GamerGate

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GamerGate is a consumer revolt against unethical practices in video game journalism and entertainment media, including (but not limited to) corruption and conflicts of interest, collusion, and the censorship of ideas and discussion. It is comprised of video game enthusiasts all over the world working together to eliminate ethical misconduct by industry professionals and promote fair and balanced video games media.

As a group, GamerGate is leaderless and unstructured so all efforts and projects are collaborative endeavors agreed upon and fulfilled by the group’s majority.

The Three C's of GamerGate

The multiple journalistic failings that GamerGate has exposed and challenged can be summarized and sorted into the following three categories:

  • Corruption
    • Conflicts of interest (COIs), including the non-disclosure of personal relationships (romantic and otherwise), non-disclosure of direct financial support and/or investments, and the non-disclosure of Patreon contributions.
    • Cronyism
    • Bribes and similar enticements (or threats and similar intimidation tactics) towards reviewers to grant games a better score then they deserve.
  • Collusion
    • Secret cooperation of supposed competing outlets to push (or silence) a message or narrative.
    • Industry-wide blacklisting
  • Censorship
    • Wide-spread prohibition of GamerGate and GamerGate-related topics on forums and comment sections.
    • Abuse of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown measures
    • Social media blockbots and shadow-bans
    • Attempts to ban or censor video games based on content

Endeavors, Achievements, & Criticism

GamerGate strives to find and expose unethical practices in video game journalism, communicate the desire for better ethics and representation, and inspire and foster positive change in the video game industry. The #GamerGate hashtag on Twitter is the primary medium for communication and collaboration, and websites like 8chan, Reddit, and Tumblr boast high numbers of participants and supporters as well.

Because GamerGate has no defined structure, much of the communication and messages directed towards developers, publishers, and journalists are done on an individual basis. However, GamerGate participants will frequently come together to collaborate on campaigns, referred to as operations.

The largest and most successful operation, Operation Disrespectful Nod, resulted in many different companies pulling their ads from sites that practiced unethical journalism, made no efforts to improve upon confrontation, and/or directly insulted their customer base through open disdain and mockery of gamers. Other operations have resulted in the direct improvement of gaming journalism. The Rebuild Initiative has given greater exposure to quality gaming media sites and strengthened the relationship between developers and gamers, and Operation UV directly influenced the enhancement of FTC rules regarding affiliate advertising and prompted websites to place disclaimers on paid advertisements disguised as articles.[1][2]

Despite GamerGate’s positive changes on the industry, it has been met with heavy criticism from the journalists and publications under fire and their supporters, as well as third-wave feminists involved who have attributed the harsh criticism towards female offenders to misogyny and sexism. Additionally, due to the unstructured and anonymous nature of GamerGate, many individuals have taken advantage of the lack of accountability and have trolled and displayed abusive behavior towards members of the video game industry, notably women. As a result of all of this, GamerGate’s detractors have commonly referred the revolt as a "misogynistic hate campaign" run by straight white males who want to drive women out of gaming. However, statistics[3] show that this interpretation is patently false, and the existence of #NotYourShield suggests that GamerGate's demographics are far more diverse than its critics imply.

Origins

For a more detailed account of the origins and history of GamerGate, please read the History of GamerGate article.
For a comprehensive timeline of GamerGate, please refer to the Timeline.

The events leading up to the creation of GamerGate began on August 16, 2014, with the publication of "thezoepost" by Eron Gjoni, an ex-boyfriend of indie game developer Zoe Quinn.[4] The blog post outlined Quinn’s emotional abuse and infidelity, but what gamers took immediate notice of was the fact that Quinn, a developer, had engaged in romantic/sexual relations with industry professionals who had the potential to promote her and her work, including Nathan Grayson and Joshua Boggs. Discussion erupted on social media and various gaming websites, as suspicions of corruption and cronyism in the video game industry had already been present and thezoepost seemed to be a solid confirmation of those suspicions.

Most attempts to discuss these revelations online were silenced through thread deletions, DMCA video takedowns, and shadow-banning, but the attempts to silence conversation on the subject inadvertently caused a Streisand Effect and the topic spread. The publication of thezoepost, the impact it made in gaming circles, and the internet-wide attempts at smothering discussion of it is referred to as the Zoe Quinn Scandal.

As the scale and impact of the scandal grew, gaming journalists were placed under increased scrutiny by their readers, and many conflicts-of-interest were discovered and spread. In late August, actor Adam Baldwin coined the hashtag "#GamerGate" in response to the deluge of exposed breaches in video game journalism[5], a hashtag that was quickly adopted by those arguing for better ethics. Shortly after, the coordinated Gamers are Dead media campaign began, with several different outlets posting articles decrying gamers, gamer culture, and the gamer lifestyle all within the same 24 hour period. The timing of the articles and the united message they spread caused #GamerGate supporters to immediately suspect collusion, which was all but confirmed in September 2014 with the revealing of the secret GameJournoPros group.[6]

Over time, the hashtag #GamerGate evolved to become the consumer revolt known as GamerGate.

Further Reading

Articles

Title Author (Publisher) Summary
#GamerGate Is Not A Hate Group, It's A Consumer Movement
(Archive)
Erik Kain (Forbes)
Gamergate: Why gaming journalists keep dragging Zoe Quinn’s sex life into the spotlight
(Archive)
Noah Dulis (Breitbart)
A People's History of #GamerGate
(Archive)
Gurney Halleck
My letter to Jason Schreier about GamerGate & ethics
(Archive)
aqua
#GamerGate: Part I: Sex, Lies, and Gender Games
(Archive)
Cathy Young (Reason)
#GamerGate: Primer/Finale
(Archive)
Kazerad
#GamerGate – An Issue With Two Sides
(Archive)
Allum Bokhari (TechCrunch)

Infographics

Title Author (Publisher) Summary
#GamerGate explained in five minutes or your money back
(Archive)
Unknown
So, what exactly is #GamerGate?
(Archive)
Unknown
So. You discovered #GamerGate.
(Archive)
Unknown

Videos

Title Author (Publisher) Summary
#GamerGate in 60 Seconds
(Archive)
LeoPirate
The Evidence and History of #GamerGate
(Archive)
BeerandSticks
#GamerGate: TotalBiscuit on Ethics, Was Offered Free Stuff for Reviews
(Archive)
David Pakman w/ John Bain (The David Pakman Show)
#GamerGate Crush Saga: Episode One
(Archive)
Erik Kain w/ Greg Tito, John Bain, & Janelle Bonanno
HuffPost Live: 3 Strong Women Of #GamerGate Fight Back!
(Archive)
Ricky Camilleri w/ Georgina Young, Jennie Bharaj, and Jemma Morgan (Huffington Post)
#GAMERGATE! Gamer's fight back! Guest video by TheInvestigamer!
(Archive)
TheInvestigamer


See Also

A People's History of Gamergate

DeepFreeze

GamerGate Achievements

The GamerGate OP

NotYourShield

Operation Pass The Torch

Vivian James

References