOT touch gamergate, oh hells no. I'm just talking doing slightly more significant things than copy editing (which I've done a little bit of), maybe with a long term goal of getting involved with gender gap stuff (or any wikiproject really). but now I'm just kind of like, eh, I don't really want any conflict, but thinking it would be nice to "help" in a general sense.
posted by ghostbikes at 7:46 PM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hazelsmrf: "Well what do you want me to say FFFM? That my husband is a misogynist pig? He's not. He's a loving, funny, warm guy that loves games. It's really hard for me to reconcile that with the whole hate group thing...I don't think either side is as squeaky clean in all of this."

I totally believe that your husband is not a misogynist. I totally believe that he is pro-GG because he is concerned about ethics in journalism. But I also believe he is being conned. Anyone can be conned. Very intelligent, loving, and nice people can be conned.

And, no, of course, neither side is "squeaky clean". People are people. You will never find any disagreement between two groups of people, with more than 10 people in each group, in which each side is "squeaky clean". But that doesn't mean the issue is "grey". Pick a random country and look through their historical civil rights leaders. You'll probably find a sexist among them. That doesn't mean that civil rights in that country was a grey issue and neither side was squeaky clean so maybe they were both kinda right. Pick a random country and look through their historical womens' suffrage leaders. You'll probably find a racist among them. That doesn't mean that womens' suffrage in that country was a grey issue and neither side was squeaky clean so maybe they were both kinda right. A side doesn't need to consist of 100% squeaky clean people to be right, it just needs to be right about the issue in question. And those are super-extreme examples. Pick anti-GG leaders and you're not going to find big racists or sexists, you'll probably find "has taken hotel towels" or "litters" as their big vices. And yet "you're not a literal, real, ordained saint, therefore my side is kinda right" is being used as an argument by GGers.
posted by Bugbread at 7:55 PM on January 25, 2015 [23 favorites]


Hazelsmrf: "Thank you for explaining it to me though, it is something that I hear about every day when he is talking about something, but it's nothing that I really ever paid that much attention to. I will do better!"

Honestly if you can afford to, I recommend continuing to ignore it. If your husband is somehow talking about it every day, pass the same advice along to him. Since he's still sympathetic to GamerGate, I'm going to conclude that he hasn't lost the luxury of ignoring it.


sfenders: "It has been compared to such universally hated organizations as the GOP and the KKK."

To be fair, the KKK isn't universally hated.


Bugbread: "Pick anti-GG leaders and you're not going to find big racists or sexists, you'll probably find "has taken hotel towels" or "litters" as their big vices."

I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few bigger vices than that, but would be very surprised if they were both bigger and at all relevant to the matter of journalistic ethics.
posted by RobotHero at 8:49 PM on January 25, 2015


Wikipedia banned some trans people and trans allies from editing any trans-related pages as their "resolution" to the Chelsea Manning debacle mentioned briefly in the Guardian article, so this sounds about right for ArbCom.
posted by Corinth at 8:57 PM on January 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


As was mentioned in this post, a large portion of what is included in "GamerGate" is a group of people whose only goal is to wreck things and make a mess in the name of "lulz". Getting Wikipedia to do this sort of thing? That's lulz-worthy. That it dovetails into an idiotic and so obviously inane "cause" like GamerGate only adds to the lulz, I imagine. Part of the reason GamerGate doesn't seem to make any sense is because I get the impression that a large portion of it doesn't really care whether or not it makes sense and are just along for the nihilism.

Hey so i've ridden this hobbyhorse until the wheels fell off, but we need to divorce the idea that's what's going on here is "classic" trolling, or that lulz is any part of it.

This isn't about lulz, it's about suffering. It's not about watching someone suffer to laugh at it, but just for the satisfaction of someone "getting what they deserve" or being knocked down a peg or whatever.

This is nothing new. This has been going on, behind the "lulzy" trolling for 11 years at least, since i started paying attention to/being involved in this stuff. Plenty of people are in it to cause as much destruction and suffering as possible. Some of them want to come back to their bros and go "omg look at how bad i fucked this shit up" or "look at how scared/upset/etc this person is and what i did to get them there". Some of them are simply in it because they think they're fighting some noble fight. Some of them are in it just because.

The problem is that it's hard to determine whose in what group sometimes. The guy who took a picture in front of that one ladies office? Could be lulz, could be basically terrorism.

Mostly though, i wish we could divorce this discussion entirely from any pretense of anyone, or anyone who really matters and isn't just some minor footsoldier reposting premade twitter spam being in this "for the lulz". None of the big damage was done for that reason, even if someone has explicitly stated it has. Nothing about this has been for the lulz since the very beginning.

That's like saying those lizard squad guys hacked sony for the lulz, or something. This is a display of force.

side doesn't need to consist of 100% squeaky clean people to be right, it just needs to be right about the issue in question. And those are super-extreme examples. Pick anti-GG leaders and you're not going to find big racists or sexists, you'll probably find "has taken hotel towels" or "litters" as their big vices. And yet "you're not a literal, real, ordained saint, therefore my side is kinda right" is being used as an argument by GGers.

It might be knee-jerky, but i have seen this "yea well you did THIS bad thing" used by so many shitty fuckheads over time. The only valid response is "that has nothing to do with what you're doing right now". And the problem is that it's a hail mary appeal to the crowd, just like an ad hominem or many other derails. If there's enough of an audience that cheers and goes "yea, what about THAT" then they've won the narrative.

These types of people seem to be obsessed with big public showdowns precisely because they can play the crowd like that. they're like fighting game characters with two moves. Shitty thing, and cheap shot derail.

The problem is, from what i've seen over and over, way too many "reasonable people" are super gullible and willing to treat those types of derails as a valid point far too often. Like address that or you're just admitting it's true/uncomfortable talking about it "and why!"/etc. It's a shitty tool to control the conversation, and the most infuriating thing is how often and well it works.

I've seen organizations crumble because one person, or a group of people was deft at using that type of club. And honestly what shocks me most here is that a group that is stereotyped, for good reason, at being terrible with speaking and interacting with others on both the micro and macro level managed to get this organized, and this deftly manipulative. This is some high level arts group/drama class fuckery here on a massive scale.
posted by emptythought at 9:56 PM on January 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


As I understand it, the supposed ethical issue amounts to "game reviewers should disclose connections they have to the people who made the game they're reviewing." Yes, I agree, they should do that. That seems like an easy thing to advocate in a straightforward way.

But that's not what I'm seeing from GG. I'm seeing these bizarro reposted talking points about the exact nature of some woman's supposed relationship transgressions (who cares?), how some videos about problems in video games are not using proper academic standards (so what? do inadequate academic standards justify mob harassment?), or stuff about how "the other side is bad too" (that's not a good reason for your side to be bad).

Advocating for full disclosure in journalism doesn't require death/rape threats, threatening to bomb or shoot people if a public lecture is held, harassing and stalking women so they can't return to their own homes or jobs, hacking people's accounts, debating someone's breakup emails, or crazy harassment all over social media. There's no explanation that makes any of that stuff okay.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:13 PM on January 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


> I'm not saying that there aren't actual issues, but I don't think either side is as squeaky clean in all of this.

I don't know where you keep getting the idea there are sides.

There is one group of people, with an axe to grind, who either are or tacitly support outright terrible people. They laud nasty, noxious, unethical jerkwads who "claim" to be ethical, while targeting people for harassment. They claim that it's about ethics or whatever in journalism, except they don't do jack shit about it, love using slurs with the defense that it's just their "cultural speech" or what have you, gleefully turn on any minority who dares say, "Wait a minute, can we not celebrate that this transphobic douchebag is on our side?" or the like.

Then you have everybody else, who says, "That shit is cray-cray, can you knock it the fuck off?"
posted by qcubed at 10:24 PM on January 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


nah, there's absolutely sides. when one group of people attacks another group you have the aggressors and the victims. those are sides.

the point at which this all falls apart though, is the idea that both sides have a legitimate narrative that's worth listening too. this seems to pass some basic sniff test if you're a robot with no emotions trying to be super objectivist, but it's not actually true in plenty of real life situations.

How this fails is where they then try and explain that their narrative is just as worth listening to as the other one, and that you can't judge them for their actions without hearing their side. Like, that if you haven't heard both explanations and given them a serious thinker grind then you're not really engaging with the situation.

They're basically trying to say "some things matter situationally, but other things that are situational CANT be considered situationally or you're a hypocrite!".

I don't know how good of an explanation that is because that sentence can at times be correct. But the way it's been applied to this stuff is INCREDIBLY, offensively disingenuous on their part.
posted by emptythought at 10:38 PM on January 25, 2015


qcubed: "There is one group of people, with an axe to grind, who either are or tacitly support outright terrible people. They laud nasty, noxious, unethical jerkwads who "claim" to be ethical, while targeting people for harassment. They claim that it's about ethics or whatever in journalism, except they don't do jack shit about it, love using slurs with the defense that it's just their "cultural speech" or what have you, gleefully turn on any minority who dares say, "Wait a minute, can we not celebrate that this transphobic douchebag is on our side?" or the like."

Keep in mind that with this formulation, you're saying that because Hazelsmrf's husband is a GGer, he has an axe to grind, loves to use slurs, gleefully turn on minorities, etc.

Also, you're saying that anyone who isn't a GGer is opposed to GG. Which is crazypants. My wife has never heard of GG. If I told her about GG, she would be opposed to it. But at present, she is neither on the pro- nor the anti-GG side, because she's never even heard of GG.

It makes a lot more sense to say that there are two sides. That formulation allows for people who are on neither side (my wife, my parents), and for people who are on the wrong side due to lack of investigation. After all, as Pope Guilty says, "I know somebody who bought the whole ethics in journalism thing for about a day (and as he's a journalist with an inside view of journalism, I'd say that's a button of his that's easy to push). It didn't take long for him to catch on, and once he did he was all the angrier about it for having been momentarily duped." With your formulation, qcubed, Pope Guilty's friend loved using slurs and gleefully attacked minorities, but just for one day, and then when he found out more about GG he suddenly stopped loving slurs and attacking minorities, and for some reason got mad at the group that was doing the thing that he loved doing the previous day. That doesn't make a lot of sense. It makes a lot more sense to say that he got conned into siding with the wrong side.
posted by Bugbread at 10:43 PM on January 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Advocating for full disclosure in journalism doesn't require death/rape threats, threatening to bomb or shoot people if a public lecture is held, harassing and stalking women ...
Of course not. Particularly given that those being harassed aren't journalists, so their power to change ethics in journalism seems, at best, very limited. Unfortunately, they have even less power to change the thing that has really offended the GGs and their primary crime - being female and daring to have opinions and stuff.
posted by dg at 11:53 PM on January 25, 2015


My wife has never heard of GG. If I told her about GG, she would be opposed to it. But at present, she is neither on the pro- nor the anti-GG side, because she's never even heard of GG.

I wish I had never heard of Gamergate.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:24 AM on January 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


"I actually did have some long conversations about gamergate with my husband today. He works in the gaming industry and he's a gamer so it's a thing for him. My "gaming" knowledge is playing Dragon Age on my PC, Everquest and World of Warcraft. My entire experience with this subject was watching one video months ago by some Internet Aristocrat guy and the shaming of Zoe Quinn, so I understand WHERE it all started. I don't necessarily understand how it got from THERE to where we are now. He did mention names of *male* journalists that GG has targetted but in the end, I figure that people are pretty set on their views on this whole thing. I will again back away from it and not touch it with a 20 foot pole :) Thank you for explaining it to me though, it is something that I hear about every day when he is talking about something, but it's nothing that I really ever paid that much attention to. I will do better!"

The sheer hilarious unwillingness to read or respond to the millions of excellent responses to this man/woman whose husband supposedly really talked to her/him about gamergate is amazing and hurray for metafilter for getting five bucks from dummies!

Metafilter, you should up your subscription to 10. I'd pay another five.

PS Emoticons!
posted by wyndham at 3:29 AM on January 26, 2015


wyndham: "The sheer hilarious unwillingness to read or respond to the millions of excellent responses"

I'm not really seeing where it is in Hazelsmrf's comment that leads you to the conclusion that she hasn't read any of those links. But even if she hasn't, she's not doing the sea lion thing. She's not challenging us to disprove this or that, or pestering politely, or doing any of the other usual GG sea lion bullshit.

I mean, honestly, she formed her initial opinion of GamerGate after reading a 2,311 word pro-GG article. And when asking for the other side, she was recommended to read 402,057 words of anti-GG threads and articles. That's half a King James Bible. "Here, if you want an idea of why the article you read was slanted, go read this Old Testament lengthed collection of rebuttals"

I dunno, I know at MeFi you're not supposed to imagine people use Favorites to indicate agreement, that maybe they're just used as bookmarks or whatever, but in my experience, I've never seen one of my comments favorited by someone who is disagreeing with me in a thread. They're always favorited by people who are agreeing with me. And my comment in this thread, saying that Hazelsmrfs' husband is being conned, and comparing anti-GGers to civil rights and women's suffrage leaders, was favorited by Hazelsmrf. So I don't think her not having read the Old Testament in the 8 hour span between her first and last comment indicates that she's actually a hardcore GGer unwilling to listen to the other side or change her mind.
posted by Bugbread at 4:15 AM on January 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


Wikipedia banned some trans people and trans allies from editing any trans-related pages as their "resolution" to the Chelsea Manning debacle mentioned briefly in the Guardian article, so this sounds about right for ArbCom.

What are you saying: That everyone is entitled to edit Wikipedia and certain groups even more so on certain topics, simply based on who they are, regardless of behavior? Or, that certain groups are singled out for harsher treatment based on who they are by an authoritarian body?

What I don't understand is this: Wikipedia is the Encyclopedia anyone can edit. It's not the Encyclopedia everyone is entitled to edit. It doesn't matter who are you are: some big wig Internet intellectual like Bernstein, or experts on a topic such trans people on trans topics. No one is entitled to edit Wikipedia. You earn the right to do so based on your behavior within the guidelines of assuming good faith and behaving civilly. It's the only way a collaborative editing environment works. When people get emotionally invested in a topic it doesn't take much to cross the line. When it gets to the level of Arb, most people involved will get sanctioned or blocked. Personally I think it sucks for everyone involved, including Arb. It's like a train wreck and Arb is playing triage picking up dead bodies and staunching sucking wounds.
posted by stbalbach at 4:36 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wait, sorry, that word count was off (I forgot to strip out people quoting other people in the same thread, which artificially increased the word count). It should have been 309,911, not 402,057. Still, that's a lot.

Actually, question here: I've been reading about GG pretty much the whole way, so I kinda have a handle on the issue, in general. I had a discussion with a gamer friend who was mildly pro-GG, but didn't know much about the issue. I told him what I knew (from MeFi, etc.), and that was the end of him being pro-GG. I thought about telling him to check out some stuff online, but pretty much all the stuff online I can think of is either: 1) really insulting to all gamers, 2) really focused on "what happened this week" as opposed to providing an overview. Is there a concise anti-GG overview of the entire thing, whose target audience is gamers (i.e. something which doesn't just lump all gamers in with the GGers?)
posted by Bugbread at 4:42 AM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm absolutely against gamergate, chan culture, and harassment.

but I have not been engaged in this battle because I have a hard time trusting anyone.

The sheer hilarious unwillingness to read or respond to the millions of excellent responses to this man/woman whose husband supposedly really talked to her/him about gamergate is amazing

THIS RIGHT HERE is gamergate tactics. it's one of the BIG THINGS that we made fun of them about - saying "Well the reason you don't agree with gamergate is because you have not read the million of excellent tweets/youtube comments etc." I can't abide when the tactics that are used by people we oppose are also used by us.

And compounding this: False Flagging. I know for a fact that false flagging happens on both sides. One of the banned wikipedia editors false flagged over Manning's page. I've seen mefights admit to false flagging in metafilter comments. It makes me feel like I'm in some sort of shell game, where I am forced to suspect every accusation lobbed against the other side has been planted, intentionally, to create a martyr and force justice to be done. So in that respect, I think that gamergate has won this war by forcing me to be disunited with their victims.

Like qcubed said, I see this war as one of aggressors and victims. The aggressors are unified, they are wolves in sheep's clothing, and they are vicious. But the victims are not old grannies who don't understand the interwebs - they are super smart people who, if this was a traditional battle on a battlefield, would absolutely win. But its a guerrilla campaign, full of poisonings, assassinations, and political machinations.

But I think that this battle will not be won through attrition. I think that the best way to win this battle is by creating a solidified taskforce that primarily works with the police and local news agencies to protect people from harassment, and secondly presents a unified yet non-aggressive message against gators online - more like Kony2012 than Wikipedia.

But that hasn't happened, yet anyway. I would in no way be surprised if we were all blindsided by some huge political / journalistic coup, in the same way that nobody took the tea party seriously and yet here we are. and beyond the destruction to victim's personal lives, I think that that's going to be the end game.
posted by rebent at 5:32 AM on January 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


THIS RIGHT HERE is gamergate tactics. it's one of the BIG THINGS that we made fun of them about - saying "Well the reason you don't agree with gamergate is because you have not read the million of excellent tweets/youtube comments etc." I can't abide when the tactics that are used by people we oppose are also used by us.

This. I see no reason to believe Hazelsmrf is acting in bad faith here, so accusing Hazelsmrf of "seasoning" is a pretty shitty thing to do, and a pretty effective way of turning Hazelsmrf off of your entire argument.

Let's maybe move on? As far as I know, Hazelsmrf's husband isn't on Metafilter, and the whole business of trying to argue with him via Hazelsmrf as proxy is a little gross. "Now listen here, little lady, what you should say to your husband is this..."

Gamergate is fucking appalling and that is not Hazelsmrf's fault, people.
posted by duffell at 5:50 AM on January 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've held off on the 2+2 debate because while I don't condone the 5 side's activities, I'm pretty sure the 4s aren't totally innocent. Also I am an intellectual and don't just jump to conclusions based on emotions *blows bubble pipe*
posted by Legomancer at 5:51 AM on January 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


er, oh wow, "sealioning," not "seasoning." Damn you, autocorrect.
posted by duffell at 5:51 AM on January 26, 2015


[One comment deleted. Let's drop the personal speculations and/or insults re Hazelsmrf's husband, please, and generally re-focus on the thread topic. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 5:58 AM on January 26, 2015


I'm surprised to see how many users with relatively old accounts and almost no comments are finding this thread interesting enough to comment here. It's almost as if there's something about the topic that really encourages people who normally don't comment on Metafilter to participate.

It's encouraging, though, that they're taking up both sides of the argument the way that they're doing; we're not just drawing people from one side of the debate, but watching the conversation blossom under the attentions of these longstanding lurkers. And it's even more encouraging that their comments have drawn many more active members to engage with them, repeatedly and at length.

Clearly, if we want to get old users back into the fold, we should have this kind of conversation more often.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:07 AM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


> It makes a lot more sense to say that he got conned into siding with the wrong side.

Bugbread, you are a lot more generous about other people than I am, considering that this has gone on quite a while now.

> Is there a concise anti-GG overview of the entire thing, whose target audience is gamers (i.e. something which doesn't just lump all gamers in with the GGers?)

I'm not sure what you're asking for here? The only people who seem to lump those two together are the GGers, who think anyone disagreeing with them are "anti-gamer".

The key thing is that nobody's saying that there aren't ethical problems. The few journalists GG seems to have targeted have actually been writing articles highlighting these issues for a good while now. On top of that, some of these purported "ethical lapses" are anything but. Are you looking for something that has a long list of the many factual errors that get paraded around as truths? Or some sort of narrative?
posted by qcubed at 6:09 AM on January 26, 2015


this thread is posted at gamerghazi for what it's worth...
posted by nadawi at 6:10 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Personally I think it sucks for everyone involved, including Arb. It's like a train wreck and Arb is playing triage picking up dead bodies and staunching sucking wounds.

That implies them doing something useful. This is more like them running around shooting firefighters for having the wrong color boots or being in sufficiently deferential to fire.
posted by Artw at 6:10 AM on January 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


i'm a near life long gamer, i don't find the articles tearing down gamergate to be insulting to me. it seems pretty clear that even the articles that say gamers are dead are saying that gamers won and now most everyone games. conversely on the gg side i've seen multiple infographs explaining women didn't care about gaming until they started making crafts based on portal, that most women only game for attention, and that real gamers know that things like "gone home" and "depression quest" and the like aren't real games, but rather sjws trying to ruin the raping murder simulating fun that defines aaa gaming at this point.
posted by nadawi at 6:18 AM on January 26, 2015 [10 favorites]


i also am confused by the people who fall back on "i'm a gamer and i feel attacked!" and aligns with gg, a group where the dudes with the largest megaphones have viciously attacked gamers before realizing they could use them to attack feminists (and maybe line their pockets in the process).
posted by nadawi at 6:26 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


anotherpanacea: "It's encouraging, though, that they're taking up both sides of the argument"

Yeah, we have the anti-GGers, and...

uh...

okay, wait, besides the husband of one GGer, do we have a single GamerGater here? Like, on your "both sides of the argument", who here are you seeing as being on the GGer side?

qcubed: "I'm not sure what you're asking for here? The only people who seem to lump those two together are the GGers, who think anyone disagreeing with them are "anti-gamer"."

Really? MeFi is what taught me to stop calling myself a "gamer", and start calling myself a "person who likes games", because the word "gamer" is treated as largely synonymous with misogynist asshole (I'm thinking it was back when Sarkeesian did her Kickstarter, or one of the Penny Arcade threads. Either way, way before GamerGate). No big deal, it's just a different expression, and insults about gamers don't bother me, but I'd say that there is, at MeFi at least, a lot of antipathy against people who self-describe as "gamers", but not against people who say they like games a lot but are not "gamers". (But that may be largely a MeFi thing, come to think of it.)

qcubed: "Are you looking for something that has a long list of the many factual errors that get paraded around as truths?"

Not quite. More like a rundown of the key events, stated with neutral phrasing (NOT a neutral point of view, just...like the phrasing you'd have in a newspaper article or the like). Something like what Wikipedia has now, except without the danger that one day a bunch of GGers would totally change it up under your nose.

Like "Gamergate began when the ex-boyfriend of indie game developer Zoe Quinn alleged that Quinn had a romantic relationship with Nathan Grayson, a journalist for the video game news site Kotaku. Some people, who were later called GamerGaters, claimed that she did so in order to secure a positive review for her game, and that therefore it was an ethical journalism breach. However, this accusation has been proven unfounded, as no such review was ever written, and her romantic relationship did not occur until after the date of the purported review. GamerGaters have claimed to be motivated by a general interest in righting breaches of journalistic ethics, but major journalistic ethics breaches, such as the providing of review copies of Shadow of Mordor only on the condition that reviews are positive, and with a list of key points that must be discussed in reviews, have gone almost entirely ignored by GamerGaters. Instead, GamerGaters have disproportionately targeted non-journalist females involved in the game industry. They, and in many case their family members, have been subject to numerous physical threats..." etc. Written drily, but certainly not a "both sides are right" type thing.
posted by Bugbread at 6:32 AM on January 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's less gamers that can claim to be attacked and more gaming culture, specifically the subset of it that has grown up around messageboards. And let's face it, that crap makes normal human beings wonder of just marching straight into the sea is the best option for humanity.
posted by Artw at 6:33 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Really? MeFi is what taught me to stop calling myself a "gamer", and start calling myself a "person who likes games", because the word "gamer" is treated as largely synonymous with misogynist asshole (I'm thinking it was back when Sarkeesian did her Kickstarter, or one of the Penny Arcade threads. Either way, way before GamerGate).

TBH, until GG started, even though I was aware of the problems gaming had, I didn't mind being attached to that label. It had its issues, sure, but I felt that gaming was inclusive, as were gamers, more or less. Then GG continued, and I pretty much realized that I couldn't, in good conscience, continue to hold that position.

In other words, while others may have disliked gamers before, it was an identity that I thought would gradually expand to include more or less everyone, like "geek", given the trend of people playing games--which is why, having read those "Gamers are dead" articles, I thought they were great and making the point that everyone is, these days, a gamer.

GG put that notion out to pasture, and most likely haven't even read those articles, because if they had, they wouldn't constantly be bringing them up to prove their nebulous points. So if they view me as an "anti-gamer" simply because I disagree with their asshattery, that's fine. Shucking that loose identity from how I describe myself was as easy as changing a sweater.

Hell, I used to not mind the term "gaymer" to describe myself. But with the way it's being flung around on their chanboards, even that sounds like a slur now.

> Something like what Wikipedia has now, except without the danger that one day a bunch of GGers would totally change it up under your nose.

I was about to suggest Wikipedia, while it's still up. RationalWiki does fall into a little bit of incendiary remarks. I think part of the problem these days is everybody's nerves are completely on edge because these five months of hate have essentially worn everything away.

Another part of the problem is that it continues to develop. August never ends, to use someone's else's phrase. To have a simple, "neutral", just the facts article that would be continually updated would expose the writer to the toxicity surrounding it.

I don't know if it's possible to have a neutral tone, let alone an NPOV, on the topic, without having completely avoided it these past few months.
posted by qcubed at 6:45 AM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


nadawi: "this thread is posted at gamerghazi for what it's worth..."

From that discussion:

"Metafilter is about as hostile to GG as I've seen anywhere. "

Not gonna lie, I felt a little proud when I read that.
posted by Bugbread at 6:46 AM on January 26, 2015 [16 favorites]


qcubed: "To have a simple, "neutral", just the facts article that would be continually updated would expose the writer to the toxicity surrounding it. "

Good point. I guess an article on the first two or so months of GamerGate would be perfect for my purposes. Something where, if I find out another friend has gotten only the GG side, I can point, and they can spend 5 or 10 minutes reading, and go, "Oh, okay. Yeah, fuck GG." I can't really imagine anyone who isn't a total and complete asshole reading an overview of the first two months of GG and saying "Well, okay, but it doesn't talk about what happened after that, so maybe the GamerGaters are right!" If you can read the first two months and still be on the fence, you aren't really on the fence, you're an asshole.
posted by Bugbread at 6:50 AM on January 26, 2015


we do have mefites who support gg. many of them do the whole intellectual dishonesty dance of "i'm a neutral person who thinks they are some fine chaps over at that, what do you call it, kotakuinaction, and it seems like tumblr sjws are a bunch of poopyheads. what am i missing?" we've had long dormant mefites announce in kia that they were coming to mefi to argue, made one shitty comment, and get banned. we had the dude who signed up yesterday just to show us his wall of text and fight until he got banned, etc.
posted by nadawi at 7:03 AM on January 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ah, okay, I guess I'm missing them because their comments are getting deleted before I see them.
posted by Bugbread at 7:08 AM on January 26, 2015


Metafilter: About as hostile to GG as I've seen anywhere.

Also, Metafilter: hostile to bullshit, in all its forms.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:14 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Good point. I guess an article on the first two or so months of GamerGate would be perfect for my purposes. Something where, if I find out another friend has gotten only the GG side, I can point, and they can spend 5 or 10 minutes reading, and go, "Oh, okay. Yeah, fuck GG." I can't really imagine anyone who isn't a total and complete asshole reading an overview of the first two months of GG and saying "Well, okay, but it doesn't talk about what happened after that, so maybe the GamerGaters are right!" If you can read the first two months and still be on the fence, you aren't really on the fence, you're an asshole.

And this is where I'm not sure having any articles would help. To have bought into GG, one also has to then decide that whole swaths of contrary opinions are invalid, and that a myriad of news organizations are corrupt and thus untrustworthy. This would include Gawker/Deadspin, The Verge/Vox, The Washington Post...

Couple that with the simple human tendency to have motivated reasoning, where anything contradictory to one's worldview only serves to actually reinforce it? Where it's easier to believe that, as a GGer, one is fighting the good fight against a nefarious conspiracy of ess jay dub yous and their journalistic lapdogs than realizing that maybe supporting a movement that welcomes redpillers, MRAs, and Stormfront, while holding Breitbart as an example of integrity makes you an asshole?

I mean, seriously. They gleefully repurpose Nazi imagery and anti-semitic cartoons, while making florid comparisons to how this is a war for the soul of whatever and anyone not on their side is somehow Hitlerian or Stalinesque.

Let them think what they want to think. They can have their corner of the internet, if it doesn't bleed out. For a long time, they did, too.
posted by qcubed at 7:17 AM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


But that would be for someone who has read a lot about GG. I'm thinking more about folks who have maybe only read an article or two, tops. Not an active GGer who is tweeting and foruming, but just someone who is like "Oh, yeah, I've heard about gamergate, its something about bribing journalists for good reviews. I'm opposed to that." I know people like this exist, because I've met one, and I can't imagine he's the only one in the world.

Let them think what they want to think.

I chose to tell him about the history of Gamergate, and he skedaddled away from GG. I think that's preferable to letting him be used as an unknowing pawn.

I mean, it's cool, I'm not asking you personally to make an overview, just wondering if any MeFites know of one.
posted by Bugbread at 7:28 AM on January 26, 2015


I mean, I did link a few. It's just that they're from sources that GamerGaters already consider questionable.
posted by qcubed at 7:32 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, sorry! I thought those were just general site links, not links to specific articles!
posted by Bugbread at 7:36 AM on January 26, 2015


Really? MeFi is what taught me to stop calling myself a "gamer", and start calling myself a "person who likes games", because the word "gamer" is treated as largely synonymous with misogynist asshole (I'm thinking it was back when Sarkeesian did her Kickstarter, or one of the Penny Arcade threads. Either way, way before GamerGate). No big deal, it's just a different expression, and insults about gamers don't bother me, but I'd say that there is, at MeFi at least, a lot of antipathy against people who self-describe as "gamers", but not against people who say they like games a lot but are not "gamers". (But that may be largely a MeFi thing, come to think of it.)

It's been bouncing around for a while - probably most clearly expressed in this 2013 New Statesman piece by Simon Parkin. I think that one of the side notes in the whole Gamergate mishegas is that the people writing about (primarily) the negative impact on perception of the "gamer" identity caused by what was at the time just starting to be called Gamergate at the end of August assumed a greater level of familiarity with the argument than the audiences funnelled to them by outrage merchants actually had.

On summaries of the beginnings of Gamergate - Zoe Quinn's personal account is actually pretty good, and humanizing. Keith Stuart of the Guardian did a roundup in the early weeks.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:05 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


GamerGhazi also has a timeline of the events, but that unfortunately falls into the Old Testament side of things too. But it has all the sources.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 8:49 AM on January 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


I also recommend reading about The Fine Young Capitalists, which are one of the original groups that spawned GamerGate.
posted by shii at 1:22 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, the gamergate wiki is adorable.
posted by Corinth at 1:50 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


ah yes, the fine young capitalists who have been found to be lying and smearing zoe quinn at every turn and still managed to bilk the gators out of a bunch of money.
posted by nadawi at 1:55 PM on January 26, 2015


MeFi is what taught me to stop calling myself a "gamer"...

Eh, let's not let the GGers own or spoil the word "gamer". Their targets are gamers. A lot of people outraged at GG are gamers. Mefi even has its own spinoff of gamers, Mefightclub. (I actually got into Mefi from there, rather than vice versa.)
posted by zompist at 2:20 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Reading about GG was an education on how easy it is to dupe people. Myself included, for about the 5th day after the issue first exploded, before it was even on MeFi. It was also a lesson in the spin people put in their words, and how easy it can be to accept some pretty horrible statements. Also simplifying issues into fantastical platforms when a group has never really considered how easy it is to abuse ideals to support selfish agendas.

Thanks, MetaFilter.
posted by halifix at 3:59 PM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, and here are some recent FPPs about harassment.
posted by halifix at 4:02 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


It continues to puzzle me why anyone would want to associate themselves with Gamergate. It is like picking your nose in public and then swallowing the booger. Sure if you are child there might be some excuse, but for an adult human it is inexcusable. The evidence of the ugly side of Gamergate is clear with even a single Google search. If there remain any Pro-gg folks left reading this, you should be certain that your advocacy of Gamergate makes you look terrible. If you are as smart and intelligent as you claim, then you should get as far away from your advocacy of Gamergate as possible before a colleague, employer, friend, romantic interest or your mother finds out.
posted by humanfont at 4:56 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, one of the things I tried to ask the gg-talking-point-bot that showed up here was, why? They claim the abusers are "not gamergate" and it's really about ethics, etc. Why not start over with a new name, a strict policy of being about only what you say you're about, denounce the griefers and harassers, and go from there?

All I ever get out of Twitter is hand-waving about "shouldn't have to" and "we've come this far and done so much good under this name, can't stop now." It makes no sense to me. I mean, ok. Keep looking like a dipshit automatically when you use that hashtag. See if I care.
posted by ctmf at 5:16 PM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because I suspect the real reason is it's fun to have a pack of dogs to sic on people who give you shit.
posted by ctmf at 5:23 PM on January 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


The impression I get is a lot of GamerGaters instinctively respond to any criticism by doubling down on whatever they were doing while shouting, "Freeeedddooooooommmmm!"

In the comments of this interview with David Jaffe there are a couple calling him a coward for giving up the word, "fucktard."
posted by RobotHero at 5:49 PM on January 26, 2015


For the Sake of the Industry: No More TotalBiscuit.

I realise this is a new account, so for the sake of clarity I should say, I agree with this article
posted by these are science wands at 6:38 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cranky Wikipedia oldtimer here. I'm going to file this on my giant pile of "symptoms of the basic structural problem with Wikipedia post-2005".

(My credentials: I've started more than 1,000 Wikipedia articles and logged more than 25,000 edits in total. Both of those numbers would be several times higher, but I've gone through numerous burnouts, typically as a result of getting sucked into some egregiously unnecessary bit of wikidrama. I'm currently semi-active, for the first time in a number of years, but like other posters above, I stay in the quietest and dustiest corners of the wiki these days.)

The project's meteoric rise in 2005-2006 (holy shit was that almost 10 years ago) took just about everyone by surprise. It was unbelievably exciting and validating. But suddenly our mellow, positive-sum dialogical processes, which had worked so well for resolving article conflicts when we were just another obscure web community, stopped working.

Bad editing is always a lot easier than good editing. And when Wikipedia articles started reliably turning up in the top results for any given searchterm, it made us an irresistible target for bad-faith contributors of every stripe (including the douchey control freaks who gravitate to things like Arbcom), and at the same time made good-faith editing utterly exhausting. Even if you could work out a sensible compromise with the first dozen axe-grinders to show up on a particular issue or article, there would be hundreds more behind them.

You can't create something as big and successful as Wikipedia without painting a huge target on its back. But easily 90% of the structural problems could have been solved -- and, I think, could still be solved even now -- by getting Wikipedia out of the content-delivery business. Back in the day, the way our content reached most people was through third-party reusers like Answers.com. That's the whole point of being free-as-in-freedom, after all; anybody can reuse and redistribute your content for any purpose. And it also greatly reduces the incentive for bad-faith contributions, since your edits are likely to be undone before the updated article ever gets picked up by redistributors. One little line in robots.txt could get us right back to that state of affairs, but I'm afraid neither the editor community nor the WMF will ever have the courage to flip that switch.

If anybody's actually going to try to create a structurally improved fork of Wikipedia, I'm interested, and I venture there are plenty of disgruntled old Wikipedes like me who'd love to have one more shot at not screwing this up. I think it's entirely doable -- the financial and engineering challenges become a lot more manageable if you're not obsessed with running a "top 10" website -- but it would still take a whole lot of doing.

Anyway, for anyone who is thinking about it, I'd suggest a few hard-won lessons:

(1) Prominence attracts the corrupt and the power-hungry. Keep "success" at a safe distance.

(2) Bad contributions drive out good. In particular, if things are set up in such a way that bad-faith contributors can obtain any significant "reward" from their actions (such as their changes being immediately served up on a major website), the project is going to be overrun sooner or later.

(3) Low barriers to entry and exit make the "will of the community" a treacherous mirage. This is a big part of why Wikipedia's structural problems will never be solved from the inside out, despite the well-intentioned exhortations above. The majority of active editors at any given time will support things being more or less exactly the way they are -- not because there was ever a consensus that the project should evolve in the way it has, but because if they didn't like the way things have evolved, they would have left already. A few of us malcontents stick around, for reasons ranging from the sunk-costs fallacy to general mulishness, but we'll never have enough numbers to make any real difference.
posted by shenderson at 7:27 PM on January 26, 2015 [12 favorites]


shenderson, I'm curious if Wikipedia ever created a formal process for administrator formation/training? It's been my experience that organizations that fail to consciously create that process become very vulnerable to griefers.
posted by wuwei at 7:55 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also I have seen the "low barriers to entry" cause process-driven organizations to fail in meatspace also.
posted by wuwei at 7:56 PM on January 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nope, never. There are informal processes--but participating in them is apparently prima facie evidence that you're 'power hungry' and therefore shouldn't be an admin. The so-called community has been incredibly resistant to any change in the popularity/beauty contest that is Requests for Adminship.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:59 PM on January 26, 2015


For the Sake of the Industry: No More TotalBiscuit.

The first claim made there makes for an interesting case study. It claims that TB "retweeted a charity stream that asked him not to do so, then argued with the streamers as his GamerGate-supporting followers flooded the stream’s chat and made it unusable." Sounds like fairly obnoxious behavior.

If you follow enough links to find the "TotalBiscuit tried to ruin a charity stream" thing on storify, a record of what happened from the point of view of TB's victims, it appears that the story is slightly more complicated.

TotalBiscuit retweeted a charity stream announcement he came across which said "Please rt/signal boost", for a charity he was already a supporter of. There is no mention that anyone had asked him not to. The organizers of the stream were "genuinely pissed off by this", fearing it would draw the wrong kind of crowd. TB chastises them for "putting politics before charity." Someone says "Fuck You TotalBiscuit." TB suggests with a mildly sarcastic tone that innocently pointing his zillions of followers to a charity event that was asking for publicity might not be so bad. One of the event organizers concludes that this has now "ruined everything". Whether the stream went ahead ruined, or was cancelled after this is unclear.

Note that TB's various fans are by no means exclusively people who give a damn about GamerGate. He's had a large following since long before such a thing existed. It's a random collection of gamers, who are at minimum not inclined to get sufficiently outraged by this sort of thing to disavow this guy who makes entertaining youtube videos.

Once the masses find out about these happenings, there's a small flurry of twittering. We only see one side of it here of course, and presumably what we see includes the very worst of it. It's a couple dozen tweets taking TB's side. Most are more polite than half the stuff in this thread. There are a handful of offensive ones, the worst of which calls the person who took offense at his charity being promoted "mentally disturbed."

And that is what became the legend of the time TotalBiscuit sent his army of followers to "terrorize" a charity stream event. It's probably a better explanation of what GamerGate is like than any summary of the thousands of incidents, many of which are far worse of course, that pervade the whole mess. It's like some antiquated USENET flame war, escaped from its confinement and thriving in this new environment that includes Twitter and mainstream mass media.
posted by sfenders at 10:12 PM on January 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nope, never. There are informal processes--but participating in them is apparently prima facie evidence that you're 'power hungry' and therefore shouldn't be an admin. The so-called community has been incredibly resistant to any change in the popularity/beauty contest that is Requests for Adminship.

I still can't get over how hilarious it is how much wiki resembles a meatspace arts collective/co-op/group. I was in several when i was younger, and went to an "alternative" school that was run the same way. It seriously sounds EXACTLY the same.

That whole "well there's no official process, but if you try and follow the informal one then you're obviously carpetbagger brownnosing piece of shit who shouldn't even be in charge of the toilets". You know, where it's an Organization With Rules in name only, and actually just a popularity contest full of cliques where the rules are only enforced when they fit the whims of people in charge. Who are either the loudest, the best manipulators, or the best shmoozers.

Is there even any other example of an organization that grew this quickly to be this large run in that stupid hippie dippy way that got taken over by buttheads and rules lawyers and is now gamed by lesser buttheads and rules lawyers?

Seriously, all i can think of is like... the burning man org and DPW and all that which seems to have a lot of similar drama. Everything else is regional, down to even being a small neighborhood organization or collective that you wouldn't have heard of if you weren't from the area.

Doubly funny is the fact that many times when you try and have a discussion about how shitty of a way to run things this is with people, they instantly assume you were either "wronged" by them and it's some Both Sides thing, or you were the person no one liked. It breaks their brain when they find out you ran XYZ thing at that org and still think it was a total garbage can.
posted by emptythought at 10:16 PM on January 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


emptythought: yep. You've read Jo Freeman's Tyranny of Structurelss?
posted by wuwei at 10:35 PM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


sfenders: "Once the masses find out about these happenings, there's a small flurry of twittering. We only see one side of it here of course, and presumably what we see includes the very worst of it. It's a couple dozen tweets taking TB's side. Most are more polite than half the stuff in this thread. There are a handful of offensive ones, the worst of which calls the person who took offense at his charity being promoted "mentally disturbed." "

One of the things that makes TotalBiscuit such a distorting presence on Twitter is that, even absent any opinions he may or may not hold, he appears to take it on faith that the Gators who follow him are all upstanding fellows who care only about ethics in games journalism and not, to pick an example at random, harassing women and "SJWs". This means he remains implausibly—deliberately?—unaware of the damage he can do just by picking a random person or small event out of the twitter crowds and calling attention to it.

In this scenario, TB might not be the sea lion or the guy with the guy with the gun but, even assuming the best intentions on his part, he's definitely the hornets guy. That he ought to be savvy enough to realise this combines with his recent behaviour to destroy his right to the benefit of the doubt.

It's also worth remembering that several weeks earlier than this, AbleGamers refused to allow themselves to be used as a propaganda tool for GamerGate, so there was already bad blood. This is something TotalBiscuit, as a responsible (cough) and influential GamerGater, ought to have been aware of.
posted by these are science wands at 11:23 PM on January 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


TB suggests with a mildly sarcastic tone that innocently pointing his zillions of followers to a charity event that was asking for publicity might not be so bad.

I think with the history of GG this might be understating the case a little bit. People have had to leave their houses because good folks like TB innocently pointed their followers their way.

Whether the stream went ahead ruined, or was cancelled after this is unclear.

That information is surprisingly not hard to find, even though I know squat about Twitter. It was delayed a day and somebody else took over running it, since the original person wasn't really up to running it after the fun TB and TB's friends dished out. Also, some of TB's followers decided that delaying a charity stream due to harassment is the same thing as canceling it out of spite and decided to spread that around.

Most are more polite than half the stuff in this thread. There are a handful of offensive ones

I'm not sure about "most," "more polite," or "handful." How pointlessly hostile does somebody need to be hurt somebody?

It's probably a better explanation of what GamerGate is like than any summary of the thousands of incidents

It's probably not, since nobody had to flee their home or cancel a speaking arrangement because of threats of violence or got hand-delivered death or rape threats.

Having said this, it would be cool if we could focus more on what to do about Wikipedia and less on GamerGate.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 11:32 PM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


People have had to leave their houses because good folks like TB innocently pointed their followers their way.

In your opinion "like" TB, but not actually TotalBiscuit himself I take it? He's said plenty of stupid things of course, but the GamaSutra writer seemed unable to find convincing evidence of less extreme accusations than that.
posted by sfenders at 11:57 PM on January 26, 2015


It is hard for me to accurately express my disappointment at seeing Simon Carless in the comments underneath that blog post defending TotalBiscuit. It just seems so weird and out-of-character.
posted by Corinth at 12:18 AM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even GamerGhazi is not undivided on the question of whether TotalBiscuit is a menace to society, or simply the arrogant, stubborn, cynical prick that everyone loves. He's among the least reprehensible of people not entirely opposed to GamerGate, not the first who should be singled out.
posted by sfenders at 12:44 AM on January 27, 2015


I'm not seeing the division you're suggesting in the Reddit thread, but I don't really see how it matters? He's said more than enough absolutely vile shit in the past few months to one of the largest social media audiences to merit something like this (which is simply a blog post).
posted by Corinth at 1:01 AM on January 27, 2015


Even GamerGhazi is not undivided on the question of whether TotalBiscuit is a menace to society, or simply the arrogant, stubborn, cynical prick that everyone loves.

I'd actually say that in this case "cynical" is almost entirely inappropriate - simply saying things in a British accent does not cynicism make. If anything, Totalbiscuit's involvement with the entire farcical situation has been characterized by credulity - although I guess "credulous Brit" doesn't sound as good.

In terms of singling out, I suspect that he gets criticism from the gaming community because he's the only person of any note to gamers who is consistently downplaying the significance and severity of the harassment of women and journalists. Put another way, nobody is surprised that manosphere celebs like RooshV, or opportunistic right-wing talking heads like Adam Baldwin or Christina Hoff Sommers have glommed onto GamerGate - they have no interest in the long-term welfare of the games industry, and are either indifferent to or actively opposed to the the possibility of women or writers being protected or supported against harassment within it. Whether one should expect better of Totalbsicuit is a worthwhile question, but indubitably many people did.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:17 AM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


It seems that arbcom's final decision is not so final. It seems that various votes are changing and now two will be admonished while 3 will be banned. Or maybe it will change again. This process is very difficult to follow.
posted by humanfont at 2:50 AM on January 27, 2015


Reading anything about the internal workings of Wikipedia is like being handed a hard-SF novel with the first hundred pages torn out.
posted by these are science wands at 3:09 AM on January 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


If anything, Totalbiscuit's involvement with the entire farcical situation has been characterized by credulity - although I guess "credulous Brit" doesn't sound as good.

I don't maintain a lot of exposure to the YouTube gaming scheme, but it seems to me that there are a number of people who basically rose to prominence in that sort of video largely because they had accents that the American market liked. All this has done for me is leave me wondering what it was that TotalBiscuit ever did that was such high-quality criticism that he's worth listening to on anything else, no matter what side he might have taken for this. I'm pretty convinced at this point that a number of the current stars of gaming--YouTube in general--are people who got in early, were capable of producing content that had reasonable production values, did so in volume, and now they just continue to get more audience because they show up high in search results.

Given all that, I'm not totally surprised that he's so credulous about all of this--his life is the very definition of privilege. Actually, I'm not surprised at all. I'm surprised that other people are, like, shocked that an affluent white guy who made a lot of money by happening to be in the right time and place would downplay anything that suggested his success isn't just the result of his personal genius and hard work. And he's just applying those assumptions--that the people currently doing well must deserve it and the people who aren't don't--to this whole situation, and that's where you end up, making increasingly ridiculous excuses.
posted by Sequence at 5:44 AM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


i really enjoyed tb's videos. they were especially good to get a look at how a game actually played. he and i have different likes and dislikes about gaming, but he was steady in his opinions, which meant i could figure out what i thought based on what he thought, whether i agreed or not. when he first started taking up the gg mantle i thought he had just not really known what was going on, believed some lies about zq, and would bow out of all of it soon enough.

but, that's not what happened, not by a country mile. as far as i can tell he's following where he thinks the money is, just like baldwin or milo or sommers. it's all pretty gross and pretty disappointing. guess i'll be finding another lets play person to follow.
posted by nadawi at 6:06 AM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


nadawi, if you want let's plays, you're always welcome at its birthplace and still the best source of the highest quality LP's.

But if you're more interested in the sort of gameplay review videos in LP form, I think Giant Bomb's Quick Looks are pretty good for that ("quick look" usually meaning about an hour of gameplay).
posted by Pyrogenesis at 6:31 AM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Arbitration Committee has released a statement to "clarify the Committee’s purpose, process, and preliminary findings" in response to the media coverage. I'm not entirely sure it really clarifies much though, after reading it...
posted by Fair, true, and boring as hell at 7:10 AM on January 27, 2015


The tl;dr is that they are utterly asleep at the wheel and thoroughly convinced of the correctness of that.
posted by Artw at 8:10 AM on January 27, 2015


In your opinion "like" TB, but not actually TotalBiscuit himself I take it? He's said plenty of stupid things of course, but the GamaSutra writer seemed unable to find convincing evidence of less extreme accusations than that.

I haven't stalked TB through 8chan and reddit, so I can't comment on what he personally has or has not done. Let's put it this way. If I was throwing a party and one person known to hang out with the KKK said he was sending his friends, I wouldn't really make too much of a distinction about whether this person had actually murdered anyone or whether he just liked the social scene.


Also, Wikipedia has a tag for weasel words, right? I think ArbCom's statement might need one.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 8:31 AM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure what the ArbCom clarification is exactly intended to clarify or how - which may be a case of Wikipedians being too used to Wikipedianese. I suspect it's something Jimmy Wales could explain pretty quickly and much more successfully...

AFAICT, they are (understandably) annoyed about reportage that behaved as if the passing of the bans was a fait accompli - although it does look like most of the editors who were most involved in rolling back BLP and NPOV edits have been topic-banned. It says that the ArbCom's resolutions are open to change and that the sanctions have not been put in place yet, but I'm not sure whether that just means "the voting has not ended" or "we might decide to overrule any or all of these resolutions" ... which would then probably demand the question "in that case, what is the ArbCom for?" And it is at pains to point out that the Arbitration is about behavior, not content and that a number of accounts with varied viewpoints are being banned.

Which is well and good, but I think maybe highlights an issue with the structure - that the way the page is being attacked is designed to game that system. In the first instance by targeting the editors they wanted off the page both on and outside wikipedia and attacking them until they lost their tempers, and in the second by trading throwaway or revived accounts for known editors.

It feels like the miasma of GamerGate is spreading - first through the relatively isolated world of video game fandom, but now to a point where it is highlighting the inadequacy of the anti-spoiling systems of serious institutions like Twitter and Wikipedia.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:07 AM on January 27, 2015


I can see how what I'm about to ask could cut both ways, but I do wonder, while reading all that ArbCom "clarification" language, how their supposedly content-neutral procedure decides that the proposed topic-bans should be centered around "gender" and not around "games."
posted by nobody at 9:22 AM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Looks like the ArbCom "clarification" is entirely written in wikipedese, a "content free vocabulary that anyone can edit".
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:25 AM on January 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


I guess "credulous Brit" doesn't sound as good.

Yeah, I don't find his credulity here all that surprising. He actually does care about "ethics in game journalism". He's always enjoyed pontificating on the subject, so when an excuse comes along to do so, he's ready to try and turn the subject to that. For instance his 2013 Dragon's Crown video, in which he ends up coming to some conclusions not that far from Anita Sarkeesian's better-known views on the tired trope of damsels in distress and the depiction of women in games.

So it seems strange for example that anyone would think it in any way unusual that he might cover "a female-developed title with fairness and interest." He often makes mistakes, only sometimes apologizes, but I can't see any reason to suspect that he's somehow opposed to women.

But I don't even use twitter and can't be bothered to search through the voluminous works of TotalBiscuit, so if anyone out there happens to know of a summary of vile stuff he's done, one which might stand up to the slightest skepticism and isn't based on falsehoods, exaggerations, and unsourced rumor, I wouldn't mind seeing it.
posted by sfenders at 9:26 AM on January 27, 2015


The Arbitration Committee has released a statement to "clarify the Committee’s purpose, process, and preliminary findings" in response to the media coverage. I'm not entirely sure it really clarifies much though, after reading it...

"Blah blah blah, we did nothing wrong, blah blah, both sides are just as bad, blah blah, being polite matters more than context, blah blah."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:28 AM on January 27, 2015


From the very beginning TB has been a both-sides blah blah equivocator. Misogyny is bad but apparently talking about it is useless so in the midst of a misogynist hatestorm clearly the most important thing is "ethics" and the DMCA.
posted by kmz at 9:51 AM on January 27, 2015


Wow, the new lede is ever more damning than before:
The Gamergate controversy, centering on a debate about sexism in video game culture, came to public attention in August 2014 as a result of sexist and misogynistic attacks targeting a number of women in the video game industry, including game developers Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu, cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian, and others. These attacks, which were often performed under the #gamergate hashtag or by people connected to it, included online harassment and death threats, and were frequently coordinated and promoted within subforums of virtual communities such as Reddit and 8chan; at the most extreme, they included a threat of a mass shooting.

Gamergate is widely viewed as a manifestation of a culture war over gaming culture diversification, artistic recognition and social criticism of video games, and the gamer social identity; while some people involved in the controversy say that it is a movement concerned with ethical concerns in video game journalism, most commentators have dismissed the concerns it has focused on as being trivial, conspiracy theories, or unrelated to ethics.

posted by Theta States at 9:51 AM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Theta States, that sounds like a False Flag to calm down the critics of the ArbCom decision so they will say "see, those editors were not required to make GG look bad, we win, moving on" and then a week later the GGs are able to edit with impunity.

(this comment brought to you by my rampant paranoia and complete mistrust of everything i see and hear due to the insane tactics I've seen so far)
posted by rebent at 10:12 AM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mostly it's the result of the draft being copied to the main page after the page was unprotected.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


From the very beginning TB has been a both-sides blah blah equivocator.

Well... kinda sorta? He's pretty consistently said that harassment is bad, m'kay, but has also buddied up with and guested on YouTube chats with people who, by the perception of the average, non-Gamergate person, have been implicared in harassment (and in one case Holocaust denial, although that was to be fair not evident at the time). He was identifying as a part of GamerGate by November:
Burch has made her opinion quite clear on the matter. She has labeled all of Gamergate as "bad". We're either malicious or ignorant.
However, he backed away from that after getting into a fight with David Rosen a couple of days later, and resolved not to use the hashtag from there - although he has continued to attack Feminist Frequency, Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu at various points, and rail against political correctness and the like.

Incidentally, much of the blogpost I linked to above is dedicated to Ashly Burch, sister of the vocal Gamergate critic and Gearbox writer Anthony Burch, whom he goes as far as to accuse of (in the somewhat eccentric way Gamergate construes it) corruption:
A final word. I'll do some disclosure on your behalf. In your video you relied on guest Ashley Burch for much of the opinion on Gamergate. It should be noted that Ms Burch is a friend of Zoe Quinn and will play a role in an FMV game she is developing called "Camps not Dead". Source for this can be found here

I would suggest as a result that Ms Burch has an inherent bias when it comes to defending a friend and person she now works for. This should be disclosed and her opinions on the subject taken with that context in mind.
Ironically, Ashly Burch is a key voice actor in Gravity Ghost, the game designed by Erin "LivelyIvy" Robinson which Totalbiscuit praised so fulsomely. In fact, he singled out the voice acting for particular praise, without apparently knowing that it was being provided by Ash Burch and Gone Home star Sarah Elmaleh. SJWs all the way down!
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:19 AM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sequence: "that the people currently doing well must deserve it and the people who aren't don't"

Though a lot of the GamerGate narrative is based on the notion that such-and-such a game didn't deserve a good review, didn't deserve an award, didn't deserve whatever success it had. And that GamerGate itself doesn't deserve its bad reputation.


running order squabble fest: "In fact, he singled out the voice acting for particular praise, without apparently knowing that it was being provided by Ash Burch and Gone Home star Sarah Elmaleh. "

Well doesn't that just show he's able to evaluate the game on its own merits rather than let politics bias him? ^_^

I'm not sure what this public call to avoid him is going to accomplish other than backlash from the Freeeeedddooooommmm contingent I mentioned above. Clearly this request should have been handled quietly through the secret collusion channels.
posted by RobotHero at 11:00 AM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


running order squabble fest: "It feels like the miasma of GamerGate is spreading - first through the relatively isolated world of video game fandom, but now to a point where it is highlighting the inadequacy of the anti-spoiling systems of serious institutions like Twitter and Wikipedia."

It turns out that systems put into place on the assumption that most people are basically rational actors who give up at the third, fourth or fifth failure don't take into account the sort of person who can group up with a few thousand like-minded idiots and spend months single-mindedly pursuing a misogynist hatecrush.
posted by these are science wands at 11:28 AM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


wait so when people who are journalists and have friends with other journalists are also game developers who have friends with other game developers, it must make their heads spin 260 degrees
posted by rebent at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2015


sfenders, to clarify, I wasn't saying that what TB was doing seemed unusual (I have no idea what kinds of games he usually covers), I was saying that what Simon Carless was doing in the comments isn't what I would have expected from him (because I have personal experience with him from years back).

If all of the plainly misogynist/transphobic/"anti-SJW"/juvenile stuff TB has said that's been rehashed for months isn't enough for you to accept that one developer might write a blog asking other developers to reconsider sending this guy their games to promote, then whatever. Oh well. I'm not going to assemble a case file to convince you personally of the role he's played in the six months of ridiculous misery that is gamergate.
posted by Corinth at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


From the Feminist Frequency Tumblr: One week of harassment on Twitter.
posted by these are science wands at 12:12 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm not going to assemble a case file to convince you personally

That's not a task I'd ask of anyone; I was just wondering if somebody had already done a better job of it. Sorry to contribute to the derail, but I was trying to figure out whether I should take seriously the advice not to do business with TB.
posted by sfenders at 12:41 PM on January 27, 2015


Theta States, that sounds like a False Flag to calm down the critics of the ArbCom decision

In a week or a month, gators may well try to rewrite the article into something more palatable for them. And if they do, there will be a lot of attention focused on them.

GG may have a monomaniacal dedication to their worthless cause, but they've created enemies who are almost as devoted. There's no chance at this point in time that they can even fart without someone smelling it immediately and mocking them for it on Twitter and GamerGhazi, and then a short blurb about "Gator Methane" in the Guardian. Which would be followed by loud cries on KotakuInAction encouraging more bean consumption.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


So many new users who are of course neutral but just want clarification on this one thing on the talk page right now.
posted by Artw at 12:44 PM on January 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


these are science wands's link to the femfreq documentation of one week's harassment is ... familiar.

For a while I was a GM on a game server. My inbox looked like that. My PMs looked like that. It sort of broke something in my head, I can admit. Seeing it documented, though, feels really good in a pulling-poison way. I don't have access to those accounts anymore, haven't since I quit, so I always kind of wondered if I was just making it up to be worse than it was.

But no. I wasn't.

At the same time, this is what I tend to mean when I talk about gamers being hostile. I don't mean subtleties. I don't mean being ignored or followed in game. I don't mean being PK'ed so badly for weeks that I never make it out of tutorial zones, though that is all part of it. I mean the array of rape threats, death threats, insults, slurs, on display in those 100+ tweets. That's what I mean.

I hope the admins who have been dealing with the GG pressure on wikipedia have lots of personal support whichever way the arbitration goes. It won't stop no matter what the decision is regarding these particular editors.
posted by E. Whitehall at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


From the Feminist Frequency Tumblr: One week of harassment on Twitter.

I just went through the whole list and searched for anyone that made a threat, and reported them. (It was encouraging to see about 30% of them had already been suspended.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:16 PM on January 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


(Oh goody, Goobers have now latched onto that Chait idiocy from today. Quelle surprise.)
posted by kmz at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2015


kmz: "(Oh goody, Goobers have now latched onto that Chait idiocy from today. Quelle surprise.)"

First they came for the white cis-gendered hetero upper-class men, and I did not speak out—because newspaper columnists, talk radio hosts, the Republican and Democrat and Libertarian parties, GamerGate, bloggers, and miscellaneous third parties already had done.
posted by these are science wands at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


TB's response to that horrifying Feminist Frequency Tumblr post linked a few posts above was to take Sarkeesian to task on Twitter for "giving trolls a platform for attention". Because clearly just not talking about it would make it all go away, or at least I guess he wouldn't have to hear about it anymore?

Honestly I don't think TB is a raging misogynist or has a heart filled with hate or whatever, but when there are a trillion other YouTubers out there who are creating intelligent content and not proudly supporting a hate movement* then I see no reason why I should feel compelled to give him my time and page views.

* To give some names from the SA LP forum Pyrogenesis linked above, check out Voidburger, Supergreatfriend, Chip Cheezum, Men Drinking Coffee, and Slowbeef. Among others!
posted by jess at 4:23 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


...and Skoolmunkee, Skippy Granola, Panzer Skank, the legendary Bobbin Threadbare, and last but definitely the most, Geop the hapless victim of one of the greatest LPs ever made.

Now I want to do an FPP about all the great stuff that has been done in this ridiculous little corner of the internet of people watching other people play games.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 4:54 PM on January 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


for me the tb stuff is difficult to make a definitive "here!" about him is filled with dog whistles, so you're either primed to hear them or you're not. i just know as a long time actual fan, subscribed to his page, etc, reading some of his explanations or watching some of the podcasts changed my mind about him. i think he likely got into this over the dcma complaint against zq (did that end up even being real?) and to support his friend - sadly, he's supportive of thunderf00t who is an actual raging misogynist, so i guess i don't much care if tb is actually a sexist or just giving harbor to sexists. there's plenty of other people to watch and support.
posted by nadawi at 5:20 PM on January 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now I want to do an FPP about all the great stuff that has been done in this ridiculous little corner of the internet of people watching other people play games.

Do it!
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:57 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, I wrote my little email to Wikipedia saying they won't be getting a donation from me and got a response that was, summarised, saying that press coverage suggesting ArbCom is targeting feminist users is incorrect, that the real issue is a large group of people using Wikipedia as a 'battleground' and that no recommendation has yet been made (despite what the article I apparently read allegedly suggests).
posted by dg at 1:50 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


i think he likely got into this over the dcma complaint against zq (did that end up even being real?)

Well, there's real and real. Certainly, it has an emotional reality. But AFAIK, the only actual evidence for Zoe Quinn having submitted a DMCA on MundaneMatt is the testimony of MundaneMatt, an antifeminist blogger who was already fixated on Zoe Quinn. So, yes.

Of course, false DMCA claims have a precedent in the toolkit of trolling. It's a good way to get credulous free-speechers to come down on your (let's assume female) target.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:15 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Checking the wikipedia talk page with my morning coffee and I spot this amorphous blob of text:
added by Danieljames626** I throughly support what you are saying. I have not entered in on #GamerGate at all up until now and I have not been writing on wikipedia in the many years I have been a member and supporter because I don't believe in talking just to add stuff that has already been said. But seeing this article shocks me. This is the first time, in my experience of specific accuracy arguments and wikipedia controversy where I have seen that people, whose agenda runs counter to the principles of wikipedia have taken such a level of grotesque control over a topic for the expedience of their own political and biased agendas. It is really sad to see. The people who seem to have control, in this wikipedia topic, over the definitions and depiction of narrative do not even seem to be required to have logic or reason constitute a part of their arguments; just pure politics. For example, whether one person is attacked or not, is NOT grounds to suggest the alleged attacker, let alone an entire movement of other individuals is mysogynistic. But the writer is an intelligent person who understands this and is, yet, using language in such a way to further an opinion, despite facts or reason and regardless of KNOWING that they are misrepresenting reality. This issue is not about all women or even feminism generally; GamerGate, as I watch from the outside percpective, is clearly about something else. But, importantly, this topic is not a demonstation of the principles upon which wikipedia has been built and, furthermore, it is one thing to say that 'wikipedia is not a battleground' after one side as already taken the high ground and refuses sane, alternate comment. What I see is the defence of a strange hegemony. I will not call it feminism because I greatly respect the achievments and literature that has come from feminism over the decades but there is some other strange movement which seems to be posing as feminism, which is abusing the principles of both feminism and wikipedia to peddle absolute nonsence. It is sad to see what is happening to Wikipedia, as evidenced in the obvious, protected bias and bigotry expressed in this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Danieljames626 (talk • contribs) 23:21, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
emphasis mine to illustrate points of maximum jaw-droppage.
What was that about trying to resurrect old wikipedia accounts? This account was only used in 2006, to discuss George Bush
posted by Theta States at 5:54 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow Artw, total amateur hour. I feel bad for the remaining editors.

This newbie post:
Hello, I am fairly new to editing Wikipedia articles. I noticed there is much false information, perhaps even disinformation, that is provided without any citation. I have attempted to remove such information, but my changes have quickly been reverted. What is the correct procedure to remove false information from Wikipedia that has no references to back it up?

My favourite reply:
Your edits to Leisure Suit Larry make it clear that you don't care in the slightest about citations. Please explain why we should be paying any attention to the latest gamergate agender pushing single purpose account.©Geni (talk) 20:40, 27 January 2015 (UTC)




Another newbie wanting their hand held in undoing gamergate injustice:
I concede that there are citations in the body of the article. However, the information provided in those articles is still untrue. Can someone explain to me how Wikipedia verifies the authenticity of information in cited articles? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mike20599 (talk • contribs) 18:36, 27 January 2015‎ (UTC)

then:
I'm asking in more general terms. Let's say there is an article on Wikipedia that has information that is incorrect. That information has a citation. The fact that it has a citation doesn't make the information any less incorrect. I wish to correct the false information. What am I to do about it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mike20599 (talk • contribs) 18:46, 27 January 2015‎ (UTC)

and finally, full Alex Jones:
Alright, I'll try to be more specific. I believe that much of the information in this article is false or misleading, even though there are many citations from many "reliable" sources. Gamergate has brought light to these sources' unethical behavior, so in retaliation they have written false and misleading articles against Gamergate in order to undermine the movement's credibility. But since they are considered reliable sources, their word is treated as Gospel by Wikipedia. And the system that Wikipedia has in place seems to be, "Only reliable sources can provide reliable information. Those sources are considered reliable because they provide reliable information." Does no one sees the circular logic behind that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mike20599 (talk • contribs) 19:44, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

posted by Theta States at 6:06 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


And back to the original strategy: use SPA accounts to troll established editors and then raise issues about them:

Please explain why we should be paying any attention to the latest opinion gamergate agender pushing single purpose account. Yes the facts spoil your creation myth but that isn't really our problem.©Geni (talk) 20:46, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

I do believe this would be both Bad Faith and a personal attack. Entirely unwarranted at that. Yes, I support GG, yes, at this time I appear to be an SPA, though that is only due to me not being entirely familiar with the workings of Wikipedia, so I am keeping myself restricted to a single general topic until I get me sea legs. The thing is, I am choosing to do this work politely, using only facts, and constantly keeping in mind the principles and requirements of Wikipedia. I will explain nothing to you, if you cannot at least address me civilly. AnsFenrisulfr (talk) 20:50, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

posted by Theta States at 6:15 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Only rubber-soled shoes are allowed on the basketball court. Rubber-soled shoes are considered to be rubber-soled because their soles are made of rubber.

OMG circular reasoning you are so pwned!!
posted by Bugbread at 6:17 AM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Apologies for all of the posts, but I am aghast at this new editor on the article:

No, it absolutely did not start with Zoe Quinn. GamerGate started with Nathan Greyson's lapses in journalistic ethics and transparency, which were made public by noted feminist activist Eron Gjoni. Who Zoe Quinn, developer, feminist activist and internet personality, has a relationship with is fairly inconsequential. Who Nathan Greyson, journalist, has a relationship with is very important, especially if this causes a conflict of interest. That was the major concern, combined with the "Gamers are Dead" / GameJournalPros collusion scandal, that sparked GamerGate. Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and Anita Sarkeesian ultimately have little to do with GamerGate outside of their attempts to subvert the discussion to their own ends as noted demagogues. KiTA (talk) 14:34, 28 January 2015 (UTC)


Please note that the latest KiA tactic was to edit the Spanish language one to meet their ideals, then to merge it in to the English one...

I'd rather see a rename for this one and a new article for movement. Start fresh. Maybe use the Spanish language Gamergate article as a basis -- again, it's very well written. KiTA (talk) 15:01, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

posted by Theta States at 7:30 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, it absolutely did not start with Zoe Quinn. GamerGate started with Nathan Greyson's lapses in journalistic ethics and transparency, which were made public by noted feminist activist Eron Gjoni. Who Zoe Quinn, developer, feminist activist and internet personality, has a relationship with is fairly inconsequential. Who Nathan Greyson, journalist, has a relationship with is very important, especially if this causes a conflict of interest. That was the major concern, combined with the "Gamers are Dead" / GameJournalPros collusion scandal, that sparked GamerGate. Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, and Anita Sarkeesian ultimately have little to do with GamerGate outside of their attempts to subvert the discussion to their own ends as noted demagogues. KiTA (talk) 14:34, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Seems legit.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:12 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Theta, can you Memail me a link to that? I just got a response back from Wikipedia and I'd like to send them that link to basically call bullshit on what they just told me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:35 AM on January 28, 2015


For the record, the people answering emails sent "to Wikipedia" (which is to say, addresses like info-en at wikimedia.org) are not Wikimedia staff, but regular Wikipedia editors who have volunteered to answer email (there are a few cases where email addresses connect to staff instead, like the legal contact email, but the rest of the time it's volunteers).

The email volunteers generally won't have specific knowledge of any particular dispute you write to them about, nor will they have the power to change a decision that's been made on Wikipedia, even if they agree with you that it's wrong. Given their limitations, I would be surprised if any email complaining about the Gamergate mess gets a reply other than essentially "I'm sorry you're getting this poor an impression of Wikipedia. Let me point you to a few places where various parties have laid out their points of view. Feel free to join Wikipedia and edit it if you want to affect what its content says, yay editing" - not because the email volunteers don't care, but because that's about all they're empowered to do in a case like this.
posted by Fair, true, and boring as hell at 8:48 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


noted feminist activist Eron Gjoni

!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:02 AM on January 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Apparently their statement that their decisions weren't final yet was true; Arbcom is now voting to close the entire case after rapidly changing some of their votes so that Ryulong, one of the main anti-Gamergate defenders, is banned from the site entirely. It remains the case that no one on the other "side" (as Arbcom would style it) is getting anything stronger than a topic-ban.
posted by Fair, true, and boring as hell at 9:42 AM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


facepalm.gif
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:17 AM on January 28, 2015


The gamerghazi person who writes those cute "Wikipedia sea lion show" posts in the manner of a circus barker is going to have her hands full. Yuck.
posted by Corinth at 10:24 AM on January 28, 2015


So they take one of their most devoted, long-term editors and throw him away while not banning any of the gators. Nice.

Hope the outcry will be loud enough to change the way these things are handled in the future. What an amazingly clueless decision.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:28 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does Ryulong have a long history of acting badly or something? I didn't know a whole-site ban was even in question.
posted by Justinian at 10:51 AM on January 28, 2015


Does Ryulong have a long history of acting badly or something? I didn't know a whole-site ban was even in question.

Yes, he has a history of being impatient and getting into trouble by trying to fix things himself instead of asking for help. He's right about what needs fixing, quite often, but usually his idea of a "fix" does more harm than good. He was the subject of another arbitration case years ago. Arbcom seems to have decided this had to be the last straw because something something recidivism, without thinking about the signal that sends in this particular case or about the fact that they're also declining to give the same sanctions to other people who've been before them multiple times.
posted by Fair, true, and boring as hell at 11:00 AM on January 28, 2015


So rules-lawyers are rules-lawyering then. I wish these guys would go back to playing Monty Haul D&D campaigns instead of inflicting their inanity on the rest of us.
posted by Justinian at 11:14 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


So rules-lawyers are rules-lawyering then. I wish these guys would go back to playing Monty Haul D&D campaigns instead of inflicting their inanity on the rest of us.

Yeah! And take their stupid encyclopedia with them, amirite?
posted by amorphatist at 11:33 AM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


For the record, the people answering emails sent "to Wikipedia" (which is to say, addresses like info-en at wikimedia.org) are not Wikimedia staff, but regular Wikipedia editors who have volunteered to answer email (there are a few cases where email addresses connect to staff instead, like the legal contact email, but the rest of the time it's volunteers).
The reply I got came from a person with the title 'Fundraiser Program Associate, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.', which I assumed was a staff member. The e-mail was obviously a boilerplate response, which I guess means there has been enough negative input on this issue for them to formulate a standard response.
posted by dg at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2015


KiTA is salting the earth, deliberately trying run discourse down and get a rise out of people.
It's like the last few months of archived talk pages mean nothing to them, they want to have the same September arguments all over again in hopes of frustrating everyone.
The article is written as if GamerGate is all about Sexism and Misogyny, with ethics being some form of shield to justify that. That is my concern, and that was the wonkery that the banned editors were enforcing upon the subject. The article should talk about the Journalistic ethical concerns first, the supposed sexism and misogynistic criticisms second, and the controversial figures such as Zoe Quinn last (if at all). KiTA (talk) 13:21, 28 January 2015 (UTC)


Since a major part of the NPOV problems that the banned editors brought to this article was purging citations they disagreed with, this is a problem that will fix itself as alternative viewpoint sources are reintroduced. KiTA (talk) 14:12, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

posted by Theta States at 12:36 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The Guardian has made some significant corrections to Friday's Wikipedia article, tho[ugh] errors still remain" - scroll down to bottom of Guardian article to see update and correction notice

More analysis/correction by a blogger here
posted by Bwithh at 1:11 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


So I'm not real familiar with how WP works, is there no release engineering for controversial pages like this? I mean, instead of real time edit-live-then-argue-about-it, is there a way to freeze the displayed page, then edit a release candidate that would (if sufficiently agreed on) replace the current one as one big diff patch at a certain time?
posted by ctmf at 1:45 PM on January 28, 2015


What I'm saying is, failure to agree on a change proposal should result in a default of keep-it-the-same. That way the endless no-compromise sea-lioning would just result in filibustering their own bullshit.
posted by ctmf at 1:52 PM on January 28, 2015


The Gamergate Controversy page on Wikipedia seems little changed since this ruling. It seems like the outrage needs to be calibrated. Wikipedia has some serious problems with diversity and harassment of editors, and this process seems to have highlighted them; but it seems that this particular battle isn't going to be the terrible thing that was first presented.
posted by humanfont at 1:54 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


It seems like you could break the page into two parts: one presenting the misogyny angle, the other presenting the ethics angle. Given the amount of sources, and the amount of words written by the GG side themselves regarding each of the two issues, the misogyny side would be as long as the current Wikipedia page, and the ethics side could be a good two or maybe even three sentences long.
posted by Bugbread at 2:05 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bwithh - Thanks for the links and for following up. Looks like some of the anti-Wiki rage was unjustified after all.

(My takeaway: never ever ever get involved in Wikipedia's internal politics/bureaucracy. Oooooof what a clusterfuck.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:15 PM on January 28, 2015


More analysis/correction by a blogger here

Thanks :) (My blog post). I've just analysed the final outcome as a new blogpost; (self link) the quick version is the main productive thing ArbCom have done is let the admins off the leash. And Wikipedia's admins are generally about as fond of sockpuppets and mass gatecrashing of articles as you'd expect, and I know of no admins currently round the article with a pro-GG bias.

So I'm not real familiar with how WP works, is there no release engineering for controversial pages like this? I mean, instead of real time edit-live-then-argue-about-it, is there a way to freeze the displayed page, then edit a release candidate that would (if sufficiently agreed on) replace the current one as one big diff patch at a certain time?

It's called page protection and the GamerGate article has been under full page protection for ages. (Just about everything is there in Wikipedia if you can navigate the bureaucracy, but there's a lot of bureaucracy).

It remains the case that no one on the other "side" (as Arbcom would style it) is getting anything stronger than a topic-ban.

Ryulong managed to effectively get a Darwin Award there. And The Devil's Advocate (pro-GamerGate) was not just given a topic ban but was banned from noticeboards and restricted in the number of reverts (undoing someone else's edits) they were allowed to do from the normal 3/day to 1. And given a warning on top of that. Basically ArbCom went in putting both Ryulong and TDA on their final warning (almost symmetric remedies) and before the arbitration was finished Ryulong said that they couldn't live under those rules.
posted by Francis at 6:46 AM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


It seems like you could break the page into two parts: one presenting the misogyny angle, the other presenting the ethics angle.

Even though it'd be funny to see it'd never happen. As has been pointed out on the Talk pages innumerable times, the "consumer revolt / boycott / movement / whatever" that gamergate is is itself not actually notable. It's notability is purely defined by the fact it has resulted in terror tactics against real people.
posted by Theta States at 9:31 AM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK, last one, I promise.
More action is needed on the GamerGate Controversy page.
Having heard the complaints of many new users who were driven away by the hostility of the current editors on the GamerGate Controversy page, I thought it necessary to request a new case be opened on the matter - but, I am very unwilling to do so under my existing account, as I fear harassment from some of the feminist editors on this site, who have taken very extreme actions against others who are fighting their influence in our media. I beg any editor with more courage than I to please file the following case on my behalf.

---

Continued Misbehavior on the Gamergate Controversy Page

While the previous arbitration case has done a great deal of good to calm the temperature of our page on the GamerGate Controversy, certain feminist editors were unfortunately overlooked as they did not demonstrate bad behavior until their ringleaders were banned from the topic. In the intervening time, the editors in question have behaved very uncivilly, blocked the addition of very useful sources attempting to balance the article's POV, and misused sources to create a misleading tone. I do not believe that the concern raised in the last arbitration will be resolved until these additional feminist editors are also removed from the article. As the current imbalanced article is currently being used to demonstrate Wikipedia's lack of neutrality, I believe this is an issue that requires a very high priority in order to preserve the credibility of the project. When we are slandering gamers everywhere, we can't sit idly by, or people will lose faith in us.

---

The editors I would like to name as needing to be added as parties to the case are Bosstopher, PeterTheFourth, Parabolist, Hipocrite, Geni, Aquillion, and Strongjam.

---

Please, someone with more courage than I... Help me make this encyclopedia a better place.
imgur link
posted by Theta States at 12:56 PM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Unless there is an actual Arbcom case to react to, probably not worth getting worked up over some alleged channer rant.
posted by humanfont at 3:41 PM on January 29, 2015


There isn't a new Arbcom case to react to - the request for a new one is simply entertainment. (For the record it got deleted by one of the admins with the comment "No... just no.")
posted by Francis at 5:00 PM on January 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Jimmy Wales appears to be on the receiving end of a lot of gg hate on Twitter today, even as he tried to defend the Arbcom decision.
posted by humanfont at 8:03 PM on January 29, 2015


whoa, this just came up on the talk page: there's going to be an SVU gamergate 'zode.
posted by ghostbikes at 8:22 PM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Jimmy Wales appears to be on the receiving end of a lot of gg hate on Twitter today, even as he tried to defend the Arbcom decision.

What's happening here, I think, is Gamergaters identifying the ArbCom as a sign of exploitable weakness on the part of Wikipedia, and trying to widen that crack by sealioning Jimmy Wales. I think, however, it's unlikely to work, because Jimmy Wales a) has limited power to make changes and b) is pretty solid in his self-image and support systems.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:21 AM on January 30, 2015


There's a joke to be made about an SVU misogynistic-gamer episode and the fact that SVU's producer is named Dick Wolf and the Penny Arcade multi-stage "dickwolves" debacle.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:02 AM on January 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


I skeptical that Gamergate can acomplish what Scientology, politicians, climate skeptics and others have failed to do. Look at the amount of effort they had to put into the Arbcom request and the limited payoff. They got one editor who was not particularly well liked by the Wikipedia community banned, maybe. The article has not changed substantially and the protections remain in place. My understanding is that the Arbcom decision will impede future attempts to edit the page and administrators looking over that page will have more power to admonish and shutdown bad actors. All that energy for this massive tabtrum and they got nothing of substance. In a way it even helps their opponents. I think this will end up like the Intel /Gamasutra situation where Intel ended up asking itself a bunch of questions about diversity and women in tech that lead to some real substantive work on the problem backed by a big pile of Intel cash.
posted by humanfont at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile, the harmless ethical actors in Gamergate are DEFINITELY not insane psychopaths who hate women: armed man crashes car as he attempts to stalk Brianna Wu
posted by Greg Nog at 8:49 AM on January 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jesus. That feels like it must be a joke, except he rolled a car, which would definitely be commitment to a bit. As mentioned, however piously Gamergate disclaims harassment, they are painting a big, George Tiller bullseye on these women for genuinely disturbed people.

On wikipedia - I think, humanfont, that you're right that this isn't going to lead to a significant swing towards the GG viewpoint on the wikipedia article. However, what it has done is give Gamergaters the idea that there is a fight to be won here, and that they can win it by continuing to harass editors on and off wikipedia. This is not going to work, in all probability, but that doesn't actually make much difference.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:27 AM on January 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Skype logs are, if anything, even worse (warning: death threats, all kinds of slurs, just general shittiness all around). And apparently this guy is still a free man.

If there was a "doomsday clock" counting down until one of the people targeting is seriously hurt or killed, this feels like it pushes it very close to midnight. The sad thing is, despite the police getting tons of warning about these threats, I feel that if something does happen, it'll be Elliot Rodgers all over again. Plenty of "oh, he was ill, gators/MRAs/etc weren't the real problem," both sides were mean, this a communication problem between PC extremists and anti-feminists, blah blah blah. The police will get to shrug, misogynists get off scot-free (again), and the cycle starts all over again.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:32 AM on January 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


Holy fuck, do Gators have to literally successfully murder somebody before police will act?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:40 AM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


If they do, one hopes that the response won't be the same as it was to the anti-abortion terrorists.
posted by wuwei at 12:58 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of the remaining Gamergate supporters at Wikipedia has indicated that he's mostly stepped away from the article because of the toxic atmosphere. Another may get sanctioned—possibly a topic ban—because he doesn't understand data analysis and is aggressively challenging a BrandWatch study commissioned by Newsweek. Oh, the irony.
posted by Woodroar at 1:43 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Greg Nog: "Meanwhile, the harmless ethical actors in Gamergate are DEFINITELY not insane psychopaths who hate women: armed man crashes car as he attempts to stalk Brianna Wu"

My mouth is agape, and my eyes are just. open. and. staring. and.

Somebody, please lock that man up (and his cohort, Eli, while we're at it), there is some serious danger with that sort of mindset. And it's clear that if something isn't done, something bad will happen to someone. And when I say lock him up, I mean, please get that guy some fucking help.

Jesus fuck.
posted by symbioid at 3:34 PM on January 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jesus. That feels like it must be a joke, except he rolled a car, which would definitely be commitment to a bit.

Uh... rolled a car, or found some footage of someone's rolled car over which to dub the voice track of insane screaming? The latter sounds quite a lot more likely than someone stealing his mom's Prius to have an impromptu street race to avenge gamers against the social justice menace and thereby become a street racing god, and still having non-zero video production skills and a willingness to post the result to youtube afterwards.

Among the top youtube comments at the moment is "This video is by a troll. He's repeatedly trolled and mocked Gamergate on twitter previously." I wouldn't rule that out so quickly.
posted by sfenders at 4:04 PM on January 31, 2015


I wouldn't trust that either though.
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on January 31, 2015


Nah, that dude's a self-proclaimed gator who was on his way to Brianna Wu's house variously claiming he was going to street race her or kill her. He's an internet loon with a following similar to Christian Chandler, and he got on Skype while he was driving and demanded that one of the people who makes a hobby of mocking and provoking him get a gun and come with him to shoot at Wu's car while they raced.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:36 AM on February 1, 2015


Pope Guilty: I was pretty firmly of the opinion that "C'mon, it's obviously a troll, somebody slapping some text on an unrelated video for Lulz. I mean, he said he was going to expose Brianna Wu through streetracing". However, you've always had good info, so I'm willing to believe it actually is a completely nuts guy. I'm wondering if you could point out where you got that info on him, though, because it just seems so "chaotic lulz trolly" that I'd like to read a bit more on him to get a better picture to replace the image I have.
posted by Bugbread at 3:06 AM on February 1, 2015


I'm gonna start with a disclaimer: Jace Connors is fucking nuts and should probably not be making decisions for himself. He's severely delusional and people have been poking this particular hornets' nest of bugfuck crazy for years.

Here's a dKos diary with some information on him, in case you'd rather not read his extensive Encyclopedia Dramatica page. The GamerGhazi thread is pretty amazing, but this comment in particular has some good info on what exactly is going on. This thread from the CWCWiki forums has some real-time info from when it was happening.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:15 AM on February 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks.
posted by Bugbread at 4:18 AM on February 1, 2015


He's severely delusional

So apparently his beliefs include that he's the leader of Gamergate, that Islamic terrorists were spreading ebola-infected jihadist mice to New England, that wrapping his head in aluminum foil will stop the Illuminati from turning him gay, that parkour and rollerblading are martial arts, that the best way to prove you're not gay is to take off your shirt and show off your chest hair, that the problem with having the soul of a wolf is that in spirit animal form you can't smoke weed or operate stoves, that his mom taking away his X-Box was totally unfair, and that he can win a street race in a Prius.

Whether or not he's delusional and dangerous, I think "obviously a troll" also applies.
posted by sfenders at 5:26 AM on February 1, 2015


Well, I believe some Gamergate YTers have interviewed him, so I guess one could get the (sur) real scoop there...
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:13 AM on February 1, 2015


sfenders: "Whether or not he's delusional and dangerous, I think "obviously a troll" also applies."

???

Sorry, I thought he was a troll at first, but reading up on him, it seems like he's just straight crazy. What is it about the stuff you posted that makes you think he's a troll, let alone that it's obvious?
posted by Bugbread at 6:43 AM on February 1, 2015


Whether or not he's delusional and dangerous, I think "obviously a troll" also applies.

It doesn't really matter. Even if he wasn't delusional and/or dangerous, trolling like this just makes the police think that the targets are crying wolf. It should be blindingly obvious by now that they're not taking this as seriously as they should. Death/rape/etc threats should be met with the same response whether it's trolling or serious.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:33 AM on February 1, 2015


Well, I skipped through some of his longer videos. He doesn't always maintain the "I'm so crazy" voice that is consistent in the short ones on his main youtube channel. The nonsensical beliefs he professes seem both too wildly various and too consistently "funny". I mean, rip your shirt off to show you're not gay, that one in particular doesn't seem really plausible. He demonstrates awareness that his audience does not think him genuine, saying for example something like "you're no good at this, I can hear you laughing" in response to one in a long series of comments designed to provoke his adopted or real persona. His story is not particularly consistent on points such as whether or not he's a war veteran, and whether or not his mom allows him to leave the house unsupervised. He too quickly goes along with any random sarcastic suggestion of new ridiculous things he might "believe" that is in the right spirit.

Looks like an act to me, but who the hell knows. Agreed that a police interview would be an appropriate way to find out.
posted by sfenders at 7:41 AM on February 1, 2015


rolled a car, or found some footage of someone's rolled car?

A forum more dedicated to analyzing this guy's operations has found good evidence that it was actually his (or his mom's) car. Identical window stickers placed at the same angles. Sorry I doubted you, Jace.
posted by sfenders at 12:10 PM on February 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Wikipedia Ouroboros
The online encyclopedia chews up and spits out bad facts, and its own policies are letting it happen.
The actual case plodded onward, not wrapping up until a week after the Guardian article was first published. What eventually passed bore little resemblance to the original proposal, not least of all because it had actually been voted on. Out of 13 explicitly sanctioned editors, the original Guardian article turned out to be right about exactly one of them. The majority of sanctioned editors did not have any visible feminist commitments. And unless you have an unhealthy interest in Wikipedia or Gamergate, the case is not of any great consequence. (No, Gamergate has not taken over Wikipedia.)
posted by andoatnp at 5:09 AM on February 6, 2015


So I guess we can modify
"The infamous draft decision of Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) on Gamergate is worse than a crime. It’s a blunder that threatens to disgrace the internet."
to
"The infamous draft decision final decision of Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) on Gamergate is worse than a crime pretty fair. It’s a blunder perfectly cromulent decision that threatens to disgrace doesn't negatively impact the internet."
posted by Bugbread at 6:22 AM on February 6, 2015


Out of 13 explicitly sanctioned editors, the original Guardian article turned out to be right about exactly one of them.

I thought the Guardian article was about 5 editors, the 5 targeted by Gamergate. And 3 of them were banned from gender related articles, so they were right about 3, not 1. Only one of them was banned from Wikipedia altogether, yes. The other sanctioned editors were Gamergate throwaways, none of which were banned from the entire site.
posted by Danila at 6:12 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


(happyroach: the accused is James Frenkel, not Jim Hines.)

Oh fuck. I was sure I clicked on Frenkel! Mods, could you edit or delete that post?
posted by happyroach at 6:21 PM on February 6, 2015




It's his closing "Good day." that totally makes that.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:34 AM on February 7, 2015


Yes. In my brain, the final "Good day" is accompanied by an overly dramatic tip of the trilby.
(NOT FEDORAIST)
posted by rmd1023 at 8:50 AM on February 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


David Auerbach's war on Wikipedia continues. Whoever wins, we lose.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:42 PM on February 7, 2015


In the piece quoted above, Auerbach isn't criticizing Wikipedia. He's defending it against the Guardian article, which he says is inaccurate. But you're right, Auerbach isn't shy about criticizing Wikipedia, and in particular its problem with women. (The following quote is from a December 11th article about a previous dispute.)
Last week, Wikipedia’s highest court, the Arbitration Committee, composed of 12 elected volunteers who serve one- or two-year terms, handed down a decision in a controversial case having to do with the site’s self-formed Gender Gap Task Force, the goal of which is to increase female participation on Wikipedia from its current 10 percent to 25 percent by the end of next year. The dispute, which involved ongoing hostility from a handful of prickly longtime editors, had simmered for at least 18 months. In the end, the only woman in the argument, pro-GGTF libertarian feminist Carol Moore, was indefinitely banned from all of Wikipedia over her uncivil comments toward a group of male editors, whom she at one point dubbed “the Manchester Gangbangers and their cronies/minions.” Two of her chief antagonists in that group got comparative slaps on the wrist. One was the productive but notoriously hostile Eric “Fuck Wikipedia” Corbett, who has a milelong track record of incivility, had declared the task force a feminist “crusade ... to alienate every male editor,” and called Moore “nothing but a pain in the arse,” among less printable comments; he was handed a seemingly redundant “prohibition” on abusive language. The other editor was Sitush, who repeatedly criticized Moore for being “obsessed with an anti-male agenda” and then decided to research and write a Wikipedia biography of her; he walked away with a mere “warning.” With the Arbitration Committee opting only to ban the one woman in the dispute despite her behavior being no worse than that of the men, it’s hard not to see this as a setback to Wikipedia’s efforts to rectify its massive gender gap.
posted by alms at 5:58 AM on February 12, 2015


Last night there was a Law & Order: SVU episode that was based off this gamergate mess. I didn't watch it, but folloed the #gamergateSVU tag for the play-by-play. reddit thread

And Briana Wu wrote an intense thing for bustle.
Which depressing mirrors something Zoe Quinn recently posted as well.
TL;DR gamergate has had incredibly huge negative impacts in the lives of their targets.
posted by Theta States at 6:31 AM on February 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, I think there's an issue with Slate - and David A. specifically - speaking about Wikipedia in this area without acknowledging that their writer became part of the story - generally something of a journalistic danger sign. He got into a war on Wikipedia over the phrasing of a gloss on a statement he made, and particularly got into it with Ryulong, who was at the time also subject to a harassment campaign by Gamergate as part of their attempts to purge the lists of wikipedia editors. I think there's a problem with people - which set probably includes Totalbiscuit and various other self-described moderates - who loudly claim to oppose harassment, or claim to want to "end Gamergate" (whatever that looks like) but who also benefit from and even inform, consciously or not, the methods Gamergaters use to select targets, and who enjoy and seek out the praise heaped on them by Gamergaters for being "neutral" or "real journalists". It's sort of a Jim Hornets problem.

(A fairly important skill to master in journalism is not only valuing the feedback of people who agree with you, or stand to gain from you broadcasting their views. It's an extremely difficult one to master, and the lack of journalistic training among many current bloggers is - and here is something Gamergate, stopped clock style, got right, although of course did not apply consistently - problematic in part because not only is this skill not mastered, but it is not even understood to be a skill.)

There is definitely an issue with what Randall munroe calls citogenesis, - which is of course in particular why Gamergate places such a high value on lovebombing people who write for RS publications and seem swayable. On the other hand, Wikipedia is at least to some extent self-correcting: an article about the process of the Wikipedia ArbCom is likely to be scrutinised closely by Wikipedians, pretty much ipso facto. This isn't a perfect system, of course, but it does act as a filter - Auerbach himself, for example, has repeated the founding Gamergate myth of the "gamers are dead" articles, but Wikipedia has not represented that founding myth as fact, despite this, in the face of the overwhelming documented evidence to the contrary.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:21 AM on February 13, 2015


Oh god gamergate is trying to attack more wikipedia editors
*headdesk*
posted by Theta States at 7:11 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's funny how Gamergate claims to have ideals and goals but the only method of pursuing those goals is online character assassination, invasion of privacy, and harassment/intimidation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:41 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fuck you very much Ken Levine.
posted by kmz at 12:09 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another day, another arbcom drama. Except this time Mark Bernstein has responded via poetry
posted by Theta States at 8:30 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's pretty great.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:11 PM on February 19, 2015


Jace Conners is apparently a self-styled sketch comedian who decided that the next level of the "hilarious" gamerbro character he plays online would be to make threats against Brianna Wu. Wu, of course, was not in on the "joke", and his defense at the moment seems to be that terrifying her out of her wits was all in fun and intended as a parody of Gamergaters, who have in recent days been doxing and harassing him.

It was bad enough when what we knew was that he was an idiot asshole. Now it comes out he's an entirely different kind of idiot asshole, and he's not even sorry for going out of his way to put Brianna Wu in fear of her life but just sorry that he's getting attacked by Gators.

What a scumbag.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:16 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Maybe the GamerGators are just engaging in sketch comedy.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:40 AM on February 24, 2015


From that article: "For Rankowski, though, who had already expanded the cast of characters in his videos to include a bizarro-world version of his mother (played by, yes, his unsuspecting mother) the advice was too little, too late."

Wait, Gail is real? And "unsuspecting"? How does that even work? 1) She's batshit crazy, and 2) doesn't she call him "Jace" in the videos?
posted by Bugbread at 6:45 AM on February 24, 2015




« Older 🎨💯👊   |   La Feria de la Alasita Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments