It’s been over a year since the events that led to Gamergate occurred. It’s been an interesting year, and it is amazing that the consumer revolt that popped up around the hash tag is still alive and well today.
The video game industry has had a number of minor scandals, but those seemed to have fizzled out over the course of a couple of weeks. What ultimately kept Gamergate going was the fact the movement had gained the attention of people who were outside of the typical gamer demographic. Much of that was, of course, the significance Gamergate had on the neverending culture war.
Perhaps the shot that was heard around the internet is the now infamous Zoe Post. The Zoe Post, for those out of the loop was a blog post made by Zoe Quinn’s ex boyfriend Eron Gjoni detailing how Zoe Quinn had cheated on him with five guys, one of which was Kotaku writer Nathan Grayson, in order to further her career as a game developer.
The incident probably would have faded into obscurity had other people not come out to question to Zoe’s character. Of course this was just the beginning. If you want to read good deconstruction of that incident, Billy Chubbs wrote a pretty good piece on Zoe Quinn from last August not long after the Zoe Post went public.
Not long after Zoe Quinn’s drama was coat-tailed by people like Anita Sarkeesian and transsexual game developer Brianna Wu. Anita was already disliked by people for making ridiculous claims about sexism in video games and thus quickly defended Zoe. Brianna Wu of course claimed that he was harassed by people for supporting Zoe; Personally I think Brianna Wu was just trying to make a play at some easy publicity for Revolution 60.
Zoe Quinn later went on to form Crash Override with Alex Lifschitz. Their goal is to stop online harassment. In a more naive time I would have thought their goals admirable—not so much these days, considering that most online “harassment” could be avoided by turning off your computer or cell phone. I also have serious doubts that Crash Override has done anybody any good except for Zoe Quinn. For the most part Zoe Quinn remains largely irrelevant, and yes that’s even with her recent appearance at the UN to discuss “cyber violence.”
As for Eron Gjoni, Zoe had filed a restraining order that bars him from discussing Zoe’s personal life any further. Eron Gjoni has filed an appeal and had some legal help: this amici curiae brief was authored by a couple of constitutional law professors. As of now Eron Gjoni has updated the status of his trial and the gag order has been dropped.
Eron Gjoni is currently considering further legal remedies. If he is to continue, the legal process case law could be established to protect speech such as the Zoe Post. While he is hardly the most vocal person in the Gamergate movement he still chimes in once in a while, and is expected to have an AMA on Reddit in the near future. I can empathize with the guy and I hope he continues to seek further legal action.
There Are No Ethics In Social Justice
Gamergate didn’t happen because Zoe Quinn cheated on Eron Gjoni. Gamergate happened because there was a conflict of interest between Nathan Grayson’s work for Kotaku and his relationship with Zoe Quinn. It wasn’t just Nathan Grayson’s ethics that brought into question, and several other journalists including Kotaku’s Patricia Hernandez and Polygon’s Ben Kuchera had both been scrutinized for ethical practices.
In Patricia Hernandez’s case, she too had become romantically involved with game developers and had given them positive press. Meanwhile, Ben Kuchera had subsequently been supporting Zoe Quinn’s Patreon and had written an article about Depression Quest without disclosing a possible conflict of interest.
It eventually got to the point where websites such as Polygon and Kotaku needed to update their ethics policies to either prohibit or require journalists to disclose any kind of contributions made to a game developers. Gamergate could have ended right there, but instead video game journalists decided to use accusations of sexism as a red herring to hide their corruption. It’s dirty trick if you think about it, but nonetheless it backfired.
Video game journalists initially thought they could simply swat this away, but later added more fuel to fire by publishing a series of articles attacking gamers across several websites. The 17 “Gamers are dead” articles made it quite clear there was some kind of collusion going on between journalists in the industry, and it was obvious that many game journalists were more interested in social justice than actually playing video games.
Since the year has progressed, many video game websites have seen their revenue sources dry up. Gawker alone may be on its last breath, considering Gawker’s writers have made the decision to unionize. Since last year a couple of video game websites have sprung up in an effort to replace sites like Polygon and Kotaku. Some have been successful, like Tech Raptor, while others didn’t gain enough traction to continue.
How Long Will Gamergate Continue?
Gamergate had been a long time coming, and all it took was for game journalists to attack gamers before people became aware of the corruption in the industry. Certainly many people have become aware of the fundamentally flawed state of social justice dogma.
Perhaps a lot of this had to do with fair news coverage. The big news networks that covered Gamergate didn’t even consider that there might be a legit concern being raised by the movement. Even then ABC’s Nightline special was largely sensationalist and was aimed at getting ratings out of their key demographic: women.
Personally I feel that Gamergate should expand its scope to call out the non-gaming mainstream media too. Too many stories in the past year have been sensationalist hit pieces aimed at making people angry rather than informed. That in itself is a larger problem, and Gamergate could inspire more people to push for change in how the news is covered.
Certainly neomasculinists and MRAs both have a vested interest in the outcome of Gamergate, but it hasn’t stopped people who don’t necessarily agree with those ideas from supporting the movement. While SJWs claim to be fighting for woman and minorities, there where many woman and minorities that sided with Gamergate. This group of people didn’t want the special victim status that SJWs had granted them, and they also didn’t want the industry to change on their behalf either.
Where Gamergate could do better is to minimize the concern with Twitter drama. A great deal events have happened on Twitter, but as a social network now controlled by SJWs it is not the best way to communicate ideas. It doesn’t help that many of Gamergate’s opponents, such Randi Harper and Nicolas “Sarah” Nyberg, have connections and have gotten several Gamergate supporters banned from Twitter.
Of course there’s also the infamous block bot which had somehow managed to brand KFC’s twitter account as “misogynistic”. Even worse was the idea that block bot could be used as a blacklist to specifically target and discriminate against Gamergate supporters. Of course Reddit hasn’t fared much better. The grip that SJWs have on social media is another thing that Gamergate should consider addressing.
Gamergate will last as long as it needs to. At this point is more than a movement or hashtag; it’s a community. As long as people feel discontent with SJWs trying to push their agenda on the masses, Gamergate will continue. Here’s to another year.