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Blizzard: "Let's take a stand to reject hate and harassment"

In his opening talk at BlizzCon, Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime warned that harassers are "tarnishing our reputation as gamers"

It's been an ugly few months in the video game industry as the mainstream media has shined its spotlight on the Gamergate movement and the persistent cases of harassment, misogyny, and threats (rape, death, bomb, etc.) that have certainly given gaming a black eye. While some in the industry would rather not talk about it, perhaps hoping it'll just go away on its own, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime took the opportunity to speak up during his opening talk at BlizzCon 2014 today.

"Over the last few months, there's been a small group of people doing really awful things. They have been making some people's lives miserable, and they are tarnishing our reputations as gamers. It's not right. BlizzCon is a great example of how positive and uplifting gaming can be. Let's carry the good vibes from this weekend out into the world all year round," he said.

"There is another person on the other end of the chat screen. They are our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters. Let's take a stand to reject hate and harassment, and let's redouble our efforts to be kind and respectful to one another. Let's remind the world what the gaming community is really all about."

Morhaime did not specifically blame the Gamergate movement or even name it. In the end, whether or not any harassment is tied to Gamergate is irrelevant. The bottom line is that the harassment has to stop, and it's encouraging to see prominent figures in the industry starting to speak out against it.

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Latest comments (47)

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Morhaime did not specifically blame the Gamergate movement or even name it.
Which leads me to question why you did?

There's been harrassment and nasty behaviour online before, during and after gamergate. I'm a white male and you won't catch me playing any game online that requires a microphone as the general behaviour is apalling. I imagine it must be ten times worse if you stand out from that crowd in some way. But at no time did anyone ever use the word gamegate during their insults either.

The guy that left me a one star Adnroid review and hoped for me to "get cancer and die" didn't mention gamergate either. (I affronted him by putting adverts in my free game so obviously he was provoked in mitigation...)

I guess my point is, I'd prefer the clickbait to be more about exterminating harassment and vile behaviour anywhere and everywhere, rather than going to war on a hashtag. I've deliberately avoided anything with the word "gamergate" in it, so all the vileness I've experienced has been outside of it.
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Jan Goh Programmer, Ubisoft Montreal6 years ago
Apparently he did mention Gamergate by name: http://i.wow.joystiq.com/2014/11/07/blizzcon-opening-ceremony-liveblog/

Even if he hadn't, it would be an unbelievable stretch to think this came out of the blue. Blizzcon has been running since 2005 and he just mentions this now? What an amazing coincidence!

Gamergate has been a significant source of harassment--whether there are people in the movement that are against it or not. Even if he hadn't mentioned them by name, the implication was and is obvious.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship6 years ago
He didn't mention it, Geoff Keighley brings it up. Here's the video..

Though it is vaguely predictable watching both self-declared sides try to shoe horn industry folk into one camp or another. The guy pleaded for people to be nice to each other. Amen!
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Show all comments (47)
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
It's obviously become a wider issue because of some aspects of gamergate.

But gamergate to my understanding is not about harassment. That some people are using the hashtag whilst making nasty threats is to me entirely beside the point. In the wider sphere many people, mostly non-gamergaterst, are harassing a broader group - basically everyone, for kicks. Why focus on the minority of bad behaviour attached to some of the gamegate stuff when the problem of apalling behavour online is so much bigger and more widespread?

I've had death threats. Not for speaking out on a contentious issue, but just for putting adverts into a free game ffs. Or another one for reducing the price of a different game shortly after someone bought it at the higher price. Yes, death threats. But that's fine because nobody said #gamergate afterwards?

Harrasment, threats and general bad behaviour is nothing to do with gamergate. This is a separate and much wider problem affecting a much wider group. Simply trotting out "gamergate" udermines all of that.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
In summary, I'm with Mr Morhaime. Let's try to fix the overall problem. He didn't mention gg for a reason. It's the editorial that refocussed on that much smaller sample.
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Michael Revis Freelance Writer 6 years ago
"Morhaime did not specifically blame the Gamergate movement or even name it."

Probably because it wasn't actual GamerGate supporters that did the threats, but idiotic online trolls using the name for their own benefit, which anyone that actually knows anything about GamerGate itself would understand. So, why did you have to be the one to throw the name in there instead?

Morhaime was smart in not using any actual names or pointing any fingers. The message alone was powerful and speaks volumes on what Blizzard represents in the industry.
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Probably because it wasn't actual GamerGate supporters that did the threats, but idiotic online trolls using the name for their own benefit, which anyone that actually knows anything about GamerGate itself would understand.
Oh, come on. By this logic you can ascribe literally anything you like to GamerGate, just by claiming that anyone saying anything inconvenient is 'just a troll'. Anyone who uses the hashtag has as much right to call themelves a 'supporter' as anyone else; that's what a leaderless, directionless 'organisation' gets you. There has been plenty of harassment and threats from people associated with GamerGate, it's eye-rollingly naive to claim otherwise.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
In my opinion, regardless of if the harassers are the majority or the minority, GG is going to be the go-to reference (implied or explicit) for many people when they talk about harassment in gaming. And for awhile, too. I think anyone who supports GG is probably going to have to accept that as a fact now, since the two things (harassment and GG) are so heavily entwined.

Which is not to say I think that's right - as Paul says, there's been harassment before GG. But I don't think the pro-GG side realises how widespread this hashtag has become. Nor do they realise how widespread the types of people (and networks of people) that have been affected by this, or talked about it, actually are.

(Well, I fail at proof-reading today)

Edited 6 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 8th November 2014 4:30pm

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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Oh, come on. By this logic you can ascribe literally anything you like to GamerGate, just by claiming that anyone saying anything inconvenient is 'just a troll'.
Go read the part you quoted again. Michael's point was that being a troll and supporting gamergate are/can be two different things. You seem to have responded as if he said the opposite. Not only did he not ascribe anything to GG, he specifically opted it out. There is actually no way to use logic on his statement to get to your own.

His (and my) point is really pretty simple:

You can be a troll/nasty person.
You can be a GG supporter.
You can be both of those things or neither of those things.
But being one does not auto-subscribe you to being the other.

So actual logic dictates that nastiness and gg are two totally independent, separate things.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th November 2014 1:01pm

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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Let's try this again. How does your brand of logic reconcile this sample tweet:

All women are horrible and should be kept barefoot and pregnant
#supportfeminism

You see, you can say something stupid and you can put a hashtag on it, but the inclusion of the hashtag does not in fact mean that other supporters of that hashtag agree with your statement. It's just some ascii characters that anyone can type in without permission from anyone.

(In fact, some asshole deliberately trying to provoke people with the above tweet might include that hashtag just to ensure feminists read it and it causes maximum offence!)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th November 2014 1:16pm

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Paolo Giunti Narrative Designer 6 years ago
If i am part of a group and i see people doing something i don't agree with under the banner of my group, my first instinctive reaction is to make it very clear that those people don't represent me and that I actually disapprove of their actions.
While i am certain that some people in #GG did exactly that, the great majority of the #GG community failed to distance themselves from the trolls. At best you get an "it wasn't me" hand-washing attitude which offers no real indication of disapproval or condemnation of the harassment.
I'm sorry, but that's not good enough: if you choose to unite with other people under the same flag, then you have to acknowledge that the actions of the other members will be reflected on you, so it's up to you to make a clear stand against what you don't deem acceptable within the very group you've chosen to be part of.

Without the majority of the #GG community taking such a clear stand, "it's just a few trolls bearing the hashtag" is not sufficient to absolve #GG as a whole.

On a second point, I've seen the #GG community bloom with the (fabricated) scandal of Zoey Quinn, in a climate that clearly attracts primarily "the angry mob": people whose main goal is seek some legitimate(?) reason to go torches and pitchforks against. Not exactly the most reasonable crowd, I'd say.
It's unsurprising that abusers thrive among them and I can't really buy the argument that these few trolls (few in %, but actually a lot of individuals) are not really connected to the movement.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paolo Giunti on 9th November 2014 3:35pm

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago
Oh hashtag, you silliest of catalysts. Trying to provide the comforts of a social group to a mass of users blurting nonsense to be stored in the same database by chance. What would we do without you? Notice that there is nothing but our own confirmation bias telling us that we have something in common with the other users of this service? Walk the desert of total communication without the mirage of empowerment? Oh hashtag, thank you for the beloved social cover you give to those already hiding behind pseudonyms, yet still fearing to use the mighty @.

Question:
if you are killed by a swarm of ants, do you actually blame the individual ant which killed you and remember it? There are sure many Ants involved in killing a man, but there must be 'the one', right? If so, why does everybody try to be that one Ant so hard? In the end, you will still be an Ant. Why choose a form of communication that reduces you this much? Self-deprecation fetish?
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
<picardfacepalm.jpg>

I can only refer back to my previous posts. No matter how convenient it would be to pose #GG as a movement you can pin something on, you really can't blame a hashtag for the comments of an individual using it - no matter how horrible. The issue is with that individual, period.

I won't be labouring that point any further as I really don't have enough interest in this whole thing. I'm certainly not a #gg "member" myself as I wouldn't know what the point of it was even meant to be.
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I really don't have enough interest in this whole thing. I'm certainly not a #gg "member" myself as I wouldn't know what the point of it was even meant to be.
Thanks for admitting that you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about or excusing!

Next time, how about you consider whether you have anything of value to add before commenting seven times on it. Just a thought.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Thanks for admitting that you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about or excusing!
Again with this Jessica?

I've deleted my 10 point hatchet job because there's no point arguing with you. You seem to make a point of ignoring anything I actually say and substituting cheap shots and straw men so I'd rather just pass. I'll just ask you to reboot your irony detector before I leave and check your last post again.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 9th November 2014 11:08pm

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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd6 years ago
But gamergate to my understanding is not about harassment.
Then your understanding is wrong.

Your fourth comment is just bizarre. You can't cherry pick the parts of an unstructured mob that you agree with.

Your terrible analogy falls down because the overwhelming majority of #gamergate's words and actions have been centered on harassment. All of the loudest voices within it (Adam Baldwin, Mike Cernovich, Mile Yiannopoulos, etc.) are focused on harassment and don't care about ethics at all, and anyone aligning themselves with the "brand" at this point is advertising that they condone these people.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Do you have any research to back up any of that? The only stats I've seen were presented by someone elsewhere on this site and his harrasment figure was iirc 5%. That's the only actual number I've seen.

But like all true angry mob reactions with their blood up, it seems my point has been drowned in straw men because that's an easier way to look better and more enlightened, rather than pointing out and discussing any flaws in things actually said. Which so far nobody has done.

I will remind you again that my point, and that of the original article, is against online harassment on the whole. Even if every single gg post was nasty and harrassing as some like to believe, contrary to evidence, then it's still a drop in the ocean compared to the real actual problem. If you made a pie chart of "all online apalling behaviour there's ever been", the pie slice for "the sum total of all gg posts" would still only rate a horizontal line. If that line were to scale, it'd be invisible but there's no pen that fine to draw it with.

But feel free to ignore that and interject some random opinion about gamergate again. It might become relevant to the discussion if you keep repeating it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 10th November 2014 11:36am

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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship6 years ago
"You can't cherry pick the parts of an unstructured mob that you agree with."

I find picking a side and defending its obvious faults because it's "your" side more bizarre than refusing to demonise tens of thousands of people for using a hashtag that has also been used by some arseholes.
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Joshua Temblett XO.TV, Editor-in-Chief 6 years ago
I didn't want to get even remotely involved with this (I'm a solo indie dev...seemed kind of pointless to get involved), but after coming to this site for many years and seeing the conversation repeated time and time again, I feel like I should at least say one thing:

People who hate gamergate really need to stop generalising. It's hurtful to do so, and it makes one come across as ill-informed. Gamergate is huge, there are lots of people from all walks of life participating in it, to say that ALL of gamergate are women-hating, morons is just... well... silly. Just go to gamergate's reddit page, KotakuinAction, and you'll see that pretty much every one of it's users don't approve of doxxing or harassment. Heck, the movement's way of getting thing's done has been through sending polite emails (EMAILS!) to website advertisers, in an attempt for their views to be heard and not have their ideas and thoughts stampeded by thousands of articles (like this one), who refuse to listen or engage in discussion with the group's core ideals and instead push forward some sort of agenda.

Gamergate was born from generalisation, "gamers are bro's who love breasts", so it's only adding the fire if you keep doing so.

Also it's important to note that many people, both for and against gamergate, male and female, black or white, are being attacked by trolls claiming to be either for gamergate or against it, to be so native and to think that the horrible acts that are happening are only effecting women who are anti-gamergate doesn't place you in a very positive light.

One final thought. Blizzard was making a stand against hatred and harassment, on both sides. At no point did they mention who it was coming from. You can see in the clip mentioned above that the Blizzard CEO doesn't even node, or smile, in reaction to Geoff's claim which was a very smart move as he clearly wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with him (thus keeping both sides are happy and staying on point about an end to the harassment).

There are so many issues surrounding gamergate, the gaming media's reporting on it, and the way certain critics have been treated that aren't written about/analysed (even internally) that most of my faith in mainstream game journalism has been absolutely destroyed. Which is a shame.
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Justin Biddle Software Developer 6 years ago
Whether or not gamergate is a bad a thing or a minor few trolls using it are the problem isn't something I'm going to argue about either way. However getting rid of it as some sort of movement isn't going to solve the underlying problem (I'm not saying it won't help although I couldn't say if it would or not). Once it's gone the trolls will still be there and they will move onto another avenue of attack. So ultimately I think people should focus on the rot at the heart of the problem. Gamergate may well be a toxic element that needs lancing but doing so won't remove the real problem underneath in that the trolls will still be there.

Again I want to make very clear I'm not defending gamergate (or attacking it for that matter). It just to me seems that focussing on it as the problem is missing the point that even if you get rid of it the problem will still remain.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Amen
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd6 years ago
Do you have any research to back up any of that?
Only actually following what has been happening over the last three months, rather than windmilling into the conversation from a position of apparent total ignorance.

Why is harassment done in the name of a bogus 'cause' irrelevant because harassment existed beforehand, exactly? It's not even an argument, it's just a bizarre reactionary non-sequitur. Can you explain what it is that you think #gamergate is actually fighting for?

How has any action it has collectively put its name to (trying to hound developers out of their jobs, trying to trick advertisers into 'punishing' news outlets it doesn't like, threatening to shoot up conferences, distributing anti-semitic propoganda, etc. etc. ad nauseum) done anything to advance that cause?
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
I don't know Robin. As you must know by now I don't really know much about gamergate. Several people have fixated on that now despite the fact that I didn't make a post about it. (Apart from reminding people how small it is compared to the whole.)

Nor do I "follow what's happening", I'm a person "it" is happening "to", so you might do me the courtesy of listening.

Instead, you seem intent on bringing up gamergate at every opportunity and I have no idea why that is. I'm starting to find it embarassing how people can't wait to inject an off topic opinion into the middle of this just so they can get something off their chest. I'm gonna leave you to it now because I just don't want to listen to random opinions about something I'm not discussing. Go grab a pitchfork.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 10th November 2014 1:05pm

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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd6 years ago
@Joshua Temblett

You need to be a bit more willing to question lines of argument put forth by GamerGate 'moderates'.

Mike Morhaime WAS talking about #gamergate. There are not two 'sides', both as bad as each other. There's a loose collection of people aligned under a banner to cause mischief (or at least cheer it on), and everyone else trying to stay out of the firing line. It's not too complicated to "generalise" about. The victims of harassment didn't bring it on themselves. "Pro-GG people are getting harassed too!" - really? They're getting driven out of their homes, forced to cancel public engagements, and having their private details disseminated so their relatives have to put up with anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night? Having your hobby criticised in an opinion piece is not equivalent to these things.

Gamergate is a hate mob. Even if you personally believe the retroactively applied public relations spin that it's really about journalistic ethics, most people don't at this point, and a leaderless mob is not an appropriate instrument to try to fix the perceived problems.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd6 years ago
I don't "follow what's happening", I'm a person "it" is happening "to", so you might do me the courtesy of listening.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you've encountered anything much more serious than some negative user reviews. I'm not trying to belittle or excuse any harassment you have been subjected to, but when people are being hammered away at for months on end by very tangible threats to their wellbeing, livelihoods and professional reputations for very discriminatory reasons, I think it's only to be expected that people will focus their attention on defusing this concentrated cluster of badness. There will always be people being jerks on the internet, but when a lot of them are pulling in the same direction that can cause bigger problems.
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Justin Biddle Software Developer 6 years ago
I just wanted to make clear my previous comment. I'm not trying to argue in support of gamergate in anyway. I'm simply trying to say that while it may well help to get rid of it but ultimately it's like getting rid of weeds. The root will still be there to grow back. The whole thing needs ripping up. I absolutely agree that there is a really nasty problem there that absolutely must be sorted. But I would like to see it sorted in a way that deals with the whole problem not just provides a quick fix. Goodness knows what that solution is mind.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 10th November 2014 2:19pm

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Andreia Quinta Photographer, Studio52 London6 years ago
Funny, I found it quite simple to understand Paul Johnson's point. I wouldn't even know how to explain it better.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Please correct me if I'm wrong
You are wrong but I won't bother correcting you, it would spoil the flow.

You're right that I've not been targetted though. This is just the usual level of casual hatred and bile, with the odd death threat thrown in, that seems standard practice if you release a game these days. Nothing special at all really. Par for the course even.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 10th November 2014 4:56pm

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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend6 years ago
I also get Paul's point which sounds perfectly logical to me.

Oh and one other thing; the whole GG bullshit is really starting to look stupid from anyone not involved with it. You can't just generalise a group of people because there are a percentage of twats that happen to be part of that particular group.

Its just like saying "Some black people have stolen things, so all black people must be thieves!" I know its a little extreme, but its a similar thing that's happening with the GG crap. You read into it what you want, but I personally won't decry GG as all being misogynists etc.
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Jim Perry Programmer, head geek of indie studio Mach X Games 6 years ago
This is just the usual level of casual hatred and bile, with the odd death threat thrown in, that seems standard practice if you release a game these days. Nothing special at all really. Par for the course even.
That was the reason for Mike's statement, it shouldn't be par for the course. There is never a good reason for someone to make or receive a death threat or any kind of harassment.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
This is just the usual level of casual hatred and bile, with the odd death threat thrown in, that seems standard practice if you release a game these days. Nothing special at all really. Par for the course even.
Sad that that's now the "low level" hate spouted by "gamers" (yes yes, I know - #notallgamers). When you have developers and journalists (and an actress!) having their personal details posted on the 'net from followers of the GG hashtag, then casual hatred is just that... casual.
You can't just generalise a group of people because there are a percentage of twats that happen to be part of that particular group.
The thing that I come back to with GG is an analogy with animal rights groups/activists. There's many types - Greenpeace, PETA, Anti-Hunt, Anti-Animal Testing, etc. If you're pro-animal rights, you go with a group that aligns with your interests, and distance yourself from the ones that don't. "PETA is too hardcore" or "the hardcore anti-hunt types are a danger to horse and man", etc.

Relating that to GG. GG is all extremes and all things to all its members. This means 1) the "don't be a dick" shouts are mealy-mouthed. 2) GG is known for being extremist (regardless of what number of people within it are extreme). 3) It will be generalised. Because, when a movement doesn't stand for one single clear-cut thing, it's going to be generalised. If people are fed-up of the hashtag being used by extremists, or trolls... Why are you rallying behind a hashtag? Why not a consumer group?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th November 2014 6:48pm

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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you've encountered anything much more serious than some negative user reviews
I've been sat here debating whether to post this, but the above hubris has had me fuming all afternoon. Let's just get a few things said here that need to be said.

First off, as abhorrent as the treatment of the principle targets of the darker aspects of gamergate is, they all seem to be alive and well. Meanwhile, as an example of the wider problem I'm trying to cast a light on, R.I.P. all those poor people who were literally online bullied to death long before #GG came along. The list is a long one, but here are just a few I found in moments.

Ryan Halligan: http://nobullying.com/ryan-halligan/
Megan Meier: http://nobullying.com/the-megan-meier-story/
Jessica Logan: http://nobullying.com/jessica-logan/
Hope Witsell: http://nobullying.com/hope-witsell/
Tyler Clementi: http://nobullying.com/tyler-clementi/
Amanda Todd: http://nobullying.com/amanda-todd-story/

Anyone claiming that #GG is the only, or even main, problem need to get a sense of proportion.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 10th November 2014 7:24pm

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James Berg Games User Researcher 6 years ago
Paul, nobody rational is claiming that ALL #gg supporters are doing this stuff, but the movement is decentralized, without central leadership. Many of the most 'popular' #gg supporters are terrible people who ARE people like that - Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannopoulos being two obvious ones. These are folks that large number of supporters rally behind. When the movement includes a large, extremely vocal section that is willing to harass, the more moderate folks with legitimate issues are distancing themselves by -not- including the hashtag.

The reason #gg is worse for cyberbullying and such is that it's acted as a locus point - now it's not just a small handful of people, by spreading information, you can rapidly get dogpiled by hundreds of people. Organizers literally set up lists of people to go after for speaking out against #gg. There are doubtless a whole bunch of misanthropic trolls that would still be horrible people without #gg, but now they have a cause, and can organize themselves.

Your general point is bang on, and I agree 100%. Online harassment and generally being a wanker is awful, and nothing new. However, your remarks on the issue are, as you've stated, without knowing much about the breadth and depth of #gg harassment.
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 6 years ago
@James Berg
Organizers literally set up lists of people to go after for speaking out against #gg.
Please post the source of these lists, I would like to see them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Watson on 10th November 2014 7:55pm

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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend6 years ago
There are doubtless a whole bunch of misanthropic trolls that would still be horrible people without #gg, but now they have a cause, and can organize themselves.
IMO this "cause" has been created directly by the reaction to it.
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@Andrew
Here's at least one of those lists: https://twitter.com/Bane_Alex_Uk/lists/sjws-trolls-shills

This lovely fellow has been adding anyone and everyone who voices any kind of criticism of GamerGate(or retweets/favs criticism, in some cases) and proceeds to send aggressive tweets to those people, including many who have been targets of large-scale harassment and threats already. Even better, he's not just some rando 'troll', he claims to be a developer himself. Shameful behaviour.

Still, at least it's a handy list of new friends.
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 6 years ago
@Jessica
That is not an "organizer", like James said. Nor is it "encouraging" anyone to harass people on there besides himself.

8chan and /r/KotakuInAction are the two places GG-ers organize that I know of and both of them flat out ban organizing harassment.
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In a headless group, anybody can be an 'organiser'. Making Twitter lists to co-ordinate targets for attack is surely some kind of organisation, no?
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Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist 6 years ago
Just dropping in to say that I generally agree with Jessica and those who have stated that while not every troll is a member of GG and not EVERY member of GG is a troll, the positions, statements, and failure of GG (as a movement) to create distance from the blatant misogyny and hate pouring out of some of the individuals using the hashtag has poisoned the well for many, many people.

If you hand me a story and characterize it as "pro-Gamergate," I may still read it if I like and trust you. I will still attempt to keep an open mind about its points. If I decide it's a good story, the first thing I'm likely to do -- and this is speaking as a journalist -- is advise that the author call it something without "Gamergate" in the title.

Why?

Because to me, yes, Gamergate is functionally about harassment. It's about the drunken 8000-word screed one man published about an ex-girlfriend that the explosion of hatred that resulted. It's about death threats and canceled speeches. It's about the endless questioning of victims and their right to speak about their experiences. It's about sock puppetry. It's a laughable attempt to cover these vile acts with cries of "Ethics in game journalism!' and then claiming to uphold these acts by targeting groups GGers disagree with -- as though silencing people through intimidating, threats, and targeting advertisers is EVER an ethical behavior.

I do not condone death, rape, or similar threats either against GG or by GG members. I do not condone campaigns to silence people. I also do believe that there are trolls who are stirring the pot for the joy of doing so.

Nevertheless, GG's meager legitimate issues have been completely overshadowed by its insanity -- and that hashtag and label are poisonous. It's a free country, which means, yes -- I think people should have the right to support GG. But if you call yourself a "Gamergater," you're willingly aligning yourself with a dump truck's worth of misogyny and utterly unethical behavior.
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 6 years ago
@Jessica
Don't put words in my mouth. You're making an awful lot of assumptions and you know what James meant when he said organizers in that context. Anyone can make a list on twitter, they're meaningless. I'm sure there's people on both "sides" sharing blocklists of "terrible people" (i.e. people they disagree with) but that doesn't mean they're organizing harassment through them.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Anyone can make a list on twitter, they're meaningless
"Hey GG'ers... These people listed here are anti-GG."

When harassment and threats and doxxing are a way of life, no list is meaningless. At best it's irresponsible. At worst it's... Well... Do I need to finish that?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th November 2014 9:09pm

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Anthony Chan6 years ago
I do not understand the arguments going back and forth here. The issue at the end is not GG, it is about cyber-violence, cyber-bullying, and cyber-harassment. These need to stop. People need to change, and if they cannot, they need to be held accountable for their actions.

Discussing synonyms, ideologies, hashtags, memes, etc is taking away from the importance of this issue and is counter-productive. We all are industry participants and hopefully advocates (in general) of ethical human behavior. We all need to unite and play our part in doing away with the above 3 cyber-behaviors. This can range from instilling strict permanent bans with no chance of appeal in games, to actually cooperating with law enforcement to ensure real punishment and consequences are handed out for such behavior. We should be lobbying our nation's governments to include such behavior as serious crimes punishable by law and ensure there are real sentences handed down for engaging in such behavior.

At the end we should let it be known to everybody, as a united front, that violence, harassment, and bullying behind a screen is downright unacceptable and illegal behavior. And most importantly we should let people know that just because they are behind a screen, doesn't mean they are anonymous - especially once they have broken laws that prohibit bullying, harassment, and violence. Remember, there is a fine (BUT TRULY DISTINCT) line between being angry and voicing your opinion, and then channeling that anger towards somebody in a violent way.
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Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist 6 years ago
I think people talk about GG in that context because it's a related topic.

If you talk about authoritarianism in the 20th century, for example, you're going to end up talking about Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. If you want to talk about "American hate groups" or "The evolution of domestic terrorism in the United States," you're going to end up talking about the KKK, the Posse Comitatus, the milita movement of the 1990s, and Timothy McVeigh.

(Note: I am not saying that Gamergate is equivalent to ANY of the above. I am simply saying that when we discuss trends and ideologies, we inevitably discuss the movements that gave those ideologies a particular face and presentation.)
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James Berg Games User Researcher 6 years ago
Andrew, sorry, I haven't kept track of them, and I'm not going to dig through the bile to find them again. Quinn's twitter showed a bunch (irc chats, and screencaps from boards), and some anti-gg folks were finding them posted on chan boards (not sure which). I've been following things moderately and keep coming across it - anti-gg folks are quick to point them out, so they're not hard to find.

An easy example of silencing critics by attacking, rather than presenting opposing view points - http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/10/20/inside-gamergates-successful-attack-on-the-media/

The basic defense of "these people don't represent me" is false, because by joining #gg, folks are choosing to join that group, knowing it's got that section in it. And as I already posted, some of the most popular members are awful people - if you want lists, look to the folks that they've publically targeted. These are not blocklists, they're encouraging the jerks in the group to go after those people, and it works.

There are certainly awful anti-gg people as well, but two wrongs don't make a right. I haven't seen any examples of pro-gg folks that have received the same kind of dogpiling abuse.

Folks that have legitimate gripes about journalistic integrity have a great cause, it's just not going to be well-served by working on that through #gg.
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Anthony Chan6 years ago
@Joel, agreed, but I strongly believe that internet memes and this whole concept of hashtags trivializes many issues that deserve utmost attention. (That is my opninon) I think in general the internet has done wonders for spreading information, however in the opposite it has done wonders for spreading mis-information.

I have a young daughter (19 months) who undoubtly be more indoctrinated in this internet culture than I am, as I have been more than my father. I fear for the wrong and sometimes unlawful behavior that she will potentially face (not only in games) when entering the internet.

As such, I strongly believe, taking a raw stance without the memes and ideologies must be utilized to stop the violence. In RL, bullying always had the risk of leading to suicides and death. Harassment the same. Violence in RL is self-explanatory. People who believe bullying creates stronger personalities are old and antiquated. We outlawed hazing (in RL) for a reason. Why is online behavior any different? The term "cyber" is always seen as unreal (hence the lack of regulation by society?), but the deaths that result from cyber violence and bullying are very real. I just say stop the violence. Period.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Anthony Chan on 10th November 2014 9:33pm

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Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist 6 years ago
@Anthony,

I wholeheartedly agree that hashtag activism and Twitter in general are terrible places to discuss issues. Twitter, by it's very nature, encourages the pithy soundbite over nuance, the broad attack over the subtle teasing out of complexities, and the quick, thoughtless response over a well-considered opinion.

Generally speaking, I think the line between "It's online" and "It's real life" is going away. I think it should. In the past, when people got online for 10-30 minutes a day via AOL, it made sense to compartmentalize. These days, getting online is such a fundamental part of life that avoiding it is effectively impossible.

That doesn't mean I think making a death threat online should be punishable by the same rules we'd use for making a death threat in person, or with a knife to someone's throat -- but we need better social norms that communicate that no, it's not socially acceptable to follow the Greater Internet F*ckwad Theory (as expressed by Penny Arcade).

People should be free to express that they love huge-chested women who hang around in towers and wait for men to save them. I might disagree (I think it's a very tired trope), but people have a right to buy Damsel XXX over Link: The Adventures of Zelda. People have a right to express that opinion strongly.

Just, you know -- minus the rape threats, death threats, and intimidation.
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Joel Hruska Analyst/Journalist 6 years ago
I think there's a simple reason why Morhaime didn't name Gamergate -- he wanted people to listen to the content of his words, not seize on his use of the word "Gamergate" and immediately conclude "He's with us!" or "He's against us!"

Obviously that was always going to happen -- but using the term guarantees that a great many people would leap on it, pro or con, without so much as pausing to consider the wider issue.
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