NeoGAF

Popular videogame forum. Created and still ran by Tyler Malka a.k.a. EviLore.

4Yd4q7M

 

Gamergate censorship

Altho the topic of GG itself is not banned, Tyler Malka himself had made clear his position as vocally anti-GG earlier on, including revealing the e-mails of two NeoGAF users who wrote him to discuss GG [1]https://archive.today/tjsym, again painting GG as a harassment campaign.

Taking the cue from Malka, the mod team has made their position on the matter clear as well, by banning pro-GG posters [2]https://archive.today/m4oFV, to the point that current threads on the subject are overwhelmingly anti-GG. Among the pro-GG people who claimed to have been banned solely for dissent were The Fine Young Capitalists [3]https://archive.today/bnlln (the account itself was handled by Matthew Rappard), and LPer Boogie2988 [4]https://archive.today/rdcNQ [5]https://archive.today/TMzXd [6]https://archive.today/VK7cj (his ban came amidst more harassment because of his mild involvement in Gamergate, see his page for more details). Boogie2988’s ban message cast light on what was already suspected: that the NeoGAF mod team considered gamergate “a movement of harassment and hate” and thus any pro-GG opinion was an unstated reason for banning.


Past abuse by Tyler Malka

Malka’s characterization of Gamergate as a misogynistic harassment campaign and his supposed support of social justice is at odds with his own behavior, both in the internet and in real life, bringing into question the honesty of his claims to support progressive causes.

Hypocrisy regarding social justice

The original information on this was brought up by The Ralpha Retort [7]https://archive.today/wK7Am.

Not long ago, Malka dismissed social justice advocates on the internet as “feminazis”.

Yet now he claims a moral high ground over the same things he was mocking.

“Revenge porn” in 2006

The original information on this was brought up on a thread in the Kotaku In Action subreddit [8]https://archive.today/CLtJ6.

According to the KiA thread, in 2006 Tyler Malka posted leaked nude pictures of the girlfriend of the admin of a rival forum called Opa-Ages. No archived version of the offending thread on Opa-Ages remains, but The Ralph Retort on 21 September 2014 claimed to have received an archived copy of it [9]https://archive.today/Q0w7E, and shared several comments from it that corroborate the claim that Malka leaked the pictures.

 

Selling NeoGAF user content to Kotaku without consent in 2011

The original information on this was brought up by The Ralpha Retort [10]https://archive.today/3YFXR.

To quote from The Ralph Retorn itself (formatting slightly changed for the sake of sourcing):

In October 2011, a thread from a NeoGAF user called ScOULaris [11]https://archive.today/3geuf was reproduced on Kotaku [12]https://archive.today/mEQa9, with his name credited as the author. A thread about this was soon made on NeoGAF about it [13]https://archive.today/oyFz6, with speculation as to whether Kotaku had stolen the content or bought it from the author himself or from NeoGAF. ScOULaris himself was in that thread and claimed he wasn’t asked permission by anyone  [14]https://archive.today/GTmUB, and soon afterwards NeoGAF’s terms of service were rewritten in order to give the site’s the right to appropriate content made by its users [15]https://archive.today/vI0zs, a power that wasn’t clear until then. A important note is that this new clause applied retroactively. ScOULaris, who initially wasn’t very bothered by the Kotaku republication as long as credit was given, wasn’t pleased by it [16]https://archive.today/flGz7.

Between the just-revised terms of service and the facts that ScOULaris was not asked permission despite being named the author in the Kotaku article, it was clear that Malka himself had handed the content to Kotaku to publish it. The Ralph Retort says Malka claimed not to have received compensation for Kotaku’s use of the article, and neither did ScOULaris himself. However, Kotaku certainly did make money of it, as its page had ads like any other part of the site. Furthermore, The Ralph Retort’s source claim that Malka is lying and actually was paid by Kotaku. There isn’t, however, a way to corroborate his claim.

Regardless, the fact remains that ScOULaris was neither asked permission for publication of his thread nor compensated for it.

Sexual assault in 2012

The original information on this was brought up on a thread in the Kotaku In Action subreddit [17]https://archive.today/w3PEH.

In a thread on NeoGAF itself in 2012, Malka openly brags about groping a foreign woman. A link to said thread has since been lost, but soon after Malka’s contentious post, forum user Salvor.Hardin started a thread to discuss it [18]https://web.archive.org/web/20141015014334/http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=483054. As criticism for his actions piled on, Malka steadfastly defended the sexual assault he committed, including shifting the blame on the woman. He would later make light of the situation by implying he shouldn’t have confessed to it [19]https://archive.today/0fC8A.

As of the time of writing (10 December 2014), Salvor.Hardin’s thread has been deleted [20]https://archive.today/vEbNV, and Archive.org lists its latest archived version as from 15 October 2014. This means the thread was deleted during Gamergate, giving credence to Malka whitewashing his past misdeeds in order to fit in with social justice advocates among the anti-GG.


E3 press badge denied

In May 2014, Tyler Malka was refused, for the first time, press badges to attend E3 [21]https://archive.today/tNlCy. Seeing as the event is closed to the public, this meant malka wouldn’t be able to attend at all.


Unfounded rumors of Sony astroturfing

It’s a common notion among videogame communities that NeoGAF is has guerrilla marketers for Sony and Playstation topics while those of other consoles are trolled, but all evidence is circumstantial. There isn’t any solid proof linking NeoGAF and Sony astroturfing.

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IGDA

International Game Developers Association. A non-profit organization that represents the interests of developers with over 90 chapters spread accross all continents. Mostly staffed by volunteers with very few actual employees, IGDA works more as a structure for its individual chapters to organize events than to actually work as a trade association.

 

Threat of blacklisting by founder

Ernest Adams, founder of IGDA [1]https://archive.today/pel4K altho not holding an official position, made a tweet on 24 October 2014 threatening supporters of Gamergate [2]https://archive.today/OM5aw. He argued that he was not threatening anyone by itself but merely saying that other professionals in the industry would remember who supported Gamergate. However, his support of the narrative that paints GG as a harassment campaign implies that GG supporters are by definition harassers and thus all of them warrant discrimination. This led to charges of blacklisting [3]https://archive.today/BhZiE.

This was considered particularly damning considering IGDA claims to “serv[e] all invididuals creating games” and states in itself: “Mission: To advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community.” [4]https://archive.today/4F4bJ

He has since deleted the controversial tweet.


 

ggautoblocker fiasco

Preamble: what is ggautoblocker

The ggautoblocker tool was developed by Randi Harper a.k.a. freebsdgirl to crawl Twitter, its goal being generating a list of Twitter accounts which followed more than one of the “ringleaders” of Gamergate. According to the initial readme [5]https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/f970f83dcef698bbbf95a1b9180616a44b5e6af3:

Takes a list of the 4 major idiots of GG, looks at their follower lists. Generatees a list of sheeple following more than one account.

This “idiot” blacklist (not the same as the “sheeple” list the algorithm generated based on the “idiot” blacklist) initially was composed of @CHSommers, @AdamBaldwin, @FartToContinue and @PlayDangerously [6]https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/0985008332c81d23e131862a496d41940ea52303. Also included was a whitelist, which initially consisted solely of @gamergatetxt. The “idiot” blacklist was constantly updated to add or remove the Twitter handles major supporters of Gamergate. The various alterations to the blacklist and whitelist can be seen here, here and here.

Based on these initial blacklist and whitelist, the algorithm generates a much bigger list of people to be blocked by anti-GG people in their Twitter accounts. However, the very design of the algorithm is severely flawed as it takes guilt by association to an extreme degree. See the next section for examples on the many shortcomings of the list generated by ggautoblocker.

IGDA recommends ggautoblocker

In 19 November 2014, IGDA posted an “Online Harassment Resource” aimed at game developers [7]https://archive.today/hEXWi. Among the various valuable tips and guides for helping game developers cope with harassers, it included a link to ggautoblocker, described as “[a] Twitter tool to block some of the worst offenders in the recent wave of harassment” [8]https://archive.today/yEhbK#selection-2317.0-2317.84. The description was changed to “[a] third-party Twitter tool developed to quickly mass block some of the worst offenders in the recent wave of harassment and also accounts that follow those offenders” [9]https://archive.today/hdmqF#selection-2333.0-2339.1 to clarify that ggautoblocker’s author was not affiliated with IGDA itself.

Initial complaints from pro-GG people about “authoritarianism” and “censorship” were rightfully dismissed as pointless, seeing as any person is entitled to talk only to whomever they want. The controversy begins, however, with the endorsement of ggautoblocker by the IGDA. The move was seen as extremely unprofessional for several reasons: the extremely flawed algorithm itself; its users’ conflation that presence on the list was tantamount to harassment or enablement thereof; and the IGDA’s claims of impartiality towards all game developers. These three factors added together made it implied but clear that IGDA itself was condemning a massive amount of people, some of which completely unrelated to the GG debacle, as harassers.

IGDA’s Online Harassment Resource was later ammended again to remove the link to ggautoblocker altogether [10]https://archive.today/GdAbv.

Non-comprehensive list of blocked accounts

Randi Harper keeps a Twitter account called @randi_ebooks which has itself blocked the entire list generated by her algorithm [11]https://archive.today/OKfoO, which can be easily transferred between Twitter accounts thanks to the Blocktogether site [12]https://archive.today/2amKc. As of the time of writing, the list blocks 10425 Twitter accounts of “harassers” [13]https://archive.today/d7WUG, with a few search-friendly Pastebin of all account names  [14]http://pastebin.com/2TmDLdJZ [15]http://pastebin.com/YjUk8yQn [16]http://pastebin.com/DyphBBLt [17]http://pastebin.com/0QMyMhXY. The people in this latest list of “harassers” include but it’s definitely not limited to:


Reactions to the ggautoblocker fiasco

Media blackout

As of the time of writing, not a single one of the main videogame news sites has reported on IGDA’s endorsement of ggautoblocker.

“Blacklist.txt” changed to “sourcelist.txt”

Following the controversy of IDGA’s endorsement of ggautoblocker, Randi Harper, in spite of not making any concessions for the lack of quality of her program, changed the name of the included file “blacklist.txt” to “sourcelist.txt” in a suitably inflammatory and unapologetic note [18]https://archive.today/bKpNJ. The change was seen as disingenuous at best [19]https://archive.today/qHANZ.

Response from blacklisted individuals

Robert Rosario

One of the most notable inclusions in the massive blocklist was that of Robert Rosario, chairman of the Puerto Rican chapter of IGDA itself and who had pointed out his neutrality towards the Gamergate debacle before [20]https://archive.today/Jbgtd [21]https://archive.today/UtmDQ. He has expressed his displeasure at being labelled a harasser on several tweets starting on November 21, indignant at being labelled a harasser without any evidence [22]https://archive.today/qitc8, to the point of threatening resignation of his position within IGDA.

When some anti-GG claimed he was guilty by association of being misogynist [23]https://archive.today/L9FAs [24]https://archive.today/YYkM8 [25]https://archive.today/jtmt6 [26]https://archive.today/F2gxo, he pointed out his contributions to anti-SOPA measures and pro-feminist activism. He also disparaged Randi harper’s ability as a programmer, as shown by the flawed results of her algorithm.

Randi Harper herself still laid the blame squarely at Rosario himself for “follow[ing] known harassers of women” and said he should apply to be whitelisted [27]https://archive.today/4N80J, to which Rosario responded that he shouldn’t have to defend himself against completely proof-less accusations in the first place, claiming it to be “pre-crime” and harassment.

Sdoctmd

A feminist, social justice advocate and early supporter of Gamergate who decided to distance himself from the it because of what they saw as toxic personalities intruding in on it. They have argued in the past that their awareness and support of Gamergate came from reading Eron Gjoni’s initial testimony. It led them to make the series of videos Understanding the Zoepost [28]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_UKErD0uGQ, wherein they explained how they saw in it a pattern of abusive behavior on Quinn’s part towards Gjoni, and thus argued that the widespread support that Quinn received was in effect enabling an abuser.

Even tho now distanced from GG, Sdoctmd saw themself in IGDA’s endorsed blocklist and thus cut off from their intended debating audience of gaming feminists. As they explained in a post in the subreddit Kotaku In Action [29]https://archive.today/Rukio:

But, the GG AutoBlocker, ironically enough, is hurting my ability to share my feminist views. I cannot discuss gender roles if I’m #1990 on the GG AutoBlocker. Why? Many of the people using the AutoBlocker are part of my demographic base. They are intersectional feminists interested in gender discourse within gaming. They are people who would view my project, and see what I have to say about harassment, emotional abuse, and gender representation in video gaming.

[…]But now we can no longer engage with our role models and base, because the AutoBlocker has rudely and inappropriately labeled us as “harassers.” And, choice or not, this kind of block list is seriously hurtful for a lot of us. We’re effectively blocked out from communicating with other feminists. Why? Because we (and thousands others) were curious enough to follow two people in an algorithm.

Several developers via Tech Raptor

Openly pro-GG website Tech Raptor has published an article compiling the opinions of several game developers on IGDA’s ggautoblocker endorsement [30]https://archive.today/obAzo.

Mothership Team

As a development studio who has stood neutral in regards to GG, Mothership Team has been tweeting their disagreement with IGDA’s use of the ggautoblocker list since 22 November [31]https://archive.today/wizNf. As IGDA removed their endorsement of the tool, Mothership reiterated their membership and support of IGDA’s mission [32]https://archive.today/4woqj [33]https://archive.today/J6m4q. Despite their continued neutrality, they cited a pro-GG interview [34]https://archive.today/R0ehG to reiterate that such lists have a malignant effect on developers’ employability.

GravTech Games

IGDA’s endorsement of ggautoblocker has driven the small game studio GravTech Games from a neutral stance to being openly pro-GG since 22 November [35]https://archive.today/lUNwN, and proceeded to do an AMA on the Kotaku In Action subreddit [36]https://archive.today/g1Y0M.

Ahsley Ross

Altho not included in ggautoblocker’s list, indie developer Ashley Ross has voiced criticism of IGDA’s endorsement of what amounts to a blacklist on the subreddit Kotaku In Action [37]https://archive.today/k689u. He had made his point before that he agreed with Gamergate’s stated goals but wasn’t a supporter, but still he had this to add to the initial post:

UPDATE Since posting this just a few hours ago, I’ve lost several friends including some that I was working on a game with. No words, just blocked, unfollowed, unfriended, removed on all social media.
I try to remain an open mind on this stuff. I really really try. As I stated, I don’t support gamergate, but agree with the stated goals. I try not to let my social media be an echo chamber, I have friends with differing views.
I’ll tell you what though, the ‘other side’ is making it increasingly harder to sympathize with. Not only in shooting down any attempt at discussion, but also going as far as to remove themselves from a friends life? That’s just crazy to me.
[…]
This is a fair warning to devs out there, if you even appear to support GamerGate, even agree with one thing in it, then prepare to have your career destroyed. I know I have. I don’t know if it’s 100% because of GamerGate, or if it’s because of some other factor, but in the past 3 months I’ve made less than 10% in contract work, and my game sales dropped to 0 except in one instance where I shamefully ‘ebegged’. I don’t want to call my career over, but it’s certainly had a huge hit these past few months.

APG Nation

Pro-GG videogame website APG Nation left implied a threat of legal action [38]https://archive.today/kp7dg.

Brennan Williams

Reacted with a lesson in good humor [39]https://archive.today/NsofX.

lkjhgf14jpg

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1. https://archive.today/pel4K
2. https://archive.today/OM5aw
3. https://archive.today/BhZiE
4. https://archive.today/4F4bJ
5. https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/f970f83dcef698bbbf95a1b9180616a44b5e6af3
6. https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/0985008332c81d23e131862a496d41940ea52303
7. https://archive.today/hEXWi
8. https://archive.today/yEhbK#selection-2317.0-2317.84
9. https://archive.today/hdmqF#selection-2333.0-2339.1
10. https://archive.today/GdAbv
11. https://archive.today/OKfoO
12. https://archive.today/2amKc
13. https://archive.today/d7WUG
14. http://pastebin.com/2TmDLdJZ
15. http://pastebin.com/YjUk8yQn
16. http://pastebin.com/DyphBBLt
17. http://pastebin.com/0QMyMhXY
18. https://archive.today/bKpNJ
19. https://archive.today/qHANZ
20. https://archive.today/Jbgtd
21. https://archive.today/UtmDQ
22. https://archive.today/qitc8
23. https://archive.today/L9FAs
24. https://archive.today/YYkM8
25. https://archive.today/jtmt6
26. https://archive.today/F2gxo
27. https://archive.today/4N80J
28. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_UKErD0uGQ
29. https://archive.today/Rukio
30. https://archive.today/obAzo
31. https://archive.today/wizNf
32. https://archive.today/4woqj
33. https://archive.today/J6m4q
34. https://archive.today/R0ehG
35. https://archive.today/lUNwN
36. https://archive.today/g1Y0M
37. https://archive.today/k689u
38. https://archive.today/kp7dg
39. https://archive.today/NsofX
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GameJournoPros

A mailing list for several gaming journalism professionals. It’s membership and some conversations were leaked by member William Usher.

 

Reveal

On 17 September, Milo Yiannopoulos published an article about a mailing list of several gaming journalists called Game Journalist Professionals a.k.a GameJournoPros [1]https://archive.today/5iLCl, followed by another one the next day [2]https://archive.today/ypaNu and a dump of the e-mails corcerning Zoe Quinn [3]https://archive.today/u397Q

Yiannopoulos published two more articles in the following weeks [4]https://archive.today/TuCns [5]https://archive.today/EV7kl.

Accidental reveal of leaker

On 20 September, Yiannopoulos posted screenshots showing the membership list of GameJournoPros [6]https://archive.today/vXylK, accidentally revealing his source in the process [7]https://archive.today/4gDOM. He deleted the tweet about an hour later. On 22 September, the leaker, William Usher, claimed there was no harm done [8]https://archive.today/gTvlJ.

Former members

On 6 November, Usher revealed in his Twitter the names of four former users of GameJournoPros [9]https://archive.today/i6gNp. Among them were Leigh Alexander, who is on record as stating she wasn’t a member [10]https://archive.today/utUDS, altho she quit a few months before the “gamers are adead” controversy [11]https://archive.today/eGYk5.


Creation

All of the information in this section comes from a single article by William Usher, the leaker of GameJournoPros [12]https://archive.today/aIteI.

Started on 31 August 2010 by Kyle Orland, senior gaming editor at Ars Technica, and was ostensibly modelled after JournoList, the controversial Google Group which had been closed down a few months prior due to evidence of collusion between its members, American liberal reporters, to push specific narratives.

uP6HvaD

A little less than a month after the list’s creation, Ben Kuchera, then senior editor at Penny Arcade Report, joined it. Orland spcifically mentioned that Kuchera’s recommendationis what caused him to land his job at Ars Technica, which goes a long way towards explaining the influence Kuchera had on GameJournoPros.

KfrxeKT

According to Usher, Kuchera utilized this influence unduly on several occasions in the list’s discussions:

You see, this explains why Kuchera had such pull in the Game Journo Pros, why fellow member Ryan Smith was nearly kicked out of the group for snidely putting Kuchera in check on one occasion, and why Kuchera was allowed to bully Greg Tito in an attempt to close down the The Escapist’s #GamerGate discussion thread – a thread, I might add, that only stayed open thanks to a lot of intervention from The Escapist co-founder Alexander Macris, the same man who completely reorganized all of Defy Media’s ethics policies following the early days of #GamerGate.

The attempt to get Greg Tito to censor discussion of Gamergate on The Escapist is mentioned in more detail below.


 

“Quinnspiracy” narrative collusion

Yiannopoulos’ articles claimed that several members of the list used it to practice collusion, by planning concerted narrative efforts between supposed rival publications. The focus of Yiannopoulos exposé was a thread about the “Quinnspiracy” controversy, where some of the journalists, most notably Ben Kuchera, argued about penning “signal boosting” articles on Zoe Quinn’s support or if they should just ignore the issue. Kuchera himself had financial ties to Quinn in the form of Patreon support [13]https://archive.today/48pVJ. In that thread there was an attempt to pressure Greg Tito, editor-in-chief of The Escapist, into closing down discussion of Gamergate on its forums [14]https://archive.today/u397Q. It should be noted that The Escapist was one of the very few of the big gaming sites that did not ban discussion of the topic.

Other members voiced their worry at the ethics of this and chose to stay away.

Members of GameJournoPros defended the list as simple networking between colleagues [15]https://archive.today/LhhIT which might have been true for most of the list’s discussions.

The charges of collusion were further reinforced with another scandal, this one surrounding Allistar Pinsof.


Involvement in Allistair Pinsof’s dismissal

Please see the appropriate section in the Allistair Pinsof page.


 

References

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Robin Arnott

Indie game developer.

 

Indiecade and Depression Quest

One of the five men implicated in Eron Gjoni’s initial deouncement of Zoe Quinn [1]https://archive.today/36BBc. As the chairman of the Night Games event of Indiecade [2]https://archive.today/0NVb3, Arnott was involved with the selection of Depression Quest as one of the showcased games in the event at 5 October 2013 [3]https://archive.today/F4TiO. However, this happened several months before his personal involvement with Quinn as per Gjoni’s admission. This, added to the fact that there were 23 other games selected, makes accusations of cronyism between Arnott and Quinn circumstantial at best.


References

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