All right. Let’s talk about GamerGate.

This link will take you to an article dissecting the IRC chat log taken from a 4chan room where GamerGate began as a movement. … more-13184

This link will take you to the full IRC chat log.

This is not a she-said-he-said kind of situation. Regardless of what the movement may or may not have become, this is where GamerGate started - with an organized harassment campaign.


This suggestion - discuss the issues, avoid using the term GamerGate - it’s not a bad one. I want to say yes to it, because I want this to be over more than I can possibly tell you. I want to go back to making games and discussing interactive fiction and being happy to be part of this community.

But I keep coming back to the chatlog above.



I’m willing to believe that people affiliated with GamerGate have been harassed. (Raph Koster did an AMA specifically to talk with GamerGaters a few days ago. It was an enlightening read that gave me greater perspective on the other side of the situation - … _ama_here/.)

But that doesn’t negate the fact that if GamerGate is welcome here, this is not a safe space for inurashii - or any other person who is experiencing harassment.

I don’t think that GamerGate should be named specifically in the intfiction code of conduct. But I do think that we need to take a stand against hate groups - and clear evidence exists both that the GamerGate movement started as a hate group, and that people identifying themselves as GamerGaters are harassing people.

The volume of harassment directed against Zoe Quinn - the rape threats, the death threats, the doxxing - was sufficient that the FBI got involved. The people responsible for that harassment considered targeting inurashii in the same fashion. And they are where this movement originated.

What I want to know about the people defending GamerGate in the Code of Conduct thread is:

Are you okay with what happened in that chat log?

I’m not. I can’t be. And that’s why I went on record to say that I want intfiction to officially bar advertising by hate groups. Not because I think every person calling themselves part of GamerGate is a monster - but because there are monsters associated with GamerGate, at a very fundamental level.

And because those monsters have already hurt members of our community.

And if what those monsters did is acceptable here, then I can’t see this as a safe space.

If it wasn’t obvious a month ago, now is the time for all good people to abandon the Gamergate party. The bad people in Gamergate can’t/won’t leave. To this day, the “bad ones” post harassing replies to anyone who says anything bad about Gamergate on Twitter. Any good person who stands with them is rightly tarnished by association.

(NOTE: This is a doppelganger account. I’ve consulted the Code of Conduct and the FAQ and found nothing prohibiting second accounts. I’m choosing to post this anonymously for reasons outlined quite well in the OP. If this colours anyone’s perception of this post so be it.)

In my admittedly limited understanding of GamerGate, there are two components. One component is about gaming journalism and perceived corruption. Whether or not you think this has any merit, it doesn’t have much to do with interactive fiction or the comp and I don’t see any relevance to discuss it here.

The other component is as an “anti-SJW” movement. I am putting words into no one’s mouth. Instead, I am taking the words directly from the source: … c&src=typd

I am presenting this without comment. If you click that link, know that it is the de facto forum to discuss interactive fiction by GamerGate. I leave it to the reader to decide whether its comments are welcoming.

GamerGate is horrible. It’s not that it’s impossible to separate the (in my view invalid, but that’s neither here nor there) criticisms about journalism and inclusiveness in games from the harassment, it’s that by using the GamerGate name the people making those criticisms choose not to separate themselves from the harassment. Even leaving aside whether the comments in that particular forum are unwelcoming (I think they are by the very nature of calling for “anti-SJW” gamers, but as I said, leave that aside), the fact that it’s drawing from a movement that unapologetically harasses people is damning.

And I seriously have not seen one single person who describes themselves as a proponent of GamerGate face up to the evil of what the original GamerGaters have done. I’ve seen them described as “childish and annoying” “pranks” and as “ungallant” (specifically, that death threats were “ungallant”). But I haven’t seen anyone saying anything like “Hey, the wholesale invasion of people’s privacy and release of nude pictures and financial documents and attempts to drive them away from gaming and cheers when they announce they’re leaving is really really wrong.” Because, if you did think they were really really wrong, you wouldn’t associate with GamerGate.

So yeah: I don’t want to be anywhere where GamerGate is considered acceptable either.

I 100% agree with what Matt said.

Well, I guess it’s obvious where this thread is headed. I’ll pick up the other side, because someone ought to, but I’m not interested in being on the receiving end of a pile-on, so forgive me if I duck out when this turns into one, or if I don’t respond to every point in the meantime.

Here’s some background from a different perspective:

TechCrunch: … h-2-sides/


How do you feel about applying that logic to other groups? For instance, some people calling themselves Christians have committed horrible acts, from picketing funerals to murdering doctors. Does that mean others who use the name of Christianity are choosing not to separate themselves from the harassment, or that evangelists are recruiting for a hate group?

You can make the same argument about any large enough group: religions, political parties, social philosophies, etc. Some people on the “GamerGate is horrible” side have committed harassment as well. By taking the same stance, are you choosing not to separate yourself from the harassment?

I don’t think so. I think we rightly reject this guilt-by-vague-association the rest of the time, but when it’s politically expedient, it can be tempting not to. I recommend resisting that temptation and acknowledging that not everyone in a loosely organized movement is responsible for the actions of everyone else.

To be clear, are you saying you haven’t seen enough people distance themselves from the harassment, or that the statements you’ve seen weren’t worded as strongly as you’d like, or that you don’t believe them, or that the statements don’t matter at all because the movement still exists?

Also, have you seen anyone who describes them as an opponent of GamerGate face up to what other opponents have done? Do you expect them to?

vaporware wrote:

I get that, and I don’t demand a response to this. But I want to say the rest of what I was thinking last night. You wrote (in the other thread):

“That issue” is a dodge here. Are you saying that you want people to respect your values about good journalism and what IF means? So you can talk about those things without people yelling at you? That’s fundamental, I hope. That’s what I want, and I’d bail on this forum (or any forum) if I didn’t think I had that.

Or are you saying that you want people to respect you when you say that “GamersGate” refers to a respectable movement supporting good journalism? And that there is a reasonable moral equivalence between bad elements in GG and bad elements opposing GG? (I am summarizing your positions here as I read them.) You’re not going to get agreement on those things. You’re not going to get a “I disagree but I respect your beliefs.” There’s too much shit and fear and threat attached.

That’s why I suggested “Avoid ‘GamersGate’ as a label.” It’s the same dodge, yeah, I know – terminology. It lets us duck an irreconcilable difference without, I hope, quashing out the core issues of this forum.

Are you kidding me? The difference between GamerGate and those other groups is that GamerGate started out specifically as a way to perpetuate the horrible actions I’m complaining about.

To be clear, are you saying you haven’t seen enough people distance themselves from the harassment, or that the statements you’ve seen weren’t worded as strongly as you’d like, or that you don’t believe them, or that the statements don’t matter at all because the movement still exists?
I am saying I have seen zero statements distancing themselves from the harassment. Unless you count bullshit that minimizes its severity, like “The pranks and phone calls from reddit and 4chan may be childish and annoying, but are they really comparable to…” (some things that aren’t remotely as bad), or this lovely sentiment [EDIT: due to a formatting error by me, this didn’t originally appear as a quote]:

The count still stands at zero, by the way.

I’ve deleted something a bit more intemperate here (but don’t take this as an invitation to debate, please), but zarf is right: If you’re interested in discussing whatever you’re upset about, find a different label. GamerGate harasses people (this is a pretty mild description for what they’ve done), they harassed inurashii, and your attempt to say that you can support GamerGate without standing with that stuff is completely unconvincing. Even aside from that, why do you want to label yourself in a way that antagonizes so many people? It won’t get your ideas heard.

Not a short read, but a good summary of why the GG well is poisoned and its well-meaning participants need to ditch the hashtag and start over.

I do want that, but specifically I was responding to the proposed ban against “recruiting” for “hate groups” and people associated with them, which was specifically mentioned as applying to GG. As far as I can tell, it was intended and expected to apply to this post and its author:

If we’ve going to allow discussion of GG as a phenomenon/movement/group/concept, I think the viewpoint above is one that ought to be included.

What I want to avoid is the situation where we only allow discussion of why some folks here dislike GG, the people associated with it, or those people’s actions, while prohibiting discussion of why it might be interesting to others here or might make a good audience for IF.

After decades of internet discussions in many forums on a wide variety of topics, I no longer have any expectation that people will respect me when I say anything, let alone respect my beliefs, let alone agree with them. That’s fine. What I want is to be allowed to express those opinions to the same degree as the people who disagree are allowed to express theirs, and to be treated with the same degree of civility.

I don’t want to see the forum taking an official stance on whether GG is a respectable movement, or whether the harassment suffered by GG or anti-GG forces is more deserving of our sympathy, any more than I want to see it taking an official stance on whether Firefly was an overrated show or Inform is better than Twine.

That’s a great link, inurashii. It makes very clear the problems with GG.

I get why supporters of GG stay with the hashtag. They are married to the principal of the argument. It doesn’t matter what other supporters say or do. It doesn’t matter how it began, or what the various goals of the movement are, or who is hurt by it. It’s the principal. I hear it all the time in right wing arguments. It’s the principal that matters. It’s the principal.

Well, I will stand my ground right here and say that I am against the principal. Sure, ethical standards in journalism sounds like a great intention. But the effect is that game journalists will not be able to speak out for women. That’s the effect. The silence of women. I am for Freedom of the Press. I am against, and will NOT stand for, any movement where the effect is the silence of women or the continuation of the status quo.

I hear you. I understand you have opinions. You are allowed to have them and should be allowed to express them. But I believe they are Wrong with a capital W. I’m going to call you out on them and say that they are Wrong when you do express them. I’m sorry if this means I’m uncivil. I’m not going to stop fighting these opinions tooth and nail. They are Wrong. They are Hateful. They are Wrong. I’m sorry if that means I’m uncivil.

Also an apology to Carolyn, your blog post was heroic, but I do feel we are at war. The war isn’t parser vs. non-parser. It’s between those who want the oppressed to have a voice vs those whose ideologies result in our silence.

That reminds me of another claim about the origins of a controversial group. Perhaps you’ve heard this one: “Planned Parenthood? Don’t you know their founder was a racist and secretly wanted to exterminate the black race by stopping them from reproducing? Look at what she wrote in a private letter about her so-called Negro Project: ‘we do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population’. How can you support Planned Parenthood knowing that’s how they started?”

This claim has serious flaws:

  • It’s not quite based in fact. It takes words out of context and distorts the speaker’s intentions. While the quoted sentence is one that could appear in a discussion of covering up genocide, that’s not actually what the letter was about.
  • The founder is not the movement. Even supposing it were true that the founder was as nasty as claimed and had the goal she’s accused of having, that doesn’t mean that the organization she created ever shared it or took action in pursuit of it. The organization consisted of people other than the founder, and no evidence is presented that those other people were aware of this supposed goal or ever took action in pursuit of it either.
  • The movement has moved on and is no longer controlled by the founder. The organization is much bigger now than it was then, comprising many times more people who have joined to further the organization’s overt, stated goals. Some new revelation about what the founder was really thinking before she formed the organization might make an interesting historical footnote, if true, but it doesn’t invalidate what the organization has become since then, nor does it mean everyone who supports the organization has really been supporting genocide all along.

Every time I’ve followed up on a claim about what a chat log allegedly proves about the origins of GG, I’ve come away unsatisfied. I’ve also seen no evidence that any significant number of people involved with GG intended to use it in order to further harassment, even at the beginning, and certainly no evidence that any significant share of the people involved today have that goal. And the fact that it isn’t an organization, and has no leadership, makes it even less plausible that the people involved today are somehow unwittingly doing the bidding that their shadowy masters laid out in a chat room before this all started.

How hard have you looked? This took me a minute or so to look up:

I trust that you’re not going to dismiss that as “bullshit that minimizes its severity”. If you want more examples, I bet a polite request on Twitter would get you a lot of links.

Well, I think one reason people continue using this label is that it facilitates collective action.

I’m afraid I still don’t see a relevant difference between that statement and these:

“Christianity harasses people (this is a pretty mild description for what they’ve done), they murdered George Tiller, and your attempt to say that you can support Christianity without standing with that stuff is completely unconvincing.”

“Environmentalism harasses people, they’ve set fire to apartment buildings and farms, and your attempt to say that you can support environmentalism without standing with that stuff is completely unconvincing.”

The “X harasses people” bits are misleading generalizations, and the implication that anyone who supports X is “standing with that stuff” is toxic guilt-by-vague-association.

Did you hear that from a supporter, or did you just conclude that that must be why they do it? Because I think they’d tell you something different.

Hmm. Why do you think ethical standards in journalism have the effect of stopping journalists from speaking out for women? I don’t see a connection between the two, and I’m sure you’re aware that many of the people involved in GG are women.

No, that doesn’t mean you’re uncivil. Please, if you think I’m wrong, go ahead and disagree! Just don’t hold me to a different standard of discourse than yourself.

Hmm. I think everyone wants the oppressed to have a voice. Who do you think doesn’t want them/you to have a voice? What have you not been able to say, or what would you not be able to say if those people got their way?

This really scares me and worries me.

Whatever your opinions of the validity of the GamerGate hashtag, and however much worthwhile stuff you think happens under it, it is also true and unavoidable that it has been and continues to be used to deliberately organise extreme harassment and abuse. That someone is working to organise “anti-SJW” people using that hashtag to participate in the competition frightens me. As an author, I’m worried about what I might end up on the receiving end of, and I’m carrying relative amounts of privilege into the situation. I hope that comp organisers are watching this and are ready to act if necessary. Personally I think watching and ensuring there isn’t harassment and abuse is probably all that’s needed now, because I’m frightened that anything beyond that would actively incite such behaviour. Having seen the harassment and abuse that’s taken place under the hashtag, even writing this post makes me nervous.

Via looking at that hashtag this may also be worth keeping an eye on:

Yeeeeah, not going to stick my head in that buzzsaw voluntarily (also: not on Twitter). The thing is that I’ve read a fair amount of gamergate stuff, far more than is psychologically healthy, and its credibility is nil. I keep following links like “Zoe Quinn harassed clinically depressed people!” and finding out that it’s something like “Zoe Quinn said, truthfully, that she’d been harassed on wizardchan.” Or as here I hear “Gamersgaters have distanced themselves from harassment!” and find something like “Death/rape threats and harassment are bad at specific women, but journalists writing articles that make negative generalizations about gamers are just as bad!”

I’m not addressing the rest of your analogies because I don’t think I have any chance in convincing you, I frankly don’t think it’d be worth it anyway, and I hope that anyone who’s reading along can see how weak they are. As I said, not interested in a debate.

Let’s choose one issue: that website journalists and editors were donating to Zoe Quinn.

The websites that features these journalists are the ones that write articles supporting women in games.
GG is calling to boycott these websites.
A successful boycott will shut down these websites.
A successful boycott will remove the websites that writes articles supporting women.
The end result is there will be less articles supporting women.
The end result is there will be less journalists speaking out for women.
I am against this.

If you think other websites will pick up the mantle if these ones go, you are wrong. If you think other websites will hire the journalists not involved with the incident, you are wrong. The threat of the backlash is too great.

If it were simply about the donations, then the policies put in place to stop the donations would have been sufficient enough to calm the critics. But it isn’t. It’s about having these websites shut down.

I am against this.

(An aside, I’m leaving for a while, but happy to pick this up later. Also, I’m guessing we turned off the spam filter, because a spambot got through. Can we turn it back on?)

Taking the stance of “being at war” automatically creates opposition. Being at war only comes about when diplomacy has completely failed. Even the above quote uses the term “enemy”, which automatically creates a division – even though the intent is to avoid battle.


Why? Because former enemies become allies after a “war” ends.

I agree there’s some cause for concern, but I think it ought to be the same kind of concern we’d face if any other political group decided to take an interest in IF.

Let’s say you run the biggest, best auto racetrack in the same town as the Democratic Party headquarters, and you’re known for attracting a liberal crowd. One day you catch wind that the Republicans from a nearby town are organizing a field trip to your track. What’s going to happen?

Well, there’s a chance they’re coming as a political event: they want to go fight some liberals and score points for their team. Maybe they’ll harass your staff, intimidate your regulars, smash your windows, and spill beer everywhere, high-fiving each other as they leave and laugh about how they showed you who’s boss. You’ll want to make sure your alarm system works and that shotgun under the counter is loaded.

But on the other hand, you know Republicans love auto racing, and there’s a good chance they’re just coming because you’ve got the only track worth going to. You might still hear them snickering at your HOPE posters, but they know they’re your guests, and to the extent they want to score political points, it’s by winning races and showing you they can compete on your terms – and that they aren’t the unruly mob you think they are. Maybe you’ll get to score some points of your own, maybe they’ll learn something from you, and hey, their money’s just as green as anyone else’s.

I think the best way we can prepare at this point is to make it clear that everyone is welcome, but everyone is expected to be honest and respectful in submission, voting, communication, etc. Let’s hope they don’t let us down.

My reply is in the applicable topic here: