GamerGate: The progress we’ve made so far

MoreLess
By Samual Sales – 4th September 2014
GamerGate: The progress we’ve made so far

Through the mess and the flame wars, it seems that some very real change is starting to happen within the gaming industry in regards to the allegations of deep corruption following the Zoe Quinn scandal. Most of the change is positive, even if the mainstream gaming sites have been dragged into it kicking and screaming as the debate burning the industry down has evolved from ‘ZoeGate’ to ‘GamerGate’.

The first to cave into the mob was Kotaku, as editor in chief Stephen Totilo released a public statement on the site (found here) damning the actions of Patricia Hernandez and Ben Kuchera who were found out to have conflicts of interest far greater then Nathan Grayson, and stated that Kotaku writers will no longer fund developers through Patreon, a service which gives monthly donations to developers and artists. That’s a monumental good start in severing the overly close ties between developers and reporters, especially considering that the site in question has been at the forefront of all this chaos.

What could prompt such a change in tactics from publications that have had no problem in smearing their readership though? It’s almost as if calling your readership smelly nerds has an adverse effect on page views and thus ad revenue. Which is of course, exactly what is happening. The gaming community has truly become fed up with gaming sites that believe that they’re too big to fail and keep biting the hand that feeds them, not unlike the once popular Cnet, Softsonic, and Brothersoft, and the result has obviously been massive dips in page views and angry advertisers. One anonymous writer (possibly the escapist), about the current editorial meltdown in his office:

Ouch. And it’s not just big sites either, freelance writers are being driven out of the industry after having their corruption laid bare. One such example is Jenn Frank, a freelance writer for big sites like The Guardian and Kotaku, who has quit her career in the industry after deep financial ties with Zoe Quinn made the subject of her own corruption unavoidable and making her ‘the example’ of industry corruption. One less broken chess piece on the board is good news for both sides, and proof that the claims of corruption are being taken seriously by big names.

It’s also no secret that the loudest voices in this have been Youtuber Internet Aristocrat and Firefly actor Adam Baldwin. So far their activities have been limited to Youtube and Twitter, but that looks to change tomorrow as they share a booth with political radio star Ed Morrissey. No word yet on where you’d be able to view it, though it’d probably be mirrored onto Internet Aristocrat or Ed Morrissey’s pages soon enough.

On another positive note, The Fine Young Capitalists are making great progress towards funding their goal of the Women’s Gaming Jamboree. There’s one month to go and the team is 77% of their $65,000 goal. This is in no small part in thanks to gamers from 4chan’s /v/ board and Reddit, who found out about how Zoe Quinn and her PR Company Silver String Media originally sabotaged the initial campaign after it was declared a rival to Quinn’s own Rebel Game Jam. Putting aside the irony and hypocrisy of a ‘feminist’ developer and ‘feminist’ PR firm shutting down an inherently feminist event, it’s outstanding that those labelled as gross, disgusting nerds by those in the Social Justice crowd have done more than they ever have to actually bring about positive change in the industry. Remember kids, actions speak far louder than words posted on Twitter and Tumblr. If you want to fund this great cause, click the link here.

Youtube superstar TotalBiscuit has also taken a break from defending himself against constant abuse and recorded a short song, named Shania Bain: That Don’t Impressa Me Much, making fun of recent events and the arrogance of some indie developers. Take it away, Johnny.

  • I’m just going to sit down at the communal table of gamers and say, “Yesyesyesyesyes.”

    Also, that TB song is masterful.

  • Patrick Toworfe

    This REALLY makes me want to get my video going. The industry is finally starting to mellow out on this. Now, #NotYourShield needs a voice

  • JohnnyAppleseed

    This image made me smile.

    • Jalane Farrington

      That’s too bad about Gamasutra. I have an account there. I really like the website too. Oh well.

    • EdgyDude

      [schadenfraude intensifies]

      Guess karma does exist, huh?

    • Skiddywinks

      Wait, how are you meant to read these graphs? They seem to point to higher traffic as you go down the Y-axis, indicating GH losing traffic and the others gaining it?

      • JohnnyAppleseed

        Its a ranking, the more traffic the closer they are to number 1 for example. I had the same confusion at first.

        • Skiddywinks

          Ah that makes more sense, thanks.

      • Mind it doesn’t really work for Kotaku. Even if Kotaku prime died Kotaku East could survive on its own. Since it’s like an SFW version of sankaku complex it thrives on ‘watercooler sharing’ and bored housewives watching wacky foreigners do foreign things like cosplay weddings. Alexa is based on people who have installed the toolbars, these tend to be bored office workers, tech-unsaavy old guys, and bored housewives. People who would also fall into the ‘casual’ or ‘facebook’ brackets. They’re also the primary audience of RPS and Gama. They butchered themselves with those articles. Leigh seems to be such an ideologue that she’s holding firm, and Devin as well. If any site dies from this it will definitely be Gama.

        https://archive.today/2t93l

        (I mean fer Chryssakes Devin wrote about games’ purpose not being ‘fun’ but delivering key messages such as healing and socialising)

  • Hendrickson

    An interesting piece if you missed it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km3DZQp0StE

  • That One Guy

    Wow it’s almost as if Adam Baldwin wants to commit professional suicide. The guy is a Hollywood actor and he is going to be on a panel with a supporter of the proto-fascist UKIP. One thing to be mad at unethical game journalism, it’s another to choose weird people to associate with. In case anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about…

  • xy

    you can only kick someone so many times before they realize they can just leave.

  • CarbonRevenge

    TB definitely needs to have a singing career outside of his SCII stuff.

    Actually, both a singing career and SCII career. I’d be down for that.

  • paulmoloney

    “It that looks to change tomorrow as they share a booth with political radio star Ed Morrissey

    Are you expecting people to believe that conservative radio jocks care about alleged corruption in indie gaming journalism? The actual agenda behind this is plain to see.

    • Dudebro Zero

      Don’t exaggerate it. Baldwin called up his buddy Ed Morrisey who happily invited him and an additional guest of his choosing onto the show because it was plain to see that this appearance would bring in massive views. I remember during the stream the views were something like 3000, maybe more. And I think someone wrote they’re normally more like 300. So yeah, exposure boost for everyone involved. It’s a business. That’s the main reason they were on the show.

      Even if you disagree with conservative political aspirations you have to admit that Baldwin is an absolute champ for giving InternetAristocrat a platform to spread the word on gamergate.

  • Skiddywinks

    Wow, I honestly expected a great deal of eff all to happen. Sooo glad to see people actually taking this seriously.

    Any other media making a concerted effort to shit on it’s fanbase all at once would be in flames by now. Has anything surfaced about how all those articles came out at once? Silver String Media fingerprints anywhere?

  • Jorge Cervera

    Victory!!!

  • Chaos

    Historically, if you look at feminism (and any other social movement for that matter) you find that there was a time when they got power, they got rights, they got recognition and then when they had a small amount of power, they split over ideals and feminism was dead as a movement because a house divided in on itself cannot stand. That is exactly what happened here as well with one fem project valued less than another by 2 groups who ultimately want similar things(not the same completely) It is sad that even today, it still continues in this or any social movement but that is how the winners win……they give you all that you ask for and then watch you crumble under the strain of your own implosion

    • TheWastelander

      The real lesson that needed to be relearned is that $$ is everything. Once all this controversy started cutting into profits the advertisers got off their asses, whereas before they didn’t give a damn.

      People should keep pestering the advertisers until the cancer is cut out of the industry.

    • Nathan Merrill

      Thing is, feminism actually succeeded at its goals. In fact, it did so at least three times.

      What happened was the same thing as happened with the civil rights movement – fundamentally, once your movement succeeds at its major goals, you have a bunch of people who are heavily involved but now have, well, won. What do you do from there? Where do you go? Do you jump at shadows, or do you move on to new battles which need to be fought? Do you keep pushing, not realizing you’ve already won? Do you become a special interest group? Do you turn to tribalism?

      That’s the issue that the feminist movement faced. We’ve had a whole generation grow up with the idea that women can do everything that men can do. The issue has shifted and is no longer what it used to be. People used to be overtly sexist and misogynistic. Nowadays, the main fight in feminism is over abortion (still) and over lack of representation, which is a very complicated issue because part of the reason that women are not well-represented in some very profitable industries is because women -choose- not to go into them.

      And the latter is really hard to deal with, because a lot of it has to do with women exerting peer pressure on other women, and some women are upset because they DO want to become housewives and are criticized for it. Men have been trying really hard to recruit women into engineering, because, let’s face it, why wouldn’t we? But it hasn’t worked at all – women are horribly underrepresented in all serious sciences other than biology.

      At this point we’re fighting over childhood toys and cartoon shows! It is kind of ridiculous, but maybe there’s something there? Maybe more girls playing with legos will get us more engineers in 20 years? Who knows! But its worth trying, right?

      But the problem is that these fights are much more complicated, and outside of the fight over abortion, there aren’t really clear-cut lines. So you’ve got some women who are fighting old battles and others who have descended into outright bigotry against men. That’s not what feminism is about, but it is a common perception of it nowadays because of a vocal minority who push for said agenda.

      The same applies to the civil rights movement – after desegreation, it fell apart, and now people are yelling and screaming and complaining about discrimination when the fact of the matter is that blacks do a standard deviation worse than whites on tests, drop out of school, frequently, and commit crimes vastly more often per-capita – and violent crimes even more frequently. And their most common victims are their fellow blacks! Racism is incredibly socially unacceptable nowadays, and can end the career of a politician. Isolated instances of racism still exist, but systemic racism – the racism of old – is basically dead.

      A lot of the problem comes from inside the community, but that’s a very difficult issue to deal with as a lot of the people involved with the problem are fundamentally sociopaths who don’t really care about other people in the first place – that’s the PROBLEM. 50% of homicides in the US today are committed by blacks. How do you deal with that problem? That’s a really tough problem, and it isn’t due to some extrinsic, “people are repressing us” problem – it is because of a culture which doesn’t respect other people in some extremely poor and uneducated areas. And it is a big problem because people oppose going in and tearing down these areas and breaking them up, but the only thing which seems to work to mitigate these problems is eliminating the ghettos and making sure that these folks don’t congregate but instead are spread out and thus integrate into the population at large.

      Add to that the issue of illegal hispanic immigrants – who are frequently despised by blacks and whites in border areas – and Asians who have integrated almost fully into American culture, and you’ve got some really “fun times” but it is hard to really point to one group or another as being to blame. But people like easy solutions so they do so anyway, even if it isn’t helpful.

      It isn’t that feminism failed – feminism WON. The problem is that once they won, they’ve struggled with what else to do.

  • Lars Anderson

    Excellent article. Nice to read something that’s actually been researched.

  • RiseOfDivergents

    Gamers, Non Gamers who are tired of SJWs ruining every platform that they touch, here is This is a list of sites, companies, causes/events, and people that have colluded with Zoe Quinn in illegal and/or unethical ways and/or publicly defended the resulting corruption and/or censored its exposure and/or advanced associated toxic agendas.
    http://makealist.com/content/quinngategamergate-boycott-list

    You are encouraged to boycott all of them.

    Do not read or share links from the listed news/review/opinion sites.
    If you must read them, use ad blocking/filtering on them, even if you do not use it on any other sites. If you must share a link from them, do so through a mirroring service, such as Archive Today, Peeep.us or FreezePage, so that the original site does not receive Google PageRank link juice, clicks, or ad revenue. Do not use DoNotLink, it only blocks Google PageRank link juice, and is useless for other purposes.

    Do not contribute to the listed forum/community sites.

    Do not buy products from the listed video game developers/publishers.

    Do not attend, donate to, sponsor, or otherwise support the listed causes/events.
    Do not buy products from, donate to, sponsor, hire, or otherwise work with the listed people.

    Share, post , repost, tell everyone you know……repeat

    • taitaisanchez

      I’m tired of racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic rhetoric and power structures in what should be escapism. So I’m sorry if you’re slightly uncomfortable with being told that the things you like are upsetting to other human beings. For most people with any sense of empathy this usually isn’t something that causes outrage at the people who have been hurt. Do you lack empathy?

      The games are still the same. The only thing that may have been ruined is your interpretation of them. Are you upset that you have to view the world with some sort of eye that sees the pain of others? Did SJWs make it so you can’t play your favorite games anymore? Did SJWs DDoS Steam or GoG or XBL or PSN?

      Why are you so resentful of them?

      Also are you so deaf to what you’re saying? The criticism of #Gamergate as a movement has been that it’s horribly sexist, homophobic and racist. By decrying “SJW” interference in gaming, you do realize that you’re only reenforcing that narrative right?

      It’s a lot of questions, but genuinely I’m really confused as to why SJWs matter in this argument about “corruption in games journalism.”

      I’m also confused as to why indies who can barely keep the lights on are being harassed. Because there are a lot of huge obvious cases where companies like Sony, Microsoft, Valve, et al. are doing things like throwing huge parties for games journalists at E3, PAX, etc. giving them hardware, software, etc. Not to mention the support they get from all over the industry just to even participate.

      However, the narrative on your side is that somehow it’s Zoe Quinn getting 2900 bucks from 571 people(Averaging about 5 bucks a head), that’s the problem.

      So. Help.

      I’m seriously confused here. Why did Jenn Frank and Mattie Bryce have to endure so much more abuse that she up and left the industry? Why am I, a gender queer, bisexual, half asian being told by straight white people that they are not my shield? Why? What’s the end game?

      • RiseOfDivergents

        Any one writing a biased, ill-informed article and got what she deserved. The Editor at The Guardian deserves the same. So does Nathan Grayson, Jason Schrier, Luke Plunkett and a tons of others at different sites. All of them play at being journalists, like children putting on their parents too-big clothes, shoes and jewellery, and expect us to treat them like they can do no wrong, even as they put out article after article decrying us as monsters while they perpetuate the same words and actions.

        It has nothing to do with gender!

        This is about the merit and the content of people!

        It’s why Anita’s videos are so terrible, not because she’s a woman, but because she makes horrifyingly bad arguments and completely shuts down any criticism or debate by screaming ‘MISOGYNY!!!!’.
        It’s why Zoe and the five men she slept with is Cronyism and deserving of criticism,
        which is devoid of any sense of meritocracy, not because she’s a woman!
        It’s why people are pissed off regarding the IGF awards panel, all of whom
        are a clique and only awarded games due to personal involvement and
        preference, not because of merit (where entrants must pay $95 and stand
        no chance of winning)!
        This shit needs to cease, and not because women are icky and aren’t allowed in our clubhouse, it’s because these men and women are children who act like they’re still in high school!
        Jenn Frank would have gotten the same exact shit if she were male, and that is fucking equality!

        Feminists can feel free to get into the industry and make their own games, just keep your hateful ideology out of my games and let developers make the games they want to make, instead of railroading them with negative publicity and financial blackmail.

        Oh, and #notyourshield proves it’s not just straight white men who think the same.

        • taitaisanchez

          #notyourshield doesn’t prove it’s not just straight white men who think the same. First, the problem with pseudonymity is that we don’t actually know if a person blogging is some given oppressed group. This is important, because the overwhelming narrative in oppressed groups runs counter to #notyourshield.

          With social issues, we have to study the qualitative data to understand larger social structures. While qualitative data isn’t the best, it doesn’t take a lot of anecdotes to figure out that the next person who’s going to be ruined and chased out in all of this isn’t going to be a straight white male who’s all against feminism.

          Nor does it prove that not being straight white or male mean that you’re resonating with the problems in the games industry. Being a trans lesbian of color but being an outlier or just not aware of what sexism or transmisogyny is means that the problem isn’t a problem. It just means not being aware of the problem.

          Why do you think feminism is hateful? What’s your basis for this? This is an unstated premise that holds zero weight upon critical scrutiny. Do feminists cause antifeminists to leave their homes? Fear for their lives, jobs, loved ones, etc? When was the last time someone used feminist language to justify an attempted shooting at a fraternity?

          Yes, you can find far far far out there fringe violent Radical Feminists who believe that men should only be used for breeding and they’re the cause of all of our problems. It’s not even all Radical Feminists either. Not even close.

          The opposite side of that coin is, that same language with the genders reversed is the goddamned *mainstream* of some of the larger anti-feminist groups. A Voice For Men, Spearhead, /r/RedPill, etc. all have very loud voices that are echoing some extremely violent rhetoric that make the RadFems look like Gandhi. It’s not all voices in the “Manosphere” but the fact that those voices aren’t marginalized sends the message that violent rhetoric and behavior is OK and tolerated. It’s implicit approval. Go read /r/Redpill or Spearhead, or Return of Kings and compare it with Feministing, or Jezebel and tell me who’s the hateful voice? BTW. Return of Kings is taking your side. That’s a very VERY bad sign.

          Jenn Frank wouldn’t have been threatened with death and rape if she were a man. Has anyone threatened Yahtzee or Jim Sterling or Ben Kuchera with rape or murder to the same degree that Jenn Frank, Maddy Myers or Carolyn Petit?

          Anita Sarkeesian isn’t acting like a high school student in some spat with some kid over some trivial issue. She’s dealing with systemic problems of sexism in pop culture and has been since about 2009. Feminist Frequency has been around since 2009, long before she tackled games. However, Adam Baldwin and everyone else on the #GamerGate side, are pretty goddamned childish.

          The IGF thing might be a real actual problem. However, given the ridiculous sexist context to GG and NYS, it’s moving the goal posts.

          Given how wide the gaming community is, it’s easy to find instances where individual mistakes, accidents, drama, calamities and disasters happen. The IGF isn’t a high profile event. So it becomes convenient to use it as an excuse to keep this cycle of harassment and abuse going.

          As for Anita and criticisms of Anita, there are well thought out criticisms of Anita Sarkeesian’s work, but it’s often that she doesn’t go far enough or that her use of terminology has been wrong(like when she describes sex workers in the first women as background decoration video). The rest of the criticisms tend to be knee jerk reactionary criticisms that gaming isn’t as bad as she’s saying.

          If you think that Jenn Frank’s article on Anita or Zoe’s experiences with harassment is *factually* incorrect, then you’re part of the larger systematic problem of sexism in culture. Furthermore, you have no idea what journalism is.

          Is anyone from #GamerGate even a journalist? or gone to journalism school? or taken journalism 101?

          • RiseOfDivergents

            “#notyourshield doesn’t prove it’s not just straight white men who think
            the same. First, the problem with pseudonymity is that we don’t actually
            know if a person blogging is some given oppressed group….”
            I stopped reading right there, it is not only microblogging but also Vlogging and selfies, It only shows that you are ignorant about #NotYourShield movement, You are the part of the problem and you are setting minority rights several decades back, I am the part of minority too but I am not gonna let any one use my group to defend their corruption, rather I am going to hold that SOB accountable because the reputation of my group is on the line.

            #NotYourShield idiot!

          • taitaisanchez

            #NotYourShield isn’t a movement, it’s an embarrassment.

            Seriously, /v/ and #burgersandfries got caught astroturfing on that tag, even though it was inspired by someone who purports to be “2/3 of things they’re arguing for” with no real explanation of what’s going on or why the social justice narrative is wrong.

            It’s amazing that in my life time I have gone from bell hooks to the sheer ignorance of #NotYourShield.

            You’re not my shield, but you don’t need to be. Because I’m not doing this for you.

            I’m genuinely disappointed that what I hoped were reasonable questions remain unanswered.

            Let’s take this from the top and do this more simply.

            Why are you obsessed with SJWs?

  • Mr0303

    MundaneMatt deserves a lot of credit too. He’s been very active in reporting and responding to every change and factual news related to the subject.

  • viiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    you destroy lives, friendships, and you are proud ?

    • zardoz711

      cry me a fucking river

  • Goatmeat

    It’s weird to see comments from people supporting this clickbait, claiming that they support GamerGate’s goals of promoting journalistic integrity.

    “Stephen Totilo released a public statement … damning the actions of Patricia Hernandez and Ben Kuchera”
    No he didn’t. This isn’t just a misleading statement, it is factually inaccurate and libellous. He announced updated rules for Kotaku employees, and didn’t name anyone in particular, partly because Patreon is a fairly popular service and I doubt that the only two people using it were Hernandez and Kuchera. However, Hernandez and Kuchera are “SJWs”, and while proponents of GamerGate insist it isn’t about sexism or misogyny, the targets of harassment related to this have, by and large, been women or people who have the audacity to write about sexism, racism or other unpleasant things in video games.

    “Jenn Frank … has quit her career in the industry after deep financial ties with Zoe Quinn made the subject of her own corruption unavoidable and making her ‘the example’ of industry corruption.”

    No she didn’t. She didn’t have deep financial ties with Zoe Quinn, any more than I have deep financial ties with InXile for backing Wasteland 2. Her comment about being “the example” of industry corruption was in reference to one specific article that claimed to be a “look at both sides of this supposed problem of corruption in games journalism” and, instead of giving multiple examples, it gave one. And the example it gave had no conflict of interest or corruption at all. It was an article about Zoe Quinn being harassed, which went up on a news site because it is news. It didn’t promote or review Zoe’s work. Despite this, Jenn included an entirely unnecessary remark about her barely noteworthy relationship with Zoe Quinn, and it was taken out by an editor at the Guardian because it doesn’t matter and there’s obviously no conflict of interest in that article. So much so that Al Jazeera updated the article to remove the image claiming that Jenn Frank had a conflict of interest in the writing of that article.

    Jenn Frank left the games industry because of harassment and abuse from people who believe that writing an article about a woman you know being harassed is unethical, but harassing journalists, developers and writing articles that are factually accurate are all ethical (provided, of course, they fit the opinion you already have – facts are only necessary if someone’s arguing against you, after all).

    This article is a pathetic attempt at smearing larger publications and more successful writers (who still earn next-to-nothing for their work). It’s written by someone who thinks so little of you that you’ll just believe their inaccurate retelling of events without checking or looking for evidence, just because it claims to be “on your side.” Remember, those other, big websites that you go to think that you are a smelly nerd who hates women! They said gamers are dead, or sexist, or racist, or something. They certainly didn’t say that there are so many people who play video games that the term “gamer” has lost its meaning because it encompasses so many people, and because of that it is not useful to refer to yourself as a gamer to differentiate between other people, as so many people play video games. Honestly, that’s not what they said. You don’t have to check.

    Samuel Sales, you ought to be ashamed.

    • Roland Bjorkman

      “gamergate: the progress we’ve made so far” is a clickbate headline?

      The Guardian taking down the reference to Jenn Frank’s relationship with Quinn is proof that it doesn’t matter, huh? Zoe Quinn was the subject of the article, and she has a relationship with her. That’s a conflict of interest. The fact that it wasn’t about Zoe’s work doesn’t mean that a conflict of interest can’t exist. Conflicts of interest apply to articles as well as reviews. You seem like one of these silly game journalists trying to defend themselves. The article you mentioned pretty much ignored the fact that Quinn was sleeping with people who were influential in the media or gaming development and promoting her work. Dev’s sleeping with her and then hiring her, or judging an indie game competition and giving her an award. A close friend of hers also wrote a really glowing article about Quinn’s game.

  • Roland Bjorkman

    Is adblock selective? That is, can you set it up to block ads on some sites and not others? I’d like people like Boogie 29888 to still be able to get paid over on YT.

    • legendofzub

      Dammit, I wrote a big long post to answer the question in detail, but when I turned adblock back on for this page so I could show you a picture of how to turn it off for specific sites, the page refreshed and I lost it. In short, yes. You can specify anywhere from the domain to the specific page to have ads allowed on by default. I don’t think there’s a way to pick and choose YouTubers, but you can always leave adblock off for all of youtube and just toggle it on if you really don’t want to support someone. I got the picture though XD

  • Roland Bjorkman

    No proof in that article. Though there’s some suspicious stuff going on. She lives in super liberal San Fran and the police treated her like that?