Some of you guys have been bugging me for an update on Gamergate. This is kind of depressing – none of y’all actually want to jump in the muck, but you’d love to know how it looks down here. I see how it is. I remember once upon a time, this blog was about game design issues. Now, it peels away my soul one layer at a time. The things I do for you people.
Still, I picked a great week to leave my job, because this is the week that GamerGate was the Night of Long Knives writ large. If you believe that life is a spectator sport, then this week was a NASCAR race, complete with spectacular car crashes throwing wreckage that decapitated random fans in the stands. If you don’t believe me, ask Milo, #Gamergate’s most notable and respected journalist.
@Int_Aristocrat GG seems to have descended into backstabbing and conspiracy theories. I’m watching, slack-jawed and horrified.
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) November 6, 2014
Yes, this is the week that #GamerGate was too crazy for Breitbart.com. there were scandals a-plenty in the Land of Ethical Journalism and they were, as you might imagine, all extremely ethical. This time, though, the bad ethics were coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE! Let’s just take a quick jaunt through the characters with starring roles this week.
Slade Villena (a.k.a. RogueStar Games) is one of the more colorful members of Gamergate. RogueStar is one of the ‘leaders’ of a leaderless cause, stepping into the leadership vacuum and managing Gamergate operations with pseudo-militaristic precision and lingo. Well, last weekend, he decided to start passing around previously leaked financials from Polytron and the IGF. KiA defended the leak by pointing out that the resources were the result of a hack in September, and therefore must now be considered public information. Note: I am not a lawyer, but if this were true, western civilization would collapse, and I’d advise against experimenting in this regard. Anyway, it’s clearly the act of a harassing asshole, and the people who actually believe there’s something to be good to be found in GamerGate basically harassed and harangued him out of the hashtag –for a few days. He’s back because GG can forgive little things like flirting so hard with legal boundaries you get to third base.
Oliver Campbell is someone I’ve mentioned previously as one of the more rational, good guys of Gamergate (even if he is prone to bouts of pure silliness). This week, he claimed to have federal contacts who confirmed a whole lot of awful shit by the anti-GG camp, and implied that prominent anti-gamergaters were victimizing themselves just to make poor gamergate look bad. He stresses he’s seen his source’s federal credentials, but hasn’t met him in person. And he’s started walking back his initial enthusiasm. No further story has happened beyond the initial tweets. But hey, the important thing is that these unproven allegations are floating out there! Because ethics! Anyway, this has resulted in GG organizing an email FOIA campaign to find out details — for what would be open investigations, if they exist, so this is going to go nowhere.
MacKenzie Kelly was an Republican running for City Council in my home city of Austin in District 6. She ran on a pro-gamergate platform. She advertised this on her website with an article that directly plagiarized Clickhole’s gamergate coverage. In case you don’t know, Clickhole is run by the same people who run the Onion. Fear not, though – the Republican wave was not enough to carry the first Gamergater to office, though we will always have this utterly disturbing campaign video. Still, along the way, she decided to point out that they don’t realize they have a PR problem. Gamergate was not kind in response -and by that I mean WOW. As near as I can tell, they have thrown her under the harassment bus for the crime of possibly being a SomethingAwful spy. She remains angry, exposed, defiant – and yet full of smiles!
— Mackenzie Kelly (@mkelly007) November 8, 2014
Eron Gjoni went on a drunken bender last night. Eron is, as you recall, the guy who started GamerGate by airing all of his failed relationship’s dirty laundry and then attempting to sic 4chan and Reddit on her. Two weeks ago, he quit his job because he was burnt out from dealing with Gamergate fulltime, and I quote, “Internet warfare takes a surprising amount of dedication“. He is largely unrepentant for the shit-storm he caused, even as he himself describes journalistic ethics as a ‘pressure release valve to direct discussions to journalism if shit went south” in his revenge harassment crusade against his former lover. Well, last night he just got drunk and decided to let the world know that OTHER people being harassed wasn’t hurting anyone, but HIM being harassed was costing the world his brilliant medical research. And yes, the hidden implication is that Zoe Quinn is now, technically, killing people because… um… because he can’t escape the tar pit that he created? What?
Randi Harper, noted awesome person, wrote a script to automatically block on Twitter anyone who was part of GamerGate, as defined by following two (corrected from ‘one’) of 9 key people. For those wondering, the end result is that #gamergate-the-twitter-hashtag is about 7600 people, and that undoubtedly includes some anti-gamergate people who follows the tag (if you request removal, and don’t obviously suck, she will add you to the whitelist). Anyway, #GamerGate (you know, the guys whose blood boils at the idea of blacklisting people for their beliefs on #gamergate, despite the fact that they blacklist opposition all day long) promptly tried to get her fired from her job at Kix*Eye, amongst other awful harassment. (She wasn’t)
The GamerGate Harassment Patrol has been debating changing their name. This group of volunteers previously would mobilize the troops to report or decry doxing or death threats. They found that their name was a problem when people kept coming to them to help deal with what normal human beings considered harassment. Meanwhile, their Reddit wing is already looking at how to defeat Twitter’s attempts to curb actual harassment.
KotakuInAction, Reddit’s primary GamerGate board, underwent an enormous amount of mod drama – particularly mods on KiA who also modded really skeevy second reddits like /r/Breakfeminazis, your number one porn site for fantasizing about dominating defeated SJWs. It turns out, some people had concerns that this looked bad. Outgoing mod Discord_Dancing did an AMA where he confirmed, no, actually KiA is all about the SJWs.
TotalBiscuit is the purported moderate, reasonable GamerGate Youtube personality. He also likes to waffle as to whether or not he’s a journalist, because if he’s not one, well, he doesn’t have to meet the ethics demands he places in front of other journalists. Well, he wrote a lengthy whitewashing of the history of GamerGate, which was challenged at length by Earnest Petties. His response to that response contained more backpedalling than an NFL secondary facing an army of Jerry Rice clones. Along the way, he set the new standard for what a viable death threat is. So, SO moderate and reasonable!
I already did give her the benefit of the doubt. I already stated I have no doubt they exist. What I’m not going to do is attribute them to a group without proof. I’m also not going to claim they were credible because well, Anita is still breathing.
Brock Wilbur is just some random guy. Only he’s being doxed and harassed by Gamergate for no reason at all, as near as he can tell. But don’t worry,Gamergate doesn’t harass people, says GamerGate.
King of Pol is a noted Youtube personality who has long been a voice of the GamerGate movement. Well, this week, he decided to dabble in a little drunken Holocaust Denial among friends because, well, why the hell wouldn’t you? His defenders tried to blow off the charges by claiming that he was just challenging the number of Jews killed (which is, um, the definition of Holocaust Denial). Anyway, the outcry from the #gamergaters led to a huge debate about ‘tone policing’ (otherwise known as the worst of them going ‘awww, do we REALLY have to be decent human beings?’) Because Gamergate has no sort of organization or leadership, they dealt with this by harassing him out of the cause. This is in his words (emphasis mine)
I have recieved a HUGE AMOUNT of harassment from both sides but the most harassment I have recieved comes from #GamerGate itself, not really anti-GG surprisingly.Emails, Image board threads, Reddit Threads, afew tweets here and there, DMs, even sometimes my Chat on Hitbox, though that is rare. The majority of these have come from regular #GamerGate followers and I have ignored it thus far as GG os more important then anyone of us at this time, but at the cost of my health as well.
Emails from GamerGate side and acouple anti GG as well about how I need to kill myself so other streamers or whoever can have my viewers or how I need to stop talking anymore and how much of shit I am to be here, The best email I got was from someone who has around 10k follpwers on twitter who many of you know as a big #GamerGateperson. They sent me death threats to phone calls, tried to trick me to drive to them for a “chat” even went so far as to claim I was a rapist and child molestor. Tgese thing happened mainly from #GamerGate but sadly, I said “Nah, fuck it Itll stop my actions will justicty my means always!”.
So yeah, that’s what harassment looks like to someone that many #GamerGaters LIKE (or at least to). Now imagine what it looks like to their enemies. Simply put, Anita and Zoe are not making this shit up. Even worse, this Storify talks about how the business of mobilizing a hate mob is, in fact, a reasonably profitable way to earn a buck.
Anyway, on the way out the door with both middle fingers raised defiantly, King of Pol revealed the hidden secret council of GamerGate (fast forward to 15:00, 28:00 is good too), and implicated some of the biggest names in the movement. If you hear talk of hidden Skype Cabals, this is what they’re talking about.
But don’t worry. RooshV, the creator of Return of Kings, one of the largest sites of misogynistic claptrap on the Internet has declared that “Gamergate, believe it or not, is winning.” I don’t believe it sir, largely because only sites like yours is willing to even give it the time of day at this point.
I saved the best for last.
At the beginning of the week, screenshots were being circulated that purported to show a conspiracy of remarkable breath – if true. They purported to be Nick Denton, the owner of Gawker, giving his secret facebook group a big ‘thank you’ for stirring up shit to make #GamerGate’s life miserable. Later, another screenshot came op of a secret facebook followup, where Denton claimed to be very cross with whoever leaked the first. Seriously, read these and, while you do, keep in mind that people fell for this.
#GamerGate has a huge problem with third-party trolls – people who aren’t really affiliated with GamerGate, but who harass or dox anyone involved in the debate indiscriminately. Everyone knows that it’s been their biggest problem, but they need some sort of smoking gun. Perhaps, this was it? Dare they hope?
I know if *I* was a super villain, a public Facebook group is how *I’d* disseminate knowledge about secret plans that definitely are of questionable legality.
I’ll be honest, I wish that the rumors had turned out to be true, because Anita, Zoe, and Brianna suing Gawker out of existence would have been the twist ending to GamerGate that no one expected. However, this turned out not to be the case – but the truth is even more hilarious. Hot Wheels (the founder of 8chan) wrote this spectacular expose. Seriously, read this.
Short form: Our old friend King of Pol went to Hot Wheels saying he had this hot evidence. Hot Wheels backed him blindly, then they passed the information to Milo, who immediately laughed it off as an obvious fraud. Hot Wheels then realized Milo was right, and confronted King of Pol, who told him that his secret source passing him the screenshots was Stephen Totilo, the editor of chief of Kotaku. Which leads to two equally hilarious possibilities:
- KingOfPol really thought that the Editor-in-Chief of Kotaku was helping him as a secret Deep Throat against Gawker
- Instead, KingOfPol really thought Hot Wheels was that dumb.
Hot Wheels has my mad respect for his integrity in coming clean with this bizarre tale of his initial bad judgment. Seriously. Mad props. At least one gamergate e-celeb came out of all of this week looking not too terribly.
GamerGate is listless in Twitter now, evasive, aimless and paranoid. This week has been marked with an utter disdain for ‘e-celebs’ — the big names whose attention used to drive them. All of the drama this week has been exhausting for all of them, and so many of these dramas remain unresolved. Replacing this is a desolate search for meaning. And that meaning is email.
“Keep on emailing,” they’ll tell each other in fevered tweets. “Email is all that matters”. They’re looking for that next victory, that next successful boycott, one that can grant them that ephemeral high they experienced with Intel. They almost had a victory with getting Scrivener to back out of advertising with Gawker – Scrivener hastily offered a public statement of apology stressing they are not aligned with #GamerGate. Outside of the boycott efforts, they almost had a favorable writeup by Mozilla, but those guys started backing away from their accidental mess as well. Still, Gamergate kept their eyes on bigger fish. Getting a game developer to sign up would be big news. Their email boycott target for Thursday was to convince Blizzard to abandon Polygon. Would Gaming’s Goliath listen?
Apparently, Blizzard listened and didn’t like what they heard. Mike Morhaime’s opening speech at BlizzCon contained this veiled reference to #gamergate in his opening remarks (and yes, a reporter appears to have clarified he meant Gamergate with a nod — and the Lead Quest Designer retweeted this tweet confirming Gamergate was what was on their minds — as if there was some other rampaging hatefest dominating gaming over the last 2 months).
“Over the past couple of months, there’s been a small group of people who have been doing really awful things. They have been making some people’s lives miserable, and they are tarnishing our reputation as gamers. It’s not right. Let’s carry the good vibes from this weekend out into the world all year round. There is another person on the other end of the chatscreen. They’re our friends, our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters. Let’s take a stand to reject hate and harassment. And let’s redouble our efforts to be kind and respectful to one another. And let’s remind the world what the gaming community is really all about.””Let’s take a stand to reject hate & harassment and let’s redouble our efforts to be kind & respectful to one another. Let’s remind the world what our game community is REALLY all about.”