#gamergate: not my circus; not my monkeys

Yesterday, the guitarist from one of my other bands started talking to me about the gamergate shenanigans, and I found myself generally opposed to his opinions. I began prepping my thoughts for "debate mode" where I would ask him poignant questions that would make him realize the folly of his ways.

Then I started asking myself those same questions. In terms of reinforcing the echo chamber, that was probably a bad idea; in terms of being a thoughtful, well-examined individual (i.e. not a loudmouthed jerkass), it was probably the right thing to do.

So I've only been vaguely following the issue because if I'm truly honest with myself, I'm not really a gamer anymore. I played games all the time as a kid and throughout college, but since college I've been playing less and less. I bought an Ouya and played through Organ Trail once, and I downloaded last-year's Dwarf Fortress and played one fortress. And that's it. I haven't played anything except the occasional phone or flash game in a year.

So I'm really only concerned with this issue in that I have friends who have strong opinions on it and that I want to see various media get better and more well-thought-out.

So the questions I was planning to ask (and in turn asked myself) is "what is at stake here that is important to you?" and "What are your actions doing (or not doing) to advance that cause?" Alternatively, "why is this my problem?"

So this is a large and convoluted issue, meaning there are potentially a lot of causes you could be championing here. So if you have strong opinions on #gamerGate, which of these are you hoping to accomplish?

  • Promoting gender equality, especially in a field that has not historically been welcoming to women (i.e. videogames)? Cool. I haven't read enough to tell you if you're doing it right or not.
  • Stopping corruption and neopotism in the video game media? Yeah, that's probably worth doing. Hey, remember how pretty much all of video game media has been in the AAA gaming industries pocket for a solid 15 years? That's probably significant.
  • Preventing Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesan from having a platform to express themselves from or just squashing the ideas they advocate? Dude, you're being a jerk. Stop it.
  • Punishing Zoe Quinn for being promiscuous? Have you, personally, slept with her? Then it's not your circus, not your monkeys. You should really stay out of it.
  • Punishing Anita Sarkeesan for [insert alleged slight]? I mean... she's delivering on what she promised on Kickstarter (however slowly), so you can't really be mad at her for that; that's how Kickstarter works. You can resent her success, but don't be petty about it. For the "stealing other people's game footage" thing, the courts have actually come down on her side of things in previous cases. The game creator owns that footage, not the player; and her use to critique the game itself and its creators constitues fair use. And if video games want to be taken seriously as an artistic medium, they need to be open to all forms of critique. You can dislike what she says and think she says it badly, but she still gets to do so.
  • Maintaining the status quo? What is the status quo in video games these days? Is it still primarily FPSes where you should a bunch of faceless brown people and get your sexuality questioned by 12-year-olds in multiplayer? I guess... that's cool...
  • Stopping social justice warriors from doing their thing? Preeetty sure this makes you the bad guy here.
  • Ensuring 4chan continues to exist as a bastion of free speech and anonymity? Fortunately, this is an important issue for a lot of people. Sites gain and lose relevance all the time, and something will always be there to fill that role. Realistically? If you want a platform where you can say whatever you want and remain relatively anonymous, Tumblr is probably your best bet these days. Use a burner email address to set up a blog and say whatever you want. I just tried it; it took two minutes to set up a blog with a fake email and no personal info. 4chan has never been particularly free. It's always been subject to Moot's whims regardless of how terrible.

Personally, I care about the promoting gender equality one, but I'm too lazy to do much about it. So I guess it's back to lurking for me.

Say, how's the Ferguson thing going? Still a police state where unarmed teens can be killed for no reason? Huh. Well, that's probably not that important anyway.

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