For something that was a personal manifesto, my blog post yesterday seemed to strike a bit of a defensive nerve. (You are more than welcome to poke through the replies on Twitter or Facebook if you feel like it, or link to your twitter/FB posts in the comments.)
First, yeah, um, that’s my opinion. You’re entitled to yours. That’s kind of how opinions work. I gave my reasons for my opinion, sure, but it’s not like this is some kind of tribunal.
Of course, there were the “not all GamerGate” responses. Which I expected – because those are the people I’m interested in reaching. There’s a reason I stopped frequently calling myself a SJW. Because it doesn’t matter that when I think of Martin Luther King, Jr. when I think “Social Justice Warrior”, there’s been enough namecalling (and asshats using the term) that the label quite literally gets in the way of what I’m trying to communicate. The same applies to GamerGate.
There was an entire class of responses talking about some of the “good” things GamerGate has done. Which were… problematic.
Interestingly, there were a bunch of responses on Twitter claiming how GG has gone after AAA publishers… while a comment on the blog here specifically said “GamerGate isn’t about AAA games.”
For a relatively good analogy of how “GamerGate” (as an identity, as a brand, as a hashtag, what have you) strikes me, you could look at the KKK. I’m sure the KKK has done some objectively charitable work somewhere. (I don’t care enough to check; let’s run with the example.) Yet, they’re still the KKK. There really isn’t enough charitable work possible to redeem the organization/brand/label in my eyes. Also, let’s not forget how the Rabid Puppies enlisted GamerGate to hijack the Hugos last year. Not winning any points from me there.
I was also amused by how GG got labeled. When it was about something positive, GG seemed to be portrayed as an organization. When it was anything else, it was just a hashtag. Hence the title of my post – “If you identify as GamerGate“.
It’s also interesting to see how much of the conspiracy theory mindset pervades it all – “the enemy is media” (wow, that’s a specific target), which has the convenient result of invalidating any source that one wants to invalidate. Why one blog is somehow more “media” than another… hell, I have no idea. The lines of what makes “journalism” and “media” have been blurring for over a decade, making the “media is against us” canard something extremely convenient to throw up.
And since I’m anti-GamerGate, I must be anti-games. (We won’t talk about my 6+ badge on Steam or the 100+ games badge, sure.)
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd of course, there were the “Airports Law” comments, apparently implying that I have the principles and stand that I do simply to attract women. Which says a hell of a lot more about the person making the accusation than it does about me.
All of which misses the goddamned point.
Apparently there’s now a games journalism award set up by the Society for Professional Journalism prompted by GamerGate (though whether that’s a hashtag, an organization, or something else is still up for debate). And that’s a good thing.
It is insanely obvious to me – and yes, I have read /r/KotakuInAction before, thanks, the comments there help form this opinion – that my original opinion of “GamerGate” stands.
Maybe I buried the lede a little too deep. So:
If you’re serious about improving game journalism, start your own Consumer Reports of gaming.
1. Create your own standard of ethics for your publication.
2. Recruit a diverse group of reviewers.
3. Have contrasting reviews from more than one reviewer, especially if they’re from different backgrounds. (Yes, that means you should have SJWs reviewing games alongside those who completely oppose them.)
4. Don’t accept advertising money. At all.
5. Review all sorts of games. AAA. Console only. Linux only. Ports. Indie “art” games.
Here’s why: With all the energy and vitriol that GamerGate has spent attacking people, you could have – and still could – simply create something better. Rather than trying to tear others down, you show that it can be done… and done as well as, if not better, than those you’d attack.
We’re talking about setting up a website, editorial work, and getting content here. That’s it. Relatively minimal effort.
Or you can keep bitching.