Stardock

#GamerGate: What do you want?

By on September 30, 2014 12:28:17 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1469

Last week I wrote about the Escalation of #GamerGate. I recommended that advocates of #GamerGate come up with a set of objectives while momentum was in their favor.

A Recap

For the uninitiated, #GamerGate is a schism that has formed between the enthusiast gaming press and core gamers. The schism was largely the result of the gaming media allowing their platforms to be utilized by the more radical elements within their ranks to denigrate core gamers as “dead” and “nerds” and “misogynists” in response to a handful of gamers targeting an outspoken feminist game developer who they believed had received unmerited coverage due to her personal relationships with the gaming press.

#Gamergate was coined by Adam Baldwin in response to the gaming media’s aggressive stance towards gamers who expressed their concerns regarding what they believed to be inappropriate collusion between developers and journalists and now represents those who passionately want to see changes in the way the gaming media approaches its subjects.

Jack Thompson II

The situation reminds me of when activist lawyer, Jack Thompson argued against violence in video gamesBack then, the enthusiast gaming press and core gamers ridiculed Thompson’s arguments and at times, targeted him with substantial harassment. Eventually his movement petered out and everything went back to normal.

This time, the crusade against core gaming is being led by self-identified “social justice” activists who believe that video games are inherently hostile to women, minorities, etc.  Core gamers have reacted the same as they did in 2003 with open ridicule and at times, substantial harassment of their foes.  However, this time, the enthusiast press decided to brand core gamers as “misogynists” on the basis that the targets of ridicule and harassment are feminists instead of a male lawyer.

Many core gamers believe that the reason the gaming media has been backing this agenda is because unlike in 2003, they are in bed with the other side financially, politically and sometimes literally. Meanwhile, some in the enthusiast press think that the vocal elements #gamergate are just a bunch of misogynistic lunatics.

What do you want out of this?

I suggested that the #GamerGate advocates come up with 5 objectives to rally around.  With a week of reflection, I’m not sure that’s really a good idea as it would likely just splinter those who support #Gamergate into smaller factions.Nevertheless, a lot of interesting suggestions were made. 

Below are some representations of the objectives people believe #gamergate should have

  • Insist on a full disclosure of relationships (Financial, personal, or otherwise) between the developer/publisher and journalist/publication.
  • Fair and professional representation of all sides during debate (Including twitter and other social media directly related to a journalists writing persona) without censorship of opposing opinions. Where disagreement over facts is present both sides should be represented with relevant proof where available.
  • Fact checking of all articles. Do not report on issues like harassment and bomb threats without first checking the story is real, then also read into all parties involved and relay histories of similar incidents if a pattern is present.
  • Proper representation of gaming's diverse multi-cultural elements. Don't blame 'straight, white, males' for everything. It's extremely unprofessional and deeply offensive.
  • A full apology from all involved in Twitter campaigns, 'gamers are dead' articles, and other anti-GG attacks.
  • A end to journalist collusion in regards to the omission of stories that do not fit in with ideology
  • Report on what games are like, not what they are lacking in terms of perceived social justice.

  • Quit censoring topics based on your personal political biases. If you have a stated policy, stick to that. Don’t pull the rug out because your ideology is losing the debate.

  • Those sites that published articles attacking gamers should publish an editorial apologizing for those attacks.

  • Stop game sites from injecting a political agenda into content, especially things like reviews or interviews. Opinion pieces are fine as long as they are clearly marked as opinion and the comments left open so that respectful, dissenting points of can be heard.

  • Game sites should abandon articles that character assassinate individuals or groups that are related to the gaming industry.

  • The practice of blackballing developers for the kind of games they make, their political opinion or something they might have said needs to stop, everyone should be given a fair chance.

  • Game Sites should have an ethics policy which is easy to find and which clearly lays out policies regarding journalistic standards.

  • Game sites should post a complete renunciation of the claim that Gamergate was "based in misogyny and harassment".

  • Cut off all ties with Silverstring media as well as Patreon support for those who work with/use it.

  • Force the removal of the most egregious actors in the gaming press.

  • Game Magazines and sites need a stated, public policy regarding how they define a conflict of interest. For instance, a conflict of interest is may be defined as any romantic, sexual, or platonic relationship; additionally, any economic relationships through services such as Patreon or Kickstarter.

  • Censorship is not acceptable. We expect to be able to discuss our grievances with your websites openly, so long as the conversation is polite and respectful.

  • All news articles must meet the Ms. Walters standards- at MINIMUM two reasonably unbiased sources, with at least one from both sides, must be present. If two sources cannot be found, this must be clearly stated in the article.

  • If your website believes in advocating for a political cause, be open about it.

  • Full disclosure on relationship of journalist and game developer. IE Patreon, Kick Starter, Friend, Lover, Roommate, where did you get the game, etc.

This is by no means a comprehensive list.

Reality vs. Fantasy

A lot of the objectives, demands and hopes I read are fantasy. Demands without leverage are just a form of groveling.  Only objectives that the #gamergate proponents can enforce are, in my opinion, realistic.

I’m friends with a lot of people in the gaming media. I know they’re good people. They’re also honest, trustworthy and full of integrity. They are also convinced that #gamergate is a thinly veiled front to attack women in gaming.  I think they’re wrong. Terribly wrong. But they will not be convinced otherwise. 

I’m also friends with a lot of game developers. And most of them have been horrified by what they see as the self-destruction of the enthusiast press when it comes to their relationship with their most loyal supporters.  Most game developers I’ve talked to about this issue cannot fathom why the gaming press would be attacking their own readership. 

As one fairly well known game developer said to me last week, “What’s really odd is that some of these guys forget that when Cracked or whatever gets back to their usual beat, the gaming press still has to live with these guys [the hard core gamers that make up a large % of the daily page views of these game sites]”.

What I’d like to see the gaming media do

I’m just an old game developer. So I might as well wish for it to rain donuts.   Mind you, I cringe even reading the below points because I hate preachiness and anything that seems coercive. That said, I think the below points would be helpful to them.

  1. Professionalism. Create a policy based on the Society of Professional Journalists. Have your writers and freelancers read it and sign it before accepting work from them. This would cover disclosures of excessive personal or financial relationships between the writer and the subject.
  2. Transparency and Fairness. Create a mission statement for your site and put it in the about area. This would be useful both for readers and those who would submit content to your magazine/site.
  3. Self-Enforcement. Encourage your editors to be on the look out for writers who are trying to pass their political agenda as “news”. Don’t let your platform be used to advocate some cause that deviates from the general mission of site.
  4. House Cleaning. Discourage or eliminate moderators/editors who allow personal political biases to determine what topics are allowed on your forums/website. (For example if you have a policy against topics that might encourage “harassment of game developers” then make sure it’s enforced equally and not just game developers who you politically agree with.)

What I’d like to see #Gamergate do

  1. Vigilance. Support and encourage those maintaining vigilance, providing constructive criticism and doing due diligence on how games are covered.
  2. Resistance. Continue to resist those who would wrongly believe inclusion means one group has to “die”. This means using various channels to disseminate information.  Don’t allow your hobby to be turned into “Hobby+”
  3. Inclusiveness. Vigorously discourage any repeat of the August 28 “Gamers are dead” series of articles by vigorously reminding the media that you’re not going anywhere. Gamers want everyone to play games. Support journalists who support actual inclusiveness – you want more people playing games not just “the correct” people.
  4. Support. Actively support and defend those who are being marginalized for purely political reasons.

 

Natural Allies

As a reminder: The gaming media’s natural purpose is to be the advocate of the gamer. The media is supposed to be the watchdog making sure we game developers aren’t screwing over gamers. I feel like we’re in this bizarro situation where the game developers are the ones having to defend gamers from the media. It’s backwards. Stop it.

Gamers, by definition, want to play games. They want games to be reviewed based on how fun the reviewer thinks the game will be to their audience. They don’t care what the reviewer’s personal political hang ups are. Game sites aren't supposed to be a therapy couch for narcissism.  I have lots of opinions on life too but I don’t inject them into my games. Maybe it’s easier for me to keep my whacko views out of my games because the financial punishment would be swift and unmistakable. Either way, knock it off. 

What’s next

I don’t think #gamergate will be going away any time soon.  Given the general unpleasantness of the whole affair, I think editors and journalists in general will be more self-aware of their relationships and take more care in what gets published in the future.  Only time will tell.

Locked Post 20 Replies
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 30, 2014 1:27:14 AM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Excellent piece Brad.  The Jack Thompson example is a great one to bring up as it highlights the disparity between their actions then wrt violence in medium and their actions now wrt sexism in the medium, which coincidentally many of them have links to.  The steam curators thing which was implemented recently is very illuminating for how gamers trust certain youtubers or personalties to critique games with Totalbiscuit having 230K followers to Kotakus 28K.  A single individual who is open about his biases and potential conflicts of interest who produces content for his customers - gamers - is trusted so much more than a site that smears gamers in order to drive clicks for their customers - the advertisers.

Gamers are a vocal group - often this is bad, but in many ways it can be good.  We try to hold devs and publishers to account for bad ports, lacklustre sequels, uninspired gameplay etc.  I hope we maintain the vigil here too, rewarding the media that plays ball, and support the developers that speak out for us too.  Some publishers no doubt make good use of unethical media, but I'm sure many (more?) are just as miffed as gamers as nepotism and money speaks louder than good games with them.  Cleaning house of the dodgy middlemen (not the good ones) screwing us over is good for gamers and developers.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 30, 2014 8:59:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gamingmedia attacking their MOST loyal supporters, the hardcore/serious gamer, is fantastic!

It will mean that the hardcore/serious gamer will STOP reading the corrupted gamingmedia which will suffer and may die. It's rightful retribution for those editors who allowed the "Gamers are dead!" articles.

 

In the end, the hardcore/serious gamer will go to Let's Plays and trusted community figures like The Cynical Brit and Angry Joe.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 30, 2014 9:23:24 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

You should add opposition to misogyny to this.   Don't let the trolls hijack things, they're good at this.

 

The reason those game journos believe this, is because that is also happening.   I think it's necessary to disown those folks as part of the message given how they're being used as a hammer against the legitimate complaints.

 

Ultimately though, the journos are the low-hanging fruit- if gamers really want to make change, they have to follow the money- and attack the devs that do shady things.  If they try to punish reviewers for their review scores, don't buy their game (or at least wait for a Steam Sale so they're punished some)   Tom Chick has been punished by certain developers/publishers for his review scores.

 

The downside to this is often game companies get the wrong message when their games don't sell, they'll blame piracy. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 30, 2014 11:22:34 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

The solution is simple. Just boycott the publications that trash their readership. Hitting them financially is the only way to motivate change

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 30, 2014 4:04:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For crowd-based platforms to replace journalists. Power to the people!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 30, 2014 9:38:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Never heard of #gamersgate until now...

However, I have a decent enough reason: I've given up on anything truthful/honest coming from game reviewers and journalists a long time ago. Any bad review and developers cut them off from future prerelease reviews.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 1, 2014 8:29:22 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Me neither. But careful, this is not GamersGate (the on-line store), this is #Gamergate.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 1, 2014 9:51:15 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting hedetet,

For crowd-based platforms to replace journalists. Power to the people!

Yeah, cause this wouldn't be a disaster.  

Just look at how the metacritic brigades descend upon any site that gives a poor review to the flavor of the month game.  Imagine some large official version of a crowd-based system, rather than just an aggregate site with a larger readership.  It'd be nothing but a targeting system for 15 year old anger over the lack of validation of their favorite games.  

In reality we have "power to the people" already.  It's places like this, and the comments/forums sections of our other favorite game communities.  It's the smaller sub-reddits on games (as opposed to /r/gaming, which is a cesspool) for example.  There are plenty of places to find like-minded people and get their opinions of games as a substitute to the fact that the gaming media largely sucks.  I haven't read a game review as a decision point in years.  I read them for entertainment or as marketing puff pieces for games I'm excited about.  

If I want an actual opinion on a game, I go to places other than any of the big review sites. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 1, 2014 10:30:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kantok,


Quoting hedetet,

For crowd-based platforms to replace journalists. Power to the people!



Yeah, cause this wouldn't be a disaster.  

Just look at how the metacritic brigades descend upon any site that gives a poor review to the flavor of the month game.  Imagine some large official version of a crowd-based system, rather than just an aggregate site with a larger readership.  It'd be nothing but a targeting system for 15 year old anger over the lack of validation of their favorite games.  

In reality we have "power to the people" already.  It's places like this, and the comments/forums sections of our other favorite game communities.  It's the smaller sub-reddits on games (as opposed to /r/gaming, which is a cesspool) for example.  There are plenty of places to find like-minded people and get their opinions of games as a substitute to the fact that the gaming media largely sucks.  I haven't read a game review as a decision point in years.  I read them for entertainment or as marketing puff pieces for games I'm excited about.  

If I want an actual opinion on a game, I go to places other than any of the big review sites. 

 

I agree that seeking the opinion of like-minded people is what people want in essence. So why not, for instance, correlate user reviews on Steam with their game library and bring those who are close to yours to the fore? Not everyone has the time or desire to crawl through forums and learn what each user is like, if they overstate / understate things, etc.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 1, 2014 11:55:43 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting hedetet,

I agree that seeking the opinion of like-minded people is what people want in essence. So why not, for instance, correlate user reviews on Steam with their game library and bring those who are close to yours to the fore? Not everyone has the time or desire to crawl through forums and learn what each user is like, if they overstate / understate things, etc.

NVM,.. I misread your response.  I'm a dope. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 2, 2014 9:06:27 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Actually no sir that is incorrect.  With all due respect there is a method to the madness with these people in the industry.  Very big changes are coming soon. The Journos stated gamers are dead for a reason even if that reason is an utter fallacy.  I know this all seems absolutely crazy and in so many ways it is but if the corruption scandal had not happened things would inevitably have turned out much worse for us much later.

 

If anyone is still confused about the actions of anti-GamerGate versus #GamerGate then read this (blogged) public report by TFYC on the state of the indie games industry.  It's simple enough so anyone can understand.  For the rest, well, connect the dots.  Only way this can be fixed is with a business solution.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 2, 2014 10:23:05 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

I think a lot of gamers are going to die in the zombie apocolypse.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 3, 2014 1:02:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's amazing seeing how similar the trolls are on both sides.

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 3, 2014 8:59:24 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Gamers would know to do headshots, etc.  They'll be the next ones that survive the zombie apocalypse right behind survivalists.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 8, 2014 5:08:00 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting Ralph_Monk,

If anyone is still confused about the actions of anti-GamerGate versus #GamerGate then read this (blogged) public report by TFYC on the state of the indie games industry.  It's simple enough so anyone can understand.  For the rest, well, connect the dots.  Only way this can be fixed is with a business solution.

First off, let me say I am completely anti-media (social or otherwise).  I don't watch the news on TV and I rarely read any news online.  Too much of the media in my mind are just mindless talking heads that don't understand what they are talking about.  Sorry if that offends anyone in the said media.  The last time I kept up on any sort of gaming "thing" was the original Jack Thompson mess.

So, with that said, I had no idea what this #GamerGate thing was before Brad posted about it and I'm still not certain I'm 100% clear on what the issue is.  But from what I can tell it seems both sides are out of touch with reality.  With that said, here's my take on what I see.

Addressing the link you provided in my quote.  I agree, his article was simple and I understand what he was getting at.  To that end, I appreciate the link as most of the ones I've seen are so overflowing with mindless ranting and hyperbole I don't know what to make of it.  However, assuming his post matches up with what everyone feels, I'm left with the impression that he's just out of touch with reality.  Let me break down what I see as the points of interest in this debate from what I understand.

Point: All developers are sexist pigs as evidenced by the way women are portrayed in video games.

Counterpoint:  There's a old statement we are probably all aware of.  Sex sells.  Regardless if it's accurate or not, most people believe that "gamers" are almost entirely young males.  Most young males (hell, most males in general) like looking at attractive women and probably fantasize about them wearing revealing outfits.  I don't know many guys (although I'm sure they exist) that fantasize about overweight older woman.  It applies to the opposite sex as well, even though they may not want to admit it and admittedly maybe not a strongly.  However, I guarantee you if they had a choice of playing somebody that looked like Tom Cruise or me, they are going to choose Tom Cruise.  Therefore if you're making a product that has people in it, you are going to make it have people that your customers want to look at.  What annoys me about this aspect of the debate is it's not like this is limited to gaming.  How many AAA movies can you name that had a non-attractive female lead, especially action movies.  Or, how many AAA movies can you name with attractive female leads that didn't feature them wearing a tight and/or revealing outfit?  If they are opposed to this as a whole, great, more power to them.  But don't single out game developers, especially not the smaller ones who are just trying to make a living.

Point:  No controls/filters will result in the market being flooded with sub-par games which will destroy the gaming industry.

Counterpoint:  The article you linked to is the first I saw (in my admittedly limited investigation that seemed to focus on this.  Before I address this point, let me say I started my technical career as a programmer and I still have friends and family involved in software development with both big and small companies so I can see their side of the concern here.  But this is not limited to games.  A good comparison to what Steam is doing would be the Apple App Store vs Android Market.  Apple has strict control over their store which I've heard no shortage of complaints about, especially from the smaller developer side.  "They make it impossible to get your content on the store".  I get that hurts you as a developer and makes it hard for you to make a living.  Most Android fans are quite proud of their open market and how many apps are on it.  However, lets be honest, the Android market is flooded with useless, buggy applications that often makes it hard to find what you're actually looking for.  When the choice is completely open like the Android market or closed with controls like Apple, I'm sorry, I prefer Apple's solution.  It's a lose/lose for Steam at this point, people are going to be unhappy either way.  You're just changing who's unhappy at you.

Point:  The destruction of journalism will result in the destruction of the gaming industry.

Counterpoint: This seems to be the primary focus.  That the journalism is becoming irrelevant either due to corruption or due to a market that's over saturated with poor quality content which prevents them from providing relevant content and it's going to destroy the gaming industry.  That's just an unbelievable amount of arrogance on the journalist side and that's my major problem with most people in the media (not just gaming).  But I digress.  Back in the day, I subscribed to PC Gamer, I had a GameSpy account and read them religiously.    You know what?  I don't any more and haven't for years.  Why?  Not because they didn't review the games I was interested in.  Not because I felt they were biased.  I cancelled them because I felt the reviews being done were of ever decreasing quality and being done by people who weren't really interested in the game they were reviewing and often not really knowing how to play it.  Here's my criteria for choosing to buy a game these days:

Do I have Money?  If yes, is it a type of game I'll probably enjoy playing (namely strategy)?  If yes, does it have at least a half decent metacritic score?  If yes, I'll probably buy it.  If no, I'm going to look at the reviews and see why it's low and base my determination on that.  If it's being made by a developer on the short list of ones I'll trust, I'll probably try it regardless.  

I haven't checked a GameSpy or PC Gamer review of a game in probably 5 years at this point.  The Gaming Press could disappear tomorrow and it wouldn't effect me in the slightest.  I might express my sympathy to the people who lost their jobs but honestly it had zero effect on my life.  I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but that's the way I feel about it.  Advertising does far more to promote sales than reviews IMO.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 9, 2014 4:55:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting XavierMace,

I haven't checked a GameSpy or PC Gamer review of a game in probably 5 years at this point.  The Gaming Press could disappear tomorrow and it wouldn't effect me in the slightest.  I might express my sympathy to the people who lost their jobs but honestly it had zero effect on my life.  I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but that's the way I feel about it.  Advertising does far more to promote sales than reviews IMO.

Not quite true IMO. Let's say this was more of a mainstream press that you didn't bother to follow, most people might think because they don't read it then it has no effect on you. What if that press started adding cultist manifestos in their OP Eds every day, and within a year, both your neighbors joined these cults and constantly berated you for not joining their cult, would you say it effected you then? These sites are not going to disappear and our only hope is to reform them.

 

EDIT> BTW, shameless plug


http://steamcommunity.com/groups/GamerGaters ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 10, 2014 4:19:42 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Might get sued by GamersGate.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 11, 2014 12:23:47 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Quoting myfist0,

Not quite true IMO. Let's say this was more of a mainstream press that you didn't bother to follow, most people might think because they don't read it then it has no effect on you. What if that press started adding cultist manifestos in their OP Eds every day, and within a year, both your neighbors joined these cults and constantly berated you for not joining their cult, would you say it effected you then? These sites are not going to disappear and our only hope is to reform them.

I would punch them in the face for not shutting up.  Problem solved.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
October 15, 2014 8:44:16 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

So Kotaku has put out a new article now saying gamergate is dead because of the new hashtag #stopgamergate.

As usual the article is misleading and implying that the majority of gamergate is about death threats and hating women.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108432  walnut2   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0001484   Page Render Time:
Facebook Twitter YouTube Google+