Silenced by SouthWest
October 26, 2015 3:38 PM   Subscribe

On Monday, October 26, SXSW Interactive made the call to cancel two sessions for the 2016 event: "SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community" and "Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games." We had hoped that hosting these two discussions in March 2016 in Austin would lead to a valuable exchange of ideas on this very important topic.

However, in the seven days since announcing these two sessions, SXSW has received numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming.

The cancellation of SavePoint was announced after Randi Harper, Katherine Quinn, and Caroline Sinders found out their panel, Level Up had been cancelled. (If you value your sanity, don't read the comments on that.)

LevelUp describes itself as "A panel from experts on online harassment in gaming and geek culture, how to combat it, how to design against it, and how to create online communities that are moving away from harassment."

What SXSW doesn't mention is that "SavePoint" would have featured several panelists linked with GamerGate.
posted by SansPoint (245 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Having known internet bullies on to talk about being "silenced"on the internet might be a good idea...
posted by searust at 3:47 PM on October 26, 2015


So they're asking all attendees of SXSW to sign a pledge against online harassment, donating 1% of proceeds of the event to nonprofits supporting women in technology, hiring each of the women involved as a keynote speaker, asking VIP attendees to sign a pledge against harassment, and using their online/media presence to advertise against online bullying, right? Or am I confusing SXSW with an organization that actually cares about the health of their community?
posted by miyabo at 3:51 PM on October 26, 2015 [25 favorites]


This is such a weird and bad decision. This cancellation notice equates the two panels, trotting out the same tired old "let's let both sides speak" concept that people who aren't being marginalized get to say. However, the Level Up panel wasn't about GamerGate in any way -- it was about how design choices in tech can hinder or encourage harassment. Not only that, but the Level Up panel was selected by attendees through the official SXSW panel voting system, whereas the SavePoint panel was smuggled onto the schedule somehow after the voting was closed.

SXSW Interactive is supposed to be about unique voices and innovation in technology, but with this decision the organization has shown itself to be just more business as usual in the tech world.
posted by jess at 3:53 PM on October 26, 2015 [84 favorites]




Have some fucking conviction, for Christ's sake.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:58 PM on October 26, 2015 [22 favorites]




How very corporate.
posted by srboisvert at 4:08 PM on October 26, 2015


"STRONG COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT" begins the title of the article.

WTF. These people have lost the relevant plot.
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:09 PM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile, at their Reddit headquarters, they respond to their movement (started explicitly for the purpose of online harassment) being banned from subs counseling survivors of rape and sexual assault with grace and dign--wait, sorry, no. They compared those subs to Coontown and brigaded them [cw: predictable racism, misogyny, and rape jokes].
posted by zombieflanders at 4:15 PM on October 26, 2015 [10 favorites]


"Preserving the sanctity of that big tent at SXSW Interactive..."

That's a pretty ridiculous way to describe "We're doing one of the worst responses possible to a raging dumpster fire of our own creation."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:17 PM on October 26, 2015 [39 favorites]


We don't negotiate with terrorists do whatever the terrorists want.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:18 PM on October 26, 2015 [21 favorites]


Any remaining thoughts that SXSW might be relevant to the web world are gone. Hugh and Co. have lost the plot, instead steering a safe course so as not to ruffle the feathers of the 50K badges and their corporate sponsors.

Sad, really.
posted by dw at 4:18 PM on October 26, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yeah, that statement...You gotta *work* to use that many words and never actually say anything.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:19 PM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


I wonder if the majority of the threats were pro-Gamergate in nature?
posted by perianwyr at 4:19 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


And embarrassing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:19 PM on October 26, 2015


Mod note: Couple comments deleted. This thread very much needs to not become about guns or the second amendment.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:20 PM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's 2015. If there's a specific threat to members of the panel, they could participate via Skype. Or metal detect everyone coming in. You know how they are all about technology solving the world's problems? This seems like a chance to prove it.
posted by miyabo at 4:21 PM on October 26, 2015 [33 favorites]


Time for unofficial panels to start proliferating like unofficial showcases at musicfest.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:31 PM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


What an apt illustration of Lewis' Law.

Jesus, this is so fucking spineless. The gators keep doing this shit because they know it works, because people like the organizers keep letting it work. The pushback can't come soon enough.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:31 PM on October 26, 2015 [15 favorites]


That statement is disgusting.

To me, the bizarre thing is that they scheduled the Level Up panel without considering and planning for the possibility of GG threats. Have they not been paying any attention at all?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:31 PM on October 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


I hate everything about SXSW's response to this. This idea that they need to just excise all involved blatantly disregards what actually happened here.

A) What really happened is that Gamergate, an organization that uses harassment to silence women in gaming, used harassment to silence a panel involving women in gaming, and SXSW was the instrument of that.
B) SXSW feels like they can just cancel both and call it a wash, but it isn't. This isn't a "both sides are equal and equally bad" situation. This is a situation where, once again, Gamergate tried to bluff their way into a safe space and make it unsafe. When they found out about the level up panel, they went their typical route of threats and harassment to get it killed and SXSW went along.

They're not just cutting some panels. They're silencing women because men made letting them speak too uncomfortable. They've gone from being a little tone deaf to actively being a part of the problem.
posted by shmegegge at 4:47 PM on October 26, 2015 [171 favorites]


I believe they can legitimately be called more of a shitshow than PAX now.
posted by Artw at 4:54 PM on October 26, 2015 [12 favorites]


If you want an event to be safe and inclusive, you have to do the work of making it safe and inclusive. Physical security, CoCs, telling some people they can't come, all of it. And it's hard and sometimes awful, I get that, but If you're not willing to do that work don't pretend that inaction in the service of "civility" is strong community leadership. That's not fooling anyone.

This is really a bad decision, and it's crystal clear that this kind of moral cowardice and abdication of responsibility is not a road with "a big tent and a marketplace of diverse people and diverse ideas" at the end of it.
posted by mhoye at 4:55 PM on October 26, 2015 [15 favorites]


Artw- I haven't been following PAX news at all but I'm interested in how PAX was a shitshow. My vague impression (only from reading Mefi) is that PAX has been doing good work to build an inclusive and safe space. (Also I live in downtown Seattle and don't need another reason to hate the PAX traffic...)
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:58 PM on October 26, 2015


So, SXSW is inclusive of people that nobody is against. That's a bold position, must take zero spine to stand up for that!
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:00 PM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


I believe they can legitimately be called more of a shitshow than PAX now.

God, to think we live in a world where there's a legitimate discussion to be had about the relative problems of Dickwolves vs Serial Harassment. Thanks, fuckin' internet.
posted by shmegegge at 5:01 PM on October 26, 2015 [24 favorites]


I'm interested in how PAX was a shitshow.

For a few years, there was a pretty serious problem with Gabe turning a comic about rape into the standard bearer for men's rights because he felt like he was being unjustly silenced. It made things unsafe for female attendees for a long time.
posted by shmegegge at 5:02 PM on October 26, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm always surprised when people think it is better to have gamergate members run around without a threat than to increase security seems like being comfortable in a shark tank. They may not be hungry now, but anybody can be a target male or female.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:05 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Did the PAX "Diversity Lounge" ever actually happen, or was that plan abandoned?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:06 PM on October 26, 2015


Yep. I heard really good things about it as a general chill place to be, but that it felt like ghettoizing specific groups, kind of accidentally.
posted by shmegegge at 5:23 PM on October 26, 2015


Bomb threats? So not so much ethics in gaming journalism then?
posted by marienbad at 5:35 PM on October 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


What an appalling statement. It's like a parody written by a local who hates SXSW except it's the real thing.
posted by immlass at 5:49 PM on October 26, 2015 [11 favorites]


Also why the fuck does SXSW even have panels about videogames? You can have panels about videogames anywhere. Being really really hot and drunk for a week doesn't make panels more fun, the way it wakes a small band playing outside at noon for 15 people more fun. I'd wager it makes panels worse.

I do know that PAX stuff though, and just assumed there was some new bullshit. Maybe distancing the convention from the cartoon strip artists has helped.
posted by kittensofthenight at 5:50 PM on October 26, 2015


'Strong community management' is almost perfect doublespeak here.

We know what's up: SXSW is so big and sooooo braaaaaands now that they looked at the effort of policing (literally) goobergubba-related panels after the initial bigot eruption and said 'fuck it'. But SXSW abdicated any relevance to the leading edge of online culture once it got to a size where you have to book hotels in Oklahoma.
posted by holgate at 5:52 PM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


So maybe just cancel all SXSW Interactive?

Seriously, if shitheels are going to ruin part, why give them any?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:56 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Riker Googling has even entered the fray.

Lololololol
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:02 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


SXSW interactive has had in years past, interesting and relevant panels.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:03 PM on October 26, 2015


So maybe just cancel all SXSW Interactive?

Maybe just cancel the internet. I'm only half-kidding: the implication is that at its scale, SXSW can manage a Pepsi Blue / Facebook open-air concert but doesn't have the resources to offer basic safety for panel members, which is not that dissimilar from large websites with small abuse teams and spotty records on dealing with harassment.
posted by holgate at 6:08 PM on October 26, 2015 [11 favorites]


Maybe just cancel the internet. I'm only half-kidding: the implication is that at its scale, SXSW can manage a Pepsi Blue / Facebook open-air concert but doesn't have the resources to offer basic safety for panel members, which is not that dissimilar from large websites with small abuse teams and spotty records on dealing with harassment.

Events like SXSW are going to have to deploy the same kind of screening / security other organizations that are a magnet for violent fanatics do, or cede the floor to them. The days are over when the Web is anything other that a mirror image of society, and organizations that want to entertain these questions are, sadly, going to have to take the same approach as, say, the Holocaust Museum or a Planned Parenthood clinic. SXSW can muster the resources, but they have to change the way they think about the Web and their role in it.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:17 PM on October 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


As I said on Twitter, they are not above the fray in this, they are of the fray. Their chickenshit stance is infuriating.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:19 PM on October 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


SXSW is over anyway. It's XOXO festival now.
posted by ctmf at 6:29 PM on October 26, 2015


SXSW management seems to have blown it here.
posted by humanfont at 6:37 PM on October 26, 2015


Not only that, but the Level Up panel was selected by attendees through the official SXSW panel voting system, whereas the SavePoint panel was smuggled onto the schedule somehow after the voting was closed.

jess, is there any more information about how this happened? I wonder who they knew at SXSW that made this happen. Investigative journalists, this seems like the perfect oddity to investigate!
posted by ignignokt at 6:37 PM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


SXSW = Neville Chamberlain?
posted by blue_beetle at 6:37 PM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


SXSW is over anyway. It's XOXO festival now.

SXSW has the giant media presence and hordes of executives though.

Zoe Quinn is actually a headline speaker at XOXO this year. Good for them. I wonder if they're providing better security, or just taking these threats for the ramblings of thirteen year old boys that they are.
posted by miyabo at 7:02 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


This year's XOXO has already happened. It didn't appear to have much security at all. I remember seeing one uniformed cop (or possibly rentacop) hanging around, but she didn't search anybody or really do anything as far as I witnessed. Other than that, just the usual t-shirted convention volunteers.
posted by rifflesby at 7:07 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Though now I think about it, I didn't actually go see Zoe Quinn speak, so she might've had her own entourage/bodyguards.
posted by rifflesby at 7:09 PM on October 26, 2015


Yeah, we need to know exactly how the SavePoint panel was added after voting had closed. If that's true, it opens up a very interesting can of worms.

Could it have been pressure from gaming companies worried about criticism that got the GG panel added late?
posted by mediareport at 7:12 PM on October 26, 2015


I don't think gaming companies are really worried about getting hassled by GGers. Both Sledgehammer and Bungie (two devs who make "hardcore" shooters) have invited Anita Sarkeesian to lecture in the last month and then tweeted about it afterward.

It isn't every day that GGers get a panel like that, so I'm guessing there's an interesting story there...
posted by selfnoise at 7:37 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wonder if they're providing better security, or just taking these threats for the ramblings of thirteen year old boys that they are.

I know that's what they mostly are, but all it takes is one serious guy and it becomes a real problem. I'd prefer better security.
posted by teponaztli at 7:40 PM on October 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've arranged panels at find and generally you have to provide a set of panelists with some kind of reason to be there and what their qualifucations are will be part of the selection process... The gamergate panel just seems to be a bunch of random assholes so I'm not sure how that got to be a thing at all.
posted by Artw at 7:42 PM on October 26, 2015


AFAIK, XOXO has a pretty rigorous code of conduct policy and apparently had both increased security and counselors this year. I don't know if SXSW has any. Maybe this will further push similar events and cons to take anti-harassment policies and panel selections more seriously?

Not like I'd be able to go, as I am not an Internet cool kid nor do I have the $500+ to buy a pass. Perhaps these things don't scale past a certain corporate point?
posted by zix at 7:46 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I used to have a daydream of going for the Bruce Sterling house party, but I guess you have to go to Zagreb for that now.
posted by Artw at 8:04 PM on October 26, 2015


Local news coverage from KUT: SXSW Cancels Two Panels With GamerGate Ties Due to 'Numerous Threats of Violence'. Says they're expecting updates.
posted by immlass at 8:07 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


SXSW does not have a real Code of Conduct.
posted by Songdog at 8:40 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did the PAX "Diversity Lounge" ever actually happen, or was that plan abandoned?

It's been a thing for the last couple years, at least. Not only are the people staffing it pretty great, but the attendees in the lounge have been pretty chill and accepting as well. Some show up cause they need a safe space for a while, some I'm sure are just curious what it's about. I spent a lot of downtime in the diversity lounge the last couple PAXs and it was among the better parts of PAX, for me. (queer white guy)
posted by xedrik at 8:45 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafiter heads attended XOXO last year - mathowie, cortex, and pb. Not sure if jessamyn attetnded. So, there was a Mefi presence there.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:51 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


This isn't what the future is supposed to look like! Gibson, Asimov, nor Stephenson wrote about the angry white males of the world using the Internet to inflict more pain on women and other minorities. The Internet is supposed to be the great equalizer.

Instead, we get 4chan fucking it up for everyone. Forever.

(I spent the weekend riding high after listening to an older You Made It Weird and Patton Oswalt not only taking about taking rape culture's existence, but the general shit woman have to deal with on top of the everyday human shit. I guess the only appropriate response from the universe is to balance it out with some new antiwoman bullshit to ruin that glow.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:56 PM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am not anxious to add the violence of the police or private security to the existing violence.
posted by poe at 9:01 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remain, as I have from the start, entirely confused by everything gamergate. They have a lot to gain from the perceived legitimacy they garner by appearing at these events. And yet, time after time threats shut down their own events and those threats seem linked to people who are seemingly part of their own movement. Was stopping a panel you don't like really worth having yet another GG event shut down due to threats? I think I am looking for logic and reason where none exists.

Even the MRA people aren't that stupidly self destructive.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:12 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's channers. They exist only to make everything more shit. They're the people who think the Jokers speil from The Dark Knight is legitimately clever.
posted by Artw at 9:18 PM on October 26, 2015 [11 favorites]


The SXSW statement (which came out a little while after word of the cancellations got around on Twitter) is so horribly written, and I don't think they were remotely prepared for the press this has been getting (from NYT on down). If they just said "people are threatening violence and we're too scared/chickenshit/disorganized to deal with that, so it's all cancelled," I could understand that. It would still be a really crappy outcome, but it's vaguely understandable as a practical reality of the crappy universe we live in. But don't try to pretend that this had anything to do with "preserving the sanctity of the big tent," whatever that means.

The only acceptable statement by SXSW after cancelling the anti-harassment panel is "We think this sucks too, but we can't live like this. We've turned over all the information we have on the threats to the FBI."

It's a lot easier for SXSW to make it all go away by cancelling a couple panels. For a few of the people who are actually being harassed, there is nothing they can do to make it stop.
posted by zachlipton at 9:21 PM on October 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am not anxious to add the violence of the police or private security to the existing violence.

There does exist good private security. There's a company called High Rock, for example, that works a lot of weirdo music/art festivals in (at least) Southern California, and I've seen and heard about them dealing well with shitty situations that cops would have almost certainly escalated.
posted by flaterik at 9:50 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


speaking as a former (unarmed) private security guard, i am absolutely not a fucking cop
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 1:14 AM on October 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


So would they cancel their closing keynote if I sent a rambling email threatening some violent reprisal for allowing bald people on stage?

Or would they do the logical thing and 1] report that mail to the authorities, 2] tell me to go fuck myself, 3] carry on.

I'd be genuinely shocked if threats were only ever targeted at panels like Level Up, but it seems these are the only ones where the response is so backwards.
posted by xqwzts at 3:08 AM on October 27, 2015


I expect that the level of threats against Level Up was orders of magnitude more numerous and extreme than anything they've dealt with before.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:41 AM on October 27, 2015


There does exist good private security.

And that's what the Andys use for XOXO, which is why it's seen but not heard unless it's needed. That was a very deliberate choice that they've talked about.

This is mostly a matter of scale, but it's also about how scale shapes your scope and purpose. SXSW's security (and perhaps its insurance policy) is presumably set up to deal with gatecrashers and intoxicated arseholes, not persistent abuse cults, which in turn means that SXSW is not equipped to deal with the garbagegoblins. As zachlipton says, it would have been better for the organisers to admit this instead of bullshitting about its big open branded tent full of brands.
posted by holgate at 6:03 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Arthur Chu on The Beast.
posted by valkane at 6:11 AM on October 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


*dumpsterfire.gif*
posted by Theta States at 6:20 AM on October 27, 2015


Actually It's About Sanctity In The Big Tent
posted by alby at 6:41 AM on October 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


I was at Grace Hopper a few weeks ago, where Zoe Quinn keynoted one of the sub-tracks, and her talk didn't seem to have any more security than any other big talk. The conference as a whole had a decent amount of security, but not more than you'd expect from an event that put twelve thousand people in to one building.

Also, her talk was amazing. Rather than discuss Gamergate itself (as she put it, that audience didn't need to be reminded of how shitty a place the Internet is for women), she talked about how the almost-entirely-male makeup of the editorial boards of most major gaming blogs and magazines affect which games get written about and acclaimed, which ultimately shapes the gaming landscape as a whole.

In other words, she literally talked about ethics in gaming journalism.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:49 AM on October 27, 2015 [50 favorites]


Sorry, brain fart: Brianna Wu, not Zoe Quinn.

I should go have some coffee.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:57 AM on October 27, 2015 [10 favorites]




Arthur Chu on The Beast.

Essentially SXSW has failed massively on this right the way down the line, ticking the box on every lame excuse for doing nothing along the way.
posted by Artw at 7:08 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


anil dash
I've gone @sxsw for 15 years, back when Interactive was a few hundred people stuck in a couple small rooms. Never been so disappointed.
The commercialism of @sxsw, the crowds...that never bothered me. It became a conference for a lot of other kinds of people, and that's okay.
But I always had a soft spot for @sxsw because the community there was *real*. I met many of my best friends there. People I love.
I don't envy the position @sxsw is in. @Hugh_W_Forrest you are a good guy in a tough spot. But you made the wrong call. It's heartbreaking.
So many of us got over our frustrations and kept investing in @sxsw over the years because ultimately we thought it was a real community.
I hope everyone at @sxsw hears the criticism and frustration and knows we're only disappointed because we expect more from you. Stand up.
This is the wrong call, @sxsw. You should reach out to your community if you need help solving this. But do fix it.
mathowie
I'll admit at XOXO, I was nervous with GG harassers outside as Anita Sarkeesean took the stage
but the Andys showed it's possible to have security onsite take care of things and keep everyone safe
it's a terrible situation— @Hugh_W_Forrest is a nice guy, just wish there was a better outcome than silencing speakers.
XOXO never got bomb threats, but that's something maybe the FBI can help with in a state capital city event
posted by nadawi at 7:13 AM on October 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


@Hugh_W_Forrest you are a good guy in a tough spot. But you made the wrong call.

@Hugh_W_Forrest is a nice guy, just wish there was a better outcome than silencing speakers.


Really? From where I'm standing this looks like it goes way beyond just the decision to cancel a few panels. If half the stuff in the Arthur Chu piece is true, then either @Hugh_W_Forrest is a shitbucket, or he can no longer control his staff well enough to keep them from being shitbuckets.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:18 AM on October 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


SXSW Interactive probably was more of a genuine, life-enriching experience back in the day. I've only been going for the last five years, because it's local and work pays for a pass. It can be interesting, for sure, and some of the panels are good. Unfortunately it just gets bigger and more expensive, and you can almost hear the soul draining out of it like the air farting its way out of a balloon. As an attendee you are under constant assault by marketers, trying to pawn free shit onto you everywhere within a three mile radius. Everything is branded and sponsored and you have to be careful about reading panel descriptions, because you might accidentally wander into one that's just an hour-long advertisement for whatever lameness MicroSoft is trying to shill that year. I would try so hard to find practical panels, but most of it is fluff.

Anyhow, this year was my last year attending, and I won't miss it. It's more about consumption than enrichment now, as this debacle illustrates.
posted by picea at 7:21 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


i feel like if someone used to love the internet-y interactive parts of sxsw, they should be going to xoxofest now and if someone liked the music part, they're better off heading up the road to denton to see the bands as they're on their way to or from sxsw.
posted by nadawi at 7:28 AM on October 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


"SXSW Interactive probably was more of a genuine, life-enriching experience back in the day."

I assume so. I really wanted to go in the early years, but I was always too busy doing the actual dot-com work back then to take time for a junket, even one as close as Austin.

I get that it's become a doucheparade in lots of respects, but I feel like this development is going to really destroy what little cred and prestige they had left.
posted by uberchet at 7:30 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyhow, this year was my last year attending, and I won't miss it. It's more about consumption than enrichment now, as this debacle illustrates.

Everything I've read about SXSW for the last few years has led me to believe it's effectively become a version of Bonaroo that startup bros can claim is some kind of technology conference so they can party for the weekend and call it a tax write-off.

I realize that's pretty much most industry conferences, but still.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:32 AM on October 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Perhaps they meant he's a Nice Guy(tm). (M'lady.)
posted by Drastic at 7:37 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


That link to Scalzi's take on the complete lying abdication of the World Fantasy Con when it comes to having a viable harassment policy shares a lot with the SXSW story. In both cases, organizations just throw up their hands in mock despair rather than deal directly with the problem in front of them, and both thereby place themselves firmly on the side of the harassers.
posted by mediareport at 7:37 AM on October 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


So the Open Gaming Society has released their 'Doctrine of Gaming' and it is hilariously bad.
posted by PenDevil at 7:59 AM on October 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


So the Open Gaming Society has released their 'Doctrine of Gaming' and it is hilariously bad.

One of my guilty joys is witnessing legal professionals tear in to every Gamergate attempt at roleplaying as serious adults.
posted by Theta States at 8:03 AM on October 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


One of the comments to Scalzi’s article claim that that was just a placeholder harrassment policy & the real one is different & in the handbooks that have gone out to attendees. So maybe wait & see a bit?
posted by pharm at 8:12 AM on October 27, 2015


One of the comments to Scalzi’s article claim that that was just a placeholder harrassment policy & the real one is different & in the handbooks that have gone out to attendees. So maybe wait & see a bit?


Yes, surely it is easier to modify the policy in all of the printed materials than it is to change the one you posted on the web.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:13 AM on October 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


pharm are you talking about this comment?
@Kelly Naylor:

That’s not the new policy, that is the old placeholder policy that they’ve had on the website for a while promising that eventually there will be a policy.

The new policy is not online. It’s only in the program sent to participants, I gather.
Because she is responding to someone saying the policy online is different, but the policy being discussed is the one that literally just got mailed out, and that the organizers are right now defending on Facebook. This is not the placeholder, it is the final policy.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:18 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, no, she means the SECRET policy.
posted by Artw at 8:23 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah, OK: maybe I understood.
posted by pharm at 8:23 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]




Buzzfeed's statement seems to be equating the two panels, though.
posted by miguelcervantes at 8:38 AM on October 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Awful lot of sucky false equivalency flying about right now.
posted by Artw at 8:49 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


so many gatekeepers don't understand that supporting the status quo/both sides narrative nearly always benefits the bullies, the abusers, the establishment.
posted by nadawi at 9:10 AM on October 27, 2015 [32 favorites]


The "strong community management" headline reminds me of those fatuous little phrases the Bush administration used to like plastering all over backdrops where he was speaking so they would show up in any photos.
posted by grouse at 9:26 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


From that Arthur Chu post: So it’s just sheer, dumb, bad luck that it was Level Up that got targeted and not Kluwe’s “The Art of the Own” when a GamerGater was searching PanelPicker for someone to harass back in August. Had history gone slightly differently it would’ve been Chris Kluwe, Lana Berry and “PFT Commenter” offered up as a sacrifice to appease GamerGaters and protect the “big tent” rather than Randi Harper, Katherine Cross and Caroline Sinders.

That's not bad luck. That's misogyny in action.
posted by immlass at 9:29 AM on October 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


the policy being discussed is the one that literally just got mailed out

Past the refund deadline, I might add, so if one chose not to attend the con due to the sucky fail of the harassment policy, the con gets to keep the registration fee.
posted by Gelatin at 9:49 AM on October 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Hey, remember in high school when some bully would be harassing some kid all the time but the administration never does anything because they're not around to see most of it and "it's not that big a deal anyways" and then one day the bully starts beating on the kid right in front of the principal so now the administration has to do something so they end up giving detention to both the bully and the bully's victim because they were both "fighting"? Remember that? Remember when you thought grown-up life would be less stupid than high school?
posted by mhum at 10:05 AM on October 27, 2015 [58 favorites]


@Hugh_W_Forrest you are a good guy in a tough spot. But you made the wrong call.

@Hugh_W_Forrest is a nice guy, just wish there was a better outcome than silencing speakers.


These sorts of comments really annoy me. Yes, I get that Forrest is a friend of theirs. It doesn't change the fact that he shat the metaphorical bed. He wasn't in a tough spot, he made the expedient decision over the right one, and he's rightfully getting raked over the coals because of it.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:33 AM on October 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


in the context of their comments i think they're trying to reach out to someone to get him to consider another avenue. i don't think they're saying he shouldn't be raked over the coals, they're just trying to get through to him...
posted by nadawi at 10:35 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


i don't think they're saying he shouldn't be raked over the coals, they're just trying to get through to him...

Saying that he's "a good guy in a tough spot" is very much minimizing what happened, and trying to deflect responsibility from a self inflicted screw-up. Because the whole thing is that said "tough spot" is one wholly of his own making.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:56 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


i think the context of those comments in no way minimizes what was done. when your friend fucks up you might approach them more gently to get them to listen. or maybe you wouldn't, but some people do.
posted by nadawi at 11:03 AM on October 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Mod note: Maybe let's let the thing about those two tweets, and whether they phrased things in the right way, rest here?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:08 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]




Good on Buzzfeed and Vox. I hope that other companies and big name people do the same, and that SXSW reconsiders.
posted by jeather at 1:20 PM on October 27, 2015


It's nice to see that the re/code article actually distinguishes between the two panels, given that a lot of other write-ups of this are failing to note that one is a thinly-veiled GamerGate front group. Fuck this "both sides" shit, there are not two sides as to whether women should be allowed to participate in all aspects of society as equals.

(Also: WTF, SXSW)
posted by tocts at 2:29 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Vi Hart has been doing well too:
Moderators love saying "most comments in this organized anti-you campaign don't even threaten your life, they're just expressing opinions"
I also love "We really welcome women and let us know what we can do to do it better. But no we won't close the comments or ban that dude"
"We do everything we can to encourage women in our field. Apply to our department! Our prof assaulted female students but says he'll stop"
posted by jeather at 2:34 PM on October 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


I can't really understand GamerGate--I haven't been online much the past 2-3 years--usually there's some sort of rational voice at the head of a campaign. What's the GamerGate elevator pitch: "women shouldn't be represented in games because they don't really play them" ... or it seems to claim something about "ethical standards in journalism" ... what does that have to do with women? The goals of the group (is there a group?) confuse me. The Wikipedia article explains the harassment, but not the philosophical (if there are any) differences, or at least I can't find it.

Can someone straighten me out with a link that explains things in dad language?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:44 PM on October 27, 2015


This previous FPP has a couple of summaries of how it started, at least in its current incarnation.
posted by asperity at 2:55 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


As best as I can understand it, GG thinks that all real gamers want awesome, fun games and an awesome, fun gaming culture. Those games often involve gross depictions of women, and that culture often involves gross behavior towards women. That is fun, and that's what real gamers like. There is, however, an evil cabal of feminists who hate fun. They criticize the awesome games and the awesome culture, and sometimes they make dumb, not-fun games. Obviously, nobody would listen to them for any legitimate reason, because they are stupid and not-fun and wrong and obviously evil. Therefore, if anyone likes their games or listens to their critiques, it must be a conspiracy involving unethical behavior. Unmasking that conspiracy and silencing the conspirators is the purpose of GamerGate.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:56 PM on October 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


mrgrimm, this "What is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks" piece at Gawker last October is pretty good, but it's difficult to get anyone totally up to speed with one link, so decide how much time you want to devote and then check the GamerGate tag here for months and months of discussion.
posted by mediareport at 2:57 PM on October 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


gamergate was explicitly started as a harassment campaign against a female dev led by her ex-boyfriend - any complaints about ethics or prudes or fun police were rolled up later as a shield against their original purpose.
posted by nadawi at 2:59 PM on October 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Sure, but it quickly overspilled the original intent and is now a harassment campaign against any feminist involved in gaming.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:01 PM on October 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


absolutely. i wasn't disagreeing with anyone. i just think it's important to always say outright that the original purpose was not ethics in gaming journalism or broad opinions about outsiders view of art and recreation - and that we have the chat logs where they planned that as a cover and to dupe idiots to help run their harassment campaign.
posted by nadawi at 3:03 PM on October 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Chris Kluwe now has a piece up
posted by CarolynG at 3:24 PM on October 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


Chris Kluwe now has a piece up

And it's scathing:

“Your conference is the corrupt, decaying edifice of the status quo, no matter how much you pretend otherwise, because you lack the common decency to take a stand against those who would hurt others merely because they’ve always been able to do so.”
posted by Songdog at 3:55 PM on October 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Thanks for the background. The Gawker piece was probably the most useful survey. I don't care about the Gibroni guy (though I realize he was the instigator of the entire movement.)

how much time you want to devote

oh no. reading the Gawker article was already almost too much. (if this is the how the "culture wars" of the internet go, offline life is looking better and better ...)

I realize how 4chan, etc. could punk PR people at first, but it's been a year or so since the controversy began ... I still don't quite understand how the movement has any credibility? pure confusion? I suppose 50% of Americans are anti-social justice regardless (especially white teenagers), but the whole thing seems a bit brown-shirtish to me. (the spate of current news articles that equate the two panels indicate "confusion" or "ignorance" as the main problem).

oh well. i suppose these are the same young, white men who yearn to patrol the Mexican border and assault queers and shoot up schools and become cops, i.e. they are vicitim to corrosion of their souls that must sprout from some malice in our national culture (materialism, commercialism, racism, sexism, casual violence, all of the above?)

I did also read (mostly) Why I Feel Bad for the GamerGate Gamers by Devin Faraci, which I found pretty insightful (though it includes the laughable advice from August '14 of: "Maybe we just have to let it blow over." ... naaah.)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:11 PM on October 27, 2015


I still don't quite understand how the movement has any credibility?

It doesn't.
posted by Artw at 4:17 PM on October 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


You disgust me. Your selfish weakness sickens me. Your puling bleats of golden mean fallacies fills my stomach with such nauseous rage that an entire continent of antacid tablets would be insufficient to quell the depths of my contempt for you.

Once again I find myself thrilled that Kluwe's pen exists and is on the side of the angels. I kinda feel like this is how Alexander Hamilton would have sounded if he'd had a Twitter.
posted by Itaxpica at 4:18 PM on October 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Updated statement from SXSW.
posted by SansPoint at 4:28 PM on October 27, 2015


Chris Kluwe's magnificently scathing rant is a thing of beauty. Am beyond disgusted by SXSW and hope the backlash from this forces them to reassess at the very least. Not holding my breath.
posted by leslies at 4:59 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can't wait for Hugh to directly address the question of the process by which the GamerGate panel was empaneled in the first place.
posted by mediareport at 5:00 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I still don't quite understand how the movement has any credibility?

Well you're right, their movement has zero credibility.

Over time I've begun to think of it as the oppositional reflex, basically, when you have a dog, you pull on his leash, his reflex is to pull back. It's a mindless, automatic reflex that has no reason or thought behind it.

Tribalism is at the heart of it. You've correctly identified it as an internet culture war. This isn't the starting point, but certainly the catalyst for the break between "gamers" and the journalists that cover them is neatly summarized in a Slate article that lists half a dozen "gaming" journalism sites that simultaneously declared the death of the "gamer" identity, calling them various epithets (basement dwellers, incapable of social interaction, etc) The Slate author tongue in cheek says at the start of the article that "Slate readers are over, a declining, dead demographic," would be an interesting way of starting his article.

This instantly drew a line and pitted "gamers" - who have no reach and no influence - against the gaming press, who they perceive as having long reach and large influence. Even just by virtue of having thousands of readers - a person's "power" nowadays on the internet is defined more by the reach of their words and ideas than the money in their bank account.

This narrative then forces people into one of two camps - tribalism. Either you're with the powerless gamers, or you're with the powerful gaming press. A person with no social media reach and power will likely think they're with the former, a person with large social media reach will think they're with the latter.

As we've seen with people on one side or politics or national issue or another (climate change, gun control, abortion, etc) once you identify with one tribal group, you're very likely to blindly dismiss any accusations or debate coming from the "other" group as strawman arguments, obfuscations, cherry picking, outright lies or exaggerations / fabrications. This allows many people to live their lives with a clear conscience and unburdened heart supporting whatever issue it is - their stance on gun control, their stance on abortion, etc. That's just how humans are. Credibility of the movement has very little to do with it.
posted by xdvesper at 6:38 PM on October 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wait, what? No. This is not about "tribalism." This is about a bunch of dudes who don't like outspoken women and who are trying, with a fair amount of success, to terrorize and silence women they don't like.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:43 PM on October 27, 2015 [24 favorites]


Different people can be members of the same group for different reasons. The farther we get from the original attacks on Zoe, the more I think that some of the newer recruits are really just looking at it as a general "these feminist bitches hate gamers, and I'm a gamer so they hate me."

Which sucks, because the original victims of this are still getting hurt, and sometimes even moreso by folks who didn't even know what the original controversies were, and now just see people like Zoe and Anita as "professional victims" who never really suffered harassment, and just want to make gamers look bad.

So yeah -- it's a big old misogyny --> tribalism --> misogyny ouroboros which SXSW failed to stop spinning today.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:07 PM on October 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


According to re/code, via our local (Austin) paper, SXSW is reinstating the Level Up panel and doing a daylong anti-harassment event. Here's hoping that if they're being craven they're at least being craven in the right way. I'm not believing it until I hear it straight from whichever end of the horse SXSW is speaking from though.
posted by immlass at 7:12 PM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


So the Open Gaming Society has released their 'Doctrine of Gaming' and it is hilariously bad.

pretty sure my friends and I created something similar for our D&D group when we were 12.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:36 PM on October 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


A person with no social media reach and power will likely think they're with the former

That's me and uh, no.
posted by ctmf at 7:43 PM on October 27, 2015


"Why Are You So Angry?" does a phenomenal job of explaining how the us Vs them mentality is exploited. I watched it twice when it was recommended by someone on Mefi in a recent(ish) thread that also mentioned GamerGate. It really is worth the hour plus watch, and Angry Jack is many people suckered into an abuser role out of fear (ironically) of being an abuser.

And that's how GG stays afloat; some dudes rather get angry over fake injustices rather than acknowledge shit is broken and they might be part of the problem. There are always more that want to believe, obfuscating the small number of active and intentional harassers.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:16 PM on October 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Over time I've begun to think of it as the oppositional reflex, basically, when you have a dog, you pull on his leash, his reflex is to pull back. It's a mindless, automatic reflex that has no reason or thought behind it.


A well adjusted human or dog doesn't respond this way.

This instantly drew a line and pitted "gamers" - who have no reach and no influence

If they had no influence we wouldn't be having this conversation.
posted by futz at 9:41 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Congresswoman Katherine Clark asks SXSW to reinstate anti-harassment panel: "Our message to targets of online threats and harassment should not be that the internet is closed to their voices," wrote Clark. "It should be that we stand behind them and will not tolerate any online abuse or violence that jeopardizes their opportunities in a world that is increasingly online."
posted by cynical pinnacle at 11:22 PM on October 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


If they had no influence we wouldn't be having this conversation.

That's an overbroad definition of influence in my opinion. Anybody with access to an email account or telephone has influence if it isn't since they could call in a bomb threat and cause a reaction.
posted by Justinian at 11:26 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wait, what? No. This is not about "tribalism." This is about a bunch of dudes who don't like outspoken women and who are trying, with a fair amount of success, to terrorize and silence women they don't like.

"Tribalism" is one of those concepts that, while it may have been marginally useful at one time, really needs to go die in a fire now. Because these days, it winds up being shorthand for "I don't want to give any consideration as to why this disagreement exists or why it's so bitter, so I'll just chalk it all up to groupthink so I can look to be above the fray."
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:16 AM on October 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


Different people can be members of the same group for different reasons. The farther we get from the original attacks on Zoe, the more I think that some of the newer recruits are really just looking at it as a general "these feminist bitches hate gamers, and I'm a gamer so they hate me."

Many of the "new recruit" gamergate accounts I've stumbled upon don't even game, they are are just virulent antifeminists that love the networking power of the hashtag and the glee with which they can attack their targets as a group.

It's moved away from "feminist critique has no place in the game world" to "feminists have no place in the world".
posted by Theta States at 6:23 AM on October 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm sure there's a very good explanation for none of this.
posted by Eideteker at 7:02 AM on October 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


This isn't the starting point, but certainly the catalyst for the break between "gamers" and the journalists that cover them is neatly summarized in a Slate article that lists half a dozen "gaming" journalism sites that simultaneously declared the death of the "gamer" identity, calling them various epithets (basement dwellers, incapable of social interaction, etc)

Okay, there's just so much wrong with this, not the least that you're linking to David Auerbach, the most Slate-pitchy contrarian on the site. He's the David Brooks of the internet, because in his world, it's always "both sides do it" and "when in doubt, parrot the talking points of the bigots." And this is on full display here: he equates the massive amount of visible harassment from Gamergate with a single, evidence-free tweet from Boogie; claiming that people talking about games moving beyond simple concepts are "too self-important," and generally pooh-poohing the idea that critiques of gaming from social justice perspectives are more valid than hand-wavey claims of "ethics. "

This instantly drew a line and pitted "gamers" - who have no reach and no influence - against the gaming press, who they perceive as having long reach and large influence. Even just by virtue of having thousands of readers - a person's "power" nowadays on the internet is defined more by the reach of their words and ideas than the money in their bank account.

Again, this is the narrative created out of whole cloth by gators as a smokescreen--if not full-on excuse--for their harassment, dutifully passed on by an incurious Auerbach. So much of what he says about those gaming (scare quotes aren't necessary here) journalism sites is taken out of context, that it's clear from the very first link that he at best skimmed the articles and at worst took the gator's accusations at face value without even reading them. Leigh Alexander's Gamasutra piece, for instance, is criticizing the marketer's views of gamers, not the gamers themselves. Jonathan Holmes' post on Destructoid talks about how odd it is that all these people that supposedly got upset about gaming journalism missed how they'd been treated by the old-school journalists and the marketers, and decided to focus almost entirely on people like Sarkeesian and Wu and Quinn. The accusations of "basement dwellers" and the like are taken not from the writers of these articles, but the examples of how the "gamer" identity was shaped and pandered to by the industry itself. These articles didn't draw a line between anybody but people who play games and the people who market them.

This narrative then forces people into one of two camps - tribalism. Either you're with the powerless gamers, or you're with the powerful gaming press. A person with no social media reach and power will likely think they're with the former, a person with large social media reach will think they're with the latter.

No, the narrative created one camp, and that was the gators who manufactured it. The tribalism accusations are, as others have said, complete bullshit. It's meant to perpetuate a persecution complex where the Big, Mean, Powerful gaming press are attacking them. This in turn justifies lashing out in "self defense" against critics who, for some strange reason, are mainly women who are not part of the gaming press at all.

As we've seen with people on one side or politics or national issue or another (climate change, gun control, abortion, etc) once you identify with one tribal group, you're very likely to blindly dismiss any accusations or debate coming from the "other" group as strawman arguments, obfuscations, cherry picking, outright lies or exaggerations / fabrications.

It's interesting that you included those issues, because they're probably some of the more appropriate comparisons here. From the moment that Eron Gjoni uploaded the Zoe Post to a bunch of sites (several of which who were infamous for their bigotry and zeal for harassment), pretty much everything that has come from the gators has definitively proven to be the very same "strawman arguments, obfuscations, cherry picking, outright lies or exaggerations / fabrications" that you mention. Like the industries and their boosters in politics, they've responded to near-consensus from critics and experts with falsified data, attempts to discredit their enemies (for instance, a bomb threat that supposedly came from "anti-GG" was actually planned by gators on 8chan), and harassment of their opponents.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:08 AM on October 28, 2015 [20 favorites]


These articles didn't draw a line between anybody but people who play games and the people who market them.

The most frustrating part about gamergate was how so much of the rage was due to lack of reading comprehension.
Back when I didn't just block gators on sight, soooo many people cited "gamers are dead" article as validity for their rage. "OH YEAH? I'M ALIVE!" and you just had to roll your eyes and hope they didn't do too much damage, because they obviously just read some 4chan graphic and didn't read the articles themselves.
Leigh's article did NOT say "dead" in it. yeesh.

Since the beginning it has always been meme-based justifications for every one of their actions.
Why are we stalking Randi? I saw a pic saying she abused her dog by dying it blue!
Why are we stalking Zoe? Apparently she had sex for reviews!
Why are we attacking feminists? Apparently they are all liars out to destroy gaming!
Why are we SO ANGRY? MILO SAID WE SHOULD BE AND HE TOLD US WE ARE HEROES!


At the very least, Milo Yiannopoulos got effectively demoted at Breitbart. Once a front page UK columnist, he was shuffled off to the USA side to avoid libel laws, and now just left to cover the "tech and culture" beat.
He tried to spin this as a positive thing, but even he is having a hard time grinning and selling that lie.
posted by Theta States at 7:31 AM on October 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


NPR, sadly, pulled yet more of the both sides are the same bullshit yesterday. I was pretty disappointed to hear the report on my way home last night.

Look a little deeper, NPR!

(Especially since I know there are people there who know better, like MeFi's own Linda Holmes.)
posted by suelac at 8:17 AM on October 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that's really disappointing. "Talking past each other"? WTF is that supposed to mean in the context of a hate group that regularly sends death threats?
posted by chaiminda at 9:13 AM on October 28, 2015 [3 favorites]




With Pro and Con sides?
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on October 28, 2015 [9 favorites]




Get so tired of the whole thing with "these articles declared gamers/gaming dead, and even called them names, so can you blame gamers for lashing back?" Yes, I can and do blame them. Take "punk is dead". That chestnut has been crowed since the late 70s. Punks were attributed to everything from devil worship (although that mostly fell on the metalheads) to child abduction to the decay of the moral fabric of society. We bore it as a badge of honor to be maligned by squares. That's how you know when you're in a real subculture: when you can proudly point and laugh at a square article in a square newspaper declaring you simultaneously irrelevant and the source of all that is evil.

GamerGate was never about the opinions of a couple clickbaity articles. Those articles were just used as moral cover for harassing women while crying about their precious feelings being hurt by mean meany stereotypes such as "kissless virgin" and "basement dweller". Women like Anita Sarkeesian aren't allowed to have opinions of games, no matter how much they bookend their criticisms with "I don't want these games banned, and in fact, I love video games". That's their objection. Women with opinions; the bane of chickenshit misogynists everywhere.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:20 PM on October 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


Check out this great comment on the NYT article that is TOTALLY NOT BY A GAMERGATER.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a gamer, so I have no skin in the games. But from where I sit, it seems clear that some of the blame for this situation belongs to dreadful spoilsports and busybodies and publicity-seekers like Anita Sarkeesian. If she doesn't like the games, then she doesn't have to play them. There is the whole worldwide web for her to search for something more to her taste.

Sarkeesian is no martyr; she is just a pain in the backside. The NYT shouldn't be encouraging this behavior. It should return her to the obscurity she so richly deserves.
posted by Theta States at 12:36 PM on October 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Haha oh man. Even Scott Adams was more subtle than that.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:51 PM on October 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh I dunno. The "love it or leave it" mindset is so pervasive that I'd give that a 1 in 4 chance of that being someone who really isn't a gamer. But I'm sure it's someone who dislikes women having opinions either way.
posted by phearlez at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


that style of engagement is a very recognizable part of their movement - "i'm not invested, just a neutral 3rd party, but here's verbatim one of the main charges gators make about anita (which is entirely false), just by happenstance..." we watched them come up with this tactic during the early days of #NotYourShield.
posted by nadawi at 1:03 PM on October 28, 2015 [16 favorites]


Yeah, and the Venn diagram featuring People Who Hate Sarkeesian and People Who Are Totally Not Gamers has an overlap you need an electronic microscope to see properly.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:09 PM on October 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


i totally believe that there are gators who are not gamers, and just find it a good community for their misogyny (take milo for instance) - either way that comment was made by someone who is part of their hate movement.
posted by nadawi at 1:11 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


i totally believe that there are gators who are not gamers

KotakuInAction's numbers swelled thanks to being adopted by:
/pol/
/fatpeoplehate/
/coontown/
posted by Theta States at 1:13 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah yeah. Typo on my part. Substitute "Gamers" with "Gators"

*fires up Nethack, disables messages*
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:14 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


oh yeah the /pol/ stuff has been there from the beginning - there's a real strong antisemitic thing with the gators.
posted by nadawi at 1:19 PM on October 28, 2015




nadawi there's a real strong antisemitic thing with the gators.

See also the drawings of Anita Sarkeesian that have been done in the style of the notoriously antisemitic "Happy Merchant" meme.
posted by SansPoint at 3:34 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Austin Chronicle writeup today: Gaming, SXSW, and Women: No official response yet from SXSW about rescheduling panels. Yesterday's article on the topic. NB: As disclosed in the second link, SXSW was co-founded by Chronicle publisher Nick Barbaro and editor Louis Black, and they remain directors of the festival. Read with thet grain of salt.
posted by immlass at 5:37 PM on October 28, 2015


SansPoint - yeah. that's what i was thinking of specifically, actually. it was my first hint in the early days that this was going to be a long lasting sort of thing - it just tapped into so many things that were already going on just under the surface. there's a great venn diagram that i can't find now that predicted gameygate a year or so before it actually happened - just pointing out the groups that were getting closer and how all it was going to take was a spark - and boy howdy did gjoni give them that...
posted by nadawi at 5:44 PM on October 28, 2015


As frequently pointed out, it's not like that this shit wasn't happening on the regs before they picked that name.
posted by Artw at 5:52 PM on October 28, 2015


absolutely. that name helped us name it which, yay! but also helped them find a tent to put it all under, which, ughhhhhh.
posted by nadawi at 6:14 PM on October 28, 2015


This isn't the starting point, but certainly the catalyst for the break between "gamers" and the journalists that cover them is neatly summarized in a Slate article that lists half a dozen "gaming" journalism sites that simultaneously declared the death of the "gamer" identity, calling them various epithets (basement dwellers, incapable of social interaction, etc) The Slate author tongue in cheek says at the start of the article that "Slate readers are over, a declining, dead demographic," would be an interesting way of starting his article.

It's probably worth noting that i) actually, that would be a pretty definitionally #slatepitches way to start an article, and ii) this is a dishonest representation of events, as peddled as a ktistic myth by Gamergate. The articles were not simultaneous, they did not universally declare the death of the gamer identity, and they were written, unsurprisingly, in response to the harassment of Zoe Quinn.

It feels like it would be easier to get this stuff right, but getting it wrong, and having some sort of pulpit, did guarantee a flock of lovebombing Gamergaters, to whom, since lovebombing can be pretty addictive for the otherwise obscure, a number of niche bloggers and minor gaming sites became increasingly beholden, while still professing neutrality.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:52 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


That we're aggressively missreading that Leigh Alexander price over a year later is really quite outstandingly dumb.
posted by Artw at 7:01 PM on October 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


i totally believe that there are gators who are not gamers

Their Lord and Saviour Milo sure as hell isn't one. Here's what he thinks gamers are:

There aren’t many people who would stick up for an odd guy with no money who lives in Wisconsin, hates his wife, plays video games to escape from his miserable life and is suddenly told that just because he likes playing Grand Theft Auto he is a sexist misogynist pig.

GG of course will ignore him completely stereotyping gamers as basement dwelling angry white men though because you know... *shrugs shoulders*.... stuff.
posted by PenDevil at 12:49 AM on October 29, 2015


Even the meant-to-be-sympathetic hypothetical gator who isn't really a misogynist... hates his wife by their own description? I guess she's probably a hypothetical harpy, or something. GGers are walking, talking Lewis' Law examples.
posted by gilrain at 7:51 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Today in the car I heard the Statesman's tech guy, Omar Gallaga, being interviewed by KUT, the local NPR station about SXSW and the panels. Him trying to explain Gamergate to the NPR audience was pretty funny in a horrible sort of way. This is a thing to the NPR audience if nothing else because of the local money and reputation invested in SXSW; as someone who grew up in Houston, I recognize the smell of bidness getting antsy about reputation issues. Apparently Gallaga expects some actual action on the anti-harassment forum thing.

Usually the Austin Chronicle is pretty good about covering local issues and the Statesman lags behind, but the Chronicle's ownership being tied up so tightly with SXSW is hampering their coverage, and Gallaga is really owning this story.
posted by immlass at 9:39 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]




Sinders has an excellent breakdown from her view at Slate.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:06 PM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Seattle Times piece on Zoe Quinn/SXSW

I didn't know she was living up here now... I thought I saw either her or a very convincing doppelganger at Gameworks one afternoon during lunch several weeks ago*, now I'm thinking it was probably her. Hope she's staying safe and has good people around her.

*listen, sometimes you need to drink your lunch in a corporate arcade's cavernous and depressing bar area, also they do an okay fish and chips and that's just what i needed that day okay
posted by palomar at 3:09 PM on October 29, 2015


From the Seattle Times article that palomar linked (emph. added):
Quinn was at Ground Zero for the birth of the “Gamergate” movement, which began last year as a coordinated effort to destroy her personally and professionally after a game developer she dated for four months posted a vindictive blog about their relationship.

The Gamergate movement has since tried to re-brand itself as a force for integrity in gaming journalism, but those claims are frequently undermined by harassment from those who claim affiliation with the movement.
This is such very, very necessary journalism (and in a straight-up, middle-of-the-road, dead-tree daily city newspaper to boot!). None of that mealy-mouthed, "gotta hear both sides", "opinions on the shape of the Earth differ" bullshit.
posted by mhum at 6:16 PM on October 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


Amen. You want to give some column inches to the fact that it's a decentralized movement and maybe it sweeps in some lazy/inattentive folks by virtue of the same camouflage it uses for its malfeasance? Have at it. But that belongs after the setup and overwhelming truth of what kicked it off and what keeps it running and what really is the target of the majority of its membership. The Klan has supported some members' families and adopted a stretch of highway to keep clean. That's not the behavior you lead with when talking about them.
posted by phearlez at 7:55 PM on October 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I believe they can legitimately be called more of a shitshow than PAX now.

Hilariously, Pax Australia is running panel on equality in games right now and it is packed out and going swimmingly, by all accounts.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:23 PM on October 29, 2015


I've always heard good things about PAX.
posted by Justinian at 10:13 PM on October 29, 2015


I've always heard good things about PAX.

They don't have the best history on sexism.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:21 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, yes, I know about the dickwolves thing. In general most people seem to see that as a separate issues from PAX itself, though. Not everyone obviously given the content of your link.
posted by Justinian at 2:50 AM on October 30, 2015


I hadn't read Arthur Chu's description of what the panel-approval/cancellation process looked like from his end, linked in that Vox piece; it's a must-read, not least for his take on how the GamerGate panel managed to appear on the schedule with no public voting page:

I had had it. I checked back on r/KotakuInAction and confirmed that no one had ever put up a link to the Save Point panel’s public voting page because it had never had one. I started asking every gaming and media and tech person I was connected to on Facebook, and finally found someone who was friends with a member of SXSW’s advisory committee. The committee member said they’d never seen the panel and if it had come before the committee they’d have red-flagged it for sure.

SXSW’s FAQ says 30 percent of the selection process is the public vote, 40 percent is the advisory committee’s recommendation, and 30 percent is the SXSW staff. Neither the public nor the advisory committee weighed in on this panel. This was a unilateral decision.


So, SXSW staff, acting completely on their own, without *any* input from the public or their own advisory committee, simply decided that balance required going around their own rules to add a panel organized by people *they'd just watched harass other panelists*?

Can that possibly be right?

Was Hugh Forrest involved in that decision? Surely the answer is yes? Either way, absent a direct public acknowledgement that that particular move was a horrible error demonstrating complete ignorance of the relevant issues and background, and a subsequent apology, it's going to be very difficult to take seriously anything SXSW or Forrest organizes about harassment.
posted by mediareport at 6:50 AM on October 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Official: SXSW Announces March 12 Online Harassment Summit.
posted by immlass at 9:38 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The subtitle for that summit should be "Build Your Brand Through Online Harassment". FFS.
posted by holgate at 9:51 AM on October 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


The summit will include Randi Harper, Katherine Cross and Caroline Sinders from “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games,” as well as Perry Jones, Mercedes Carrera, and Lynn Walsh from “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community.” We are working with both groups to develop the most productive focus for their appearances.

Oh Jebus.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:04 AM on October 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


The summit will include Randi Harper, Katherine Cross and Caroline Sinders from “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games,” as well as Perry Jones, Mercedes Carrera, and Lynn Walsh from “SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community.” We are working with both groups to develop the most productive focus for their appearances.

i don't understand. people freaked out because they were having a gamergate panel most likely for cynical "both sides" reasons, they canceled both sides for idiotic "both sides" reasons... so they're going to turn it into an all day "both sides" thing?
posted by twist my arm at 10:04 AM on October 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


brianna wu: The amount of harassment sent my way reflects this graph. This is why we tried to get SXSW to avoid this.

that's in reference to the general handling, looks like she's going to do the summit anyways. here's a video of the super mario level she made to troll her non-gaming husband.
posted by twist my arm at 10:23 AM on October 30, 2015


i don't understand.
SXSW Interactive is pro-Gamergate (or at least has a significant pro-Gamergate faction with administrative power), but doesn't want to come out and say it. The conclusion is inescapable: the weird reluctance to moderate threatening comments, the panel approved outside of normal channels, and now this "let's have a civil debate about whether it's okay to be threatening bigots" horseshit are all pro-Gamergate stances. It's appalling. I'm glad people are bailing and I wish more would.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:29 AM on October 30, 2015 [20 favorites]


Two interesting things there - one, that Nick "Pixelmetal" Robalik, the last of those "Savepoint" panelists, has not been listed. Possibly because one of the SXSW organizers checked his Twitter history.

The other is that, looking at that list, those Savepoint attendees are going to be wildly outnumbered by people with a rather different view about GamerGate. There's still time for some more Gamergaters to be added, of course, but right now it may be a little uncomfortable.

That in turn might be an interesting experience for Lynn Walsh of the Society of Professional Journalists, who was slated for the Savepoint panel. The SPJ has proven itself so far to be at best ineffectual and out of touch on this issue, and to be strangely indifferent to the safety and security of actual professional journalists. Perhaps exposure to a more varied set of perspectives (rather than the stage-managed "Airplay" event, in which Gamergate set the delegate list and to a large extent the agenda) will spark a little intellectual curiosity there.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:41 AM on October 30, 2015


Doubling down hard on the both sides bullshit.

Someone there is guzzling down dorky manosphere conspiracy bullshit by the gallon, and either that person needs to have control wrested from them or the whole fucking thing should be shunned, because fuck that shit.
posted by Artw at 10:45 AM on October 30, 2015 [5 favorites]




Oh my God, SXSW couldn't find a goddamn clue with a map, a flashlight, a compass, and a neon sign pointing to the clue that read "THIS IS A CLUE".

This is like having a conference on preventing spousal abuse, but having a panel of accused wife-beaters speak as well.

*headdesk*
posted by SansPoint at 11:33 AM on October 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


in the interests of balance, SXSW has decided to shoot themselves in the other foot
posted by murphy slaw at 11:53 AM on October 30, 2015 [28 favorites]


At this point Forrest needs to just resign, and they need to bring in someone from the outside who can actually fix this epic flustercluck.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:51 PM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good lord. What a shitfest. So, to be clear, the folks who went through the public process properly and got abused as they did so, are now being forced to *share a fucking stage* with the folks who were allowed to do an end-run around the public process and encourage abuse routinely?

For fuck's sake. I really hope Buzzfeed and Vox see through this for the obnoxious, tone-deaf insult it is and stick to their guns on not attending. This "solution" addresses none of the concerns those companies raised. None.
posted by mediareport at 1:02 PM on October 30, 2015 [10 favorites]




The idea that SXSW leaders could have discussions with the Level Up panelists and (it now appears) not even have the decency to let them know that they were also planning on inviting Gamergate representatives to the same "online harassment summit" - when the Gamergate folks' original panel didn't even address harassment at all - is so surprising that it's difficult to believe.

And yet it seems that's exactly what happened.
posted by mediareport at 2:44 PM on October 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hang on. While obviously the WTF thing here is putting the Level Up people on the same panel as GGers, I'm actually a bit curious about what the GGers' reaction is to being invited onto the harassment panel. Like mediareport mentions, their SavePoint panel was supposed to be about "the current social/political landscape in the gaming community, the journalistic integrity of gaming’s journalists, and the ever-changing gaming community, video game development, and their future" (google cache). And, I believe that the official GG line is that any harassment that happens under their banner is purely the actions of third-party agitators who have nothing to do with GG. So, do we know if they've accepted the invitation? And, if they have, is that an implicit admission that GG isn't just about ethics in game journalism (eyeroll) and does have something to do with harassment? Or maybe they're thinking that they got the invitation so that they could talk about how they too have been harassed by "SJWs" (blurgh)? This whole thing is a five-alarm dumpster fire.
posted by mhum at 3:40 PM on October 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, I imagine that they would say that feminist criticism is itself a form of harassment, that they are also victims of harassment but just don't whine about it the way that their critics do, and that false or exaggerated allegations of harassment are often made to try to silence the brave, manly exploits of brave, manly men such as themselves. That kind of tedious, insulting, bullshit thing.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:45 PM on October 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Local news coverage (which today has mostly been dominated by central Texas flooding, because we have almost 15" at the airport, evacuations, and several people missing/dead).

Statesman: SXSW Interactive announces daylong online harassment summit for March 12. Omar Gallaga, and he's updated it a couple of times.

Austin Chronicle: SXSW Announces Online Harassment Summit: Apologizes for “unintended message” that condones harassment. Pretty hard-nosed given their connection to the festival.
posted by immlass at 3:56 PM on October 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


What an awful situation for the Level Up panelists who followed the rules and created the panel they themselves wanted to create. Either they participate in this sure-to-be-ridiculous farce, which is so far removed from what they intended it's absurd, or they cede the stage to the sexist harassing jerks who have been given a free ride from the start by the idiots at SXSW. Not a pleasant choice.

The best solution seems to me to be the Level Up panelists finding an alternative venue and holding their panel there, free of association with SXSW. It'd be great if Buzzfeed et al supported a solution like that, instead of signing on to a clearly obnoxious process that violated SXSW's own stated rules, and then got worse as SXSW tried in vain to dig itself out of the hole it created.
posted by mediareport at 4:06 PM on October 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Additional Statesman coverage (this is on the paper's site and more likely to appear in print tomorrow): SXSW Interactive announces online harassment summit after PR mess: For its March 2016 fest, SXSW tries to fix damage to its reputation by addressing online harassment and bullying.
posted by immlass at 5:07 PM on October 30, 2015


mathowie you're friends with this guy? [spoken with an incredulity that wouldn't have been there a week ago]

Anyway, can you find out what the actual fuck he's thinking? Because I'm running out of hopeful "there's got to be more to the story we don't know" to imagine here.
posted by ctmf at 8:00 PM on October 30, 2015


Ah, I think I see what they did there. A whole day of talks, so the two groups wouldn't be "sharing the stage", they'd be on the same stage at different times (presumably). Also, an end run around the process for including the GGers by inviting a bunch of other people who also didn't go through the normal process. So now it's not sleazy, it's just "different" for this event. Mention security, and they're almost fixing the letter of people's concerns, without actually addressing the underlying wtf question.
posted by ctmf at 8:09 PM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]




comment from randi harper/freebsdgirl:
I pushed for GamerGate to get re-added, but not to the online harassment summit. They should have been added to SXSW Gaming, and I want to see them back in that space.

I've talked to a significant number of speakers scheduled to speak at the online harassment summit, and they feel the same way. They knew GamerGate was coming back, but they did not realize they would be a part of the summit. They also plan on withdrawing if GamerGate's panel is not removed from the summit.

We will also not be attending if Milo or Breitbart is present at the summit in any capacity.

...
I'm tired. This is all a huge distraction from my actual work, and I've spent an entire week on it. I'm sleep deprived. I don't regret submitting a panel in the first place, however, because this has driven online harassment and the reality of the threats we receive to be part of the conversation everywhere. It's a shitty sacrifice. I'm no martyr, not by a long shot, but I'm sacrificing a lot here due to the international media this has been receiving. Otherwise, I would have immediately backed out and never looked back. I'm not doing this because I want to speak at SXSW. I'm doing this because of all of the people that are watching.

If this had happened a year ago, no one would have noticed. It's great to think about how far we've come.

Since kicking back on this, the number of threats I'm receiving is escalating, and it's not just from GamerGate supporters. With this kind of international attention, all kinds of idiots are coming out to play. I'm managing. We're all managing, but we're all feeling the stress.
it's a fucking no-brainer, sxsw. no harassers in your anti-harassment summit, which you only needed bc you were too dumb to handle harassment seriously in the first place.
posted by twist my arm at 9:14 PM on October 30, 2015 [17 favorites]


Arthur Chu: GamerGate rides again: Corporate arrogance just turned SXSW’s “big tent” into a three-ring circus (emphasis in original)
I was extremely skeptical of SXSW’s announcement that they’d do a whole day-long harassment event to somehow compensate for their previous mishandling of harassment panels. It was that very previous mishandling that showed they didn’t have much depth of competence understanding or dealing with harassment. For them to come up with a harassment event at the last minute in some kind of face-saving move seemed to be inviting disaster.

But I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and happy to hear that the Level Up panelists as well as a lot of other cool people would be getting the opportunity to speak after all.

Then I found out that SXSW hadn’t learned a thing.

They not only brought back the Level Up panelists but also brought back the “Save Point” GamerGate panelists, and actually made the existing situation worse. Rather than simply having harassers and their victims at the same conference, encouraging an audience of GamerGaters to attend SXSWi and put people in danger, they literally put the Level Up and Save Point panelists in the same tent, expecting victims and their harassers to participate as part of the same event in order to create a “dialogue” between “two sides.”

This is a terrible thing to do. What’s even worse is doing this in a public press release without telling any of the prospective panelists beforehand, and leaving the Level Up panelists in the unpleasant situation of either “backing out” of the “anti-harassment summit” or going along with being volunteered to debate their attackers.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:35 AM on November 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


This reminds me of the time at a job where after some internal organizational changes, I was assigned to a supervisor who I butted heads with. Not in a good difference of opinion way, but in a "this guy has previously singled me out, here are the very specific examples" I spoke to the manager and asked if I could be reassigned. When I explained in detail why, the manager's solution was to schedule a meeting between supervisor and I, alone, and "work it out", with me having no idea that it would just be the two of us until the actual meeting.

When I quit a few months later and my manager asked why, I explained that supervisor was a big part of me leaving. Surprised, he said "I thought you two worked it out in that meeting." No, you can't put a subordinate and superior in the same room and expect them to "work out" something relating to a charge of abusing their position, there is a power differential there. It escalated the problem and made things infinitely worse. He seemed honestly dumbstruck "Well why didn't you come back and tell me?" Because you proved to have poor judgement the first time, why would I risk that again?

Except, you know, this is infinity worse and in the public eye, and these women can't just create an exit plan and quit the harassment.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:28 AM on November 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


Jesse Singal: Is This Crazy Anti-Feminist Rumor the Platonic Ideal of the Men’s-Rights Internet?
Yesterday, Eric Raymond, a software development and open-source software advocate, published an explosive allegation on his blog: a recently disbanded group called the Ada Initiative, which advertises itself as helping make tech more welcoming for women, had been attempting to entrap men by using “honey pots” to seduce them and then accuse them of rape. “The MO was to get alone with the target, and then immediately after cry ‘attempted sexual assault,” wrote Raymond’s source, an IRC correspondent he doesn’t name but who he says has been “both well-informed and completely trustworthy in the past.”

Worst of all, these evil feminists have been gunning for a high-profile target: Linus Torvalds, the tech-hero founder of Linux. “Linus hasn’t spoken out about this; I can think of several plausible and good reasons for that,” writes Raymond. “And the Ada Initiative shut down earlier this year. Nevertheless, this report is consistent with reports of SJW [social-justice-warrior, a derogatory term used frequently in anti-feminist writing] dezinformatsiya tactics from elsewhere and I think it would be safest to assume that they are being replicated by other women-in-tech groups.”

By most standards, this is a bit too explosive — or crazy, to be less diplomatic about it — a claim to make based on a brief IRC chat with an unnamed correspondent, but this didn’t stop Raymond from hitting publish. And once he did, his post wriggled its way through the anti-feminist web’s intestinal tract: First, Breitbart Tech’s Allum Bokhari — the site’s supposed token liberal — wrote it up. “If true,” he tutted, “these claims will rock the world of software development, not to mention the wider tech community, which is suffering under the yoke of diversity campaigners levelling bogus charges of sexism at companies and individuals and pestering companies to improve their diversity credentials.” If true, indeed!

The peristaltic movement of the misogynist web finally nudged the story to its inevitable destination: Someone posted Bokhari’s story to KotakuInAction, Gamergate’s subreddit, with the declarative headline: “SJWs attempting to frame Linus (of Linux Fame) for Sexual Assault.” Naturally, it climbed to near the top of the site.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:26 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ, ESR.

Just... what the fuck?!
posted by tocts at 7:36 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mod note: A few comments deleted. Maybe just rewind that last bit and try a do-over.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:32 AM on November 5, 2015


[Now I’ve lost my thread!]

I’m personally going to need a lot more than “someone told me this on IRC” before I give this story any credence whatsoever.
posted by pharm at 8:36 AM on November 5, 2015


Oh god I read that Singal article yesterday and it's pure gold in it's summation of the terrible ridiculous conspiracy claims.

It comes across as satire, until I'm reminded that the gamergate part of the manosphere actually believes this tripe, and Breitbart banks coin from this tripe.
posted by Theta States at 8:37 AM on November 5, 2015


The cathedral and the bizarre.
posted by miyabo at 8:44 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, such bullshit. Nobody in their right mind would think this was a good way to increase women's profile in tech.
posted by suelac at 8:44 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


And people wonder why open source has an issue with women participating.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:45 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


RMS has released a statement saying he should've been the target (or GNU-target, he keeps on insisting).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:46 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Probably nobody at Brietbart is competent to operate IRC, they get all their nonsense spoon fed to them by 8chan.
posted by Artw at 8:46 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well an anonymous source on IRC told *ME* that ESR was replaced by a lizard-scout for the reptilian aliens back about 2002 and has been playing his long game to limit the earth's technical ability to cope with the upcoming alien invasion by pushing lots of qualified people out of open source. It started with "there aren't a lot of women working writing PERL because women don't like PERL" and has now escalated to his attempts to drive Linus Torvalds into hiding with reports of threats. Soon, only the lizard-scouts will be working in open source and they can subvert the entire technical infrastructure of earth with a hostile patch to OpenSSL. (Heartbleed was a dry run for this.)

Really, you could just get the equivalent of driving Linus into hiding by installing hostile-rant-filters on his outgoing email client - nothing would make it outbound.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:07 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


IRC can't pass the Bechdel test.
posted by humanfont at 4:35 PM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Considering the only two news posts about this are the linked one and Brietbart, can we not post random conspiracies until there's more verification?
posted by halifix at 4:56 PM on November 5, 2015


I think we've verified they are random conspiracies.
posted by Artw at 5:00 PM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I meant in the future. Apologies for the derail.
posted by halifix at 5:39 PM on November 5, 2015




Ironically, actually, it's an award about being shitty to women
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:00 AM on November 12, 2015


I really don't know what the deal is with the SPJ. On the one hand you've got that guy, who's a major Gamergate proponent and goes so far as to have the SPJ set up a fake award on their behalf, on the other hand you have this.

I guess they are a land of contrasts/intensely fragmented and have local branches run on the whim of whoever shows up.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on November 12, 2015


I guess they are a land of contrasts/intensely fragmented and have local branches run on the whim of whoever shows up.

Pretty much! Michael Koretzky - who I think is one a set of people who were previously unknown, thought that Gamergate's huge audience and cultural significance was going to make their career, found out that this was not the case but are nonetheless sort of hooked on the attention they can get by throwing red meat to Gamergate while sincerely believing themselves to be neutral and above the fray - specifically stood for Directorship in Region 3 of the SPJ, rather than the ONA, because he would be elected unopposed. As a journalist, he has

This is also a reflection of how tiny the SPJ is. The SPJ has, according to Wikipedia, 300 chapters across the US and about 9,000 members. So, on average 30 members to a chapter. Now think about how many people there are in New York, for example, who would describe themselves as in some way professional journalists.

There are about 100 members in the Florida chapter of the SPJ, and that is probably one of the most or the most populous of the Region 3 chapters - Region 3 is Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and the US Virgin Islands.

So, yeah. It might be quite fun to nominate "Moral Kombat" for this new Games Journalism award. At least it will give the judges some sort of respite from exposés on Star Citizen.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:44 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Sorry about the sentence fragment. Was meant to say "as a journalist, he has primarily worked in the South Florida area, so it makes sense without that detail, but.")
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:25 PM on November 12, 2015


SXSW has added a bunch of speakers to the Level Up session, and moved SavePoint to another day.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:55 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Have the speakers involved actually agreed to this incarnation, or is this just SXSW announcing that stuff is going to happen for the speakers to take it or leave it?
posted by grouse at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2015


I don't know about anyone else, but Randi Harper seems satisfied. I don't know--and to be honest, don't give a flying fuck about--whether the harassers' panel organizers are.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:54 AM on November 13, 2015


Gamergate in general is claiming it as a win because their panel wasn't cancelled, if anyone's interested. Which seems fair enough - they managed to subvert the SXSW panel selection process, got to harangue a bunch of "SJWs" due to SXSW's inept community management, and now get to claim that their presence at SXSW demonstrates their legitimacy as a movement.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:00 AM on November 14, 2015


Gamergate is going to declare everything a win because gamergate. Giving a shit what these people think about anything is a pointless excercise.
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on November 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh, absolutely.

SXSW at this point had no good options: they appear to have decided to hope that the "savepoint" panel goes off without trouble (which it probably will - the only people who will attend will be Gamergaters, so it will essentially be a series of talking points being shared by and with people who have already internalised them), and have I imagine extracted some sort of agreement from the savepoint panelists that they a) will at no point explicitly identify as supportive or representative of Gamergate, and b) won't turn up and start shit during the harassment event - especially since an awful lot of the discussions and case studies around that event will focus on Gamergate.

Whether they will, or indeed can, stick to this is anyone's guess - there's a general frog-and-scorpion aspect to people making deals with Gamergate requiring them to behave. The more interesting sideshow for me is definitely the SPJ, which has become something of a punchline among a lot of people I know, particularly but not exclusively in games journalism. Which is a shame, because the SPJ Code of Ethics is a very useful document, and I think that both games journalists and the current leadership of the SPJ could get a lot out of it.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:30 AM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gamergaters continue to find new depths to plumb by altering a selfie of the guy who created the #StopGamergate2014 hashtag (who is Sikh) to make him look like one of the Paris suicide bombers. They then tried to pretend like they were the ones calling out the sites that ran with it, even though Milo Yiannopoulos not only immediately tried to blackmail the victim, but gloated about it on Twitter. They're calling it a "false flag" because of course they are, but thanks to Milo it's just CYA whining at this point.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:33 AM on November 15, 2015


VICE: Gamergate Supporters Are Responsible for the Terrorist Photoshopping of Journalist Veerender Jubbal

It took all of a few seconds for GG supporters to claim that he didn't do it in the name of #gamergate so it doesn't count as gamergate being involved.

*dumpsterfire.gif*
posted by Theta States at 12:34 PM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


KiA mods caught scrubbing comments made by photoshopper. No true GGer!
posted by PenDevil at 2:56 PM on November 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


An oddly familiar tune from them.
posted by Artw at 3:03 PM on November 17, 2015


Oh *snap*, the return of Natalie Walschots with Gamergate: The Greatest Trick The Devil Ever Pulled
posted by Theta States at 11:39 AM on November 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Wow, that Alison Prime story is yet another GG piece of fractal awfulness isn’t it? If you go looking, there are "Alison Prime" accounts on gaming websites that go back to 2008, which suggests that either a) he took the name from someone real, or (more likely?) b) he’d been using that alternate persona online for a *long* time before GG showed up.
posted by pharm at 4:11 AM on November 19, 2015


Before GG, I had never seen SO MANY men roleplaying as women with the express purpose of discounting feminism.
Like, maybe once before?
Once gamergate started, I've seen maybe 8 accounts directly exposed as men pretending to be women who go to great lengths to mock feminism.

I guess once channers got a taste of it from their "let's pretend to be black female activists" operations, they all gleefully dove in.
posted by Theta States at 6:03 AM on November 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


It is sort of awkward that Christina Hoff Sommers, supposedly GamerGate's public intellectual, was so enthusiastically suckered by this one.

(I mean, I feel like there may well be a lot more going on with the person who previously identified online as Alison Prime, and I don't see a lot of point in dogpiling them, but others higher up the ladder should know better...if you are basing your argument on a buxom lesbian who enjoys flirting with men, maybe run their sexy cosplay pics through reverse image search rather than relying on your desire for them to be real?)

That same aim-for-the-rake approach seems to run through GamerGate's partisans in the media. Cathy Young, their other big media gun, cited and quoted a Gater who had done a data analysis proving that, actually, none of Gamergate's mooted targets had experienced harassment. This analysis being provided by a guy who had phoned a hospital and attempted to obtain information about the wife of a vocal critic of Gamergate, who was recovering from surgery there. That being possibly a sign that his metrics of what constitutes harassment were a little off...
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:20 AM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, see, that's ethical journalism...
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




Wow. This alone should be grounds for the SPJ to remove Koretzky from his position:

Gamergate, like it or hate it, whether they were making an excuse for their misogyny or being legit, said they care about ethics. I don’t care if they believe that or not. I care if someone says ‘journalism ethics.’ You know how hard it is to get journalists to give a shit about ethics?

"Hey, who gives a fuck that this is a fig leaf on an incredibly misogynistic movement? All that matters is that my particular hobby horse is getting some time in the spotlight. "

Last I checked, journalists were supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:30 AM on November 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Koretzky and Walsh are giving it a push in any case. Koretzky compares the ongoing argument over what Gamergate is—and what it is not—to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “You probably both have some points, but you guys have no common ground,” he says. “Any question gets answered with, ‘Here’s what happened 50 years ago.’”
me, to a Palestinian cradling her dead son in the ruins of her home: wow, this reminds me of gamers
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:15 AM on November 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


The comment is even worse than that. The origin of the movement is well known and documented. For them to say "you have no common ground" is to ignore the facts.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:28 AM on November 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, that's kind of a skill of theirs.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:02 AM on November 24, 2015


SPJ isn't just the president of the View from Nowhere cult, they're also soaking in it.
posted by phearlez at 10:28 AM on November 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Last I checked, journalists were supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

According to the latest Milo Yiannopoulos piece, it's most important to amplify the voices of gamergaters, MRAs and white nationalists, since they are an untapped community chomping at the bit for a megaphone, and that it is only people like him that are truly brave and winning at journalism.
posted by Theta States at 1:34 PM on November 24, 2015


Finally they will have the opportunity to reveal what their actual legitimate grievance is!
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on November 24, 2015


This did surprise me:
Before Walsh sat on those panels, she says, “I really had no idea what Gamergate was except for a couple of articles that I read regarding harassment.” In a morning session, Walsh gave earnest input on supposed ethical lapses she’d never heard of. “I walked away from the first half sort of feeling very good about the conversation,” she says.
Anyone who subjected themselves to the Airplay event could indeed have seen that the panelists had done very little research. But I am a little surprised at the acknowledgment of that - walking into what was clearly an ethical minefield and just taking everything that was said on trust is bizarre if you want to position yourself as an expert source of comment on journalistic ethics. That first session I have seen as Gamergate missing a series of open goals, because it took them so long actually to give any examples of unethical behavior that they failed to take full advantage of that lack of knowledge, but it's certainly been enough for them to claim that their campaigns against the SJW media are now SPJ-approved...

The insistence on the origins of Gamergate being murky and incomprehensible, and thus everyone needing to march forwards into the bright new dawn of ethics, is also sort of odd. Looking at the public record, the origins of Gamergate are pretty clear.

We can see a subgroup of gamers with a history of attacking women in the industry - from Jade Raymond to Jennifer Hepler to Anita Sarkeesian to Zoe Quinn - organising on various chan boards, and ultimately coalescing around Eron Gjoni's lengthy blogpost (and the decision by many outlets not to allow that loose group to gather and traduce Quinn on their forums). We can then see this group being exploited by cash-grabbing opportunists and right-wing idealogs, some from within the games press or industry, some from geek culture in general, some seeing opportunities to recruit for their own causes. And we can see the actual word "Gamergate" coined by Adam Baldwin while linking to a video repeating Gjoni's accusations against Quinn.

One has to be either deeply incurious or deeply invested in keeping the approval of GamerGate to look away from these events while insisting that nobody cares about the facts. These are the facts, and they are on the public record - and one has to be pretty incurious as a journalist not at least to check out what the papers of record have to say about it. It's a shame that it seems many journalists are that incurious.

It's also strange here to see the writer apparently only talking to Gamergate-approved sources such as David Auerbach and GamePolitics. It's more than possible that journalists from the mainstream were approached, and decided that it wasn't a good use of their time, but it does stand out.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:49 AM on November 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm hesitant to draw the ire of Godwin and all, but SPJ's approach to gamergate reporting feels like if a journalist went and interviewed a bunch of neo-nazis but started with the premise that their origin is unclear and murky and thus would only confuse the reader to dwell on it, and anyways maybe there really is something to their concerns about the concentration of economic and political power worldwide...
posted by tocts at 5:01 AM on November 25, 2015


It's also strange here to see the writer apparently only talking to Gamergate-approved sources such as David Auerbach and GamePolitics.

I'm pretty sure the guy just reads whatever they hand him.
posted by Artw at 5:19 AM on November 25, 2015


To be fair to David Uberti - who is a Delacorte Fellow, and in a very different place in his arc from e.g Michael Koretzky - he mention in the article that he spoke to a number of people who would have been critical of the picture the representatives of the SPJ who have become involved seem to have (broadly "we haven't really looked into this, but, hey, what a great opportunity to discuss press ethics!"), but who did not want to go on the record, and quotes some without attribution. One might speculate that they didn't want to go on the record because they knew that this would go up on Reddit and 8chan, and they would then get a new wave of attacks on them.

He also discusses the background at the top of the fold:
The hashtag drew mainstream media attention last year for reactionary trolling and mob-like harassment online, aimed mostly at feminist writers and critics. Supporters’ attempts to change that narrative—“Actually, it’s about ethics in gaming journalism”—became a widely mocked meme across the interne
So, I don't think this is Uberti's fault - as media treatments go, this is a pretty transparent one - but rather a mix of people not wanting to come forward, and the fact that the "neutral" references he was going to get from the SPJ would be... well, those guys, basically. Who have a pretty deeply vested interest in the idea that the origins of a movement they are more or less associated with are cloudy and incomprehensible.

Generally, I think Uberti's read is about right: Gamergate is delighted to have (as it sees it) the SPJ on side, because they think it will allow them to reposition Gamergate as an honest-to-goodness ethics movement, and force journalism as a whole (which I think many of them believe is regulated or controlled by the SPJ) to retract all that harmful nonsense about harassment.

The individual members of the SPJ who have buddied up with Gamergate are getting a level of personal approbation and praise the likes of which they will never have experienced before, because self-described moderates, neutrals or independents ready to represent Gamergate in something resembling the mainstream are high-value targets.

How the SPJ as an actual organization benefits is much less clear - the reputational risk is pretty great, and I don't imagine that it's a great recruiting tool for journalists outside a relatively small, right-wing media niche - but of course organizations are made up of people, and the article is careful to distinguish what the SPJ has done ex cathedra - sponsored a set of awards for video game journalism - and what individual members have done outside the structure of the organization. However, Uberti's report suggests a general concern among the SPJ's leadership that its membership is dropping and it is not seen as relevant to journalists in the digital age.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:59 AM on November 25, 2015


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