Another month is drawing to an end, but there is no stopping to the #GamerGate train. The movement continues evolving and gaining new supporters, and it is now stronger than it has ever been. “Operation Disrespectful Nod” – the loosely-organised campaign to send e-mails to advertisers on sites that have ridiculed gamers (before and after GamerGate began), pushed their political agenda on readers, and engaged in otherwise unethical behaviour, has proven to be the ion cannon of GamerGate, and has made a huge dent into the opposition. Having their sources of money (and, respectively, power) dwindle, SJWs are currently in disarray, acting frantically and repeating the same smear tactics that have proved ineffective for over 2 months now in desperation.
Something that nobody thought possible is happening. The multimillion media industry (Gawker, GamerGate’s biggest enemy, is valued at $300 million), despite all the power they possess, is failing to subvert a valiant community of gamers who are taking advantage of modern technology to expose and condemn their shady practices. The tactics that have worked so successfully on “normal people” in the past, the shameless smearing of anyone who doesn’t follow their narrative, are failing spectacularly when tried against gamers. Even going on the mass media (CNN and MSNBC) failed to reduce GamerGate’s ranks – instead, while many outsiders just accepted the narrative (and, 3 minutes later, moved on with their lives, completely forgetting about this), other people who were previously unaware did their research and joined GamerGate. The journalists did not expect this, and they have no clue what to do now. All their attempts to scare us into submission or divide us are failing.
GAMERGATE GOES MAINSTREAM
GamerGate coverage in the media naturally started with pro- and anti-GamerGate sites – sites that were part of the conflict, anyway, covering it. The narrative pushed by SJW-friendly sites was extremely one-sided, and its zealous followers invaded even places that were supposed to be neutral (like Wikipedia), censoring any attempts for neutrality. Naturally, the pro-GG outlets did their best to counter this and offer a different perspective to the reader – above all encouraging him/her to do research before reaching conclusions. Already there, it was clear which side had people’s interests at heart, and which just wanted to convert them to their side.
Slowly, but surely, media bigger and less related to gaming started taking note of the story and writing about it. Unfortunately, being a gamer still carries a stigma in “normal” society, despite all the progress we’ve made in that respect since the early 90s. That, combined with the much louder voices of our opponents, led to articles mostly repeating the SJW narrative – though already there one could see the cracks, as more “serious” journalists would use still negative, but milder terms to describe gamers.
Eventually, thanks to some indie developer called Brianna Wu, the story reached even the likes of CNN and MSNBC. She played the oldest trick in the SJW book – claiming to have been harassed and “driven out of their home” by members of GamerGate. Why? Supposedly because she’s a woman and GamerGate hate all women in the game industry. The journalists in these “progressive” outlets gobbled this poorly-patched-together victim story right up and made it public without bothering to do any real research to verify it (though CNN did a slightly better job on Twitter, separating gamers from the “trolls”). Even if it was aired during the least-watched period in the afternoon, we were now officially painted black in front of the American public at large. Suddenly, GamerGate had been pretty much become mainstream – something that was unthinkable a month ago.
Good PR for our opponents? Maybe so, and this kind of tactic had worked successfully in the past with individuals on high position who had been shamed out of work and even public life due to politically-incorrect statements. But once again, SJWs had failed to understand what kind of opponent they were facing – an amorphous, leaderless group of mostly anonymous people. To us, this smear campaign is little more than shit-talking in an online game – something we’re quite used to shrugging off with ease. To us, no publicity is bad publicity. Furthermore, the mass media being so quick to side with the corrupt game journalists we are fighting raised eyebrows and created the belief that corrupt journalists across industries would cover each other’s asses.
What really happened? Surely, most people who saw it instantly believed Wu that we were an internet hate mob. Similarly, they instantly forgot about the issue a few minutes later when the next report came up. Among the ones who did take notice, there were certainly a number of people who did their research and joined our ranks – or, at the very least, had the seeds of doubt planted in their minds. That is a win for us, no matter how you look at it. We grew thanks to the MSNBC and CNN coverage that was supposed to subvert us. On Twitter, #GamerGate was over 100k tweets for 3 days in a row – a total record since the movement started. And in the meantime, some sweet extra points were scored, as 8chan founder Hotwheels participated in a HuffPost stream with Wu and Forbes’ Eric Kain, and, despite Wu hogging more than half of the stream’s time to repeat her narrative in an irrational fashion, he managed to get the last word in and calmly remind her that 8chan is not at all about her.
What also happened? Other (especially smaller) media couldn’t just stay away from an interesting story now that GamerGate was national news in the US, and, while there were naturally more smear articles born out of that, one couldn’t help noticing that the ratio of biased vs. neutral articles was quickly decreasing. Suddenly, GamerGate was talked about as a “consumer revolt” and not as a “hate mob”. And there were even some articles showing support of GamerGate from outlets uninvolved in the whole debacle. In the meantime, SJW attempts to have us appoint a leader and thus give them an easy target to harass kept failing. The anonymous people in the group at large continued to refuse to acknowledge anyone as a sole leader, putting faith in the more well-known faces in support of GamerGate, but never trusting them blindly.
Operation Disrespectful Nod is still going at full force. Intel pulling ads from Gamasutra was a huge hit on the site, and it was incredibly smart, earning them a great degree of loyalty from gamers. Just yesterday (October 24th), two huge advertisers (Colgate and GM) said they had taken measures to remove ads from Gawker media’s sites (the latter saying they weren’t even currently advertising with them – proving that Gawker’s list of partners was a fraud aimed to attract advertisers under a false premise). GamerGate supporters continue to send e-mails exposing their concerns over the corrupt practices of Gawker and other sites that took part in this smear campaign, and asking advertisers to re-evaluate working with them. We are hitting them where it hurts, and they are squealing in pain.
In a fit of mindless rage, they have figuratively (and often even literally) started screaming obscenities at us even louder. They continue to treat everyone disagreeing with them on Twitter horribly, refusing any discussion. They even started bashing advertisers for pulling out, claiming they were “supporting misogyny”, and burning their bridges with them completely. In response, Intel for instance posted a smug tweet celebrating gamers on the same day, and a clever PR statement saying they were not supporting either side, but their decision to pull the ads was final. Smart business move – I can assure you GamerGate supporters will not be looking at AMD processors much for their future rigs.
In contrast, we had a very level-headed, neutral and frankly incredibly CLEVER article from gaming media’s giant IGN yesterday. It shows the sites who have been fighting us for months now how one can handle a controversy like this in a professional manner. GamerGate supporters certainly have no love for IGN, a huge part of us having called them out repeatedly on bought-out review scores, but we have to admit the sheer intelligence with which they addressed the issue. It’s important to once again emphasise that none of this would have ever happened if, after our initial discoveries, Kotaku had simply fired the corrupt journalist we had exposed, and issued an apology (no doubt that that is the course of action IGN would’ve taken in their position). But no, Kotaku had to make it into a war on the gamer – a war they actually believed they would win. Now, they are paying the price for underestimating us.
To a neutral observer, initially it would seem almost as if developers opposed GamerGate, thanks to loud and obnoxious voices on Twitter like Gearbox’s Burch and Double Fine’s Schafer. Most other well-known developers (and perhaps most notably on Twitter, Platinum Games’ Kamiya) stayed away from the issue, avoiding it like the plague. And who could blame them? It was a lose-lose if they took either side – either they side with us and have SJW sites run smear campaigns on them, or they alienate gamers and we stop buying their games.
In the beginning, the only notable developer on our side was Daniel Vavra, who had already had to endure fighting SJWs to keep his artistic freedom. But recently, encouragingly, more and more developers are anonymously voicing their support on 8chan and in other media, some even participating on GamerGate streams. Indies are affected by this controversy the most, as they often receive threats, urging them to be silent if they support GamerGate, lest their threaten their chances of working in the industry in the future. Yesterday, International Game Developers Association (IGDA)’s founder Ernest Adams posted that exact threat on Twitter. Wonderfully, shortly afterwards, IGDA’s official Twitter pointed out he wasn’t involved with them for over 15 years, so he was not speaking on their behalf. This is a clear sign that, among the developer community at large, at the very least we are not looked down upon.
The sense of community in #GamerGate is also getting stronger and stronger. People with various talents are contributing to keeping the morale strong – artists making comics, motivational images and various other GamerGate-related art, the musically-inclined creating songs (The Fire Rises is my favourite so far), writers creating prose and poems, YouTubers making inspirational videos… Our faith keeps growing, the little victories keep piling up, and the confidence builds to a consensus that we cannot be stopped.
SJWs have been trying for a while now to paint us politically and try to get people to dismiss us as “right-wing nutjobs”, i.e. the enemies they are used to fighting off by successfully turning the public on them. The fact we had a common enemy has in turn pushed some elements on the right to embrace us – Adam Baldwin and Milo Yiannopoulos are both known for their prominently right-wing political views, and lately more and more right-wing publications are showering us with praise (don’t let the title of the latter one fool you – read the content). Aside from the common enemy, another thing connects us with the right – we want the market (read as: consumers, read as: gamers) to decide a game’s worth and to ultimately determine video games’ future development as a medium. Not artificially injected propaganda developers were pressured into writing into their games. The freedom of artistic expression (in essence, free speech) is probably the most important thing GamerGate is fighting for.
Shockingly, even socialist outlets have shown us support – that is, true, economic socialists, not the “social justice” neoliberalists. They are coming from the “common enemy” position, as well – SJWs presenting themselves as “left-wing” have done a lot of damage to socialism’s ideas, and their goal is ultimately to divide the working class by gender, sexual orientation and race, whereas socialism wants all workers united.
In the meantime, GamerGate continues to not care (but still watch amusedly) about the attempts to make the movement political. We welcome support from any and all sides of the political spectrum, but our movement is composed of individuals with different political views, united under the common goal of achieving ethical game journalism and defending developers’ artistic freedom. For the record, a thread on the KotakuInAction subreddit (the main GamerGate subreddit) asked people to take the Political Compass test, and the results clearly showed that most of us were left economically, and libertarian socially. The libertarian sentiment is certainly much stronger – the rights of the individual to speak freely, and make up his/her own mind on issues, instead of being spoonfed by the media. In short, we want people to think for themselves and question everything.
Speaking of critical thinking, another 4-, now 8chan board, /pol/ (Politically Incorrect), has played a major role in GamerGate. As the name itself implies, by having fought SJWs and having denounced their narrative being pushed more and more widely for years now, /pol/ regulars were our natural allies from the very start. While they are a board that could easily be accused of going too far with their conspiracy theories, there is no denying that are a lot of intelligent people, people who have seen a lot of truths in the world around us that regular people miss (they like to call this “red pilling” in a cute reference to The Matrix). Recently, SJWs finally figured out that /pol/ are a strong influence in our ranks, and have been trying and hilariously failing to cause a divide between 8chan’s /gg/ (GamerGate) and /v/ (Video Games) on one side, and /pol/ on the other, claiming /pol/ were using the movement for their own gain. The vast majority of GamerGate supporters quickly saw through this and denounced the ones attempting to divide us. We stand together in this!
HOW WE CONTINUE
You don’t change a winning strategy, and thus our course of action from here on is quite clear:
- We continue with the emails to advertisers at Gawker and other sites smearing us, causing them to lose as much advertisement revenue as possible
- We vote with our wallets, refusing to buy any games by companies whose representatives have insulted us. The more mainstream examples so far are Gearbox Software (creators of the Borderlands series) and Double Fine
- We vote with our clicks, refusing to visit sites that have participated in this smearing campaign – above all the sites the first point is targeting (Gawker sites, Polygon, Gamasutra, RockPaperShotgun, etc.). There are already some neat browser extensions that help users with this. In contrast, we visit sites that support ethics in game journalism and provide readers with neutral coverage.
Everything else is secondary. Engage SJWs on Twitter or other forums if you feel like it, create morale boosting material if you are so inclined, or simply enjoy from the sidelines, posting some meme images in the process to keep the fire rising. I also recommend keeping a list of shame of people and companies insulting us today for future use – they must learn the hard way that the internet does not forget, and that their lies and manipulation will come back to bite them sooner or later. Of course, as a tolerant group, we should never completely refuse anyone a chance to redeem themselves… But I truly doubt we’ll see any such attempts from the most vocal voices of our opposition.
So, what happens when GamerGate ends? I think it’s still quite early to think about this – I don’t see GamerGate ending within 2014 and really, who knows when after that? “The ride never ends.” Main point is, plenty of gamers have now been “red pilled” about media corruption and just how far SJW influence in mass media goes. There have already been some calls on 8chan for ComicGate – calls by people disgusted with comic artists being accused of sexism by the same people smearing GamerGate, over the way they chose to draw comic characters. Over the way they creatively expressed themselves…
This thought police goes against our principles not only as gamers, but as decent human beings, and there is no doubt that, once gaming has been saved, many of us will continue fighting for preserving the freedom of other media (and in some – especially TV series – there is sufficient example of SJW penetration), and for journalism ethics in the media at large. Many of us will heed Julian Assange’s call and continue the fight for what is right, hoping to do our little contribution towards a better world for our children and the future generations.