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A run-in with GamerGate

2015-07-24 16:17:58.514308+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

So this'll start pretty negative, but it does end up turning towards humanizing. If you're gonna insult me, please read down 'til it does before you do.

Friends of mine involved in the O'Reilly OSCON got targeted by GamerGate. Apparently there's been some kerfluffle over anti-abuse policies, those who are enforcing the anti-abuse policies, and those who are supporting those who are enforcing the anti-abuse policies.

These friends social media feeds got blasted full of insults, threats, both implied and direct, and tons of badly constructed straw man arguments which are attempting to appear "reasonable". Often the threats are posted, and then deleted, so there's the appearance of an innocent "what? You're interpreting these insults as threats? What a wuss." reaction.

So yesterday, Ben Werdmüller ‏@benwerd tweeted:

Every time a gamergate thread has turned up in my feed lately it's been comments about hair dye. It's about conventional hairstyles now?

So, yeah: Tracking down the hatred of dyed hair quickly leads to thing http://imgur.com/alYOQKn and http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/841344-gamergate and that quickly leads to all sorts of slut shaming and shit like 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Date A Girl With Dyed Hair.

And, yes, that last guy has some opinions on GamerGate, and when I search around to find background on GamerGate, that sort of misogynist anti-sex bullshit is pretty prevalent. Certainly it dominates the top of DuckDuckGo and Google results (note, the asshole-ish links here are deliberately rel="nofollow"ed...).

So I observed (based on writing like that and personal experience seeing attacks on others) that:

@benwerd gamergate has long been about shaming women for anything other than lights-out missionary-position post-marriage sexuality.

And the shit hit the fan. My Twitter notifications tab starts showing triple digit numbers. At this point Twitter won't show enough backlog to find all the really abusive stuff, but I'm being trolled. There are occasional mentions of physical violence. Lots of "I'm a left-wing communist, and I support GamerGate" and then you click through and find Republican Libertarian profiles. I install auto-blockers, start blocking wholesale...

And then a few bright lights started to appear:

CloudedByAgony ‏@StoppingLies

@danlyke You haven't gotten one nice tweet? Not one? Sorry about that. Have a nice day. Here's your one nice ProGG tweet.

Hey, an ambassador! This is actually kinda cool! And now we start to get some ideas

RT A.R Machado ‏@TheDemonEyeX

@benwerd @danlyke Regressive? Because we don't want forced political correctness when it wouldn't make sense. i.e Witcher 3 Complaints

RT A.R Machado ‏@TheDemonEyeX

@benwerd @danlyke Conservative? Bc anything not Left-Authoritarian is auto-Conservative. You'll find GG is predominantly Left-Libertarian.

RT A.R Machado ‏@TheDemonEyeX

@benwerd @danlyke Anti-Change? So wanting corrupt journalism to end is anti-change? pic.twitter.com/8lMuTuEYmU

So I engage: RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke

@TheDemonEyeX if, in targeting "corrupt journalism", GamerGate targeted the New York Times, maybe we'd have common ground. But games mags?

I mean, idealism is cool, but if you want to attack corruption in journalism it sure seems to me like starting with a foreign policy that's killing hundreds of thousands and reducing nations to rubble is more important than the cultural directions of computer games.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke @TheDemonEyeX What's your spiel? That mags covering a $100,000,000,000 industry aren't important? Don't go there.

Well, yeah: RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke 15h15 hours ago

@Phrenologicus the purpose of a magazine is to deliver the product, i.e.: your attention, to the advertiser, by any means that works.

And I'm sorry, Twitter makes it really hard for me to extract out the full sense of conversations. I've been trying to copy and paste here to get the full thread, but I really appreciate @Phrenologicus and @RedStarWarrior and @IAmASockPuppet and CloudedByAgony ‏@StoppingLies for their actually engaging as human beings. So here's a sampling of my exchange with @Phrenologicus.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke A cynical and reductionist view we do not share. Even if true, it would justify attacking GJ, because they failed doing that job.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke They are attacking the industry and their readers alike, with unprecedented disdain and smear jobs. That's not gonna fly any longer

RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke 15h15 hours ago

@Phrenologicus so approach those advertisers and start your own magazine. Or, it could be that advertisers like that new demographic better.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke We're doing all that. Tearing down toxic crap, talking to advertisers, building up/supporting better venues. It's what we fight for

RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke

@Phrenologicus all most of us see is the abuse and the straw man arguments, exemplified by my notifications feed today.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke if you lay the bar for "abuse" THAT low, it will blur the actual issue. for strawmen args: no clue what thy're sppsed to be.

I dunno, abuse is deliberately making my Twitter feed unusable, and yet... RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke

@Phrenologicus of the hundreds of notifications I got today, most assumed I was saying things that I wasn't. Those are straw man attacks.

RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke

@Phrenologicus & tweets I saw last night re my friends included "I figured out where they're staying" and other pretty frightening things.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke if THAT is actually true, you have a reason to be crossd. We usually patrol for that kind of garbage very effectively.

RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke

@Phrenologicus it's real. And with all of the other abusive language, it only takes one or two of those to turn the whole thing scary.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke Well, it's what we have to live with. Grassroots, and no leaders. But truth is: We wouldn't want to have it any other way.

RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke

@Phrenologicus yeah, but it does lead me to wonder why anyone's still adopting the tag, rather than creating a new one.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke first and foremost bc our collective success and penetrating the subculture is due to us not doing what our opponents tell us

RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke

@Phrenologicus my home address & phone # are on my web site, would be unsurprised to arrive home this evening to discover I've been SWATted

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke Nah, those times are over. Those were 3rd party trolls, targeting both GG and aGG alike. They've been dealt with.

RT Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke

@Phrenologicus well, my wife's out of town, so it'd be a good time to say "hi" to my local PD, but I appreciate the reassurance...

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke feel free to contact the police if you feel unsafe. the more actual harrassers are taken down, the better for all of us.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke and if you're looking for a real thrill anytime soon, go to a GG real life meetup. real bomb threats and evacs included ^^

RT https://twitter.com Dan Lyke ‏@danlyke 14h14 hours ago

@Phrenologicus I'll pass, thanks.

RT Phrenologicus ‏@Phrenologicus

@danlyke Hah. BTW: If you wanna know who you're actually dealing with: http://i.imgur.com/hoeli7n.jpg (Trigger Warning: Happyness)

And suddenly GamerGate has a face. And I realize that GamerGate is a lot like Christianity right now: Many of us only see Westboro Baptist, Pat Robertson, Billy and now Franklin Graham, and the other hate-mongers as the face of it, but there are also friends and neighbors who believe, who find their sense of community there.

Because of the obvious ties to slut shamers, to doxxers, to those who threaten physical violence, I'm still wary of having those philosophies expressed at conventions I go to because it makes many of the people I want to be conversing with uncomfortable in those spaces, I'm still concerned about the impacts on the larger society, I'm loving that we're getting some diversity and new stories and new ideas in Science Fiction and Fantasy, hell, some of the ideas that GamerGate appears to be railing against might drag me back into gaming, and I see the attitudes behind Sad Puppies, which I think has a large overlap with Gamer Gate, as trying to suppress that which is making me excited about fiction again.

But somewhere in this, Riven Homewood retweeted Brad Gooch

@danlyke This came through right after your comment on GG's thrilling messages :)

Brad Gooch @RumiSecrets

"Love alone cuts arguments short, rescuing us from words and debates.”—Rumi, Masnavi

It was a good reminder that when I denigrate GamerGate, I'm not just talking about the hundreds and hundreds of trolls, I'm also talking about real people who've found a sense of community in that identity. And I can either dismiss them as a class, or I can seek to understand them as individuals.

Despite the, based on my notifications feed, relative scarcity, I think it's worth understanding those willing to try to understand me. So, yeah, I'm following a couple of GamerGaters today.

At this point I think my notifications feed is running about 97% asshole, 1% violent threats, but that remaining 2%.... ya know, 1 in 50 is probably a better cool people quotient than the general population...

And let us be very very aware that proposals like SJW Riot: Troops vs Women - in Video Game (Indiegogo) are very real things.

[ related topics: Religion Politics Libertarian Sexual Culture moron Sociology Writing Consumerism and advertising Journalism and Media Law Enforcement Community ]

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#Comment Re: A run-in with GamerGate made: 2015-07-24 20:59:00.768897+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'm going to elide the name, because I don't think the person who Tweeted this really understands how this makes GamerGate look, but:

like I said, you have to look at it like a fire. After that just ask why and how it started.

To me this is remarkably similar to "women should cover themselves so the men aren't aroused", evidence of of the underlying issues, from an otherwise pretty nice person, based on my Twitter interactions.