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OT: Hey, let's discuss this video series about the Sarkeesian backlash! [roundtable]
Yep, I'm makin' it a roundtable.

Not to get too "political" on you, but I watched this six-part video series recently, and I thought it was really well-done. It may seem like a typical anti-GamerGate video at the start, but it isn't. It isn't even truly about Anita Sarkeesian. The analysis is very logical and even-handed, and I appreciated the way that it recast the whole feminism issue (or any social progress issue, really) by framing it from the perspective of the people whom it irritates. Honestly, it almost single-handedly repaired the damage done to my judgement by thousands upon thousands of strident internet-liberals.

Try to go in without any pre-conceived expectations and watch it with an open mind.

I'll give you the Cliffs Notes, in case you don't want to watch right now. Essentially, the video series analyzes WHY people like Anita Sarkeesian produce such a strong negative reaction, and it goes beyond the usual simplistic "They're taking our games!!" rhetoric. This guy posits that the REAL, underlying reason why Anita makes many gamers uncomfortable is that she causes them to question their way they've lived their life to this point. Ignorance is bliss, and the aim of people like Anita is to remove that ignorance. Like the term "privilege". A lot of people hate that term, and it's always rubbed me the wrong way, as well. But it doesn't mean that your life is peaches and cream or that every person from a minority has it tough. It just means that a minority person in the same position as you would have it harder, solely due to the way they were born.

That's an uncomfortable thought, as most people think of themselves as fundamentally good people, and acknowledging that you've never questioned your advantages or thought to help the less fortunate would call your own morality into question. And we're ALL guilty of that, to be honest. It's almost unnatural behavior to revolt against a system that personally benefits you. I mean, I don't like the thought of killing living creatures. I find the thought of hunting utterly revolting. I don't even swat mosquitoes or gnats. If I really considered the fact that animals had to die just so I could enjoy a hamburger, I'd probably be a vegetarian. So I don't WANT to consider it. Because meat is delicious!

Similarly, look at freaking FoxConn. All of our consumer electronics products are basically made of Chinese children. Who the fuck wants to think about that?! What's the alternative?

I'm not saying that I'm necessarily going to change my behavior based on this video series. I still believe that ignorance is bliss, and if you spend all of your time thinking about the evils of the world, your life's probably not going to be very enjoyable. But I still think it was worth watching. It kind of brought stuff that has always been floating at the back of my consciousness to the forefront. And what I most appreciate is that it did so in a non-judgmental way. It might make you a bit uncomfortable, but it definitely won't single you out.

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Posted: 07/23/15, 21:45:57  - Edited by 
 on: 07/30/15, 05:09:50
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Haven't had the time to watch it yet, but what you write about the way people react to having their privilege pointed out is definitely not news to anyone who's attempted to do it. And recently, a study confirmed it: "many respond to reminders of this reality by concocting a counter-narrative centered around the personal hardships they have supposedly suffered (…) There's little actual logic to this thinking—minorities are just as likely to suffer personal hardships as whites—but it clearly serves a defensive psychological need. "

There's also this new documentary on MTV, White People, by this Pulitzer-winning journalist? Haven't had the chance to watch that either, but apparently people immediately start acting like victims when their privilege is pointed out.

It's an interesting phenomenon, and probably something to keep in mind when discussing topics of racism, sexism, etc.

But there's also something deeply hilarious about the people pushing back and downplaying the hardships of minorities, having such thin skins themselves.

edit - Currently watching and loving it. About halfway through video 2 he tackles atheist assholes.

I love this guy.
Posted: 07/23/15, 22:02:42  - Edited by 
 on: 07/23/15, 22:19:32
I (sort of) know the guy who produced this through Twitter. He's a nice dude. He is, of course, being attacked nearly constantly on his social media accounts at the moment.

Haven't watched it but your description sounds pretty accurate to me. Whether you think she is correct or far off-base, the wild and utterly vicious backlash against Anita is hard to explain on a level of mere disagreement. Something bigger is clearly at stake.

Almost ironically the top comment on that first video up there is by "Sargon of Akkad", and he is complaining about lumping in the critics with the harassers... yet he is known as being one who flames the fires with "criticism" that is straight up horrid at times, so like yeah Sargon... maybe if you were more level-handed in your "criticism" and weren't constantly flinging personal attacks at Anita and inflaming your followers to do the same you would have a point. I really believe that criticism of anyone and anything is always acceptable if it's not an attack, but when it comes to Anita, few seem to know how to make level-handed disagreements of her points. Have you ever seen the comments on her stuff in places where she still allows comments like her Twitter? It's vile. And that is just what people do in public. She just recently posted about how she often gets scans of pictures of herself that men have jerked off onto emailed to her, tons of rape and death threats, etc. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH OUR GAMING CULTURE?!

I wonder how well this discussion can go over here though after last time we tried to talk about her. WE'LL SEE.
Posted: 07/23/15, 22:10:51  - Edited by 
 on: 07/23/15, 22:17:37

Yeah. There's a lot of talk about tone-policing and privileged people having a responsibility to listen, but realistically speaking, all human brains are biased in certain ways that make that kind of self-reflection really, really hard. Those of us who do want to see positive change could stand to use a lot more tact when discussing these issues with folks who are less educated. But, again, humans, be they progressives or bigots, are cognitively biased, which is why you see horrible things said from each side of the conflict.

I tend to lean towards anand's "ignorance is bliss / let the world be" sort of Buddhist philosophy. Even if we assume that all people have a universal moral obligation to make the world a better place, we've all got limited energy to work with, so if I've gotta pick a cause to fight for I'd probably choose either climate change or AI development. In the meantime, I'll just treat all the people in my day-to-day life with respect, tactfully call out injustice when I see it, and not try to change people's minds by yelling things into the eternal internet abyss. We're all doing what we can.
Posted: 07/23/15, 22:21:15
That link led to some interesting articles. This one, which described how minority criminals/mass murderers were framed by the media as thugs and terrorists, while white murderers were depicted as misunderstood loners or mentally ill exceptions, was really fascinating. It's the kind of thing that really shapes societal viewpoints.

Actually, his series specifically DOESN'T lump in the critics with the harassers. Instead, it discusses how the critics are willfully manipulated by the 4-Chan Illuminati.

Anyway, it's not an issue specific to gaming culture. In fact, "GamerGate" might be big, splashy news, but many other issues ultimately affect society more directly. People might even be using it as a smokescreen to cover up much more sinister, endemic shit that most people aren't aware of.

I hadn't even heard about that South Carolina black church shooting before browsing off of Gui's link, but there was another article about how politicians from South Carolina were trying to pass a bill to ease restrictions on gun owners just before it happened. Seriously, what IS this Open Carry horseshit? I wouldn't want to be within ten miles of people walking around with fucking handguns. At least let me PRETEND that you don't have them.

Yeah, I liked the video because it doesn't talk down to or judge people. No one will ever change their mind from being yelled at. At least not in the direction that the yeller would want.

And we ARE products of our environment. I always wonder how different I would've been if I had grown up in a different environment. Like, if I were raised religiously, or by racist parents, or by a single father or single mother, or even if I were white. We always want to think that we'd be the same person no matter what, but that's a naive viewpoint.
Posted: 07/23/15, 23:51:58  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 01:57:42
Anand said:
And we ARE products of our environment. I always wonder how different I would've been if I had grown up in a different environment. Like, if I were raised religiously, or by racist parents, or by a single father or single mother, or even if I were white. We always want to think that we'd be the same person no matter what, but that's a naive viewpoint.

Absolutely. "The only reason that you are not a rattlesnake is that your mother and father weren't rattlesnakes. You deserve very little credit for being what you are." The one giant reason why I can never find myself siding with people who vehemently oppose stuff like GamerGate is that they forget that people aren't just evil by nature. Being educated enough to realize that flying the Confederate Flag is wrong is a privilege in and of itself.

The phenomenon that Guillaume linked to seems like a manifestation of a more general psychological bias called The Backfire Effect. When someone is presented with evidence that ought to make them change their mind, it usually reinforces their incorrect beliefs instead. It's no wonder people have been arguing for a year about this stuff now.

Also relevant:

This article contains a lot of the same ideas as the video and elaborates on specific examples really well. Fascinating stuff. We like to think we have a lot more control over what we believe than we really do, as indicated by the article you linked to on how the media portrays mass murderers. And that makes choosing what to believe even harder. You can't fault people for making the "wrong" choice, especially since no one should ever be 100% sure that they made the right one.
Posted: 07/24/15, 00:27:43  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 00:35:34
I may check these out at work, depending how bored I am.


I don't think it's hilarious, considering it's a big reason why the strategy of current progressive identity politics is ultimately doomed to failure, in my opinion. Among many other reasons (vilifying dissent, mob justice, lack of material goals).

But then again, many people involved in these hashtag movements and such don't actually seem to care about making positive change, they just want to portray themselves as being the right kind of person compared to the ignorant, racist, sexist other.
Posted: 07/24/15, 01:05:25

It's the accidental hypocrisy I find hilarious. Usually these guys will say representation means nothing or is not important, yet will freak out when a small percentage of games don't cater to them, as opposed to all games catering solely to them.

Come on, that's funny.
Posted: 07/24/15, 03:29:13
@Anand Oh, it doesn't group the critics and harassers together. Just gets blamed for doing so. Sounds like Sargon alright.

Anyway I'll try to watch this stuff eventually but all of this GamerGate stuff... ug. I need to get away from it sometimes.

@Secret_Tunnel Yeah but a lot of "vehemently opposing" basically comes down to trying to minimize the ability of harassers to shut down those who are trying to educate. I mean GamerGate, and a lot of the anti-Anita backlash before it, and a lot of reactionary politics to begin with tend to come down to trying to shut up those who are trying to educate. In the case of Anita critics they fall back on BUT SHE'S A LYING CON ARTIST to justify it, like you know she can't even count as an educator, but it still comes down to the same thing in the end. We don't necessarily think everyone who is part of this reactionary stuff is pure evil, but we do think the path forward requires talking about issues and education and it is precisely that which they are trying to shut down.

The irony is these are the people who claim to be all about the free speech. They just only seem to rush to defend it when it is shitty free speech.
Posted: 07/24/15, 03:33:35  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 03:40:01
Well, I watched it and thought it was all right. Definitely worth everyone's time, but not perfect. It reminds me of some of the less irritating episodes of Extra Credits.

That said, some of it is highly presumptuous and some points should be absolutely obvious (oh, really? People hate Vegans because they remind them of their own meat-eating assumptions? Tell me more!) The second to last video was probably the best one, particularly where he talks about the loss of innocence being the real frustration under the surface, and why talking about these things ultimately brings on results. That is something I hadn't quite considered and I think he may be on to something, there. You could apply that to everything from the Confederate flag issue to transgender rights.

But I think he ignores some of the other driving factors in GamerGate, partly because he probably didn't want to get more political than necessary and partly because he probably wanted the tone to stay somewhat philosophical. That's my guess. But GamerGate was more than just a reaction from gamers against feminist criticism of their hobby. It was largely a right-wing movement with some religious overtones, born out of anger that a woman slept with 5 guys and the rest of the world didn't absolutely despise her for it. Despite having a prominent atheist on board, it was partly a Moral Majority style movement. The obsession with Zoe Quinn's sex life was, for me, the clear sign that GamerGate was full of shit when they talked about ethics in journalism. All those 5 Guys hamburger stand logos proved, to me anyway, that it was really about sexual mores. That was the salacious part, so naturally that was the part everyone wanted to talk about. It should surprise no one that it devolved into rape threats, in that light.

It also simply brought the nihilistic tone of conservative talk radio to gaming discussion, which you could (sadly) argue was the kind of backlash you should expect when feminism gets brought up in new territory. Just as feminism is not new, this conservative raging is not new. It's no surprise to me that conservative media figures embraced the movement. It was, in many respects, simply a conservative grassroots movement. There's a sizable chunk of the American population who've been trained to react to the word feminist with operatic name-calling. To ignore that these people came through the birth canal of AM radio is really just looking the other way.
Posted: 07/24/15, 03:37:43

Sure, that's funny. And I do think that representation in video games is one area where identity politics can make a lot of progress and we're already seeing that. And while that's great and important, I think there's specific reasons why it's works here. Namely, there's not huge money in keeping the status quo and the ideas being pushed only really need to be accepted by some portion of game developers, many of whom were probably already sympathetic but hadn't thought about these specific issues, in order to make a difference.

But there are many types of change that aren't going to happen without getting lots more people on board and I don't think identity politics are working as far as that goes. I don't think cartoons that explain privilege actually changes many people minds and even if everyone checked their privilege, it would still exist. I don't think Amy Schumer destroying the patriarchy actually gets more people to question society and it certainly doesn't actually destroy patriarchy, or she wouldn't have to do it every week. Hillary Clinton can tweet #BlackLivesMatter but that doesn't change the fact that policies that she fought for in the 90s made structural racism even worse. Meanwhile, people attack Bernie Sanders for not talking about race enough even though his policies are extremely popular with minorities and would make a big difference.

I'm just riffing off of Anand's post here (still haven't watched the videos) so don't take this as me pushing back against you specifically, Gui.
Posted: 07/24/15, 03:49:15
@kriswright I think you're right, but I think it becomes even more complicated when you look into it deeper. Many of these people hated Zoe Quinn long before they found out anything about her sex life, because she was an outspoken "progressive" indie developer who supported Anita and also spoke about sexism in games and yada yada. Also she had dyed hair which holy F is that a big deal to these people for some reason. Basically the kind of "progressive" "hipster" developer these people despise, who also had the added sin of being a woman in their man's world who wouldn't keep her mouth shut.

So, yeah, there was a lot of conservative rage at the sex and all of that, but it's tough to know how much of it was real rage (they certainly don't seem to mind when their gay pal Milo talks about how many boyfriends he has cheated on) and how much of it was opportunism because they wanted to knock this woman down for months and now this was served to them on a silver platter.

I think she also had the unfortunate circumstance of being the first outspoken woman in gaming who "messed up", which led to a massive pile-on by all of the dudes (and some women unfortunately) sick of all of these outspoken women period and looking for a focal point for the anger. I mean, they had been going after Anita for a year or whatever but she was essentially "untouchable" in the sense that outside of using some bad examples in her videos sometimes nobody could seriously point to anything she was doing that was like obviously ethically / morally wrong. So Zoe gets caught doing something and a journalist is involved and suddenly they have their focal point. The fact that she wasn't the EXACT woman who pissed them off so much became secondary. She agreed with Anita and made some noise about it, that was good enough.

But you know if it wasn't her, it would have been the next progressive voice who they could find dirt on. In fact, ever since her that is basically the sole function of Gamergate, to find dirt on progressives (and well, anyone else who opposes them.) And since there isn't much actual dirt, they end up really, really stretching it.
Posted: 07/24/15, 04:00:42  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 04:03:12

You sort of presume these guys knew who Zoe Quinn was before GamerGate. I would guess the large majority of them had no idea, though I'll sign on with your suggestion that she became a kind of surrogate for Anita, who they already were mad at.

But that goes back to my point that a lot of this was simply conservative grassroots - where the Venn Diagram of "Gamers" and "Conservative AM Radio listeners" overlapped, there you found GamerGate. They gave their stock reaction to "feminist media figure has sex", which they've been preparing for years and years.
Posted: 07/24/15, 13:59:42  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 14:06:27
I'm not presuming so much as I've followed the rage closely for awhile now. Most of the figureheads of Gamergate are the exact same "famous" Youtubers and such (like Sargon whom I mention above) and their thousands of fans who have been hating on these women (and any progressive voices) for awhile before this all broke. The only exceptions I can think of are the people like Milo and Christina Hoff Summers who had nothing to do with video games period but jumped in to push their conservative ideologies. But yeah Zoe Quinn was getting talked about in these circles already because of some drama surrounding her Depression Quest game a good 6 months earlier (and probably more before that.) They knew who she was.

That's not to say everyone who jumped on Gamergate knew Zoe Quinn, but the ones driving its path early on certainly did, and they made enough hit piece videos on her that the newcomers had a lot of ammunition against her ASAP. So what drew in the ones who didn't know her? Certainly not "ethics in video game journalism"? I think anti-Anita hate fueled a lot of that, especially since she jumped in to defend Zoe Quinn very early on in this mess, but then you have to ask what Anita has to do with "ethics in video game journalism" and that's when you really start to understand what is going on here.

...because their answers to that question usually come in two forms. Either Anita has nothing to do with Gamergate so why do people keep bringing her up (when she clearly does), or Anita is the best example of how corrupt our game journalism is because "she is a lying con artist and everyone keeps promoting her."

Oh yeah, the other important thing to understand about Gamergate is most of the members believe (and did before Zoe Quinn) that there is a huge conspiracy that most of the major gaming sites (and academics, and DARPA, yada yada) are in on where they are collaborating to push a certain "SJW" ideology through the press. You think I'm joking but they really believe this, "collusion" is one of the biggest words related to Gamergate. Anyway, part of their belief in this conspiracy is that game journalists are all pushing coverage on their "SJW" friends (or any "SJW" really") while ignoring coverage of those who don't walk the "SJW" line. So when this young "hip" female developer came on the scene with what is essentially a point and click text-based game about depression (the ultimate "SJW" game) and got a lot of attention for it from the media, they couldn't grasp WHY this could be happening for what to them is clearly a "mediocre non-game", other than she must be in on the conspiracy on some level (it never occurs to them to stop and wonder why video game enthusiasts like the game media might be legitimately interested in the arrival of these types of games, nope, clearly a conspiracy.) Which is also part of what fueled the hate against her before her sex life became public. But certainly part of it once it came out that she was actually sleeping with a journalist. The fact that he barely covered her game and definitely didn't review it was secondary at that point, it all became the real "proof" of their vague conspiracy theories to them (after all it was a case of the press and an "SJW" developer literally in bed together.) Then they started digging into all of the prominent progressive's lives in the industry to find more "proof." It's been messy.

With that said it is pretty clear that most of game journalism is more liberal / progressive slanted. I don't think it takes a conspiracy to explain this though, any more than it takes a conspiracy to explain why Hollywood is liberal skewed and the banking industry is conservative skewed. At least Gamergate has made it very clear to the reactionary voices which gaming sites are on their side now. I haven't seen any gaming sites as big as Fox News is in mainstream media pop up, but one or two of the larger ones sort of went the right-wing route, and a bunch of smaller ones popped up. The Escapist is the big one that comes to mind (which is why Jim Sterling, movie Bob, etc. all left the site.)

Anyway I'm not saying you're wrong, and I doubt this whole mess would ever have happened if it were a male developer who slept with a bunch of women, at least not to the same extent and with the same conservative rage. Gamergate needed a "scandal" that would pull the reactionaries together and a sex scandal involving a woman always works there. But there are definitely bigger things going on here. A lot of this reactionary anger was brewing at other happenings in the industry (most notably Anita) before this came around.

This is also in large part fueled by their belief that they represent the common gamer and the press, who they believe is supposed to cater to them and their gamer needs but is instead focusing on this "SJW" bullshit, has lost touch. The fact that the press still gives a TON of attention to the same AAA stuff is irrelevant to them, just the fact that this other stuff gets any attention at all is distasteful to these people. It makes them sniff out change and fear for the future, as reactionaries tend to, doubly so when they believe in literal conspiracy theories to push out the real games for the real gamers and replace them with "SJW" non-games.
Posted: 07/24/15, 16:51:56  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 17:28:11
Zero said:
Anyway I'll try to watch this stuff eventually but all of this GamerGate stuff... ug. I need to get away from it sometimes.

You could take a break from Twitter, since talking about GamerGate is all you use it for.

It's a shame that GamerGate has taken their movement so far, because if they went two or three steps back in the other direction towards neutrality/sanity, they'd have some good points.

There's no "SJW conspiracy," but it is lame that the West Coast indies who can go to conventions and hang out with journalists get more coverage from "that crowd" than amateur developers in any other part of the world. If GG could realize that this isn't intentional on the media's part and is moreso just a result of how networking in our industry works, they could push for better change than... whatever they're pushing for right now. Make it easier for unknown developers to contact the press and stand a chance at getting coverage. Because right now, they're spot-on in their "bypassing the press and going straight to gamers is the key to success" philosophy. 90% of my Greenlight votes are from talking to people on Twitter and doing reddit AMAs.

And we've already seen what happens when a man in that crowd gets involved in a sex scandal--they all throw him under the bus and kick him out of the scene, except in his case it wasn't six months of cheating, it was one Facebook conversation where he harassed a female developer. The hypocrisy of their opposite (and, to be fair, much more appropriate) reaction to Zoe Quinn doing something much worse was a wake-up call for me to realize that these people don't actually care about morality or justice, they just want the cred they get from helping women in the industry.

I'd love for either side of this conflict to do something that could put me definitively on their side, but the past year has just been insanity. Nobody is even making sense anymore, everyone's just talking past each other. Anita says we need better writing in games? Burn her at the stake! TotalBiscuit plugs a charity on Twitter? That devil must have been trying to sabotage them!

It's like Spy vs. Spy.
Posted: 07/24/15, 19:45:12
No, sorry, Zoe didn't do something much worse on a industry level (which is what the press was reporting on with the harasser), she did something arguably worse on a private level, which is no one's business in the media. A prominent man in the industry harassing a woman in the industry is a story for a reason... a prominent developer cheating on her boyfriend is not. Even Gamergate admits that and tried to say it was more about the "sex for coverage" angle and not just her personal moral failings, except the problem there is it was just the one journalist and he barely covered her game and anyone who understands how sex works understands that there are a million reasons women have sex and assuming she is doing it to get ahead in her career is sexist bullshit. Well, and as Kris points out, it was definitely about her moral failings at first when it was all that 5 Guys nonsense. Gamergate took a few weeks to realize how bad that shit was making them look before they shifted the narrative.

I don't think it is fair to say the journalists don't care about morality or justice either. I care about those things and I'm disagreeing with your take above, does that make me a phony in your eyes? And I'm not sure what that image is supposed to prove? Even here on NW those shitty ads pop up despite my battles against them, as far as I know no ad platform gives you complete control. On bigger sites the journos themselves will have little to no say on how the as department runs things either. With that said I think sites SHOULD (as I have tried to) get their ads consistent with their message but good luck on that.

As for which indies get the most attention I don't see anything particular wrong with the biggest scenes getting the most attention. I don't think too many great / interesting games get ignored either, though surely there are some. I don't think that is an issue of a failing press so much as the fact that the indie dev scene is VERY overcrowded now that tools exist so that "anyone" can make games. It is a struggle as a developer, sure, but one that will always exist as long as there are so damn many of us. Networking is, of course, key to standing out. As is having a game that stands out, knowing how to market it, etc. Not relying on traditional journalism is wise for sure. Traditional journalism won't be able to handle the massive amount of indie releases.
Though I do wish they did more but at the end of the day they're owned by business suits more interested on scoring the next big AAA exclusive story.

You don't have to be definitively be on a "side" to oppose something shitty like Gamergate. I don't even pay attention to what half the Twitter "celebs" opposing Gamergate are doing (and some even have me blocked.) It doesn't really take a lot of thought to be against the reactionary conservative movement that has been attacking women and witch hunting progressives everywhere. As for scaling back a few steps to turn into something decent, it would need to go back more than a few and frankly that's not what these people want. They want to drive people like Anita and anyone in the media who would promote her stuff straight out of the industry. Not much hope for this ever turning into anything positive.
Posted: 07/24/15, 20:24:35  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 20:31:09
Zero said:
I don't think it is fair to say the journalists don't care about morality or justice either. I care about those things and I'm disagreeing with your take above, does that make me a phony in your eyes? And I'm not sure what that image is supposed to prove? Even here on NW those shitty ads pop up despite my battles against them, as far as I know no ad platform gives you complete control. On bigger sites the journos themselves will have little to no say on how the as department runs things either. With that said I think sites SHOULD (as I have tried to) get their ads consistent with their message but good luck on that.

Right, just like how 2K Games should have featured Elizabeth more prominently on the Bioshock Infinite box cover and how Assassin's Creed Unity should have had playable female characters. These sites (although I guess it's really only Polygon) don't practice what they preach. When a game publisher makes a supposedly sexist decision in the interest of financial gain, that's horrible and needs to be fixed, but when these sites do the same, "that's just reality."

If Polygon stood by its own righteous morality, they wouldn't have written 14 articles about Hatred and 0 about Snakebird. They don't care about promoting great games or social justice, they just want to prod whichever issue gets them the most clicks. And they're a business, so whatever, those journalists need a hit story just as badly as I need hit coverage, and I understand where they're coming from, but the rampant holier-than-thou hypocrisy is disgusting to me.

Remember that college kid who disagreed with Rami Ismail about the hiring ratio of women in the industry, and how Rami publicly shamed him to try to get him blacklisted from any future industry employers? That's the kind of stuff that fueled GamerGate into "getting revenge" on Zoe when she slipped up and had the audacity to demonstrate human error.

Both "sides" have their equally horrible share of crazies. To me, the real conflict is the loud people on the extreme ends of the spectrum vs. everyone else in the middle. But that's politics for you.

(We're losing control anand, bring us back...)

EDIT: Actually, if you take a few steps back from the whole thing--waaay back--it's pretty funny that we ended up living in the alternate universe where there's a war going on over female characters in video games.
Posted: 07/24/15, 22:50:33  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 23:00:08
If Polygon stood by its own righteous morality, they wouldn't have written 14 articles about Hatred and 0 about Snakebird.

I don't think this argument holds up. If you go on any message board, about video games or most nerdy hobbies, you'll probably see a lot of people talking about problems in their hobby/industry and about games they hate. That doesn't mean they're faking interest in their hobby, it's just what geeks do: we love something enough to develop some weird expertise on it. Some things become more and more glaring the more you're exposed to them. So you pick apart, nitpick, criticize. An outsider would look at you and say "wow, you really hate games", but that wouldn't be fair. The critics, even the Polygon ones, come from the same place. So yeah, certain issues might get them going. It's not hypocritical or clickbaity, it's just the nature of fandom.

I also disagree the harassment from GG and the people who oppose them is symmetrical. GG is an organized harrassment campaign. There is no equivalent on the other "side".
Posted: 07/24/15, 23:10:35
You're just kind of talking in extremist terms here though, which is odd since that seems like what you want to avoid. Polygon covered Hatred way too much, sure, and I don't know why they didn't cover Snakebird but it's not like these two games define their entire coverage. They cover a whole variety of interesting looking indie games. To try to "prove" they don't care about anything but clicks based on two games is disingenuous. And it ignores that a site is made up of a variety of people who are all writing for a variety of reasons. "Social justice" causes are definitely one of those. There are many others of course, as there should be.

As for the ads, again, I don't think using an ad platform you don't have complete control over is "sexism" per se. It's worth trying to figure out how to not have ridiculous "sexy" ads everywhere, as I have tried here, but it's not the same as actively partaking in sexism. Especially again because, as I already said, it's usually different people making the marketing decisions and writing the content. If you want me to say the business suits have money on their minds sure. Many of the writers are really trying to spotlight what they feel are important games and issues though. To just sort of boldly write off the entire industry of game journalists as only focused on clicks and money is, well... pretty unsupportable. And also pretty extreme.

As for the "extremists on both sides" yeah, they do shitty things. The problem is a "middle" Gamergater is still someone who saw a reactionary anti-progressive witch hunt steeped in harassment and chose to support it. That's never going to be acceptable.

I'm not sure a war going on over this is an alternate universe. This battle has happened in every medium to some degree. It's maybe only more pronounced here since gamers can be so shitty to people they see as threats.
Posted: 07/24/15, 23:20:13  - Edited by 
 on: 07/24/15, 23:23:47
I actually really dislike Polygon as well. They do come across as very clickbait-y, particularly when they try to take some sort of controversial stand that doesn't really hold much water (the Bayonetta controversy, that idiotic article about the game that has you kiss your wife with the same button as killing people, that equally-idiotic article about Mario Kart being the worst-selling of the series on the Wii U). They fish for hits, and I try not to give it to them.

The whole GamerGate/Anita/Zoe Quinn thing is a big mess.

I do think some games have gotten overly gross. Heck, I made my own thread balking at FExSMT's overly J-Poppy trailer and weird focus on boobs. I think Senran Kagura is a tacky ball of sick. (semi-related, I also think the porn industry is pretty nasty, but I'm not really sure why there's little backlash against that)

All that said, I just don't think Anita does a very good job with her videos. I'm talking from a persuasive standpoint, the quality of them is just not very high IMO. The original videos in this thread do a decent job at figuring out some of the backlash (even if there's kind of an irritating amount of assuming and being an armchair psychologist in there), but I just take the position that someone else could do a much better job exploring this topic if they actually had more experience playing games. I think her take on Nintendo's characters is simplistic and un-researched and comes across to me as someone who hasn't experienced much of those characters over the years.

I think people targeting Nintendo always kinda sets me off, especially when I feel those targets are from a position of ignorance. It could be about the GameCube being kiddy, the Wii not having any third-party games, or Nintendo's characters being bimbos, and I'll get indignant about the misinformation all the same.


I don't think that's really accurate, at least here. I see more positivity about games at NW than negativity (as people have pointed out the irony of the site's name plenty of times).
Posted: 07/24/15, 23:23:05
Yeah but we had to leave IGN over both the editors and the forum members negativity, remember?

Also how can you say there is no backlash against the porn industry?! I think there is a pretty constant backlash. Why it doesn't come out in the same way though probably has a lot to do with the fact that porn is by definition going to contain nudity and sex and all of that so you won't find too many fans of porn who are like "Woah, this is too much!" With that said they do exist, and attempts to make more female-positive porn have arisen.
Posted: 07/24/15, 23:29:03
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