We’ve gone further than we have in the past but the journey is far from over. We have to keep going.
And thankfully many of you haven’t given up.
This video is a quick one made to offer advice on how approach tense discussions, keep everyone focused as well as propose goals. I’m going to start first with an update since I know not everyone can keep in the loop. So let’s get to that.
After repeated attempts to silence the discussion the sensationalist press went quiet. The same people who usually don’t pass a chance call someone a bigot strangely had nothing to say.
In addition to the information about Zoe’s Quinn’s close ties with people in the media, independent investigators have found proof of notable gaming journalists who were supporting her on Patreon, such as Ben Kuchera.
Kuchera was also a supporter of the Oculus Rift and after backing it, produced a number of articles promoting the item.
While Nathan Grayson admitted to having a relation with Zoe Quinn, researchers found proof of another Kotaku contributor, Patricia Hernandez, openly admitting on her twitter to dating two developers she had later given positive coverage too.
All of this information was publicly available on the internet for anyone willing to look. At least it was, now some of the members of the gaming press who were so eager to label and smear dissent are locking their twitter.
Things got even more ridiculous when these like minded individuals compared anyone who disagreed with them to terrorists and even blamed them for a bomb threat and a chain of site hackings. An assumption of guilt was more than enough proof in their eyes to say it was done by the misogynistic boogeyman they endlessly fight. This was of course wrong as these were all carried out and taken credit for by an unrelated hacker group.
It’s fine if these writers and bloggers don’t want to strip their writing of opinion and character, but this is a clear display of genuine contempt. Anyone who wants to insist that “nerd” isn’t a slur anymore, go argue with these members of the gaming press. They’re making a liar out of you.
Any case the sensationalist media has manufactured a narrative of war they abused for outrage, attention and profit. While I’m sure many of us would have liked to stay out of it, we’re in the thick of an ideological battle.
After sharp commentary from MundaneMatt, InternetAristocrat and the general gaming audience, editor in chief of Kotaku, Stephen Totilo, has published a brief response to the obvious and corrupting biases of his writers. It attempts to address the issues but does not outline the repercussions that will be faced by Hernandez, Grayson and anyone else who have had questionable bonds with others in the industry. Instead he focuses on things like Pateron rather than the fact his writers are literally in bed with their source. While this seems promising the vague mention of relationships makes it seem more like damage control. Regardless of the condition on crowdfunding members of the press could still make decoy profiles allowing their superiors to claim ignorance. Totilo’s proposition does not go far enough.
No doubt as a result of pressure, he updated the statement saying he doesn’t endorse the harassment people have been getting. We know you don’t Stephen. You would be a horrible person if you did. That’s the difference. We don’t assume immediate guilt of someone for a lack of evidence like your peers do.
As stated in “To Whom it May Concern” they have maintained their privileged position out of the ignorance of others, omission of information and intimidation. Now that people are becoming aware it is necessary to feign cooperation if they hope to maintain the status quo. Other sites have begun to offer ethics codes pages but it is too soon to say if they will comply with their own rules. That’s where you come in, we need to hold them accountable and not allow these professionals who insult their fellow hobbyist skirt their responsibility. These are not the people you want in a position of power. These are not people who want to build bridges and strengthen the industry. The only interest they have shown in the other side of this matter is to continue to label them an enemy.
Those of the press who aren’t publicly angry are making dismissive jokes about the proposed corruption. As of the time of writing this script articles are now surfacing, once again spinning it as a moral war between the righteous press and faceless of demons. The rift isn’t only going to get wider they WANT it to get wider, as these articles are saying that this is the “death of gamers.” It might seem that they’re irritated because they’ve lost control of the word they commodified and want to repurpose it as a slur for dissent. I wonder if people will start saying they’re a Gamer+.
The movement seems to have adapted the name GamerGate and currently those who disagree or simply do not understand are trying to distract from the issues by saying it’s all about sexism. Try and help them understand. Try and show them there’s serious matters of representation and transparency.
Now that we’re caught up I’m going to outline how I personally approach debates and discussions. After that will be proposals and ideas for solutions and ideas for staying motivated and spreading awareness.
These are all suggestions but adapting these methods will give you the best results.
How to conduct yourself:
Step 1. Argue in Good Faith.
This first step is always the hardest. This means approaching your debate opponent as if you think they are going to be open to hearing your side. Even if you know they’ve done some shady stuff, as will be the case with recent events in the gaming press, you need to approach them as if things can be worked out.
This might seem useless but there’s a reason for it. If you can hold a viewpoint that serves your outlook AND allows you to be open minded your case is only going to get stronger when you learn new information. They’re people too after all and things can get ugly on the internet. People are used to being attacked. Sometimes being pleasant is all it takes to soften someone up to your point of view.
As tempting as it is to look at them as your enemy, don’t.
Step 2. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t get angry. No matter what.
It shouldn’t matter how you say it, but it does. If you present information in a way that makes you seem rude people won’t want to listen to you. The people you’re debating can then spin what you say and will focus on how you said it. There’s also a chance things will get heated and you will get angry. Whatever you do, don’t get angry. You may encounter people who want you to get angry just for that purpose. Don’t let them get the best of you.
Step 3. Be respectful.
This might sound like its part of the first two but it’s not These are all preventive measures and will help keep the discussion about the actual merits of your point. What’s the difference though? If your opponent blows up, they’re the one who looks like the irrational jerk for going off on someone who has kept their cool. You can’t wrestle into submission someone who was never going to change their mind, but that doesn’t mean it was a lost cause. Being respectful even when they have proven they are unworthy of good faith has a ripple effect. It will cause doubt in those who follow them and your points might get more consideration. If it looks like the discussion just isn’t going anywhere ease up. You can’t make someone believe your view. They have to make that choice on their own.
Step 4. Proof
We’ve sanded off the sharp edges now it’s time to bring the muscle. Try not to engage a debate unless you have proof. In these exchanges your opponent will do everything they can to discredit and dismiss you. They have thousands of followers and a tremendous readership that they can fall back on for an easy cop out. If you’ve been reasonable up until now and show conclusive evidence that demonstrates your view you’re exactly where you want to be.
It’s sometimes best NOT to lead in with your proof. If someone’s trying to hide something approach them with a question and see if they don’t get tangled up in a lie first. Don’t get mean if they do. Remember, be respectful so they can’t spin it on you. If they try to label you something nasty you can just point back to your respectful behavior, their poor behavior and then show the proof. They’re going to quickly run out of tricks that way.
Step 5. Don’t assume. Ask challenging questions.
Don’t make assumptions. If you don’t know something is certain but have to engage someone ask them a challenging question in a considerate way. If you’re well informed on it but your evidence isn’t conclusive, ask a question to see what they say. They may just ignore you, they may lie or they may answer honestly. If they aren’t feeling scrutinized then they’re more likely to be honest.
A lie can tell you something as well. If their answer hasn’t dissuaded you and you still feel confident with your view compare and test the validity of yours views and theirs.
Step 6. Whats your goal? How useful do you want to be?
What do you want more? To be right and crush your opposition or do you want to make the truth known? Aim for the second one. Rise above the pettiness. Making it personal means making it emotional. You run the risk of blinding yourself that way. Don’t do that. Focus on something bigger than yourself. Pursue the truth even if it means you don’t like it. If your opponent is concealing information it’s because they have an emotional investment.
It’s not about you. You know this now.
There’s a time and a place. Take stock of everything; your opponent’s view, their general behavior in these situations, possible responses they might give you, your view, your evidence and how you present yourself. Maybe you don’t want to have an Anime avatar when you engage them. Don’t give them an inch though because they’ll take as much as they can get.
Step 7. Be brave.
This is the final step. This is something you have to do for yourself. If you’ve been smart with you actions there’s no need to be afraid of making a mistake or missing a step and getting thrown off track.
You don’t need to worry about that though. I know you care about this and you’re going to do it the right way. So look for the courage to do it. You’ll know if you’re ready by how much you care. Remember you’re not alone, it just feels that way.
If you gave it a shot it didn’t go so well, it’s okay. You can learn from it. If you came out on top now’s the time to be an even more graceful winner than if you were a loser. Don’t dirty the idea you worked so hard to elevate.
Besides if the other person doesn’t feel so bad about being wrong, they may change their mind.
Motivation: Keeping people interested.
This is a beast of an issue but that also means it can be hit from different sides. There is no shortage of bad journalism and examples of misconduct.
Check all the standards and practices pages on gaming news sites and a take note of where the lines are for their respective writers. Keeping track of all developing misconduct will pull people in when the fiercely opinionated press crosses those lines.
Alternatively keep a heavy watch on instances of censorship and intimidation. While I would normally discourage emotional appeals, censorship is something everyone cares about because it’s so personal. It flies in the face of a very human ability, the ability to express ourselves. It’s something people can get behind especially when those silencing others have the backing of wealthy companies propping up their websites and are doing this for their own self interest.
Whatever you do though, don’t stop talking. Don’t ease up and don’t give them what they want to fill their stawmen. If someone who shares your views is acting like a fool, call them on it immediately but DO NOT dwell on it. Keep focused on the real goal. Disprove negative generalities with your own actions.
Things are looking better than before but they’re still in a position of power and they’re going to use it. They do need to be careful though because each mistake will cause even greater awareness.
Solutions: What now?
It depends on whether people feel the current voices and talking heads in the game press can be reformed or if they just need to go completely. MundaneMatt’s open letter to Totilo was a good move. Explore the outcome of either one and then move toward working on that goal. Which one you choose depends on how much faith you have in these people. I’ll personally refrain from sharing which I think should be done, but I will point out that even if new people come into place we may see more of the same behavior. The current system is broken and anything short of a sternly enforced, radical reform won’t see results.
Those who favor decisive action can write the advertisers of these gaming sites and complain they do not want to support a product endorsed by these outlets. I think some of you have already done this. The press ignored the consumers voice and repeatedly echoed that people should “Vote with their wallet”. If you really like the idea of speaking with your wallet, you could even directly contact the publishers and tell them you don’t want their game because of the associated press and how they treat the audience.
Last of all, it’s been evident that many people in the industry are afraid to speak and they feel they are in the minority. I don’t believe there’s so few of us. Censorship is certainly not something most people endorse. The more people that show their support, those who are in the industry and are afraid to come out will feel more comfortable. We need them to share their story. They matter. Show them they aren’t going to be alone and ostracized. Show them solidarity.
It is extremely important people come to a solution so this can be defined as GamerGate’s goal. Otherwise detractors will just continue to dismiss at something it’s not. Additionally hard documentation of proof of the gross misconduct needs to be available to demonstrate the very real bias in the press. So dig out and organize those twitter and article screencaps.
That mainstream game press has demonized those who disagree and shamelessly abused their positions of power. They manufactured a war when we only wanted to play video games. They pushed on a conflict some of them have begun to believe and we’ve been cornered into a fight we never asked for.
So let’s fix this. We are the solution. Honor the truth and prove all their insults are wrong.
Until next time.
A Feminist author reports on the corruption and scapegoating of the Gaming Press: http://www.gamerheadlines.com/2014/08/moving-forward-worst-week-gaming-whats-next/
The Society for Professional Journalists response to Polygon over Patreon (Share this):
Quinnspiracy Theory: White Castles and Ivory Towers (Informative and Humor) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km3DZQp0StE
Patirica Hernandez dates Developers:
Leigh Alexander & Agency For Games – Conflict of Interest?
Ben Kuchera’s Kickstarter Profile:
Kotaku Statement from Totilo:
Media Blitz to smear “gamers”- Use donotlink.com to not give them your traffic.
Support the The Fine Young Capitalists
Maya Felix Kramer and Zoe Quinn Harassing TFYC:
I don’t like KYM either but it’s got good info you know there’s no way they would be pressured into removing it. It’s too lucrative for them.