Zen Of Design

The design and business of gaming from the perspective of an experienced developer

Mark Kern Doubles Down on Being Wrong

Earlier this week, I wrote an article about Mark Kern’s extremely bad interpretation of events over the last few months.  I was inclined to give him a pass beyond this.  I mean, it’s possible he’s been busy and not been paying close attention to what’s been going on.  People who are in the quagmire that is #GamerGate have no idea how soap opera-like   the whole thing is – I was only able to keep up for a while because I was switching jobs.  Seriously, I’ve been in start-up mode professionally for the last month or so, and I swear, after a full day of dealing with that insanity, I have no time and energy to read about which KotakuInAction guy is mad because which GamerGhazi moderator said yadda yadda yadda.  It’s got more daily twist and turns than a Mexican telenovela, with the added bonus of you have to learn and understand Chan culture to be able to make sense of any of it.   You come in a few months late, and its an incomprehensible mess.

So I figured, maybe he’s busy. Maybe he doesn’t fully grok the origins.  And to be fair, he is legitimately trying to prod these magazines to be agents of change, which is nice and idealistic.

The problem is that blaming Kotaku and Polygon for the events since last April is kind of like blaming Walter Cronkite for Vietnam.  And describing these events as Yellow Journalism is grossly unfair to the people who were the true victims of Gamergate.  Chief among these victims include three game developers: Randi Harper, Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu.  It includes many others.  Including, I note, myself.

Some of those victims are also #gamergaters.  I’ve tried to tell their stories in the past, but it’s decidedly harder because the movement has a culture of ‘if you’re the victim of harassment, you should just swallow it’.  But I’ve seen GamerGaters tell tales in Twitter of people being threatened with their jobs, get harassment from evil SJWs who want to defend Anita, etc.  Some is undoubtedly true, such as when 8chan got DDOSed for a period of time that felt like a lifetime.

There is plenty of debate as to whether the people attacking Gators in this fashion are ‘Ghazians‘, or are actually just third party trolls from places like Something Awful trying to keep the pot stirred.  I strongly suspect it’s the latter.  Still, there are four things that are absolutely true:

  1. GamerGate isn’t the problem – harassment is the problem.  There is a dark side of gaming right now, where a small cadre of assholes are doing seriously, SERIOUSLY skeevy shit, mostly -but not entirely –  aimed at a handful of outspoken women in the industry.  It includes doxing, swatting, DDOSing, silencing progressive critics, rape & death threats, and all manners of terrible harassment.  It also includes, for example, the dev for CoD getting death threats for nerfing something, Smedley getting a bomb threat on his airplane, the Bungie exec who got Swatted, etc. Ignore gamergate – the asshole problem is bigger than that.
  2. No, Gamergate are not the only problem people. Yes, a certain fringe of harassers have made theirselves at home as warriors for the cause, and anyone who says otherwise is flatly lying. Still, this dark side of gaming predates GamerGate.  Anita got her bomb threat at GDC before #GamerGate existed.  Jennifer Hepler happened before gamergate.  FatUglyOrSlutty existed before GamerGate.   This dark side of gaming also includes some people taking tactics against gamergate supporters – probably for the LULZ and probably some on principle as well —  and some people trying to make GamerGate look bad by attaching terrible shit to the hashtag.
  3. It’s not the press doing this.  Kotaku and Polygon, or reporters working for them, are probably not actually the ones doxing or DDOSing *anybody*.
  4. As the press covering Gamers in general, they arguably have a responsibility to shine the light on this bullshit.  And the press really is not doing so excessively.  In fact, one of the constant refrains I hear from GG supporters is that major attacks on GG supporters (such as the 8chan DDOS) go completely unreported.
  5. The press – and developers like you and me – furthermore have a responsibility to condemn this shitty behavior.  And you can’t do that without pointing it out.

So when I hear a respected dev describe the problem as ‘yellow journalism’, I have to wonder what the hell Kern is talking about.  If they are reporting on shit that is actually happening, the term is ‘journalism’.

Hey, Mark,first off, they won’t be holding up copies of Kotaku and Polygon, they’ll be holding up copies of the New York Times, ForbesRolling Stone and Washington Post, who picked up the story because we in the games industry let the problem of harassment in gaming go on too long, as most developers and gaming press just held their breath and hoped it would magically go away.

Secondly, the games press is somewhat hamstrung here, as the movement of #GamerGate is intentionally trying to discredit the gaming press for, you know, having opinions and thinking that women should be able to make games without getting a mailbox full of rape threats.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but Polygon & Kotaku both have tried to do stories that increase positivity and avoid mentioning THAT hashtag – in both cases, discussion immediately has been swamped by cause die-hards attacking and discrediting these outlets because of bullshit accusations about Zoe Quinn’s sex life.

Third, there are seriously a lot of people who believe that this problem cannot be fixed because ‘there will always be harassment and death threats on the internet and especially in gaming’.  This is a tacit admission that gaming has a culture problem.  It is a problem that thankfully doesn’t hit all gamers – gaming is so big now that it has a myriad of minicommunities, which vary wildly in toxicity.  But it does exist, it exists in places that aren’t self-contained communities, and it’s a bad problem.  And we need to stop pretending that the press are bad guys for reporting it, and we need to man up as an industry and say ‘man, we gotta FIX this shit, this is unacceptable’.

Let me give you an example – from Kern himself.  

I support women in gaming, and I’ll let you know my own experiences. Some have asked why there are no women portraits on my company page. First, its because the page is incomplete (I have 3 women contributing to the startup and men who are not listed), but second is a real life lesson. I had an unfortunate incident where I had women portraits on my last company website. For whatever reason on a forum, the women (and men, but esp the women) started receiving harassment on the way they looked. Then the harassment escalated to speculation on their personalities and sexual aspects. It was horrible, and one woman was so badly harassed that we decided to take her picture down from our site…and she never wants it there again.

This petition is not just about yellow journalism in gaming press, but also about how such journalism does nothing to solve this type of harassment. Instead, it drives people apart, trying to put them into boxes or labels and pit them against each other for nothing other than traffic and profit. To solve these issues, the press has to bring us together, positively and constructively, with serious journalism. Only that way can we all come together and solve these types of serious issues in games. Kotaku and Polygon, lets not start with “games are bad and getting worse” lets start with “games are great, and can even be better.” Lets talk about and solve these issues, instead of focusing on how we’re yelling at each other for cheap clicks.

No, Mark.  The problem is NOT that the press is reporting on the fact that horrible shit like this exists in the games industry.  The problem is that HORRIBLE SHIT LIKE THIS EXISTS IN THE GAMES INDUSTRY.  You had an opportunity here to use your megaphone to help make it so that people like your valued employees don’t have to hide like thieves because they happen to love making games while female.  Instead, what you’re trying to do is convince the press that they should just sweep it back under the rug, where it won’t actually attract any undue attention.

No offense, Mark, but you’re trying to solve the wrong fucking problem.

 

75 Comments

  1. The problem Kern is trying to solve is that a cultural elite tried to swat the fly of trolls in gaming with the bazooka of mass cultural shaming. When this inevitably provoked a gamer peasant uprising, the elite responded with a crackdown, a divisive social split, and now the gaming nation finds itself divided and torn and now a laughing stock in the wake of the SVU episode. This is long before the long standing economic decline of the whole country is brought into the picture.

    At some point, people like yourself are going to have to admit that the hysterical moral panic you stoked for years was the problem, that the kinds of people you chose to promote and back are the problem, and that the almighty tantrum you threw in response to the 100% legitimate concerns of actual gamers was the biggest problem of all. The gasoline fueling this flame war is coming from one source, and it is the people who always assume the absolute worst intentions and motivations in their fellow gamers, and who have all but canonised dishonest and divisive outsiders who have nothing positive to offer this industry or community.

    Meanwhile, releases like The Order reveal the contining slow implosion of this medium, and implosion which #Gamergate has the potential to help fix, but not so as long as artificial moral panics dominate our intellectual landscape. Gamers are being forced to battle bankrupt foreign ideologues even as the basic foundations of the medium crumble under their feet. There are real opportunities to provide the maturity this industry needs right now, for those who know to look outside of proxy US culture wars.

    • Would you like some balsamic vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes for your word salad?

      If you only define yourself as a “gamer,” then there is no affinity between me and you other than we play games. No telling what games you like versus what games I like. But I guess you don’t like The Order. I don’t think it looks that great, either.

      If the problem is that you don’t trust “games journalism” and it’s hard to tell before the fact whether a game in development will be any good, these are not new problems.

      If the problem is the way the outside world views people who play video games, then strive to be a better person beyond playing video games. That’s all any one person can do.

      Gamers are not being forced to battle anything. If you want to play games, you should. That’s what they’re for. Play and have fun. If you’re demanding that politics stay out of your culture, then you show a marked ignorance of what politics and culture are or are for.

      Mark Kern may as well be tweeting about this to make people forget he may well have sent The9 tipping past the point when it could recover from losing the WoW license in China, and blowing a whole lot of money on promotional filmmaking for FireFall when it didn’t need any, and getting himself fired as CEO from his own company.

      But that’s just supposition. What he said is ignorant. That’s all that’s really worth pointing out, here.

      • You don't know jack

        February 21, 2015 at 7:54 am

        When journalists are proclaiming that the art form needs to progress i say fine. When the jounralists are deciding what progress means and what it doeesn’t mean i disagree. When most journalists seem to have the exact same distinct san franscisco left wing authoritarian politics and deciding what is good politics and what is bad politics for games to have then yes getting rid of political discussion about games from journalism is needed. If we can’t have multiple points of view about polititics its not a debate but a lecture.

        • ~San Francisco~ the ultimate boogeyman.

          Why don’t you start your own site reflecting your own political viewpoint, then?

          Question – do you feel the same way about the vaccination debate? That the anti-vax side deserves an equal say? Not all two sides are created equal, you know.

        • You can disagree with anyone. The problem is that not enough people know how to have a civil disagreement about games over the Internet. It starts with, live and let live. There is power in narrative, but if you come to the debate table thinking that you’re already at a disadvantage, you’re more likely to flail about and make comments that make you sound foolish and petulant than an equal.

          That anyone’s still complaining about the “gamers are dead” articles is still baffling to me. If you felt personally slighted by that, consider that you’re not dead, and people continue to play games that are made by other people. At this point, I have trouble taking it seriously, and I highly suspect a lot of those are using the pretense of debate as a reason to continue haranguing and harassing, rather than have a conversation based on respect. So I admit I tend to lean toward a certain assumption when addressing this particular subject.

          But you know what? If I don’t know you, I don’t know your name, I don’t know what you’ve done — I’m less likely to care what you think. I think that’s a fair conceit in an imperfect world. Your anonymity is your own business, but it does affect how other people regard your own expressions. This can’t be a conversation that requires you to know the ins and outs of Twitter personae like the dramatis personae of Game of Thrones, especially when it’s how the tone of a TV show episode is supposedly the fault of “journalists” who don’t always make their constituency look or feel good about themselves.

          That’s not nor has it ever been the mission of journalism. Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable. If you feel unduly afflicted, maybe it’s because you’re unfairly comfortable in ways you don’t fully appreciate.

          • Todor Nikolov

            March 8, 2015 at 9:20 am

            I’m sorry mister “the roots of Gamergate are in harrasment”, I didn’t hear you there.

          • But GamerGate’s roots ARE in harassment. That’s clear and factual: GamerGate was born out of the five-guys-and-fries harassment of Zoe Quinn. The Gamers Are Over articles were written in response to it, specifically about the gamers who were harassing her. If you are not one of those people, the articles were not about you — but even if you joined gamergate after that, the roots of gamergate were always and will always be in harassment.

            That is one of the main reasons that GG has been so amazingly ineffective. It’s tied with the ongoing harassment campaign, and has been since the beginning. (And it’s still making “you should murder her” jokes, too, so it’s hard to claim that it’s entirely clear from it, either.)

            I’m sure there are people who consider themselves part of GG that have had nothing to do with any harassment, and actively object to it, but that doesn’t change the roots, any more than the US will ever NOT have been largely built with slavery, or Nazi’s will ever stop having been involved in the holocaust. You can’t change the past. But I suppose you can live in denial, if you prefer.

    • Wow. I never new ‘wanting people to stop threatening to rape and murder me and people like me’ made somebody a ‘cultural elite’.

      And, please, PLEASE tell: how is it that GG is going to prevent developers overhyping and underdelivering games re: The Order?

    • “…actual gamers…”

      In addition to the word salad you wrote, this will always cause an eye-roll. What does this even mean? It actually means nothing, and this is one of the clues to knowing that the GG movement has nothing to do with journalism.

      I know what people like you think it means…that the only gamers that count are those that play FPS or RPG or MMO games. Guess what, I was a gamer long before you were probably born. An actual gamer pulls out paper, pencil and dice. An actual gamer creates their own map on paper, not let the game create the map for you. An actual gamer deals strictly with 2-D “graphics” and lets their imagination create the world, not a video card paint it all out for them. You (yes, you) are the outsider from my definition of an actual gamer.

      What? Is that not fair of me? Of course that isn’t fair. In fact, those definitions of being an “actual gamer” are as full of BS as the ones swimming around in your mind.

      Legitimate concerns by “actual gamers” are what? OMG, someone had an opinion on how to change things to accommodate people who enjoys games that you don’t like! Burn them to the ground! Sorry, that is not legitimate concerns.

      #GamerGate is going to fix what? I have a friend that sends me their BS, and 95% of it is nothing more than complaints. What have they done in the past few weeks? Complain about the L&O:SVU, make a BS claim (easily debunked since the basis for the claim says absolutely nothing like that) that Gawker admitted to a judge that GG is about journalism, and a few articles about how GG is not actually a hate movement. Not one single thing that actually addresses improving gaming journalism. Zilch. In fact, since this nonsense started, I’ve only ever received one article from that friend which actually discussed gaming journalism issues without including screeds against those “evil women”.

      One article out of several dozens that actually seriously talked about the journalism. Sorry, but the GG movement was bankrupt from the beginning and remains bankrupt now as they continue to focus on the wrong problem as Damion quite clearly and correctly stated in this article.

      • That was a shameful comment… You actually do not know what it means to be an actual gamer… The rules are simple… The only thing that matters is what skills you have and how you use them… It’s called meritocracy… A concept that is foreign to you I reckon… We hear people shouting for better representation of games and at the same time lobbying to ban games they do no like? That is simply unacceptable and intellectually dishonest.

        A great day to you nonetheless 🙂

        • What’s intellectually dishonest is you straight up lying that any of the game figures/journalists involved have ever called for a ban on a game they don’t like.

        • There’s a laugh and a half. There’s no skill component to being a gamer. All you need to do is game and bam, you are a gamer. There’s no place for merit in the definition as all it can do is exclude people who enjoy and love games and the playing of them.

          As for banning games, name one serious attempt at banning a game in recent history. Not including Australia before they got their heads out of their official asses.

          • I’ll add something to your reply. Your definition of gamer is passively inclusive, it doesn’t imply any efforts to include or exclude anybody in particular; “Why?”‘s definition is explicitly and strongly meritocratic. Your definition is far less political than the common meritocratic one described by many GGers.

            That something that make constructive discussion hard to do, we have do dialogue with a very political movement that don’t understand its political nature or simply don’t admit it.

            The same point can be made regarding ethics in journalism. GGers show, at best, a lack of understanding and, at worst, of ethics in journalism, journalism and general ethics. Any discussions about ethics and/or journalism is impossible since GGers won’t or can’t discuss it.

            That why Damion’s suggestion about creating a gaming consumer association, complete with a watcher of the press, was not seriously discussed. It focused on what GG claim to be, not what it is.

        • First, you that /tg/ troll who whined about all that “deviant art shit…. like kitsunes half dulihan gunslingers….” and maintained that all fantasy needs to be exactly like tolkein?
          Second, what is an “actual gamer?” Shit like bejeweled, hidden object games, and angry birds all require skill, but those are for casual plebs according to you.
          >wah sjws are trying to ban mah games
          Since when is criticizing something an attempt to ban it?

      • The thing about Gamergate supposedly having the potential to fix the problem of implosion is this:

        when the problem of implosion was identified as being partly fuelled by the dollars being avidly thrown at the stagnating industry by the lumpen-fanboys, and by the consequences of game developers kowtowing to that market, the first thing the (then) proto-gamergaters did is fly to the defence of the exact same Gamers that were/are part of the problem.

        In short, Gamergate had the potential to help fix the problem, but decided to do the opposite thing and defend the problem gamers, even going so far as to conjure up some sort of schizm and some sort of social crackdown. Gamergate blew it, and is now part of the problem, not the solution.

    • Is Damion not an “actual gamer?”

    • for someone accusing another of stoking “moral panic”, you sure threw out a LOT of hyperbole to stoke your own . Also, what Dumfounded said.

    • You know what, if Kern agrees with you I would like to hear that. I think you are completely wrong about everything but at least you have the courage to own up to it. If He really thinks that covering harassment and taking it seriously somehow amounts to a bazooka of cultural shaming than I’d like to hear it. If he really thinks that you’re not an “actual gamer” unless you think targeted, sustained harassment of women is ok, and getting rid of it is an attack on gamers than I’d like to hear that too. He’s a total asshole that gaming doesn’t need either way but at least if he is doing it your way he’s an honest asshole.

    • good post mate, a+ work!
      I know the press since 2006 is why I haven’t followed the industry or its ‘major releases’ at all. If I wasn’t already playing something from a certain company, I would not begin after that. I only get more of the same as it’s the safest non-ideological bet, or I pick up things off the internet for free like Iji and Notrium. Last thing I need in my games is some grade-school psychological lecturing from people who’d be homeless in my own country if that were their chosen field..
      Pretty much the only hope for modern gaming at this point resides in eastern europe. Kind of funny that. I remember that much of the greatness of 2004 was a result of them as well. Here’s hoping Warhorse has as great a run as Reality Pump!

  2. Getting mad at people who shine a spotlight on a problem? What does that remind me of… oh, yes: the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal:

    “Such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you”

    “Well, I’ll just make sure no one knows we have a woman working for us SEXISM SOLVED.”

    • you gotta love how he tried to pass his cowardice and “I don’t wanna have to deal with this shit” attitude off as “See how awesome and progressive and pro-woman I am!!!” You see it in the way there is no logical flow whatsoever between the female employees and how journalism is somehow contributing to that problem (Damion already made that point but it’s worth repeating, just to really get the slight-of-hand derailment tactics that folks like Kern use to get the public off of the issue .) Kern is not interested in solving the problem. If he was, he’d be welcoming the criticism.

    • I give a pass on this one. In the prior case, the female employee asked to be removed from the staff page. In the current case, the staff page just hasn’t been updated in a while. In my experience, the staff page gets updated when some new employee notices and asks for it to be updated, because there’s nobody in charge of making sure that it happens as part of onboarding. We have a game to ship, and the real credits are in the shipped game.

      • To clarify: I’m giving a pass on the staff page, not the act of shooting the messenger. Calling out Polygon & Kotaku is bizarre and lame.

      • Oh, I’m not blaming him for not having people on the staff page. That’s common sense, because sexism in the gamer community causes harassment against women that is so bad that it’s safer for them if no one admits that they exist.

        I’m blaming him for being told that sexism is such a huge problem that his female employees don’t want anyone to know they work there, so they’re safe from harassment, so he took them down from the website and — and this is the key part — apparently considers the problem of sexism/harassment against women to be solved. I mean, as long as no one admits that there are women working in the industry, everyone is fine! Problem solved yay! Out of sight, out of mind, amiright?

        It’s exactly the approach taken here: A sustained campaign of harassment against women caused SVU do to a bad job of adapting it for TV? Obviously the PRESS is at fault for reporting on it. If the press stopped reporting on it, then the toxic elements of the gaming community would be fine! Out of sight, out of mind, amiright?

        Don’t fix problems, hide them.

        • That actually seems to be the press’ problem. I don’t hear a damn thing about minorities doing anything in gaming unless it’s them leaving. It’s not the viewer’s job to pay attention to these things, it’s the press’ job to report them. Why did it take ten years from when she started her company for Georgina Bensley to get any notice when people kept clamoring for ‘more female representation?’
          The Escapist is just as culpable as any other, as it was on their FORUMS that I learned this name in 2008, and no an article.
          Thankfully they at least seem to have realised their problems and are working to fix them. I hope this means not just a better policy, but a wider range of reporting and coverage as well, both niche and mainstream.
          Press, gaming, mainstream, hollywood, and otherwise, have gotten far too lazy in the modern era. They have the world at their fingertips with the rise of the internet, but would rather have presskits with a few bills on the side shoved into their grubby little paws with easily digestable soundbytes and a handful of screenshots that may or may not be faked. So too goes the mainstream press, in how they report upon news. Amusing that the Rolling Stone is named as a credible source, after the morass that is UVA. Even more amusing naming the NYT, after the internal hemorrhaging Jayson Blair caused.
          Like Guardian, Beast, Daily Dot, CBC, and MSNBC, they are having innumerable credibility issues, as well as playing host to flagging audiences and respectability. Their trust from the general public is at an all time low, and the only people in news suffering from strenuous overwork this year are the media watchdog groups. Frankly, it’s ALL yellow at this point.
          I would not trust any of the publications named above to give me the proper price of a basket of fruit, much less an accurate representation of the issues that have arisen in my preferred hobby these past few months.

          No sir, it doesn’t surprise me at all that the groups most maligned by yellow journalism, from Occupy to Ferguson protestors to the Umbrella Revolution to the adult entertainment industry to the NPD to Wikileaks have seen this as a microcosm of what they face and are encouraging them to stand up and fight back for what is truly righteous and noble.

          • “I don’t hear a damn thing about minorities doing anything in gaming unless it’s them leaving.”

            Really? I have no problem hearing about minorities and gaming. Are you sure you’re actually paying proper attention? People who come out with statements like yours have a nasty habit of turning out to be very selective readers.

            I hear this new fangled thing called ‘Gurgle’ can help.

            Oh wait, no, sorry, it’s ‘Google’.

  3. “The problem is NOT that the press is reporting on the fact that horrible shit like this exists in the games industry. The problem is that HORRIBLE SHIT LIKE THIS EXISTS IN THE GAMES INDUSTRY. ”

    The entire story could be boiled down to those words. It doesn’t _really_ matter if the people perpetulating this horrible shit are real gamergaters or fake gamergaters or anti gamergaters or gamers who like to stand on their heads and yodel `while playing Mass Effect. What MATTERS is that this shit is happening, there are people out there who actively think this sort of behavior is acceptable, and the industry isn’t rising up like Godzilla to stamp it out. Silence, hemming and hawing about who started it, or claiming the incidents are ‘isolated’, or making up reasons why it is sorta kinda ok to get rape threats because reasons, is a tacit endorsement of this HORRIBLE SHIT.

    If you’re in the game industry, and you’re not standing on a mountain top shouting “This is not acceptable in our community!”, if you’re not shutting down anyone who tries to justify this horrible shit, then you are part of the problem.

    • You don't know jack

      February 21, 2015 at 7:48 am

      Telling people who are anonymousing doing something bad to stop in ever loud and hilarious ways doesn’t work. To then start blaming a group of people who just want games jounalism to not be so shit is unjust. When the media the ones they don’t like start blaming the people who want better media for things they didn’t do or have no control over to stop those who want better media will realize this for what it is. Either idiotic reasoning that they can somehow stop it or deflection to avoid taking responsibility for what they did. They botched this. The journalists are the ones who are meant to be the professionals in all this. It really isn’t much to ask.

      • It behooves the individual to have more than one way to define themselves. If anyone who defines him/herself as “gamer” was bothered by a headline, then it is their responsibility to react accordingly, which is to consider the message itself. Even if the articles being referenced (well after the fact, they all came out in August, ) weren’t altogether comforting, it shouldn’t be too hard to separate “gamer” as an archetype or a culture that some might describe as too immature, too brutish and cold, from actual, individual people.

        It’s hard enough regarding each other as human beings on the Internet, but harder still when people refuse or are unable to respect and uphold their own humanity on the Internet. If you can’t get past people writing not-nice things about “gamers,” then maybe the problem is that you need to be able to understand and define yourself better, not with the journalist’s point of view.

        Accusations of unprofessionalism are something journalists will always have to endure, long before video games were a thing that could be written about. It won’t stop articles from being written. Don’t like it? Get your own byline somewhere. It’s easier than it’s ever been in human history.

        • “It behooves the individual to have more than one way to define themselves. If anyone who defines him/herself as “gamer” was bothered by a headline, then it is their responsibility to react accordingly, which is to consider the message itself. Even if the articles being referenced (well after the fact, they all came out in August, ) weren’t altogether comforting, it shouldn’t be too hard to separate “gamer” as an archetype or a culture that some might describe as too immature, too brutish and cold, from actual, individual people.”

          I partly define myself as a gamer. I am also a father, a husband, and a doctor. I am not a misogynist. I do not hate minorities either. Those articles didn’t make me take a deep introspective look at myself, because they were nothing more than petty insults and broad generalizations from people who should know better. Which is why it actually disappoints and angers me. Industry professionals should behave professionally. Insulting your readership because of petty online arguments from people who demand better from you is not acting professionally. Digging in when silly little demands for disclosures were raised is not acting professionally. Saying you will cover what you want to cover so “deal with it angry neckbearded basement dwellers” on twitter is not acting professionally.

          I am not angry over someone writing mean things about me on the internet. Rather, I am angry over the blatant hypocrisy and unprofessionalism of people who purport themselves to be influential industry leaders wanting to stand as paragons of progressivism, wishing to spearhead the industry into being a more legitimate art medium.

          In short, if you want to be treated like an adult, act like a fucking adult.

          But I digress. Telling me “You were called an obtuse shitslinger, perhaps maybe you should consider the fact that you are an obtuse shitslinger more seriously?” is fucking hilarious. Pure complete idiocy.

          Please continue running in circles and defending the poor conduct of people who should know better. Because certainly that will work towards the betterment of this medium and it certainly wouldn’t place you firmly in the camp of ‘this is why we can’t have nice things’.

    • Bravo. Your comment brightened my day a bit. Keep on keepin on.

    • There’s a difference between saying “this horrible thing happened, and it shouldn’t be welcome in our community” vs. saying “this horrible thing happened, our community is toxic, we’ve created a monster, oh god call in the drone strikes WORSE THAN ISIS TERRORISM!!!!”

      Hyperbolic, obviously, but there IS a difference between highlighting shitty behavior and inciting a moral panic. It also IS super fucked up to make a problem seem way bigger than it is because you don’t want anyone that’s critical of your own behavior to have their concerns addressed or discussed. How are we at a point where some people see criticizing Ben Kuchera as misogyny? How are we at a point where a lot of people see The Escapist hiring a new female writer as an attack on women in gaming?

      I think everyone needs to admit that at some point, this shit all just got weird. I think that claims that /gamergate/ or KiA are about organizing harassment of women and feminists are actively false, and in some cases, may be intentionally deceptive. That many criticisms seem stupid or invalid doesn’t imply that they’re disingenuous. The media IS making claims that exceed reality, and that’s not a good thing.

      • The problem is, since GamerGate became a thing, the attacks have gotten worse. It’s always been there, like some kind of toxic background noise, but it’s gotten louder and more invasive since GG became a thing.

        And while it might be possible that all of this is just coincidence. It is hard to believe that the two facts are not correlated when the initial incarnation of GG was all about attacking a woman. When the arguments put forward by GG have had little to nothing to do with ethics of any sort. When people who aren’t journalists but are women keep winding up in the spotlight despite this supposedly being about journalists.

  4. Funny how Kern is so chummy with one of Gamergate’s worst harassers, Roguestar.

    • You don't know jack

      February 21, 2015 at 7:55 am

      He seemed to be chummy with a_man_in_black as well who has harassed many people including women and minorities in gamergate. I guess its different when those in gamergate are harassed though. They aren’t real people or anything.

    • And just in case anyone tries jumping in with ‘How do you know he’s a harasser!?’, here’s how: The guy has been banned 13+ times from Twitter for abuse and harassment.

      He constantly brags about it, and how useless Twitter is at stopping him from making new accounts.

      Clearly, if you’re going to Heal The Rift, that’s the kind of guy you want on your team, right?

      • Todd Kinncannon has been banned way more times than that. And usually rogue’s bans are a result of mass report spam than anything else. Can’t quite recall Rogue saying things like “We need to let Ebola into America to prove A-gg wrong”

  5. Harrasment on the Internet is a problem. No arguing there. But it’s way more complex then you make it out to be. First off it’s not only women, who suffer from it. Most swatting incidinces I heard from where male and mostly streamers, but there are probably a lot I didn’t hear from. Beside that there are also a lot of males that received harrassment and deaththreats even though probably way less rape threats. Your and most of the gamingpress focus on female suffering and threats towards women seems to be benevolent sexist and is cultivating a damming message that will scare of a lot of girls from programming.

    The experience of harrasment will differ for males and females but also probably for almost all individuals so without having a concret analysis or probably a lot more than one making statements about the quality and quantity of harrassment pointing at some specific incidentsis not a accurate representation.

    What I find very problematic is that you entirly deny or at least brush aside the problem with journalism that makr Kern is taceling. It may seems to be that there are worthier causes, but then again if you compare Internet harrassment with third world problems you can even brush aside that problem!

    Why do you try to deflect and derail by attacking Mark Cern instead of even trying to argue his points?

  6. Logun (@Logun24x7)

    February 21, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Damion, the problem is half a truth is half a lie. GamerGate has been framed as a hate movement, Games Journalist have insulted gamers calling them “Lonely basement Kids” “Nerds” “Misogynistic” “Sexiest” “Angry white Dudes” all reenforcing the stereotypes of the 80’s I thought we left in the past.

    The mainstream press has picked up on this narrative and because the only story being focused on is harassment, that’s been connected directly to gamers and the gamer identity by default and without evidence. As such we end up with the Law & Order crap. This is what Mark Kern’s pointing out.

    If you choose to tell a story about gamers harassing women because it fits the misogynistic narrative but fail to tell the story of the gamers that have been harassed, doxxed and SWATTed from the so called progressives then that’s not journalism that’s propaganda. If you fail to talk about the massive number of gamers that are disappointed by the echo chamber, one sided and often agenda driven gaming press and misdirect the narrative that’s propaganda.

    If the Gaming Press writes 2 dozen articles about Peter Molyneux’s failed kickstarter game asking him if he thinks he’s a pathological liar because he over promised and under delivered yet ignores Feminist Frequency that collected $160K, ten times what they were asking for on their kickstarter, delivered less then half the videos promised, are 2 years past their advertised completion date, have not sent out the promised DVD set to their backers, had themselves declared a charity, and earned $450K in 2014 despite not completing their kickstarter promises, and are far more news worthy then Molyneux yet escape their critical gaze, what do you call that? Selective journalism?

    If you choose to tune-out the dozen articles that attacked the gamer identity, the tweets, Ted talks, and videos from a number of journalists that openly admit they have an agenda and see it their job to Steer games, I guess you can just stick your head in the sand and pretend the industry doesn’t have a problem. When you have the people that report on games saying bias is good and objectivity is bullshit as a Developer Damion I would think you would have as much of a problem with that as gamers do.

    If however you have a problem with a journalist asking a developer if he’s a pathological liar, or games journalist attending a seminar where it ends with a symbolic burning of a GTAV disk to resounding applause, or a segment of gamers being misrepresented and marginalized because they like a particular game the echo chamber of progressive games journalism has deemed offensive, then its obvious theirs a story here not being told.

    I think what allot of gamers have sniffed out is there is agenda that permeates games journalism and critics that they are the gate keepers of games, that they are going to steer games into a new art form. Instead of being a neutral voice of fans and developers that frame discussion these people have taken up podiums to preach what games should be ….. and Fans are saying politely ….Fuck Off.

    • To be clear, the harassment IS the only story to be focused on. Those twelve or so articles you mention that attack the “gamer” identity? Every single one of them was written in response to the horrible treatment of women that work on or simply talk about games. Every one. Since that point, the cultural divide has always been between those who recognized that the shit treatment of women in games was a big problem, and those who felt like they were being blamed for it because they identify as a “gamer”. So let’s identify actual victims instead of actual gamers.

      Both sides have a problem with labels. One side is upset that games journalism made the label “gamer” toxic and disparaging. On the other side are people who recognize that those who carry the label “woman” are subjected to toxic and disparaging behavior. You may not agree that the latter is “on the other side,” but I can assure that’s the side games journalists are on. To you, that might be an agenda; fine. To me, that’s reporting on things that really matter in the games industry.

      Your answer to gaming’s image problem is to silence gaming publications and respond aggressively to criticism against the culture. The rest of us want to remove the cancerous root of harassment inside our culture. You may say that trying to expose or silence a fringe group of assholes on the internet is as futile as it gets. Maybe. But trying to do so is far better than accepting and somehow defending a damaged culture.

      • Logun (@Logun24x7)

        February 22, 2015 at 4:26 pm

        You’re right those 12 articles were written in retaliation to Gamers but that was a horrible characterization and marginalization of those that think of themselves as Game enthusiast (Gamers). Perhaps a few behaved poorly and in anger online but it was wrong to point a finger at ALL gamers.

        We all can agree that online harassment is bad but it happens to men as often as it happens to women, and largely this isn’t a gaming industry issue its a social media issue. There are thousands of women talking about and making games for years, in fact 22% of game developers are now female. Gamers don’t care who makes games they just want good games.

        Men and women have been getting along in games for years. Damion could probably add to this but as a fan of MMO’s I now have several friends that met in game and now have teen age children. Is their some games that have followings less friendly, sure but they also have mute and reporting features. The vast majority of games are still single player, in 2012 of all games made 45% were rated (E) for everyone, only 9% were rated (M) for mature and if you have been paying attention over the last 10 years we’ve seen motion controls, music and Dance games have a huge impact on the diversity of people playing games. And quick search on Steam also reveals that over 150 games in the last 12 months have female playable characters.

        I.2 billion people are playing games, its a huge diverse group of people and many of them identify as Gamers. I actually didn’t even start paying attention to this issue until Aug. 28th the date those articles came out. Yet I was implicated because I identify as a gamer. If gamers have been trying to keep women out of gaming they’ve done a shit job 47% of gamers are women and many support GamerGate.

        Surly you can’t see how this marginalization and rehashing of old stereotypes is harmful to developers, Gamers, and the industry itself. If anything this one sided reporting is having more of an impact on truing women off of gaming then gamers ever could.

        The men and women I’ve talked to in GamerGate are concerned about journalism. No one is concerned if women and girls play games …surly you can see how ridiculous that sounds.

        They don’t feel its right for games journalism to be this echo chamber that operated with bias and agenda. It’s not their job to be the gate keepers of games. Their little echo chamber and mailing list are exposed where they collude and decide collectively what and how things get reported on. They have come out openly as wanting to steer games development, to influence it, to make it fit their agenda and that’s wrong, that’s anti-consumer, anti-free market, and anti-freedom of expression.

        LOL, …the problem is that journalist are on a side. They stop being journalist by picking a side and become propagandist.

        • “You’re right those 12 articles were written in retaliation to Gamers but that was a horrible characterization and marginalization of those that think of themselves as Game enthusiast (Gamers).”

          No it wasn’t.

          I think of myself as a Gamer, as do many of the people I know and hang around with. The ‘Gamers Are Dead’ articles left people like myself and my friends entirely alone.

          The ‘Gamers Are Dead’ articles very expressly focused down on a particular subset of gamers – a particular subset of Gamers , by the way, that were routinely the source of much mocking by the rest of the ‘Gamer’ set.

          There’s simply no excuse for continuing to take the ‘Gamers Are Dead’ articles as attacking all ‘Gamers’. There has been more than enough discussion about why that interpretation is factually wrong.

          • Logun (@Logun24x7)

            February 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm

            Yes, and the mainstream media with the help of Games Journalism have done such a good job at making the distinction between you, me, and your friends and the internet trolls, haven’t they?
            Its not about what you think of yourself its what those that don’t game and what they think of gamers.

            Lets see how Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra does at just targeting those BAD gamers shall we. Here are some quotes from her article on Aug.28th. You see at this point Journalist weren’t just targeting GamerGate they SAID Gamers because the hashtag didn’t exist or was just hours old when these articles were posted. These articles fuelled what became GamerGate and Leigh admitted that on MSNBC News. Sounds to me like she could have written that Law&Order episode …LOL

            Leigh Quotes:
            “Gamers are over. That’s why they’re so mad.”
            “Game culture’ as we know it is kind of embarrassing”
            “It’s young men queuing with plush mushroom hats”
            “They don’t know how to dress or behave”
            “Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know little about how human social interaction”
            “who are okay with an infantilized cultural desert of shitty behavior”
            “Game fans are often associated with blunt Twitter hate mobs”
            “early adopters’. You know, young white dudes with disposable income”
            “generation of lonely basement kids”
            “young white teen boys in hypercapitalist America”
            “angry young men are the primary demographic for commercial video games”
            “obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers,”
            “these childish internet-arguers — they are not my audience”

            A Guide to Ending “Gamers” by Devin Wilson Gamasutra
            So how does Devin see gamers and gaming, lets see if we can sum it up, privileged, toxic, sexist, macho, violent, harassing, terrorists that see games as a religion and gamers should want to play games that are less Fun….LOL

            Devin’s Quotes:
            “we’re seeing calls to do away with the concept of “gamers” altogether.”[From other Journalist]
            “an insult to the people who are suffering abuse from self-identified “gamers”.
            “We listen to those who are less privileged”
            “Sexism in games is pervasive and toxic.”
            “Racism in games is pervasive and toxic.”
            “Violence in games is pervasive and toxic”
            “We maintain a critical eye towards the e-sports scene and its accompanying machismo”
            “We stop upholding “fun” as the universal, ultimate criterion for a game’s relevance.”
            “We make gaming more like recreation or reading than it is like religion.”
            “We do not assume that the harassment we’ve seen lately is a complete aberration. We understand that there is a link between this medium that terrorists see themselves as defending and the terrorism itself.”

            What does Kris Graft editor-in-chief of Gamasutra have to say?
            Kris seems to think its the job of games Media to steer games not just report on them. Now, how would a reviewer or journalist steer games ….humm I wonder?
            Losing our voices
            Kris Graft Quote:
            “So for the game media, what is the voice that they’re afraid to lose?
            How might their voice be lost, or taken? If video games don’t go in the direction ((where some of us want to steer)) them, we lose our will to speak at all.”

          • If all you do is pick apart an article to individual quotes, you rob it of all inherent meaning that’s the sum of its parts.

            Opinions can’t be “factually wrong.” You can only present your own opinion and back it up with facts. But those facts have to be more than just observation, otherwise it’s just observation vs. observation.

          • “Its not about what you think of yourself its what those that don’t game and what they think of gamers.”

            No, it’s about what was actually written in the articles: leaving aside the extremely questionable assertion that the writers of the ‘Gamers are Dead’ articles are somehow not gamers themselves.

            You’ve rather stupidly quoted all the quotes from the Leigh Alexander article that clearly indicate that she was talking about the problematic sub-set of gamers that are pretty much ruining gaming. The gamers that swallow every aspect of AAA marketing without question. The ones that give gamers a bad name. The ones that act out of order. The ones that have no problem with how gamers are viewed from outside as long as they get their hands on Super Call of Saiyan Duty 4 at the midnight release. The ones that are basically responsible for sucking down all the overpriced QTE infested sparkly zero-content DLC-led pay-to-win games that are fast dominating gaming.

            The Gamers we should *all* be criticising.
            The Gamers that have been the laughing stock of Gaming Culture (likely including plenty of their current GamerGate defenders) for a long time.
            The Gamers that get called basement virgins, cheeto eaters, supernerds and the like by the Other Gamers, and numerous other derogatory meme’s.

            If you don’t see a problem with the ‘Gamers’ that Leigh and the rest were criticising, then you’re part of the problem.

            Either way, one thing that is definetly not true – ‘Gamers’ as a whole were not being criticised: the problematic ones that ruin it for all of us were. Sadly, people who have trouble understanding this seem to think Leigh and the rest were applying those stereotypes to people, when they were actually bemoaning the people (these ‘Gamers’) acting in a way that is the living embodiment of those stereotypes.

            It’s funny how the problem people have GamerGaters rushing to defend them, when previously they were the laughing stock of gaming culture. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the leading vocal opponent being a woman.

            GamerGaters had a chance to help change the culture and the problem people, and help Gaming become a much better place to be – something to proudly admit to rather than a ‘guilty pleasure’ – but GamerGaters blew it, and now people like yourself are doubling down on that grevious error and trying to take apart the X-Ray machine that spotted the broken bone.

            It’s rather sad to watch.

          • Could you please identify what, exactly, you mean by “a particular subset of gamers”? Are you talking about console FPS fans? Because I’ve heard that most of those are borderline casual gamers who only buy the yearly release of their favorite FPS series, and maybe also some sports games, to play with their bros, and participate rarely if ever in online video game forums. Many of them likely have never even heard of gamergate.

            Similarly, while there’s no proof of this, I suspect that the people who keep buying games with quicktime events and “zero-content DLC-led pay-to-win games” are also towards the casual end of the spectrum. Given that Leigh’s article outright celebrates the “casualization” of the gaming market, claiming that it targeted the people responsible for these trends you see as problems seems like a logical leap, to say the least.

            Which is not to make an “Ugh, filthy casuals” statement, by any means. I’m just trying to pin down who the people you’re mad about actually are.

          • It’s funny how pissed off GG is that some games journalists attacked “all gamers”, when their own statements could be interpreted, in the same logic, as an attack on all journalists, all games journalists, or all anti-GGs. Note, not all anti-GGs were in favor of “gamers are dead” articles. Some of us just thought that the behavior of GamerGate, before and after those articles, was extremely shitty. The articles were annoying, but not scandalous. It’s comparable to (actually, it’s nowhere near as bad) as when literary theorists claim that mathematics or the hard sciences lend support to militarism or neoliberalism. It’s an unfairly broad generalization, but it’s not an opinion I want to be silenced, because there’s a chance that there might be a grain of truth buried in there somewhere.

            What would be scandalous is allowing GamerGate to become the arbiter of what is and isn’t an acceptable opinion to publish. So, in that sense I’ll defend the gamers-are-dead articles in the sense that pissing GamerGate off should not be a firing offense.

          • Note that one can be all for the casualisation of games whilst also being against games that are just cynical exploitation of that market. Indeed, Leigh Alexanders Gamesutra article on casual games tackles such exploitation.

            The subest of gamers mentioned are the ones expressly identified in the ‘Gamers are Dead’ articles. Leigh Alexander couldn’t have made her targets (or rather, the target subculture) clearer unless she took a poll and identified them by name. Why there’s so much confusion and so many accusations of stereotyping and generalisations is just baffling.

            I would have to say that people who are willing to pay almost the same amount as the initial cost of the game to get all the dlc can safely be provisionally regarded as unlikely to be casual players. Even if we include mobile games that have a low initial price but a heavy accumulative pay-to-win price, those willing to chuck away money on dozens of micro-transactions a week or month are hardly casual players. Don’t conflate being a player of a casual game with being a casual games player.

            But that’s by the by, Leigh Alexanders actual focus was on the problematic behaviour of some people, regardless of what games they actually play. The point is that GamerGaters want to pretend to be oh so interested in Ethic in Games journalism, but flew to the defence of the self-same people that are most resistant to change within the gaming industry.

          • Similarly, while there’s no proof of this, I suspect that the people who keep buying games with quicktime events and “zero-content DLC-led pay-to-win games” are also towards the casual end of the spectrum.

            I’m anti-GG and I agree that some of those gamers-are-dead articles did try to shoehorn anti-indie/anti-highbrow/anti-social-justice motivations of GG into some kind of anti-casual thing, which made no sense at all.

            However, as the mess continued, I don’t think they continued making that mistake. It wasn’t really plausible, given that GG seems to skew younger than anti-GG, or at least that became the common perception.

          • However, as the mess continued, I don’t think they continued making that mistake. It wasn’t really plausible, given that GG seems to skew younger than anti-GG, or at least that became the common perception.

            I know that Bob Chipman in particular continues to make the even more ridiculous mistake of saying that GG was the fault of, not just CoD playing dudebros, but Japan-hating CoD playing dudebros. Never mind all of those 8chan threads praising the Japanese game industry for its “independence from SJWs.”

            For the record, a KiA poll a few months back found that most respondents were PC gamers, and Real Time Strategy won a plurality in the “what is your favorite genre?” question.

            So that’s yet another thing the SVU episode got hilariously wrong.

          • “For the record, a KiA poll a few months back found that most respondents were PC gamers, and Real Time Strategy won a plurality in the “what is your favorite genre?” question.”

            Huh. I wouldn’t have guessed that. And there is someone up above in the thread going on about “meritocracy” or whatever. Maybe the GG/anti-casual relationship makes more sense than I thought! (ducks)

        • That’s also why they’re losing terribly, and why they have no choice but to continually hammer the same tired points.. Propaganda is SUPPOSED to have some semblance of truism to make it sound more palatable to the general public. But because the entire thing was made up to start with, they have nothing else at all to fall back on. They can only make wilder and wilder metaphorical comparisons. Though, I do have to point out one thing amusing that I forgot to mention in my longer post above. A bonafide ‘terrorist’ group DID pick up the hash tag. No, it wasn’t ISIS. Turns out they are incredibly pissed that they are constantly compared to a group that allows such heretical freaks like homos, transgenders, porn stars, furries, lolicons, anime fans, bronies, and women, free reign in which to voice their distaste of a medium without being leashed to a post, only able to leave their homes when in company of a sanctioned male.

          No, the terror group that did pick up the tag? The IRA. Because they rightly see the opposition towards gamergate as being culturally invasive Whitehouse/Thatcherian moral police. One of whom even termed it “The Troubles of Tech”
          Unfortunately twitter’s search is pretty ass, it was a couple months ago. Members of theirs even posted music videos from yt into the tag as a sort of ‘morale booster’ like Come Out And Fight, or My Little Armalite.
          I have to admit, their music is pretty catchy. I may just have to break out the ol’ long neck or at least write some too.

      • If they wanted to report on what truly mattered, they would remember women and other minorities ALSO exist when they AREN’T being harassed. You all have no one to blame for the poor reception of minorities but yourselves.

    • “If the Gaming Press writes 2 dozen articles about Peter Molyneux’s failed kickstarter game asking him if he thinks he’s a pathological liar because he over promised and under delivered yet ignores Feminist Frequency that collected $160K, ten times what they were asking for on their kickstarter, delivered less then half the videos promised, are 2 years past their advertised completion date, have not sent out the promised DVD set to their backers, had themselves declared a charity, and earned $450K in 2014 despite not completing their kickstarter promises, and are far more news worthy then Molyneux yet escape their critical gaze, what do you call that? Selective journalism?”

      I dunno. How about selective reading? Selective memory?

      That FF got significantly more in the kickstarter than intended was very, very, very broadly reported. You may even remember reading a thing or two about it.

      That FF radically changed its’ mission goals as a result of the kickstarter, and the multiple reasons why the original timeframe is no longer feasible, has been very, very, very broadly reported. You may even recall seeing something about FF on this obscure thing called TedX, or the even more obscure thing called The Colbert Report. You may have read a little bit about the time consuming harrassment and need for police protection, multiple interviews and talks, as well as broadening of the mission goal to include things like, say, becoming a charity.

      That 6 videos is not ‘less than half’ of either 6 or 12 only needs basic maths to understand why it’s wrong. That 158 minutes of video is actually longer than 144 minutes shouldn’t need explaining. That each video has attracted broad gaming media attention is a thing called ‘actual reality’.

      That FF cannot send out a DVD of the entire video series until the video series has actually been completed shouldn’t even need any further explanation of why that’s a silly criticism.

      FF becoming a charity isn’t noteworthy, unless you think it’s somehow a tax scam and have evidence of actual fraud, then it’s not worth more than a footnote unless you’re a priori interested in the charitable mission. FF receiving more funding *after* radically changing the mission statement isn’t really newsworthy except in a “good for FF!” sort of way. At this point, criticising FF for supposedly not filling their kickstarter promise is a bit foolish, especially as they’re well on their way to exceeding it (if they cannot be considered to have already done so with all the extra work they have provided) and are showing signs of willingly trying to meet their goals.

      Expecting FF to provide only $6k of work after getting $140k, and then omitting the fact that FF would have been seriously panned for it if they hadn’t radically expanded their mission, is seriously stupid and utterly dishonest. I’ll be kind to you and assume you were merely lacking foresight.

      Whereas Peter Molyneux is a major doyen of the industry; has some serious experience in game production, has been awarded national honours by two seperate nations, has been honoured by a number of institutions including a fellowship, has a history of innovation and success, is a well recognised name, and helped establish several gaming genres.

      Yet… he has allegedly managed to commit a series of comical school-boy errors that are slap-bang in the middle of his experience and expertise, has apparently provided a series of conflicting and inconsistent explanations and excuses, apparently misrepresented some of the pledge rewards, and – as Jimquisition has pointed out – has been taking peoples money and giving them an overpromised and underfinished product again and again.

      The Peter Molyneux debacle is – if true – significantly more newsworthy for the gaming press than a series of videos that cover one aspect of some games.

  7. Since the subject has come up in multiple very long comment threads, I’ll just post it here. If anyone still thinks that the Gamers Are Dead articles in general and Leigh’s article in particular were benign cultural criticism, I suggest you carefully read this blog post by lizzyf620, a gamergate supporter, online harassment victim, single mother, and recent Escapist hire:

    https://feelsandreals.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/coming-clean/

    Also, something that isn’t covered in the aforementioned blog post: It really bugs me whenever anyone, especially someone claiming to be a “progressive,” uses “you live in your parents’ basement” as an insult, as Leigh did in her article. That’s literally making fun of poor people for being poor. And I say this as someone who is currently living with my parents due to a recent job loss.

    • “That’s literally making fun of poor people for being poor.”

      Except LA identified them as having a high disposable income, and did so in the directly preceeding passage.

      Kinda hard to justify that interpretation when the preceeding part of the article directly confounds it.

      And, of course, no one should have to point out that the ‘Gamers are Dead’ articles would have been rather pointless if they were benign.

      The most stupidly ironic thing about the uproar about LA’s use of ‘basement kids’ is quite simple: it’s been used as an in-group insult for absolutely ages. Almost everyone knows that you don’t necessarily mean that the person literally lives with their parents (although LA was referring to the marketisation of masculine-fantasy games which started when games were still regarded as kids toys), but that you’re referring to a person that may not be all that confident or may have some problems with self esteem, or esteem within the broader culture.

      LA’s use of that term in that context was to criticise the high number of games that fed into that market as if it was the primary, if not only, viable market.

      Her article provides the broader context for what she means when she says it. She shouldn’t have to provide a dictionary of definitions of well understood terms just in case a minority of people go against all common sense and the actual content of the article and gleefully misinterpret a term in a literal, pedantic sense.

      Her article wasn’t as hard to understand as many people here seem to have found.

      • I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you never actually read the blog post I linked. Because if your response to someone saying that she felt the article had insulted her 3 year old autistic daughter is to say that the article “only” attacked people with low confidence or self-esteem, I really don’t know what to say to you.

        “Except LA identified them as having a high disposable income, and did so in the directly preceeding passage.”

        Which is yet another reason why the article is a self-contradictory mess. “I hate these nerdy autistic frat boys that can’t afford a place of their own yet spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on plane tickets and hotel rooms to go to gaming conventions. These people are pathetic because they spend a lot of time and money on video games, so game developers should stop marketing to them. Because why would you ever want to market to someone that spends a lot of time and money on your product?”

        • Which is yet another reason why the article is a self-contradictory mess: “I hate these nerdy autistic”

          “Nerdy” and “Autistic” appear nowhere in the article. I think you’ve stumbled into one of the smokescreens that GG has set up. Basically: Nerds and autistic people frequently have poor social skills. People who make rape and death threats also have poor social skills. GGers want you to think that an attack on one group is an attack on the other.

          The fallacy is that those two groups of people have poor social skills in two very different ways. Most people can tell the difference if they stop to think about it.

          frat boys that can’t afford a place of their own yet spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on plane tickets and hotel rooms to go to gaming conventions.

          It’s not that they “can’t afford” a place of their own.

          The image that’s being conjured up is the entitled man-child who’s never heard the word ‘No’ in his life. Living in the basement means free rent, free food, and free maid service. Why give that up? And because all of those services are free, it means that any income can be spent on the latest hardware and trips to gaming conventions. (Assuming those aren’t free as well.)

          (I should say that it sounds like a pretty sweet life, but it’s really not healthy in the long run. They didn’t learn to be thoughtful or introspective as children, so as adults they react badly to hearing something as simple as “Your favorite video game contains some sexist tropes.” )

          These people are pathetic because they spend a lot of time and money on video games, so game developers should stop marketing to them. Because why would you ever want to market to someone that spends a lot of time and money on your product?”

          Because they drive away other groups of customers, who represent even more potential sales. That was the whole point of the article!

          • “Nerdy” and “Autistic” appear nowhere in the article. I think you’ve stumbled into one of the smokescreens that GG has set up. Basically: Nerds and autistic people frequently have poor social skills. People who make rape and death threats also have poor social skills. GGers want you to think that an attack on one group is an attack on the other.

            The fallacy is that those two groups of people have poor social skills in two very different ways. Most people can tell the difference if they stop to think about it.

            So you’re going to argue that “don’t know how to dress or behave,” “know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works,” “listless expressions,” “infantilized,” “wailing,” and “childish” have nothing to do with stereotypes about socially awkward people in general and people on the autism spectrum in particular. And you’re more qualified to make this judgment than a mother of an actual autistic child.

            Is “neurotypicalsplaining” a word?

            Oh, and by claiming that this is a smokescreen, are you suggesting that Liz is lying about this? Because her family was featured in a local TV news report (I’m not going to link out of respect for her privacy) in February 2014. In fact, that news report, and the fact that the asshole that doxed her posted a link to it along with a whole bunch of private information a month ago, is the only reason anyone knows about this. Prior to that incident, Liz never mentioned her family on Twitter.

            Not that she’s the only one who has said something like this. I know of at least one autistic GG supporter who made pretty much exactly the same points months ago.

            It’s not that they “can’t afford” a place of their own.

            The image that’s being conjured up is the entitled man-child who’s never heard the word ‘No’ in his life. Living in the basement means free rent, free food, and free maid service. Why give that up? And because all of those services are free, it means that any income can be spent on the latest hardware and trips to gaming conventions. (Assuming those aren’t free as well.)

            Because it’s not like student loan debt and the recession, among other things, have resulted in many twenty-somethings being unable to move out on their own.

            Oh, but I’m sure people who use “basement dweller” as an insult don’t mean victims of circumstance. The term only refers to the bad ones. Just like when Rush Limbaugh goes on long rants about how welfare recipients are parasites, he only means the ones that are too lazy to work.

            I suggest you read up on dog whistle politics.

          • “And you’re more qualified to make this judgment than a mother of an actual autistic child.”

            Jenny McCarthy is also a mother of an actual autistic child. Whatever authoritative credibility “my kid is autistic!” is supposed to give you as a qualification, McCarthy squandered it all. Now moms with autistic children are just regular humans whose arguments have to stand on their own, like the rest of us.

          • I could go into the reasons why that comparison is ridiculous, but I’m tired of this back and forth. If you have any actual objections to her arguments, as presented in the blog post I linked above, then go ahead and talk about them.

            If you’re just here to take cheap shots at me, I really don’t see the point of this conversation.

          • “I could go into the reasons why that comparison is ridiculous”

            You could try, but then I would point out why those reasons are nonsense.

            Your other interlocutors had plenty of objections that you utterly failed to answer. All you and lizzyf620 have is cheap shots. I’m just pointing out that “And you’re more qualified to make this judgment than a mother of an actual autistic child.” is a ridiculous thing to say. Yes, GamerGate moms are perfectly capable of using their children as shields. Simply being in GamerGate is evidence of bad judgment.

          • Leigh Alexander even admitted that her piece was potentially offensive to “non-neurotypical” people. (I forget how she phrased it exactly)

            You know you’re stubborn when you refuse to concede a point that even the author of the piece conceded.

          • I said above that I didn’t like that piece. All I’m saying now is that ” And you’re more qualified to make this judgment than a mother of an actual autistic child.” is a stupid thing to say.

          • Oh, but I’m sure people who use “basement dweller” as an insult don’t mean victims of circumstance. The term only refers to the bad ones. Just like when Rush Limbaugh goes on long rants about how welfare recipients are parasites, he only means the ones that are too lazy to work.

            I suggest you read up on dog whistle politics.

            I thought I understood dog whistle politics, but it looks like I need you to explain it further.

            Here’s what I know. “People who collect welfare because they’re too lazy to work” are actually very small minority. Almost all able-bodied people who collect welfare would be perfectly happy to stop, if there were jobs available and if those jobs paid a living wage. So the goal of the Limbaugh strawman is to create a fake problem and then propose a self-serving solution: The government should cut welfare programs and give Rush more tax breaks – it certainly shouldn’t create more public sector jobs or raise the minimum wage, because that wouldn’t benefit him personally.

            But how does that apply to the Leigh Alexander article? She’s saying that there’s a problem with harassment in the gaming community – which is easily verified by looking at Twitter – and her proposed solution is for gamers to do a better job of speaking out against the harassment, instead of turning a blind eye to it. She also calls on game companies to be less nihilistic in their marketing. How will her proposed solutions harm regular autistic people who are able to live their lives without harassing anyone?

            I will agree that the Leigh Alexander article does have a few problematic bits – the second paragraph (“plush mushroom hats”) is targeting the wrong people and should have been left out, but I think the main thrust of the article is valid. Don’t you?

        • Phew! Good job that wasn’t my response then! I’d hate to insult a fellow autist, especially – as chaos engineer kindly points out – the association between ‘basement kid’ and ‘child with autism’ isn’t contained anywhere in the original article.

          Yeah , you’re getting kinda close to the knuckle there with all your feverous attempts to associate the social negatives mentioned in the article with people like myself, my friends, some of my family, my neighbours kid, and many of the clients that I’ve worked with.

          I would ask you to stop, but I’m not convinced you even know you’re doing it. But you keep up with the derogatory comparisons between autists and the topically masculinity basement dwellers of the Gamers Are Dead articles, just don’t expect actual people with autism to put up with your conflation.

          I’m out. There’s nothing of value left here.

          • Error: toxically masculinist.

          • Tell that to Liz. I’m just the messenger. Not that she’ll respond, since she decided to stop talking about gamergate after the aforementioned doxing.

            For the record, I don’t actually think that LA intended to insult autistic people. She just used some nerd-baiting insults that happen to line up with the symptoms of certain developmental disorders. Given how certain people are usually all about how “intent isn’t magic,” you would think they would be more understanding when certain people take offense to that.

            But I’m really not that mad at her, personally. I’m just sick of people defending these articles by saying that they were merely pointing out that “gaming is opening up to new audiences.” As if everyone hadn’t known that for years.

    • If you don’t live in your parents’ basement, Leigh wasn’t talking about you. She wasn’t actually talking about anyone in particular.

  8. So this article is about how Mark Kern is wrong about Kotaku, etc. are yellow journalists at best, while there is another article where the author acknowledges Brad Wardell made it fairly clear Kotaku was guilty of just that.

    Do I have that right?

    Also, why ARE people listening to Leigh Alexander? This has bothered me for some time.

    • Damion Schubert

      March 4, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      No journalist is perfect. No press outlet is perfect. Kotaku and Polygon have written thousands of articles since August that are neither about anything that GamerGate cares about, and that are utterly noncontroversial.

      Leigh: Mostly because she’s an excellent writer – she’s written some great stuff both in the past and since that shows a healthy and intellectual interest in gaming and gaming culture – and partially because the outrage about her ‘gamers are over’ articles involve a healthy amount of willful misinterpretation of what she actually wrote.

      • Those Gamers are Dead/Over articles are not something I believe best defended (if one feels compelled to defend them at all) by claiming they require willful misinterpretation to read “incorrectly”. They rather casually attacked a very poorly defined wide group of people and-through appallingly poor wording if we are to believe their intent was positive- I believe did far more to make Gamergate a ‘thing’ than just about anything else.

        Whatever good things Leigh has written, this was not one of them.

  9. Leigh Alexander is on record as talking about how she could so easily destroy the careers of people who disagree with her. She has been seen a few times threatbragging about being a ‘Megaphone’. These are not the hallmarks of a person to be trusted with delicate subjects or challenges. Taking their opinion without a tremendous amount of critical consideration strikes me as being roughly as wise as patronizing a restaurant whose Chef wanders out now and again to wax poetic about how much strychnine they could fit into their cooking.

    • Damion Schubert

      March 4, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Re: the megaphone comment: If you pick a fight with someone where you clearly spout off on shit you actually know nothing about, and you actually get shredded on it based on the facts by an industry professional, that’s going to be the first search that comes up on google next to your name. There are a lot of people on both sides of the debate who seem completely unfamiliar with the fact that, as a rule, games companies don’t like to hire belligerent people who don’t know what they’re talking about, and this kid was definitely falling into this trap.

      As for ‘she tried to get a kid blacklisted’, well, in that case all of Gamergate should be automatically disbarred from having an opinion given that they’ve tried to get myself, Kuchera, Gaider, Alexander, Jennings and numerous other games professionals fired, often going so far as to attempt to contact our bosses directly in order to spout mistruths about what we’ve said or written. So on one hand, it’s not actually true, and on the other hand, the other side of the fence does this routinely.

      • I think there are precious few professionals who particularly like to hire belligerent people, full stop. Well, I am sure there are some fields in which this may be an asset, but I would not have imagined it to be true of journalistic branches not affiliated with Rupert Murdoch.

        In any case, we can all certainly agree that the spreading of false information is detrimental to everyone.

        Finally I am not of the opinion anyone should be disbarred from having an opinion even were that possible. I would just very much like to see fewer people following the opinions of others off of cliffs. Be it as a gesture of solidarity or otherwise.

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