Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GamerGate In 60 Seconds

   GamerGate (in 60 seconds!) is rather an amorphous mess, but I tend to be on the pro-GG side of things. That's not to say that harassment of people online isn't a problem--it apparently is, and apparently for women in particular. However, the core of the GG crowd, so far as I can tell, is not where the harassment is coming from. The web is filled with pathetic losers (many of them just little kids, apparently) who not only can't stand up for themselves in real life, but can't even bring themselves to bully people in real life...not that I think that would be better...but at least it might be less cowardly... Safe from getting punched in the head, they flip their shit online and become the psychos they wish they had the guts to be IRL...  Sad, sick, embarrassing...but real... And mostly a male phenomenon. But not the fault of GG.
   Most GGers are concerned about the allegedly corrupt, dishonest, incestuous state of gaming journalism. I don't care all that much about that, actually. I'm more interested in the SJW/neo-PC component of the thing. It's bad that people get harassed online. But it's bullshit that this gets used as cover for the SJW/neo-PC agenda. Their favorite argument seems to be Anita Sarkeesian was harassed, therefore x...for any value of x you choose... I'm sorry that Sarkeesian was harassed. But that doesn't make her arguments good. Her arguments are, in fact, largely bad. And the fact that some people are mean to her--reprehensible though it is--will not change that. But, of course, that's the core argument of the neo-PCs: I'm a victim, therefore x...for any value of x you choose...
   SJW/neo-PC nuttiness is ascendant in gaming journalism--I don't even read much of it and I see it. And that's the bullshit that bothers me. An illiberal coterie of not-very-good journalists is pushing a political agenda on places like Kotaku, and it's appalling, and there needs to be a concerted backlash.
   We live in crazy times, and, so, I suppose I should say again: I wish I had the power to stop online harassment. I wish I could magically teleport around the world and personally punch every offender in the dick. But that isn't going to happen, and I don't have any clue what to do about the problem. So I tend to focus on what I can do--urging people not to take us from having one problem to having two. Pushing an extremist, irrationalist, illiberal social and political view isn't the answer to online harassment. Totalitarianism is not the right response to anarchy...especially when the anarchy is merely virtual. That is to say: there's no evidence that any of the threats in question are at all credible. For all the personal physical threats spewed out into the inter-aether every day, do we know of even one of them that's ever been carried out? I still don't think that the shit is permissible...but I have to say it does bother me that people like Sarkeesian act as if they're being actually threatened by actual psychos actually intent on doing them harm. It's not like al Qaeda has put a fatwa on them or something... In fact, it's fairly likely to be a 75-pound 12-year-old with glasses...  
  Anyway, there's that. As usual, I could be wrong, but that's the way it seems to me.

5 Comments:

Blogger Pete Mack said...

Pomo-style writing is present in games journalism. It's hardly ascendant.

I refuse to use SJW because it's so easily used against anyone who wants social justice, even when they have a solid argument.

As for lack of harm...death threats, doxxing, and SWATTING are definitely harm. So is libel. And so is DDOS, which is essentially what organized trolling is. It makes someone's blog comments utterly unusable. (And yes, the trolling is organized. There are 4chan and reddit groups that exist for this reason.)

So on the one side there are a bunch of bullshitters. On the other, there are a bunch of guys who get off making or encouraging threats. Clearly, the bullshitters are worse, and the trolls should be ignored.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Also this.
http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/23/5640678/playing-with-privilege-the-invisible-benefits-of-gaming-while-male

Ignore the "male privilege" jargon. Is his list credible? It certainly isn't pomo.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I really do appreciate your calm and reasonable responses on this stuff, PM, even when I don't agree with them.

First, it strikes me that you are almost certainly right about the prevalence of pomo-y/SJW-y stuff in games journalism. I read that stuff only in a scattershot way...except for the stuff I see on /r/Kotakuinaction, which posts the most egregious examples.

And that also makes me realize that I have no grounds for claiming that *most* GGers are non-badguys. I have no idea what the proportions are like. I only encounter the good ones. They're like me and consider the trolls, harassers and psychos the enemy. But what the proportions are I have no idea.

I'm not terribly impressed by the ZOMGwhitemaletehprivilegez piece...but I just generally don't have much sympathy there, so it probably doesn't mean much. There are a few points there that I think would be good if stated accurately--that is, ways in which women are at a disadvantage. I take it that those things are pretty uncontroversial. But the list is milked and gerrymandered to make things seem worse than they actually are, and it cheats repeatedly by inserting "on the basis of their gender." So...you might get harassed...you might even get harassed *worse*...but it isn't because of your gender, so it's ok/doesn't count... That's a more complicated point, and I could be wrong...but haven't thought about it enough.

Furthermore, I think it's generally BS to say that we all benefit from other people's pain. It's nonsense to say that I have not-getting-punched-in -the-nose-for-being-a-nerd privilege. It sucks to get punched in the nose for any reason...but I don't gain from the fact that others are abused.

Anyway...I promise to think about those things more though, and, again, appreciate the patient input.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Random Michelle K said...

I think you're underestimating the sub-group within GG and the lengths they will go to, to harrass female games.

I think a good example is Felicia Day. She is a geek to the core, creating a web series about gaming and all kinds of geek stuff (NOT THAT IT SHOULD MATTER) and when she spoke up about harassment of women in gaming, she got doxxed and threatened.

As this article points out (http://kotaku.com/felicia-day-and-gamergate-this-is-what-happens-now-1650544129) when Chris Kluwe (who I also adore) was critical of GamerGate, guess what happened to him: nothing.

I am NOT a gamer, and I am only on the fringes of geek culture (because: introvert) but I have seen the harassment of women and the threats and the fear that women have of a minority of male geeks.

Here is a comic that perfectly illustrates the problems with women in geek culture: http://www.epbot.com/2013/05/is-this-what-respect-feels-like-real.html (it's on the Epbot page, because I can't find the original link). (Seriously, take just a few seconds and read that comic.)

That's not related to GamerGate, but it gives you the background of what women and girls in geek culture deal with on a regular basis.

So I firmly believe you cannot separate out GamerGate from threats women fear and receive--especially when the heart of it is a guy who claimed his ex-GF was a slut.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I think that's the crucial issue, RMK--to what extent is GG separable from the harassment?

Because the harassment is, as goes without saying, indefensible.

But, just for the record: Zoe Quinn's boyfriend's initial post wasn't an attack, nor harassment--nor do I remember him calling her a slut. If what he wrote is accurate, then she is a horrible, horrible person who treated him just terribly (all while spewing SJW-ness at every opportunity...) The original posts were cries of pain, not harassment. If Quinn did half of what her ex says she did, then she's just awful.

He was in no way harassing her.

So the first alleged act of harassment simply was not harassment.

Then someone posted two mean (but pretty tame by web standards, as I recall...) posts deep in the recesses of Wizardchan--hardly harassment. In fact, there is strong evidence that they were planted there by someone outside. Quinn then linked to them, and claimed harassment--which was total bullshit.

Now...the internet being what it is, and gamers (I'm not a "gamer"...though i sometimes play video games...) being what they are...I'm confident that some actual harassment followed that. But the first two acts of alleged harassment simply weren't.

So...we share a zero-tolerance policy for that shit...but we disagree about the degree to which GG can be separated from it...though I'm uncertain about the degree to which it can...

9:09 AM  

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