Story 2014-11-11 2TZT GamerGate, two months on: a story of change in the industry

GamerGate, two months on: a story of change in the industry

by
in games on (#2TZT)
story imageTwo months after the story first broke, GamerGate continues to roll on and make headlines, and though it remains a polarized issue, here is an update posted with hopes it will be informative, not inflammatory. After all, many would argue gamergate isn't about gaming, it's about censorship in the media and on the 'Net. If that's the case, it affects and impacts all of us.

Here's and update on what's happened over the past few weeks.

1) Operation Disrespectful Nod has successfully convinced many advertizers to pull out of media publications such as Gamasutra, Polygon, Kotaku and parent Gawker Media.

2) Users have generated lots of new material, from blog posts and youtube videos to memes and articles by smaller publications. They demonstrate the diversity in members for the movement, feminist, anti-feminist, conservatives, liberals, male, female, black, white, LGBT and everything in between. This is a community that isn't going to go down easy. At a minimum, check out GamerGate in 60 seconds, The Evidence and History of GamerGate, The Monsters of GG, or NotYourShield - We Are Gamers.

3) A couple publications have now updated their code of ethic policies including: The Escapist and IGN.

4) New Gaming sites are being established, such as Good Gamers and Niche Gamer.

5) New MetaCritic tool (MyMetaCritic) is under development. It's called MyMediaCritic, and it will provide a place for readers and consumers to rate the different online media outlets, journalists, and youtubers. Their initial alpha release will focus on the Games industry; once the alpha is successful, they plan on growing into other industries as well.

6) Finally, The David Pakman Show has started reporting on the controversy and has published a series of informative interviews with both pro and anti GamerGate supporters. Good stuff, as he makes it clear he is in neither camp, just trying to get to the bottom of the issue. Otherwise, the pro- and anti-camps are pretty well established. Brianna Wu received threats, and alleges they were from GamerGate supporters. As for Arthur Chu, well judge for yourself.1Liana Kerzner (Canadian tech and gaming blogger), Matthew Rappard (from The Fine Young Capitalists), and Fredrick "Hot Wheels" Brennan (the Admin of 8Chan.co) are considered neutral reporters of the situation; and John Bain (AKA Total Biscuit), Milo Yiannopoulos (recently banned, then reinstated on Twitter), and Jennie Bharaj are considered to be supporters. David Pakman hasn't had an easy time conducting the interviews: many prominent people opposed to GamerGate refused to be recorded, and some went as far as to accuse him of leading a hate mob. Check out this tweet from Nov 1, for example: “Overnight, received many emails saying if I don't apologize for neutrality on GamerGate, I'm guilty of leading a hate mob against women”

7) When GamerGate supporters started questioning IGF judging practice one IGF judge had a “meltdown” on twitter and quit. IGF released an apology shortly after, after being hounded on twitter for "throwing the judge under the bus" for discussing the judging process and other judges started expressing displeasure and threatening to pull out of judging in protest.

There's a silver lining in the cloud of bitterness and vitriol, and it's clear this scandal is leading to important change. For one, Women, Action, and Media (WAM) has partnered with Twitter in the development of a new anti-harassment tool. Though it allows Twitter to censor harassment – especially against women – it too has caused controversy, as it is already being abused to falsely report GamerGate supporters in an effort to silence the protest.

Is this thing done? No way. Next thing we'll be hearing is Anita Sarkeesian lobbying for broader social media tools that allow for further censorship without accountability... oh wait ...

1 Hey ... he was good on Jeopardy, at least!
Reply 31 comments

Editor note! (Score: 4, Insightful)

by zafiro17@pipedot.org on 2014-11-11 20:49 (#2TZV)

Vanderhoth - Hope my edits made this story more understandable without distorting anything! I spent a lot of time trying to get it into shape. It's an interesting story - thanks for all the time you put into it.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 2, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-11-11 21:53 (#2V01)

This story is impressive for the range of info. Thanks!

Re: Editor note! (Score: -1, Troll)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-11-12 03:10 (#2V0B)

What a surprise, GamerGate supporter is incoherent.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 19:52 (#2V0Q)

I'm just pleased you posted it at all ^_^

I think it's an important issue. I know GamerGate has a bad image at the moment, but honestly the people I'm follow are really great. We're all working really hard to try and get this mess cleared up, but it really seems the Gaming Media is just the tip of the ice burg. I really wasn't aware of how little research all media does until this cropped up.

Hopefully not to many supporters/opposition jump in on this and turn it in to a giant flame war ^_^

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 20:03 (#2V0R)

One thing I would have liked is if you had of left my disclosure in there. I am a supporter and don't want to give the impression that I'm trying to hide that in anyway. Otherwise I think the updates are fine.

I'm a little shady on the WAM tool, it seems it's not only being abused, but it's also being used to collect data on "offenders". The problem being what some people consider harassment is really broad. I don't like the idea of a radical political organization (of any kind) collecting data on me, especially if the intention is to use it to label me has a harasser for just disagreeing politely with someone.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 20:06 (#2V0S)

but it's also being used to collect data on "offenders".
This part is interesting. Any idea how this tool collects the data?

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 20:22 (#2V0T)

Any idea how this tool collects the data?
I'm not really sure off the top of my head. I read it in a different article a few days ago. I'll see if I can track it down and get back to you.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 20:30 (#2V0V)

This would be great. I once thought of writing a tool, which spiders a forum and does statistical analysis on texts. My idea was that this could help to detect double accounts and sock puppets. But... this is a bit beyond my usual work and this for me tremendous effort would be by far not rewarding enough, so I dropped this idea.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 23:49 (#2V14)

As it turns out it was my interruption of a quote in the article I linked.

"At the end of the pilot test period, WAM will analyze the data collected and use it to work with Twitter to better understand how gendered harassment functions on their platform, and to improve their responses to it."

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-13 00:04 (#2V16)

Ok, this is easy. I interpreted this 'collect data' as in 'collect data and identify the poster', which would be a tremendous feat.

I always wondered if one can sue twitter or other internet services if they delete some insults, but not others. If they delete nothing, one can say they just provide the platform. If they delete all insults, they are a neutral party. But if they delete some insults and harassment tweets and let other stand, one can argue, that they agree with the latter and adopt them as their own. So they should be treated as if the insults or harassments come from twitter (or other services) itself.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by unitron@pipedot.org on 2014-11-14 03:50 (#2V28)

But deleting *all* insults means making an editorial judgement on what is and what isn't an insult, so the supposed neutrality of it could be questioned.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-14 10:34 (#2V2A)

In some countries you are required to delete personal insults anyways. Sure, it is not always an easy decision, but usually one can see, if the moderators have problems to keep up with the insults, or if they participate in the discussion with the ban/delete button.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-11-15 09:46 (#2V2J)

Which countries censor free speech in this manner?

Re: Editor note! (Score: 2, Interesting)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-15 11:14 (#2V2K)

Germany, for instance. If one member insults another member, the insulted one reports it, but forums owner does nothing, it is possible that he get sued as if he himself did the insult. Does not happen often, but it is possible.

And yes, free speech. I am all for free speech, but there is a line between free speech and senseless insults or even slander.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-11-16 08:07 (#2V2N)

Perhaps it is best that for now the US retains ICANN control

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-17 00:08 (#2V2R)

This has nothing to do with ICANN or the US. And nothing to do with control over the internet. If the servers stand in Germany or even if your website targets mainly Germans, a site in German might be enough for the courts to assume this, German laws can be applied to you. Sure, this does not mean that people outside Germany have to care, the US Americans would laugh their asses off, when a German court requests an extradition because an American provider refused to remove an insult against a German politician. For a provider within the reach of the German law this is everything, but funny. One can almost say everyone, who hosts a public forum in Germany, which allows users to post uncensored, is an idiot. At least as a hobby project without a huge legal department in the backhand. Hosting a site like pipedot where nothing is really removed, but just down voted, would be legal suicide in Germany.

But apart from that, not only in Germany there are limits to free speech. I really doubt, one would be protected by free speech, and you probably would not want one to be protected, if one for instance publicly makes up claims in forums that you have an unhealthy interest in little children.

So I suppose what it comes to this, the laws in most countries are not that different, there are only gradual differences of what has to be tolerated in the name of free speech. Personally I lean more to the US American interpretation. Especially since with few exceptions only idiots and people, who don't know the Streisand effect, try to take legal actions against unwanted stuff in the internet lightly.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2014-11-17 06:56 (#2V2T)

Where control of ICANN comes into it, is authority to take-down domain names. The US gov doesn't like copyright infringement, so the Pirate Bay is having trouble keeping a domain that points to their servers. If they had a similar position on speech, things could get very ugly.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 2, Informative)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-17 08:25 (#2V2W)

Ugly? More interesting. Taking down domains is a double bladed sword. Domain names are convenient, but not really necessary. Squeeze too hard, use the take down tool too often and people look for alternatives. Actually this already happens:
http://namecoin.info/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namecoin
So maybe this is also a bit about ICANN or internet control, but IMHO only in a very peripheral way. I am much more concerned about local legislative stupidity, which can hit me hard, than about global internet control, which at worst can be an annoyance.

Btw... I often bring German examples. This is just because I know their laws and regulations best. From what I gather from the news, the UK and Australia are in no way better. More and more it becomes obvious that free speech or other civil rights are no absolute rights, but only opportunity rights.... you only have them, when it is opportune.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 2, Informative)

by useless@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 22:29 (#2V0Z)

Looks like it's just a simple web form:https://womenactionmedia.wufoo.com/forms/wam-twitter-harassment-reporting-tool/ Not sure why someone would not just use twitter's own mechanisms instead of some third party though.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 22:55 (#2V11)

It basically just gives WAM first crack at "harassment" cases. Volunteers working with WAM can then make it a priority case for twitter to deal with. I assume at the expense of any other issues reported to twitter.

So far though it's been effective in having non-harassing accounts like @nero and @RogueStarGamez temporarily suspended while twitter did a proper investigation.

There was a tweet circulating with the names of people the "anti" side wanted banned. @nero, @RogueStarGamez, @Sargon_of_Akkad, @Int_Aristocrat are a few I remember out of six or seven

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 23:01 (#2V12)

This explains much. The anti side might be very loud, but I have yet to see signs of a particular competence in coding. Nevertheless, I never had a twitter account and it does not look like I will ever have one.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 2, Informative)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-13 00:01 (#2V15)

A lot of information is also available on 8Chan and r/KotakuInAction (subreddit). There are also facebook groups.

Lots of good info at
Http://gamergatefacts.com
Http://gamergate.me

If you want to look at some of the other cases of collusions collected or donate to one of the charities. Toys-for-tots is the one currently being pushed.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 2, Insightful)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-13 00:09 (#2V18)

No fecesbook either. ;-)

But I think I am quite well informed. More than enough very good blogger on YouTube.

Re: Editor note! (Score: 1)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-13 01:03 (#2V19)

I have to ask, who?

If you don't mind. I've been eating this stuff up. I find it a lot of fun ^_^

Re: Editor note! (Score: 2, Informative)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-11-13 01:29 (#2V1A)

The Amazing Atheist, Thunderf00t, MundaneMatt, InternetAristocrat, The Justicar, American Enterprise Institute, Sargon of Akkad,

I love this place (Score: 4, Insightful)

by skarjak@pipedot.org on 2014-11-11 22:26 (#2V05)

Slashdot's been posting these click-baity stories on this issue for a while now. It's great to see a thorough look at the impacts of this movement.

It's really unfortunate to see David Parkman getting flak for staying neutral on this issue. He's doing his job, foks...

Change isn't painless. (Score: 3, Insightful)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 19:34 (#2V0P)

Really, this story more than any in a while has really depressed me. Sometimes you can just live in the delusion that everyone is cool, but they are not. So Change is required, which pisses people off and brings out the worst in them.

Re: I love this place (Score: 1, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-11-12 21:14 (#2V0W)

I only come here to read the articles. :-)

Re: I love this place (Score: 2, Insightful)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-12 23:34 (#2V13)

This is a huge problem for us. No one will talk about the positive effect this issue has had. All the media wants to talk about is the harassment *a few* people are getting.

On top of that, there isn't any more evidence that the harassment is actually coming from member(s) of GamerGate than there is it's MRA or just some random joe. The only thing linking harassment to GamerGate are the women saying it is (Anita, Zoe, and Brianna) and the media agreeing with them. The same media GamerGate found to be corrupt and colluding via the GameJournoPro email list.

Watch Pakman's interview with Brianna, when he ask her how she knows the harassment was from GamerGate she accuses him of running a hit piece.

Members of GamerGate even tracked down one of Anita's harassers, Brazilian Game journalist who admitted to it, and she's done nothing except cover it up. She issued a DMCA take down of a YouTube video of the Gamer that recording the chat session. We had a mass report campaign to the FBI, but my understanding is they can't/won't do anything unless Anita reports it. This was another video someone posted http://youtu.be/B-MufQdCqfQ

Re: I love this place (Score: 2)

by zafiro17@pipedot.org on 2014-11-13 13:40 (#2V1P)

Watch Pakman's interview with Brianna, when he ask her how she knows the harassment was from GamerGate she accuses him of running a hit piece. Members of GamerGate even tracked down one of Anita's harassers, Brazilian Game journalist who admitted to it, and she's done nothing except cover it up. She issued a DMCA take down of a YouTube video of the Gamer that recording the chat session. We had a mass report campaign to the FBI, but my understanding is they can't/won't do anything unless Anita reports it.
Jeez, what a pissing match!

Re: I love this place (Score: 2, Informative)

by vanderhoth@pipedot.org on 2014-11-13 15:38 (#2V1X)

I'd like to say, "you have no idea", but you probably do... and it's sad all around.

If GamerGate wasn't being painted as a harassment campaign, we'd be even more effective, but just look at what Gawker did to Intel and other advertisers when they started pulling out, misogyny left and right. So other (smaller) advertisers, IMHO, may be waiting for things to die down before pulling out so they can't be linked to GamerGate as the reason for it. We have gotten a lot of big ones though, Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, Intel, Dyson, Kellogs, and the list goes on.

We also found out they listed advertisers and partners that didn't advertise or partner with them so we're working to have an FTC investigation launched (http://wiki.gamergate.me/index.php/Operation_UV), oh the joy ^_^

On top of Operation Disrespectful Nod we're working to have Google and Amazon adsense programs pulled (http://wiki.gamergate.me/index.php/Operation_Baby_Seal), we've compiled a whole host of ToS violations. It's quite spectacular.

I know I'm having a little too much fun with this, but it's one of the best games I think I've played in a long time. I know, sad v_v

Edit: I should have also thrown in the Dossier that was compiled by 8Chan. It's a very long boring read, but lots of great press information for if/when the mainstream realizes the harassment narrative is BS and they need information to parrot quickly to save face - http://press.gamergate.me/dossier/