(This article was written months ago, but in light of the disgusting recent events surrounding the Crash Override Network, the idea behind it has become more relevant than ever. Not only that, but it has been proven true beyond the shadow of a doubt. Keep in mind this is a draft, not a final product, so please overlook minor errors and parts that have been awkwardly written)
Hashtag movements suck, because they lack any sort of precision or quality control among members. Nothing highlights this point more than #GamerGate. It doesn’t matter whether #GamerGate was a group inspired to action by their disgust with games media personalities being in bed with developers and publishers, that was co-opted by trolls, or a hateful troll group that lures these type of people in to become their unwitting shields. The simple fact of the matter is the #GamerGate umbrella houses a lot of trolls and those fighting for any cause under the hashtag’s banner are undermined by the inability to filter them out.
That’s not just a problem for #GamerGate members, it’s a problem for everyone. You see, trolls are the “Team Killing Fucktards” of the internet. They don’t care if #GamerGate gets slammed, or if they’re the ones slamming #GamerGate. They have no side, all they care about is causing trouble to get their jollies off. Just look at the Color Cabal incident.
this was the interview pic.twitter.com/WNLbBv6dYw
— juice (@juicechugger) May 1, 2015
Truly the most legit of all interviews.
Buzzfeed made no effort to verify their sources, and accepted everything a (fairly humorous) internet troll told them as truth, smearing Color Cabal as “self-proclaimed racists” for everyone to see. Turns out Buzzfeed’s “source” made it all up, making a joke of it on social media. Fortunately Buzzfeed retracted the article, since it was undeniably debunked as utter bullshit, like the responsible peo– Haha, no. They made a tiny editor’s note after the damage was done.
The sad part is the relationship of trolls and those who oppose them has become codependent, something certain parties have turned into a business. The “professionally offended” are like a really lame version of the scam from Dragonheart. Trolls crave attention, and the ability to use #GamerGate to rile up the easily offended is a bottomless cup of sweet amrita. At the same time, the social justice warriors get an enemy to rally against by pretending this impotent group of jackasses represents everyone that has ever used #GamerGate, is somehow a truly threatening, and must be stopped at all costs. Even if that means becoming toxic themselves.
Every time you see someone respond to a legitimate #GamerGate criticism of game journalism, third wave feminism in gaming, or shoddy localization practices with hypocritical hate speech, and dismissal via accusation and labeling, trolls get their lulz, and the social justice crowd gets to pat themselves on the back. Everyone wins, save the people with valid criticisms.
Toxic responses aren’t rare either, it’s the norm now. The very people claiming they’re fighting for the rights of women, minorities, and the LBGT community, or battling against incorrect labels and cyber bullying, are often quick to use those tactics on all who disagree with them. It doesn’t matter if you present a logical argument with facts and research, these people will label you as a racist #GamerGate member and claim your opinions don’t matter.
I myself was targeted for such harassment after posting a news story about a certain Nintendo PR representative that moonlighted as a sex worker. You see, I didn’t get the memo that told everyone else the newest feminist baby-face was untouchable. If you wrote about Mrs. Rep being fired, it had to be about how Nintendo caved to harassers, not the fact she was fired after it came to light she broke the law. Unlike Buzzfeed, I did my due diligence, to the best of my ability I confirmed the evidence of her moonlighting as an escort was real, and then dared suggest Nintendo took the best course of action.
The narrative immediately became that I was an evil man, out to smear this innocent woman in the press. I received tons of harassment via social media, had a petition turned against me, and received several threats. The harassment was so intense that Twitter got off its ass and started banning people, deleting tweets, etc.
Harassers claimed my career was over, I received images of my apartment photographed from the outside attached to violent messages, and someone even made a webpage featuring images where I was crudely photo shopped into acts of homosexuality. The lowest point came when I was interviewed by Cynthia Than and was presented a chance to state my case, but her editor silently removed the exchange.
Syfy still hasn’t contacted me for the rights to my story.
Again, these are the people who claim they’re fighting cyber bullying, among other things, and they can’t see they’re now participating in the act themselves. It’s not just in cases like my article either. When #GamerGate tried to hold a convention of sorts in Washington, DC, Arthur Chu allegedly sent several increasingly frustrated messages to the venue owner, urging them to not let the meet-up happen in their establishment. When that failed, someone just happened to make an anonymous bomb threat to force an evacuation of the building.
This same type of behavior has happened more than once: In August of 2015, a Society of Professional Journalists regional director, Michael Koretzky, a fairly outspoken man that has no love or hatred for #GamerGate, organized an event called AirPlay. It featured a two session panel that was originally planned to revolve around a formal debate between #GamerGate representatives and its detractors.
Like clockwork, the harassment began. Thinly veiled threats of bad publicity were sent to the SPJ, Koretzky had people contact him and tell him his career would be over, those affiliated with #GamerGate were doxxed live on stream, and despite more than adequate security to ensure all threats were hoaxes, police forced an evacuation due to bomb threats.
Now you may try to point out that these actions could have been the work of trolls. Good job, you’re catching on.
Unfortunately, the distinction is now moot. In their zealous opposition to what they deem a hate group, social justice proponents have sunk to the level of the trolls that goad them, taking a scorched earth policy against all they label as #GamerGate. Harassment, marginalization, and threats are their tools now, applied liberally when anyone opposes them.
Fighting for women and minorities, except when they disagree, then fuck those ones.
Just like there are decent #GamerGate users, there are decent proponents of social justice. I consider myself on the side of social justice given my desires for equality of race, sex, and orientation, but the extremely loud, blind, and gullible horde of social justice warriors drowns that out. Much in the same way trolls have drowned out extremely valid points brought up by many #GamerGate proponents.
Now that #GamerGate has been turned into the bogeymen that everyone should avoid, the communism of today’s McCarthyism, issues and criticisms cannot be leveled where they need to be. Keiji Inafune Anita Sarkeesian had a wildly successful Kickstarter, and over the course of several years failed to accomplish her original goal, despite massive over-funding, before moving on to her next project. Media and developers/publishers are in bed figuratively and literally as beautifully illustrated by Patricia Hernandez being in a romantic relationship with a woman whose games she constantly shilled without any disclosure, until forced to do so. Video game localizers openly brag about using their positions to “fix” things they don’t like about Japanese games, or ask others to refuse localization of games they don’t like, but if you criticize them, the the media and social justice proponents label you a #GamerGate member and do their best to silence you.
You can almost pinpoint the exact moment NeoGAF became worse than GameFAQs.
They’re all in bed together, but if you offer proof by finding links to Patreons and leaked e-mails, you’re not doing investigative journalism by combing through now publicly available information. No, you’re a stalker and a conspiracy theorist. That GameJouroPro mailing list wasn’t a horrible problem you should be concerned about, people use secret mailing lists to illegally(?) blacklist individuals all the time. Stop being a stalker, respect their privacy!
There are real problems in gaming media, and these problems are growing every day. Now game journalism outlets have started redirecting developers to their marketing teams. If you want coverage, simply pay them. For the low price of $7,500, you can become a Bronze member and purchase four news articles and a feature. That’s right, you can buy the news. Where it hasn’t already, gaming media is becoming nothing more than advertising, the complete opposite of what journalism and criticism are supposed to be, but anyone opposing this trend is waved off and beset by the faithful lapdogs corporate advertisers and media have tamed with table scraps and attention.
Trolls have won. They got all the attention they could possibly want, and successfully dragged social justice to their level, none the wiser. Whenever anyone makes a valid point against the current state of affairs, trolls get to enjoy watching their little creations defend the new big business, all the while laughing at how they’ve made legitimate criticism almost impossible. By feeding the trolls, today’s gaming media has become a joke of hypocrisy. It has nowhere to go but down, until humans realize the only people you should call Nazi racists are actual f#%king Nazi racists.