[[This will not be an indepth discussion of how #gamergate began, if you’re unaware of the situation I will include a range of sources for general information about the movement and it’s origins.]]
My Initial thoughts
Following the revelations abouts Zoey Quinn and journalists like Grayson and the supposed corruption as a result of romantic relations with journalists whilst I didn’t support ZQ’s conduct, I supported (and continue to do so) her right to be protected from what was (and still is) unjust and overly vicious harassment that was targeted specifically at her personal life and not the ethical concerns surrounding her and journalists behaviors and connections. As a result, I became a quiet supporter of most of what has now become the ‘Anti-Gamergate’ side (For lack of better term) of the debate and my sympathy increased gradually following the first few weeks where the digging up of personal information largely unrelated to Journalistic ethics which many within Gamergate so desperately wanted to talk, shout and get pissed about – and I understand that. One of the elements that most frustrated me about these early days was the attitude of trying to blacken names of supposed ‘SJW (Social Justice Warrior)Journalists’ many of which I was a fan of their work and respected and in some cases that I still do, the worst part of this was that I felt like I was being told what to do and that I was somehow wrong for supporting the work of journalists and content producers that I enjoyed.
While this was perhaps more down to my own perception rather than any concentrated effort my sympathies largely remained with some of the above faces and the people who were being attacked for personal reasons and continue to be targeted.
Change of view
However, that was until things like this started to pop up:
This in my eyes, signaled the end of any chance of reasoned debate, this was deliberate and coordinated declaration that gamers mean nothing to these people and I mean gamer in the widest possible definition of all races, creeds, colors, sexes and sexualities – It was a betrayal of everything that gaming journalism was meant to be and the destruction of relations between many gamers and the media.
Not only was this essentially telling people who had done nothing wrong that their medium doesn’t want them anymore, but it mocked and ridiculed people using stereotypes that were wrong in the 80s and continue to be wrong to this day.
Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra writes that :
“It’s young men queuing with plush mushroom hats and backpacks and jutting promo poster rolls. Queuing passionately for hours, at events around the world, to see the things that marketers want them to see. To find out whether they should buy things or not. They don’t know how to dress or behave. Television cameras pan across these listless queues, and often catch the expressions of people who don’t quite know why they themselves are standing there.”
The people they’re describing here are false stereotypes or people that have genuine social or mental issues and still have the will and the passion to queue up and get involved in the medium they love and that’s apparently something they should be ashamed of? That they should be shamed into the shadows and corners? This idea is further developed by Sam Biddle of Gawker:
While I do find figures like the aforementioned names and their quotes downright despicable, it’s important not to draw lines in the sand, a narrative which many have tried to peddle and may also be gleaned from this very post. The majority of people who do not support Gamergate are reasonable people and are just as worthy of respect as the majority of the reasonable people who support Gamergate. This brings me onto one of the most important points that we can learn from Gamergate, once the lines are drawn – group think and mass straw man burnings quickly crush and snuff out chances of reasonable debate.
If one side of the debate is going to hold one to the standards of every other member of their group for example comparing all Anti-Gamergaters to people like Sam Biddle or all Gamergaters to those who threatened a school shooting if Anita Sarkeesian was to deliver a speech there. It’s complete nonsense that only succeeds in stretching out the argument rather than helping to improve or resolve anything.
Where I stand currently
I stand with #Gamergate, I stand against corrupt and abusive journalism, I stand against personal harassment and I encourage debate and discussion. The majority of people a part of Gamergate feel threatened by authoritarian and smug corrupt journalism written predominantly by middle class white people telling us what we’re allowed to do, what we should be offended by and what we’re not allowed to say. The majority of people who oppose Gamergate simply want to defend people from harassment and feel that Gamergate has been co-opted by violent, angry and anonymous figures. Both of these groups, in a reasonable environment would find common ground and be able to work together.
To a significant extent, I would agree that Gamergate is not the ideal forum to tackle ethics in Games Journalism however once the people start marching you either oppose the revolution or you stand with it, and don’t be fooled – Gamergate is a consumer revolution, whether it’ll be successful, unsuccessful or inaccurate is yet to be seen but I plan to see it through to the end.
Sources about Gamergate (Some of these I can’t guarantee are still accurate or in most cases in anyway balanced, so use your own knowledge, understanding and other sources to get a more complete idea)
All other sources are directly sourced from Twitter or in the case of ‘Gamers are dead’ articles from the named websites.