Zen Of Design

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

On the Matter of the Blue Checkmark

If you don’t know who Milo Yiannopoulos is, you should consider yourself lucky.  I admit, I was initially fooled by his cool, cultured accent when he interviewed me for his Podcast in the early days of the debacle that would be GamerGate.  In truth, he is the Liberace of Manufactured Outrage, a bullshit merchant of the highest order.  He is also, ironically, a professional victim, adept at getting himself in trouble by being a total asshole, and then hamming it up to get clicks.

Ironically, given that he’s an e-celeb for GamerGate, he’s also a deeply inethical journalist working for Breitbart, a magazine so unethical it makes the National Enquirer look like the Wall Street Journal.

He’s also a key reason why the game industry cancer known as #GamerGate ceased to meaningfully be about game journalism or, typically, even about games at all.  Not that it was much early on, but he’s a huge part of why it veered into sheer right-wing thin-skinned outrage politics. After spending years mocking gamers as weirdos in yellowing underpants, he became a convert when he realized that GamerGate was, in fact, populated significantly by exactly the sort of toxic idiots that buy into his broken philosophy.

That philosophy is just a war on ‘political correctness’.  Of course, in an attempt to rub his stink on it, he and a couple of his colleagues tried to reclaim the tired old premise of ‘political correctness’ and rename the cause ‘cultural libertarianism’, probably because they realized that a whole bunch of kids get high, read Ayn Rand in college and think they’re libertarian before they realize that, at its core, what passes for libertarianism this day is the simple promise to try to remain an asshole as frequently as possible at all time.

He said so much in an article just before the break, where he proudly boasts about being an asshole – you know, for FREEDOM.  One thing he boasts about is getting suspended by Twitter, which required breaking the terms of service – most likely for targeted and directed harassment, but given his behavior, there is so many good reasons it could have occurred.

Despite Milo’s boasting about how awesome this is, this quickly turned sour. Twitter has a checkmark that they grant to people who are recognized celebrities – probably because they grew tired of assholes fucking with other people by pretending to be Anne Hathaway. Well, Milo had one. I say ‘had’ because Twitter apparently has a policy of removing this blue tick from anyone who breaks their terms of service, probably in an attempt to dissuade so-called celebrities from abusing their status by encouraging their followers to harass other users of twitter. Which I stress, is definitely the case here.

Anyway, Twitter took his checkmark away. I have some exclusive footage of his response.

Seriously, he’s been having a tantrum about this for a week now.

Now, I don’t know that I agree with those who say that just taking a checkmark away is going to solve anything.  It’s much more likely that this is merely a warning shot, and a first step towards a banning if he keeps doing what he’s doing.  His issue is that while he has declared that he is going to do everything in his power to be an asshole (and again, BOASTING about getting kicked off of Twitter for his efforts), then that’s going to run against the philosophy of Twitter, who has realized that their platform sucks at dealing with harassment, and that people as high as the CEO is convinced this needs to change.  It doesn’t help that Milo has a habit of taunting the people his followers decide to torment.  A couple of people have provided more insight on this tantrum, but why bother.  It’s just a tantrum.  That doesn’t stop his colleagues at Breitbart from hysterically trying to link this tempest in a teacup to a drop in Twitter’s stock price.

The funny thing is the people who still cry censorship.  It’s almost as if these self-styled libertarians don’t realize that Twitter is both a private business as well as a private publishing platform.  They have no reason to allow an abusive megalomaniac abuse their other users, nor do they have to feel compelled to give them a microphone.  Milo has made it clear that his goal is to weaponize Twitter to encourage his followers to harass, badger and terrorize people who don’t share his worldview.  Unsurprisingly, Twitter is signaling that that’s not how they want their platform to be used and perceived.


  1. As I’m fond of pointing out, in 2014, PEN (the writers’ association) gave awards to both Salman Rushdie and Twitter’s Costolo. Ironic, isn’t it, that they would celebrate the first for his resilience in the face of death threats, while the second is now a platform where the general level of discourse is now pretty much “kill yourself”.

    Twitter is unfixable. I’ve reported stuff before. It’s still there. Guy has a tweet that reads “you stupid fucking c*nt”; 31 retweets, 231 likes, plus a few mentions that it has been reported. Nearly a week old, still there.

    The thing with Gaters is that they believe that “free speech” gives them the freedom to say what they want, in any way they want, unconcerned with any rules of civility or morality — while depriving their opponents from this same free speech, especially if that free speech translates into “social justice warrior” elements in popular culture. Gaters have finally woken up to realizing how vile The Ralph Retort was — but only after Ralph posted a guest article using the recent suicide of a Gater as a pretext to settle accounts with an old nemesis. That’s the only thing that’s beyond the pale to Gaters — personal inconvenience.

    Another example was Oliver Campbell, who only left GG when a Gater associated with the ‘GG Revolt’ invited himself into a private gaming stream he had set up and trolled the shit out of it. That’s what it took. The guy who compared GamerGate to Martin Luther King was apparently fine with white nationalists sniffing around GG, and apparently could reconcile complaining about racist stuff in games AND joining a movement with an obsession against precisely that kind of “SJW” agenda. No, what made Campbell leave was merely a personal inconvenience. Even now he appears to be back in, leading to that hilarious moment where he thought I was A Man in Black.

    Yeah, Gaters who don’t hesitate to invade a hashtag a week ago or so that suggested they weren’t gamers (by posting pictures of their cartridge collections or Steam libraries), but brush off Milo’s disparaging comments on video gaming and gamers as though they were now completely irrelevant. Instead, a large part of them switched their Twitter avatar to Milo’s face, while denying he is in any way the public face, let alone a leader, of their movement because, as we all know, GamerGate Is Leaderless.

    Even if Gaters don’t agree with him (and I’m telling you, I’ve yet to meet one who doesn’t at least rush to a caveat whenever he is mentioned), they don’t have the audacity to tell him off because he’s their only venue left. Which is probably worse than having none, but it’s a fool’s errand of trying to persuade Gaters of anything now.

  2. Ken White of Popehat does a pretty good job of contrasting a piece posted on the same site by another writer, who thought Twitter was taking sides. Ken’s argument: Twitter’s a corporation, not an individual, and also Milo’s a huckster-troll who thrives on persecution complex.


    “… Twitter’s action is like throwing Milo into the brier patch and throwing hundred-dollar-bills in after him. The removal of the silly blue check is utterly insubstantial, but promotes Milo’s conservatives-are-persecuted-and-liberals-are-evil narrative. It’s free publicity. To his audience suggesting that he harasses ideological opponents is a promotion, not a rebuke. It’s like banning a hot dog stand from one side of the park on the explicit grounds that the hot dogs are too delicious. He should be sending them some sort of fruit basket. It is, in short, more like fumbling decentralized decision-making and less like a centralized agenda.”

    • The silliest point this reached was when Vox Day suggested that Milo “has suffered material damages valued at $60k per year by being unverified. He may have a legitimate legal case against Twitter.” This, just as Milo was bragging that he had gained 20,000 more followers since that controversy began (and probably more by now).

      But then, that’s Vox Day, and as he isn’t verified while his nemesis John Scalzi is, well, I can see a few reason why he’d be whining about that too.

  3. “their only venue left”
    Wrong as hell:
    – NicheGamer
    – TechRaptor
    – GameSided
    – Forbes Gaming
    – The Escapist
    – League for Gamers
    Its probably the only journalist that validates the “diggings” of /pol/ over certain anti-gamerGate “internet celebrities”. But the ginormous and growing body of Gamergaters, ex-Gamergaters and videogame culture advocates uninterested in personal drama and harassment plots tend to despise Nero, a lot. As much as they tend to hate also Ralph from “Ralph retort” that is similar in spirit, but way less sucessful, than Nero.
    Stop being the personal army or certain left extremist journos. Research. Form your own criteria. GamerGate is way way different from what journos told you.
    The day Gamergate as a hashtag erupted, Leigh Alexander tried to shame all gaming culture for it. While Zoe Quinn, did the real journalistic job of gathering proof and evidence of it being a plot conconcted at /pol/. But everyone tried to adhere to Leigh’s narrative in order to culturally colonize gaming for the extremist left.
    GamerGate is not a sole entity. Its people who only wants chaos, like the ones currently still harassing people thru internet. But its also a growing body of people totally disinterested on drama and causing harm, dissenters of the main narrative of gaming journalism. And the two GamerGates every day have less and less in common.

    • I dislike the putrid smell of alternative reality. Urg.

      I was going to reread the “gamer are dead” article again, to try to find the mystical attack against gamers but I have noticed where you have tried to put a goalpost. It reminds me that I have noticed something very vile in GG, something that this movement tries to hide behind a facade of pseudo-ethics.

      The day Gamergate as a hashtag erupted, Leigh Alexander tried to shame all gaming culture for it. While Zoe Quinn, did the real journalistic job of gathering proof and evidence of it being a plot conconcted at /pol/.

      Your seem to imply, along a lot of stuff that can be described as fantasy, that since LA didn’t uncover the story. Here my take on that claim: it a red hearing. LA denounced serious harassment against ZQ, it doesn’t matter if LA personally uncovered the ugly stuff. Slight correction, it does matter for GG. You see, GG is mostly a movement of harassment and the thing that most thug need is an inability of thier victim to defend themselves and isolate the target. Proto-gg wanted to destroy ZQ while anybody else remains blissfully unaware of the tragedy, it may have resulted in a suicide that would be just a number in the world at large. Bullies and criminals require silence and obliviousness to operate.

      Enter LA “Gamer are dead” and the other articles on the subject. The thugs of GG latched on those articles, fallaciously building a narrative of collusion, and LA in particular. But the reason thugs like you violently latched on those articles is pretty simple, they broke the most important rule of the crime world: omerta. The reason GGers were so mad and has been for nearly a year and a half because someone dared speak up and GG had included in it objectives the need to silence its critics. That objective shows in you comment, mainly by trying to claim that LA hadn’t any business to write about that, it would be more convenient if the only person who had the right was the victim that couldn’t defend herself at the time.

      I think this video captures the essence of GG


      The core if GG is Him, supported by the cameraman that help Him. GG require the world to help Him and are trying to prevent people helping Her.

      Grow a conscience. It may hurt but you’ll end up a better man.

      Come to think of it, alternative reality is too mild. DARVO is appropriate.

    • Damion, I botched my tags. Can you delete my previous comment.

    • When I said “their only venue left”, I meant in a context larger than the gaming press, which is niche and tends to be isolated from the media at large. And it turns out to be a trashy right-wing rag.

      And as far as the gaming press is concerned, the only pro-GG outlet of any repute before GG was The Escapist — which turns out to be the most consumerist gaming magazine I can think of.

      (I recommend you read Alex Macris’ publisher’s note from Sept 2014, “The State of Gaming” if you haven’t already. Read it twice: first as a gamer, then as a potential advertiser; then all becomes clear — not just about why it was inevitable for The Escapist to side with GG, but why there’s no way I’d want to call myself a gamer. It’s not just because the word has a bad reputation to outsiders, but because it’s a term that only denotes status maintained through conspicuous consumption. Further evidence was provided with the hashtag I mentioned in my post above — #GamergateAreNotGamers, which Gaters derailed by posting pictures of their consoles and game cartridges, the best example I can think of of conspicuous consumption.)

      You, as a Gater, don’t exactly legitimize your movement when you talk of the “extremist left” colonizing games, when your movement is embraced by Milo, Vox Day, and motley far-right-wingers, misogynists and white nationalists who all see something in GG they can exploit; or that GG condemns Tim Schafer’s lame joke about GG’s “Not Your Shield” by saying it’s “hate speech” while Gaters defend the KKK’s right to free speech.

      It’s also that Gaters are completely blind to irony, like how they blame the gaming press for not standing up for gamers like it did at the time of Jack Thompson, before some Gaters are so intent on bringing down the menace of Anita Sarkeesian that they should want to ask Jack Thompson what he thinks of her.

      It’s also that the Gater mindset is intrinsically nihilistic. How Deepfreeze.it has become a de facto blacklist that has less to do with actual ethics in journalism (I’m sorry, but “gamers are dead” is neither unethical nor libelous) and more like “they once said mean things about us, boycott permanently”. And by “boycott”, GG doesn’t even mean boycotting in any honourable way, by refusing to pay attention to the media it boycotts, but by archiving everything to starve them out (even spewing abuse at people who don’t use archived links) while poring over their content. And when one media outlet closes, for whatever reason, then Gaters bring out the party favors and snark something about how “it turned out we were their audience after all”. Ultimately, they don’t think it’s possible to reform the media in any other way than by destroying them — hence the nihilism — until we’re all left with a list of media that reads like the one you typed out.

      There was that time a few months ago when Kotaku bleated they’d been blacklisted by Bethesda and Ubisoft, in a transparent attempt to retrieve its access to the companies just so it could churn out clickbait. I’d gladly have told Kotaku to fend for itself. But who prevented my saying that? GamerGate, whose only objective is to kill Kotaku by any means necessary, regardless of circumstances. Doesn’t matter to GG why a company blacklists a publication — it might have been for a serious investigative exposé that carries consequences even if it’s all truthful, and GG wouldn’t have cared.

      I don’t care for Leigh Alexander — she’s an insufferable narcissist, if you ask me — but her genuine major ethical breach is the one that’s only mentioned by GG as an afterthought of sorts: her foray into the games consultancy business. Instead, GG wants her out because of her progressive views. It’s the same for all those other cases of alleged ethical breaches. I read Kotaku In Action: it’s “SJW” this and “SJW” that, and whenever ethics get mentioned, it’s usually always in relation to “SJWs”. We’re talking about Gawker: you just have to look down to realize you’ve stepped into unethical behavior. But you know what publication is probably worse than Gawker? Breitbart. Yet everything Milo and the rest of Breitbart does is usually golden by GG standards.

      If you’re really about “ethics in video games journalism” — and yeah, I know it’s all a joke by now — then how about you apply your standards to yourselves?

      • “Their only venue left” then doesn’t really refer to GamerGate but to /pol/ and its lookalikes, what is starting to be called the “alt right” and in my Twitter circle of game culture advocates is normally despised.

        I don’t see really the problem with Macris’s article given that its primary function was precisely to defuse /pol/’s manipulation of the interpretation of “gamers are dead”. Being a gamer enthusiast, vertically or horizontally, isn’t intrinsecally “a bad thing” like Leigh Alexander and other authoritarian cultural colonists have tried to state.

        And in all respect, I’ll tell you the story as I watched it, having being both a proponent and an oppositor to GamerGate. GamerGate was born at 4chan’s /pol/ as an antifeminist prank gone too far, fueled by “The Zoé Post” by Eron Gjoni, Zoé’s ex. Its predecessor hashtag, “#Quinnspiracy” or something alike, didn’t gained traction because almost everyone with common sense knew that shaming a girl publically just for a messy breakup was plain wrong.
        A day after #GamerGate hashtag is coined, Leigh Alexander publishes its article in Gamasutra. The key point was not the “Gamers are dead”, that was being said by many reputable game design theorists since many years ago (like Raph Koster). The point is that the article starts pointing the finger directly at gamers and gamer culture as the primary and key cause of Zoé’s harassment, when that is plainly BULLSHIT, it was a plot by some sociopathical, feminism-allergic individuals inside /pol/, the same who about 2 years before attacked Anita Sarkeesian when she announced the start of her “Tropes” series. Yes, the GamerGate starters at /pol/ tried to make “Gamers are dead” the point, and create MSPaint diagrams with red lines, conspiracy theories, etc. But the real point of the article, that made many people outside of /pol/ join the movement, was the shaming of all aspects of gaming culture, as a whole, for the sociopathic actions of a few /pol/ individuals. That is why me, that is why others joined the hashtag, many non-anonymous, non-/pol/ individuals who were really concerned with the authoritarian path gaming journalism was taking. A flood of “hijackers”, generally despised by the original supporters and creators of the movement as useful tools, really concerned with ethics, with the growing clique of extremist left indie gamedevs and journos, with the state of gaming cultural criticism.

        We the “hijackers”, who wanted to take over a hashtag conceived for harassment and retake it for meaningful conversations, were conveniently lumped with the harassers by the official narrative churned out by power-hungry, self-righteous journalists.

        But now, at a year and half from the original GamerGate, that narrative doesn’t hold water anymore.

        In part, because the “nihilists” as you call them, can’t do their operations in plain light and still claim their side as the good side. RogueStar is now a joke in GamerGate. RalphRetort is a joke in GamerGate. Nero was always disliked by a sector of GamerGate. The more echoed voices in GamerGate are now people who has real gamedev experience, who knows the authoritarian power of journalists to enact media witch-hunts, people like Mark Kern, Daniel Vávra, etc.

        If opponents of GamerGate were smart, they would try to start conversations with the “hijackers”, to form a common front against the “nihilists”. But that won’t happen, because most of them are game journalists whose primary interest is to keep themselves relevant at any cost, even if the cost is adding fuel to the fire of a controversy that has been so damaging for its targets.

        • 1) The thing is that Macris too is down that ideological end. Like that time he said he was predicting a culture war and how he was running sites reaching millions of people. Like how he’s complaining about the “Frankfurt School of cultural Marxism”, either because he doesn’t understand it, or because (more likely) he realizes the Frankfurt School would have seen through the kind of bullshit he and his cohorts are trying to pull — in a nutshell, totalitarianism through mass culture, like, oh, video games. Every time Gaters call themselves “cultural libertarians”, I scoff, because they’re anything but. There’s also in Macris a recurring theme of his interest in IQ and heredity, which — let’s just say, given the crowd that he’s courting, that it stinks. Then he compounds that by dressing everything he discusses in gaming/pop culture terms, as if to disguise how ugly what he thinks really is.

          2) Every time you talk of that “extremist left”, you confirm that GamerGate is a politicized movement that has nothing to do with ethics, just an attempted purge of all media and all writers who don’t share GG’s politics, while Macris’ apparent desire to use his network of sites to promote certain right-wing political views (“I have been predicting a culture war… and I have dozens of sites that reach 50m people”), well, that’s fine, and GG even applauded when all the writers at The Escapist which GG wanted out were shown the door — a development, it’s worth pointing out, that I saw coming as early as September 2014. It just confirmed to me what GG really was about: demanding a pandering and politically servile gaming press, and consequently objecting to the inclusion of opposing viewpoints. (If you want to get an idea of the culture war as it’s currently being fought, just compare The Escapist to its sister website, EveryJoe.)

          3) For all Gaters’ emphasis on logic and “reals not feelz”, the endless tantrum over “gamers are dead” sort of undermines GG’s point. But you’ll excuse me if I think that “feelz” do belong in what is a game review. I won’t include links because I don’t want this to get caught in moderation purgatory, but look up Oliver Campbell’s Medium article “The Purpose Of A Game Review and How To Write One With Minimal Subjectivity”: it’s everything I oppose in games reviewing. The kind of guy who thinks “poor performance” and crashes can be written about objectively, even for a PC game that’s contingent on having optimal hardware to run it (which, by today’s standards, isn’t my case). It’s, at any rate, the kind of consumer report for the kind of people to embrace consumer revolts, if you get my drift.

          Like games reviewing, like games: hence Gaters complaining about bugs in overpriced AAA titles and demanding to know, very objectively, how Fun a game is. I’ve even seen a few just advocating piracy, which wouldn’t surprise me, as GG has no qualms about violating the copyright of news sites by only linking to their archived archives. (Meanwhile, Depression Quest gets piled on strictly because of what kind of game it is; the money angle is irrelevant because it always was free to play.)

          4) The kind of people to still obsess over salacious details regarding Zoe Quinn, or who still call Anita Sarkeesian a money-grubbing scammer just because she exists, ARE the core of GamerGate; and based on the state of Kotaku In Action, they still are, because they’re the only ones left.

          Yes, Ralph Retort *now* is a joke in GamerGate, a year and a half later. The real question is how could the journalism connoisseurs of GamerGate have failed to realized how shitty it was from the first day; or, if they realized how shitty the Ralph Retort was, why they did nothing to distance themselves from it until now. Instead, it took a few particularly vile guest posts that just happened to tie in with Ethan Ralph’s personal grudges (Liana Kerzner, or Cult of Vivian), which indicated that TRR had outlived its usefulness, or become an embarrassment, even by GamerGate standards.

          Same concern with Breitbart. If GamerGate is a movement actually about ethics in video games journalism, it either (1) has zero discernment for what journalism ethics really is if it thinks Breitbart is a paragon of press ethics; or (2) is prepared to accept anything and anyone who embraces its cause, ergo acts unethically. True, I’ve never seen a Gater state he embraced everything Milo said; but given Gaterism’s intransigent dismissal of anyone who doesn’t think like them, I think the only reason left why Gaters tolerate him is because he’s useful, or Based, or too powerful to alienate. The guy runs circles around GG, and you’re too afraid of him to tell him off.

          To wit, all that #JeSuisMilo Twitter stuff recently, the switching of avatars to his portrait, and so on. Yeah, because losing a checkmark is like being murdered in your newsroom. For that matter, I never embraced the “Je Suis Charlie” movement back in the day. Not because I found the publication repulsive (it’s juvenile and vulgar, but those who tax it of racism don’t really understand what it’s about), but because I realized that the kind of people who embraced “Je Suis Charlie” were probably the kind of people whose activism limited itself to signing petitions and using hashtags — not the kind of people to go courting bullets every day of their lives over what they believe in.

          Incidentally, that’s probably the etymology of the term “Social Justice Warrior”. He thinks he’s fighting (against racism, etc.), but he’s just the kind of guy who’s in it for appearances, because he’s not directly affected by what he’s fighting for/against. (A white college student posting Frederick Douglass quotations on Facebook in support of Black Lives Matter is my mental image of the type.) And because he’s not directly affected by what he’s fighting for/against, he will inevitably reach the point where he will say “Good Enough”, and go home full of self-satisfaction.

          I don’t need to be convinced that “SJWs” exist, though I am loath of the term because sorry, I don’t like clichés. I know they exist. I’ve met some. I’ve written about them (I’m fairly certain the owner of this blog knows exactly which specific community I have in mind), and they are indeed doctrinaire or abrasive, and underneath it all, woefully conventional. In practically the same way as Gaters, but with antipodal politics. Kotaku In Action and GamerGhazi truly are both sides of the same coin. Turns out I despise both for the exact same reasons; and whatever it is they do, they all seem to take as granted that journalism ethics and a specific political ideology are inextricably linked. Which is bullshit.

          As long as GG points to “SJWs” as the root of all journalism corruption, it will never be taken seriously. But it’s now too late for that.

          • @Vetarnias

            I had written the flowing text yesterday but was hesitant to post it. Since Nyx had explicitly confirmed the picture I wrote of him a few minutes ago, I think that polite caution is no longer necessary.

            To be fair, multiple posts from Nyx, and some of his tweets that caught my attention pain a picture of him that differ from the average gater. The main difference seem that he have little interest in ZQ. It may help building the outrage about the “death of gamers” since the cause of those articles don’t seem to interest him and I don’t think he is involved at all. On the other hand, if you want to be outraged, you can’t deny the reasons why those articles were written.

            He seem to be closer to the classical warrior regarding feminism, albeit one with a genuine interest in VG. The only point he really shares with GG is a heavy doze of anti feminism. Reading stuff he wrote, feminism is a powerful corrosive force that destroy the society it completely dominates, a vision that resembles who Nazis views the Jews. Feminism control the VG, feminism silenced discussions about the context from Xenogerars, McIntosh (dog whistle, BTW) is actually powerful and influential.


            No, he isn’t a core GG supporter. His position is closer of the groups like Nazis, “manospherians” or Breitbart  that see GG as a useful ally in their respective crusades.

        • It’s precious that some people still seem to think /pol/ and Gamergate are somehow different.

          It’s a little concerning that people can read the “Gamers are dead” article and think it’s talking about those folks who aren’t /pol/ and/or Gamergate.

          • And I’m not at all surprised.

            We’re talking about a movement which insists it’s not about Zoe Quinn, but can’t stop talking about her (even in comparison to Nathan Grayson).

            We’re talking about a movement clamoring for free speech, yet does so to defend smut, while objecting to anyone — games reviewers in general but especially women — having an opinion contrary to their wishes.

            We’re talking about people who claim free speech never hurt anyone, while they can’t even live down having been told something as pointless as “gamers are dead”. Meanwhile, as revealed by the 4chan logs parsed by David Futrelle at We Hunted the Mammoth, they were relishing the possibility that Quinn might be driven to suicide over their treatment of her.

            We’re talking about people who think they have a point to make about press ethics, but who turn to Milo Yiannopoulos and Breitbart for exposure, then excuse their behavior even though they’re no better than their nemesis, Gawker.

            We’re talking about people who have the gall to mention Jeff Gerstmann’s firing from GameSpot in 2007 over advertiser pressure as the quintessential example of the lack of ethics in the gaming press, just as they launch operations like Disrespectful Nod or Bayonetta 2 where the intent is to convince advertisers to put pressure on editorial. Oh, now Ethan Ralph says he wishes he didn’t endorse such tactics — now that Gaters have turned on him and launched an op to deprive him of his ad revenue.

            We’re talking about people who don the mantle of journalism ethics, yet whose public approach is “if it’s not illegal, it’s fair game” followed by much complaining about state encroachment on free speech as if they were all Glenn Greenwald’s evil twins. (I said “public”, because we all know better at this point.) And since ethics is less about what you can (and can’t) do and more about what you should (or shouldn’t) do, it becomes, in Gaterism, conflated with purely legalistic considerations carried out by the kind of armchair shysters who couldn’t care less if they have a case or not, as long as they can go after their targets in new angles (e.g. “Zoe Quinn violated the Logan Act by talking to the UN!”). The real purpose is to achieve a legal chill (and if anything sticks, all the better in their view), but in the meantime, they complain about SLAPPs which exist for an identical reason.

            We’re talking about a group of people who are cheering the recent verdict in Canada regarding Gregory Alan Elliott, which they immediately interpreted as Freedom to Shitpost. It doesn’t help that Gaters had a collective grudge against Canada because Prime Minister Trudeau once negatively mentioned GamerGate.

            We’re talking about a movement for whom one guy made a presentation in October — 2015, not 2014 — at a comic convention, that lasted 40 minutes, most of which were spent talking about Zoe Quinn, and where the speaker spent all his time blaming the media for not correctly reporting on the minutiae of the “Zoe Post”. The best part was where he started arguing that it wasn’t Eron Gjoni who said Zoe had slept with Grayson for a good review; it was 4chan, he insisted, *without ever saying* that 4chan was where GamerGate began. And when the comic convention later convinced another comic convention to can the Gater’s planned repeat performance, he responded as all Gaters do, with an OP against both (which as far as I can tell, never went anywhere).

            There is no evolution to GamerGate. The only thing Gaters did was to cull the occasional embarrassment to their ranks (like Ralph and a few others), but they can’t prevent the flies from circling their garbage heap of a movement. Instead, it’s revealed itself very early on as a politicized movement which managed to live on borrowed time because of planned outrage moments (like whenever Zoe Quinn’s memoirs come out) and of a few outsiders who, for whatever reason, thought it was a legitimate organization, like Michael Koretzky.

            (Do you know that the Kunkel Awards shortlist is going to be turned over to the public for fact-checking? Can’t possibly see anything going wrong there…. I told Koretzky at the time that the Kunkels’ first step to legitimization has to be to wash off the taint of GamerGate. We’ll see how that goes.)

          • Someone remember when those articles were supposedly an attack against autistic? It seem this shield isn’t used anymore.

          • I still see the word “normie” (or variations thereof) on occasion at Kotaku In Action, which I believe is the term they use to refer to people without some kind of mental illness.

            But then, KiA is a smorgasbord of practically everything anyone feels posting about, whether it’s for self-promotion or just the latest canned outrage. Right now they’re:

            –praising Milo for his white-men-only scholarship, because overt discrimination is absolutely fine if you use it trollingly to Make A Point.
            –going after The Ralph Retort with a vengeance (to the extent of calling Ralph “Leigh Alexander 2.0”).
            –I’m just copy-pasting this one whole, followed by my patented Ahhh, ethics: “Proposal: We should raise money to buy the Kotaku domain and its redirects if/when gawker goes out of business as a result of lawsuits.”
            –standing up against censorship by clamoring they can’t get enough Japanese imports full of pixels in bikinis.
            –falling for random Alt-Right, Redpill, Dark Enlightenment crap.
            –going after various people, like critics of the Elliott ruling, or Sarkeesian (as usual), even the pope for talking against internet trolls.
            –talking about how The Escapist reportedly hired “PressFartToContinue” (to KiA’s credit, the top comment reads: “Escapist shouldn’t be hiring him, he’s deranged”), even though the evidence of this is (as far as I’m willing to look into it) shaky at best.
            –doing the usual free-marketeering rhetoric while opposing the crony capitalism which gets in the way of their teleological rise to the top.

          • KiA and /pol/ are basically the same. KiA was created by /pol/ members.
            If you wanna find the “other” GamerGate go to Twitter instead, and search for people that is fed up with what KiA or /pol/ says. But you conveniently ignore that. You still want to cling to the narrative that there is only one GamerGate, who empowers the most belligerant elements on all sides. And its obvious who profits, if this were only a blog about better practices on game design (like, let’s say, Lost Garden) it would have less traffic and less referrals by sites like Critical Distance.

            The real reason Depression Quest was attacked is that was estimated to be the work of less than a month of Twine development, and being pushed as if it were the ultimate indie game, just for its subject. The people near to Zoe should have told her to perfect further her skills, instead of encouraging her to publish a product that with more development time could have been more complete. But they wanted to fabricate a controversy. Tell me what would you think if everyone published the result of less than a month of development on any engine (let’s say Unreal, or Unity, etc) as the ultimate game. What would everyone think of the journalists involved? That is the sentiment who originated all that red lines, conspiracies, attacks on Patreon as endorsement, etc.

            And regarding your points:

            1) I dunno, I remember the first issues of the Escapist, a beautifully crafted online magazine designed to resemble a physical magazine, with articles who talked about the “meaning” of games from a personal experience standpoint. That was… Maybe the early 2000’s? I don’t see there those topics you talk about. I don’t see why so much hate towards Macris just for being a little eccentric. Unless you adhere to the “you have to think like me or else you are a horrible person” camp.

            2) Gamers just wanted alternate criticism sites who didn’t shat on them at any chance from their ivory towers. At least the “hijacker” GamerGate. I concede you that the “nihilist” GamerGate became more interested on politics than in the state of gaming journalism itself.

            3) It depends. I’d make a distinction between a “review” (description of a game from a consumerist view) and a “critic” (essay about the relevance of a game as a piece of cultural content). I understand that you probably have a pretty steady income and probably a large library of games, and probably also lots of free time. But for many people in different situations, they really want to know if a game is worth their time and money, because they don’t have an excess of time nor money. And regarding critics, I liked to know the influences behind the games I played. By example, the role that Gnostic faith had on “Xenogears”, one of my favorite all time games. However, since a few years ago, all criticism sites turned rabid and fueled by hatred towards gamers. That is why I expect the current cultural tensions give rise to criticism from diverse standpoints, and its happening: TechRaptor, NicheGamer, GameSided, The Escapist itself, etc.

            4) Yes but the fact that those kind of obsessive people tend to have poor real organizational skills have favored largely the “other” GamerGate, the hijackers and the people who have something tangible to show as opposed to the solely verborrhagic, by example, Adrian Chmielarz, Jennie Bharaj, “Jennifer D’aww”, CultOfVivian, etc. KiA became self-destructive, and since the start many distanced from it.

            GamerGate is not as united as you think. Its not like social justice or feminism when if you happen to say something wrong you are exiled and publicly shunned on social media. Having to tolerate people like Milo, Ralph etc., was the tradeoff to that, but if the alternative is a cult-like, herd-like mind I very much prefer this way. Incidentally one of the factors rotting GamerGate was the existence of its own “crusader-minded individuals” (a term that I prefer to use in replacement of “SJW”, crusader as someone who will kill or die for an ideology) who demanded sort of ideological purity.

            And Vetarnias, I’m sorry, but the failures of the ideological status quo are the reason RedPill (That IMHO, in its purest form, is just the application of economics to gender theory), Dark Enlightenment, Alt Right exist. They are here to stay.

          • @Mizahnyx

            So, your point is that DQ deserved the hate it got because it got too much praise for tackling a subject that isn’t often addressed while failing to reach the technical complexity deemed necessary by the neo-reactionary crowd. Failure of getting the GG seal of approval mean that the game should be effectively censored and praises are forbidden by decree of GG. Or, at very least, DQ shouldn’t be more praised than what GG think it deserve.

            That position is held by a group that refuses censorship, under no circumstances, even when that said censorship is imaginary and is effectively asking a ban on criticism, a ban that effectively one sided.

            If you want to be considered seriously, you need to clean your claim so they don’t contradict each others and you should avoid stand alone claim that are self contradictory

            While parsing yours claims, I pretended that the reason DQ got some flack was legitimate. I think this it bullshit. While I have seen the technical claims in the wild, they are often secondary to the social claims. I am not saying that DQ don’t get criticized for its technical aspect, I claim that the technicals are a transparent way to hide the profoundly social opposition of this game. When you write about the manufactured controversy, I think you lie through your teeth when claiming the opposition is technical. I think that elevate the nature of you claim to a textbook attempt at censorship instead while denying it nature, instead of a sorta valid criticism if you don’t think at all.

            Just for emphasis, you lie or at very least, you are deluded. YOU support crude, political, social censorship. Deal with it.
            Just to be clear, I don’t claim that DQ should be immune to criticism. But keep in mind that GG don’t critics, it censor, it bully, it lies, it wage a guerrilla, it tries to silence, it pretends many things but since there is no honesty or intellectual integrity in the hate mob, criticism it beyond it reach. Useless GG changes nearly everything about itself, no coat of paint will change it hateful, regressive and anti-intellectual nature. But them, like the American republicans from the 19th century compared to its present incarnation, GG would be a completely different movement that only shares the name of it origins.

          • @Dom

            “GG would be a completely different movement that only shares the name of it origins.”

            Couldn’t occur to you that I and others are involved in creating exactly that? A GamerGate of sincere dissent, of criticism from diverse standpoints not necessarily endorsed by the mainstream academia, a GamerGate that actually tries to end harassment and uses the (actually VERY limited) resources provided in social networks to report occurrences of it, a GamerGate of creativity that tries to ensure a minimal proliferation of toxic types through meritocratic prioritization of voices, so those who want to fabricate controversies but never added anything valuable to the discourse are pushed to the margins while those creating and adding value have a bigger influence. A GamerGate far away from the methods and tactics made popular in /pol/.

            Read this interview with CultOfVivian. I share many viewpoints with her http://thegg.net/interviews/cult-of-vivian-interview-gamergate-censorship-corruption-and-sexism/

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