Tobold's Blog
Friday, May 08, 2015
 
NBI and Gamergate

The NBI launched a Talkback Challenge to write about Gamergate. I do think that this is a bad idea. I very much agree with Jeromai that it would be better not to feed the trolls.

But I would like to take the opportunity to talk about freedom of speech, because I believe a number of Gamergaters horribly abused the term to the point of it becoming unrecognizable. In short, freedom of speech gives you the right to communicate your opinions and ideas without needing to fear legal consequences. Freedom of speech does not A) force anybody to listen to your opinions or ideas, nor B) does it give you the right to any specific platform for your opinions and ideas.

Thus in particular, somebody blocking your Twitter feed and not reading it any more is not a violation of freedom of speech. Somebody not allowing you to post your opinion on *his* website, or have a stand on *his* convention is not a violation of freedom of speech.

As an example, you have the freedom of being pro-slavery. If you write a pro-slavery blog without falling into the trap of writing anything that is legally considered to be "hate speech" or "inciting racial violence", you are free to express your pro-slavery opinions without legal consequences. That doesn't make you less of an asshole. You might not have legal consequences, but other people reading your revolting opinions and ideas might well spit at you. And you don't have the right to publish your opinions on the cover of Ebony, or give you the right to a stand at the National Baptist Convention.

Saying "I support Gamergate because I believe in freedom of speech" is just plain wrong. You would need to also support every other group that holds revolting opinions, because they all tend to always clamor for freedom of speech.

Comments:
Well, Gamergate relates to 'Freedom of Speech' because Gamergate is a conversation about censorship: those with control over mass media using an ingrained and indoctrinated excuse to "editorialize".

Look, if you support the right to 'Freedom of speech', you can only defend it by protecting the right to express opinions that are contradictory to your own opinions.
 
Nobody is stopping the GGers from creating their own media outlets.

Ergo, Freedom of Speech is not abridged.

 
Gamergaters like to talk about freedom of speech as a pre-emptive strike, because they know their whole movement is about aggressively suppressing the speech of anyone who dares to express an opinion they disagree with.

It's kind of like the way climate deniers love to claim that scientists are getting rich off research grants and the like for supporting the orthodox (i.e. scientific) climate science. They want to accuse their opponents of doing what they are doing themselves.
 
Note for Americans: there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. So that bit in the fourth paragraph about legal consequences? None of those for hate speech either. Libel and fighting words, you're on your own, but under American constitutional law you're free to hate on anyone you like.

On, as Tobold says, your own forum and your own dime. Comment moderation is also allowed under free speech, woo!
 
Gamergate is a conversation about censorship: those with control over mass media using an ingrained and indoctrinated excuse to "editorialize".

So what? Why would they NOT have the right to editorialize their own publication?

Imagine I believe that Earth is flat. I write an article about that opinion and submit it to Nature. Nature refuses to print the article because all the editors believe that Earth is round. I don't think my freedom of speech is impinged in any way! I can still blog about Earth being flat, I could even publish my own "Flat Earth Nature" magazine. I only cannot force the round-Earthers to take me seriously or publish me.
 
The more exposure GamerGate gets the better since it will make it easier for people to see the flaws in the media narative if "Gamergate is a misogynistic hatemovement." Wanting etical behaviour in games media and the gaming industry is something i would think most people would be for.
 
Tobold is exactly right; there is no freedom of speech impinged upon here.

Really, if all the GGers have to fall back on is "freedom of speech", that's about as bad of an argument as you can make for your behavior. That's akin to saying "Well, be happy I didn't take a dump in the middle of the floor."
 
Wanting etical behaviour in games media and the gaming industry is something i would think most people would be for.

"Das Kapital", the book by Karl Marx that launched communism is full of idealistic ideas that "most people would be for". Anti-communists are not against those ideas, but they are against the extremely flawed implementation of those ideas in the Soviet Union and some other places. Gamergate is exactly the same: Most people are for the ideas of the movement, but *against* the actions that the movement took in order to implement those ideas.
 
What actions would that be?
I have seen many allegations against GamerGate but very little evidence for the allegations.
I have seen people claim to have reciveded hundreds of threats/harrassing messages on twitter and yet only 3-4 such messages can be found on twitter or people who claim to have been threatend by Gamergate supporters when the treats have come from accounts that have never used the Gamergate hashtag. Sure there are some assholes and trolls that use the tag, but its the internet, iI would think it hard to find any group on the internet that doesn't include atleast one asshole or that a troll hasen't used as platform for trolling.
 
Imagine you are at some sort of protest march. Amidst many people peacefully protesting, there are some people with hoods and masks. At some point the people with hoods and masks start vandalizing the shops left and right, looting, and setting fire to buildings. The peaceful protesters do nothing about that, except stepping aside to gain a bit of distance. Next morning you read in the press that your movement was responsible for looting and pillaging. Is the press right?

The people who sent bomb threats or threats of mass shootings to various events at which for example Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak did so anonymously and didn't sign their threats with a Gamergate hashtag. But they were clearly fueled and enabled by the anti-Anita tweets.

And while we are at facts: If you analyze thousands of Gamergate tweets with a word cloud software, you'll notice that there is a multitude of mentions of people like Anita, but very little mention of journalistic ethics. In fact Anita, who is clearly a target of Gamergate, has never even been accused of anything which falls under the heading of "unethical journalism". The only thing she did was post feminist opinions on games, she certainly wasn't paid by the games industry to criticize how women were objectified in Hitman.
 
"So what? Why would they NOT have the right to editorialize their own publication?"

There is a difference between a person's right and a publication's right. A person represents her opinions; a publication represents its readers and as a business, it sells its readers to other businesses. Here's an analogy to better represent this: imagine that you proved the Earth revolves around the barycenter of the Solar system, but the editors of Nature believed that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Isn't it not the obligation of the editors, despite their personal beliefs, to report your proof to the publication's readers? The publication represents its readers: Nature's readers are by definition people who would want to read news of your proof. That's censorship: suppressing news because it conflicts with personal interests (in this case, the editors' personal beliefs). If a publication is suppressing news relevant to its readers' interests, then it's betraying its readers and unfit for purpose.

Gamergate was a result of gaming publications and some forums censoring Zoe Quinn's expose. Personally, I have no interest in reading the sordid details of an indie's personal life. I think that the only news-worthy item was Nathan Grayson's conflict-of-interest in reporting about her game, and since no publication wanted to open the floor for that discussion (the incestuous relationship between journalists and indie developers, the smaller brother of the relationship between publications and triple-A developers), ostensible reasons were created to censor the whole of it. Censorship: suppressing news because it conflicts with personal interests.


As an aside, as a person (to speak nothing of a publication being an aggregrate of thousands et cetera readers) you should actively seek out dissenting opinions. Weak people actively shut out dissenting opinions.
 
Part of the GG problem is it is an immensely wide net, and a lot of people are caught in it. I've gone to pro-GG (very specifically identified as such) sites and been repulsed. I've seen "not GG but in same general boat" people like Erik Larsen go full-meltdown on Twitter because he's from an older generation that hasn't quite caught up to the reality of internet feminism today...but he's not GG, just a side-effect of the way so many opinions seem to fall under that umbrella by virtue of demonization of all non SJW opinions.

I have no idea where I reside on this. I can safely say that it is impossible to dig too deeply in either direction without encountering some disturbing or problematic opinions, be it misogyny or misandry, in some pretty rarefied forms. The notion that GG is actually about free speech or gaming journalism is technically true in that GG is about anything the person feels it should be....because GG in some ways seems to be about anything that isn't social justice....in fact that's the only thing for sure you can identify as common with GGers: they are all opposed to any efforts at social justice, and just as the SJWs conflate all people not immediately for an extreme pro-SJW stance as anti-SJW, the GGers conflate anyone even remotely interested in women's rights or LGBTQ rights as anti-GG.
 
Isn't it not the obligation of the editors, despite their personal beliefs, to report your proof to the publication's readers?

No, it isn't their obligation to post anything they don't believe in. And in particular it isn't their obligation to report a story in a specific angle. This is why when let's say Obama makes a speech, the report of that speech on Huffington Post and on Fox News will be very, very different.

Gamergaters have a very specific view of events which isn't shared by most people. Very few people, if anyone, know all the facts, most of what we know is hearsay. But I'd trust the Washington Post's version more than let's say Breitbart's or The Mary Sue's.
 
Wow, do people still claim "it's about ethics in gaming journalism" with a straight face? Everywhere I've seen (which, admittedly is a self-selected pool of places that aren't full of crazies) it's a complete joke. Literally, in the sense of "it's about ethics in ____ journalism!" is a punchline.

I actually think laughing at a cause is more damaging to it than ignoring it, but psychology can be tricky.
 
The people who sent bomb threats or threats of mass shootings to various events at which for example Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak did so anonymously and didn't sign their threats with a Gamergate hashtag.
Threats that the police found "not credible" unlike the threats against GG like the bomb threats against the GGinDC meetup last week that was evacuated by police after a bombthreat that the FBI found credible enough to warn the DC police about. Or the decapitated rabbit with a threatening note attached that a pro GG indie dev found in his yard yesterday?

Most of the times i see Anita mentioned it is in discussions about her videos or in relation to something she/her twitter account has said about games/gamers, preferably some volotile statement without any evidence.

I think that deepfreeze.it shows that its about ethics.
 
Here's an analogy to better represent this: imagine that you proved the Earth revolves around the barycenter of the Solar system, but the editors of Nature believed that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Isn't it not the obligation of the editors, despite their personal beliefs, to report your proof to the publication's readers?

What's the quality of the theory?

If it's an unlikely-but-still-possible theory, then they might want want to print it even if they don't find it personally convincing. It's an editorial call, and people can disagree about specific cases.

If it's obvious crackpottery, then they might want to print it for entertainment value. That's another editorial call.

But if it's by a creepy stalker like Eron Gjoni who just wants to spread lies about his ex, and he's written an article connecting his lies to the Heliocentricism debate - well, no ethical journal would publish that sort of material. Do you understand why?

Weak people actively shut out dissenting opinions.

Yes, but remember that harassment isn't "dissent", and lies aren't "opinions".
 
Most of the times i see Anita mentioned it is in discussions about her videos or in relation to something she/her twitter account has said about games/gamers, preferably some volotile statement without any evidence.

Why would a movement that is solely concerned with ethics in video game journalism be concerned at all if Anita makes a video or some statement about games? She isn't a journalist. The obsession of Gamergate with Anita pretty much proves that it is a movement against women having opinions about games, and nothing to do with ethics.
 
Sorry, this is like people saying "Homeopathy is rule! SCIENCE" and making big deals for why it's rejected.

Everyone THINKS they have proof for something. The QUALITY of the proof however is what the problem is. I can think ive proved anything I want with the data I have gotten, if I simply ignore proper scientific method.

Gamergate will never be worth anything because it spawned as a nicer rebranding of "quinnspiracy" which turned out to be hogwash. And they cant stop attacking women for 5 minutes either which doesn't help. It doesnt help that their original "ethics in games journalism" arguments started based on things that had... well nothing to do with ethics and turned out to be rumormill garbage.

I have friends in gamergate who constantly link me things that mock feminists and I've told them VERY clearly that I hate hearing about it. But they link me it anyways, and it's almost always garbage. It's even more laughable when I ask for evidence of things and they link me conspiracy websites or breitbart or other less-than-reliable outlets.

Even if gamergate sometimes does the right thing, it's more like a broken clock being right twice per day. It doesn't justify anything about what theyve done or why theyve done it or anything else, and like any movement it can occasionally do a good thing. Doesn't mean the movement itself is worth paying attention to.
 
In the US, hate speech is also protected. There is no First Amendment exception for hate speech.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/05/07/no-theres-no-hate-speech-exception-to-the-first-amendment/
 
Oops, someone already linked that.
 
"No, it isn't their obligation to post anything they don't believe in. And in particular it isn't their obligation to report a story in a specific angle. This is why when let's say Obama makes a speech, the report of that speech on Huffington Post and on Fox News will be very, very different. [...] But I'd trust the Washington Post's version more than let's say Breitbart's or The Mary Sue's."

There's a difference between biased reporting and non-reporting, propaganda and censorship. In the example I posted, for the publication not to publish relevant news to their readership, it is non-reporting, id est censorship. In your example, it would be comparable to Fox News' ignoring Obama's speech and not reporting of it, period.

Well, on a scale of zero to one, I'd trust Washington Post's version by 0.001, which would be only 0.0001 more than I would trust Breitbart's or The Mary Sue's.

"But if it's by a creepy stalker like Eron Gjoni who just wants to spread lies about his ex, and he's written an article connecting his lies to the Heliocentricism debate - well, no ethical journal would publish that sort of material. Do you understand why?"

As I stated in my last comment, the 'why' is clear. Gaming publications did not want to start a conversation on the relationships between developers and journalists; if you look at the fallout from Gamergate, it's clear to see 'why'. I, and I assume you, do not want to read about the personal details of an indie developer; I also think that posting private conversations is in bad taste. From what I read on the coverage of it, I thought that the only relevant piece of news was Nathan Grayson's conflict-of-interest (previously forgotten the alleged sexual harassment of Zoe Quinn by her boss, but that's a gray area). That news was censored, and it wouldn't have changed but for the readers demanding that it should be covered; Kotaku's editor came out and posted an assurance that naught of impropriety had happened. To claim by inference that gaming publications are ethical journals is disingenuous. They have published worse news items than Eron Gjoni's treatise. So, the argument that they are above such nonsense is hollow.

"Yes, but remember that harassment isn't "dissent", and lies aren't "opinions"."
One person's lies is another's, truths. Therefore, shutting out one or another is simply a self-confirming, self-affirming, solo exercise. If they are "lies" and you have the logic, facts and truth to affirm it, then you should want to give the other side a voice to participate and lose. If you are inclined to censor the other side, you should evaluate 'why' (normally, never good).

 
"The people who sent bomb threats or threats of mass shootings to various events at which for example Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak"

A venue hosting a recent GamerGate meetup received a bomb threat that (unlike Anita's) caused the local police to evacuate the building.
Call me a cynic, but I don't see you writing a post about how all anti-GGers are terrorists.

"the GGers conflate anyone even remotely interested in women's rights or LGBTQ rights as anti-GG."
I have met more women, gay or trans people in GamerGate than any other online group I've been a part of, I really don't think this argument holds.

Additionally, this entire post seems like a bit of a straw man: I've only very rarely seen someone in GG claim that biased reporting is a question of free speech, it's unethical journalism, which is a central part of what GG is about.
 
Call me a cynic, but I don't see you writing a post about how all anti-GGers are terrorists.

Why do the GG arguments only ever work one way? If you say that there is absolutely no proof of GG being responsible for the bomb threats against Anita, then why doesn't the same apply to the bomb threat against the GG meeting? What proof do you have that any anti-GGer is responsible? Knowing GG, it could well have been one of the trolls from GG, because for them all publicity is good publicity.

Well, on a scale of zero to one, I'd trust Washington Post's version by 0.001

If you trust nobody, you are just a paranoid weirdo.
 
"Why do the GG arguments only ever work one way? If you say that there is absolutely no proof of GG being responsible for the bomb threats against Anita, then why doesn't the same apply to the bomb threat against the GG meeting?"

Actually, that's your argument, not mine. I'm just asking you to apply it consistently.
Yes, maybe the threat against the GG meetup was made by a third party troll or even someone who considers themselves to be part of GG.
However, the same might be true for the threats Anita received, yet you seem convinced that those originated within GG, why?
Additionally, when threats are made against Antis, the GGers I follow condemn them almost uniformly, whereas the Antis I follow (the few who aren't using the blockbot) either cheered the recent bomb threat or remained silent.
If you are going to criticize GG for the actions some of its members take, surely you must also do that the other way around?
 
In all the posts where I condemned harassment, bomb threats, death threats, harassing, doxxing, and cyber-bullying, I never ever limited that condemnation to any specific group. If today a condemnation of these tactics is considered "anti-GG", that tells you more about GG than about me.
 
"If today a condemnation of these tactics is considered "anti-GG", that tells you more about GG than about me."
I never said it was.

Looking back over your GG related posts though, you can hardly claim to be unbiased.
You generally ascribe negative behavior to GamerGate (though usually with a qualifier like "most", "many", "a number", etc.), yet never do the same with extreme opinions from the other side.
You have chosen a side, and that's okay, but you can't claim to neutrally oppose harassment/threats and then only talk about those instances coming from one side of the issue.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool