Damion notes: Dave Rickey is one of the smartest designers I know. He also violently disagrees with me on many aspects of my opinions about #gamergate, what its origins are, and what impact social justice issues have – as you can see if you read my comments threads here on Zen. He tends to be more pro-GG and I tend to be anti-GG, but in general, both of us have been trending towards a shared ‘pox on both their houses’ stance. He made the following comment on Facebook, and I asked if I could reprint this in its entirety, and he agreed.
Proposed: The problem in “#gamergate” is not misogyny, or corruption in games journalism. The problem is Twitter. Twitter is a breeding ground for social dysfunction, where you are lulled into a sense of community and comradery because everyone you follow and everyone that follows you are basically in agreement. The only things that can penetrate the bubble are “Outrage Porn” being retweeted into it, and attacks responding to outrage porn that is being passed around other bubbles.
There’s no room for nuance or in-depth discussion, and anyone who makes the mistake of trying will see their lengthy and thoughtful think-piece distilled down to a barely-true (if that) 140 character sound bite that will be used as a new piece of outrage porn.
Everything devolves into a screaming match, where the side that screams longest and loudest shouts down the other. It doesn’t matter what the facts are, who the actual people are, only which side can sustain their outrage the longest.
People I like and respect are acting shamefully, “signal boosting” and engaging in sweeping generalizations, cutting off and shunning people they’ve known for years because they showed the slightest lack of resolve and agreement. And the dividing line between people who are willing to consider nuance and those that do not seems to be their level of Twitter activity. If you’re monitoring twitter in real-time, you wind up picking a camp and committing to it 100%, as wave after wave after wave of groupthink and outrage sweeps aside all other considerations.
For the love of God, if you’re even *considering* cutting off contact with someone you know personally because of something they are saying about this clusterfuck, do yourself a favor: Turn off your twitter account and walk away. Ignore it for a few days. Then, *after* your withdrawal, ask yourself if attitudes and judgement frames you received from Twitter are really more important than personal ties.