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Spideyj's geekery

A collection of things, often related to video games, comic books and other assorted geekery. And also social justice.
Oct 20 '14

ungaming:

I was having a conversation with a fairly polite gamergater. They asked me a bunch of questions and I asked if I could reply with a tumblr post instead of a hundred tweets, so this is that post. There was an ongoing conversation before this point, which you should be able to find via the links easily enough.

A funny story is how I already wrote this post, got to about 5000 words, and tumblr crashed while I was writing my conclusion. So this version might be a bit more abridged, I’m afraid. Fun side note: the Lazarus extension that recovers text in Chrome doesn’t work on tumblr. So that’s good to know. Anyway.

Your argument is compelling, I’m conflicted. #gamergate has lost sight but the journos lack of respect for the readership is awful.

Being called entitled babies for criticizing Mass Effect 3, DmC and having legit criticism of @FemFreq labeled as misogyny…

I find this idea that journos don’t respect the gaming audience or their readership really interesting, and it comes up again and again. But, really, what I see haters saying as ‘not respecting’ their readership is, to me, just journos not pandering to their readership. You don’t have to look far to see sporting outlets condemning abusive fans at sporting events or film outlets condemning the spreading of nude pics by fans of celebrity actors. These writes, along with the games journos who condemn the more toxic elements of gaming’s culture, don’t do this because they don’t respect videogame players. They do it because they do respect them enough not to pander to them. Go back just a decade or so, and all games journalism is nothing but a celebration of how great videogames are. This weird insider “we’re one of you” kind of tone permeates old issues of gaming mags where those non-gamers just don’t you, but we get you, we are you. We’ll tell you what you want to hear about how great and politically incorrect this or that game is. 

But now, there are so many more voices writing about videogames for so many different people. There’s still the dominant voices, but there’s also all these other voices as well. Voices that aren’t afraid to say that maybe some gamers are acting like entitled babies for starting a White House petition about the ending of Mass Effect 3 or getting way too upset about Dante’s hairstyle. But saying “gamers are acting like X” is not saying “every single gamer is an X”. You can talk about movements in a culture generally without stereotyping. And on social media like twitter where characters are more important than nuance, you have to do this. You have no choice. It’s so important for the commentators and voices around a culture to be critical of that culture, to always expect it to do better. This is tough for gamers who have for so long been pandered to by these voices that are now challenging them. But to say gamers acted abusively in this or that situation should not be countered with “Why are you attacking us?!” It should be met with, “Yeah, man. Some of us went way too far. How can we improve this culture that we all love?”

As for legit criticism towards FemFreq being labelled as misogynistic. This is a tricky one. Firstly, it has to be stressed that the overwhelming majority of criticism levelled at Sarkeesian is misogynstic. I’m sure you’ve seen the death and rape threats she often gets. The emails that insult her with her gender. The wave of sexist hatred she has been getting for so long is obscene. But even some of the not explicitly misogynistic criticisms still come from a sexist position. Like all the criticisms about how much games she plays that try to dismantle her credibility to make these criticisms in the first place. No male critic is ever forced to prove their credibility. It’s assumed because they are a dude and dudes play games all the time. To take fifty examples of a single trope and nitpick one of them and how she clearly hasn’t play that one game is still a sexist criticism that doesn’t at all counter her arguments about how wide spread and pervasive these tropes are. But for sure, there is also legitimate criticism directed at the videos because nobody is above criticism and there is no absolute right in this stuff. I often see people speak out about her reductive stance on sex workers, and more recently about her outright condemnation of Bayonetta while others see that character as a very complex and paradoxical character that both plays right into the male gaze and is a thing to be goggled at while also being a strong woman in charge of her own sexuality. It’s complex!

But what Sarkeesian’s videos do so well is work as an introduction. They are simple and reductive because they are meant to be a first step, not an absolute truth. This is Gender Studies 101. She’s just pointing out these tropes and their historical ingrainedness. That is so valuable! Ideally, people would look at that and then start to realise how deep and ingrained and unconscious this all is. Then, after that sinks in, you are able to start asking more complicated questions. But so much of the ‘legit’ criticism levelled at her is still, simply, coming from a sexist perspective and trying to destroy her credibility because she is a woman talking about gender issues. And, sure, sometimes stuff will be mislabelled. But when you’ve got hundreds and hundreds of sexist messages heading your way, your gonna misread someone innocently nitpicking one video pretty easily. I’ve blocked people before who I thought were trolls who were just being sarcastic. You gotta appreciate the wave of hatred that these bits of legit criticism often roll in with. Context matters. If anything, the waves of misogynistic hatred make it so much harder to even voice legit criticisms of her work. But one thing should be clear if you actually watch her videos: you gotta care a whole damn lot about videogames and the people who play them if you are going to dedicate that much time and energy to making these, even after all the hatred. You really must respect videogames enough to be better to do that.

There has been progress I see that but what makes Depression Quest more deserving of coverage than any other unheard of indie game?

(This question is a response to me insisting that games journalism has come a long way because the Depression Quests of ten years ago never would’ve even been reported on).

Nothing makes Depression Quest more deserving of coverage than any other unheard of indie game! But Depression Quest also isn’t (well, wasn’t) getting an unequal amount of coverage. It was just one of many new little weird games made on the margins of the industry by these waves of new developers that are emerging and that games journalism is, slowly, beginning to pay more attention to. Because games journalism was, for so long, primarily a consumerist ordeal (telling you what to buy and whether it was worth it), it’s only recently shifting to more ‘actual’ journalism on a cultural form, so it’s still figuring out how to write about things beyond the paradigm of whether or not you should buy this game.

But it’s getting there! Depression Quest got a bit of coverage. So did Slave of God. So did Dys4ia. So did Lim. So did Minecraft. So did Patatap. So did Desert Golfing. So did Spaceteam. So did 868-Hack. So did Candy Box. All of these games got covered because they are really exciting new things doing things with the videogame form we haven’t seen before. In Depression Quest’s case in particular, what it did interesting was demonstrate just what Twine can do so well. It showed that text-based games can communicate the interiority of emotions in a way that exterior-action-based games might not be able to. You can explore the insides of someone without abstractness. Just, this is how it feels. It’s not the most interesting or out-there Twine game in existence, but it is exemplary of what Twine can do. It’s also important, in the way it deals with these mature themes that so few games have dared to deal with! That’s exciting and as a critic, I want people to be excited about that. These small weird games are the ones I want to show non-gamers to make them excited about the medium. Not Grand Theft Auto V or Assassin’s Creed 28. 

But to be sure, there is an important discussion about canon and what we consider to be part of it and what we ignore that has to be constantly happening. And it is constantly happening! It has been for so many years. Just like cinema and literature have been having these conversations forever. They don’t have answers yet and neither will we ever have a pure answer. There will always me mainstream and their will always be margins. Some styles and movements will be overlooked for others. That’s the way it is.

The best solution to this? Have a vastly diverse range of critics and journalists writing about and celebrating the games they think are important and exciting. This is what is happening right now! A decade or so ago, we mainly had one kind of games journalist writing for one kind of gamer. But now we have indie games and mobile games and these rough little zinester games and every city has its own scene of people making cool shit and you simply can’t hope to cover all of that with one ‘objective’ perspective. You need lots of journalists covering that from lots of openly subjective perspectives. I’m currently plugging Michael Brough’s latest iOS game Helix on my twitter account a lot because I think Brough’s games are incredibly important and I want more people to know about him. That’s my job as a critic: to make people excited about what I’m excited about. So you need lots of critics excited about lots of things to really encompass the diversity of games that exist. The irony of gamergate is that it wants to shut down this diversity. Its calls for ‘objective’ games journalism is a call to go back to what games journalism used to be where games were only ever measured by one stick (good graphics, dollars-per-hour, etc) instead by and for a diverse range of peoples, not all of whom were ‘gamers’. 

The industry may have grown up but (some) journalists haven’t. This would have blown over if there was an apology.

I don’t quite understand this statement. Firstly, I would say the opposite is true: journalists have grown up (literally, from writing for mags in the 90s as teens or whatever to now many of them being adults with gaming kids of their own) while the industry is still making games for the same fifteen year old boys they were making them for a decade ago. Some caveats on this: the ‘industry’ is not a term that encompasses all game production, just those commercial, mostly triple-a studios and publishers. If you mean ‘industry’ as ‘all videogames’, then I’d ask you to think about how interesting it is we use the term ‘industry’ for a cultural form and not something like ‘art form’ or ‘medium’ as though we are primarily defined as objects that are sold for money and not as a creative, meaningful, cultural form. 

So when I say the industry is making games for the same fifteen year old boys, I mean the games industry is like the Wiggles. They know there will always be an audience of people at this specific age with these specific tastes and they can just recycle the same ideas at the all the time. We see the same grim dark shooters and stuff today we saw a decade ago. They put in swear words and a little bit of satire so that teenage dudes think they are mature the way I thought Marilyn Manson was mature when I was fifteen. And, for a fifteen year old, a lot of them probably are mature! A good first step. But we rarely see industry-made games that act more mature than that for adults. Just ones that are more violent to get 18+ ratings. There are some. Last Of Us and more recently Alien: Isolation are these games more committed to evoking a certain tone or achieving a certain aesthetic than just pandering to that same base gamer audience. But the vast majority of triple-a made games are still for that one core audience of lost boys who never grow up, just get replaced.

But journalists have grown up! Gamers have grown up. They’re in their 30s and 40s with kids of their own and day jobs and they still want to play games and they still want to shoot aliens but sometimes they also just want something more mature, something that speaks to them. Just like I still listen to the Marilyn Manson albums I dug as a kid, even while I kind of laugh at them now, and then I go and listen to something a bit more… developed. So it’s unsurprising that the journalists who love this form feel frustrated by the lack of maturity and are more critical now. But that said, there’s still absolutely no shortage of articles celebrating the pixels of Assassin’s Creed 28 or Advanced Warfare or whatever. That stuff is still there. 

As for this would’ve blown over with an apology, I agree insofar as staying silent after the weeks of abuse and harassment solidified into gamergate (and that is worth remembering: this was going on for weeks before it had a name) didn’t help and definitely did make things worse. But no one owes anyone an apology. In particular I assume you are talking about all the “Death of gamers” articles here, right? That concentrated attack on gamers! Man. So I guess firstly, journalists were just incredulous that the existence of these articles would even be read as a thing in the first place. There seems to be all these people who interpreted those articles as a cry to kill all gamers, to destroy them. “Death to gamers!” or something like that. Which is absurd. “Death of X” is a super old rhetorical device to talk about the end of significance of a certain term. Death of the Author. The death of adolescence. The death of childhood. The death of the library. The death of Soccer. I haven’t looked but I reckon you could find an article with each of those names in Google. The themes across all those articles around gamer culture was not that we need to weed out and destroy gamers, it was that ‘gamer’ as an identity is becoming ever less significant as videogames become more and more ubiquitous in culture. People who identify as ‘gamers’ as this one tiny slither of all the many people who play videogames. And, in the weeks before those articles came out, that culture of gamers had utterly shamed themselves in their treatment of Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian and countless others. People were being attacked, were unable to go to their own homes. So a bunch of gaming sites wrote about this! Just like a sports site would condemn fans being abusive at a football match (and wouldn’t need to add a caveat that ‘not all fans’ were the problem), gaming outlets did the same. That kind of title, the death of gamers, was just an obvious one to choose. I wrote this piece, for instance, talking about the problems of gamergate to a broader audience, and the editor gave it the death headline, not me. The editor who probably was unaware of the controversy already emerging from the other articles. It’s just the obvious kind of title to go for on an article about how the gamer identity is starting to tear itself apart in frustration at all these games that exist that aren’t in any way for them. 

So no journalist owes a gamergate an apologise for writing about how much of a mess gamer culture made of itself in those wakes (and continues to make for itself, worse and worse). It was an embarrassment. It was, clearly, this group of people so used to being the centre of attention not dealing well with being sidelined for a far greater diversity of videogame players. So people wrote about that. And why all at the same time? Well, why did everyone write about Emma Watson’s UN speech at the same time? Because it happened, and then people wrote about it. It really couldn’t be more mundane than that. The gater historians like to rewrite this history so it starts with the articles. Wrong. It went for two weeks and then articles began to emerge, then a whole bunch of gamers utterly failed to comprehend the articles and then rallied around the hashtag.

People have lost their jobs because of the collusion of #GameJournoPros and Max Temkin had a piece wrote about his rape accusation.

Okay, GameJournoPros first. I don’t know of anyone losing their job for being in an industry mailing list, but the idea that its existence was proof of collusion is ridiculous. A bunch of people in the same industry (the industry of games journalism in this case) talking to each other. Shocking! As others have proved, the vast majority of what happens in that thread is setting up multiplayer matches before servers are populated with the general public, or asking for helping games, again, before there is a general public playing. It sucks to have to review a game on deadline before a gameFAQ for that game exists!

And yeah, Milo ‘exposed’ (I love how hack conservative journalists talk about how they ‘expose’ things to feel like they are real powerful journalists unearthing some shattering conspiracy) a thread of people talking about how to deal with Zoe Quinn’s harassment. Shocking! No one knew how to deal with it. It was news, clearly, that all these message boards were focusing a concentrated attack on a developer’s wellbeing based on who she slept with, but a bunch of journalists were afraid of making it worse by reporting on a movement that had no credibility. Others, for sure, wanted to look out for their own back by not getting caught up in it. But across the board: no one had any idea how or if at all this should be reported. So they talked about it. Yes, almost everyone on the mailing list certainly was on the side that the abuse and allegations against her were unfounded and gross and vile. This is because they were. An abusive ex boyfriend releases a whole bunch of personal info to some denizen chat board? If that is to be reported at all, it is only to be reported about an abusive ex-boyfriend mobilising a wave of sexist, disgruntled gamers. Because that is what happened.

As for Temkin, I had to google that because I’d totally forgotten about that happening. This is a tricky area that I don’t feel right commenting on because you need to find a way to balance innocent-until-proven-guilty with the historical and explicit victim blaming in our society that always puts the pressure on rape victims to prove they weren’t raped, rather that rapists to prove they didn’t rape. So reporting on allegations of rape will always be tricky for this. I’m not going to say people were right or wrong to report on this because I simply don’t have all the answers. But it’s interesting how that’s faded away and Temkin probably isn’t getting daily death and rape threats, huh?

Where is the line? The journalists cant pretend the ZQ incident is nothing and yet report on a rape accusation. It’s the hypocrisy.

Right, I get you now. Eron’s claims can be dismissed but when a dude gets accused of rape it gets reported on. Again, that is a huge tricky topic wrapped up in power relations and the ways women are always sidelined and never believed in these issues. I won’t get into that, sorry, but I will say that a key difference is Eron took his stuff to the internet denizens complete with a whole lot of personal, private data and deliberately stoked the fire that lead to the doxxings and the threats and the hackings. Eron harassed and abused Quinn deliberately by going to these people that already hated her game because it was some weird touchey-feely emotions text thing and she was a woman in the games industry, and poured fuel on the fire to watch things burn. He did a vile, reprehensible thing. And so many of his accusations were provably false, like the mythical Kotaku Depression Quest review that never existed. It was ‘nothing’ in so far as the vast majority of the info he leaked, true or false, was none of our damn business. The fact he leaked it with the explicit intent of getting someone abused and harassed to those that would do the abusing and harassing is very much news, and that is what so many journalists struggled with: how to report on this vile act without making things even worse?

Discussion of a culture is great b/c is fuels progress but just because a game can be offensive doesn’t make it less fun.

This is a true statement! In fact, Sarkeesian says pretty much exactly this in a bunch of her videos. Nobody actually engaged with videogames enough to provide deep cultural criticism of them has any interest in banning them or stopping you from making an offensive game. They’re just pointing out what is offensive about them. 

So the flip side of this statement is also a true statement: “just because a game can be fun doesn’t make it less offensive.” You can have a whole lot of fun in GTAV or Modern Warfare 3 (I know I did), but a critic can still tell you what is grossly offensive about each of those games (I know I did). Like, this isn’t even a dichotomy. Fun/offensive. Practically all popular culture created in a paradigm where it needs to turn a profit is going to perpetuate status quo normative ideas in some way that demand critical scrutiny. That doesn’t mean don’t enjoy this game. It means think critically about what you consume! Critics like Sarkeesian or myself or the countless others out there accused of being ‘SJWs’ are not, at all, telling you what can and can’t be played. They’re not even saying what should or should not be made. They’re just pointing out the tropes and normative ideas that get perpetuated. They are just respecting videogames to an extent to assume they are an important part of culture and giving them the scrutiny that an important part of culture deserves. Like, that’s really it. 

And that, in the end, is the greatest irony of gamergate. In their calls of corruption or collusion or SJWs taking over or whatever, the people they are trying hardest to push out of the medium of videogames as either creators or critics are those who celebrate the broadest diversity of games. Those who love games enough to be critical of them. Those who enjoy them enough to think they can be better. Those who think them important enough to not just be mindlessly consumed. These are the people gamergate, as a whole, has the largest issue with, because these people aren’t just telling that core gamer audience what they want to hear. They aren’t pandering. This isn’t the 90s anymore and it is no longer the job of games journalists to pat gamers on the back, to say we are gamers ourselves, and those lawyers and church groups can’t take away our Carmageddon! VIdeogames are so incredibly mainstream now. Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Dys4ia, Depression Quest, Destiny, Call of Duty, Spec Ops, FIFA, Minecraft. There are so many kinds of games and only a slither of them are made for people who identify as gamers. That isn’t to say there are less than there used to be. There’s just a whole lot more other stuff than there used to be. Being angry about that is like being really into McDonalds and being angry that a KFC and a Taco Bell opened nearby. Maybe it’s increasingly silly to identify as someone who is a McDonalds-goer now instead of simply as a fast food eater. This isn’t an attack on people who eat McDonalds. It’s a call to appreciate the full spectrum of people who play videogames. This is what gamergate tries to shut down. And then, when people point this out, they try to shut that down to with #notyourshield. But it’s true! Gamers and the games made explicitly for gamers are good fun but they are not everything that exists, and they are not everything critics and journalists should be interested in. 

You want games journalism and criticism to grow up? Then we need more diverse voices. We need more people who will say things we don’t want to hear. We need them to have paying jobs and the confidence that they can say what they need to say without receiving death threats and rape threats. We need everyone to feel like they can make any game about anything, and not be terrified that if it gets featured on a major games outlet, they’ll have to leave their home. Gamergate is never going to achieve this. Gamergate started as a reaction against a wave of articles that are a reaction against a targeted sexist hate campaign. Gamergate exists to defend gamer culture against accusations that there was a targeted seixist hate campaign, and that’s it. Those, like yourself, who actually care about games journalism ethics and all games getting the coverage they deserve need to distance yourself from this movement. It needs to die or, at the very least, be quarantined once all the decent people evacuate. Then we can have some real conversations about ethics and journalism and canons and gender. Nay, we can just continue all the conversations we had to pause two months ago when it became too dangerous to talk about this. Gamergate is a lost cause, and I hope you and all the decent people being exploited by it leave it soon 

Oct 16 '14

The Routine Harassment of Women in Male Dominated Spaces

secretgamergirl:

What this whole “#gamergate” thing is really about depends a lot on who you’re asking. If you ask someone who writes about games for a living, or someone who keeps in touch with what’s happening with indie game devs (lots of other indie game devs, for instance), they’ll all give you the same answer. It’s a massive, loosely organized campaign, spurred on by a pack of angry angry kids formerly from 4chan, now from 8chan, bent on utterly destroying the lives of an ever-growing list of women, starting with Zoë Quinn, and added to any time a woman publicly calls them out for it.

If you ask the people who show up if you mention #gamergate in a tweet, or look at 8chan.co/gg/ or various youtube videos, you’ll get a different answer every week or two, as each answer they come up with is firmly debunked, and they scramble to find a new one. Even then though, if you pull the thread long enough, they’ll always toss out the name of SOME woman involved in gaming at some level who is the root of some perceived evil.

Now, obviously not everyone who flies the banner of #gamergate actively seeks to destroy women on principle, nor does every single one descend on every single woman whose name is thrown out to them. And there’s a fair number of women flying that banner who are also having their lives pretty thoroughly trashed, either by standing too close to the gears of a terrible engine of destruction, or by the people trying to take that engine apart.

Really though, all of this is really just part of a much bigger, much older problem that for some reason people just don’t ever seem to be willing to talk about. On some subconscious level, in aggregate, people on the internet are just constantly looking for an excuse to attack women. Especially, for whatever reason, women with any sort of involvement in games.

I’m not going to sit here and pull theories out of my butt on what exactly causes this to be the case. That’s not what I’m here for, and as with basically any large scale social problem, it’s probably a way more nuanced issue than can easily be summed up, and any theory I put forth will really infuriate someone or other. What I am here to do is try and get us all to admit this problem even exists, and start trying to do something about it.

I’ve been collecting stories from a variety of women for the last couple of weeks. Women who have been dealing with some really horrifying harassment. Almost none of these stories are things any of these women are willing to discuss publicly, because they know a sobering truth. The sort of harassment I’m about to get into never goes away, for anyone. It just dies down for a while. Like a horde of zombies, attackers will doggedly come after a target, absolutely relentlessly, until something else manages to grab their attention, and the target can slip away to hide. But the horde is always still out there. Make any more noise, and they’ll remember what they were doing, and start their attack again with renewed vigor.

For a lot of people I tried to talk to about this, anonymity wasn’t enough. They believed, and probably rightly so, that even if I didn’t use their names, the details of what they had to say would be specific enough to rekindle their personal attacks. There are several women who didn’t even want me to ask them in the first place, because even the act of asking would draw more attention to them than they are willing to risk. Now I already know what a lot of you are thinking. “What kind of a wimp do you have to be to be afraid to talk about how people were mean to you?” That sort of thinking is part of the problem. The question you really should be asking is “What sort of horrible ordeal have you been through that years later you still don’t want to risk it happening again by even admitting it ever happened?” That is, contrary to what you might be thinking, not an unanswerable question.

On that note, before I get into any of these specific cases, I need to make something very clear. This stuff I am going to get into, generally speaking, does not happen to men. There are phrases I am going to use which are going to sound like things you regularly experience, but trust me, you don’t. For example, I’m going to talk a lot about receiving death threats. An awful lot of people think they routinely receive death threats. I’ve seen it said pretty commonly that “everyone gets death threats on the internet all the time.” No. Those aren’t what I mean when I say death threats. You’re thinking of things like these, right?

"Drop dead!" "I hope you choke on a pretzel and die!" "If I ever get the chance, I am going to chop off your head and crap down the stump of your neck!"

Those aren’t death threats as I’m using the term. That’s all just smack talk. This is a death threat.

"Your name is Jane Smith. Your husband John leaves for work every day at 8 o’clock, from your white house with the crappy yellow curtains at 123 Road St. I have a long-handled sledgehammer in the back seat of my car, and when you come back from buying groceries tomorrow, I’m going to use it to bash in your skull, then use the other end to…"

I don’t have to actually finish that sentence to get the point across I hope. Now, once again, I’m fairly sure I can read your mind. “Anyone who actually says something like that would never possibly act on it! If someone really wanted to do that sort of thing, they’d just do it without any warning!” Right? Well, there’s two problems with that. First off, anyone who would actually do something like that would have to be in an incredibly dark and messed up state of mind, the likes of which you’ve never been in, so don’t pretend you know how you’d act if you were. Second, the whole idea behind this sort of threat is to scare the ever-loving hell out of someone, and it works pretty well regardless. Either someone is actually a twisted freak planning to murder you, and wants to watch you panic first. Or someone just wants to see how much they can make you panic as an exercise in controlling another person. Either way the goal is basically the same, and either way the person calling in the threat has to be seriously messed up in the head, so even if you figure there’s only a 1 in 10 chance they’re serious, those odds are high enough to loose sleep over.

Having set the stage with that, here’s some numbers on who I successfully polled. While my general call for stories garnered well over a hundred retweets, a whole lot of “thank you for doing this” messages, and pretty healthy number of confiding conversations, the number of women who absolutely greenlit me passing their stories along just barely reached double digits. These women aren’t celebrities, or influential, or notoriously argumentative. None of them have special nicknames like “Literally Who” (although she welcomed me to pick over her twitter feed). Half of them have nothing in the slightest to do with video games. Just random women working in other fields. Performing on stage, software development, working behind the scenes in the world of print media. One just tosses up an LP now and then. Most of the rest are indie developers I hadn’t heard of before, and while I know every woman in games journalism has at least one nasty story to tell, they were almost all reluctant to share them.

While compiling this information, I was made aware of at least eight different women, six of them independent game developers, who have been forced to flee their homes due to death threats, and in more than one of those cases, someone showed enough commitment to show up at the target’s home, presumably with intent to make good on it. Only two of those women agreed to share stories. Only three of these threats have really been at all publicized, and it is only due to some combination of irresponsible reporting and astounding bravery that anyone is aware of the other three. In the rest of these cases, these women are doing everything in their power to distance themselves from these situations, specifically requesting not to be reported on or talked about, so as to hopefully calm those calling for their death. This has the effect of somehow simultaneously allowing people to deny the threats against those who aren’t under threat (“Oh yeah? What are these people’s names?”) and discredit those who are known (“They’re just faking it for attention!”).

Some of these women who responded are primarily concerned with particular, specific stalkers. The pattern here is fairly universal. A random stranger will form a fixation on a target, and bombard her with distressing messages. These start off sexual, and quickly turn violent. Calls for suicide, promises of violence, increasingly specific information. When contact is completely cut off, these stalkers branch out, recruiting others to send messages to their targets, and or fall back on the distressing ease with which one can set up dozens of new accounts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter with almost no effort, evading each block as it comes, and simply making a new account if fully shut down.

Most respondents have faced large-scale public harassment. Now, again, I am using harassment in a very different sense than you are likely thinking. Generally, when one takes offense to something a man says, they pick a fight over it. The target is directly confronted, yelled at, likely insulted in various generic ways (accusations of homosexuality, low IQ, etc.), and maybe treated to some empty threats. Maybe someone will pass the offending comment along to some friends, who might then join in if they agree.

It’s different for women. Let’s just talk volume for a moment. One of my respondents tossed out a number- “500 tweets an hour” when her incident peaked. That’s not an exaggeration, nor unusual. Every woman dealing with more than a single stalker has seen this. Such an impossible volume of angry comments not only is it impossible to read them all, it will crash their computer just receiving them. The content also differs. What slight provoked the harassment is inconsequential. Most people responding won’t even know what they’re responding to. They aren’t attacking the message, like they do with men, but the messenger. And it’s always in a sexual context. Invariably, when a woman is being harassed, hundreds of messages pour in about how people would never have sex with her. Hundreds more explaining the details of how they would. Comments about being fat, ugly, a prude, a whore. Horrible ethnic slurs, most likely not even aimed at her actual ethnic background, just whatever ethnicity the commenter pulls out of a hat. Jewish seems to be a rather popular choice. Exceedingly graphic and disgusting comments about their vaginas. Every woman who has ever done anything is always, always accused of only getting where they are by sleeping with someone. Have a good job? You slept with the boss. Made a cool project? No you didn’t, some man did and gave you the credit in exchange for a blowjob.

But even that isn’t really what I mean when I talk about the harassment women face. It gets really really personal. If anyone can find nude photos of a woman somewhere, they are spread far and wide. If you don’t, someone will just find someone who kinda looks like you and spread their nudes around. If people can find a woman’s home address or phone number, creepy stalking will commence immediately, as, inevitably, will threats of rape and death, with the sort of specificity I already mentioned.

And if you happen to be trans*, there’s this whole extra level of dehumanization and violence added in. One of the women I contacted really wasn’t up for a conversation, but directed me to an absolute mountain of horrific hate speech. So many calls for “it to kill itself” mixed in with pornographic imagery, misinformation, horrible horrible slurs, open hate speech about extermination, and attempts to uncover pre-transition identities.

Now, again, I don’t want to play psychologist if I can help it, but there’s a common thread in all the stories I’ve had from respondents that suggests why women get it so much worse like this. An exceptionally common thread in all of these stories is perceived credibility. For whatever reason, as women, many don’t believe us capable of any expertise. I’m actually in a rather unique position to personally comment on this. Given my name and appearance, most people think I am a man. If I speak out about any given topic, I find people quite often take me to be an expert, even when I have no credentials at all. In situations where I am perceived as female, such as this blog, the associated twitter, and various online games, the vast majority assume I’m some ignorant little girl who can’t possibly know anything about anything. One of the more extreme examples is an old online RPG, where a character of mine once had earned a special title for topping an in-game leader board, which should have labeled me a clear expert on how things functioned. Instead, a rumor sprang up that clearly I had, somehow, traded sexual favors for this title, and was summarily ignored when explaining mechanics, in favor of men half my level who were still making rookie mistakes.

Take this article for another example:
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/03/hyper-mode-gdc-fashion.html

This was written by Maddy Myers, someone I’d happily list as one of the three most astute and knowledgeable people I know of who make a living writing about video games, and plenty would agree. The “journalism uniform” she describes is one she has to wear to even participate in a conversation about games. To deviate from it and dress in a classier fashion (or to switch the jeans out for a skirt) would cause anyone she tried to speak to at a trade show to immediately dismiss her as a random model or spokeswoman who has never played a game in her life. As is, her years of experience and decades spent gaming are still denied her in the public perception, as is the case for all women in the field. I have yet to meet a woman who professionally writes about games and hasn’t been playing them since before the release of the NES, nor one who doesn’t regularly have to explain to condescending teenagers that she knows what an FPS is. This isn’t just the case for games, either. I’ve seen people try to explain the plots of books to their own authors, and basic programming notions to women who write their own operating systems. That we even have the term “fake geek girl” proves how widespread this notion is that women can’t ever have any expertise.

And this is always the root of this sort of harassment. “How dare this woman, who clearly knows nothing, speak about this game/novel/news story/situation like she has any sort of clue? Let’s put her in her place and shut her up!” I doubt it’s ever a conscious decision. It’s just a natural reaction to shut people up when they’re talking out of their ass after all. The problem is, as a society, we seem to have this weird collective misconception of where a woman’s larynx is located.

Again, this is a much bigger, much older problem than #gamergate. It’s been around for years if not forever. Women in certain fields just plain can’t speak if any given man in earshot disagrees with what they have to say. They will call in friends to “educate” and for whatever screwed up psychological reason, they will never let it go. This sort of harassment women face? It never fully goes away. The harassers can’t ever really call it a day and move on. Again, they’re like zombies. Eventually, maybe months down the line, that woman, who can’t know anything, will act like she does again, and they dutifully resume their attack.

The spark that first attracts this harassment is also, routinely, the most inconsequential and petty thing imaginable. Of those who responded to me, most brought on harassment by making single factually accurate corrections to uninformed inaccurate statements. Some refused to date creeps, often because they were married. One did date a creep, and broke it off. Or gave a game a 9 in some review subscore and not a 10. Many I wished would respond but passed did even less. It’s never anything any reasonable person can blame on the victim, or anything she could really take steps to avoid. At some point, if you are a woman who shares her opinion on games publicly (or to only slightly lesser extent, any other male dominated field), it is inevitable that you will make some innocent statement or other is going to set someone off, and they will recruit a massive hoard of angry young men out for your blood. It’s something we’ve all just come to accept as a grim reality.

So how do we stop this?

For starters, quit assuming women don’t know anything! If a woman is present and conversing about something, try to remember she has as much right to be there and speak as you do. Really make a concentrated effort.

Then, when you see a woman being harassed over this sort of minor crap, chew out her harasser. Don’t be quite out of politeness. Don’t be afraid of cause a scene or a “drama moment.” Do maintain a civil tone and explain things clearly. Don’t let the matter drop without an apology. If they’re totally unrepentant, you can laugh them out of the room for even bringing it up. Don’t let some other person take on that burden alone. Everyone in the room should shame someone for this sort of behavior. Now obviously, that can be taken to too much of an extreme, so let me paraphrase an actual example from my favorite forums for civil discourse. This discussion isn’t quite on topic, but it should give you an idea of the proper tone.

A- “Does the author know a trans in real life? I knew they would inevitably hook up, but I still think these other two should still do the nasty together lol”

B- “AHEM.”

C- “If you’re going to continue post here, you should be aware there’s several transwomen around, and a transman or two. We try to maintain a very friendly atmosphere where everyone is comfortable, so please don’t take such a disrespectful tone.”

D- “Trans” is an adjective, and referring to people with adjectives is always
disrespectful. You wouldn’t say “a black” or “a gay” or “a female” so the same should apply here. Saying “a transwoman” or “a trans person” would be the way to go.

A- “I’m sorry. I should have said “does the author know someone like this character.” I realize I worded that very poorly, and won’t make that mistake again.”

Then once the dust settles, change the subject and be sure to engage the woman who was under attack. And not just with sympathy, get the conversation back on track and talk to her like she’s a normal human being with opinions worth hearing. The example above picked right back up from where it left off after an apology was issued, with all of the same people still involved.

Having said all of this, it’s possible that I will revisit this topic in the future, including actual testimonials gathered from various women. Some had some very powerful words to share, but I didn’t quite hit the sample size needed to be sure no one can be identified from those statements. If you’d like to take part in that, should I write it, send stories to me at secretgamergirl@hushmail.com please. I’d prefer you didn’t include any visual aids, simply because I don’t want to be overwhelmed filing them all away. I should also not that The New York Times is, as of my posting this, also collecting stories about what women in gaming face. I know I have plenty I’ll be sharing with them, and I’d encourage any woman reading this to do the same. People need to learn how common this treatment is if we ever want it to stop:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/15/technology/women-in-video-game-industry.html

Oct 15 '14

alexander-of-caledon:

In celebration of one of my Gamer Dweebs posts getting almost 5000 notes (!!!!) here is a collection of Gamer Dweebs. x

Oct 14 '14

agameofme:

I’ve been thinking a lot about GamerGate. I hate that it’s even a thing in my world that I have to think about. The hostility and hate that have simmered to the surface leave a knot in my stomach. I love games unabashedly. I want communities around games to be places of celebration, where creative diversity is welcomed and encouraged. That doesn’t mean that I want such places to be free of thoughtful criticism. On the contrary, I think that thoughtful criticism is part of the celebration of any art form, and that such criticism enriches our understanding and appreciation of that art form. Film critics may not love every film they write about, but the best ones always write from a place of loving film. So should it be with games as well.

The hostility and hate associated with GamerGate aren’t new, though. They’re just boiling to the surface now, as a sense, long-cultivated and capitalized-on by gaming sites and publishers, that games should be overwhelmingly the domain of straight males, is being challenged. And GamerGate is not a game, or a joke. People who speak up for a more diverse and inclusive gaming space, or for the mere idea that it is OK for game reviews to sometimes engage with a game’s politics, have been the targets of tremendous amounts of online harassment. Women’s lives have been threatened. Publications that function within, thrive off of, and shape gaming culture now have a responsibility to take a stand.

When I worked for GameSpot, I learned to ignore all the hate that was directed at me in the comments for being trans, and all the scoffing and dismissal my reviews received because once in a great while I had the temerity to discuss issues of gender representation. I just took it as a given that this was the culture of gaming sites, that it was something we all had to accept. I understand now that this is not the case at all, and that tossing up our hands and just accepting this makes us complicit in the creation of a culture in which people who want more diversity in games and who want to be able to have civil, thoughtful conversations about games often don’t feel welcome.

I would sometimes get messages from readers saying that they would love to comment on reviews, but they would take one look at the comments sections, see the prevailing attitudes of hostility toward women or LGBT people, or toward talk of gender representation, or toward games that, both mechanically and thematically, challenge standard notions of what games are, and feel unwelcome, like this was not a place where they could have a voice or safely express themselves. I understood then that those comments were one part of a way that members of the dominant group in games culture attempted to maintain cultural dominance in that realm, and that silence—my silence, the site’s silence—in the face of this, helped perpetuate that dominance and, as a consequence, a feeling among members of other groups that they were not welcome. In a sense, our long silence has created the problem of GamerGate. And now, it has to stop. To remain silent is to surrender gaming culture to those who are fighting tooth and nail to maintain a feeling of control over it, who are so desperate not to share it with others that some of them have resorted to threatening women’s lives. Yet too many sites have continued to remain silent. That silence speaks volumes.

As someone who knows very well what it is to feel like an outsider in gaming culture, I was trying to think about what I would want to read at a site, what would help make me feel welcome. I would not want it to be, first and foremost, a screed of condemnation, though some actions undertaken by people claiming to operate in the name of GamerGate’s purported quest for journalistic ethics must be condemned in no uncertain terms. But no, I would want it to be a message that focused on the positive, an aspirational message that appealed to the best in ourselves and the best in what we think that games can be and do. This is, of course, pure fantasy, but as a member of a group who has certainly been made to feel marginalized in gaming for a long time, I might want it to read something like this:

***

Recently, there have been many questions being asked and suspicions raised about journalistic ethics in the gaming world. We want to take this opportunity to affirm that we take questions of ethics very seriously. We operate with a strict division between our editorial team and our sales team. We trust our writers to not cover a particular game if they feel personal associations may unduly color their perceptions. At the same time, we absolutely will not entertain any public scrutiny into the personal lives of our staff members. Friendships and other personal connections are formed in just about any industry, and we will not put the personal details of our editors’ lives on display, nor will we treat any and all personal associations as the stuff of ethical wrongdoing.

Given other events that have happened in direct or indirect association with “GamerGate,” we also feel that it’s important that we take this opportunity to affirm our position on a number of other issues related to who games are for and how they are discussed.

While we are committed to discussing each game based on what we feel to be its individual merits, as a general rule we welcome and strongly support the idea that video games can be and should be by and for people of all genders, races, and sexual orientations. We welcome the idea of games that, mechanically and thematically, challenge and seek to broaden widely accepted notions of what games can be, or who and what games can be about. We also strongly feel that the culture of our site must be inclusive to any and all who wish to participate and who are willing and eager to celebrate games and share them with others. Games are for everyone, but they do not and must not belong to any one group.

We also firmly reject the notion voiced by some that discussions of games should not engage with or analyze or critique a game’s politics. We support our editors and their decisions about what aspects of any given game are worthy of discussion and critique in a review, and we trust our readers to bring to their reading of a review a personal understanding of what aspects are most relevant to them. To engage with a game’s politics is not inherently more political than to not engage with them; it is just differently political. And we believe that serious, thoughtful critiques of games, from their mechanics to their sociopolitical values, elevate and celebrate the medium.

We will be taking actions in the future to reflect our commitment these beliefs. We will make a concerted effort to have the voices featured on our site be more reflective of the diversity we support in games. And we will be moderating our comments sections much more heavily. We welcome any and all good-faith discussions of the merits or flaws of any game. We will no longer allow comments that state or that we deem to imply that games in general should be primarily for members of one group or not for members of another group, or that we feel in any way to contribute to a culture of hostility toward women, queer people, or people of color. And while we welcome thoughtful disagreement with the conclusions of any review, we do not welcome personal attacks on our editors, nor do we welcome comments that suggest that the very act of considering or critiquing the politics of a game is misguided. Anyone wishing to voice such beliefs has no shortage of places where they can do so. We do not need to provide you with another.

We are doing this not to shut down discussion, but to make it better. We would rather have far fewer comments and have them be thoughtful and welcoming, than have more and have them contribute, as they sadly so often have in the past, to a culture in which some do not feel welcome to participate. We no longer felt that we could stand silently by as some—however few in number they may be—very loudly and violently tried to assert that gaming should be exclusively or predominantly the domain of straight men. We want to affirm that we welcome everyone who believes that games can be and should be for everyone, and who is not hostile to the idea that games can be thought about and written about as something with real cultural value and impact.

We love games so much. We want them to be better. We want the medium to continue to evolve and grow and surprise us and move us and challenge us. We hope you do, too.

***

It’s kind of fun pretending that I work for a video game website. God, can you imagine?

Oct 13 '14

Don’t be silent! Things you can do about GamerGate

pattheflip:

I have spoken to a lot of people in the games industry who are frustrated about GamerGate but shaky on the prospect of speaking out themselves; they’re worried about receiving death threats, or drawing unwanted attention to their employer, or just overextending themselves getting involved in an exhausting conversation.

All of these are valid concerns! The problem is that good people being silent on the matter is what enables this to continue; many of the folks who organize under the GamerGate banner (both harassers and non-harassers) genuinely believe that they’re speaking up for the silent majority who share their beliefs but aren’t brave enough to speak out. (Personally, I tend to assume that people are jerks despite their good intentions until proven otherwise; IMO the hard part of being a good person isn’t thinking the right thing, it’s doing the right thing.) In other words, silence is interpreted as implicit permission to continue.

So, here’s the thing. Speaking out doesn’t mean you have to wake up every morning and only get out of bed after reading the previous night’s GamerGate stuff for twenty minutes and getting angry. (I will say it’s pretty good at getting me out of bed, though.) There are a bunch of different ways that you can make your voice heard, depending on how your personal HP/MP are doing.

1. Read up. The challenge with GamerGate is that it is a complex, multilayered, distributed organization that depends largely on people who are willing to take their statements at face value (“We’re just about corruption in games journalism, guys”). I think these two articles (here and here) are good starting points for approaching GamerGate with a critical eye and understanding how it works. If you have an opinion, make sure it’s well-informed.

2. Signal boost. Hitting that retweet button (or reblog, share, whatever) does two useful things. First off, it allows the folks who are speaking out to gain extra visibility, which is important to allow their voices to extend past their immediate friends and friends-of-friends. Second, it allows your 1st/2nd-degree friends to see where you personally stand, even if you don’t feel comfortable using your own words to do so. Both of these are useful for minimizing the silence-as-permission effect, and neither of them should get you personally targeted. (If you are personally targeted by your 1st/2nd-degree friends, then you might need new friends.) This is the lowest-cost, lowest-risk way of getting directly involved, but it’s still super important!

3. Speak yourself. I think that for most intelligent folks, seeing their immediate friends/family/colleagues making their opinions known is more powerful than seeing strangers or internet celebrities weigh in, so if you vocalize your support in your own words it sends a stronger message than retweeting someone else’s. That said, this is a bit higher-risk, because you will be putting your own words there for critique (and if you use GamerGate in full, hashtag or no, you will attract attention from supporters who probably aren’t in your immediate circles). Tweet, write blogs, whatever you can to add to the voices on the Internet. If you simply won’t risk doing so your under your real name, find a way to publish anonymously (pastebin is good for this). Heck, if you have a story you want me to tell anonymously, let me know.

4. Indirectly engage. In addition to making your own voice heard, you can speak to the people and organizations that you want to hear from as well. If you want to see these issues covered on publications you read, tell that to their editors and writers. If you want to see it discussed at games events, speak to the event organizers. And so on for any channel you think has an obligation to cover and/or weigh in. This is useful because, fundamentally, channels that haven’t been covering GamerGate are likely omitting it out of fear — fear, specifically, that their readership includes a large body of GamerGate supporters — and addressing them specifically gives them yet one more counterexample. This can be a bit more costly, as it will expose you to GamerGate supporters looking to argue with you.

5. Directly engage. Basically, this is “talking to GamerGate supporters”. I leave this at the end because I think this is the most taxing, as far as your time and emotional energy go — and I don’t want you to assume that partaking in any of the above four methods mean you are committed to directly engaging.

In an ideal Internet, everyone would be talking to each other with respect and good faith. This is, obviously, not an ideal Internet. “Concern trolling” — people pretending to want good-faith conversation and instead responding with pre-scripted talking points that require more time to assert than they do to debunk — is a very real tactic adopted by GamerGate supporters, and it’s impossible to know whether a stranger on the Internet is in fact engaging in good faith or not.

So: Just because you say something on the Internet doesn’t mean you are obligated to follow-up with every single person who disagrees with you, especially in this case. I know it feels bad, but it’s simply not viable in the face of tactics like concern trolling. Personally, I mostly engage with people who I have a pre-existing connection with, because I’m willing to trust their intentions far more than a generic Twitter account with no name or professional history.

Frankly, I haven’t seen many attempts to directly engage that I would call successful, so I can’t recommend it myself. But if you’d like to learn that yourself, go right ahead. Just remember that no one is entitled to your time, and you can stop at any point you feel yourself running out of energy. If your Twitter feed is full of sea lions, it’s totally okay to block them.

What’s the ideal outcome?

GamerGate, like the Tea Party and Occupy, is fundamentally unwilling to articulate a specific agenda outside of individual campaigns (“Boycott X advertisers!”) because it correctly realizes that to have an agenda means miring itself down in defining an actual position, with actual ideals — something that would necessarily fragment its organizing efforts and open it up to criticism from people who are smarter than GamerGate. Basically, GamerGate’s organizing tactics indicate that isn’t really about getting stuff done so much as drawing blood wherever it can in order to feed its participants with the feeling of validation and power they normally get from video games. (This is what allows GamerGate to say it is about advertisers’ corruption in journalism while simultaneously trying to silence critical journalists by targeting their publications’ advertisers.)

Because of this, I doubt GamerGate will ever go away; at best, it can be widely criticized, and its methods exposed, to the point where one’s association with GamerGate is considered a personal liability (again, like the Tea Party and Occupy, though I’m sad about the latter). That, I think is the the best outcome we can home for. For better or worse, video games are politically polarized now, just like everything else, and the sooner you understand how to navigate this, the stronger your voice will be.

patrick miller

Oct 11 '14

vonaether:

I agonized over posting this, because it does profit me in an indirect sense, and I didn’t want to seen as exploiting a controversy for the attention. But this is a worthy thing, I think, and I do want people to know about it. Twitter convinced me: Fuck it, just post it. I’ve praised Transhuman Games in the past for similar reasons and told people to buy their game.

This is David Hill. He and his wife Filamena freelance for Onyx Path Publishing.

image

Both David and his wife (referred to by their company name) were among the people vilified in the latest Escapist piece because they’re outspoken opponents of GamerGate.

I’m fairly sure the project David’s referring to is V20 Dark Ages, which currently has a Kickstarter for a deluxe edition. It’s a standalone Dark Ages supplement for the Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop RPG (V20 references Vampire’s 20th Anniversary Edition). David’s developing it, and got a rockstar group of writers to help put it together.

Onyx Path is very proud of our tradition of diversity and inclusion.

The world portrayed in V20 Dark Ages looks like this:

image

image

image

A wide range of cultures, sexes, and skin tones. This isn’t a whitewashed Northern-Euro-centric piece. David has specifically called out the excellent medievalpoc as inspiration for his design goals.

The final hardcopy (450+ full-colour pages!) is going to be gorgeous, but even with a PDF pledge, you’ll be getting a ton of extra material via the stretch goals we’ve been hitting regularly. The Kickstarter went live on Tuesday and we’re already past 300% funding, and we’ve successfully delivered on 7 Kickstarters so far, so this is a fairly safe bet.

I’m pretty excited about it, and I hope you’ll consider throwing a little support our way, and get a really sweet book out of the bargain.

Oct 10 '14

What To Expect When You’re Expecting (the internet to ruin your life)

ohdeargodbees:

So here’s what I’ve learned from the last two months of getting hacked and helping friends who have gotten hacked. It’s a work in progress cause I am currently mad as hell so I will be adding to it as time goes on, but since another woman got doxxed tonight I figured it’s a start.

  • General Tips:

  • Don’t give yourself a hard time for feeling a certain way. It’s a messed up position you’ve been put in and there’s no “right” way to feel. You’re not failing if it bothers you, you’re not failing if you’re angry, you are not failing for not being “tough enough”. A lot of emotions come with these situations, and you’re totally allowed.

  • Document everything. I can’t say this enough. If you set up a dropbox screenshots folder, you can have a screencap automatically saved with the press of the printscreen button. For stuff longer than a screencap, use http://archive.today/ in case of deletion. It’s better to have it and not need it than not have it and need it. If you end up needing to take it to the authorities, they’re gonna wanna see this stuff, and the more you have the better. You might not know what the situation will evolve into, so be vigilant in your documentation. If it stresses you out or gets to be too much, ask a friend or loved one to help you. Similarly, if you see this happening to another person, maybe screencap it just in case. If you go to the police, they’ll want this stuff, and want it printed. It’s good to have more than less.

  • Don’t suffer alone. Make sure you reach out, and again, don’t judge yourself. It’s not weak to want or need help or to vent. There are so many women in the industry who understand what you’re going through and would be happy to help however they can. If you have someone in person that can look after you, all the better. They’ll remind you that what is happening to you is wrong, they will help make sure you’re taken care of, and it’s a huge huge asset.

Doxxing:

  • Spend the $10 to hide your whois info off of your websites ahead of time if you can. This is a very common tactic.

  • Pre-emptively remove yourself from Spokeo: http://www.sileo.com/spokeo-scary-bad-how-to-opt-out/. Spokeo is a service that a lot of doxxers use, and even if you’ve already been doxxed you might still want to do this.

  • Most cell phone providers will allow you to change your number on their website.

  • Make your FB private. They will likely be trying to dig up whatever they can on you, real or imagined, and there’s no reason to leave stuff out there when you’re being creepily obsessed over. Make sure old posts get limited too - go to settings > privacy > limit past posts to do this.

  • Give other people affected a heads up & make sure they don’t give out more info. For example, in my case they spammed my former employers dating back all the way to when I was a teenager, trying to dig up more info on me. I know it can suck to have to try and explain this stuff to people, but it can keep more information from leaking out. Similarly, try to make sure people don’t freak out, and that they shouldn’t engage with these people or do anything other than hang up.

  • Change your security questions to something that isn’t related to your personal life. Come up with phrases that you use in place of your mother’s maiden name or your childhood best friend so someone who has your personal information can’t get into any of your accounts using these methods.

  • Crash with a friend if you can, in the thick of it. It’s a huge load off the mind to know that you’re safe and can handle dealing with this stuff without having to worry about someone knocking on your door. A thing a lot of people don’t understand till they’ve been there is the paranoia that comes with being doxxed for a lot of people, so make sure you’re doing things that will make you feel safer. Don’t worry about seeming like you’re overreacting, either - taking care of yourself is paramount.

Hacking:

  • Preemptively lock everything down: http://segonmedia.com/2014/08/21/the-quick-indie-guide-to-protecting-your-accounts/ Enable 2-step on everything, use a progam like 1 password or keepass to generate strong passwords, unique for every site, and store them in one location. Consider making a separate email account that you ONLY use for password recovery requests, and not revealing the account name to anyone, so in case everything gets hacked you have one clean email to send passwords to.

  • General stuff for any site:

  • If you can still login, change your password then change your recovery email.

  • Revoke any third party app permissions. Third party app permissions will let things be posted to your account regardless of password. This is how they were able to post stuff from my Tumblr to my Twitter when my Tumblr got hacked - it had a function that automatically blogged anything I posted on my Tumblr to my Twitter.

  • If you can’t login, fill out a password reset request.

  • If that doesn’t work, there’s usually another protocol in place per service.

  • Try and remember if there’s any places you have accounts for that you might have forgotten. For example, they got into a dominos.com account I had made and forgot about to try and send someone a pizza. It can be especially damaging if that account is automatically set up to charge any of your accounts.

Twitter: Contact support here if you can’t login and your recovery email account has been changed: https://support.twitter.com/articles/185703-my-account-has-been-hacked

Tumblr:

Gmail: I honestly have no idea here so preemptively lock down I guess. It will also let you see at the bottom of the page if anyone is logged into your acct from a different location and let you remotely terminate it, so keep an eye on that too.

Facebook’s account recovery: https://www.facebook.com/help/131719720300233/

Dropbox’s contact: https://www.dropbox.com/support/s/92/8281995/c/2

Skype has been the most commonly hacked thing throughout gamergate. Their live chat is decent and works. Their live chat is here: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA10656/what-is-live-chat-support

Here’s hoping you’ll ever need this.

Oct 10 '14
zennistrad:

themundanematt:

Why #gamergate is important

Fun fact: Morgan Ramsay, founder of the Entertainment Media Counsel, did an objective study of how much of gaming journalism talks about sexism or social justice.
To do this, he downloaded 130,524 articles from 37 RSS feeds of 23 outlets, including The Escapist, Rock Paper Shotgun, CVG, Edge Online, Eurogamer, Gamasutra, Game Informer, GamePolitics, GamesBeat, GamesIndustry International, GameSpot, GamesRadar, IGN, IndieGames, Joystiq, Kotaku, Massively, MCV, NowGamer, PocketGamer.biz, Polygon, Shacknews and VG24/7, published over a period of twelve months. He then did a search on how often these games articles mentioned sexism, feminism, or misogyny.
The result? Over a period of one year, 0.41% of 130,524 articles referenced feminism, feminist, sexism, sexist, misogyny, and misogynist explicitly. 
That’s less than half of one percent.
So next time you hear someone whining that “feminism is taking over video games journalism”, what they’re actually whining about is that feminism exists in video games journalism.

zennistrad:

themundanematt:

Why #gamergate is important

Fun fact: Morgan Ramsay, founder of the Entertainment Media Counsel, did an objective study of how much of gaming journalism talks about sexism or social justice.

To do this, he downloaded 130,524 articles from 37 RSS feeds of 23 outlets, including The Escapist, Rock Paper Shotgun, CVG, Edge Online, Eurogamer, Gamasutra, Game Informer, GamePolitics, GamesBeat, GamesIndustry International, GameSpot, GamesRadar, IGN, IndieGames, Joystiq, Kotaku, Massively, MCV, NowGamer, PocketGamer.biz, Polygon, Shacknews and VG24/7, published over a period of twelve months. He then did a search on how often these games articles mentioned sexism, feminism, or misogyny.

The result? Over a period of one year, 0.41% of 130,524 articles referenced feminism, feminist, sexism, sexist, misogyny, and misogynist explicitly.

That’s less than half of one percent.

So next time you hear someone whining that “feminism is taking over video games journalism”, what they’re actually whining about is that feminism exists in video games journalism.

Oct 10 '14

So just how popular is #GamerGate? How many of them can there be?

cathodedebris:

Let’s see if we can get a rough idea how big #GamerGate really is via Twitter analytics:

Zoe Quinn (#GamerGate target): 33.5k followers
Feminist Frequency (#GamerGate target): 155k followers
Polygon (#GamerGate target): 158k followers
Kotaku (#GamerGate target): 437k followers

Followers gained by #GamerGate opportunist Milo Yiannopoulos since aligning himself with #GamerGate on September the 1st*: 14,079 followers (via twittercounter.com)
Followers gained by #GamerGate opportunist Adam Baldwin since coining the hashtag on August 27th: 10,697 followers (via twittercounter.com)

Milo Yiannopoulosis is useful for analytic purposes. He’s previously expressed utter distain for videogamers, and he gained only 516 followers in the 40 days prior to his support for #GamerGate compared to the 14,079 in the 40 days following his support.  He’s a public figure with no prior love for video games - indeed, he’s previously shown utter conempt for them.

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Oct 7 '14
snowbunnify:

I know I’ve been away from Tumblr for ages, but I thought I’d come back here to share this.
Context: Amateur girls tournament - Girls Wars SEA. Organized by Dota 2 Girls and Dota2zone
What happened: A team got disqualified because one of their players was playing ‘too well to be a girl’
The attached picture: The conversation between the captain of the team (Team Dolls from Phillippines) and the tourney admin explaining why they were disqualified in the very first round.
I know it’s just a small tournament, but I feel this reflects on the experiences of the average girl in the gaming community.
If you suck = you suck because you’re a girl
If you’re good = you must have cheated cause girls suck at games
And the saddest part is that this tournament was organized by girls, for girls to get competitive experience, supposedly without the pressure of sexism weighing down on them, and BAM! They get slapped directly in the face with a ridiculous dose of it.
Please upvote the thread on Reddit if you think things should change, and that people should be aware that yes, sexism is alive and well. And no, feminists don’t want to kill men and take over the world. We just want to be afforded the same amount of respect as your average guy.

snowbunnify:

I know I’ve been away from Tumblr for ages, but I thought I’d come back here to share this.

Context: Amateur girls tournament - Girls Wars SEA. Organized by Dota 2 Girls and Dota2zone

What happened: A team got disqualified because one of their players was playing ‘too well to be a girl’

The attached picture: The conversation between the captain of the team (Team Dolls from Phillippines) and the tourney admin explaining why they were disqualified in the very first round.

I know it’s just a small tournament, but I feel this reflects on the experiences of the average girl in the gaming community.

If you suck = you suck because you’re a girl

If you’re good = you must have cheated cause girls suck at games

And the saddest part is that this tournament was organized by girls, for girls to get competitive experience, supposedly without the pressure of sexism weighing down on them, and BAM! They get slapped directly in the face with a ridiculous dose of it.

Please upvote the thread on Reddit if you think things should change, and that people should be aware that yes, sexism is alive and well. And no, feminists don’t want to kill men and take over the world. We just want to be afforded the same amount of respect as your average guy.