Avoiding a Topic
First off I have to say I am a huge proponent of the Newbie Blogger Initiative, and try my best to do whatever I can to support it. Unfortunately I do a pretty bad job of actually participating in anything that is going on the forums. This year I had told myself that I would try really hard to participate more and do more of the various writing prompts. You know that whole “lead by example” type argument. The problem is the very first topic is something that I find both repulsive and deeply scary at the same time. Izlain seems to love to revel in controversial topics, and has recorded podcasts on various incendiary topics in the past, so I really should not be shocked this ended up as a writing prompt.
The aim of the Talkback Challenge is to engage new bloggers on a topic and provide contrasting views on that specific matter. It is also designed to encourage follow-up discussions and blog posts which further widen the level of interaction. The goal is to generate discussion on newbie blogs, raise their respective profile and share traffic. The NBI has run such activities for several years now and they have proven both informative and engaging. The opening topic for debate this time round is “how did GamerGate affect you”?
The prompt itself is pretty straight forward. How were you effected by GamerGate, but the answer as always is far more nuanced. I just finished writing my Bonanza post over on MMOGames and during the course of it I ran through all of the responses to this question that were available at the time of posting. I was somehow bolstered by the fact that the majority of these posts seemed to have no real effect. The problem is… for those who were effected this is a really touchy subject. The fact that someone actually wants to be talking about this makes me realize that in truth they were largely left unscathed. All of this said, I am going to tackle this topic because I promised myself that I would actually do the writing prompts.
Talkback Challenge 1
GamerGate cycled through the community like nothing I had ever seen before. It was swift and it was obnoxious… and quickly moved into the realm of the really damned creepy. Folks were using the tag without really understanding the consequences. The claim of the movement is that GamerGate is “About Ethics in Journalism” but this claim has never really matched up to the effects seen in the community. So much so that this has become a meme and filed away in the internet as yet another meaningless phrase. What I saw instead was a lot of my friends getting really scared to speak their mind. This hive mind of hatred seemed to be going after anyone who was “different” from what they saw as the cultural norm. This meant that women and the lgbt community seemed to garner the brunt of the assault. I talked to lots of friends who considered just stopping blogging because of the fear and paranoia that was rampant.
The problem is I am by nature not extremely combative. You can make personal attacks against me and it really usually doesn’t phase me. However when you take on my friends, and make them feel less than what they are… then I start to get upset. In the grand scheme of things I didn’t speak out as harshly as I probably should have on the subject. I made a pretty general post about how I wish we would “Be Awesome Human Beings”. Which drew the attention of a Gater that followed me and proceeded to try and argue with me about ethics in journalism in the comments. I didn’t want to get drawn into his discussion and he kept trying to bring me back to his personal brand of right wing philosophy. Ultimately I ended up un-following and blocking the person on twitter. Within a few days of posting this relatively straight forward article, my blog came under fire of a DDoS. At first I thought nothing about it, since hosting companies get denial of service attacks all of the time. The thing is… it seemed to be targeted at ONLY the server cluster my blog was on.
A short time after that my twitter handle appeared on a list of supposed “Social Justice Warriors” that were to be avoided. Granted half of the people I know ended up on that same list, but while it was a point of pride… it also felt a bit like a veiled threat. It felt very much like a list of people who “thought wrong” and should be targeted. When you combine that with the DDoS I won’t like it freaked me out a bit. I tried my best to exorcise my social networks of any Gamer Gate sympathizers, or at least the ones who were loudly supporting it… and I moved on with my life. I tried my best to support those who were getting attacked, but I didn’t feel like I supported the other extreme either. Ultimately I just wanted us all to get along and stop being assholes to each other. That is the mission I have kept trying to move forward. I am a tiny blue dot in a very read ocean, but I manage to get along with most of my friends, coworkers and neighbors because we respect each other not enough to try and jam our own personal philosophies down each others throats.
The problem is Gamer Gate has left me scarred. When someone new follows me on social media the first thing I do is scan down through their posting history to make sure they are not somehow a GG leaner. I don’t want to make people out to be the bogeyman of the internet, but I also don’t really want that sort of influence screwing up my relatively happy place. I have tried my best to limit the about of negativity in my world. It ultimately makes me a happier person, and GG and the vehemently Anti-GG communities both are something I can do without. That said I am by no means trying to be neutral anymore. I am not a supporter of the GamerGate community by any means, and the whole situation deeply saddens me. I don’t want to be made to feel like shit for anything I do, from anyone. So I am going to keep doing what I am doing, and keep enjoying the things I enjoy and try my damnedest to forget the negative forces still exist. You cannot get me to believe like you do by yelling at me louder, and you cannot convince me of your point with circular logic. Ultimately I hope the internet and gamers in particular mature and learn to make decisions on their own merit and not connected to some larger agenda.
Source: Tales of the Aggronaut
Talkback Challenge 1