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Digital retailer speaks out on #gamergate name confusion

Gamersgate CEO puts out public statement after receiving threats

The CEO of a game download service has been forced to issue a statement after the company received threats from members of the public who confused its name, Gamersgate, with the recent #gamergate movement.

"As many of you are aware of, recently there has been a fierce and infected discussion about sexism as well as journalistic ethics in the gaming industry. We've received threats and harsh words from around the world and want to make it clear for everyone that Gamersgate.com is not part of this controversy whatsoever," said Theodore Bergqvist in a public statement.

The company is also using social media to get the message out but at the time of writing the company's Twitter account, @Gamersgate, was still receiving messages like the one below.

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Latest comments (28)

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus4 years ago
FFS. This takes two seconds of research.
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Christopher Ashton Carlos Software Programmer 4 years ago
I still don't understand how the words "gamer" and "gate" relate to this cause anymore.
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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 4 years ago
Well on the bright side it's free advertising, probably have higher net traffic at the moment too
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Show all comments (28)
Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship4 years ago
I'm sure an inventive marketing department could make hay with the confusion.
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You do realize the vitriol of abuse there would have been if anyone suggested that for the women who where threatened.
A company is not a person. Stupid people sending GamersGate abuse is very different to stupid people sending Zoe Quinn abuse. It's not a 'double standard', it's apples and oranges.
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I'm not belittling anything. GamersGate receiving threats from idiots who don't know how to fact-check sucks and is absolutely to be condemned. So too are threats made against GamerGate moderates. No double-standards there. That said, accusing anybody, person or company, of making up abuse to profit from the attention - especially when it is so easy to search on Twitter and find it for yourself - is lazy and offensive. Y'all can do better than that.

The fact remains that there is a big difference between the violent, specific threats that people like Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian have been weathering - threats serious enough to make them fear for their lives and involve the FBI, remember - and the angry tweets I've seen directed at GamersGate; at a company rather than a specific person and her family.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 24th October 2014 11:37am

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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship4 years ago
@John. Yes, I see the point. I don't think there's anything underhand about trying to maximise the benefit you get out of a bad situation *not of your own making*. It's casting aspersions at the *not of your own making* part that gets people riled, obviously.

I don't blame people and / or companies for trying to get what they can out of a bad situation. Context is everything etc. I think going any further than that with regards to questioning incentives and motives is opening a massive can of worms; there are ways in our society for public victims to profit from things they have suffered; that isn't particular to this situation. Victims of high profile crimes can often end up benefiting financially in some way. Some people find it unseemly when this is done. Again, depends entirely on the context.

I get your point, though; there is little attempt to apply the same standards across the board. I could probably have made the same comment on some thread about Anita, and meant it genuinely as, "well, she might as well get some good out of this shitty thing that's happened to her", and been hammered for it. You could call that a double standard, but I'd say it's more being aware of the sensitivity around implying that someone is 'bringing this on themselves', or 'doing this for publicity'.

I'll say it a third time - *context is everything* :)
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if they're directed at anti-gamergate people they're pro-gamergate people.
Well, what else do you call someone who supports GamerGate and rallies under the hashtag? I absolutely agree that everyone making threats and harassing others is an idiot - potentially a very dangerous idiot - but a huge amount of it is being facilitated and enabled by that damned hashtag.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship4 years ago
@John, yeah I agree.
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How is it unfair to argue that a harassment campaign started, perpetuated and constantly defended by people carrying out horrifying amounts of harassment and abuse against anyone who dares to speak out against their actions, should end? Because that's what GamerGate is about. It's about harassment, it's about abuse, it's about using mob tactics to attack and silence those who disagree with their aims and their methods.

If people using the #gamergate tag actually have concerns about journalistic integrity, they are welcome to actually discuss that. But doing so under the banner of #gamergate will not get them very far. GamerGate is about abuse.
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard4 years ago
@John, just my personal opinion here, but calling a nebulous, unidentifiable collection of people who have freely volunteered to sign up to a hashtag "immature assholes" lacks the sort of impact that a death or rape threat to a named individual (especially when those threats are accompanied by that individuals home address) has. One of these is a threat the other is an (impolitely phrased) opinion.

The tweet shown is in no way a threat. Is it wrong to call people "assholes" (even when they act like one)? Yes, a bit. Is it more wrong to threaten someone with death/rape? In my opinion, yes. Absolutely.
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Oh come on John, stop with this 'Well, X-bad-strawperson would say...(Hey, now I can claim I didn't actually say that myself!)' thing. It's childish in the extreme. Say what you mean to say or don't.
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard4 years ago
@John "Threats" to a company can include perfectly legitimate threats to boycott their goods or utterly heinous ones to firebomb the HQ. Without knowing the nature of the threats it's impossible to ascertain whether or not they are of the same character as ones received by the Sarkeesian, Quinn and so on.

As to "plenty of pro-GG people have reported threats" I've yet to be shown a single death or rape threat against a pro-GG individual, let alone one that uses a person's real name, address etc. I'm open to the idea that some people in the pro-GG camp have made such threats, but until I see one, I'm going to take the assertions with a pinch of salt. I've tried searching for threats against pro-GG folk, but couldn't find anything.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
The means do not justify the end in the case of gamergate. One can certainly make an argument for a more idealized version of the gaming press. But hoping to change things by terrorizing human beings with personal attacks is childish at best. Why childish? Because those lashing out now do so for the minor cause of review scores being a bit more accurate. To achieve this goal, persons identifying with gamergate are willing to risk felony charges for issuing death threats. This shows there is a large mass of people who do not consider consequences to their actions.

This line of thinking follows a popular trend, where complex issues are reduced down to blaming a very small group of individuals. An entire generation has grown up knowing nothing else but a type of argument where all the evils of the world are projected onto an antagonistic individual who is to blame. Now the lessons learned from the media's way of portraying the war on terror is applied to video gaming. Verbally abusing certain people until they leave the industry will have the same effect as killing Bin Laden had on international terrorism: little to none. Because those people are not the cause of the problem, they are the result of problems remaining unchecked.

We have certainly seen more grown up strategies as well, such as going after advertisers. But the more vile gamergate gets down the road, the less traction it will create with moderate people interested in the original issues. Gamergate had a point and long term this point will come up again and someday even resolved in the interest of consumers. But currently gamersgate is just an experiment in how to apply abusive language and personal information while feeling empowered doing so. However, it is a fake feeling of empowerment, even if persons react to it by moving away. Because the reasons that prompted this behavior remain unchanged and gamergate is not even trying to tackle them in a way that they might get resolved.
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard4 years ago
Hi @John, I took a few minutes to look at that site. It throws a few accusations out, but no follow up. This story seems more reliable: http://www.gamerheadlines.com/2014/10/gamergate-abuse-victims-media-wont-tell/ (apologies to mods if linking is not allowed).

Although, the Brianna Wu autism one is discredited as the message was sent from a fake account "gaI" instead of "gal". Which the story failed to update despite being notified in the comment section. (So -1 point for being a bit lazy.) The Milo syringe incident was deplorable, as was the Total Biscuit thing and the doxxing.

One final thought. People choose to join GamerGate despite it's well publicised extremist fanatics. Those of us who disagree with the methods of fanatics in that group did not choose to join any group, any crazies that didn't join GG are therefore still hanging around. As such, it's a lot harder (rightly or wrongly) to tar those not in favour of GG with the actions of the crazies who didn't join GG and are currently threatening GG folk. In short, we all had to put up with idiot gamers sending death threats over e.g. changing gun stats in CoD long before there were sides to be on. GG seems to have a disproportionate number of them compared to "the rest of us".
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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 4 years ago
My problem with the Anti Gamergaters is they attack not just the harassers but general gamers, loners, nerds, geeks etc like its open season on nerd bashing, some harassers may live in their mothers basement, alone, with little other human contact but don't use that as a negative stereotype to hurt them with as there are a lot of people living that life style that haven't done anything to anyone and they should be left out it, for me that's who Intel stood up for when they withdrew their add campaign from Gamasutra, after the offensive article by Leigh Alexander was published.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Craig Burkey on 24th October 2014 4:26pm

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The 'gamers are over' article Leigh wrote was not a personal attack against geeky basement-dwellers. It was a celebration of the fact that the mainstream negative stereotype of gamers being socially inept hypercapitalist manchildren was false and that more and more publishers and developers and non-games-media publications were coming to realise that 'gamers' are diverse and accepting and much more interesting than the stereotype of aggressive, socially stunted, sexist young men that has long persisted in the eyes of many suggested. It is exactly the article that geeky basement-dwellers feeling hard done-by in the media should have been welcoming.

Kinda ironic that so many 'gamers' wilfully misread her article and formed an angry mob full of aggressive, socially stunted, sexist young men, huh?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 24th October 2014 4:43pm

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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 4 years ago
Sadly it didn't read like that and wasn't presented like that, with the original banner being grossly offensive, it was naive think that to celebrate not being "socially inept hypercapitalist manchildren", intentionally or not, might actually be offensive to "socially inept hypercapitalist manchildren"
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/magazine/the-death-of-adulthood-in-american-culture.html

Worth reading, not just because it's a fantastic essay, but also because it and Leigh's piece aimed for the same literary standards and concepts (in my opinion).

And just look at that title, would you?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 24th October 2014 5:09pm

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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios4 years ago
@John
Only you could see that article as a celebration of anything. :-)
Not true! I also read it as a celebration of diversity. In order to be offended by Leigh's article you have to self-identify as a sterotypical socially inept hypercapitalist manchild. I've been playing games since 1982 and have probably conformed to elements of that stereotype in the past (certainly used to be pretty socially inept), but it's not an identity I particularly wanted to cling to...
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 4 years ago
I agree that the movement has been tarnished and a new hashtag to separate the two would probably be best
No, it would not, for several reasons:

1) The #GamerGate hashtag is a point of organization, despite the huge variety of people behind it. Making a new hashtag would only splinter the group.
2) Any new hashtag would simply be associated with the old one and wouldn't change anyone's opinions.
3) Most importantly, there is absolutely nothing stopping the harassers from using the new tag, again defeating its purpose.

As for the name it's just yet another reference to watergate, just like everything else that ends in -gate
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada4 years ago
It was a celebration of the fact that the mainstream negative stereotype of gamers being socially inept hypercapitalist manchildren was false
I agree with you, but I can also see how it would be construed as an attack on a "core gamer" mentality. In this case, I think both 'sides' are right.
No, it would not, for several reasons:

1) The #GamerGate hashtag is a point of organization, despite the huge variety of people behind it. Making a new hashtag would only splinter the group.
2) Any new hashtag would simply be associated with the old one and wouldn't change anyone's opinions.
3) Most importantly, there is absolutely nothing stopping the harassers from using the new tag, again defeating its purpose.
I disagree here, possibly just through optimism.
1- That's part of the problem though - GG frequently claims 'unification' and a lack of central authority. The harassers aren't "true GG" people, etc. You can't have it both ways - either you have a central authority that speaks for the whole, or everyone can speak on their behalf, including the crackpots and jerks.
Splintering the group would at least be an attempt to differentiate themselves from the harassment. I'm all for improving gaming journalism, which is ostensibly a goal for GG - I'd support some new hashtag that represented that, instead of that plus all the baggage.

2- I don't think it'd be pointless at all. The entire thing is symbolic, and that'd be a symbolic gesture. At this point, I don't think there's anything to lose - #gg is hopelessly mired by the harassment, and legitimate complaints coming out of it are going to get 'rebutted' by pointing to the harassment, which doesn't help any kind of dialog or improvement to happen

3- Absolutely they could, and I think they probably would, but again, the symbolic gesture would be there. Right now, there's a perception (fair or not) that #gg is disingenuous, because of the claiming centralism and dispersion of responsibility. This is the only thing I can think of to try to address that.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
I've been playing games since 1982 and have probably conformed to elements of that stereotype in the past (certainly used to be pretty socially inept), but it's not an identity I particularly wanted to cling to...
I was offended by it and I'm a 38 year old married man. Maybe I just have a bit more empathy.
I have no issue with the gamer identity being stripped away. Regardless of the consumer or person you are, I think it's important to realise that everything remakes itself - goths now are different to goths in the early 2000s, who were different to the 90s and 80s goths. Same with Punk fans. Same with foreign-film fanatics.

That said, I would have far far more respect for GG'ers if they refocussed the issue entirely onto identity. Viewed as an identity issue, so much of what is happening comes into stark-relief, from both perspectives. The attacks on SJWs, the (perhaps tenuous) link to "herpa-derp" simplification of gaming, the idea that if you're against GG, you're anti-gaming. I mentioned on a different thread someone who unfollowed me because I linked to the Polygon article on ethics. Here's another thing he said:
This attitude is borne of years of abuse, hatred, insults, labels and other toxic invectives just because I play games #GamerGate
Part of why GG seems so hard to quell is that people's identities are linked to the games they buy, and this has only increased as publishers and manufacturers have egged this mind-set on (all the way back to Sega v Nintendo in the 80s). This is why I find the lack of pubs/mans statements so hard to stomach - they've created this situation (at least in part) and have benefitted from it (certainly in the past, though perhaps to a lesser extent nowadays), but still they sit silently. I find myself losing more respect for pubs with this silent attitude than I ever did with whatever else they have done in the past.

(apologies if this is apropos-of-nothing... Shouldn't have had that extra glass of white. :p )

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 24th October 2014 9:29pm

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Jordan Lund Columnist 4 years ago
We are talking about a group of people who still can't distinguish between Rogue and Rouge. Doesn't surprise me at all.
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Richard Vaught Studying B.A. in Game Design, University of Advancing Technology4 years ago
@Jessica
How is it unfair to argue that a harassment campaign started, perpetuated and constantly defended by people carrying out horrifying amounts of harassment and abuse against anyone who dares to speak out against their actions, should end?
You know, for once, I actually agree with something you said, without reservation. So, take a look at GamersHeadlines. Perhaps you don't think a feminist telling a woman that she will Doxx her, and give her over to the cartels to be raped (she's form Mexico) qualifies.

Or maybe (GGMember)
"Just last night I deleted a youtube comment from a user who posted my home address and said he'd kill my wife and leave me to mourn." doesn't qualify either.
What about ruining someone's livelihood?
Alright SJWs, come after my accounts, but dont come after my books. I was reported to Amazon for plagiarism&now they’re holding my royalties

— Danielle Gieger (@DanielleGieger) October 8, 2014



Read more: http://www.gamerheadlines.com/2014/10/gamergate-abuse-victims-media-wont-tell/#ixzz3H84VJ83B
Now, here is my issue. One of the major things the feminist segment of this thing has cried foul over is the targeting of women. Yet, here we see two cases where women were targeted by feminist. Isn't that a little self-defeating?

This is why I refuse to identify with feminism or GamersGate, despite agreeing with issues mentioned by both groups.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Richard Vaught on 25th October 2014 6:00am

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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 4 years ago
@Morville I think the big names are doing the best thing they can do and steer clear, they don't want to alienate anyone regardless of demographic, they know which demos are doing well and which are growing. While I commend intel so much I think their stance has guaranteed my next processor purchase will be an intel chip, it was risky and the rest understandably would like to issue a joint statement via organisations like the ESA
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Tanya Rei Myoko Programmer 4 years ago
Wait, but gawker told me yesterday that no male has recieved a threat in this and no one on the antigamergate side made any threats ever.
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Tanya Rei Myoko Programmer 4 years ago
@john Anita and Brianna are already doing that. Brianna used it to promote her game which is why people think she insulted gamers in the first place. And Anita has been given awards and done talks about harassment.

I was offended by Leigh's article, and I'm a 31 year old married woman. Hers was the straw that broke the camel's back. Sam Biddle didn't help with his bullying nerds remarks

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tanya Rei Myoko on 25th October 2014 8:34pm

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