| Frogs, clowns and swastikas|
|Rebuilding the Reich, one meme at a time|
|Buzzwords and dogwhistles|
Gamergate is a distillation of the worst of the worst of the Internet, taking the form of a 2014 4chan raid that went on for far too long, showing everyone how reactionary, virulently misogynistic, and frankly stupid the cellarian underbelly of the video gaming community can be. Nintendo has officially referred to GamerGate as an "online hate campaign".
Gamergate has its roots in antifeminist attacks directed at media critic Anita Sarkeesian in 2012 after the start of her crowdfunding campaign, but what everyone recognizes as "Gamergate" began after Zoe Quinn's ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni recruited 4channers and Redditors to his personal army to perpetuate his abusive relationship with her. Gamergate advocates, known as "Gamergaters" or derisively as "Gators", later claimed that they were a "consumer revolt" against what they perceive as "unethical practices" by video game reviewers, a talking point they came up with to deflect accusations of harassment or that they were simply attacking Zoe Quinn. They also claim that they advocate for "freedom of speech", but only in response to being banned from every website they use to mount witch hunts against Quinn, Sarkeesian, and anyone else that gets in their way.
From the start, Gamergate was a village bicycle for any and every conservative and/or reactionary pundit who tagged along in order to attack feminists and "social justice warriors" (by which they mean people who aren't reactionaries), as well as to fool as many people as possible into joining the alt-right. Another subset of hangers-on used Gamergate as a weapon against those in the industry who rightfully panned their games for being unplayable garbage. In turn, the Gamergaters used their new figureheads to try and lend their movement some legitimacy, despite the fact that those people never had any of their own in the first place.
Gamergate as a whole is an amorphous and leaderless hate mob, but a few particularly heinous assholes show up now and again to lead it to their pet cause. The cream of the crop includes vloggers Phil Mason, Carl Benjamin, and Davis Aurini; failed tabloid journalist-turned alt-right media gadfly Milo Yiannopoulos; feminist in-name-only Christina Hoff Sommers; and just terrible science-fiction writer Theodore Beale. When these dim bulbs aren't pointing the masses in their favored direction, the rest of Gamergate just goes along doing what it normally does: embroiling itself in sexism, misogyny, anti-feminism, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, transphobia, and the culture war against "SJWs" (with a focus on video games), while others in the movement try to deny culpability and lay the blame on third party trolls.
- 1 Brief summary
- 2 Gamer culture and gender
- 3 The origins of Gamergate
- 4 Escalation
- 5 Going mainstream
- 6 Actual ethics in video game journalism
- 7 Decline Death
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
The briefest possible summary:
- Video game designer breaks up with her boyfriend.
- Boyfriend posts bitter screed about her, hoping to use the Internet as his personal army.
- Internet Hate Machine™ obliges.
- Peoples' privacy destroyed, lives ruined, careers in gaming industry ended.
- Ensuing mess fuels massive flame war.
- MRAs, reactionaries, neoreactionaries, anti-progressives, anti-feminists, and other groups that hate the current direction of the Culture Wars (plus disgraced game developers) co-opt the whole mess.
- Everyone sane realizes how shitty everything that just happened was, tries to stop it.
A more detailed account of the events is given below.
Gamer culture and gender
The mainstream video game industry regularly ignores women and focuses on the stereotypical "hardcore gamer": teenage or young adult straight white men who allegedly care more about gameplay and technical innovation than storytelling. This has fostered a toxic atmosphere in gaming culture towards female gamers who are imagined to be a tiny minority in the gaming community and faking interest in games to get male attention. Perhaps nothing better demonstrated this atmosphere than when the magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly ceased publication in 2009, and instead of the subscribers being issued refunds, they found themselves subscribed to Maxim instead.
However, the gender divide in the gaming market is nearly 50/50, with adult women outnumbering teenage boys as video game players. Studies of adult gamers show that adult women outnumber adult men in ownership of video game consoles as do Hispanic and black adults when compared to white adults.
As the typical gamer has come to defy stereotypes, so have the games she plays. Independently-produced games that focus on dramatic narratives instead of graphical fidelity and explosions have become more popular, and many smaller companies and individuals produce games containing socially-aware messages that treat games as an art form. Additionally mobile platforms are now nearly ubiquitous. The result is an expansion of games that are relatively simple (e.g. Candy Crush) and are marketed towards multiple demographic groups. Some, if not many "hardcore gamers", however, don't consider these to be "real games", a designation only bestowed upon big blockbuster titles. Anyone who plays other games is a "casual"—a term of scorn in "hardcore" circles—and doesn't qualify as a "real gamer". Even though some "hardcore" title fanbases are overwhelmingly female.
The origins of Gamergate
“”Even Gamergate, a great movement, was initiated by MRAs within the gaming community, mainly because they knew the enemy and the issues better than most. And mainly because they were the ones with the motivation to do more than, shall we say, nothing.
|—Paul Elam on the power of MRAs|
Shifts in gaming culture have often engendered backlashes. A recent study found that nearly 48% of gamers identified as conservatives, compared to 38% identifying as liberals. This might explain why the cultural shifts in gaming have met such vocal resistance among self-described "hardcore" gamers.
This was most apparent when Anita Sarkeesian became the target of online harassment in 2012 as a result of her Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of videos examining games from a feminist perspective, which had already passed her initial goal of US$6k to nearly US$50k. Sarkeesian was not intimidated by the threats and the resultant media attention raised awareness of her project, pushing her campaign into the six-digit range by the time it closed.
In 2013, Zoe Quinn independently developed and released Depression Quest, an interactive fiction story/game based on her experiences with clinical depression. The game was well met in indie gaming circles and was praised for its treatment of depression. The same people who went after Sarkeesian put Quinn in their sights after she tried to get her game distributed through the Steam service. She was threatened with rape, told to commit suicide, and doxed.
Like Sarkeesian, Quinn stood up to the threats against her, and Steam greenlit her game in August 2014. And it's important to point out here that Depression Quest has always been free (as in free beer), with a link for providing an optional donation that would partly go towards charity.
"The Zoe Post" and #BurgersAndFries
On August 15, 2014, shortly after the Steam release of Depression Quest, Quinn's ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni published a lengthy tirade against her on several gaming forums in which he accused her of having cheated on him during their brief relationship. He claimed his purpose was to warn others of her infidelity, a common justification given in the MRA community for harassment targeted at women. The threads were deleted and he was banned from those forums.
This prompted Gjoni to post an edited version of his screed on a blog that he titled "The Zoe Post". His stated purpose was to appeal to trolls who had a history of hating Quinn, namely the 4chan and Reddit users who had been on her case for a year and a half. Gjoni's plan worked as hoped, inspiring another wave of harassment against her, resulting in her email, cloud hosting, and social media accounts being compromised, as he helped disseminate clues to her login information. Someone uncovered nude photos she had posed for; these were shared widely and sent to her family and employers.
Some of these activities were planned and organized in the IRC channel #BurgersAndFries, named after a tasteless slut-shaming joke Gjoni made referencing the fast food chain Five Guys as a way to talk about the number of men he accused Quinn of having allegedly cheated on him with. Gjoni was a regular participant in the IRC channel, counter to his claims that he was attempting to distance himself from the angry mob he had stirred up.
Friends who came out to support Quinn were targeted to isolate her from potential support networks. Independent game developer Phil Fish stood up for her, only to have his personal finances hacked, prompting him to sell off his company Polytron Corporation and disappear from the Internet. The mob claimed that Quinn and Fish were organizing a false flag operation based largely on their belief that Quinn's then-boyfriend Alex Lifschitz was an alias of Phil Fish. They attacked Lifschitz too, bombarding his employers and forcing him to resign to save the companies' reputations. Multiple death threats were sent to the couple after their address was revealed, forcing Quinn and Lifschitz to move out of their apartment; they were effectively homeless for the next several months.
Other women in the gaming industry feared being targeted next, with some giving up game development entirely and abandoning or even destroying projects they had been working on. As the attacks on Quinn escalated, Anita Sarkeesian released a new video in her web series, unaware of the shitstorm brewing elsewhere online. She and her family almost immediately received threats, leading her to temporarily leave her home.
"Actually, it's about ethics in video game journalism"
“”That no [positive review traded for sex] ever actually appeared on [Kotaku] should tell you a lot about Gamergate’s relationship to the truth; that Gamergaters believe this is how sex works should tell you a lot about the Gamergate demographic. But none of the specifics of the story really mattered, because ultimately Kotaku was being targeted less for specific ethical violations than for its critical coverage of the portrayal of women and minorities in video games and the sexism of the gaming community. The teenagers behind Gamergate were young, obsessive, deeply resentful of women, and had no sense of social boundaries, and now they finally had a rallying cry — "Ethics in journalism!" — and a common enemy — or, really, enemies, among them the developer in question, Zoe Quinn, and feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, who became the object of both sustained harassment and violent threats.
|—Max Read, former editor-in-chief of Gawker|
Criticism of the mob's misogynistic behavior forced Gators to come up with a justification for going after Quinn; some proposed claiming that Gjoni was a victim of domestic abuse at Quinn's hands (rather than it being the other way around), until one 4chan editor honed in on Gjoni's mention of Nathan Grayson as one of Quinn's alleged partners. Grayson writes for the gaming site Kotaku; this fed claims that Depression Quest was only favorably reviewed because Quinn had sex with Grayson in exchange for positive coverage. This sex-for-reviews manufactroversy became a principal example of a supposed "lack of integrity" in video game journalism that the mob has since claimed are their true motives. The claim that "corruption in video game journalism" was the impetus for Gamergate, a lie which has persisted throughout the movement's history, emerged within a day of Gjoni's publishing of the "Zoe Post", setting the stage for the hypocrisy that followed.
There was only one flaw in the plan: Grayson never actually reviewed Depression Quest. The only article Grayson ever wrote about Quinn for Kotaku was about a failed reality show pilot she had participated in, and Grayson did not even interview her for the piece but only quoted her blog of the experience. Gators then moved the goalposts and claimed Grayson had given Quinn "positive coverage" in that article and another that he wrote for the Rock, Paper, Shotgun website months earlier, well before the infidelities Gjoni had alleged. This "positive coverage" consisted of a cheeky title, a list of 50 games (which included Depression Quest), and five words, two of which are the game's title and the third being the software it was made with. Much of this goalpost moving was because Gjoni had gotten his own timeline of the relationship wrong.
To reinforce the idea that they were a grassroots movement advocating for ethics in video game journalism and not obsessed with ruining the lives of Quinn, Sarkeesian, and other women that got in their way, Gamergaters used the codewords "Literally Who" to refer to anyone they were accused of attacking. The term was meant to imply they didn't actually care about or even know the names of the women they went after. Many people saw through this attempt to dehumanize harassment victims, when by October, there were seven different women labelled as "Literally Whos". Discussions of these supposedly insignificant women continue to dominate the various Gamergate discussion boards, while discussions about journalistic ethics are rare.
For Gators, "ethics in video game journalism" functions as coded language. To people unfamiliar with Gamergate, it sounds like they are focused on a legitimate set of grievances (advertiser influence, access, etc.). This gained Gamergate some support from useful idiots in its early days, but people critical of the movement understand that Gators are far more interested in advancing the idea that Cultural Marxists, feminists, and SJWs have infiltrated the gaming world and are working behind the scenes to destroy "real" games and convert "real gamers" to fit their so-called progressive agenda. The frequent use of coded language in conspiratorial and reactionary circles is probably not a coincidence, and it facilitates easy rhetorical bludgeoning: "We're fighting for ethics in video game journalism! Why don't you support ethics in video game journalism?"
The mob was still nameless at this point. #BurgersAndFries was still on IRC and the mob tried to organize around the Twitter hashtag #TheQuinnspiracy (which Quinn had come up with herself to mock her detractors prior to August), but neither label stuck. However, that all changed when actor Adam Baldwin tweeted #BurgersAndFries/"Zoe Post" videos with the hashtag "#GamerGate" on August 27, 2014. The name stuck, just in time for Gamergate to take on a new foe: other people's opinions.
"Gamers are dead"
Several writers on gaming and pop culture news websites began to explore the nasty streak in gamer culture at the root of the hatred directed at women like Sarkeesian and Quinn. Some suggested the conventional notion of an exclusively male "gamer" demographic was obsolete now that video games had gone mainstream, and argued that major publishers should stop catering to that niche market. These editorials are known amongst Gamergaters as the "Gamers Are Dead" articles, despite that phrase never being used. The newly-named Gamergate mob reacted in a way that would become their signature response: complete outrage. They accused the writers of perpetuating harmful stereotypes of gamers as misogynistic white males (despite the articles doing the exact opposite), and, because the articles came out within a relatively short period of time, accused the writers of collusion, showing their profound ignorance of basic journalistic concepts such as the news cycle.
Vlogger John "TotalBiscuit" Bain accused the authors of othering gamers and fostering division instead of dialogue. His extensive online following (250,000 Twitter followers at the time) made him an early figurehead of the mob, though he waffles between supporting it and professing a "neutral" take. Gamergaters like to say that the hashtag formed in response to these editorials, although Baldwin coined the term a day before most of them came out.
Spite charities and TFYC
“”Gamers on 4chan are pouring time and energy into backing a project that sponsors female-created video games. Did they have a crisis of conscience? Not exactly. Their charitable efforts are part of a plan to spite Zoe Quinn, creator of the game Depression Quest. A portion of the users on /v/, 4chan’s video games forum (a place historically unfriendly to women and especially to feminists), have long disliked Quinn, a self-proclaimed feminist, for reasons that aren’t especially clear but feel suspiciously like good old-fashioned misogyny.
|—Allegra Ringo, VICE|
Early on, Gators attempted to deflect criticism of their behavior by partaking in indulgences, namely by supporting charities that combat the very problems they were causing. Men who were telling women on the Internet to kill themselves began to support women's rights organizations, anti-bullying movements, and suicide hotlines.
The organization that wound up profiting most from Gators' ironic and misguided generosity was a group called The Fine Young Capitalists, particularly after their spokesman Matthew Rappard brought to light their previous beef with Zoe Quinn. He went to Reddit's /r/TumblrInAction (from which Gamergate's hangout /r/KotakuInAction budded off like a toxic mold) and accused Quinn of doxxing him, crashing TFYC's website, and ruining their "women in game design" competition, while slinging mud at a similar project Quinn had been planning. But what actually happened was that Quinn had contacted the group and accused them of exploiting inexperienced game designers by making them work for free, and argued that their original rule regarding transgender participants was inherently transphobic. The conversation she had with a friend and some followers over Twitter unintentionally created an influx of traffic to TFYC's website, causing it to crash; a quip she made regarding the crash led to accusations that she had organized a denial-of-service attack against TFYC. Of course, long before Gamergate was a thing, Quinn and TFYC had patched things up, but TFYC saw dollar signs when they learned of Gamergate and exploited their prior conversations with Quinn to plead for financial assistance from the growing mob.
4chan's /pol/ board came across Rappard's posts and organized a donation campaign to spite Quinn, intending to invert 4chan stereotypes by superficially supporting what they considered an "SJW" cause. The group collectively raised over $5,000 for TFYC's project in a short time frame; Gamergate's estimate of total donations to TFYC is at over $70k. Afterlife Empire, the game funded by the campaign and the person who pitched it, was released a year after the Gamergate/TFYC relationship began (and almost in time to coincide with Gamergate's first birthday). Reception of the game is non-existent outside of Gamergate circles, and even they don't all particularly find it worthwhile. Websites analyzing Steam data show that the number of people who own copies of the game is the same as the number of people who crowdfunded it.
Gamergate also constantly cites TFYC as a "feminist charity" to counter accusations of misogyny, when it is neither feminist nor a charity. The organization is a crowdfunding front for Colombian VFX studio Autobótika; the staff list of both groups is identical, except TFYC omits all of the men who work for Autobótika, such as Rappard who is Autobótika's executive producer. Very ethical of them.
Because 4chan had helped TFYC reach a crowdfunding goal, the group granted them the right to choose a charity that would receive proceeds from the winning game's sales. They ultimately settled on a colon cancer research group as a sly reference to the 4chan slang "butthurt", as well as the name "Operation Chemo", which they chose for the donation campaign, itself a reference to the chan slang "cancer", which refers to anything perceived as endangering chan culture. They were also given the opportunity to create a character that would be included in the finished product. Posters decided they should avoid being predictably offensive or misogynistic — out of spite — which led to the creation of Vivian James (so named to sound like "video games"), "an average female gamer" in a green-and-purple striped shirt with the 4chan clover logo on her headband, who cares not for social change but only for good video games.
Vivian James is often deployed as Gamergate's mascot and is used in friend arguments, as if the use of a fictional female character as a mascot rebuts accusations of misogyny. Also, because Vivian James was created on 4chan, pornography of her was made almost immediately (and included in the files sent to TFYC).
Many were quick to point out that Vivian James's color scheme referenced the old 4chan meme "Daily Dose", which originated as a homophobic rape joke, and even noted that people alluded to the meme during the character's creation. However, Gamergaters deny the connection and TFYC denies it is an issue.
In the wake of the "Gamers Are Dead" editorials and others that accused those who used the #Gamergate hashtag of driving women and other marginalized voices out of the gaming industry, Gamergate responded with the creation of the #NotYourShield hashtag. They argued that the gaming media was using women, people of color, and the LGBT community as shields from criticism that they were corrupt (in whatever way Gamergate thought at the time). Posters using this hashtag were ostensibly people from outside the straight white male gamer demographic, and they sought to contradict the assertions that Gamergate was in fact a reactionary hate mob made up of only straight white men.
This was all blown out of the water when Zoe Quinn revealed she had been monitoring Gamergate's gathering places for the past several weeks. She released chat logs from the #BurgersAndFries IRC revealing that Gamergate was in fact a coordinated attack directed at herself, Anita Sarkeesian, and anyone else viewed as "social justice warriors" and not at all the "grassroots movement" it claimed to be. The chat logs also exposed #NotYourShield as an astroturfing campaign involving Gamergaters creating sockpuppet Twitter accounts that used photos grabbed from random corners of the Internet as avatars.
#NotYourShield was the latest in a long line of /pol/-organized false flag campaigns to attack feminism, which included "Operation Bikini Bridge", "Operation Freebleeding", and "#EndFathersDay"; the same people even participated in the "#BaltimoreLootCrew" and "#FergusonLootCrew" hoaxes to attack the Black Lives Matter movement. However, the tactic seemed to actually gather the real people it was intended to represent, with #NotYourShield becoming both a dictionary definition of tokenism and a new source for friend arguments for Gamergaters.
Pile on the threats
Gamergate was never satisfied with just attacking Quinn and Sarkeesian, and their attacks soon spread to anyone who came out against them. Jenn Frank, a freelance video game journalist, was chased out of the industry after editors at The Guardian cut out a disclosure concerning her meager financial support of Quinn through Patreon, which she put in her article criticizing Gamergate. She was joined by game designer Mattie Brice around the same time.
Gamergate made a target out of game developer and indie game studio owner Brianna Wu after she posted memes critical of Gamergate that were sent to her by a fan. This resulted in almost immediate death threats that led her to flee from her home. She was stalked by Gamergate figureheads Nick "PressFart2Continue" Monroe[Note 1] and Ethan Ralph, who hosted Monroe's content doxxing Wu and her entire immediate family on his website The Ralph Retort.
Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak at Utah State University until several anonymous threats were made to the school claiming affiliation with Gamergate and alluding to the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, in which the murderer stated his goal was to kill women for being feminists. Sarkeesian cancelled the talk because while USU did not consider the threats credible, they refused to honor her request for increased security and checking audience members for concealed firearms under Utah's state gun control laws. Gamergaters claimed this as a victory while simultaneously denying culpability.
Actress and geek icon Felicia Day wrote a blog post explaining her fears of speaking out against Gamergate, only for someone to prove her right by posting her address in the comments within an hour of the post going up. This highlighted a disparity in how Gamergate reacted, as former NFL player Chris Kluwe published a much harsher blog post around the same time but wasn't victimized for it.
Gamergaters also focused their hatred on feminist academics in what would be a pattern of anti-intellectualism. They flooded sociology student Jennifer Allaway's game development survey with misogynistic messages and began to claim the Digital Games Research Association was somehow trying to push a feminist agenda in their academic research of video games, alleging the group was somehow involved with DARPA (due to a prior collaboration) while attempting to dig up their tax records.
Gamergaters also congratulated themselves when a social scientist and a video game archivist both posted to Reddit, saying Gamergate had ruined any chance at video games being taken seriously by academia, again. And they attacked any tech conference that made the mistake of tweeting the word "Gamergate" without complete and utter praise.
The 4chan Exodus
4chan's moderation team, led by owner Christopher "moot" Poole, clamped down on Gamergate activity on the site fairly early on.[Note 2] In September 2014, they began to enforce 4chan's sitewide rules against organizing doxxing and raiding, as moot later laid out in a public post on the forums. Gamergaters starting accusing him of "censorship", only for him to point out that there was never any "right to free speech" on 4chan. They still cried foul while also accusing him of allying with "SJWs" (under the conspiratorial assumption that he was dating someone who once worked for the company that owns Kotaku).
The perpetual insufferability of Gamergate even aided in driving Poole to step down as chief of 4chan. Poole cited how the movement's leaders had tried to use the site to reveal personal data about its enemies and, in some cases, even tried to launch attacks on those they disagreed with, all in clear violation of 4chan's policies. During this time, which Poole would later describe as "the most stressful week of his life", Gamergaters were calling him a "soulless informant", saying he "doesn't give a shit" and that he "hasn't cared about 4chan for years now", which is odd considering that if he really didn't care about 4chan, he wouldn't have been trying to enforce its rules. Well, anything you can think to say to dismiss anyone who disagrees with you, I guess.
Thus, the Gamergaters decided to move en masse to 8chan, a website set up the previous year by Fredrick "Hotwheels" Brennan[Note 3] that promised even less stringent rules than on 4chan (namely no rules other than the U.S. Constitution to imply "freedom of speech"). Gamergate went through several different boards on 8chan, as anyone could make a board and there was inevitable infighting and drama as each board was founded and abandoned for another.
The board "/baphomet/" was also founded on 8chan around the same time as Gamergate's migration, intending to revive old practices of raiding and doxxing that were forbidden on 4chan. It's not coincidental that so many of Gamergate's victims ended up being posted about on "baph". However, a bigger problem facing 8chan is the fact that the "no rules" line was simply a form of advertising to all the pedophiles that hated how they couldn't post child porn on 4chan.
The red pill rabbit hole
As Gamergate's actions began to spread beyond video gaming and even technology media into more mainstream publications, their obvious reactionary streak, dubbed as part of the "Redpill Right", was detected by every single reactionary conservative under the sun (and some libertarians).
- Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute waltzed into the discussion of Gamergate to employ her usual contrarian anti-feminism, becoming Gamergate's "Based Mom".
- Cathy Young at Reason joined in to spout her usual anti-feminist and anti-progressive anti-"authoritarian" stance.
- Jack Thompson was even courted by Gamergaters, despite the fact he was someone who explicitly stated he wanted to ban video games, simply because they found out he doesn't like Anita Sarkeesian either. Strange bedfellows, indeed (if you'll forgive the image we just left you with).
- Theodore Beale (Vox Day) threw in with Gamergate as an anti-feminist, and even alluded to it being part of the "culture war".
- Pick-up artist Roosh V used Gamergate to launch gaming website Reaxxion (not even trying to hide the reactionary bent) to host Gamergate's propaganda. It closed after barely a year, but not before someone trolled them into posting a John Birch Society screed altered solely by replacing every mention of "John Birch Society" and "communist" with "Gamergate" and "SJW", respectively.
- Davis Aurini, who already had an axe to grind with Sarkeesian, announced he was working with Jordan Owen to fund a documentary "critiquing" her, all for the low monthly payment of $15 thousand. Aurini also propagated the myth that Sarkeesian lied about contacting the police about the threats she received, only for it to come to light that her case was being handled by the FBI.
- Phil "thunderf00t" Mason came out in support of Gamergate, mostly because of his existing hatred for Sarkeesian and feminism.
- Carl "Sargon of Akkad" Benjamin was an early figurehead who self-declares as liberal (when he instead is pretty much a textbook definition libertarian) followed in Mason's footsteps of becoming a full-time idiot on YouTube.
- Mason and Benjamin have inspired other imitators to get in on the lucrative market, but right-wingers apparently don't have enough money to pay every asshole with a webcam to yell at women on the inter tubes every month so some people don't get to quit their day job the way Mason could and how Benjamin has.
- A Voice for Men's resident feMRAs Janet "JudgyBitch" Bloomfield and Karen "GirlWritesWhat" Straughan threw their support behind Gamergate. Straughan became one of Gamergate's biggest heroines when she and other members of AVFM's Honey Badger Radio, or rather the "Honey Badger Brigade", were kicked out of a comic book convention for disrupting feminist panels and hawking Gamergate propaganda posters.
Gamergate's biggest support would come from Breitbart London contributor, failed blogger, MRA, and professional reactionary agent provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Despite having bemoaned the existence of "sex, drugs and violence" in video games the year before, blaming video games for Elliot Rodger's genocidal fantasies the day before Eron Gjoni published "The Zoe Post", and calling adult video game players immature barely a day before he recognized the reactionary mob open for the taking, Yiannopoulos had a change of heart and quickly put out the article "Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart" to feed Gamergate's persecution complex. People outside Gamergate saw through this ruse practically instantly, but all Gamergaters saw was vindication from a so-called "journalist" whom they also believed to be untouchable by "SJWs" because he is openly gay, despite being just as homophobic and transphobic as any straight reactionary pundit.
Yiannopoulos only allied with Gamergate because he hates the left, and particularly feminists. To that end, he's been the mouthpiece for Gamergate to air their conspiracy theories to the rest of the conservative public. His biggest contribution has been publishing the leak of the GameJournoPros mailing list, cementing Gamergaters' belief that the gaming websites that refused to cover "The Zoe Post" were part of a media conspiracy against them, all because some emails discussed the attacks on Zoe Quinn and how they should or should not respond.
Other "articles" Yiannopoulos "wrote" (aka crowdsourcing and copy/pasting from Gamergate meeting places like 8chan and Kotakuinaction due to his very limited knowledge of video games and tech in general) are hit pieces against many people opposed to Gamergate, who are of course almost exclusively women. Of note is how he's had to get the blog posts (calling them articles is insulting to actual journalism) vetted by Breitbart's legal team, often taking days' worth of neutering to get rid of all of the slanderous and baseless accusations Gamergaters have made about their critics. The only shocking part about this is that Breitbart actually has a legal team worried about slander.[Note 4] His efforts to lionize Gamergate earned him a place as head editor of Breitbart.com's tech section, where he will surely uphold Breitbart's sterling reputation for journalistic integrity.
With no one really buying their garbage, Gamergaters decided to employ a boycott of websites that they felt didn't meet their ethical standards (translation: websites that had called Gamergate out for what it was). An early attempt at this was to use an archival service that stripped ads from the saved pages, hoping it would undermine their advertising revenue. When this proved ineffective, Gamergaters switched to contacting advertisers directly in what was dubbed "Operation Disrespectful Nod",[Note 5] beginning their practice of email campaigning. The intent behind these efforts was to try and punish sites that had portrayed them in a negative light. Encouraging advertisers to attempt to influence content goes against their nominal goal of promoting better journalistic ethics, an irony that (of course) was lost on them.
Jeff Gerstmann's firing from GameSpot for giving too low of a score to a video game that was heavily advertised on the site is one of the more infamous examples in gaming journalism; Gamergate even cited this as one of the examples of unethical journalism they wish to combat.[Note 6] Gamergate gained some traction when Intel responded to their email campaign and pulled ads from the game developer-oriented website Gamasutra where Leigh Alexander had written one of the so-called "Gamers Are Dead" editorials. Intel was criticized for its decision, and they released an apology, but did not reinstate advertising on the website until a month later.
This tactic was also employed against Gawker (owners of Kotaku) after one of their contributors tweeted a joke saying Gamergate proved nerds should be bullied. This spawned "Operation Baby Seal" (somehow different from Operation Disrespectful Nod) where they directly pressured companies that advertised on Gawker Media with the claim that the site was promoting "bullying and hate speech". Mercedes-Benz USA, Adobe, word processor developer Literature & Latte, and even high-end vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson were all contacted during this time, leading to temporary withdrawals and speedy reinstatements of advertising campaigns across Gawker Media as well as universal disdain of Gamergate.
After so many gaming and tech websites were declared "biased" and "unethical" by Gamergate, some within the movement decided to open up their own websites to meet Gamergate's "ethical" needs, like Niche Gamer and BasedGamer (which cost US$50K and ended up being a user-submitted review site). Some existing but extremely small websites also decided to become "ethical" in Gamergate's eyes, such as TechRaptor, who were quick to host content supporting and enabling attacks on Zoe Quinn. They even hosted an article listing her family's home address and phone number. Quinn described their bias as such: "the articles are presented as fact but written with such an extreme slant, the italics have leaned so far they have fallen over and become underscores."
The Escapist was the largest of the existing gaming websites that began to cater to Gamergate. Their forums hosting threads organizing harassment against Quinn were even a point of contention in the GameJournoPros emails. The site haphazardly handled asking developers for their opinions on Gamergate (by having an open casting call on 4chan), having an article titled "Female Game Developers Share Their Views on #GamerGate" where every woman remained anonymous and then simply "What Game Developers Think of #GamerGate", a group in which many agreed to be named owing to the fact they were men; this fact was omitted from the article's title until many people pointed out this discrepancy. However, two of these interviews were taken down due to their subjects' heavy participation in Gamergate. Slade "RogueStar" Villena (who hadn't released a video game until 2 years later) was a member of the #BurgersAndFries chatroom, where he was quoted as saying, "NONE of this would have happened if [Zoe Quinn] kept her vagina shut." He also expressed a desire to falsely report Sarkeesian to the IRS.
James "Grimachu" Desborough (who is a tabletop game designer and not a video game developer) participated in harassment on Twitter, which included fighting one woman's Markov bot Twitter account. Desborough's primary infamy comes from praising rape as a storytelling element, pushing MRA ideals, and publishing games that feature rape as a game mechanic as well as a game to explicitly mock "SJWs". His most recent venture was a Gamergate-themed card game that was pulled from online sale for its insensitivity.
Supporters insist that these sites were and are still ethical, even when their behavior proves otherwise. It was later revealed Alexander "Archon" Macris, who works for The Escapist's owners Defy Media, went over the heads of the site's editorial staff to publish the interviews, and then instituted a corporate ban on discussing Gamergate in any future articles. Macris also failed to disclose a conflict of interest he had concerning financial support of Desborough's planned Gorean roleplaying book.
The website proceeded to lose most of its staff throughout the following months, either because they left in disgust, or because of layoffs. The budgetary concerns didn't seem to matter to Macris, who put himself in charge of the website and hired a bunch of Gamergaters or Gamergate "neutrals" (translation: closet Gamergaters). A former Gamergater would later release chat logs of a discussion she had with Macris in which he revealed to her that he intended to use his position to push a pro-Gamergate agenda (and a general reactionary agenda) at The Escapist and other Defy Media websites. Later accusations from former staff also accused Macris of forcing the upkeep of a pedophile group under the guise of free speech.
Eventually, the site only had Zero Punctuation left, and at some point all other staff outside of Yahtzee and their streaming manager got laid off. In 2018 the site was purchased and subsequently relaunched by Enthusiast Gaming, the owner of gaming blog Destructoid, who had purchased the site and brouht back the original Editor-in-chief, Russ Pitts as well as rehiring some of it's older content creators such as MovieBob. Pitts took a voluntary absence in 2019 after publishing a controversial article about Gamergate, leaving Nick Calandra, the managing director of video in charge. The site since has dumped it's old data under a different domain and shifted in focus to producing more original video content (hiring Jack Packard from RedLetterMedia amongst others). MovieBob eventually had his contract not renewed, but this time was allowed to keep the rights to his shows, something which had not happened to him when he got sacked during the Gamergate era.
Niche Gamer was accused of violating their own code of ethics when they received financial assistance to attend PAX East 2016 from RogueStar after they reviewed his
vaporware game FleetComm. This was quietly swept under the rug with a sudden change to their ethics policy.
Early on, Gamergate was able to create somewhat of a positive image of itself, even selling their persecution complex as real. They peddled a belief in an equal and opposite "anti-Gamergate" movement, using nutpicking and out of context statements to claim the hatred went both ways. Soon, (what Gamergate considered) neutral parties began to affirm the group's balance fallacy by trying to set up debates between "Gamergaters" and "anti-Gamergaters". Quinn responded to these by saying, "Someone punching you in the face isn't a dialog, and it's not something you should be called upon to prove yourself undeserving of...I appreciate the noble intention of attempting to build a bridge, but maybe consider why some of us have been forced to live behind a moat."
If anything, the desire for "debate" within Gamergate comes from its 4chan origins, where people aren't allowed to have civil discussions or anything that is not a debate. This also gave birth to the concept of "sealioning", a new form of JAQing off wherein a third party (the "sea lion" as originally represented in webcomic Wondermark) inserts themselves into a discussion to filibuster for the sole purpose of harassment. Gamergaters even formed a whole campaign out of this known as "Operation Volcano", where they repeat their bullshit talking points for the sake of getting them out there.
The first to humor Gamergate's insistence on "balance" was David Pakman, a former affiliate of The Young Turks. After interviewing Brianna Wu with several leading questions she found offensive, Pakman then interviewed several Gamergate figureheads, without even trying to debunk anything they said, unlike with many other blatantly conservative nutjobs he interviews. Needless to say, other targets and critics of Gamergate were unenthusiastic about the show. Jeopardy! champion Arthur Chu came on to criticize Pakman for using Twitter to crowdsource questions for his prior interview with Wu (as well his own), and trying to publicly invite Quinn on for an interview. Chris Kluwe also spoke to Pakman, telling him off for the way he titled his Gamergate videos and pointing out Gamergate's various failures that Pakman never addressed.
HuffPost Live came next, hosting a panel featuring Wu, Forbes contributor Erik Kain who had been giving Gamergate "neutral" coverage, and Fredrick Brennan. While on the panel, Brennan denied 8chan was providing a platform for harassment, saying it operated, "well within the confines of the law," but admitting he did not retain user data in the case of violations. Quinn later revealed that she had been invited on the show, but had backed out upon discovering it was a debate rather than a one-on-one interview. HuffPost Live hadn't told her this, and she was apprehensive about being face to face with one of her possible harassers, only becoming aware of Brennan's participation when he taunted her over Twitter. Frankly, she probably dodged a bullet on that one.
“”And let us acknowledge for a moment the awful irony that, after decades of defending video games from accusations that they inspire school shootings, we now have a threatened school shooting explicitly inspired by games culture.
Gamergate's chance to ever be treated seriously by anyone outside their little reactionary circle was lost after the threat against Anita Sarkeesian's talk at USU. The hashtag "#StopGamerGate2014" was created in response and it soon became a trending topic worldwide. The Entertainment Software Association released a statement declaring, "There is no place in the video game community—or our society—for personal attacks and threats." The New York Times ran a front-page article on October 16 headlined "Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats," followed by an op-ed from Sarkeesian. Newsweek ran analysis of Gamergate's actions on Twitter, proving they had directed substantially more tweets at feminist critics than they had at game journalists.
Towards the end of October 2014, Gamergate attempted to regain favor with the media and the public by holding an 8chan Gamergate meetup in a strip club and inviting New York magazine along to document it, figuring this would reassure people of their good attitude toward women. However, their public relations death knell rang days later when Sarkeesian was given a 10-minute segment on The Colbert Report talking about Gamergate and the surrounding issues, which concluded with Sarkeesian declaring Colbert's character a feminist. Gamergaters were not pleased.
Gamergate vs. Wikipedia
Gamergaters made attempts to skew Wikipedia articles in their favor, but met with opposition for violating several guidelines and policies. When they didn't get their way, they made an appeal to the highest authority on Wikipedia: the one and only God-King Jimmy Wales. He challenged them to try to make their own version of the Gamergate article on a Gamergate-"sanctioned" Wikia which he would assess later.[Note 7]
Things worked out for a while, until a page on the Gamergate Wikia that housed blackmail on Wikipedia editors critical of Gamergate was deleted by Wikia staff for harassment. While the work on Wikia was moved to a different wiki (since taken down by a hacker), Gamergate sent more emails to Wales, threatening to withhold future donations to the WMF. Wales responded by laying the smack down on them. Gamergate also got involved in a dispute over the Wikipedia article on "Cultural Marxism", a favorite bugbear amongst the neo-reactionaries and MRAs who co-opted Gamergate, leading Jimbo to overturn a community decision based on these complaints.
Through sheer persistence, Gamergate got part of its way on Wikipedia after a third appeal to the ArbCom, whose early draft of the final decision came down heavily on the established editors opposing the Gamergaters. The decision was condemned by the media, as it boiled down to a tone argument without any consideration for the abuse received by the editors on- and off-site, resulting in all but one being banned in some manner.
The increased media exposure of the Gamergate arbitration case only highlighted the fact that the ArbCom's powers are limited to enforcing community policies and guidelines regarding user conduct, rather than determining who was right or wrong in a certain dispute, and laying a path for future attempts at gaming the system. Some meager community sanctions were put in place to make things harder for Gamergaters to get their way, but only months later.
To this day, Gamergaters on Wikipedia who escaped punishment repeatedly try to shoehorn in their version of events onto the page, couched in Wikipedia-friendly terms, while repeating the same tired arguments implying that there are two sides to the discussion, that there was a mass media conspiracy to make sure Gamergate was only known for harassment, or arguing that online harassment directed at Quinn, Sarkeesian, et al., cannot be explicitly tied to Gamergate.
Fighting harassment on Twitter
With Twitter being the biggest venue for Gamergate's actions, their presence on the website higlighted how bad its abuse reporting infrastructure was. Many had to turn to external third-party software to accomplish anything. Randi Harper developed the "Good Game Auto Blocker" (GGAB) to deal with how Gamergate consistently fucked everything up in their path. She exploited the fact Gamergaters congregated around certain big names in the group after they all took part in the #OpSkyNet hashtag to follow each other on Twitter; luckily for everyone else, Gamergate didn't become self-aware when picking this name, and the rise of the machines has been prevented.
GGAB predictably came under fire from Gamergaters who felt their free speech was being infringed, as if freedom of speech also meant being guaranteed an audience to listen. Some of them even harassed Harper over her use of the term "blacklist" in a file name in the script's coding. GGAB's brief endorsement by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) resulted in some complaints about collateral damage when IGDA Puerto Rico's chairman Roberto Rosario found he was blocked by the tool; KFC was too, but the Colonel's camp remains silent on ethics in video game journalism.
Harper responded to the criticism by saying that the tool was intentionally casting a wide net and that she had up an appeals team to weed out false positives. Rosario wasn't a false positive, as he followed nearly every person in GGAB's source list, and even appealed to Gamergate when he found out he was on the list; other game developers who found out they were blocked followed suit, always finding their way to /r/KotakuInAction to complain about being "blacklisted by the SJWs". GGAB is an issue for Gamergaters because being loud and obnoxious is their only real skill and it is the only way that they can achieve anything. Being preemptively blocked will make them useless.
As criticism of Twitter's report system mounted, the company teamed up with the feminist group Women, Action, and the Media (WAM!) to create a process where people could choose to send WAM! report tickets to vet them for Twitter's support team. Despite criticism from Gamergaters, the project went through its full trial period, and then WAM! announced they would analyze the data in order to improve Twitter's service. WAM!'s findings showed that a quarter of the reports they received involved hate speech and another quarter involved doxxing, but Twitter only responded to 35% of the doxxing cases while they responded to 60% of the hate speech cases. They also compared their data with GGAB, showing that 12% of their reports involved Gamergate harassers. Gamergaters tried to spin the results in their favor, arguing the 12% of WAM!'s data only amounted to 0.66% of GGAB, and therefore only 0.66% of Gamergate is responsible for harassment.
Their math is technically right, but they've applied it entirely wrong. Gamergate comprises approximately 0.004% of all Twitter users, and the fact that they made up 12% of an optional survey means they're disproportionately responsible for harassment on Twitter even if they falsely insist that only 0.66% of them are responsible for harassment (it's ridiculous to think that WAM! would have received every Gamergate-related report or every Gamergater who has harassed would be reported in a single 2-week period).
Twitter attempted to handle problems with their service on their own, admitting that Gamergate was an example of how their abuse report system was a failure. They tried a new reporting tool, using an alligator in their tutorial video, an allusion not lost on observers.[Note 8] However, many reported that the updated tool, or at least the review team, was ineffective. Twitter also announced that they would begin retaining phone numbers of people whose accounts had been suspended multiple times to prevent further abuse and ban evasion and they later introduced a built-in shareable blocklist option.
Gamergate gathered support from sex workers' rights activists by playing on the misconception that Sarkeesian is a SWERF for having used the term "prostituted women" when referring to sex worker characters in video games like GTA. At least this was the justification that camgirl "Princess Kora" gave when she began doing impersonations of Sarkeesian before masturbating. Although she insisted that what she was doing was satire, many saw her act as a form of revenge porn, as Sarkeesian was being sexualized without her consent. Princess Kora didn't have the foresight to realize Gamergate is a statistically insignificant part of the porn consuming population, and stopped doing these shows after she didn't make as much as she had hoped.
More "prestigious" porn stars also hopped on the Gamergate train; Mercedes Carrera agreed to do a camshow for them with the proceeds going to charity. Someone contacted AbleGamers, an organization that improves accessibility to video games, if they would be interested, and AbleGamers agreed, until they stumbled upon the /r/KotakuInAction thread of Gamergaters patting each other on the back that they "weaponized porn" against the "SJWs". AbleGamers backed out of the stream, and their website was taken down in a DDoS attack in what is of course a coincidence and not at all unbridled Gamergate saltiness.
Carrera instead partnered with Gamergate favorites TFYC to form "The Porn Charity".[Note 9] Carrera later proved how tactless she was by using another porn star's rape as a political weapon for Gamergate, as she announced she would do a stream to help the other woman out, but also attacked Sarkeesian and Wu for being "professional victims" because her colleague was physically assaulted while they were only repeatedly threatened with physical assault for months on end.
Meanwhile, one "Valeria O." began selling a thinly-veiled, Gamergate-themed corrective rape story through Amazon Kindle featuring a caricature of Zoe Quinn, which is about as tasteless as things can get. It was only taken down after one of the people who reported on it brought it up to Amazon. Later, "Valeria O." somehow found /r/KotakuInAction and claimed zero involvement in Gamergate. Gamergate sure likes to buy bridges in New York.
Intel commits to greater diversity
At the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, Intel announced that they were budgeting US$300 million to counter the lack of gender and racial diversity within their company and the tech/gaming industries as a whole. Anita Sarkeesian's Feminist Frequency was included in the keynote as one of many organizations to help shape Intel's diversity program; others included the IGDA, Rainbow PUSH, and the National Center for Women in Technology. Wired UK noted that Sarkeesian's involvement with the new initiative is "the clearest indicator that Gamergate has prompted the push for greater diversity."
Gamergaters predictably responded by going after the #CES2015 hashtag. Aside from the usual graphic images that they flood hashtags with, they decided to brand Sarkeesian and her collaborator Jonathan McIntosh as anti-Semites after digging up a three-year-old tweet where McIntosh criticized the Israeli government for its construction of the West Bank wall. This was particularly rich because Gamergate and its progenitors had for years made anti-Semitic attacks on Sarkeesian (who is Armenian, not Jewish), even depicting her in the style of a neo-Nazi caricature that was widely popular on 4chan's /pol/.
They also began circulating an insensitive statement Sarkeesian allegedly made about the state of feminism in Japan after World War II, accompanied by photo of a mushroom cloud. The alleged quote was sourced from a single blog entry by someone who became a Gamergater in the years after the post was made, and no one could find any other corroborating evidence that Sarkeesian ever said anything to back up the post's claims.[Note 10]
After Intel's conference at CES, TotalBiscuit's wife and general brand manager Genna Bain announced she was selling off her shares in Intel due to the "lack of diversity" in her stock portfolio. When this display was met with criticism, TotalBiscuit came to his wife's defense,[Note 11] accusing critics of "trying to infantalise [his] wife over her financial decision" and being "wonderfully sexist."
The SJW Illuminati rises
Zoe Quinn wrote about her experiences at Gamergaters' hands, addressing her problems in dealing with law enforcement and the legal system in the Internet age, and her advocacy concerning the /baphomet/ board. Soon after, she and Alex Lifschitz announced the start of the Crash Override Network, a support and advocacy group for and made by people who have been victims of online harassment. Almost immediately after this announcement, Gamergaters bombarded their group's Twitter account, demanding "proof" they had helped anyone and decrying the project as a scam (even though they run it all out of pocket) or a false flag operation.
The 8chan-based contingent of Gamergaters sought to disrupt the group through false reports. Twitter later officially recognized Crash Override as a resource for preventing abuse and harassment on their platform; Gamergaters responded predictably. At the 2015 Game Developers Conference, Quinn announced that Crash Override Network had partnered with Randi Harper's non-profit the Online Abuse Prevention Initiative. Brianna Wu also got the support of her representative, Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), who began discussions with the FBI about prosecuting people who issue online threats. Rep. Clark held a congressional briefing about online abuse where Quinn addressed other members of Congress. Rep. Clark ultimately received backing from the House to get the Department of Justice to actually begin prosecuting criminal threats made over the Internet.
Further media "triumph"
Tech industry analyst Joost van Dreunen identified Gamergate as one of many disruptive changes in gaming for 2015 that would lead the video game industry to take women more seriously and increase the visibility of women in the industry in leadership roles; just what Gamergate wanted. Gamergate was also the focus of a segment on ABC's Nightline on January 14, 2015, with anchor Juju Chang interviewing both Sarkeesian and Wu about the harassment they have suffered. Chang herself had to fight off Gamergaters on Twitter the following day. Wu also had half of an episode of Syfy's The Internet Ruined My Life dedicated to telling her story.
NBC crime drama Law & Order: SVU broadcast an episode on February 11, 2015, titled "Intimidation Game", using Gamergate for inspiration. It featured a woman game developer being the victim of online harassment. Anyone expecting tact was sorely disappointed when the episode ended with the victim surviving a rape only to quit game development. Gamergate celebrated for a bit, until they realized how badly "gamers" were depicted. This brought disgraced game developer (if he can even be called one) Mark Kern to Gamergate's side when he decided to blame Kotaku and Polygon for the Law & Order episode, because they were somehow to blame for Gamergate being a bunch of shitheads. Many were quick to call out the hypocrisy of Kern's petition, which only brought to light how Gamergate had devolved into the personal army of whoever managed to convince them to join their cause.
Even more "neutrality"
Gamergate caught the eye of Michael Koretzky, a regional director for the Society of Professional Journalists, after they attacked the 2015 #SPJEthicsWeek hashtag on Twitter. Koretzky fell hook, line, and sinker for Gamergate's claims about "ethics in video game journalism", which made him their newest hero. He planned a panel called "AirPlay" to take place concurrent with an SPJ Florida conference, ironically scheduled on the first anniversary of "The Zoe Post". Despite no one critical of Gamergate agreeing to participate, one of the planned panelists quitting after being denied an hour to talk about Gamergate, and the "neutral" voice getting exposed as someone who tried to use Gamergate for his own personal cause, the event was still held. Only two people on the panel had any experience in the video game industry.
The first half of the panel barely got through what they considered unethical practices (all of them were either older than Gamergate or related to Quinn in some way), and the second panel was used by Milo Yiannopoulos, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Cathy Young to expound upon their hatred of progressives instead of talking about what the video game press should have done with regards to Gamergate. This was cut about half an hour short by a bomb threat that forced the venue to be evacuated. Also, the guy who quit was hanging out around the area and joined in on the panel after all.
A second set of panel-style interviews/debates took place on HuffPost Live in 2015 to serve as a "retrospective" on Gamergate. The first and third days only featured people critical of Gamergate, and actually had constructive discussions, specifically regarding media coverage of the movement and misogyny coming from Gamergate. The second and fourth days almost exclusively featured Gamergaters and "neutrals", who parroted Gamergate's talking points to the audience regarding what constituted "ethics in video game journalism" and media coverage of Gamergate. The second day's only saving grace was Jesse Singal, who had written critically of Gamergate, calling out the other panelists for denying Gamergate's hate for progressive voices, and the fourth day had the moderator calling out one of the panelists for trying to weasel his way out of answering one of her questions.
In August 2015, the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival began the public voting portion of their 2016 panel lineup. Both Brianna Wu and Randi Harper proposed separate panels to discuss preventing harassment online. Unfortunately for them, SXSW had just instituted a downvoting option on the panel voting process. Gamergaters began exploiting this immediately, brigading their panels and even going after another panel about VR technology simply because Wu was involved with it. At the same time, Gamergaters on /r/KotakuInAction planned their own panel to submit to the conference to pretend to be legitimate, despite the organizer already hosting a Gamergate meetup earlier that year. They nominated people to represent them with a false front called "The Open Gaming Society". Concerned parties notified SXSW of the turn of events, who assured them that such a late submission was not likely to pass, and it wasn't added to the panel voting pages.
By late October, panels for the 2016 SXSW were announced. Wu's VR panel made it, but the anti-harassment panel didn't.[Note 12] Harper's anti-harassment panel was approved, but so was Gamergate's so-called "discussion on the gaming community". Questions over safety of hosting Gamergaters at the event[Note 13] were raised, only to be met with a boilerplate response. A few days later, SXSW announced that the Gamergater panel as well as Harper's anti-harassment panel were to be cancelled, because Harper's panel was receiving threats of violence.
Arthur Chu, who would have participated on Wu's anti-harassment panel, revealed he had spoken to someone on SXSW's panel advisory committee after discovering that Gamergate's panel had never even gone up for a vote. His contact said they had never even seen the proposal cross their desk, meaning that SXSW staff had approved it for the sake of having an "opposing voice", failing to recognize that the point of Gamergate is not debate, but to be the only ones allowed to speak.
After the criticism towards the cancellations, including threats from major tech media companies that they would not cover the festival, SXSW announced they would host an all-day online harassment summit and reinstated the panels. They also invited several other people to speak. Their blunder this time around was including the Gamergater panel as part of the summit, despite its description having nothing to do with online harassment. As a result, Harper, her co-panelists, and several others who had agreed to speak refused to participate in the event until SXSW realized how bad they fucked up.
By the time SXSW had ironed out all the kinks in their bungled plans, the panels went off without a hitch in March 2016, but only because everyone participating found themselves at the kiddie table of SXSW in a hotel a mile away from the main venue with no one but those who actually cared about online harassment attending. Gamergate's "we're a legitimate organization" panel was given the same treatment: set far away from the main event and no attendees other than those who wanted to see the shitshow, but even with this limited audience the panelists managed to show how completely out of touch they were with the rest of the world, just like Gamergate itself. It featured such luminary ideas as "Internet harassment is just sticks and stones", "Video game journalism is bad" (but not why and how to fix it), and "I don't rate video games".[Note 14]
Actual ethics in video game journalism
“”If you get punched in the face every time the doorbell rings, and in the evening someone knocks on your door to explain it's not really about the punching, you're going to have a hard time believing them.
|—Ben Kuchera, Polygon|
Gamergate's only defense against accusations of being a hate group is that they advocate for "ethics in video game journalism". After more than a year of parroting this line, they've done nothing to expose or condemn actual journalistic corruption. The most that they've done is made websites publicize their ethics policies and have rules for crowdfunding campaigns.
But that still doesn't change that their earliest claim of corruption in the industry was their since completely debunked accusations that Zoe Quinn traded sex for reviews. If they were actually about ethics, their focus wouldn't be on her, but on the people they accused her of sleeping with. If this ever happened (which it didn't) the blame should go on the writers, but there's no hate mob going after Nathan Grayson for the past 7 years. And of course, their next claim of corruption was their conspiracy theory as to why no one was repeating the accusations in "The Zoe Post" verbatim other than themselves.
However, all the websites that Gamergaters have deemed unethical covered actual issues of corruption.
- Kotaku was the first website to report on Jeff Gerstmann's termination for panning Kane & Lynch in 2007 and was the only source to follow up on and confirm the story. Gerstmann, by the way, is not supportive of Gamergate. Kotaku also broke the story that EA's Firemonkeys' studio had been hacked and that EA had attempted to cover it up.
- Gamasutra and Rock, Paper, Shotgun have written about pay-for-play deals by YouTubers.
- Nathan Grayson (for Kotaku) and Jim Sterling (while still at The Escapist) both denounced the stringent screenings and contracts Warner Bros. required for YouTube reviewers of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor before they even got a copy of the game.
- Gamergaters like to claim the Shadow of Mordor issue as one they were involved in, as TotalBiscuit allegedly broke the story, but only after Gamergaters were called out on their silence; also, if TB is "neutral" then that means what he does can't be claimed by Gamergate as one of their group actions.
- In a fusion, Jim Sterling wrote a scathing review of Assassin's Creed: Unity specifically over its monetization scheme for The Escapist (owned by Defy Media). When he was denied publication of it because of the advertising deal Ubisoft had with the company (gee, where did I hear this one before...), he was not so subtly shown the door.
Of course, once you cut through that bullshit, Gamergaters will finally concede that they think relationships between reviewers and publishers are somehow "corrupt". The writer should disclose this relationship or recuse themselves from covering the topic entirely. But this doesn't work with covering video games, because the only way people get information is from all the press releases the publishers like Nintendo, Konami, and Bungie pass on to the editors of IGN or GameSpot.
Gamergaters never had a problem with Nintendo Power or Electronic Gaming Monthly being massive advertisements for video games. Nor did Gamergaters bat an eye when EGM gave an outstanding 9/10 to the infamously bad Aliens: Colonial Marines, despite having been allowed to review the game earlier than other sites. But as soon as Eron Gjoni accused Zoe Quinn of having cheated on him with someone who writes for Kotaku, suddenly there's rampant "cronyism" and "nepotism" in video game journalism. No complaints of press releases being regurgitated as "leaks" and "breaking news".
The straw that broke the camel's back was a woman who made a free video game that made her the target of abuse by multiple Internet shitholes. And it's only indie games. Unless some guy writes something critical about PC gaming culture co-opting Nazi terminology, and then it's "uncovered" that his girlfriend works for a video game developer whose games he previously reviewed (and that's after days of digging to find some justification to hate him).
The other thing Gamergaters complain about is social criticism and "personal politics" entering game reviews. According to them, these reviews should be "objective". However, they fail to address how such a feat can be accomplished. A review by definition is going to be a reflection through the author's opinions. They also never seem to address politics they don't oppose, being fine with games like Hatred , which glorify the murder of normal civilians, yet still coming out in droves to be angry at video games featuring a transgender NPC or a black protagonist., which gives off the vibe that they would only like video games and video game journalism that unambiguously expresses a fascist viewpoint on every issue mankind has ever concieved. Besides, the publishers and developers are pushing on the issue as well by making games themed around them. It's hypocritical to demand press to some objective standard all the while not holding publishers and developers accountable for anything.
The reviews they criticize show that these websites recognize games are a form of art, instead of merely pieces of software to be reviewed against a Consumer Reports-style checklist, like you might with a word processor or web browser. Pointing out issues with race, gender, and sexuality in video games' stories should be just as important as highlighting game breaking bugs, terrible graphics, and subpar gameplay. And these issues should not be derided as "manufactured controversies".
When it comes to Gamergate's final complaint, there's no such thing as an "objective review" when it comes to video games, because everyone has their own personal biases and experiences that paint how they interact with a video game and what they get out of it. That, and "objectivity" in journalism doesn't mean "present both sides of a story equally" or "write completely devoid of emotion"; it means that the journalist should investigate the story to find out what the truth is, and call out bullshit for what it is. Kind of like how the world outside of Breitbart has covered Gamergate.
The only thing of note that has come out of Gamergate is to highlight the issue every commercial website has anyway: advertisers. Gamergate's email campaigns to major companies exploited the fact that most video gaming publications are funded by advertising, and that in the past there was indeed an issue of undue influence on advertisers on editorial content (Gerstmann, again). And their boycotts did cause some harm, but only on the smaller, independent websites they claimed to support in the first place.
Whenever a big company did react to Gamergate, it always reversed its position in favor of the people Gamergaters were attacking in the first place. Adobe, Mercedes-Benz, Intel, and every other 5-minute victory Gamergate claimed was lost soon after once someone was able to look up just what Gamergate was actually about and was horrified at what they've just supported.
Gamergate's crowning achievement was to publicize its most hated enemy and make the word "Gamergate" synonymous with misogyny and harassment. Whether they're defending child pornography on one of their meeting places or sending SWAT teams to their critics' homes, the homes of people who follow their critics on social media, or the homes of their critics' mothers, there doesn't appear to be anything Gamergate won't do. The reactionaries are all that are left at the core of Gamergate.
Most of the people who had a genuine interest in improving gaming journalism left a long time ago while the ones that remain are derided by the others as "ethics cucks" who aren't the real deal despite being the last vestige of a publicly presentable face for the group.
Gamergaters attempted to remain relevant in multiple ways, such as their joining Theodore Beale in pushing a slate of conservative and reactionary science fiction and fantasy authors at the 2015 Hugo Awards. However, they didn't account for George R. R. Martin, to call them out on their bullshit because when someone influential speaks out people tend to listen. Reaction from the video game industry itself has been more muted, as developers fear becoming a target of the Gamergate mob. They could in the past denounce harassment against their peers when the harassment lacked a unifying name, but Gamergate's coalescence into a single entity makes speaking out against them a problem for individual developers and the companies they work for. They also like to go into cons, disrupt them, and feign indignation at being kicked out.
And they still try to justify their hatred for Zoe Quinn, most recently by alleging she used a particular Something Awful board to harass Gamergate supporters when the board in question was shut down in 2009. They also saw fit to create "DeepFreeze", a practical blacklist of journalists who simply wrote things Gamergate decided they didn't like, and showing to the world that they know nothing about journalistic ethics. If there was a "List of Lists That Are Really Easy to Get Added To", the "Enemies of Gamergate" list would be toward the top. The list eventually had to be categorized by size, with many sections simply reading "ALL OF THEM."
The end of their relevance
“”Dudes still going on about Gamergate feel like those Japanese soldiers who never got the memo that World War II ended.
two three four five fucking years, Gamergate is at best a cult. When The New York Times, the BBC, the United States Congress, Google, Intel, the United Nations General Assembly, the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada, and pretty much everyone else in the world except Breitbart, Stormfront, Conservapedia, and Alex Jones have spoken out against them, that should lead to some introspection within Gamergate. Even Nintendo has called out the fuckers for what they are.
Some do begin to realize what has happened over the past year and how it is has impacted their lives, but others double down, and don their tinfoil hats to claim that Cultural Marxists have turned the world against them. To make things even worse for their image, Gamergate's most recent success story is harboring an actual domestic terrorist. Despite all this, they still refuse to acknowledge that most people realize what they are and that they, as a group, are seen as a joke: the video gaming industry, science writers, and most recently American anime distributors have all used Gamergate as a punchline.
And it is a joke. Gamergate, the so-called grassroots movement to end corruption in video game journalism, works hand in hand with unethical journalists (if they can even be called journalists). They cite the issue of advertisers pressuring journalists' content, while petitioning advertisers to remove support for writers that criticize Gamergate. They fight against a perceived blacklist in the industry, while maintaining their own blacklists and active boycotting campaigns. They deny their obsession with Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, while spending every waking moment attacking them. They insist video games are inclusive, while supporting elements of the gaming community that actively exclude women, people of color, and the LGBT community. They can't see their own hypocrisy after years of this bullshit. It's almost sad when people on the wrong side of history make complete and utter fools of themselves on a daily basis. It's just a shame they had to hurt so many people in the process.
- Nick Monroe's channel "PressFart2Continue" is so named because he stalked the YouTuber who hosts Press Heart to Continue
- 4chan is pretty much the only website that became a Gamergate breeding ground to ever actually do anything to stop Gamergate from using their services.
- Fredrick Brennan's nickname "Hotwheels" comes from his use of a wheelchair, which allows Gamergaters to deflect criticism of his actions a la #NotYourShield.
- Cough... Shirley Sherrod...cough
- The campaign is named as such because a male software engineer tweeted support at Zoe Quinn, saying, "*nods respectfully toward you* stand your ground against these fucks, an [sic] try to cope as best you can."
- For nested irony, the site Kotaku that broke that story is one of the sites that Gamergate detests the most.
- GamerGate.Wikia.com was created by "Snowfox413" on September 1, 2014. Previously, Snowfox413 was a contributor to the Prison Planet Intelligence Agency Wiki (ppia.wikia.com), based on Alex Jones' Prison Planet.
- "Gamergate supporters have been referred to as "gators". "Gamergater" sounds like "gamer gator", get it?
- It's nice that with this, TFYC is "becoming a charity now" when they never were one before.
- Some have said that she did indeed say, "The US bombed them back to traditional values – feminism does not exist in Japan. While I don’t like judging an entire culture… that does not excuse them," but has since apologized for it. Not that Gamergate ever cares about apologies or retractions.
- To Gamergaters, it's not whiteknighting when the damsel in distress is your ideological ally.
- Brianna Wu has said she had received notice her anti-harassment panel had been accepted, but then it was rescinded apparently in favor of the Gamergate panel.
- Zoe Quinn revealed that one of the panelists had stalked her at another convention she was attending.
- Mercedes Carrera was going to sit on the panel but she pulled out after refusing SXSW organizers' requests to take down tweets where she was personally attacking Randi Harper.
- Scimeca, Dennis. June 23, 2016. Did Nintendo make a Gamergate reference in a new Paper Mario game? Dailydot. Retrieved September 3, 2016. The quote by Nintendo: "As many have observed, when viewed in its entirety the Nintendo Treehouse: Live segment for Paper Mario: Color Splash from E3 includes two jokes separated by commentary and gameplay that have no relation to each other. One joke has to do with Watergate, while the other is a nod to the Fungi Fun Guys from Mario Party 8. It was brought to our attention today that these two jokes have been spliced together and misconstrued as a crude reference to an online hate campaign. While we typically do not speak on localization matters, we feel the need to confirm that these jokes are not linked in the game and were never intended to be linked. Nintendo firmly rejects the harassment of individuals in any way and was surprised to learn that its gameplay was misinterpreted in this manner. – Nintendo of America"
- Joe Peacock, "Booth babes need not apply", Geek Out!, CNN Blogs
- Rachel Edidin, "Geek Masculinity and the Myth of the Fake Geek Girl", Comics Alliance, November 15, 2012
- Michael McWhertor, "EGM Subscribers Getting Maxim As Replacement", Kotaku
- Meg Jayanth, "52% of gamers are women – but the industry doesn’t know it", The Guardian
- Andy Chalk, "Researchers find that female PC gamers outnumber males", PC Gamer
- Haider Khan, "Report: More Women Own Videogame Consoles Than Men in US", SegmentNext
- Lucy O'Brien, "The Future of Video Game Storytelling", IGN
- Why 90% of Fans at Tales of Festival Are Female, IGN
- A Friendly Message to Sargon of Akkad by "A Voice For Men" (Nov 12, 2015) YouTube.
- Rich Taylor, "New Study Finds Video Game Players Are Highly Engaged Politically", Entertainment Software Association
- Oliver Moore, "Woman's call to end video game misogyny sparks vicious online attacks", The Globe and Mail, July 11, 2012.
- Katherine Fernandez-Blance, "Gamer campaign against Anita Sarkeesian catches Toronto feminist in crossfire", Toronto Star, July 10, 2012.
- Fruzsina Eördögh, "Gamergate and the new horde of digital saboteurs", The Christian Science Monitor, November 25, 2014.
- Why the co-creator of Depression Quest is fighting back against Internet trolls", Edge, January 23, 2014. (archived)
- Ben Kuchera, Developer "Zoe Quinn offers real-world advice, support for dealing with online harassment", Polygon, March, 19, 2014
- Simon Parkin, "Zoe Quinn's Depression Quest", The New Yorker
- Eron Gjoni, "The Zoe Post", August 16, 2014.
- Margaret Pless, "Eron Gjoni, Hateful Boyfriend", Internet Famous Angry Men, December 6, 2014
- David Futrelle, "Actually, it’s about Zoe Quinn. The midwife of #GamerGate has no regrets.", We Hunted the Mammoth
- Keith Stuart, "Zoe Quinn: 'All Gamergate has done is ruin people's lives'", The Guardian
- Sam Machkovech, "“That life is over”: Zoe Quinn looks beyond GamerGate", Ars Technica
- Aja Romano, "4chan hacks and doxxes Zoe Quinn's biggest supporter", The Daily Dot
- Brian Albert, "Fez Creator Sells Company After Hackers Expose His Personal Info", IGN
- Matt Maguire, "Hackers post personal details of Fez and Depression Quest developers online", Gameplanet
- Zachary Jason, "Game of Fear", Boston Magazine
- Elizabeth Sampat, "The Truth About Zoe Quinn" (archived)
- Colin Campbell, "Sarkeesian driven out of home by online abuse and death threats", Polygon, August 27, 2014.
- Max Read, "Did I Kill Gawker?", New York Magazine
- Emma M. Woolley, "Don't believe the 'conspiracy,' gaming has bigger problems than 'corruption'", The Globe and Mail, August 27, 2014.
- David S. Gallant & "Fuck NO Video Games", "The origins of #GamerGate", Storify
- Fruzsina Eördögh, "The Anti-Feminist Internet Targets 'Depression Quest' Game Creator Zoe Quinn", Motherboard, August 19, 2014.
- Stephen Totilo, "In recent days I've been asked several times ...", Kotaku, August 20, 2014.
- Nathan Grayson, "Admission Quest: Valve Greenlights 50 More Games", Rock, Paper, Shotgun, January 8, 2014.
- Josh Wirtanen, "How I Know Zoe Quinn Did Not Exchange Sex for a Game Review", GeekParty, August 20, 2014.
- Dan Olson, "S4E7 - #GamerGate", Folding Ideas
- Jesse Singal, "Gamergate Should Stop Lying to Journalists — and Itself", New York
- Zoe Quinn, "quinnspiracy theorists", Twitter
- Adam Baldwin, "#GamerGate:...", Twitter, August 27, 2014.
- Leigh Alexander, "'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over.", Gamasutra, August 27, 2014.
- Joseph Bernstein, "Gaming Is Leaving 'Gamers' Behind", Buzzfeed, August 27, 2014.
- Luke Plunkett, "We Might Be Witnessing The 'Death of An Identity'", Kotaku, August 27, 2014
- Casey Johnson, "The death of the 'gamers' and the women who 'killed' them", Ars Technica, August 29, 2014.
- John Bain, "This game supports more than two players", [Blog Plz!], August 29, 2014.
- Allegra Ringo, "Meet the Female Gamer Mascot Born of Anti-Feminist Internet Drama", Vice, August 28, 2014.
- "SillySladar" (Matthew Rappard), Archived post on /r/TumblrInAction from August 17, 2014, textual form
- "Zoe Quinn and The Fine Young Capitalists", Storify of Twitter posts from February 28, 2014 to March 1, 2014.
- "The Birth of Vivian", collage of 4chan, Reddit and Twitter posts from August 21-22, 2014 at KnowYourMeme.com.
- Jim Bradfield, "Zoe Quinn, re: TFYC", Storify
- William Usher, "Afterlife Empire Launches On Steam With Mixed Reactions", One Angry Gamer
- "Afterlife Empire", Steam Spy
- Jenni Goodchild, "TFYC, Their Relationship with Autobotika + Charity Proportions", PixieJenni talks GamerGate with both 'sides'
- "#GamerGate exposed - the corruption of TheFineYoungCapitalists", Cathode Debris
- Misc. Gaming News Topic by Annubis (August 2014) RPG Fan (archived from 2 Jan 2017 06:17:47 UTC).
- "Vivian James", Know Your Meme (NSFW).
- Jeff Kunzler, "The Gamification of Terror: Manufacturing GamerGate's Sphere of Delusion", Design is Law, October 22, 2014.
- David Futrelle, "Today in #GamerGate: Entitled manchildren use manic pixel dream girl as their shield (again)", We Hunted the Mammoth, October 25, 2014.
- David Futrelle, "The Top Five Most Ridiculously Ironic #GamerGate Memes", We Hunted the Mammoth, November 6, 2014.
- Steven Melendez, "The Secret Meaning Behind GamerGate's Branding", Fast Company, November 3, 2014.
- "Her jacket is literally daily dose.", archived 4chan thread from August 25, 2014.
- The Fine Young Capitalists, "On conspiracies", September 19, 2014.
- William Usher, "#NotYourShield Hashtag Shows Multi-Cultural Support For GamerGate", Cinemablend
- Sarah Kaplan, "With #GamerGate, the video-game industry’s growing pains go viral", The Washington Post
- "#GameOverGate", Storify.com
- Casey Johnston, "Chat logs show how 4chan users created #GamerGate controversy", Ars Technica
- David Futrelle, "Zoe Quinn’s screenshots of 4chan’s dirty tricks were just the appetizer. Here’s the first course of the dinner, directly from the IRC log", We Hunted the Mammoth
- David Futrelle, "Spamming, Doxxing and Sockpuppeting: 4Channers’ dirty tricks, straight from their IRC log", We Hunted the Mammoth
- Fernando Alfonso III, "No, feminists aren't trying to #EndFathersDay—it's a hoax", The Daily Dot
- Ema O'Connor, "A Racist Gamer Group Has Been Posing As Baltimore Looters On Twitter", BuzzFeed
- Sam Biddle, [Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org "Internet Racists Are Pretending to Be Black Looters in Baltimore"], Gawker
- Jenn Frank, "How to attack a woman who works in video gaming", The Guardian
- David Futrelle, "You’ll never guess what misogynistic gamebros did to these two women in gaming! (HINT: Drove them out.)", We Hunted the Mammoth
- David Futrelle, "Yet another woman in gaming has been driven from her home by death threats", We Hunted the Mammoth
- Sarah Nyberg, "sorry, #gamergate and @theralphretort, changing the URL won't stop this. just reported it again.", Twitter
- Sarah Nyberg, "so ralph doxxed bri's entire fucking family. and #gamergate still won't condemn him.", Twitter
- Cimaron Neugebauer, "Terror threat against feminist Anita Sarkeesian at USU", Standard-Examiner
- Caroline Connolly, "Feminist gamer won’t speak at Utah schools until guns prohibited", Fox 13, Salt Lake City
- Erin Alberty, "Feminist cancels talk at USU after guns allowed despite shooting threat", The Salt Lake Tribune
- Felicia Day, "Crossing the Street", FeliciaDay.com
- Alex Hern, "Felicia Day's public details put online after she described Gamergate fears", The Guardian
- Chris Kluwe, "Why #Gamergaters Piss Me The F*** Off", Medium.com
- Eliana Dockterman, "Felicia Day Writes About #GamerGate, Gets Information Hacked", TIME
- Jennier Allaway, "#Gamergate Trolls Aren't Ethics Crusaders; They're a Hate Group", Jezebel
- Carl Straumsheim, "#Gamergate and Games Research", Inside Higher Ed
- Carrie Cutler, "What is GamerGate (2014)? How did it blow up into such a giant conspiracy?", Quora
- "In answer to "Where are the scientists?" who study video games, I am one...", /r/GamerGhazi
- Rebecca Hernandez-Gerber, "Video Game Archiving Post-GamerGate", Storify (archived)
- Michael MacLennan, "Could some video game history be lost forever thanks to Gamergate?", V.Point
- Jennings Brown, "Gamergate’s Newest Nemesis Is A Canadian PhD Student", Vocativ
- moot, "Regarding recent events" 4chan
- Jay Allen, "How imageboard culture shaped Gamergate", Boing Boing
- Dante D'Orazio, "Gamergate scandal convinced 4chan founder Moot to leave the site", The Verge
- David Kushner, "4chan's Overlord Christopher Poole Reveals Why He Walked Away", Rolling Stone
- "Q&A with Fredrick Brennan of 8chan", Know Your Meme
- Jay Allen, "/baphomet/, 8chan's Black Board", Storify.com
- Andrew Todd, "Why Stopping #GamerGate And 8chan Is Important For Everyone - Including GamerGate", Badass Digest
- Patrick Howell O'Neill, "8chan, the central hive of Gamergate, is also an active pedophile network", The Daily Dot
- Dan Olson, "The Mods are Always Asleep", Medium.com
- See the Wikipedia article on Anita Sarkeesian § Early life.
- Jay Allen, "A beginner's guide to the Redpill Right", Boing Boing
- Cathy Young, "GamerGate: Part I: Sex, Lies, and Gender Games", Reason
- Vox Day, "Brad Wardell sets the record straight", Vox Popoli, October 30, 2014)
- David Futrelle, "Roosh V’s game site Reaxxion tricked into publishing an old John Birch Society pamphlet as a #GamerGate manifesto", We Hunted the Mammoth
- David Futrelle, "A proposed new anti-Anita Sarkeesian “documentary” promises to give voice to the loudest “silent majority” the world has ever known", We Hunted the Mammoth
- David Futrelle, "Did Professional Sarkeesian-hater Davis Aurini Commit Felony Wire Fraud? Hell if I know, but he’s definitely an unethical dick.", We Hunted the Mammoth
- Brian Cercente, "FBI investigating death threats against Feminist Frequency creator Sarkeesian", Polygon
- Jay Allen, "How crowdfunding helps haters profit from harassment", Boing Boing
- Margaret Pless, "Sargon of Akkad and Thunderf00t: #Gamergate's Well-Paid Talking Heads", Daily Kos
- Sarah Nyberg, "theralphretort, janet bloomfield caught blatantly lying redhanded. #gamergate ethics!"
- David Futrelle, "A Voice for Men’s Janet Bloomfield libels Anita Sarkeesian with an obviously fake “screenshot” of a Tweet that never was", We Hunted the Mammoth
- Sarah Nyberg, "#gamergate's new favorite person: batshit MRA anti-feminist karen straughan. people surprised: 0.", Twitter
- Jill Pantozzi, "[UPDATED] Members of Gamergate Planned to “Infiltrate” Calgary Expo to Actively Disrupt Panels, Calgary Expo Has Evicted Them", The Mary Sue
- Margaret Pless, "Mike Cernovich: Potemkin Alpha Male", Internet Famous Angry Men
- Margaret Pless, "Mike Cernovich; #GamerGate Lawyer! (Content Warning: Migraine-Inducingly Terrible)", Internet Famous Angry Men
- Mike Cernovich, "@MSamenfink Yeah it's pricey. But I'm fired up about Zoe's conduct. So I'll be getting my private investigator on the matter.", Twitter (archived)
- Zoe Quinn, ""Private investigator on the matter." Caps incoming later but Jesus Christ who hires a PI to stalk a homeless woman", Twitter
- Laura Dale, "8chan removed from Patreon... Becomes cat sanctuary", Destructoid
- Matt Purslow, "Patreon community guideline changes outlaws harassment, 8chan now raising money for cats to comply with new rules", PC Games N
- "A massive fail in the making - Hotwheels hires Mike C for disability discrimination case against Patreon", GamerGhazi, Reddit
- Milo Yiannopoulos, "Am I too old for video games?", The Kernel
- Milo Yiannopoulos, "12-Year-Old Console Gamers are Being 'Raped' by Dorky Weirdos on Grand Theft Auto," Breitbart London
- Milo Yiannopoulos, "If you're a grown man with hands clamped to an Xbox controller instead of a pair of tits you need a good slap.", Twitter
- Milo Yiannopoulos, "Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart, Breitbart London
- Erik Kain, "GamerGate: A Closer Look At The Controversy Sweeping Video Games", Forbes
- Zaid Jilani, "Gamergate’s fickle hero: The dark opportunism of Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos", Salon
- "Check Your Privilege", Tumblr
- Kyle Orland, "Addressing allegations of “collusion” among gaming journalists", Ars Technica
- Erik Kain, "The Escapist #GamerGate Forums Brought Down In DDoS Attack", Forbes Contributor Blogs
- James Fudge, "Editorial: The Truth About GamerGate and GameJournoPros", GamePolitics
- Jason Koebler, "Dear GamerGate: Please Stop Stealing Our Shit", Motherboard
- Michael McWhertor, "Gamespot Editor Fired Over Kane & Lynch Review?", Kotaku Australia
- Nick Wingfield, "Intel Pulls Ads From Site After ‘Gamergate’ Boycott", The New York Times
- Heather Kelly, "Intel pulls ads over sexism in video game drama", CNN
- Kwame Opam, "Intel issues apology after backlash from #GamerGate opponents", The Verge
- Sam Biddle, "Ultimately #GamerGate is reaffirming what we’ve known to be true for decades: nerds should be constantly shamed and degraded into submission", Twitter
- Caitlin Dewey, "Inside Gamergate’s (successful) attack on the media", The Washington Post
- Rob Beschizza, "Adobe walks into Gamergate, staggers around confusedly", BoingBoing
- Eric Johnson, "Adobe Distances Itself From Gawker After Writer’s Gamergate Tweet", Re/code
- Adi Robertson, "Adobe's symbolic pro-Gamergate gesture frustrates victims", The Verge
- Susana Polo, "Adobe, Mercedes-Benz are Latest to Pull Ads at the Behest of GamerGate", The Mary Sue
- Keith Blount, "Unexpectedly Catching Up with the GamerGate Controversy", LiteratureAndLatte.com
- Ian Douglas, "Dyson rejects Gamergate, returns advertising to Gawker", The Telegraph
- Adobe, "When Anti-Bullying Efforts Backfire", Adobe.com
- Zoe Quinn, "Let’s Talk About Ethics In Games Journalism!", Medium.com
- Alex Lifschitz, "Game Devs on Gamergate", Storify.com
- Ryan Broderick, "This Woman Built A Bot That Tweets Out GamerGate Buzzwords And Guys Are Falling For It", BuzzFeed
- Ettin, "The Deal With Desborough", Ettin!
- Andrew Girdwood, "Desborough’s #GamerGate card game banned by DriveThruRPG and SJ Games", Geek Native
- "Tabletop Gaming News - Gamergate card game pulled from DriveThruRPG", The Cult Den
- Ian Danskin, "Why The Escapist Won’t Talk About GamerGate", Innuendo Studios
- "The Escapist’s Alexander Macris has been crowdfunding #GamerGater James Desborough while giving him preferential press coverage", Cathode Debris
- /r/GamerGhazi, "Escapist goes full Goobergater: loses Jimquisition, sacks MovieBob, hires Gamergaters.", Reddit
- Damion Schubert, "What’s Going On With the Escapist?", Zen of Design
- Amber Coal, "I have been predicting a culture war... and I have dozens of sites that reach 50m people.", Storify.com
- Susan Arendt, We had a robust community at The Escapist. Incredibly active and engaged. And within it, you could make your own group, rather like Facebook groups now. To talk about a specific game, or maybe for local meet ups. Groups were great. Well, one day someone formed a pedophile group. Not to encourage people to DO it, no no, just to talk about how they liked fucking children. And the publisher said we couldn't shut it down because free speech. So long as they weren't admitting to anything illegal, we had to keep it, he said. This conversation went on for days, us saying 'I'm sorry, what the fuck?' and him saying, yeah, we can't, free speech, slippery slope. And we finally just said, fuck you, it's gone, these people are monsters, and if you have a problem with us shutting it down maybe you're a monster, too. We put it nicer than that, of course. Anyway, we shut it down.
- /r/KotakuInAction, "[ETHICS] Niche Gamer Breaking their own Ethics Policy?", Reddit, Archived 22 APR 2016
- NICHE GAMER JOURNALISTIC ETHICS GUIDELINES, Archived 28 JAN 2016
- Zoe Quinn, "An Open Letter To People Calling For “Neutrality”", Quinnspiracy Blog
- David Malki, "#1062; The Terrible Sea Lion", Wondermark
- /r/KotakuInAction, "Operation Volcano (8chan)", Reddit
- /r/GamerGhazi, "Operation Volcano has made its way to Neogaf", Reddit
- "Sexism And Misogyny In Video Game Culture", Huffpost Live (video)
- David J. Cobb, "Huffington Post, Zoe Quinn, and the golden mean fallacy", Storify.com
- Oli Welsh, "We cannot let this become gaming culture", Eurogamer.
- Nick Wingfield, "Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats in ‘GamerGate’ Campaign", The New York Times
- Lindsey Weedston, "12 Hashtags That Changed the World in 2014", Yes! Magazine
- Michelle Jaworski, "#StopGamerGate2014 trends worldwide as GamerGate hits breaking point, The Daily Dot
- Hayley Tsukayama, "The game industry’s top trade group just spoke out against Gamergate", The Washington Post
- "Great job proving "gamers" are innocent.", Imgur
- Anita Sarkeesian, "It’s Game Over for ‘Gamers’", The New York Times
- Taylor Wofford, "Is GamerGate About Media Ethics or Harassing Women? Harassment, the Data Shows" Newsweek
- Adrian Chen, "Gamergate Supporters Partied at a Strip Club This Weekend", New York
- Rich McCormick, "Stephen Colbert takes on Gamergate with Anita Sarkeesian", The Verge
- Alex Abad-Santos, "#GamerGate loves Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert does not love them back.", Vox
- David Futrelle, "The Top 22 Most Ridiculous Things Said by 8channers About Anita Sarkeesian’s Appearance on the Colbert Report", We Hunted The Mammoth
- PZ Myers, "Schadenfreude so thick you could cut it with a chainsaw", Pharyngula
- Scott Kaufman, "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales challenges #GamerGate to write neutral entry", Raw Story
- Dan Van Winkle, "Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales Isn’t Taking Any of Gamergate’s Threats, Tells Them Off Spectacularly", The Mary Sue
- Mayer Nissim, "Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales replies to #GamerGate criticism", Digital Spy
- Doug Sibor, "Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Doesn’t Want Money From “Vicious A**holes” Behind #GamerGate", Complex
- Mark Bernstein, "Infamous"
- Alex Hern, "Wikipedia bans five editors from gender-related articles", The Guardian
- Lauren C. Williams, "Wikipedia Wants To Ban Feminists From Editing GamerGate Articles", ThinkProgress
- Caitlin Dewey, "Gamergate, Wikipedia and the limits of ‘human knowledge’", The Washington Post
- Damion Schubert, "Mark Kern Really Wants GamerGators To Be Able To Yell At Harassment Victims", Zen of Design
- Randi Harper, "Renaming blacklist.txt to sourcelist.txt", Github
- Taylor Wofford, "One Woman’s New Tool to Stop Gamergate Harassment on Twitter", Newsweek
- Randi Harper, "Good Game Auto Blocker", randi.io
- "ggautoblocker", Github.com
- "Internet culture puts trolling on a pedestal", MetaFilter
- "Pyrotiger", "GamerGate, Twitter, Feminism", Tumblr
- Robinson Meyer, The Good (and the Bad) of Twitter's New Bid to Stop Harassment, The Atlantic
- WAM Twitter Harassment Reporting Tool (archived)
- Brian Fitzgerald, "New Online Tool Lets Twitter Users Report Harassment", The Wall Street Journal
- Women, Action, and the Media, "Twitter’s Abuse Problem: Now With Actual Solutions And Science"
- GG's Idea of Statistics
- Vijaya Gadde, "Twitter executive: Here’s how we’re trying to stop abuse while preserving free speech", The Washington Post
- Twitter Support, "Starting today we're rolling out an improved way to flag abusive Tweets. See how it works.", Twitter
- Randi Harper, "Twitter implied that harassment comes from gamergate. Oh, Lordy.", Twitter
- Lindy West, "Twitter doesn't think these rape and death threats are harassment", The Daily Dot
- Jon Russell, "Twitter Will Crack Down On Serial Trolls By Tracking Their Phone Number", TechCrunch
- Xiaoyun Zhang, "Sharing block lists to help make Twitter safer", Twitter Blogs
- EJ Dickson, "Meet the camgirl whose Anita Sarkeesian parody has made her Gamergate's hero", The Daily Dot
- Emily Gera, "AbleGamers' weird weekend of porn stars, charity and a worries over a DDoS attack (correction)", Polygon
- Jonathan Holmes, "AbleGamers backs out of charity event after reading it will 'weaponize porn'", Destructoid
- "AbleGamers' Weird Weekend of Porn, Charity, DDoS Attacks, and GamerGate", GamePolitics.com
- "Yes, we are becoming a charity now", The Fine Young Capitalists
- Cindi Spiegler, "Mercedes Carrera Invites Fans To Help Her Raise Money For Charity", The Real Porn Wiki Leaks
- James Fudge, "The Porn Charity Hosting First Event to Fund Merit -Based STEM Scholarship", GamePolitics.com
- EJ Dickson, "Why Gamergaters are rallying behind the victim of a brutal rape", The Daily Dot
- Scott Kaufman, "Amazon publishes thinly veiled rape fantasy of #GamerGate target Zoe Quinn", Raw Story
- David Futrelle, "A new low: One of Zoe Quinn’s harassers was selling rape fanfic about her on Amazon", We Hunted the Mammoth
- Anna Merlan, "Someone Wrote 'Erotica' About a Video Game Designer Getting Gang-Raped", Jezebel
- /r/GamerGhazi, "The author of the Zoe Quinn rapefic is doing an AMA on KiA. The title claims he wrote the piece, but doesn't know about GG at all. What?", Reddit
- Nick Wingfield, "Intel Budgets $300 Million for Diversity", The New York Times
- "Intel CEO Outlines Future of Computing", Intel.com
- Mat Kamen, "Intel announces fund for greater tech diversity", Wired UK
- Sarah Nyberg, "#gamergate's latest strategy? use jewish people as a shield to stop criticism of israel, apparently", Twitter
- David Futrelle, "Why are #GamerGaters so quick to excuse an anti-Semitic caricature of Anita Sarkeesian that’s literally derived from Nazi propaganda?", We Hunted the Mammoth
- "I’m sure the “cultural appropriation” SJW brigade will get right on her for this", Not Your Ex/Rotic
- Genna Bain, "I am a woman in gaming and today I am selling my shares in @intel. I'm afraid there just wasn't enough "diversity" in my stock portfolio.", Twitter
- John Bain, "Watching a few idiots trying to infantalise my wife over her financial decision today. How wonderfully sexist these people are.", Twitter
- Zoe Quinn, "August Never Ends", Dispatches From The Quinnspiracy
- Andrew Todd, "The Social Justice Illuminati Is Real, And It’s An Anti-Hate Task Force", Badass Digest
- Chris Tognotti, "Zoe Quinn Launches "Crash Override Network," A Support Group For Targets Of Online Hate Mobs", Bustle
- Alanna Bennett, "Zoe Quinn Has Launched A Network to Help Fight GamerGate Harassment & Other Online Abuse", The Mary Sue
- T.C. Sottek, "Crash Override wants to help survivors of Gamergate and other online abuse", The Verge
- @adulus, "Gamergate reacts to a support group for harassment victims", Storify.com
- Dean Takahashi, "Zoe Quinn and other female game developers speak out against harassment", Venture Beat
- Matt Weinberger, "A woman who was threatened with death (and worse) for a year explains how to protect against online harrassment", Business Insider
- Sarah E. Needleman, "Game Developer: The Gaming Industry Is Not Doing Enough to Combat Misogyny", The Wall Street Journal
- Meagan McGinnes, "Rep. Katherine Clark Calls For Prosecution of Online Threats Against Women", Boston.com
- Brian Crecente, "Depression Quest creator speaks at congressional briefing on cyberstalking", Polygon
- The Office of U.S. Representative Katherine Clark, "Clark’s call for DOJ action on cyber threats against women receives House backing", Press Releases
- Oscar Raymundo, "6 Reasons the Video-Game Industry Will Be Disrupted in 2015", Inc.
- Juju Chang, "What It Feels Like to Be a Gamergate Target", Nightline
- Juju Chang, "When Jumping into Gamergate Turns into Fearing For Your Life", Nightline
- Syfy, "Brianna Wu: Where is She Now?", The Internet Ruined My Life
- Michael McWhertor, "Get a sneak preview of Law & Order SVU's GamerGate episode", Polygon
- Mark Kern, "Lead the way in healing the rift in video games.", Change.org
- Patrick Garratt, "Developers shooting the messenger: stop blaming the press for sexist extremism in games", VG247
- Damion Schubert, "On L&O:SVU and Mark Kern’s Petition Thingy", Zen of Design
- Damion Schubert, "Mark Kern Doubles Down on Being Wrong", Zen of Design
- Scott Jennings, "I Demand You Listen To Me", Broken Toys
- Jay Allen, "#gamergate Axe Grinding Service", Storify
- Damion Schubert, "The SPJ Kerfuffle", Zen of Design
- Daniel Nye Griffiths, "A Somewhat Illuminating Mess: GamerGate On Stage At AirPlay [Opinion]", Forbes contributor blogs
- Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, "What The Internet Got Right & Wrong In #GamerGate", HuffPost Live
- Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, "#GamerGate: Gender Violence & Online Threats", HuffPost Live
- Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, "#GamerGate & The Ethics In Gaming Journalism", HuffPost Live
- Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, "#GamerGate: Authorship In The Online Space", HuffPost Live
- Caroline Sinders, "Gamergate is going after SXSW panels: how ‘the downvote’ gives power to the mob", Fusion
- Arthur Chu, "This Is Not a Game: How SXSW Turned GamerGate Abuse Into a Spectator Sport", The Daily Beast
- Kari Paul, "SXSW Just Added a GamerGate Panel", Motherboard
- Hugh Forrest, "Strong Community Management: Why We Canceled Two Panels For SXSW 2016", South By Southwest
- Hugh Forrest, "SXSW Announces March 12 Online Harassment Summit", SXSW
- Noah Kulwin, "SXSW Bungles Announcement of ‘Online Harassment Summit,’ and Panelists Are Pulling Out", Re/code
- Nathan Ingraham, "SXSW's online harassment summit was a peaceful look at an ugly problem", Engadget
- Kaitlyn Tiffany, "SXSW's Online Harassment Summit was just one more place for men to ignore women", The Verge
- Sara Ashley O'Brien, "SXSW harassment summit tackles tough issues, but has few attendees", CNN Money
- Kwame Opam, "SXSW's Gamergate panel was as disappointing as expected", The Verge
- Ben Kuchera, "The year of GamerGate: The worst of gaming culture gets a movement", Polygon.
- Google Plus post by David Hill
- Plaguearist, So. What’s GamerGate achieved so far?", Medium.com
- Luke Plunkett, "Yes, a Games Writer was Fired Over Review Scores", Kotaku
- Jeff Gerstmann, "Letter From the Editor 10/17/2014", Giant Bomb
- Mike Serrels, "EA's Studio Firemonkeys Hacked Last Year, Didn't Immediately Inform Users", Kotaku
- Alec Meer, "A Storm In YouTuber Heaven", Rock, Paper, Shotgun
- Jim Sterling, "Shadiness of Mordor," Jimquisition
- Nathan Grayson, "The Messy Story Behind YouTubers Taking Money For Game Coverage", Kotaku
- Erik Kain, "'Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor' Paid Branding Deals Should Have #GamerGate Up In Arms", Forbes Contributor Blog
- Sterling, Jim. "Ubisoft Spent Years Protecting Mental And Physical Abusers (The Jimquisition)".
- L. Rhodes, "To fair-minded proponents of #GamerGate," Medium.com
- Aliens: Colonial Marines. On an express elevator to otherworldly awesomeness by Brandon Justice (February 12, 2013 AT 01:00am) EGM Now (archived from February 13, 2013).
- Aliens: Colonial Marines Game Rankings (archived from April 3, 2013).
- "This just in: Ubisoft pressured girlfriend of PC Gamer writer to pressure said writer to publish a mild criticism of the name of /r/pcmasterrace to get back at the subreddit for being mean to Ubisoft (tinfoil hat warning)", GamerGhazi, Reddit
- At least those that aren't fans of Extra Credits
- Dorian Dawes, "All Hail Mizhena - Conqueror of Transmisogynistic Gamerbros", Harlot
- Charles Pulliam-Moore, "Racist gamers are pissed that the hero of Ubisoft’s ‘Watch Dogs 2’ is a black hacktivist", Splinter
- Alyssa Rosenberg, "Gamergate reopens the debate over video games as art", The Washington Post
- Jay Allen, "The Myth of Objective Game Journalism", Medium
- Martin Belam, "Revealed: The winners and losers in #GamerGate's war on web sites", Mirror
- Laura Shortridge, "GamerGate's evolution from defending the child porn on 8chan to claiming SJWs are spreading child porn", Storify.com
- Adi Robertson, "'About 20' police officers sent to Gamergate critic's former home after fake hostage threat", The Verge
- Nick Eagland, "It's '100 per cent terrorism': Burnaby victim decries Internet 'swatting' that brought Mounties to her door", The Province
- Caroline Sinders, "That time the Internet sent a SWAT team to my mom's house", Boing Boing
- e.g. "Ethics Cuck, the new name for “moderate GG”, has become a mess of hypocritical beliefs that not only endorse the same tactics used by SJW’s, but use them"; term originated on 8chan.
- Jay Hathaway, [Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org "How Gamergate Radicals Seized Sci-Fi's Most Prestigious Awards"], Gawker
- Mike Glyer, "The Culture Wars Come To RavenCon", File 770
- Mike Saint, "GOOGLING HELLDUMP", Storify.com
- Jim Sterling gets the treatment.
- Dudes still going on about gamergate feel like those Japanese soldiers who never got the memo that WWII ended by Siobhan Thompson (12:47 PM — 8 Aug 2015) Twitter (archived from August 9, 2015).
- Kwame Opam, "Game developer Zoe Quinn speaks in Congressional briefing about online abuse", The Verge
- Google Ideas, "Fighting online abuse w/ @FeministaJones @TheQuinnspiracy @roseveleth @randileeharper @jamiaw @CCRInitiative @femfreq", Twitter
- Oisika Chakrabarti, Sharon Grobeisen, Zina Alam, "Media Advisory: UN Women at the UN General Assembly", UN Women
- Robin Levinson King, "Justin Trudeau called out for statements made about music causing violence against women", The Toronto Star
- Kendra McHale, "Former Organizer of GGinVic Speaks Up", Black Trident Media
- Secret Gamer Girl, "Gamergate is hell from the inside, too.", Storify
- Alex Leal, "Casual reminder that #GamerGate is a cult.", Twitter
- Katie Zavadaski, "‘Terrorist’ Troll Pretended to Be ISIS, White Supremacist, and Jewish Lawyer", The Daily Beast
- Brianna Wu, "Since so many are asking: Story of #gamergate supporter arrested on terrorism charges.", Twitter
- Andrew Todd, "#GamerGate Is Now Literally An Industry Joke", Badass Digest
- Victoria McNally, "Here’s The Joke Tim Schafer Made That Has Gamergate Freaking Out", The Mary Sue
- Martin Robbins, "How can our future Mars colonies be free of sexism and racism?", The Guardian, "The last thing we need is to wake up in 50 years and find that a bunch of #gamergate nobheads are running Mars."
- Aja Romano, "Funimation's 'Prison School' dig incenses Gamergate and anime translation purists", The Daily Dot
- Katherine Cross, "‘We Will Force Gaming to Be Free’: On GamerGate & the Licence to Inflict Suffering", First Person Scholar