Monday, November 10, 2014

#Gamergate: Not Another False Narrative


NOTE: There are already a number of comprehensive timelines and other compendiums of Gamergate-related activity which can be found elsewhere, and so I am not going to review or discuss all of that at great length here, as it would detract unnecessarily from the central focuses of this piece.

Want to know who “wins” Gamergate?

Don’t we all?

I have the answer in a tightly sealed envelope inside of a box wrapped with duct tape and secured with heavy-duty nylon twine. But, since I know that a few of you skim through my posts too quickly, I’m going to hide the answer below somewhere, and everyone can find it for themselves (or find that they already had it themselves!).

Here are some hints, or maybe some red herrings. False narratives abound in this story. From the perspective of the “mainstream media,” the gamers are on the mat, being counted out. However, they are not dead, or even unconscious; they’re just planning their next move. Think of what motivates them: “those games!” You play, you lose, you play again, you lose again. Each time you start the game up, you know something you didn’t know before, you refine your strategy, and you avoid the pitfalls you fell into last time. A setback doesn’t discourage a gamer, it drives them on (most of the time).

But, who are the Gamergaters? For that matter, who are the Social Justice Warriors? Neither group has a headquarters or elected leaders, or even a P.O. Box (that I know of). There are people who proudly claim each label, and yet do things to hurt their nominal cause, and there are those who clearly side with each label while denying the affiliation. That’s part of the problem here, methinks. There is an old saying that goes: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” We are seeing a lot of that right now.

To the people of goodwill on both sides, I say: Press on to Victory!

Section I: How Do Anti-Gamergaters (and by Extension, SJWs) Operate?

For the sake of not being repetitive, I’ll refer to those that are Anti-Gamergaters as SJWs after this point, as I have in prior posts (although, as I’ll explain later, it’s a bit more complex than that).

We’ve seen repeatedly that SJWs do not much believe in compromise. All of their victories are followed by a charge to a new point of conflict, and while SJWs don’t overlap with “hardcore” gamers for the most part, they share a lot of common attributes, such as the persistence that I mentioned earlier. They take no prisoners, give no quarter, and they often do their fighting with a smile (but don’t let that fool you!).

They operate surreptitiously. They’ve infiltrated academia, the mainstream media, and even elected office by their involvement in special interest groups. Some of them think of themselves as Feminists, some of them think of themselves as progressives, and as I said above, some of them reject these labels and all labels. This denial is a useful strategy, and where it can be pulled off, an effective one. It is also not unique to SJWs by any means.

I’ve already seen a few who deny being Gamergaters, but who go on to express all of their goals. There are MRAs and MGTOWs (not as a majority) among Gamergate just as there are Feminists among SJWs. There are several actors involved in this drama, all with their own objectives, some of which coincide with the majority, and others which drive many away from the chief purposes (co-opting is rampant as well), and there are also countless black-and-white thinkers in the mix, only seeing the world in two shades, attempting to force their false dichotomies as the only tenable avenues to pursue, refusing to delve into complex or nuanced critical evaluation. They come any time there’s a debate on the internet, and they never cease to be a problem.

Our world of thought, however, cannot be reduced to a primitive and one-dimensional model of “left and right.” Each issue and sub-issue can be perceived as being at right angles to all the rest in a universe of nearly infinite dimensions, impossible to draw, impossible to describe in simple terms. Out there somewhere right now, in fact, is no doubt a hardcore SJW gamer wondering: “Where do I fit in? What are my priorities?”

Take that as another hint.

Section II: The False Narrative and How SJWs (and/or Others) Have Employed It

A false narrative is defined in its simplest form as an incomplete or deceptive storyline or presentation of events and information which does not accurately or wholly depict the reality of a story and all of its relevant components and particulars.

Such narratives are not always entirely false, and may often weave in some level of truth to support or explain a position or positions, but they will never display all of the facts that are related. The purpose is to deceive, to convince some target or audience that the presented ideas and details are complete, true and consistent, and therefore represent reality.

It should be remembered, though, that in deceiving others, we can inadvertently deceive ourselves. Eventually, even those who set out to mislead may themselves become pawns in their own false narrative. True believers.

For the creators of a false narrative, any concession that their tale is incomplete or inaccurate in any way must be avoided at all costs, for if this were to happen, the entire storyline might unravel. While attempting the deception, or ultimately while falling victim to it, the supporters of the narrative must undermine any information which contradicts it.

Those interested in misleading will latch on to any information that they believe will confirm the biases of their target audience (or prey on its ignorance). In the case of Gamergate, with SJWs (and others), this has involved keeping the focus on harassment and threats (whether real or not) aimed at women. They know from prior experiences that this tactic is effective, and due to the nature of both the internet and online debates (and possibly with the help of some underhanded efforts), they know that they will likely have either naturally occurring or forged threats and harassment to work with as “proof” for their claims.

Because the internet and all events therein move so quickly, conditioning its users with ever shorter attention spans (are you even still reading?), those who forge false narratives are able to continuously shift the goal posts from event to event and person to person in order to draw their opponents away from their (the opponents’) primary objectives and previous concerns. Even when this technique is not entirely successful, it still serves to blunt the opposition’s effectiveness if only by sidetracking significant numbers. Those not drawn into an argument over one example of harassment may well be drawn into, or by, another.

For instance, when Gamergaters want to focus on ethics in journalism, Anita Sarkeesian receives death threats which draw the attention of many from the original Gamergater objective. The story is then further shifted to a contest over who is to blame for the threats, or whether or not they are even real, or if they even actually matter.

Those easily deceived scurry about, checking with the police and FBI, arguing amongst themselves over what to do about the threats, and soon forget their original purpose entirely (or at least long enough for the opposition to begin its responses, mockery [1] and cherry-picking). This lapse in focus creates a secondary false narrative that they (Gamergaters) were not interested in journalistic ethics at all, but rather, that it was all about excluding women from gaming to begin with.

Gamergaters have fallen into this sort of trap in numerous other ways as well: bothering to fight over relatively inconsequential diversionary issues manufactured by SJWs (kicking field goals as they slide things around), responding repeatedly to any and every line of petty attacks on their objectives (stemming from the many new false narratives that appear each day and week). Enormous amounts of energy and time are shifted into these efforts to the point where, for many Gamergaters, the original concern is lost from memory almost entirely in the short-term sense, or a few grow increasingly demoralized at their apparent lack of progress and all of the continuous and obstructive PR (and other) setbacks.

On October 16, 2014, an anti-bullying fundraising effort created by Lo Ping kept the distraction going, and shortly after (within roughly one to three days), two people supportive of Gamergate (Milo Yiannopoulous and Mike Cernovich) were anointed the “anti-bullying heroes of Gamergate who used to bully” by the Anti-Gamergate crowd, in spite of the thousands that Gamergaters had raised for anti-bullying organizations.

The goal posts were then shifted once more as Gamergaters began to respond to the attacks targeting Milo and Mike (thereby derailing from the original purpose related to overall ethics in journalism even further), which in turn led the SJWs to respond to that, which resulted in Gamergaters, again, following along. That kept the focus on individuals instead of ideas and chief concerns. All the while, the bigger players against Gamergate in the media ignored most of this and continued to push the original Anti-Gamergate narrative (women, misogyny, women).

In addition, Leigh Alexander, Brianna Wu and others who are not that significant incessantly vie for the spotlight, constantly shifting the focus away from what is truly important (because they know that people will take the bait). Does anyone at this point remember what the original issue was? Collusion? Corruption? Ethics? Harassment? Threats? Dead gamers?

It is difficult to ignore the fact that key players are profiting greatly from all of this confusion, and it is hard to call a group, in large, “bullies” when they are raising thousands for anti-bullying. But, the SJWs need not be concerned with intellectual honesty or acknowledging information detrimental to their sordid spin and specious tales.

They merely ignore those facts (almost) entirely and shift the story at every turn, attempting to portray the whole of such efforts as some sort of trick if they bother to acknowledge them at all, either by making a few of the “anti-bullies” into awful bullies themselves (presenting them as “leaders”), or by forcing responses to their nonsense to constantly shove people off focus. Knowing that the complete story will undermine their false narrative, they shift and shift again, always keeping the media, and notably not just the gaming media, on their side.

So, to summarize, the false narrative consists of:

1) Inaccurate information: Who is responsible for anything bad? Gamergaters.

2) Incomplete information: Are Gamergaters bullies? Yes. The people threatening Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian are Gamergaters (association fallacy and false generalization). Their two “anti-bullying heroes” have bullied in the past. Ignore the anti-bullying charity, ignore that there is little or no evidence to link many things to the majority of Gamergaters, ignore the fallacies required to argue several of the ties, and so forth.

3) Or, they must wrongly (and one-sidedly) evaluate and assess details: This ties in to the second one above; they are fundamentally associated. Use superior media platforms to drive the erroneous storyline, and suppress dissent with mass reporting or hyper-focus on anything negative, with little to no acknowledgement of anything positive (unless it is being twisted to fit the false narratives).

Section III: Gamers, the True “Victims”?

I’ve outlined above why gamers (and it has been suggested that they refer to themselves that way, rather than continue the Gamergaters terminology which has presently been rendered fairly toxic) are seemingly at a disadvantage now in a lot of ways. Like the British during the American Revolution, the gamers thought they were coming to a “fair” fight where everyone lines up and shoots their muskets at those lined up on the other side, but they found that the rules of engagement have been unilaterally changed to a guerrilla war. And, as much as gamers would like to think that they are good at guerrilla war, they are not. At least, not now, and not with the overwhelming media spin that they currently face (though they have made some progress in the way of persuading a few advertisers to withdraw their support from various outlets, so they're getting better).

But, I’ve had you on a bit with my own narrative here. Not false, but oversimplified, using the existing terminology and the existing players’ names. This has never merely been about gamers versus definable “SJWs,” or any specific individuals. It is far more complicated than that. We know at least one other player is gaming journalism, then there is the mainstream media (a much larger “collective” with their own agendas, as we’ve seen), and what about those large companies that create the games? Are their interests perfectly aligned with gamers? With gaming journalists? With SJWs? What about stockholders?

I did quite a bit of research into the gaming media companies, including a couple of conglomerates that control it all. [2] They are, in fact, at the heart of this problem, and they are the true villains in this story (if any villains must be named). What is most important here, however, is not whether those companies are the “villains” or not, but rather, if they are even going to be around a few years from now at all, which I am fairly convinced that they will not be. Or, at least, they will not exist as they are in their present forms.

I will summarize here what many people do not appear to realize, and that is the extent to which printed media has had to downsize. [3] As they have downsized, they have attempted to preserve themselves in the form of online publications, and even in that effort, they are failing. [4:6] It is not just the gaming media, of course. Newspapers have shrunk and disappeared, as have magazines. [5] They go online, coexist with the printed version for a while, then the printed version closes, then the online version closes, is resurrected, and closes again (check the history of Newsweek [7] for a good example).

The gaming media is no exception to this, excluding the fact that it was fairly small to begin with [8], all things considered (and has less far to fall).

If I were to try and represent the gaming media in all of this, I would simply say: “You won’t have us to kick around for much longer.” They lose. They were losing before Gamergate began. I think a case could be made for the notion that if the gaming media were far stronger than it is today, their ethical standards would be far higher too. No unpaid writers would mean that more of them would be more careful about losing their jobs. [9] It will be a bumpy ride down, but down it will be.

SJWs will chalk up a victory for being in the New York Times and on many television networks. They were either brilliant in planning all of this and tricking the Thunderf00ts of the internet into propelling them along, or they were just fortunate. When it comes down to it, though, I don’t think that they care that much about games.

Anita Sarkeesian benefited greatly from all of the gamers, and others, who just couldn’t stand that she received so much money so quickly for her Kickstarter project. In other news, someone is building the world’s most sophisticated cooler. [10] Perhaps the same people that helped Anita should assist the Super-Cooler project by calling them liars and whores. The world could use a better cooler.

But, SJWs as a whole will move on to other things—that’s what they do—and Anita will go on to finish the rest of her videos, and if we can all agree to ignore her nonsense as we should have all along, she and her work will eventually vanish quickly and painlessly into the night.

Game production companies will win, as will their stockholders because of computer gaming, and all of the technologies surrounding it such as 3D goggles, motion detection, and probably things like the Holodeck, aren’t going anywhere but up. [11] The transistor and the integrated circuit and all of the gadgets that have been spawned, and the software that runs them, are still the greatest things ever invented (until nanotechnology or artificial intelligence or something we can’t begin to truly foresee surpasses them).

Oh, and gamers? They win. In fact, they cannot possibly have lost, and they will not lose. They buy the games, they pick the games they wish to buy, they don’t trust or follow critics who give glowing reviews to garbage, they play the games they want to play, and unless the game development companies are idiots, they will keep catering to the desires of their primary consumers, or they will fail. It really is too bad that such a small percentage of gamers were able to get so many of their fellow gamers upset over something that will have almost no impact on them in the long run. Maybe next time those people will not be paid so much attention to.

Which leads me to:

Section IV: How to Improve the Discourse and Avoid Another “Gate”

For the remainder of its existence, and to prolong that, gaming journalism needs to clean up its act. However, it is nobody’s loss but their own if they don’t. By not doing so, they merely hasten the approach of the day when no one is paying any attention to them anymore. And, gamers needn’t gloat, for this was going to happen anyway.

Nevertheless, if people want to help the dead and dying along, give them a push and don’t read their content. There are plenty of independent writers who do game reviews for Patreon donations, and they probably spend a lot more time on their reviews anyway, and a lot less time having cocktails with corporate marketing people, or in alternate cases, sleeping with their nigh-irrelevant industry contemporaries (other nobodies).

Also, gamers need to not fall for this sort of thing again. Whether the SJWs or some Anti-Feminists or actual gamer trolls reeled you all into this immense waste of time, or whether they both created and believed their own false narratives, it doesn’t really matter. Think for yourself, and don’t be suckered into a Holy War by one of your own any more than you would be fooled into sending all of your money to some televangelist preacher. Any time an entire organization with some specific mission devotes a significant portion of its time to going after one individual to discredit them, they have ulterior motives, which probably involve your wallet. Get your heads back into your gears and play. Whatever the distraction is will pass, and it will pass more quickly to whatever extent you can ignore it (i.e., don’t stare at the clock waiting).

If you do get into some sort of confrontation with others online, be civil and approach things rationally. No matter how much you disagree with one another, make an effort to reason your differences out, and failing that, agree to disagree, but maintain what you believe to be true (with the utmost intellectual honesty and impartiality). Attempting to harass or discredit any one opponent, or to chase them off of the internet, only makes you look bad, and the internet has a long memory for such tactics.

Ridicule is not king; ridicule leads to circle-jerks. Civil and reasonable discourse is king.

Do not focus on people or singular events for too long. Focus on ideas and concepts. Events and the relevance of certain figures or actors in nearly all debates are fleeting in terms of public interest, particularly on the internet. The underlying problems will not go away until the whole thing is resolved, and it cannot be ended until the basic and fundamental issues are addressed and concluded in full.

Be civil, but do not compromise your intellectual integrity. Be aggressive, but do not partake in hysterics and superfluous drama. Maintain your values and core objectives, but do not refuse reasonable (keyword: reasonable) olive branches when they do float your way.

Extend the same fairness to your enemies as you do your allies, and scrutinize everyone equally. This does not mean engage in constant or petty infighting, but rather, it means that all things, in all cases, should be viewed with the same level of objectivity and rational skepticism.

Be careful not to put too much faith in your own narrative until it has stood the test of time, and even then, be prepared to re-examine it in the light of new information. Confirmation bias is one of the hardest things to prevent in oneself, and it requires constant checking and self-awareness.

What must be realized now is that “winning” is not simply prevailing in an argument so much as it is helping others, and having them help you, in coming closer to the truth.

Focus on what is fundamental. Always tie individual or isolated incidents to larger and more important concepts, and center all efforts and concerns on those issues instead of dwelling on each singular case.

Be persistent. Be civil. Be reasonable. Be fair.

Wait out the storm, and do not capitulate to despair.

Do all of that with an open mind, and victory can and will be had in time.

Author: Krista [Femitheist Divine]

P.S. As others have recommended elsewhere, and to go along with my suggestions above for helping the dead and dying along, collect evidence and send emails to advertisers about sites that have unethical or anti-consumer practices. This is one of the most effective methods for fighting back (hitting them where it hurts most), and it is also conducive to avoiding a great deal of the petty drama that comes with many online debates (which is great for those who do not enjoy that sort of thing). One list of some advertisers (and more) can be found here. And, for further information, click here (see Operation Disrespectful Nod, Operation UV and Operation Baby Seal).

NOTE II: I began writing this shortly after my second post back in the middle of October, but because I had a great deal to do following that, I was only able to finish it now. I saw, as I was working on this, articles appearing in a few places which made similar points to what I had already been writing, and so I changed my focus a bit (but the end result was still highly similar).

NOTE III: I do not presume to speak for anyone other than myself with this; I can only do my best in contributing what I believe might assist or help others in some way when I have identified an ongoing and seemingly prevalent problem, or set of problems.

NOTE IV: This is part three of three posts that I have written related to this topic. Feel free to leave your thoughts on all of these issues in the comments below. And, as my comments policy states, any replies containing threats against specific individuals, or the personal information of individuals who do not already publicize the information online themselves, will be removed.

NOTE V: A decent list of some suggestions for Gamergaters can be found here. Below are a couple of items from that list which I found to be useful, or at least fairly relevant to what I’ve stated above. I do not agree with every bit of it, and so I will only include the ones that I feel are valuable (with only their useful portions). Anything not quoted I either didn’t like, would word differently myself, or felt wasn’t relevant enough to this post to be included (e.g., the Reddit-specific ones).

- “Stop apologizing or making excuses for trolls. I don't care if Felicia Day thinks anyone in a Triforce t-shirt might be the reincarnation of Ted Bundy... she's stupid to think that and you don't need to assume responsibility for it. Condemn them, report, block, and move on.”

- “Stop taunting, engaging with, or debating with Wu, Quinn, or Sarkeesian. You're only helping feed their narrative.” (Focus on ideas and underlying, pervasive problems, not fleeting figures and singular events.)

- “Stop calling this a ‘movement.’ It's a consumer revolt. Movements are always easier to misrepresent and attack. Consumer Revolts are capitalism doing its job, especially when the Supplier is calling their consumers ‘shitlords.’”

And, recently, Milo had some thoughts/advice for Gamergaters as well, which can be seen here.

NOTE VI: Final thoughts that I didn’t want to include in the above.

The internet, unless stopped by some powerful government agency with ulterior motives, will trim the sails of a lot of companies and industries yet. Publishing, education, medicine, and many other things can all be done better, and more efficiently, by smaller groups online and elsewhere, including individuals working without big office buildings (or any office buildings), or the “help” of so many “middlemen.”

In this same way, the media conglomerates (mentioned above and partially listed below) with their hands in the gaming industry will spin down just as rapidly as they spun up, and along with that, the nature of game development will become more “democratized” over time as well.

The most commonly used computer operating system now is not Windows or the Apple OS, but variations on Unix (Linux being only one) that are developed around the world by people who, in many cases, have never actually met one another in person. Microsoft, Apple, Google and other companies can consume bits and pieces of those various small efforts, but they can’t stop them (nor should they try), just as universities will not forever be able to stop quality educational materials from reaching anyone with an internet connection.

In other words, and despite what people might think now, the users of Gamergate don’t need the big conglomerates. To these companies, I say your day is already over, and if you don’t realize it yet, you simply aren't paying attention. Do a search for any hardware device, software component, or any consumer product of any kind, and you are just as likely to find the answer in a YouTube presentation, by a user of such products, as you are to find it on a company website or in a consumer magazine.

Gamergate may fade, and let’s hope that the need for it does, but the spirit which says that users must come first is here to stay, and if big companies won’t give users what they want, users will develop it through their own means. That includes product tutorials, product reviews and even the products themselves. Or, they will take their business elsewhere.

The efforts of these SJWs will most likely only result in many of them “in the industry” pursuing their own privately (or self) funded indie development projects; the probability of them having a major impact in the gaming industry, given its nature, is minimal at best. And, if they do end up creating some sort of change, either those who listen will suffer the consequences of producing poor content, or there will be changes that won’t be so bad, and people might even enjoy or prefer a few of them, in which case, no one will have truly lost anything (or much) anyway.

In reality, the “gaming wars” are already over, and gamers have already won.

It is only a matter of time before everyone knows it.

References (Last Accessed on November 10, 2014):

[1] Mockery as a Weapon

[2] The links below cover just a portion of the downsizing of media companies that play (or have played) a role in gaming media. There are many more things of this nature taking place beyond these examples.

[3] Print Media Downsizing on a Massive Scale

[4] Newsweek – Just an Example of Mainstream Media's Downward Spiral (No Particular Order)

[5] Other All-Digital Moves (Note the section on futility.)

[6] Can Magazines Make the All-Digital Leap? (Early exits help survivors last longer.)

[7] Histories of Newsweek

[8] Media Spending

[9] Ethics in Journalism

[10] The Coolest Cooler

[11] Future Gadgets

Other Items Mentioned (or Relevant to the Above):

Gamergate Index
Soon to be:

Lo Ping's Fundraising Effort

Related to the Charity

The Start Date of Lo Ping's Fundraising Effort

A Couple Days after That Appeared, This Began (the Timing Is What's Important)

Interesting, isn't it. Gamergaters begin raising funds for anti-bullying, and suddenly, people are attacking the supposed “heroes of Gamergate anti-bullying” just a day or two after.

Then, instead of actually addressing the valid concerns of Gamergaters, the SJW crowd hopes to undermine their message entirely by simply mocking the basic line and conflating it with others “memes”:

All of this coincides with the forging of their (Anti-GGs) false narrative; rather than respond in a meaningful way to any valid concerns, they shift the goal posts, mostly ignore all positive efforts, and derail the conversation, or undermine the reasonable people by simply mocking a commonly repeated phrase, thereby attempting to dismiss all of the serious Pro-GG arguments by discrediting a fundamental idea and objective held by Gamergaters (which is much bigger than them, existed in some ways even before Gamergate, and is tremendously important).

(Supplementary Items – Notes on Gaming for Those Interested):

***Top Developers (Publishers) by This List:

Other lists have other orders, and also include other names; this list is meant to be representative, not all-inclusive. The information is either taken from company websites or Wikipedia when the former proved difficult to navigate.

(1) Headquartered in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is a leading developer, marketer and publisher of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. The Company develops and publishes products through its two wholly-owned labels Rockstar Games and 2K. Our products are designed for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, and are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. The Company’s common stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TTWO.

(2) Ubisoft is composed of over 9,200 talented people located in 28 countries across the globe. With 85% of its staff devoted to game development, Ubisoft has the 2nd largest in-house creative team in the world. The company's 29 different creative studios work hand-in-hand each day to deliver rich and innovative gaming experiences that reflect the creativity and diversity of their teams. This cross-studio collaboration model means every team member has the opportunity to participate in challenging projects based on iconic brands such as Assassin's Creed®, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon®, Driver®, Rabbids®, Rayman®, Far Cry®, Just Dance® and many more. Frome W: Ubisoft is the third-largest independent game publisher in the world, trailing Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts (EA). Ubisoft Entertainment S.A’s worldwide presence includes 29 studios in 19 countries. The company has subsidiaries in 26 countries. Ubisoft's largest development studio is Ubisoft Montreal in Canada, which employs about 2,100 people.

(3) Electronic Arts FOUNDED: 1982 OWNERSHIP: Public (Nasdaq: EA) GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS: Redwood City, California EMPLOYEES: 9,000 worldwide BACKGROUND: Electronic Arts Inc. is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. EA delivers games, content and online services for internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. TOP SELLERS In fiscal 2013, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.8 billion. EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™ and Mass Effect™ Job listings: San Francisco Bay Area - San Mateo, Los Angeles Area - Santa Monica.

(4) Nintendo is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Nintendo is the world's largest video game company by revenue. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it originally produced handmade hanafuda playing cards. Job listings: Redwood City CA, Redmond WA, NYC NY.

(5) Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Job listings: primarily Redmond WA, some game listings in Vancouver CA.

(6) W: The Sega Corporation, and usually styled as SEGA, is a Japanese multinational video game developer, publisher, and hardware development company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with multiple offices around the world. As one of the leading interactive entertainment companies, SEGA cultivates creative talent worldwide with offices in America, Japan and our European HQ in London. Job listings for legal councils in CA USA.

(7) Activision Blizzard, Inc. is the world’s largest and most profitable independent interactive entertainment publishing company. It develops and publishes some of the most successful and beloved entertainment franchises in any medium, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Skylanders, and Diablo®. Headquartered in Santa Monica California, it maintains operations throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Activision Blizzard develops and publishes games on all leading interactive platforms and its games are available in most countries around the world. Subsidiary Blizzard in Irvine CA, Austin TX, San Francisco CA. Scattered openings around the world.

(8) In addition to its core publisher operations in Japan, Bandai Namco Games publishes content worldwide through different entities. Bandai Namco Games America manages operations and handles publishing across North America and oversees operations of Bandai Namco Games Brazil, which operates and handles publishing in Brazil. Bandai Namco Games Europe manages and oversees operations and handles publishing across Europe, and has branches in France, Greece, the Nordic countries, Portugal, Spain, Germany,United Kingdom, and Romania. Bandai Namco Games Asia manages and oversees operations and handles publishing across Asia (except Japan), and has branches in Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Additionally, it operates and handles publishing in Oceania under Bandai Namco Games Australia and Bandai Namco Games New Zealand.

***Catalog of Video Game Magazines

Wikipedia list here:

Notably, the majority of these publications are no longer in business.

Of the US Magazines That Are Still around (Some, Barely):

BioGamer Girl Magazine - Fyffe, Alabama. BioGamer Girl (BGG) is a creative media company that owns several magazines and specializes in film, video, television, radio and game production. BioGamer Girl Magazine is a publication that mainly focuses on video games, but also reports on events, movies, television shows, technology, dining, dance, theater, music, books and much more.

EGM Media, LLC: Beverly Hills, CA - Electronic Gaming Monthly (often abbreviated to EGM) was a monthly American video game magazine. It has been published by EGM Media, LLC. since relaunching in April 2010. Its previous run, which ended in January 2009, was published by Ziff Davis. - lists no fixed physical address.

Nintendo Force (Nf Publishing) - Lodi CA. The all-new source for Nintendo players, straight from the pros! Nintendo Force is keeping the legacy of Power alive, built by a dream team of 16 of the world's most well-known Nintendo writers, artists and designers. The same previews, reviews and features you're used to continue here, complemented by the best of yesteryear – comics, clay models, envelope art and even a Retro section. The Power may have been unplugged, but the Force is advancing boldly into the future. Join us!

PC Gamer (Future PLC) - UK, US - At Future we share the same passions as our consumers. If you have a passion for your subject and are unafraid of hard, hectic work, we want to hear from you. We employ a little over 150 people in our offices in San Francisco & New York.

Playstation Magazine (Owned by Sony) - US: San Mateo CA, San Diego CA , Santa Monica CA.

***Game-Oriented Web Sites with Magazine-like Content

Gamasutra is a website founded in 1997 that focuses on all aspects of video game development. It is owned and operated by UBM TechWeb (formerly a part of CMP Media), a division of United Business Media, and acts as the online sister publication to the print magazine Game Developer. Marin County CA.

1up - Originally part of Ziff-Davis - shut down (See IGN).

4Player Network (podcast) - Austin Texas.

Adventure Gamers is a computer game website created in 1998 dedicated to the genre of adventure games. It publishes reviews and previews of adventure games, as well as opinion articles and interviews with game designers. - No physical address found.

The Escapist, a web page devoted to the betterment of role-playing games and the education of the public and media of their benefits to society. - Mostly defunct.

As of 17 December 2013 GameFront is currently one of the 7,000 highest-trafficked websites according to Alexa. The main focus of GameFront is to provide a download service to its users, from its Houston-based servers.

IGN (formerly Imagine Games Network) is an entertainment website founded by publishing executive Jonathan Simpson-Bint in September 1996, which focuses on video games, films, music and other media. The company is based in San Francisco, California. In 2011, IGN Entertainment acquired its rival UGO Entertainment (owners of from Hearst Corporation. Ultimately, News Corp. planned to spin off IGN Entertainment as a publicly traded company, continuing a string of divestitures for digital properties it had previously acquired (including MySpace and Photobucket). On February 4, 2013 after a failed attempt to spin off IGN as a separate company, News Corp. announced that it had sold IGN Entertainment to the publishing company Ziff Davis, which was recently acquired by J2 Global. Financial details regarding the purchase were not revealed. Prior to its acquisition by UGO, had previously been owned by Ziff Davis. Soon after the acquisition, IGN announced that it would be laying off staff and closing GameSpy,, and UGO in order to focus on its flagship brands, and AskMen. (You got all that?!)

Kotaku is a video game–focused blog and part of Gawker Media's “Gawker” network of sites. Gawker Media is a Cayman Islands-incorporated online media company and blog network, founded and owned by Nick Denton based in New York City.

New Game Network (commonly referred to as NGN) is an independent Canadian-based website that covers news, articles, previews, reviews and blogs about video games. The company has staff and freelancers from Canada, USA, Australia and UK.

Monday, October 20, 2014

#Gamergate, Conflicting Doppelgängers and Ideological Nepotism


NOTE: There are already a number of comprehensive timelines and other compendiums of Gamergate-related activity which can be found elsewhere, and so I am not going to review or discuss all of that at great length here, as it would detract unnecessarily from the central focuses of this piece.

[CONTENTS]: This post reviews articles from the following sites:
* Futrelle
- WHtM > (Pro-SJW/Anti-Gamergate/Anti-MRA)
- AVfM > (Pro-Gamergate/Anti-SJW/Anti-Feminist)
And, YouTuber “Thunderf00t”

*The content discussed is related primarily to the second and third sites, and though neither necessarily represents the majority or greater will of either side (which I identify as Gamergaters and SJWs), they and their many readers are involved in the current Gamergate debate, and several others engaged in the debate are similar to them, both in opinions, and in regard to the issues analyzed within this piece.

*In essence, the subjects evaluated and considered in this post serve simply as real world examples of greater abstract concepts. Much of what is examined below could, and does, apply to many currently involved in the Gamergate debate who are not affiliated in any way with the sources referenced here.

*Some of the link titles from the above sources were condensed or abbreviated for formatting purposes, but the full titles can still be seen on the articles referenced now.

[PURPOSES]: This piece has three or so chief focuses that relate to a greater overall point, divided into four sections (with some subsections) for the sake of structural order:

“Section I” is a review and brief analysis of an article from Gawker, published on October 10, 2014, which I feel is a fair representation of most of the Anti-Gamergate bias in the media as a whole, and of what biased reporting and/or commentary, in general, look like.

“Section II” contains comparisons of reactions to threats and the responses to threats from proponents of Gamergate, SJWs (or those against Gamergate), and a few others. One incident has happened since the Gamergate kerfuffle first began, and the other predates it.

- The first half of this section focuses on posts from and, and the second half, divided into two subjections (A/B), presents, merely for reader consideration, other articles from different outlets which relate to the overall theme, and to the two events discussed in the first half.

“Section III” is a meta-analysis of some people, events and concepts related to Gamergate and, to an extent, the larger debate beyond and surrounding Gamergate and the not-so-new “Culture War.”

“Section IV” is a summary of the primary idea or purpose/points of the post.

Section I (Gawking at Gamers):

The chief call of Gamergaters today is that journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information, and their published articles should reflect those standards. Since the beginning of what is now known as Gamergate, however, it has been seen repeatedly (and noted) that these simple notions are not the journalistic principles being adhered to by many news outlets currently.

Articles by authors, who may not have necessarily thoroughly researched the events surrounding Gamergate or the proponents of Gamergate, are being written and used to shape biased narratives against and for things by distorting facts for the sake of the operators' own personal agendas, and/or the agendas of those lobbying for their support. This is what is commonly known as constructing a false narrative.

When the intention is to forge a biased narrative for the purpose of doing something or someone harm, be it harm to a message or cause, or to an individual or group, this can mean twisting or misrepresenting details to fit a particular mold in order to create a certain story that will mislead readers against whatever the writers feel is an opposing cause, endeavor, person or collective.

A fair example of this, though there are many others which could be cited, is an article on from October 10, 2014, entitled “What Is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks.”

Click Here

This piece is structured as a Q&A session, presumably aimed at someone who is totally unaware of the issue. A subtle idea being implied throughout is that no normal person should really care to be aware of this topic at all, which is an interesting point of disdain given that Gawker’s sister site, Kotaku, is aimed at gamers.

The questions rhetorically posed by the author to himself run something like this:

1) What is #Gamergate?
2) How did Intel get itself involved?
3) Surely the gaming community is not entirely made up of misogynists and angry idiots?

The spin is definitely against Gamergate and anyone opposed to the SJW-type crowd, and it uses quotes from other Gaming-related articles and Gawker media site, Kotaku, to reinforce its narrative and points.

In this piece, writer Jay Hathaway attempted to, as the title suggests, and as I referenced above, explain Gamergate to the blissfully uninitiated. One would think, for the sakes of fairness and honesty, that the obvious approach in writing such an article would be to present the subject with the utmost neutrality, but instead, he telegraphs his bias right from the very beginning:

“Even regarded generously, Gamergate isn't much more than a tone-deaf rabble of angry obsessives with a misguided understanding of journalistic ethics.”

Journalistic ethics, is that a thing over at Gawker now? To be honest, I am not personally an aficionado on the history of the company. So, to briefly study up on the matter, let’s dig for a moment and see what can be found regarding Gawker and journalistic ethics.

Oh, here’s something:

“The ‘Hateful Eight’ legal saga dates back to January, when Tarantino sued Gawker over posting a story on its Defamer site titled ‘Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script’ with a link to a third-party website hosting the 146-page script.”

Before another Gawker site was closed down, the question was being asked if their regular menu of unsubstantiated gossip would lead someone to commit suicide:

“When Will We Have Our First Valleywag Suicide?”

Well, so much for journalistic ethics. The Gamergate crowd, young as many of them are, can be forgiven for having to be reminded that ethically-sound and commonplace standards for integrity in journalism are notable, not for the abundance of journalists who adhere to a set of fair and honest reporting principles, but for the rarity of them.

Two more cheap shots in the Gawker article are as follows:

“But its most fervent proponents are so desperate to maintain the illusion that they represent an oppressed majority (as if that makes any sense).”


“Gamergaters demand to be seen simultaneously as a 70-million-strong market force, too big for the industry to ignore, and as a persecuted minority.”

I am not certain where he acquired this 70-million figure from, but here is a source which claims that it is closer to 1.2-billion total gamers worldwide, with 700-million of them being online (and that was in 2013):

“State of Online Gaming Report”

But, let’s not quibble over or dwell on the quoting of a number that appears to be over a billion off the mark. The more important point here is that, yes, it does make sense; being persecuted and being in the, or a, minority or majority are orthogonal concepts (unless one is referring to a tug-of-war match).

Both game development companies, as well as the media entities that surround them, are controlled by only a few major players, especially in the United States. Those major players would be a minority (by definition) too, but they still hold a lot of power, and that is a large part of the problem (I will discuss this more thoroughly in a future post).

As this Gawker article illustrates, when a single company controls, as they do, eight or more publishing titles, and each of those “employ” different bloggers who can write on a wide range of topics, it is not an arduous task to orchestrate a groundswell of apparent public opinion when none, or little, truly exists (that is, if one actually goes to the public for their opinions).

“Eventually, (slightly) cooler heads prevailed, and the trolls who would soon form #Gamergate shifted their goal from destroying Zoë Quinn to something ostensibly about journalistic ethics.”

No one is arguing that there are no trolls; trolls are an unfortunate fact of life on the internet. However, it is quite a leap to state outright that Gamergate is composed only of trolls, isn’t it? There are more than enough trolls to go around on both sides of the issue (of any issue, in fact).

There are studies out there now, actually, comparing trolls to psychopaths, and no study is needed for anyone that has dealt with a few trolls to know that they do not engage in typical human behavior.

Put many internet trolls in a crowded bar, and they are likely to be the ones sitting alone over in a corner, staring bitterly at their fellow (more socially competent) patrons. This is why the internet is fertile ground for such behavior. Anonymity and the disconnect created by digital interaction liberate the socially clumsy of the penalties for the frailties and inadequacies that they suffer in the real world.

A few minutes of research online, however, unveils the reality that many arguing on behalf of Gamergate (or gamers, if one prefers) are far from being trolls, socially inept, or even hateful, and that includes several of the most prominent voices currently speaking out.

If anything, the case can be made that it is the gaming media itself, in this instance, which is doing most of the “trolling.” Coordinating their messages among sister publications, checking with advertisers at every turn to make sure that no one amongst their ranks is offended, libeling and flaming people, quoting one person out-of-context and claiming that their statements are not consistent with what another person in another context, supposedly from the same “group,” has said. Hello Pot, meet Kettle.

“Is #Gamergate all white men? No: Some women and people of color have expressed varying degrees of support for some components of the movement's aims."

There are generally women and “people of color” on both sides of essentially all issues. This question and the answer after it are derisive attempts at dismissive belittlement. Each of the lessening qualifiers in the sentences above exist solely to depreciate and undermine the voices, perspectives, arguments and existences of those (in this case, women and people of color) not presently siding with SJWs and/or the majority of the gaming media’s current agenda and narrative.

And, the paragraph that follows simply digs the hole deeper by implying that Gamergate users, and only Gamergate users, create fake accounts to sway public opinion. Does he supply any evidence of that? Not that I can find. He seems to believe that his readers should merely take his word at face value.

“Doesn't Intel see that it's throwing in its lot with some pretty gross misogyny and ignorance? Well—after Gaters hailed Intel's decision as a victory for their letter-writing campaign, ‘Operation Disrespectful Nod,’ the company appeared to realize it had been duped by gamers—and fake gamers—into supporting a misogynist movement.”

Surely, as a journalist (am I presuming too much?), Hathaway must know that the bigger the company, the less they like controversy. It is not a matter of taking sides; it is a matter of not being on the sides, in the middle, or anywhere near controversy.

Publications that value big advertisers prefer to cut such things off at the root, before they can flourish and spiral out of control (which could potentially negatively impact the publication’s endorsements), as opposed to calling out the National Guard to spray the unruly crowd with water cannons.

Yes, there were trolls, and yes, there were inappropriate things being done by individuals, but the bullies here are looking a lot more like the gaming media at the moment than the gamers themselves, and Gawker’s article is no exception to the recently continuous reinforcement of this reality.

“Many #Gamergate participants truly believe that they are fighting an important fight against corruption in game journalism. But to an outside observer, it's bizarre that they identify the greatest threat as the small, independent, crowdfunded developers, and not the huge profitable game companies that advertise on game sites.”

Except, that is not what is happening, is it? The criticism is being leveled at the gaming media more so than gaming companies, small or large. Of course having more small and medium-sized game developer companies would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?

It’s sort of a catch-22. When the media needs advertisers, who has the money to place big ads? Big companies, that’s who. But, gaming magazines would be fairly boring if they primarily only covered the top 20 games every week, wouldn’t they?

Nobody is suggesting that less popular games from smaller companies shouldn’t receive coverage; the question (or issue) is, rather, how those games get selected, and if some writer had simply said: “Hey, my girlfriend/friend wrote a simple character-based game about depression that some of you might be interested in!” perhaps there would not have been such an outcry.

What about the ethics of all of the other game writers or journalists involved? Had this thing not surfaced when it did, would we have still seen more and more mentions of “Depression Quest”?

There are dozens, if not, by now, hundreds or thousands of other examples of this nature out there on the web, and while there are countless pieces like the above which fit the mold of “anything but impartial” aimed at discrediting and tearing down Gamergaters, or proponents of Gamergate, it would only be fair to note that the Anti-Gamergate folks, or the SJW crowd if one prefers, are not the only folks engaging in this brand of nepotism.

People who have come into the fold on both sides now, that are often involved in any discussion of issues related to sex or Feminism and Anti-Feminism online, have a history of heavily scrutinizing their opponents, while not being nearly as critical of those on their own side, or events affecting their side.

That leads me to the following: a review of reactions from various outlets to the recent USU threats aimed at Anita Sarkeesian, and an older incident (still from 2014) related to, wherein the original host of their first international men’s rights conference received threats.

And, just to be clear, Anita Sarkeesian is typically considered an SJW, and is against Gamergate, and is an MRA website, and tends to be on the side of Gamergaters. Both the former and the latter, as most reading this likely already know, are involved in the current Gamergate discourse.

Section II (Favoring One’s Own):

To paraphrase Karl Marx: a spectre is haunting online debate – the spectre of ideological nepotism. It is a malignancy which defies fairness and reason, it is exclusive to no ideology, and it has plagued several, if not all or most, online debates since individuals first began to use the internet as a forum for discussion, or as a platform/medium for sociopolitical advocacy.

Ideological nepotism is, in practice, an “us versus them” mentality, or individual and collective mindset, and this sort of favoritism has and can been seen on both sides of the aisle. It existed before the current “Culture War” known as Gamergate first arose, and still persists today.

Gamergaters and SJWs often mirror one another in regard to common behaviors and biases in varying degrees. This problem appears, in most cases, to be relatively independent of ideological principles in the broader sense, particularly in terms of applications of fairness and rhetorical attacks, and it stems from several individuals, collectively, falling into the more harmful traps of group-think or herd behavior insularity.

Though (again) the upcoming items discussed, and those involved, do not necessarily represent the majority or greater will of either side (i.e., Gamergaters and SJWs), and though there are individuals on both sides who are genuinely doing their best to go about things in the right way, the authors of the following content are involved in the Gamergate discussion, as are their readers, and most probably, as are those associated with their readers who engage in these types of debates online.

These are many of the same folks who always engage in these sorts of discussions, and as has been the case numerous times in the past, before Gamergate and since the “battle” first began, they are engaging in some of the same counterproductive and biased scrutiny and attacks that they always do when it comes to online discourse related to sex issues and Feminism or social justice (or even most issues).

What follows, I believe, are fundamental problems with the current debate that many might not be taking into full consideration at the moment, and the only way to undo such problems is to identify and bring them to light so that, perhaps, people will reevaluate their current paths and positions. With any luck, the outcome will be that some will make a few adjustments, if any of this applies to them, for the better.

To begin, we will take a look at some articles from,, and a few others, on the threats against both Anita Sarkeesian and AVfM from 2014:

“Anita Sarkeesian Cancels Talk at Utah State after Receiving Threat of Another ‘Montreal Massacre.’”

The above is just an update to some earlier posts by David Futrelle (of, who is generally Pro-SJW, Pro-Feminist, Anti-MRA, and against proponents of Gamergate. This one contains the full text of the threats sent to Utah State University, coupled with some Tweets from Sarkeesian. Most notably, it displays a recent statement by Anita Sarkeesian on Gamergate and the status of those who support it:

“At this point supporting #gamergate is implicitly supporting the harassment of women in the gaming industry.”

Just as a brief aside, and if it has not been pointed out anywhere else (though I am sure it has), the law is the law. If a state has open carry or concealed carry gun laws, then people are allowed to engage in those activities, and there is very little that can or could be done about that without causing a large stir, which the University would probably have preferred to simply not deal with at all (though they received publicity nonetheless).

Admittedly, this is a bit of a red herring, given that if someone is intent on committing mass murder, the details of a state's gun laws are unimportant. Nevertheless, there are those out there, such as the NRA, for instance, who might argue that, if the audience was in a state where citizens were allowed to carry guns, those attending would be safer because anyone opening fire would be fired back at fairly quickly.

Now, while it is true that in a state which severely limited gun ownership the police or other agencies at such a presentation could have searched everyone on entrance to the event, it is not crystal clear that this would have absolutely made the assembly a great deal safer. Weapons might have still slipped through security, and an unopposed gunman could have killed a lot more people (as has been seen repeatedly in shootings in the past).

Anyway, the more significant thing to note about the above piece is David Futrelle’s reaction to the threats sent to Anita Sarkeesian. He made virtually no effort to consider that they might not have been serious or to scrutinize Sarkeesian or the authenticity of the threats as some Gamergaters would or have, and has acted since as though such skepticism is, in and of itself, abhorrent.

In fact, he even went so far, in his post, as to imply (or state) that the threats surely came, without question, from an MRA, an Anti-Feminist, or some proponent of Gamergate. This reaction and his reporting serve in supplementary senses to reinforce the greater recent narrative and notion in the media that all, or at least most or many, Gamergaters are violent misogynists.

The readiness to blame and lack of scrutiny related to the claims, both by Futrelle and his numerous readers and commentators (which can be seen below the article), contrast starkly with his reaction, and the general reactions of his readers, to an older event which predates Gamergate.

Many now entangled and engaged in the Gamergate debate might remember that earlier in 2014, held a men’s rights conference, and were forced to change venue at one point due to some violent threats which were allegedly sent to the venue initially planned to host their meeting:

“Threats of Violence and Death against Doubletree Hilton in Detroit over Men’s Conference”

At that time, AVfM, or rather, the venue intended to host their first conference, had received threats from a Feminist (they claimed and speculated). Despite those threats, AVfM was still committed to having their Detroit event at the Doubletree hotel (a Hilton company, by the way).

A letter was produced (I accept that it is real) from the hotel demanding that AVfM pay for seven off-duty Detroit police officers, who were to stand guard 24 hours a day at the event.

There was no indication in the above article that they were not planning to go ahead at the Doubletree, but a plea for more people to buy tickets for the event to help pay for it all was made.

Subsequently, we now know, the event was moved to a less expensive location, the attendance was moderate, and there were only a few security personnel on the scene.

The following came shortly after the threats were received for the Detroit conference:

“To All the Feminists Who Aren’t like That”

This was Paul Elam, leader of (which now sides with proponents of Gamergate), reaching out to Feminists who “are not like that” and asking them to give $25 or more to help pay for the additional security that AVfM would need due to the threats that they, at least by extension, had received. Donations never rose above $300 (and one of those was from an MRA).

They did, however, manage to raise over $30,000 by way of this fundraiser.

David Futrelle, unlike when it came to the more recent threats aimed at Anita Sarkeesian on October 14, 2014, was quick to scrutinize and question the authenticity of the threats sent to AVfM, and did not hesitate to attack their actions and question their honesty:

“Is a Voice for Men Using Phony Death Threats as an Excuse to Smear Feminists and Raise a Quick $25k?”

The above article reviews the events: in June of 2014, AVoiceforMen planned a conference in Detroit. They claimed, but never directly substantiated, that threats were being sent to the Doubletree hotel where the event was to occur (the hotel was also contacted independently and refused to provide any details). The idea was that AVfM would be required to put up additional funds in order to have the event there.

The piece from implies that this seems to be a well-worn tradition with AVfM events, and just another excuse to pass the collection plate around once again (similar to how people often characterize the fundraising efforts of Anita Sarkeesian).

The later outcome of the fundraiser and threats was that the event was held at another location, they raised a considerable amount of money, and there didn’t seem to be all that much in the way of a security presence, although there was the equivalent of paid bouncers to keep out “undesirables” (meaning, anyone who might have liked to enact violence against attendees or otherwise disrupt the proceedings).

Just as we do not presently know if the Sarkeesian-aimed threat would have actually been carried out (but at least we were able to see the text of that in its entirety), we do not know if the threat against AVfM would have actually been carried out had their event been held at its original location. Likewise, we still have no idea, in either case, who specifically sent the threats, or what their “affiliation” was or is.

During the time preceding the above, when AVfM was collecting funds, Futrelle wrote another article on the issue wherein he scrutinized them and called into question their honesty (in this case, he was more negatively critical):

“AVfM's Threatener-in-Chief Paul Elam Demands That Feminists Pay Security Costs for His Group's Conference”

This is the earliest article on the AVfM Detroit conference troubles discussing the threats from some mysterious (and presumably Feminist) sources. This piece points out that no facsimile was produced, and there was no indication that any of these communications had been turned over to the police (again, a critical note similar to what people bring up in relation to Anita Sarkeesian and how she handles threats).

In other words, Futrelle’s skepticism, or willingness to question authenticity and honesty, vacillates from intense to virtually none depending on who is receiving the threats. When it is someone that he favors, his willingness to be skeptical nearly dissipates, but when it is someone that he dislikes, he flips the switch and becomes Socrates: searching for the truth, inspecting the particulars, and questioning everything.

However, he is not the only one who engages in this sort of (presumably) ideological nepotism (which is exactly what this sort of bias in skepticism is indicative of). AVoiceforMen, as well as countless others, many of which are now involved in the Gamergate debate and occasionally read AVfM and/or Futrelle’s site, are also guilty of this type of interesting and conceptually parallel vacillation (from hyper-skeptical to almost blindly faithful and willing to believe depending on who is being examined or discussed).

Take, for example, the contrast between how AVfM and many of its readers reacted to the threats sent to the Hilton hotel (shown above), and how they have reacted to the more recent threats sent to Utah State University over Anita Sarkeesian’s schedule talk:

“Investigation into Sarkeesian Death Threats Reveals No Risk to USU Students or Staff”

This is a highly incredulous article from AVfM related to the threat sent to USU. Their gimmick within it is to interpret statements of the authorities in fanciful ways. As I pointed out above, the fact that the university did not decide to restrict guns at the event has nothing (which can be evidenced) to do with their (the school’s) opinions on Gamergate, Sarkeesian, or anything else related. It is simply a reflection of Utah law. The following quote from officials touches on this point:

“The speaker, Anita Sarkeesian, canceled the presentation. She was concerned about the fact that state law prevented the university from keeping people with a legal concealed firearm permit from entering the event. University police were prepared and had a plan in place to provide extra security measures at the presentation.”

They imply that they might have had the choice to search people on entry to the meeting, et cetera, but they were obviously never provided the opportunity to do so because Sarkeesian canceled the event. Furthermore, a subsequent press release from the same day as the AVfM article (but not quoted therein) made it clear that the university does not dispute the legitimacy of the threat, but simply concluded that, since similar threats had been received in the past and not acted upon, this one would likely not be either.

Although the University’s press releases did not disclose specifics, they made it clear that they were taking precautions and had a plan in place for attempting to ensure the safety of attendees.

The intent of the AVfM article, though, was to leave dangling the suggestion that the threat-mail might have come from either Sarkeesian herself, a supporter of hers, or some unrelated Feminist.

The piece ends by mentioning, fairly randomly, that Thunderf00t had his account suspended due to her actions (an assertion which, as far as I can tell, is mostly unsupported or based on cynical conjecture). In any event, that seems rather irrelevant to the purposes of the rest of their post.

Their next article on the threats sent to Utah State University, similarly to the first, was highly accusatory and suspicious in ways that mirror how David Futrelle scrutinized the threats allegedly sent to the host of AVfM’s own conference (and their organization by extension):

“Anonymous Feminist Provides Anita Sarkeesian with a Potential New Source of Revenue”

This piece is written by “Andy Bob” (who appears to be a comments contributor to Spearhead, which is apparently a white supremacist publication). A couple of quotes worthy of mention are as follows:

“You see, like many actual MHRAs, I have come to regard all claims made by, and on behalf of, this woman with a cynically weary eye.”


“This time, my cynicism is driven by the fact that this particular ‘threat’ is such a transparent fraud that only a complete cretin could possibly fall for it.”

The above lines are not necessarily wrong, but they narrow the scope of his applications of skepticism in a way that he seems to be unaware of due to his own biases. All claims made by anyone should always be viewed with a cynical eye (weary is a rhetorical qualifier), whether they are a friend or a foe.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that this email was written by a feminist posing as an MHRA.”

Here, he merely reinforces what many who are reading his piece are already likely to suspect due to their biases or preconceived notions, and it is also an unsubstantiated claim (a naked assertion) posed as a demonstrated discovery (which it most certainly was not then and still isn't).

Considering, however, that recent (and even extended) history has shown repeatedly that these sorts of threats only ever benefit the side that they are sent to (including AVfM when they were threatened), only the most foolish and ignorant person, at this point, would send threats to anyone popular amongst their adversaries.

Sending a threat to one’s opposition today, when said opposition has any significant measure of notoriety on the internet, or even elsewhere, is absolutely nothing less than willingly aiding their interests and freely handing them self-serving ammunition, and that reality of outcomes has been undeniably proven time and time again over the last few years (but especially in the past two or three).

Thus, this does lend credence to the idea (which even I mentioned in my first Gamergate-related post) that people on either side are sending their own side threats in order to either benefit them, or to hurt the opposing side in terms of public opinion (or for both reasons). Or, again, it could simply be unaffiliated, third party actors (trolls) who merely seek to rile everyone up and watch the sparks fly (because the outcomes are so predictable).

But, an observable or presumable pattern does not validate an assertion as true by default, and something only speculated about (or not evidenced and certified as true) is still merely an idea based solely in conjecture.

Regardless, the more significant thing to note about the above is that AVfM writer Andy Bob’s scrutiny of these threats is nearly identical to how David Futrelle questioned the threats sent to AVoiceforMen’s conference host earlier in 2014, at least on a basic level, and yet neither side, when their own side is attacked, is so willing to apply the same skepticism to their allies. This is a direct and clear representation of the current (and ongoing) problem permeating the Gamergate debate today (i.e., selective skepticism).

And, just for the sake of clarity: the issue specifically being addressed here is not whether skepticism of threats and/or scrutiny of those who receive them is positive or negative, but rather, how evenly and fairly said skepticism and willingness to scrutinize are being applied.

Bob prefaced the next quote from the menace-mail with the words “the feminist author” just to make it clear that “there can be no doubt” that this was a false flag operation. Yet again, he was speculating and stating that as if his naked assertion had already been confirmed as a fact. If one were to reverse such a scenario and say that an MRA had sent the threats that led to AVfM raising tens of thousands of dollars for their conference, he and others like him would most probably cry speculation without evidence (or foul).

The best quote from the article, though, states the following:

“The character created as the author of the email is an artful pastiche of those mythical MHRAs, Elliot Rodger and Marc Lépine, neither of whom had any connection with known MHR organizations, despite fraudulent feminist claims to the contrary. They were personality-disordered psychopaths—who certainly loathed women yet mysteriously managed to include a significant number of men among their victims—but they were definitely not MHRAs.”

Lépine specifically mentioned, as is publicly documented, Feminists in his pre-killing spree letter, and he killed fourteen women and no men, deliberately allowing fifty men to go free before the murders began. He did injure four men and six other women, but the men, in his case, were in the greater minority of victims.

Obviously, Bob did no, or little, research whatsoever before writing his post. At the end, in fact, he even admits that he might be wrong about blaming the letter on a Feminist, and that it might be just as likely that it could’ve come from an MRA as from some associate of Anita Sarkeesian.

In other words, after filling the readers’ heads with all of the false flag and “one of them did it to frame us” talk, as many SJWs/Feminists suggested when AVfM was threatened, he conceded that it could have actually been one of them (but by the time the reader, already inundated with one-sided bias, gets to that point in his article, they are highly unlikely to be willing to accept such a concept as a plausible truth).

Section II – Subsection A (Anita Rises and Other Items Worthy of Note): “Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats in ‘GamerGate’ Campaign”

This is the latest coup by Sarkeesian, wherein she turns threats against her (whether real or not) into ever greater publicity for herself. The media, quite plainly, is overwhelmingly left-wing and overwhelmingly sympathetic to Feminism and a host of other “-isms” that go hand-in-hand, and while the Gamergaters duke it out on gaming media, Sarkeesian is now hitting the mainstream with the New York Times, NPR, and other television appearances.

Someone on Reddit, incidentally, is constructing a catalog of all of the mainstream publications that are presently coming out against Gamergate, or already have, and it’s a fairly long list.

Aside from that, there is no new information in their article, but toward the end they say this:

“Gaming — or at least who plays video games — is quickly changing, though. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 48 percent of game players in the United States are women, a figure that has grown as new opportunities to play games through mobile devices, social networks and other avenues have proliferated. Game developers, however, continue to be mostly male: In a survey conducted earlier this year by the International Game Developers Association, a nonprofit association for game developers, only 21 percent of respondents said they were female.”

The reactions of the commentators in all of the above are interesting too. The more one reviews each piece from both sides, the more it becomes apparent how alike everyone truly is. If one were to erase or trade their jargon and labels between them, or out altogether, it would often be difficult to tell them apart.

When one side is threatened, the other side is certain that it is all (or mostly) just phony nonsense and/or lies (the writers and many of the readers who comment), but when their side is threatened, it is disgusting and appalling and anyone who questions the honesty of those who receive the threats, or the seriousness and authenticity of the threats themselves, is a monstrous or repugnant bigot.

Both sides do this, and have done it for quite some time.

Think of how people reacted when Anita raised nearly $160,000 for her video game series because of all the threats that she’d allegedly received. Think of how people would react if Anita raised $30,000 due to her event from October 15th being canceled, and then responded like this when asked about where the money went (click here). The internet's Anti-Feminist forces would be even more ablaze over Sarkeesian than they already are.

Even Thunderf00t (unsurprisingly) has jumped on attacking the threats as being “not real”:

“Anita Sarkeesian’s ‘MASSACRE’ Threats, Real, or FAKE?”

Thunderf00t, in this video, repeatedly states that all of the claims of threats are false and should just be ignored and that the only thing anyone has against Anita is that her arguments are stupid. The threats cannot be real, because if they were real, they should have been acted on by now. This argument is actually erroneous, but it is, in fact, similar to the point that the Utah school made.

Every threat has the potential to be real, independent of anything that has happened previously. Even if one were certain that all of the threats were coming from the same source and could prove it, that would not necessarily lessen the significance or seriousness of said threats. Many murderers brood over their plans for some time before acting, and there are several incidents all throughout history which show this.

At any rate, the point of all of the above is not that AVfM, Thunderf00t, or the commentators represent all of Gamergate, or that David Futrelle represents all of the opposition, but that such people are often reverse mirrors of one another, both in how they scrutinize their adversaries, and in how they fail to scrutinize their allies (ideological or personal). This reality extends beyond these sources.

There are countless people and collectives out there like them, on both sides, and many of those people either read their works or are presently engaged and deeply-entrenched in the new “Culture War” that is Gamergate. That cannot be overlooked. The issues outlined here are fundamentally tied to the rational success of any and all debates, whether they are carried out on the internet or in the “real” offline world.

Section II – Subsection B (Comparing Some Alternative Reactions to These Incidents):

1) Other outlets reacting to the threats received by AVfM earlier in 2014: “A Voice for Men Raises $29k to Pay for Additional Security following Threats”

This newspaper article posted on June 4, 2014 announced a march to be conducted outside of the Doubletree hotel on June 7, 2014 in protest of the AVfM meeting which was to occur later in the month on June 26. There was no mention of violence or anything else of that nature in the piece (though they’d be pretty stupid to openly threaten violence in such a post anyway). Still, planning a protest is an interesting response or decision given that AVfM and the Doubletree were allegedly receiving what were essentially terrorist threats at the time. “Protest Saturday: Misogynistic MRA Conference in Detroit”

This article chronicles the whole Detroit issue from the point-of-view of the day before the Anti-AVfM march, which was, again, to occur on June 7 around the Doubletree hotel.

It approaches the subject from a know-nothing-already perspective, explaining terminology such as MRA and PUA to the uninitiated (similar to the Gawker article above), and presents examples of “hate speech” from MRA sources, including Paul Elam at AVfM (some of the items referenced were subsequently removed from the AVfM website, apparently).

The only thing worthy of note in this particular piece is that it appears that someone who posted on Facebook intending to go to this march was careless enough to give out her name. Additional information about her was then posted on the AVfM website in the comments section, and later deleted, but not before a few less-than-subtle threats were issued. “Controversial Men's Rights Conference Canceled at DoubleTree in Downtown Detroit”

This article, written June 11, 2014, covers the protest that apparently did occur on the 7th of June at the Doubletree in Detroit. By the time of this article on the 11th, the Doubletree was claiming that the event was no longer taking place there, but did not specify why. Signs for the protest read “Smash the Patriarchy - Fuck the System,” “Hate is not welcomed in Detroit,” or simply “Boycott the Doubletree.”

2) Other outlets reacting to the threats received by Anita Sarkeesian on October 14, 2014: “Did Anita Sarkeesian Fake Death Threats against Herself?”

The ReturnofKings site goes to great lengths to “prove” that some of Sarkeesian's threats are forged, even pushing as far as to argue that the fact that all of the words were spelled correctly is a sign of fraudulence. Apparently, the author believes that, if she wanted to fake death threats from an MRA or Anti-Feminist, she should have filled them with spelling and grammar errors. Most of its points are relatively insubstantial and baseless speculation.

This article does, nonetheless, say one thing at the end that I hope more people will take up:

“Personally, I believe no human being deserves to suffer from physical violence or the threat of it. If someone has made a genuine threat against Anita or any public figure, they deserve to suffer the full punishment of the law. That is why I am calling on Twitter to release the IP address those tweets were made from and work with law enforcement to arrest whoever is responsible for them.”

It would seem to be the simplest notion in the world for everyone to call for this. Even making false threats of intent to commit acts of violence, aimed at specific individuals, should be considered a serious crime in all states or places. A few successful prosecutions on these grounds would bring such behavior to a halt, or at least lessen it to a great extent, which is right where it belongs.

The claim is made in several of these articles that the threats are only used for publicity, but rarely is a great and extended effort made, by multiple (and influential) groups, to track down the originators of them. How does anyone know the truth of this? The police would not normally disclose such information.

Claims on both sides that threats are fake, or that they are not being pursued, or if real, that they do not constitute a real danger, are almost always pure speculation (based on assumptions). People also, like in the case of the threats sent to Sarkeesian, for instance, distort the purposes of the phrase “not real” to mean “entirely fraudulent” when it is often more intended to imply that those in authority believe that there is generally no imminent danger based on what they know, and/or that it is unlikely that the known threats will be carried out as described. “What Is #GamerGate and Why Are Women Being Threatened about Video Games?”

The above is another summary article chronicling the whole Gamergate ordeal. The main thing that is noteworthy about this is that it is Time. It is possible that Anita Sarkeesian will soon be on every magazine cover and television screen, and many Gamergaters will still be saying that she is stupid, silly, a charlatan, and/or irrelevant, and that what she says in unimportant.

The question in this is: who made her and what she has to say seem important?

Had there never been any significant commentary on her videos, it is possible that she would probably still be mostly unknown, and ironically, many commentators online, and gamers, are the ones who have made her as famous as she is today, and there is likely no way for anyone to truly undo or reverse her progress now. “Anita Sarkeesian Explains Why She Canceled USU Lecture”

There is little new here except a claim that seems unambiguous that the FBI is actually investigating this threat (the one sent to Utah State University, in case anyone’s already forgotten). If that is true, whoever crafted it must surely be getting a bit nervous at this point considering the immense attention that their deed has received.

Law enforcement agencies read the papers. Thousands of crimes go unreported (by the news media) every day, and correspondingly receive little attention from police, but “high profile” crimes get more attention, and tracing IP addresses and other packet data through proxy servers is not completely impossible for someone who has the right connections (and it'd obviously be fairly easy for the FBI).

Would Anita Sarkeesian or one of her close associates even think to disguise their email servers if they had forged the threat? Perhaps. Would they do it carefully enough? Who knows; how good has she been at “covering her tracks” thus far? Would someone who is already quite famous risk all of that by being fingered by the FBI as the author of some of her own death threats?

That seems a little far-fetched to me.

Section III (Larger Summary/Overview of Some Final, Related Thoughts):

1) There are really multiple issues at play here.
a. The personalities involved.
b. The social issues.
c. The industry issues.
d. The strategy-related issues for people who get into these things.
e. The legal issues when it comes to harassment.
f. And, finally, the “meta” issue of how groups of people keep getting into these divides and how (for some of us) we might find a way to avoid their ruts and counterproductive or even insular mentalities.

2) Thinking further back, what started most of these progressions were fairly minor events.
a. Sarkeesian making some videos which a few individuals didn’t care for.
b. Before that, the accusation that she had conned a bunch of people into donating money to her. This sounded a lot like jealousy from the many people whose similar projects had gotten little attention, and the videos probably were due some criticism.
c. Some exaggerations were made, and so on.
d. But, how important was any of that before higher profile people started paying attention to it?
e. Was Sarkeesian the beneficiary of a large amount of luck, or did she parlay an ever-expanding list of contacts into more and more attention for herself?
f. Did she surf the waves of publicity with near perfection? It would seem so.
g. And, as this happened, or as she did so, the hatred grew.

3) Zoe Quinn took a similar approach in this play, but her part seems to have become a subordinate role, or even an afterthought, to Sarkeesian and her work.
a. On the other hand, Quinn provided a needed boost to the plot by causing the introduction of the Gamergate tag, and the subsequent narrative that Anti-SJWs were going after not just a Feminist, or Feminists, but the unethical gaming media (and now other types of media).
b. Was Quinn ever really the “villain” here, or was it the five or more media guys who supposedly slept with her?
c. Who was taking advantage of whom, or was there any advantage being taken by anybody?
d. Could this all be just an avalanche started by the snowball of one “jilted nerd”?

4) We know the gaming media is corrupt. In fact, we know that nearly all media is corrupt.
a. Perhaps getting the word out on that to people who haven’t already figured it out is a good thing that can come of all of this, regardless of what becomes of Gamergate itself.
b. In every specialty media, there are incestuous relationships (meaning unhealthily or unethically close, not the other kind that implies intimate familial relations).
c. There are specialty media areas in gaming, golf, oil and gas, production, entertainment, politics and more.
d. In every case, those being covered and those doing the coverage spend a lot of time together. Why does this take anyone by surprise?
e. Andrea Mitchell of NBC news is married to the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve who is twice her age. She a liberal journalist, and he, a former Ayn Rand acolyte.
f. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of such relationships in Washington alone.
g. Do we think that they sleep in separate bedrooms in the name of journalistic (or other) integrity?

5) Who are the winners and the losers here?
a. Anita Sarkeesian has to be the biggest winner (at least thus far), going from essentially nothing to super-stardom on a quart of gas.
b. It seems as though, at every turn, there is either a friend or foe to propel her even further along, and in the majority of cases, it’s the supposed foes who do the most in that regard (or someone associated with her, or third party, unaffiliated trolls, potentially).
c. Have the people who send these sorts of threats, if they are genuine with their hatred, figured out that they should be kicking themselves yet?
d. The Gamergaters have neither won nor lost anything as far as what is measurable is concerned.
e. Have most games themselves, yet, perceptibly changed as a result of any of this? It doesn’t appear so.
f. There is the possibility that a greater amount of game development dollars will be pumped into producing “female-friendly” content, but it seems more likely that those will just be added dollars, with people pursuing their own independent projects, and not shifted dollars as some fear. It is not a zero-sum game, after all (pun intended!).
g. The game-producing companies, have they lost anything? Difficult to think of how if they have.
h. People are all worked up about games, games and games, and the discussion surrounding gaming has been driven to an unnecessarily extreme and excessive point.
i. This seems to slowly be turning into one of those situations where folks believe that no publicity is bad (at least as far as some parties involved are concerned).
j. The gaming media? It’s likely that they are hurt, but they were probably hurting already. Just one more cultural artifact fallen victim to the disintermediation of the internet.

Section IV (Summary of the Overall Message):

As I stated at the beginning of Section II, a spectre is haunting online debate – the spectre of ideological nepotism. It is a menace which defies fairness and reason, it looks to be exclusive to no ideology, and it has afflicted several debates online, if not most or all of them, since individuals first began to use the internet as a forum for discussion, or as a platform or medium for advocacy.

The “us versus them” mentality is pervasive in the current Gamergate discourse. Many of those discussed in the above examples, although not necessarily representative of the majority or greater will of either side (Gamergaters/Anti-SJWs or SJWs/Anti-Gamergaters), are heavily involved in the current “Culture War.” They have dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of readers and viewers who are in this, just as they have been in these sorts of debates (on sex issues, Feminism, and so forth) for many years.

Right or wrong, there are Gamergaters and SJWs mirroring one another in regard to behaviors and projected biases all the time now. There are unequal applications of skepticism and biased rhetorical attacks abound, and all of it stems from several individuals, en masse, falling into the more harmful traps of collectivism.

Hypocrisy, if that is what one would prefer to label this sort of thing, does not invalidate points, of course, but it is interesting how comparable the reactions of those, or some, on each side are to similar incidents, despite how different and antithetical they purport to be.

And, these problems are not confined merely to AVfM or David Futrelle. All of the above extends beyond them, in several ways, to numerous other individuals and collectives currently embroiled in the Gamergate debacle, which appears to show no signs of stopping or slowing down any time soon.

Unless someone points these sorts of issues out, because they typically occur over extensive spans of time and endure the passing of several events, many may never notice that they have fallen into these snares. Nonetheless, they are a great portion of the underlying problem in most online discourse, and are, along with general incivility, hostility and unwillingness to compromise, a significant part of why a great deal of internet debates never come to any reasonable, substantial or meaningful conclusions.

It is the onus of all, whether they are the majority, the greater will, the minority, or the fringe, to be fair, honest and just when reporting on, or scrutinizing, both their allies and their enemies, and it is on everyone to avoid and attempt to resist falling prey to confirmation bias, selection bias, counterproductive apophenia, and ideological nepotism. None of these things correspond, or can mutually function, with truthfulness and intellectual honesty.

Without such elements, and without a greater view of the bigger picture for those involved (a glimpse of the world outside of blinders), the Gamergate discourse will become stilted and stale, and it will ultimately be relegated to just another talking point for both Anti-Feminists and Feminists alike.

The phrase “Gamergate” will become merely another example for the former and those like them, on a long list of many, of how corrupt SJWs and/or Feminists can be, and another example for the latter, and those like them, of how misogynistic and violent MRAs, Anti-Feminists or the “status quo” in gaming can be. I suspect that no one desires that type of outcome, or at least, I would hope that most Gamergaters do not seek such results.

Do not fall into these traps; gain a little bit of perspective, and think beyond the information and events in immediate view. This “Culture War” can be won fairly, civilly and honestly by whichever side is truly right and just, but the way to achieve victory is not to become everything that one despises and reviles, or to allow allies to get away with what one condemns and rebukes the opposition for doing.

Be the change that you want to see, and encourage all others around you to do so as well.

Author: Krista [Femitheist Divine]

NOTE II: For the sake of clarity, I want to mention that the purpose of this post is in no way to imply that all Gamergaters are MRAs, or that MRAs represent them as a majority, or that those against Gamergate are all SJWs, and so forth. However, many on each side of the aisle, from what I have seen, agreed, and agree with, the contentions of the sources reviewed above regarding the incidents discussed.

NOTE III: My desire with this is that people will identify the trends displayed and subsequently be more mindful of applying the same scrutiny to themselves and their friends that they do to their adversaries, even though that might sometimes be difficult or even time-consuming. I do not want people who have sincerely honest and good intentions to become what they execrate or feel is unjust, which can easily occur when it comes to things such as the Gamergate debate on the internet. I still have hopes, at least for the time being, that the current “Culture War” can come to a clear and agreeable close at some point in the future.

NOTE IV: Furthermore, and as a final point for the substance of this piece, I do not presume to speak for anyone other than myself with this; I can only do my best in contributing what I believe might assist or help others in some way when I have identified an ongoing and seemingly prevalent problem, or set of problems.

NOTE V: This is part two of three posts that I am going to write related to this topic. Feel free to leave your thoughts on all of these issues in the comments below. And, as my comments policy states, any replies containing threats against specific individuals, or the personal information of individuals who do not already publicize the information online themselves, will be removed.

PART 1 OF 3: “Gamergate and the Golden Age of Hysteria”
PART 3 OF 3: “Gamergate: Not Another False Narrative”