Most of the people reading this probably are not aware of GamerGate or what it means. Let me summarize, it in its simplest form, how it started:
· * Someone wrote mean and untrue things about his ex-girlfriend on the Internet.
It really is that simple. It is something that happens every day on the Internet, thousands of times over. The details (which I’ll expound on below) would not be important if it ended there. But it did not end there. It escalated with speed and force that I find surprising.
Briefly, here are some of the details:
Zoe Quinn is a game developer. After she released a new game that was well regarded, her ex-boyfriend wrote a post claiming that she slept with a game reviewer to garner a good rating. The claim was easily discounted.
The Internet troll community choose to jump on this and started a loosely organized harassment campaign against Quinn, which included stealing and distributing her personal information, calling and harassing anyone who knew her, calls for her to commit suicide and death threats.
All under the cover of preserving the integrity of gaming journalism. People who spoke out against the harassment are themselves subjected to harassment, especially if they themselves are female. All that was left was for someone with a big voice to side with the harassers to really get things moving.
That big voice was provided by Joss Whedon’s biggest casting mistake. Once he waded in he brought a slew of GamerGate apologists, who dutifully repeated the journalism cover story, giving the trolls internal justification for their actions.
You know, like how a politician’s hyperbole spurs immigrant hate crimes. Or a prominent evangelist spurs a women’s health clinic bombing. Even if GamerGate originated in a true desire to protect gaming journalism (which it did not), all it is now is an increasingly organized campaign to harass and scare women out of gaming.
I don’t understand it.
I’m going to go off the rails here a little bit, hopefully it will be worth it. In most respects I am nothing like a GamerGater except in one important thing: I’m a straight male.
There are no statistics on the GamerGate population, but I think it is pretty clear that nearly all of them are straight males. Nearly all straight males, and I have lots of experience on this, like having women around. Nothing keeps a woman around like having shared interests. Love video games? Let’s talk! Love video games so much you write about them? Let’s talk some more! Love video games so much you make them? Let’s never stop talking!
Chasing women away from something you love chases them away from you. It dumbfounds me that GamerGaters work so violently against their own self-interest.
Getting myself back on the rails here, whatever twisted logic is driving them, nothing justifies the horrific behavior spurred on by GamerGate. It is flat out wrong, morally reprehensible and in many cases criminal.
If you harass someone, you are not a gamer, you are a bully.
If you steal someone’s identity and spread it to the world, you are not a gamer, you are a petty thief.
If you threaten someone with violence, you are not a gamer, you are a felon.
It really is that simple.