Tobold's Blog
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Gamergate for president

How do you judge the success of a political or social movement? It used to be that these movements had stated goal and were judged on how successful they were to achieve those goals. But what if the stated goal isn't even true, but just a "beard" to hide a true goal which is too repulsive to be an official mission statement? Gamers already have some experience with this due to the Gamergate affair. The "success" of that movement, as far as there was one, was to keep the conflict in the media every day, and to keep pressure up against political correctness.

One of the major players in the Gamergate saga was the ultra-conservative website Breitbart. And guess who is now the new chief executive of Trump's campaign for president of the USA? That is widely accepted as a sign that Trump will stop to "pivot to the middle" as candidates usually do after fighting primaries at the fringes. Instead the campaign will "let Trump be Trump" and ban political correctness from the campaign.

That makes me wonder if becoming president is actually the goal here. Clinton is leading the statistical forecast based on all available polls by 88% against 12% for Trump. The demographics are very clear, there simply aren't enough angry white men living in the USA to win a general election. Clinton is widely disliked, but Trump is widely feared, even among registered Republicans. Going Gamergate on the US presidential election is extremely unlikely to result in Trump becoming the next president. So why do it?

I do believe that primarily this is an anti-establishment political movement. This goes beyond right vs. left. Of course if he could destroy the Democrat's establishment, Trump would love to do that. But if that goal seems out of reach, he'd be perfectly happy to just destroy the Republican establishment. Even right now the people shaking in their boots whenever there is a new headline about Trump are not in the Democratic party headquarters, but in the Republican one. By saying that the last weeks were not gaffes but the new Trump campaign strategy, he is setting up the Republican party to a world of hurt over the coming months.

Going Gamergate makes lot of sense: the youth is typically not voting. In the pre-election Sanders got some serious youth support with his anti-establishment platform. Trump can go for the young voters by grabbing an anti-political correctness PR guy. Young people aren't really smart but they hate bullshit. And nothing is more bullshit than political correctness.

What you say is also likely: Trump might very well plays a long game. He might knows that he has no chance to win, but he wants to change the Republician party enough that 4 years from now a well-speaking, well-mannered Republician candidate can win with his anti-establishment message.
Why would a true goal of "to keep the conflict in the media every day, and to keep pressure up against political correctness" be considered too repulsive for a mission statement? Surely only extreme PC types would find it repulsive at all!

I think it's more that a wide range of anti-PC (and it's now grown to include anti-establishment) types took an interest in a situation where an ideologically biased media tried to drown out or silence any opposing voices in what started as a minor piece of gossip. Seldom can the Streisand effect have applied so dramatically!

Probably Gamergate has become more of a battleground to be fought over than a movement to fight for it. The mission statement you suggest is not really that of Gamergators but of those who see disruption of the media spin - or maybe even just forcing the progressive or establishment media to burn up resources maintaining the spin - as a goal.
Couldn't happen to a better (i.e. worse) political party. If you're on the left, you should be happy to see the Republican Party die since it's on the other side. If you're on the right, you should also be happy to see the Republican Party die because it has failed to conserve anything for decades now and is mainly dedicated to the interests of a portion of the rich who do well no matter what happens (the Democrats are dedicated to the other portion of those same rich).
Surely only extreme PC types would find it repulsive at all!

I was framing that goal with too much political correctness. :) Once you formulate it as "keep women out of game development" it becomes far less suitable as mission statement.
Trump might very well plays a long game. He might knows that he has no chance to win, but he wants to change the Republician party enough that 4 years from now a well-speaking, well-mannered Republician candidate can win with his anti-establishment message.

I think if there's one thing that's become clear, is that Donald Trump doesn't care about the Republican Party in any way shape or form - it's a handy platform for his rise (which may be withdrawn now that they're seeing his effect on it).
"Keep women out of game development" would certainly be considered a repulsive agenda by most people - including, I would guess, most of those who would consider themselves gamergators. Not only repulsive, but extraordinarily silly as a goal - women have been involved in game development for decades!

You are repeating one side's propaganda, rather than making a sensible analysis of possible hidden or unconscious goals of the other. When the propaganda starts to look really silly, it should be a bit of a wake-up call, no?
"One side's propaganda"? Do you mean the New York Times, the Washington Post, or Stephen Colbert? Quote Wikipedia's first phrase on the issue: "The Gamergate controversy concerns issues of sexism and progressivism in video game culture, stemming from a harassment campaign conducted primarily through the use of the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate." So is Wikipedia also a member of the "other side"?

I would say that when you have to declare every major national news outfit to be a member of "the other side" and "sprouting propaganda", then *that* should be a bit of a wake-up call.
Well that's an aspect where Brietbart and Trump are already in synch, the insisting that the vast majority of the media are corrupt and you have to seek out truth on conspiracy-level sites.

I have to admit I didn't read an awful lot of Brietbart, but I never got the impression they were entirely in the bag for Gamergate, most of them I'd expect to have Milo's former opinion that we should laugh at nerds.

But Gamergate has definitely taken a turn for the explicitly political in the last six months, the front of KotakuInAction is as likely to mention BLM as, well Kotaku (with the exception of this week, obviously).

I have to hope at one point they'll have their Hans moment.
Actually fair play to them, they've specifically changed this recently:

The anti-feminist exception will still sweep in an amount of trash, of course.
Wikipedia is hardly to be taken seriously as a source regarding any modern culture war. Nor indeed are journalists writing what are essentially opinion rather than investigative pieces typically going to be very objective when it comes to subjects who are essentially at war with them.

And even so, how do these sources justify your claim that the goal is to "keep women out of game development"? As I asked, why would anyone think that was possible at all, let alone wish to do it?

If you had argued that the implicit goal is to defend gaming culture from attack by 'progressive' forces that use as a wedge the allegation that this culture causes discomfort to certain favoured groups, and demand that it change to accommodate their wishes - why then, you might be able to make some kind of case. But that would be a far cry from "keeping women out of game development", which is nothing more than a pure propaganda line.
So you are insisting on political correctness on talking about Gamergate? Because all these #Gamergate tweets about women in game development were so politically correct? Or are you one of those people who claim that everybody who harassed women or sent death threats wasn't really part of the movement?

Sorry, you can't prevent the general public of considering everybody who uses the #Gamergate tag as being a Gamergater. You don't get to declare only the nice people who are politely arguing a culture war as being on your team. Even Fox News chimed in against Gamergate, and they aren't exactly social justice warriots.
I'm not sure of the relevance of any of the above. The question at issue was whether gamergators (however they may be defined) have a secret goal of "keeping women out of game development".

I'm interested in factual rather than political correctness. Numerous people of various genders have been harassed on the internet by different factions of numerous causes, Gamergate included; harassment is invidious but says little directly about the goals of whatever movement the harassers presumably support.

And in point of fact - though while I have been following events I can't really claim any expertise - I can only think of two female game developers who were harassed by Gamergate supporters. Both were/are very minor players in the field - in fact they are known to the world *mostly* for being harassed by Gamergate, make of that what you will. One was precisely at the centre of the initial spark, while the other inserted herself in the controversy very early. So any harassment of them is surely based on personal animus, and is not evidence that the secret motivation of Gamergate is to keep women out of game development.

If Gamergate have been repeatedly harassing random female game developers on account of their gender, I have not heard of it nor seen any evidence for it.

Okay, I give you that. If you want to split hairs you could say that harassing women in game development was not the "goal" of the movement but the means that was uses to reach a culture war goal. And it was more than two, even the list of just the most prominent victims already has four women on it, Zoe, Anita, Leigh and Brianna.

I fully agree with you that these women are mostly known in the world for having been harassed. Especially Anita, who before had a handful of viewers on Youtube and basically no cultural influence at all, ended up on national TV and with over 200,000 subscribers for her channel. That is why I consider Gamergate a huge failure, because however you want to state its goal, it hasn't reached it. There is *more* influence of "social justice warriors" and political correctness in game development now than before Gamergate.

Which makes me pretty certain that the Gamergate tactics won't work very well for Trump either. Whatever his goal is.
At the end of the day, and regardless of political correctness or anti-PC rhetoric, how is anything that anybody wants to happen, enforceable? Do people with money, power and political influence continue to circumvent the constitution by getting "activist" judges appointed or elected in a bid to enforce their will on the public? What the hell do being "liberal" or "conservative" even mean anymore in light of the current state of our political process in the U.S.?

The term "democracy" should be tossed out the window if things continue as they are. But I'm certain that someone would chime in and say that "representative democracy" should be the new, flavor of the moment, moniker since the constitution has been rendered basically ineffective.

Ever notice how issues such as immigration, abortion, gun control, the death penalty, the military, same sex marriage, racism, religion, taxes and others all seem to be equally split between progressive and moralistic ideologies in their presentation? There should be no mistake made when deciding why this is such an effective platform tool in a two-party system.

What we currently have in the U.S. is a collective of micro-parties, with each seeking relevance through attachment to which ever of the current two parties that will accept them. Why Sanders was considered a "democrat" has most of the nation scratching its head, and now that he is out the micro-parties that associated with him are scrambling to find continued relevance. The case could be made that the candidate who is most successful in courting these micro-parties will have a better chance of winning the election.
I don't want to split hairs. I said I had only heard of only two female game developers who were harassed by Gamergaters, and they are both on your list of four women. The other two on your list of people who received tweets characterised by an algorithm as negative - not saying they weren't harassed too, but it's a separate thing - are not game developers. One is a journalist and one is a pseudo-academic. [A pop scientist, if you prefer, except in a science that isn't really a science. And her internet harassment started long before Gamergate.]

Like I said, I don't think Gamergaters are motivated to get women as such out of game development, either as a strategic or tactical goal.

AS for the influence of SJWs and political correctness in game development, there's a whole lot more *noise* now, for sure. But that doesn't necessarily say much about their success or otherwise in the genre. If they won, things would be fairly quiet apart from the odd show trial.
It's possible there's some overarching plan.

But I learned this the hard way: people really can be that stupid. If it looks stupid, and stays stupid, it's probably just really stupid. Trump's dancing with the girl that brought him. It's the only chance he has, however poor. A narcissist surrounded by yes men is not going to have a great grasp on reality.

This is the last ride of Archie Bunker, win or lose.
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