Sam Biddle

Former editor for Gawker Media’s Valleywag blog and currently senior editor of their main blog Gawker.

 

Privilege and hypocrisy

Following a theme common to many central anti-gamers and social justice advocates, Biddle is a son of privilege who rages against the privilege of people other than himself. In particular, according to Paul Carr of Pando, Gawker’s owner Nick Denton has a specific agenda where “ordinary tech workers, not their bosses, are the legitimate targets of violent protest”. Within this narrative, Biddle is in charge of fostering it in Valleywag, where he attacks as “spoiled brats” of the “New Meritocracy” who owe all their success to their families, despite the exact same thing being true of himself:

Even Denton’s choice of Valleywag editor reeks of hypocrisy. Which is to say, if you’re going to wage a fake class war, then, Sam Faulkner Biddle is the perfect fake class warrior for the job. Long before he got his gig wailing about “spoiled brat” tech founders who owe their success to their fathers, Biddle gained entry to the prestigious Johns Hopkins university with no help whatsoever from his own father, the Pulitzer prize winning journalist — and Johns Hopkins lecturer — Wayne Biddle. In case the nepotism wasn’t obnoxious enough for his classmates, Biddle promptly joined the Delta Phi fraternity at which, Wikipedia tells us

“Controversy exists to a perceived exclusivity in the selection criteria. It is generally regarded that wealth is a factor as almost all members are from affluent backgrounds.”

One of Biddle’s former classmates put it in simpler terms: Delta Phi is a club you could only join if you have rich parents.

[…]

And so it came to pass that wealthy, privileged, Sam Biddle became Nick Denton’s pick to lead Gawker’s phony, hypocritical, long-distance class war against San Francisco’s wealthy, privileged tech workers. And why not? Per David Sirota’s recent exposé of Ed Schultz, Nick and Sam wouldn’t be the first journalists to deny their privileged background in order to make bank as born-again class warriors.

Paul Carr’s full article [1]https://archive.today/XmNCr lists many more such abuses which are central to Gawker Media’s strategy of clickbait sensationalism

“Bring back bullying”

In regards to Gamergate, Biddle has made inflammatory tweets promoting bullying [2]https://archive.today/uMt3X [3]https://archive.today/gCqMe. He later apologized [4]https://archive.today/TGvs3 but more comments later, as well as his penchant for clickbait and manufactured controversy, bring his honesty into question [5]https://archive.today/p6sAW.

These bullying comments have caused Mercedes Benz to remove their advertising partnership with Gawker Media [6]https://archive.today/UxO5O. However, the car manufacturer had no ad campaign on any Gawker site at that moment, so technically no ads were removed [7]https://archive.today/P1ro8.

The bullying apologia was made in the middle of October, deemed National Bullying Prevention Month [8]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bullying_Prevention_Month.

Soon afterwards, Biddle was promoted from Valleywag editor to senior editor of the central Gawker blog [9]https://archive.today/2EnD4. He further mocked bullying victims because of it [10]https://archive.today/H08aM.

Gawker’s editor-in-chief, Max Read, excused Biddle’s comments as jokes despite recognizing the problem of bullying, ignoring the issue of gross unprofessionalism [11]https://archive.today/Rc9Nx [12]https://archive.today/DEw5b.

Excusing animal abuse

Soon after the crass defense of bullying, Biddle again played the shock-jockey persona by bizarrely excusing animal abuse [13]https://archive.today/RRtG2 [14]https://archive.today/aWsvJ.

On the heels of this latest debacle, people have noticed that these were just the latest in a long series where he casually joked or seemingly seriously talked about harming animals [15]https://archive.today/MIiyF [16]https://archive.today/1jyIn [17]https://archive.today/ZFryY [18]https://archive.today/KeZtr [19]https://archive.today/BlMbn [20]https://archive.today/1U3gT [21]https://archive.today/LRGHB [22]https://archive.today/NeQfK [23]https://archive.today/g6tQE (sourced from the Gamergate.me wiki [24]http://wiki.gamergate.me/index.php?title=Sam_Biddle).

Attacks on Gamergate

Wizardchan mockery

In the many paeans published by mainstream media about Zoe Quinn, the drama involving her spat with the website Wizardchan is often brought up without any regard to the veracity of Quinn’s claims. Sam Biddle penned one such article, which includes mockery and bullying of Wizardchan’s users, many of which suffer from suicidal levels of depression [25]https://archive.today/jcKuw.

This attack on depression victims, as if not reprehensible by itself, has an ironic undertone considering Quinn’s Depression Quest supposedly aims to de-stigmatize the mental illness [26]https://archive.today/l1Kyz.

Topics about suicide are so common in Wizardchan that at one time the boards included a link to a suicide prevention hotline. Biddle’s attack on mentally ill people is one of many that have been made by mainstream journalists in their uncritical defense of Zoe Quinn.

Wizardchan_suicide_hotline

Phony tweets

Tweets and internet posts made by random people, trolls or even sockpuppets are a common way for anti-gamers to reinforce the harassment narrative surrounding Gamergate. Sam Biddle has been one of many in the mainstream media who furthered the practice [27]https://archive.today/Mv4C7.

As a Redditor noticed, several of the cheap insults displayed by Biddle were opportunistically used by him in order to paint Gamergate as harassers [28]https://archive.today/snXCB:

I just analyzed every single person mentioned and confirmed that one is a member of GamerGate (@Lambert2191).
Three of them (@HIGH_TIER, @imDLXE, @Ghesttt) are DramaAlert fans.
Several had too many tweets to go back to the start of GamerGate (@RedHazz, @OMGLove). I scrolled through about ten pages of tweets and found zero usage of the tag. I asked them to confirm their position and they haven’t gotten back to me.
One (@JayMcKlay) used the GamerGate tag only once, where he said, “#GamerGate shouldn’t even be a thing.
Several had their accounts suspended for obvious reasons, so I could not confirm their position.
Shouldn’t the journalist be the one doing this kind of shit?
EDIT: Honorable mention, @VerifiedNewsURL. They used #GamerGate in their tweet, but they’re just stating what GamerGate is, not showing support or membership. They have 3 followers, 15 tweets (most of which were deleted, including this one). They follow 9 people, two of which are Lizard Squad and Finest Squad. This person appears to be a part of a different group entirely.

Crass sensationalism

As the ISIS is a populat topic at the moment, many media outlets are keen to use their crimes as fodder for sensationalism. Sam Biddle did it in his own way, by patronizing and glorifying the child soldiers press-ganged by ISIS in a blog post entitled “The ISIS babies are freaking adorable” [29]https://archive.today/rzq9l.

The already shameless sensationalism took a ghastly turn the very following day, as ISIS released a video of one such child soldier executing supposed Russian spies [30]https://archive.today/y6ytZ.

Defending doxxing

Biddle nurtures an unexplained enmity towards Twitter joke account @NYTFridge, going as far as openly threatening to dox its owner and offering money for tips that may lead to it [31]http://archive.is/5EjT4 [32]http://archive.is/AoAAd.

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Leigh Alexander

Gaming journalist.

 

“Gamers are dead”

The accusations of corruption surrounding Quinn and her affairs grew to encapsulate other problems with the videogame press, often accused of lack of professionalism. The term Gamergate was coined by actor and videogame vocie actor Adam Baldwin [1]https://archive.today/OyJrl on 27 August 2014, who had taken an interest in the “Quinnspiracy” in the weeks prior. In the same day, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian left her home due to anonymous threats [2]https://archive.today/kbGbQ, as she had become a target of criticism as part of the gaming press and this inevitably attracted undue harassment.

The following day, there was a rash of articles in gaming websites and blogs, some of which were posted within minutes of each other, decrying the growing debacle which they characterized as purely a misogynistic harassment campaign while largely ignoring any accusations of malfeasance by certain journalists and developers, a narrative which was pushed by these same sites since then and has been used against Gamergate proper ever since. This narrative is the main excuse used by various sites in order to ban all discussion surrounding Gamergate, whether they involved Quinn or not.

The following list is sourced from a public pastebin [3]http://pastebin.com/dWzF8Eqd:

The number and similar tone of so many of these articles raised even more suspicions of collusion, fanning the flames of debate and kicking Gamergate off in earnest.


Bullying and gatekeeping

Before kicking off Gamergate proper, Alexander was known for openly bullying people out of gaming journalism and bragging about it. In a common theme within anti-gamers, these actions were supposedly excused by being made against “bad people” as it was termed by those actually doing the bullying.

“I am a megaphone and I won’t mind making an example out of you”

In a Twitter diatribe involving developer Russ Roegner [4]https://archive.today/ftaqd, who stated that there’s “no issue with gender equality in the game industry” and argued that opportunity are open to everyone. In between more sane voices arguing against him, Alexander made threats [5]http://archive.is/OQduY.

Bw0drqSCQAAB4us

“Sorry. This is not gonna be a career for her.”

The context for this has been lost, and Alexander has since deleted the tweet [6]http://archive.is/2tKxj.

EVIDENCE4

“Leigh Alexander just killed another career, it’s a mild day”

The context for this has been lost, and Alexander has since deleted the tweet [7]https://archive.today/sUQE7.

leigh2

“As if I cannot instantly kill all their dreams”

Source [8]http://archive.is/O0zqR#selection-5603.0-5637.125. The original has been deleted.

archive today O0zqR

“I am game journalism”

Source [9]https://archive.today/X2n9P.

B4bqUCHIYAEG3mJ


Promoting harassment

Despite the anti-gamer narrative dominating the media that casts various female gaming journalists and critics as victims of harassment, Leigh Alexander is one of many who not only engaged in it herself as the sections on Lack of professionalism and Assorted attest, but made public calls for it [10]https://archive.today/1VAJh [11]https://archive.today/yTLUy [12]https://archive.today/DWIl9 [13]https://archive.today/IrUwI.


 

Undisclosed conflicts of interest

Christine Love

On September 2012, leigh Alexander promoted games by Christine Love in an article in Vice Media’s blog The Creators Project [14]http://archive.is/gYTqa. There is no disclaimer regarding their previous friendship [15]https://archive.today/1KkGs (the tweets from Alexander’s account from those dates are missing).

Source: Kotaku in Action

Source: Kotaku in Action

Babycastles

Leigh Alexander was a supporter and occasional contributor to Babycastles, a New york arcade and gaming space dating back to at least 5 August 2010 [16]Deleted tweets from Leigh Alexander dating from 2010. They had since been saved by Alexander herself to a public PDF, which she has since deleted as well. The PDF is avalable here: http://www.4shared.com/office/SESn-BdYce/Buzz-0014.html. Its autheticity is offhandedly confirmed by her here: https://archive.today/14b2y.

On 15 August 2010, she promotes Babycastles in an article for the LA Times without any disclosure [17]https://archive.today/zuxM5.

On 15 July 2011 she hosts an event in the arcade [18]https://archive.today/YIMlp, which continues to enjoys her patronage [19]https://archive.today/pG9hX.

On 17 September 2012, she publicizes Babycastles in an article about indie games as spectator sports at Gamasutra, without disclosure [20]https://archive.today/bKMdY. What is intriguing by this is that months prior, on 24 February, she had written a piece wholly about Babycastles at the same site but had actually written a disclosure [21]https://archive.today/CN76M.

Ramiro Corbetta

On 17 September 2012, Leigh Alexande rpublished an article in Gamasutra showcasing the work of developer Ramiro Corbetta [22]https://archive.today/bKMdY. There is no disclosure in the article, despite the two of them having been friends for years [23]Deleted tweets from Leigh Alexander dating from 2010. They had since been saved by Alexander herself to a public PDF, which she has since deleted as well. The PDF is avalable here: http://www.4shared.com/office/SESn-BdYce/Buzz-0014.html. Its autheticity is offhandedly confirmed by her here: https://archive.today/14b2y [24]https://archive.today/PQSZp [25]https://archive.today/pG9hX.

Naomi Clark

The information on this section comes mainly from the Gamergate.me wiki.

Alexander’s friendship to indie game designer Naomi Clark extends as far back as early 2012 [26]https://archive.today/JW7UM [27]https://archive.today/ckpSz [28]https://archive.today/TLWk9 [29]https://archive.today/CbaWZ. Despite this, Alexander has written two articles praising her games. Once on 3 May 2013 for Sissyfight 2000 [30]https://archive.today/L85q5 and on 3 November 2014 for Consentacle [31]https://archive.today/LvWET.


GameJournoPros membership

Leigh Alexander was a member of the GameJournoPros mailing list[32]https://archive.today/i6gNp. The group connected to collusion and blacklisting in gaming journalism, although she hasn’t participated in those known cases. She is on record as stating she wasn’t a member [33]https://archive.today/utUDS, altho she quit a few months before the “gamers are adead” controversy [34]https://archive.today/eGYk5.

B1pPFWjCIAALCXO


Casual racism

Under a common excuse of not being racist because she lives in the ghetto, Leigh Alexander used racist euphemisms to attack black people [35]https://archive.today/vRIvY [36]https://archive.today/hXsWw. Both tweets have since been deleted. Later she claimed to be decrying harassment, ignoring what a “violent cultural backlash” against black people entails [37]http://archive.is/ti01k.

In a separate instance, Alexander mistook pro-Gamergate blogger Lee Williams (@demisaysstuff) for a different black man, @electrolemon, whose name Demi was part of Williams’ handle [38]https://archive.today/1BWP5. Williams reacted to it with a satirical poem of sorts [39]https://archive.today/LSmaa and mentioned she blocked him on Twitter.


Lack of professionalism

Contempt for her audience

Her articles have long included petty attacks on her own readerships and gamers [40]https://archive.today/a6WuE#selection-225.0-273.78 [41]https://archive.today/n5LES [42]https://archive.today/z9Csm [43]https://archive.today/xwfeh even before Gamergate broke out, despite self-describing as a “games & tech culture writer” [44]https://archive.today/aMcgT#selection-941.0-941.27.

Hypocrisy

Despite her aforementioned jabs at gamers using stereotypes, she claims she and her peers tried to “dispell stereotypes about people who like games” [45]https://archive.today/yPiar.

leighhypocrite

“I have no pretense of being unbiased, sorry I have an agenda”

At the XOXO Festival 2014 in Portland, Oregon, Alexander states the bias and agenda-driven nature of her reporting [46]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEOUSoRBsvQ&t=10m.

“Let’s send Jack Thompson poison candy”

Jack Thompson is the natural comparison to be made with the current anti-gamers, yet despite Alexander’s support for the latter, she was staunchly against the former. To the point where she celebrated the fact that Thomson had heart issues and jonkingly told people to send him poison candy [47]https://archive.today/77wqO.

Excusing cronyism

Sources [48]https://archive.today/ZeLT7 [49]https://archive.today/dtOPZ#selection-4862.2-5544.11

 


Assorted


Further reading

Gaming Journalists Are Incompetent Fuckwits wrote of Leigh Alexander’s lack of professionalism in 1 july 2010 [50]https://archive.today/ydCAJ.

   [ + ]

1. https://archive.today/OyJrl
2. https://archive.today/kbGbQ
3. http://pastebin.com/dWzF8Eqd
4. https://archive.today/ftaqd
5. http://archive.is/OQduY
6. http://archive.is/2tKxj
7. https://archive.today/sUQE7
8. http://archive.is/O0zqR#selection-5603.0-5637.125
9. https://archive.today/X2n9P
10. https://archive.today/1VAJh
11. https://archive.today/yTLUy
12. https://archive.today/DWIl9
13. https://archive.today/IrUwI
14. http://archive.is/gYTqa
15. https://archive.today/1KkGs (the tweets from Alexander’s account from those dates are missing
16, 23. Deleted tweets from Leigh Alexander dating from 2010. They had since been saved by Alexander herself to a public PDF, which she has since deleted as well. The PDF is avalable here: http://www.4shared.com/office/SESn-BdYce/Buzz-0014.html. Its autheticity is offhandedly confirmed by her here: https://archive.today/14b2y
17. https://archive.today/zuxM5
18. https://archive.today/YIMlp
19, 25. https://archive.today/pG9hX
20, 22. https://archive.today/bKMdY
21. https://archive.today/CN76M
24. https://archive.today/PQSZp
26. https://archive.today/JW7UM
27. https://archive.today/ckpSz
28. https://archive.today/TLWk9
29. https://archive.today/CbaWZ
30. https://archive.today/L85q5
31. https://archive.today/LvWET
32. https://archive.today/i6gNp
33. https://archive.today/utUDS
34. https://archive.today/eGYk5
35. https://archive.today/vRIvY
36. https://archive.today/hXsWw
37. http://archive.is/ti01k
38. https://archive.today/1BWP5
39. https://archive.today/LSmaa
40. https://archive.today/a6WuE#selection-225.0-273.78
41. https://archive.today/n5LES
42. https://archive.today/z9Csm
43. https://archive.today/xwfeh
44. https://archive.today/aMcgT#selection-941.0-941.27
45. https://archive.today/yPiar
46. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEOUSoRBsvQ&t=10m
47. https://archive.today/77wqO
48. https://archive.today/ZeLT7
49. https://archive.today/dtOPZ#selection-4862.2-5544.11
50. https://archive.today/ydCAJ
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Brianna Wu

Indie developer.

 

False claim of being driven out of her home

In the Gamergate controversy, Brianna Wu had been one of many ordinary people voicing their opinions, which in her case are firmly against it.

On 10 October 2014, she claimed that she had been driven out of her home by threats from Gamergate supporters, specifically pointing to a series of tweets by @chatterwhiteman [1]https://archive.today/SuPZX [2]https://archive.today/io7b0, an account seemingly created just for that reason [3]https://archive.today/h67k2.

The fact that it’s an easily made troll, the lack of any visible connection with Gamergate, the fact that Wu had already made a sockpuppet account before by the name of @BROLOLZ [4]https://archive.today/iIbOd [5]https://archive.today/SJH5M and the posterior proof that her claims of being driven out of her home led to suspicions of @chatterwhiteman being a false flag or even made by Wu herself [6]https://archive.today/K4njN [7]https://archive.today/4aL3J, but that remains purely conjectural. Of note however is that from the start, Gamergate supporters on twitter have criticized @chatterwhiteman and reported him.

This was followed by an outpouring of support and massive coverage by both the gaming and mainstream presses. The result was an immensely raised profile for someone who had until then being a minor mobile game developer, and now made headlines in local, national and international media, from specialist sites about videogames to global news outlets. See below for a noninclusive list.

In 11 December 2014, a Kotaku in Action thread [8]https://archive.today/ycbSP and the results of digging by anonymous people [9]http://pastebin.com/kcGqq7eY pointed to two important facts that demonstrate she seems to have never left her house to begin with.

Proof of lying about being driven away from home

1) Her own photos and videos always show the same house

Redditors noticed a pattern that the video interviews featuring Wu. The ones shot immediately after the weekend she claimed she left her house showed the same furniture and mansonry details as the ones shoot before or long after that weekend [10]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSBMx9gfykE [11]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1U1cT72JBc [12]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETVcInunAss [13]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4He6rNp1gUY [14]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtRFbsnUX4k [15]http://archive.is/L3hIZ [16]http://archive.is/OoruB [17]https://archive.today/mEm8C [18]https://archive.today/0rphQ#selection-93.203-96.1. In other words, in the days following her supposed expulsion, she was back on her home, even as news outlets claimed she was still away [19]http://archive.is/88JHF#selection-1087.0-1087.112 [20]https://archive.today/3DD5E#selection-503.0-503.191.

2) She had long planned to be away in the weekend she was “driven out”

Wu had divulged her claim to have been forced out of her house on 10 October , just in time to attend the New York Comic Con as a guest in a panel titled The Mary Sue Presents – All on the Table [21]https://archive.today/SytE8 on the same weekend, at 12 October. Her presence there was further confirmed [22]https://archive.today/NjxbB [23]https://archive.today/PRHu2. In her own Twitter, she stated that she had agree to attend back as far back as 16 September [24]https://archive.today/0sySH.

Wu’s retort

In her defense, Wu made a series of tweets claiming that the accusations of her lying about the incident were false [25]https://archive.today/FcOIR#selection-8389.0-9464.1. According to her, she went back to her house in order to shoot interviews because that’s where her computer still was, stating that the presence of journalists made her feel secure enough. Made explicitly is the claim that this was in accordance with what police had advised her.

1419698798484-1

However, these claims contradict what she stated eaelier to Gameindustry.biz [26]https://archive.today/3DD5E#selection-503.0-503.191:

Wu did confirm that she briefly returned home to “make sure nothing had been vandalized and to pick up some computer equipment,” but added that she’s “not planning on being home for a while.”

More importantly, she made a false claimregarding the police’s advice. Standard police procedure in the USA is to advise victims of death threats to never return to their home soon after the threats were made unless in the presence of law enforcement. Thus, her claims of acting on police advice and thinking a “camera crew” would ensure safety are in direct contradiction.

Actual harassment

In these same series of tweets where she defends herself of the charge of lying about leaving her home, she mentions pictures of her house circulating. This referred especifically to the work of Youtube e-celeb PressFartToContinue, who, in the days following the discovery of Wu’s deceit, made a post on Medium showing various shots of her adress [27]https://archive.today/QKnE7.

Although the information is all available to the public, PressFartToContinue’s Medium post was censored and he had several Twitter accounts deleted. The post proved to be ultimately pointless as well, as the information he had drawn contributed nothing to the matter of whether or not Wu lied about leaving her home.

List of news regarding the incident

A noninclusive list of articles reporting Wu’s claim of expulsion from home follows, roughly in order of publication according to Google News. It’s worth noting that they don’t include follow-up articles that use her claim in order to build diatribes against Gamergate or “nerd culture” or any other ancillary topics. To this day these accusations are still made despite the proof that she never left her home, and the sheer amount of articles that repeat her disproven claim of victimhood are far too numerous to list.

Among these various articles, various other factoids and fabrications surface, such as Wu having being hacked and doxxed (her address, posted by @chatterwitheman, is publicly available), Eron Gjoni having claimed his ex-girlfriend Zoe Quinn slept with gaming journalists in order to get good press (a claim he didn’t make, even in The Zoe Post) etc.


Supporting censorship

Following the effective ban of indie game Hotline Miami 2 in Australia [28]https://archive.today/U9pRP, Wu joined the ranks of anti-gamer personalities who justify or excuse censorship of videogames she dislikes [29]https://archive.today/6I8ZB.

ggggggggggggj


 

Lack of disclosure in coverage and award

iMore

Macintosh-focused gaming site iMore has promoted Revolution 60, a game made by Brianna Wu’s studio, Giant Spacekat, on several occasions without ever displaying any disclosure, despite the fact that Wu is friends with several members of the site’s staff, including the editor.

The articles published include a glowing review [30]https://archive.today/Uokrj, a blatant ad in the form of an article (“Revolution 60 is delightful kickassary you need to download right now!”) [31]https://archive.today/fBbyc, her participation in several podcasts [32]https://archive.today/W7rQY [33]https://archive.today/v3T0M [34]https://archive.today/iRGcv, and naming Revolution 60 the iOS Action Game of the Year 2014 [35]https://archive.today/4ND4P. Following her false claim of being driven out of her home, she was again the subject of a friendly article [36]https://archive.today/JL6Os.

Wu is friends with Rene Ritchie [37]https://archive.today/dAQcQ [38]https://archive.today/6ic7Z, Peter Cohen [39]https://archive.today/hLufC [40]https://archive.today/Q5uPz and Serenity Caldwell [41]https://archive.today/FUBer [42]https://archive.today/UOAsv, respectively the editor-in-chief, managing editor for Mac and managing editor for iOS at iMore [43]https://archive.today/TEouY.

In her gloating tweets about the award Revolution 60 received, her prior connection to iMore is glossed over [44]https://archive.today/v1Svq [45]https://archive.today/9n3kw [46]https://archive.today/KDp3m.

Macworld

Brianna Wu contributed an article to Macworld [47]https://archive.today/bv7uo, and weeks later, her game was publicized as “the most ambitious iOS game you’ll play this year” [48]https://archive.today/pnrHL. The author of the article, Serenity Caldwell [49]https://archive.today/FUBer [50]https://archive.today/UOAsv, does mention being in a podcast with Wu, but fails to mention their friendship and Wu’s contribution to Macworld.


Cancelled interview with Milo Yiannopoulos and attempting to crowdfund a trip

In the immediate days following her claim of being driven away from her house, she was in talks with journalist Milo Yiannopoulos in order to have an interview and hopefully bridge the gap caused by the controversy. As the arranged interview was cancelled to to Wu being unresponsive, Yiannopoulos aired his grievance and released made public some details of the planned interview [51]https://archive.today/5Hi3P [52]https://soundcloud.com/radio_nero/series-1-episode-4-threats-and-harassment [53]https://archive.today/8u86j.

According to Yiannopoulos, he gave signs of good faith by allowing her to discuss the questions to be asked beforehand and to pre-record the interview so it could be edited if she requested. Wu initially was receptive, but as the marked date approached, she did not respond, and the interview had to be cancelled. Yiannopoulos claims that initially he thought it wasn’t her fault, seeing as she was under duress (as this was long before anyone had doubts about the false nature of her claims of persectuion) and was busy with various media appointments. However, as he saw her multiple media appearances, he became convinced that she was deliberately fanning the flames of controversy and had no intention of debating.

Two items Yiannopoulos revealed of his correspondence with Wu are particularly telling.

The first one is, she claimed that she originally made the same request of an interview to Adam baldwin, a game voice actor and voval Gamergate supporter, but that he had declined. According to Yiannopoulos, that turned out to be false, as Baldwin had proposed to talk when she was at Los Angeles.

The second one detail of their correspondence is that Wu spoke privately of crowdfunding an event where people both against and pro Gamergate could meet. In other words, people would pay for Wu, Yiannopoulos and potentially other people to travel to a chosen place (Wu suggested San Francisco, a notably expensive city), stay lodged at an hotel and have dinner in order to discuss the controversy. When Yiannopoulos wrote back that he was uncomfortable with the idea of crowdfunding it ad would rather they pay for it themselves, she didn’t write further.


Admitting to and underplaying privilege

As with many other social justice advocates, privilege is a common target of her criticism [54]https://archive.today/WTI1Y. But having openly admitted to have come from an extremely privileged family [55]https://archive.today/Ax2Hh[56]https://archive.today/sfi3Z before the Gamergate controversy.

However, since then, Wu has become dismissive of her privilege, going as far as saying that receiving the hand out from her parents as “[her] initiative” [57]https://archive.today/05Dqu. In a common theme among Gamergate’s detractors, she attributed the criticisms against her as misogyny rather than acknowledge any hypocrisy on her part on the matter of privilege [58]https://archive.today/rxQDC.

Wu later tried to downplay it when talking to a GG supporter [59]http://archive.is/6pC9r[60]http://archive.is/vSIh4[61]http://archive.is/Ed0nC. Other Twitter users followed her comments by pointing out her hypocrisy [62]https://archive.today/ZrvKE[63]https://archive.today/0uaLl.


Gamerfruit

On 15 October 2014, still caught in the furor of the publicity stunt of her false claim of expulsion from home, Brianna Wu tweeted frequently to admonish people and organizations as not being diverse enough. Intending to accuse the Swedish developer DICE, she tweeted such an accusation against @diceeurope [64]https://archive.today/UtOAD, which actually belongs to a small British produce import company [65]http://companycheck.co.uk/company/05468331.

This gave origin to the Gamerfruit meme [66]https://twitter.com/search?q=%23gamerfruit, which led to one of Gamergate’s charity campaigns. It collected US$2,095.00 for the benefit of Action Against hunger USA [67]https://www.crowdrise.com/gamerfruit/fundraiser.


 

Interview with David Pakman

For more information regarding reactions to Wu’s interview with Pakman, please see David Pakman’s page.

On 27 October 2014, Brianna Wu became the first person interviewed by journalist David Pakman in a series of talks with Gamergate-related personalities.

Wu considered Pakman, who had so far not made any pronunciations on Gamergate, of being biased against her. During the interview itself, at about the 20:52 mark, she accuses Pakman of running a hit piece on her [68]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETVcInunAss.

Totalbiscuit commented on this on the Youtube, stating that she seemed to expect the interview to be a platform for her to uncritically expose her side and was surprised when Pakman contested her claims and put her on the spotlight:

dssdgdsdf

Soon after the interview, Wu took to Twitter to further her criticism of Pakman, whom she claimed was putting her “on trial” for being a victim [69]https://archive.today/T4cqM, fitting with the anti-GG narrative that casts Gamergate as a harassment campaign:

wu2

She ends her diatribe by announcing she will “answer all these tough question [sic]” soon in an interview with journalist Glenn Fleishman [70]https://archive.today/FLFlq, with whom she was friends, and both donate to each other’s Patreons. See the appropriate section for more information.

Milo Yiannopoulos gets involved

Yiannopoulos took umbrage at supposed lies about him that Wu said in Pakman’s interview [71]https://archive.today/8Q7Ms [72]https://archive.today/yusbO [73]https://archive.today/9TMM9. This eventually led to more misunderstangs, explained on their respective pages.

Wu speaks out again

Following the drama after Pakman’s conversation with Zoe Quinn on 31 December, Wu again voiced criticism towards Pakman’s neutrality, accusing him of egocentrism and making this “about him”, which Pakman refuted [74]https://archive.today/zJFEW.

asdfghjj

 


Interview with Glenn Fleishmann and lack of disclosure

In the same day of her interview with Pakman, Wu accused of running a hit piece on her and announced she would “answer all these tough question [sic]” in an interview with Glenn Fleishman [75]https://archive.today/T4cqM.

A few facts not mentioned in that Twitter conversation are that Fleishman is a friend of Wu’s since before Gamergate or the “Quinnspiracy” controversy that preceded it [76]https://archive.today/3izMF [77]https://twitter.com/search?q=from%3Aglennf%20to%3ASpacekatgal and donated to the Kickstarter of her game Revolution 60 [78]https://archive.today/3qEvW#selection-463.0-463.15, whereas Wu has collaborated twice to Fleishman’s publication, The Magazine [79]https://archive.today/CQ6Yp [80]https://archive.today/3w6os and donated to two of his Kickstarters [81]https://archive.today/EXQU2. Thus Fleishman’s bias in the interview is a foregone conclusion [82]https://archive.today/wEkiA, as was his open stance against Gamergate as whole [83]https://archive.today/FLFlq.


 

Kickstarter and Patreon misuse

to 30

The expected release date given was August 2014, but the PC and Mac ports remain unreleased, and there was no clarification on the status of their development, until December 2014, when Wu launched a Patreon campaign.

According to her Patreon page [85]http://www.patreon.com/user?u=439829, one of the reasons of the Patreon is to help her shipping the PC port of Revolution 60 by “[hiring] someone to work at GSX to help deal with harassment, and assist GSX in shipping Revolution 60 PC, Cupcake Crisis and further the work of women in tech.” An important and undisclosed detail is that the new employee’s goal is to collect evidence of internet harassment, seeing as she is under no physical threat, as her lie about being expelled from her home on 10 October 2014 shows.

Attempting to crowdfunding a trip to discuss Gamergate

This is explained more in the appropriate section in this page.


 

Assorted

Virulently dismissing a professional’s criticism

One of Brianna Wu’s main topics of conversation is how women are underrepresented in videogames. When confronted with facts that contradicted her alarmist notions by veteran developer David Galiel, she proceeded to get extremely defensive and dismissed the criticism as “mansplaining”, not knowing about his experience in the field [86]https://archive.today/L0NCL, and told him to “shut your mouth” [87]http://archive.is/CFoYM. Galiel has later made his point in a Storify, showing Wu further trying to silence criticism by evoking identity politics and ad hominem fallacies [88]https://archive.today/OwWwz.

According to his company’s site [89]https://archive.today/ikUYH, David Galiel worked pro bono “as Advisor to the Founder/Executive Director and the Board of Directors of the nonprofit Chicktech from 2012 to 2014″. Chicktech is a Portland-based organization that fosters the participation of women in technology careers.

Videogame can cause rape

Source [90]https://archive.today/tmboH.

VRjDtlv

Self-victimizing over videogame violence

Source [91]https://archive.today/rr6bO [92]https://archive.today/fE5L4.

WuKkRjZ

“[I am] now one of the best known devs in the world”

Source [93]https://archive.today/zSZwz.

ggdggdg

Spurious accusations and self-victimization

cNv6iHx

   [ + ]

1. https://archive.today/SuPZX
2. https://archive.today/io7b0
3. https://archive.today/h67k2
4. https://archive.today/iIbOd
5. https://archive.today/SJH5M
6. https://archive.today/K4njN
7. https://archive.today/4aL3J
8. https://archive.today/ycbSP
9. http://pastebin.com/kcGqq7eY
10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSBMx9gfykE
11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1U1cT72JBc
12, 68. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETVcInunAss
13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4He6rNp1gUY
14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtRFbsnUX4k
15. http://archive.is/L3hIZ
16. http://archive.is/OoruB
17. https://archive.today/mEm8C
18. https://archive.today/0rphQ#selection-93.203-96.1
19. http://archive.is/88JHF#selection-1087.0-1087.112
20, 26. https://archive.today/3DD5E#selection-503.0-503.191
21. https://archive.today/SytE8
22. https://archive.today/NjxbB
23. https://archive.today/PRHu2
24. https://archive.today/0sySH
25. https://archive.today/FcOIR#selection-8389.0-9464.1
27. https://archive.today/QKnE7
28. https://archive.today/U9pRP
29. https://archive.today/6I8ZB
30. https://archive.today/Uokrj
31. https://archive.today/fBbyc
32. https://archive.today/W7rQY
33. https://archive.today/v3T0M
34. https://archive.today/iRGcv
35. https://archive.today/4ND4P
36. https://archive.today/JL6Os
37. https://archive.today/dAQcQ
38. https://archive.today/6ic7Z
39. https://archive.today/hLufC
40. https://archive.today/Q5uPz
41, 49. https://archive.today/FUBer
42, 50. https://archive.today/UOAsv
43. https://archive.today/TEouY
44. https://archive.today/v1Svq
45. https://archive.today/9n3kw
46. https://archive.today/KDp3m
47. https://archive.today/bv7uo
48. https://archive.today/pnrHL
51. https://archive.today/5Hi3P
52. https://soundcloud.com/radio_nero/series-1-episode-4-threats-and-harassment
53. https://archive.today/8u86j
54. https://archive.today/WTI1Y
55. https://archive.today/Ax2Hh
56. https://archive.today/sfi3Z
57. https://archive.today/05Dqu
58. https://archive.today/rxQDC
59. http://archive.is/6pC9r
60. http://archive.is/vSIh4
61. http://archive.is/Ed0nC
62. https://archive.today/ZrvKE
63. https://archive.today/0uaLl
64. https://archive.today/UtOAD
65. http://companycheck.co.uk/company/05468331
66. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23gamerfruit
67. https://www.crowdrise.com/gamerfruit/fundraiser
69, 75. https://archive.today/T4cqM
70, 83. https://archive.today/FLFlq
71. https://archive.today/8Q7Ms
72. https://archive.today/yusbO
73. https://archive.today/9TMM9
74. https://archive.today/zJFEW
76. https://archive.today/3izMF
77. https://twitter.com/search?q=from%3Aglennf%20to%3ASpacekatgal
78. https://archive.today/3qEvW#selection-463.0-463.15
79. https://archive.today/CQ6Yp
80. https://archive.today/3w6os
81. https://archive.today/EXQU2
82. https://archive.today/wEkiA
84. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spacekat/bring-revolution-60-to-pc-and-mac
85. http://www.patreon.com/user?u=439829
86. https://archive.today/L0NCL
87. http://archive.is/CFoYM
88. https://archive.today/OwWwz
89. https://archive.today/ikUYH
90. https://archive.today/tmboH
91. https://archive.today/rr6bO
92. https://archive.today/fE5L4
93. https://archive.today/zSZwz
Posted in | Comments Off on Brianna Wu

IGF

Independent Games Festival, the world’s biggest awards ceremony dedicated exclusively to indie games. Part of the UBM media group.

 

Chairman Bandon Boyer and GameJournoPros

IGF chairman since May 2010 [1]https://web.archive.org/web/20100527183248/http://www.igf.com/, Brandon Boyer, was a member of the now-defunct GameJournoPros list. Please see the relevant page for the list’s full membership.


 

Criticism from former judges and contestants

Anna Anthropy

A judge for the 2010 event, Anthropy commented on her blog [2]https://archive.today/6yoqY what she perceived as the judging process’ biggest flaws: a the frontend for the judges discouraged discussion; the inability of judges to weigh in on games that they hadn’t been randomly selected to; bad defitnions of the categories; lack of variety of backgrounds of the judges; and the participation of unfinished games.

On 2012 she protested at the fact that still-unreleased Fez, which had already entered the 2008 IGF and won the Excellence in Visual Arts category, was allowed to enter the contest again, in a lengthy article on Rock Paper Shotgun [3]https://archive.today/OWvmj. Added to her disapproval of unreleased games being elligible in the first place was the fact that the same game could enroll for the events of more than one year. Anthropy’s accusation specifically mention the “cliquey-ness, the scenesters that [she yells] about”. The article states that the IGF chairman, Brandon Boyer, claimed the organizers were “taking gradual steps to limit prior finalists from re-entering the same game”, but stated that 2012 was a “trasitional year” and thus Fez would be allowed to compete.

Rotting Cartridge

Indie studio Rotting Cartridge had entered an Iphone game called Kale in Dinoland for the 2012 IGF, and in February 2012 they wrote a post on their blog containing heavy accusations about the judging process [4]https://archive.today/MpeFi. Chiefly, 3 of the 8 judges to whom Kale In Dinoland had been assigned didn’t even play the game, and 4 of the remaining ones played about only 35 minutes total between them. Further, they accused the judging process to lack transparency, and credit their knowledge of judges’ playing times only because it was the first time the event was using a platform called TestFlight to judge the iPhone games: “The sad truth is, the heads of the IGF know about all of this. They made the mistake of using TestFlight and allowing us, the developers, to see backstage.”

Rotting Cartridge made a follow-up post the next day with a few clarifications, including the playing times of Kale In Dinoland’s judges [5]https://archive.today/XIYLt. Part of it was intended as a reply to Jenn Frank’s criticism, seen below.

Jenn Frank responds

A judge at the 2012 IGF event, Jenn Frank took umbrage at Rotting Cartridge’s revelations and offered a rebuttal [6]https://archive.today/7C9zj, altho she seemingly wasn’t one of the judges to whom Kale In Dinoland was assigned.

Altho she raises valid points (namely, the failure of some devs to provide documentation for their entries or simply of offering buggy builds), her post is littered with assumptions, flaws in logic, personal diatribes and petty insults. Many of the comments on the post condemn it.

Team Meat

Edmud McMillen and Tommy Refenes, who compose Team Meat, have been contestants in the 2010 IGF with the game Super Meat Boy [7]https://archive.today/EjCOi and judges in previous iterations of the event.

In an episode of the HAWPcast podcast published January 2013 [8]http://hawpcast.podbean.com/e/keepin-it-real-with-edmund-mcmillen-and-tommy-refenes/, McMillen and Refenes talk at length about their experience with IGF. They criticize the judging process, accusing the judges at large of voting for games not based on merit but on subjective criteria like “need for exposure”. This hapened agaibnst Super Meat Boy itself as they say:

It pains me to have Phil Fish directly tell me that – he straight up just told us that, “I was one of the many people that voted against Super Meat Boy because I knew you guys were going to be fine.”

This bias against game which are perceived to already be successful is reflected in the judges’ strong stance against already released titles.

8bitpixelrobot

Note: 8bitpixelrobot’s role as a game developer is still unconfirmed, as he claims he doesn’t want to use Gamergate to promote his products.

On 7 October 2014, a Twitter user claiming to have been a IGF entrant came forward with his own experience at the Game Developer’s Conference, the event during which the IGF is awarded [9]https://archive.today/qqWT5, during which a GDC staffer flat out told him games aren’t judged based on merit.

fgnfgm

Assorted comments

In the comments of a Gamasutra article about IGF 2012, the site’s own commenters complained about the awards having become incestuous and favoritism [10]https://archive.today/AodVE.

[Maurício Gomes]: Most recent years are jokes, specially when you consider how inbred the things is… Just take a real look at the judges and winners, and you will notice lots of overlap (and things like judges that judged their own game, or thinks like: The organizer and 5 judges are personal friends of Fish, this year winner… And also winner in 2008… )

And then we have things like a iOS developer that complained that only 5 judges actually played his game, and only 1 actually played it for more than a minute, and the official reply from IGF was something like:

“Judges are busy volunteers, this happen, do not complain.”

Kinda sad when you consider you had to pay 95 USD to enter the competition.

[…]

I know some ex-Judges, and once I talked a bit with the organizers, the problem is clear: There has a general change of direction since it started (causing many old judges to stop being judges because they think the new rules are broken), and also the place where all judges are coming from is the same community (mostly centered TigSource)

So if you take a look, you will see entries of all over the world, but almost all judges are from US, Canada and Scandinavia, you do not see asian judges or latin (from south europe) judges, or latino (from south america) judges, much less african judges.

And cultural perceptions affect a lot of what a person think of each work.

Not only that, the fact judges come from the same community, they tend to like the same things, thus if things remain as they are, we will be forever seeing the same sort of games winning over and over again, it will be always something along the lines of what you see in TigSource and Indiegames.com blog, mostly action games, platformers, retro graphics… I am very sure that Seumas McNally and his strange 3D tank game would never win a today IGF, not because he made a bad game (if it was a bad game he would not win the prize he has won), but because the culture of the judges do not favor that sort of game.

If you look at the early hall of judges, it had half of them being from AAA industry, and lots of clearly “random” people. Now we have mostly ‘indie’ devs and ‘indie’-scene journalists. With ‘indie’ meaning like a person told me once: What Derek Yu says it is ‘indie’ (ie: instead of meaning independent developer, it means small team that started without much money and do retroish stuff)

[…]

Extra note: Nothing against TigSource or Derek Yu (or IGF in fact), I am only explaining why IGF is biased toward a certain type of games and certain people (ie: you have some few people that won several times, instead of several winners that won once…)

[Michael Lubker]: Part of the issue is that judges are often asked to come back. Several times, people have been asked to judge, and then recuse because they enter something. There’s a fine line of conflict of interest.

[…]

Also I agree with Mauricio. The team I’ve been working with didn’t submit this year because we knew our game wasn’t “weird” or pixely enough.

[James Margaris]: Seems like people are waking up to the fact that these awards highly suspect (to put it mildly). For the most part it’s the same narrow slice of people awarding each other and scratching each other’s backs. The fact that you have the same people winning for the same games (that have never been released!) years apart is just ridiculous.

And that’s before you look at the the list of super judges and the incredible lack of diversity represented there. It’s 70% guys with scarves and ironic hats. The whole affair appears intensely cliquish, where games that conform to a narrow sensibility and whose creators are friends with the judges, blog with them, hang out with them at events and websites and such take home the awards.

I see a lot of high quality indie games but I see the same dozen or so names everywhere – handing out awards at IGF, winning awards at IGF, starring in movies and Gamespot videos, speaking at GDC, deciding who gets to speak at GDC…it really does appear that there are a small number of indie gatekeeper illuminati.

And that’s before you get into the dirt-digging stuff where judges don’t even bother playing the games of unhyped entrants.

[David Phan]: Why did this piece get taken off or de-listed from the news threads on the main page? I had to search for it to find it. I understand the IGF is part of Gamasutra’s network of properties, but it looks suspect when something not in your favor gets de-listed like this imo.

With regards to this last quote, it’s worth noting that Gamasutra belongs to the UBM Media group, of which the GDC and IGF are part as well.


 

Unprofessional behavior by judge Mattie Brice

On 4 November 2014, IGF judge Mattie Brice tweeted that she was automatically giving bad marks to games which had men in them [11]https://archive.today/mhjYp, which if true, is an obvious admission of bias and a reinforcement of critics’ claims that IGF’s judges don’t regard merit on the games they’re assigned.

Initially dismissed as a joke, including by IGF itself [12]https://archive.today/o9Ady [13]https://archive.today/Wya91 [14]https://archive.today/HQQGE, Brice has a history of seemingly bigoted comments [15]https://archive.today/5Zt6u [16]https://archive.today/jpBrS [17]https://archive.today/N7K64 [18]https://archive.today/KfP8E [19]https://archive.today/KfP8E [20]https://archive.today/05Z42 [21]https://archive.today/VP4YZ.

Regradless, IGF asked Brice to stop misrepresenting her duty as a judge even if in jest [22]https://archive.today/40Dqd, and Brice responded by quitting her position [23]https://archive.today/hHMfm. Several other IGF judges also threatened to leave the process unless IGF apologized to Brice:

  • Christine Love [24]https://archive.today/8HZjS, who donates to Brice’s Patreon [25]https://archive.today/Qtzgs and afterwards tried to hide this fact by making her Patreon profile private [26]https://archive.today/UNrYl
  • Brendan Keogh [27]https://archive.today/3NOJ7, who also donates to her Patreon [28]https://archive.today/yWmyj
  • Zoya Street [29]https://archive.today/xXDNr

Additionally, journalist Ben Kuchera, another donator to Brice’s Patreon as well as a member of the GameJournoPros list like IGF chairman Brandon Boyer, chastised IGF [30]https://archive.today/G2MBR [31]https://archive.today/I76Df.

IGF soon issued an apology to Mattie Brice [32]https://archive.today/7vm6F. While acknowledging that Brice initial tweet “raised suspicions that judgment would be made on games without due diligence”, the apology is aimed at anyone “been made to feel unsupported by or unsafe”, and keeps the door open for Brice’s return.

As of yet, Mattie Brice has not taken up on IGF’s offer.

Friendship with 2014 IGF entrant

Mattie Brice and Brendan Keogh were friends with indie developer Izzy Gramp [33]https://archive.today/7YMc4 [34]https://archive.today/iXE4n, who had a game among the STudent entrants of IGF 2014, Intergalactic Space princess [35]https://archive.today/5GAAf. Altho it’s currently unknown if Keogh was a judge in the 2014 event, Brice was confirmed to be involved in some capacity [36]https://archive.today/Fn4FX.

 


References

   [ + ]

Posted in | Comments Off on IGF

Ben Kuchera

Gaming journalist, current senior editor of Polygon.

kuchera02

 

Participation in Brad Wardell’s slandering

When Kotaku published its one-sided article accusing Stardock’s Brad Wardell of sexual harassment [1]https://archive.today/JTUza, Kuchera, then at Penny Arcade Report, “signal-boosted” Kotaku’s article [2]https://web.archive.org/web/20130827020524/http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/brad-wardell-of-stardock-sued-for-sexual-harassment-with-some-pretty-damnin. As the URL shows, the original name of Kuchera’s link was called “Stardock CEO Brad Wardell sued for sexual harassment, with some pretty damning evidence”. The latter part was soon edited to “some heavy allegations” as it became clear that Kotaku’s article was heavily flawed, drawing all its accusations from one side of the litigation, namely that of Wardell accuser, and had never sought Wardell to hear his side of the story. Eventually, the case against Wardell was dismissed with prejudice by the courts.


Participation in GameJournoPros

All of the information in this section comes from a single article by William Usher, the leaker of GameJournoPros [3]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 revealing the exitence of GameJournoPros 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 dating to early January 2014 [4]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 [5]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.


Cronyism within GameJournoPros

In addition to being responsible for Orland’s job at Ars Technica and his undisclosed financial tie to Quinn, mentioned in the sections above, Kuchera was also friends with his future employer [6]https://archive.today/XwEK1 thanks to GameJournoPros. Chris Grant, editor-in-chief at Polygon, offered Kuchera a job less than a month after he had left Penny Arcade Report [7]https://archive.today/aIteI.

qw90lLM


Undisclosed conflict of interest

As mentioned above, Kuchera has a financial tie to Zoe Quinn in the form of Patreon support since early January 2014 [8]https://archive.today/48pVJ. In 19 March 2014 he penned an article about Quinn without any disclaimers [9]https://archive.today/iuDHi.


Minor disclosure of Patreon support

Between 25 and 27 August 2014, as a consequence of the discussion within Gamergate, Polygon ammended their ethics statement in regards to Kickstarter and Patreon contributions by its journalists [10]https://archive.today/uZe1b [11]https://web.archive.org/web/20140827204741/http://www.polygon.com/pages/ethics-statement. The additions were:

Polygon staff are permitted to back video game Kickstarter campaigns at the minimum level necessary to acquire the game or hardware. No disclosure is needed.

[…]

Polygon staff are permitted to contribute to Patreon campaigns for members of the video game industry, but need to disclose the details of those contributions on their staff page as well as on any related coverage they publish on the site.

Consequently, Kuchera updated his Polygon user profile to disclose whose Patreon accounts he contributed to [12]https://archive.today/UCzqx [13]https://web.archive.org/web/20140829054155/http://www.polygon.com/users/Ben%20Kuchera. However, his previous article about Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest remains unaltered.


Unprofessional behavior

Accusations against Erik Kain

In 27 January 2013, Erik kain, a gaming blogger for Forbes, posted news about the imminent release of an old 16-bit game [14]https://archive.today/iAta9. Altho only then receiving a physical release in the form of Super NES cartridge, the game Nightmare Busters had already circulated among the emulation scene for a while before this, and to demonstrate that the game itself wasn’t new, Kain linked to a browser-playable version of this ROM. However, due to the less-than-clear legal status of emulated games, his post drew criticism [15]https://archive.today/aj7W2, and he has since edited it to remove the link, apologized and clarified that he mistakenly thought that emulation of a previously unreleased game wasn’t considered piracy.

Ben Kuchera took the opportunity to accuse Kain of advocating piracy [16]https://web.archive.org/web/20140919211214/http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/ben-kuchera-starts-twitter-smear-campagin-against–576873/ [note: the thread went for longer than the 9 pages, but there isn’t a better archived version available]. In the ensuing spat, he started responding to criticisms simply with “Deal with it.” and changing his Twitter avatar to the same message [17]https://archive.today/Q2OAu [18]https://archive.today/qMgzk [19]https://archive.today/2bBaF [20]https://archive.today/QpAYG [21]https://archive.today/g5AoJ [22]https://archive.today/HLzOM [23]https://archive.today/VCT19, to much mockery from the internet [24]https://archive.today/5wXdD [25]https://archive.today/6CtZa.

 

Kuchera gets caught advocating piracy twice

On August 2014, Kuchera wrote an article for Polygon arguing unequivocally for the piracy of Star Wars movies [26]https://archive.today/KpeYt. When called out on the hypocrisy, he again chose to react in an unprofessional manner [27]https://archive.today/aW1KO.

On January 2015, he again advocated piracy, this time in regards to the movie The Hobbit [28]https://archive.today/qfpju.

Attacking Forbes’ ethics policy

On 30 March 2013, there surfaced a rumor that another Forbes blogger, Jason Evangelho, was making a profit by selling review copies of games [29]https://archive.today/yuGAV. Likely because of his previous spat with Kain, Kuchera used the opportunity to passive-aggressively criticize Forbes’ supposed lack of ethical oversight or even an ethics policy, despite he himself admitting that he never had one for the Penny Arcade Report [30]https://archive.today/OkX20.

 

 

Using other press sources without citation

On 15 January 2015, Kuchera wrote on Polygon about a developer of Hotline Miami 2 giving his blessing for Australians to pirate the game after it was banned [31]https://archive.today/STgri, without giving credit to the article he cribbed, from Australian site OXGCN [32]https://archive.today/aHw7J. OXGCN had gotten the information itself from Reddit. Four days later, Kuchera’s article was edited to add Reddit as a source, while still ignoring OXGCN [33]https://archive.today/O0TJr. On 22 January, he confessed and apologized on Twitter [34]https://archive.today/onG35 [35]https://archive.today/2jyyN [36]https://archive.today/Rhui9 [37]https://archive.today/BL2Wn and the Polygon article was further ammended [38]https://archive.today/MkMHS. This is a rare instance of Kuchera admitting to a past mistake.

Penning articles without any fact-checking

On 9 February 2015, Ben Kuchera wrote an opinion piece questioning the profitability of Xbox One title Destiny [39]https://archive.today/g5U64. NeoGAF users spotted how flawed the premise of the article, as the question posed could be solved with simple Google searching [40]https://archive.today/AGNkN, making the whole article moot. The opinion piece has since been edited [41]https://archive.today/mm8op. This complete lack of fact-checking also demonstrates hypocrisy, considering Kuchera’s past diatribe against Erik Kain.

“Tetris is Soviet propaganda”

In a glaring display of ignorance of the subject matter of his job, Kuchera defended the opinion that Tetris as Soviet propaganda [42]https://archive.today/EJsiu [43]https://twitter.com/Rock_DS/status/549024559928983552, defending his point by stating the music and themes as extremely political [44]https://archive.today/APLQY, the government owning the rights to the game [45]https://archive.today/cY2oE and that its unending gameplay transmits the message that [46]http://archive.is/pIA0Q, all while insulting naysayers and bragging about having read about the game’s history. When faced with evidence contrary to his statements (Tetris at its start didn’t have graphics or music, and what little it did come to have weren’t Soviet in nature but Russian; the aforementioned music and graphics pre-dated the Soviet union by decades or centuries; the original version and several of its port and remakes do have an ending; the Soviet government owned the rights to virtually everything within its borders etc.), he chooses to react with more derision.

Assorted


Defends firing people on their opinions

On 31 January 2014, Kuchera had a minor spat with a Gamergate supporter on Twitter [47]https://archive.today/l2aHJ [48]https://archive.today/I5rhw, and followed it up by trying to get him fired over it [49]http://archive.is/TRe1C [50]https://archive.today/eZ9Gh.

1420768822814

 


Hypocrisy

A common theme in Ben Kuchera’s career in gaming journalism is the contradiction between his opinions and actions, or between opinions themselves.

On social justice

In his old posts at the Ars Technica forums, he often defended opinions that directly stand against his current stances with regards to social justice. While it’s perfectly understandable that a person can change opinions as time goes on, there’s a distinct lack of cognizance of this particular reversal. This dovetails with Kuchera’s habit of almost never apologizing or even acknowledging his mistakes [51]https://archive.today/Vmowh#selection-3232.4-3232.8 [52]https://archive.today/js8dA#selection-1348.3-1348.4 [53]https://archive.today/5IwkK#selection-2956.33-2956.34 [54]https://archive.today/fHVzH#selection-1190.11-1190.12 [55]https://archive.today/FMsQ2#selection-866.3-866.4 [56]https://archive.today/MckAf#selection-3740.0-3740.1 [57]https://archive.today/kEg1U#selection-671.0-671.117 [58]https://archive.today/rEa2p#selection-448.7-448.8 [59]https://archive.today/zmfv9#selection-1057.1-1065.10 [60]https://archive.today/GdFI1#selection-2799.0-2837.32.

 

On cronyism

During the “Doritogate” controversy, journalist Lauren Wainwright threatened legal action against Eurogamer for publishing an article by Rab Florence where he named people involved in malfeasance in gaming journalism. Ben Kuchera added his voice to the chorus that criticized this form of censorship, while also making clear that he thought that close relationships between publishers and journalists was a problem [61]https://archive.today/bLphH. The last paragraph is particularly pertinent:

We need to be more willing to report on the mingling of marketing and reporting in the video game industry, not less. There needs to be more instances of disclosure, not fewer. The common industry practice of sticking our heads in the sand and dismissing these stories as “drama” won’t work anymore. Lauren Wainwright is finding that out, to her detriment.

As Gamergate demonstrated, he owes part of his career thanks to cronyism within the GameJournoPros mailing list. He also used it to further collusion regarding a proposed media silence surrounding Zoe Quinn after the publication of The Zoe Post. This is documented in the previous parts of this article.

On piracy

As discussed elsewhere in this page, Kuchera once used a possibly spurious charge of advocating piracy as an opportunity to attack Forbes’ gaming blogger, Erik Kain. After that fracas, Kuchera fomented piracy twice.

 

   [ + ]

1. https://archive.today/JTUza
2. https://web.archive.org/web/20130827020524/http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/brad-wardell-of-stardock-sued-for-sexual-harassment-with-some-pretty-damnin
3, 7. https://archive.today/aIteI
4, 8. https://archive.today/48pVJ
5. https://archive.today/u397Q
6. https://archive.today/XwEK1
9. https://archive.today/iuDHi
10. https://archive.today/uZe1b
11. https://web.archive.org/web/20140827204741/http://www.polygon.com/pages/ethics-statement
12. https://archive.today/UCzqx
13. https://web.archive.org/web/20140829054155/http://www.polygon.com/users/Ben%20Kuchera
14. https://archive.today/iAta9
15. https://archive.today/aj7W2
16. https://web.archive.org/web/20140919211214/http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/ben-kuchera-starts-twitter-smear-campagin-against–576873/ [note: the thread went for longer than the 9 pages, but there isn’t a better archived version available]
17. https://archive.today/Q2OAu
18. https://archive.today/qMgzk
19. https://archive.today/2bBaF
20. https://archive.today/QpAYG
21. https://archive.today/g5AoJ
22. https://archive.today/HLzOM
23. https://archive.today/VCT19
24. https://archive.today/5wXdD
25. https://archive.today/6CtZa
26. https://archive.today/KpeYt
27. https://archive.today/aW1KO
28. https://archive.today/qfpju
29. https://archive.today/yuGAV
30. https://archive.today/OkX20
31. https://archive.today/STgri
32. https://archive.today/aHw7J
33. https://archive.today/O0TJr
34. https://archive.today/onG35
35. https://archive.today/2jyyN
36. https://archive.today/Rhui9
37. https://archive.today/BL2Wn
38. https://archive.today/MkMHS
39. https://archive.today/g5U64
40. https://archive.today/AGNkN
41. https://archive.today/mm8op
42. https://archive.today/EJsiu
43. https://twitter.com/Rock_DS/status/549024559928983552
44. https://archive.today/APLQY
45. https://archive.today/cY2oE
46. http://archive.is/pIA0Q
47. https://archive.today/l2aHJ
48. https://archive.today/I5rhw
49. http://archive.is/TRe1C
50. https://archive.today/eZ9Gh
51. https://archive.today/Vmowh#selection-3232.4-3232.8
52. https://archive.today/js8dA#selection-1348.3-1348.4
53. https://archive.today/5IwkK#selection-2956.33-2956.34
54. https://archive.today/fHVzH#selection-1190.11-1190.12
55. https://archive.today/FMsQ2#selection-866.3-866.4
56. https://archive.today/MckAf#selection-3740.0-3740.1
57. https://archive.today/kEg1U#selection-671.0-671.117
58. https://archive.today/rEa2p#selection-448.7-448.8
59. https://archive.today/zmfv9#selection-1057.1-1065.10
60. https://archive.today/GdFI1#selection-2799.0-2837.32
61. https://archive.today/bLphH
Posted in | Comments Off on Ben Kuchera

Polygon

Major gaming website. Part of Vox Media.

 

Belated launch and Microsoft financing

Vox Media announced on January 2012 [1]https://archive.today/XFYBG that it would launch a website geared at videogames journalism, under the placeholder name of Vox Games, which launched in February of the same year [2]https://archive.today/9rYNF. Its name was changed to Polygon in April [3]https://archive.today/K2Lll, but the official launch happened only in 24 October [4]https://archive.today/BlSj0.

Meanwhile, in August 2012, thus before the official launch, Polygon start publishing a documentary called “Press Reset” about the history of Polygon itself [5]https://archive.today/033mr. Besides the oddity of a documentary of the story of a website that hadn’t even officially launched yet, there was the question of the source of its budget: Microsoft paid US$750,000 for its production [6]https://archive.today/Yfmti, ostensibly as sponsorship from its browser Internet Explorer which can be seen at the end of the videos. However, since Microsoft is also a console manufacturer and a major games publisher, this financing of a documentary goes beyond the usual publisher ads that are the major revenues of most major gaming sites, thus raising the question of conflict of interest even before the site itself launched. Added to this is the fact that Polygon already had US$40,000,000 raised in venture capital [7]https://archive.today/tqlZO.

untitledqndc0

 

Halo 4 advertorial

On 30 October 2012, less than a week after its official launch, Polygon (among other sites) ran a loosely reworded press release of a Halo 4 ad campaign [8]https://archive.today/Tqi8X, a major game published by Microsoft. The first few user comments on the article were critical of this and were censored for a little while before being restored [9]https://archive.today/ZVzqf according to NeoGAF users. The following pictures are sourced from that thread.

It’s worth mentioning that this happened amidst the “Doritosgate” controversy, also surrounding the marketing blitz of Halo 4’s release.

Accusations of reviews biased against Sony and Nintendo

The aforementioned connections to Microsoft led some gamers to speculate on whether Polygon’s reviews unfairly favored titles for Microsoft’s consoles in detriment to those for Sony’s and Nintendo’s consoles [10]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIRNAQseuec [11]https://archive.today/heut6. However the evidence is circumstantial at best, seeing as several Xbox One releases received bad scores too. On June 2013, a user blog post on N4G showed that Polygon’s scores for Microsoft console titles tended to actually be lower than those for Sony console titles [12]https://archive.today/LEYMl.

Accusation of misappropriation of funds

A Reddit user [13]https://archive.today/heut6, along with accusing Polygon of possible pro-Microsoft bias by Polygon, also realized that the IMDB page for the “Press Reset” Documentary listed its budget as only US$75,000. The IMDB page has since been edited to show US$750,000 [14]http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2533830/business. The high possibility of a typo makes this evidence of bias seem circumstantial.

 


 

SimCity review

In its advance review, published 4 March 2013, of the remake of EA’s SimCity for PC, Polygon’s Russ Pitts gave the game a a 9.5/10 [15]https://archive.today/ab5ra.

Polygon_SimCity_Image

As the game was released the very next day, it was plagued by server outages [16]https://archive.today/1mJfh. Seeing as the game’s DRM included an always-on component, it was rendered unplayable to many people for large stretches of time [17]https://archive.today/ix3ey. In order to attempt to fix this, EA had to take servers offline as well in more than one occasion, further compound the problem [18]https://archive.today/cAOeK.

Adding to this were several bugs afflicting the people who did manage to get the game to start [19]http://imgur.com/f4PcBjb,3qnxoIs,o9F4MfM,cXirt8b,YeKbtxr,8uw8Mmc,54nSR0l. Besides common graphical glitches, the main issue seemed to be with bad pathfinding [20]http://games.on.net/2013/03/maxis-to-address-simcity-pathfinding-complaints-as-more-bugs-are-found/, a severe problem given the game’s design.

As the multitude of problems with SimCity cropped up, Polygon’s review drew criticism. Although they could be excused for not experiencing server outages as it was an advance review, they still failed to warn their readers as to the numerous issues with both design and execution. So on the same day of the game’s launch they updated their review, lowering the score to 8/10. However, this seemed to some as disingenuous [21]https://archive.today/RmYst and the score still seemed high considering the updated review itself admitted the reviewer couldn’t quite even play the game.

Perhaps more importantly, score aggregator Metacritic always keeps a publication’s first score as final, so the previous 9.5/10 remains on the site [22]https://archive.today/i3Rp7. As Metacritic’s aggregate score is the closest the videogame industry has to a standardized score, with several stores like Amazon and Steam featuring them on their games’ pages, the hastily-given initial score of 9.5/10 was effectively the only one that mattered. The days after release saw the bug reports and server outages mounting, and on 7 March Polygon again changed the score of the game to 4/10, before finally settling on 6.5/10 on 3 April.

Polygon’s glowing first review of the game and complete failure to warn their readers of the many flaws in the game that weren’t related to server overload, coupled with their strange first update to the score (mocked as “Literally unplayable. 8/10”), harmed the site’s credibility and fueled long-standing allegation of favorable reviews demanded by publishers.


Bayonetta 2 review

On 13 October 2014, Polygon’s Arthur Gies reviewed the WiiU title Bayonetta 2, giving it a 7.5/10 [23]http://archive.is/NhE84. Discussion about the sexualization of the title character takes up virtually half of the text.

A Reddit user [24]https://archive.today/A8FwK noticed that Gies had also reviewed the first Bayonetta game as well, altho for a different website [25]http://archive.is/kwlHD, giving it 8/10. For that first title, the discussion about sexualization is a brief mention, whereas for the sequel it’s a major factor in the review, and the game arguably lost score points for it.

Happening as it did amidst Gamergate, this raised the question of casuistry and the role of ideology in reviewing games [26]https://archive.today/LI9fP. On the other hand, overzealous Bayonetta fans have been accused of retaliating against an unfavorable score, which does amount to a stiflement of criticism [27]https://archive.today/gl3jo.

Suicide Girls mockery

Reddit users accused Gies of hypocrisy over his Bayonetta 2 review’s criticism of oversexualization membership in porno site Suicide Girls [28]https://archive.today/nEFHj.


Gone Home review

On 15 August 2013, Polygon’s Danielle Riendeau reviewed Gone Home and gave it 10/10 [29]https://archive.today/VpZTg (comments not available on the archived page).

It later surfaced that Riendeau was friends with at least two people involved in the game’s development: Steve Gaynor, co-founder of Gone Home’s devhouse The Fullbright Company, and Chris Remo, composer of the game’s score [30]https://archive.today/6bOmd [31]https://archive.today/pgrC3 [32]https://archive.today/ew6rL [33]https://archive.today/R1K4u. These relationships are not disclosed at all in Polygon’s review.

Riendeau had been a guest at Remo’s podcast, Idle Thumbs, a week before Polygon’s review was published [34]https://archive.today/HbDpZ. At about the 0:02:30 mark, they talk about being friends for a long while before. Additionally, Gaynor was a member of Idle Thumbs, once having been co-host of the main podcast, and in October 2013 returned to host his own show in the site, Tone Control [35]http://idlethumbs.wikia.com/wiki/Steve_Gaynor. Among the comments on Polygon’s review, a reader comments on these potential conflicts of interest, but is told by the site’s deputy review editor, Phillip Kollar, that a podcast guest appearance bears no problem. Riendeau’s friendship with Remo and gaynor which predates the podcast itself wasn’t brought up.

On May 2014, Riendeau became an occasional host on the same podcast [36]http://idlethumbs.wikia.com/wiki/Danielle_Riendeau [37]https://web.archive.org/web/20140702044028/https://www.idlethumbs.net/about [38]https://archive.today/tOLBC.

All the information regarding Gone Home’s review other than Riendeau eventually joining Idle Thumbs was sourced from an anonymous picture found below.

8atPtzN

Source: 8chan


Assorted

“Kissing vs Killing”

On 1 October 2014, Polygon published an opinion piece by developer Zach Gage about the game Shadow of Mordor [39]https://archive.today/XpO7f. He complained about the way the game introduced a stealth mechanic in a tutorial, as the player was taught to sneak to kiss his wife in the same manner as sneaking to kill an enemy. From that, Gage proceeded to pen a convoluted moral diatribe, including bringing up an issue of misogyny.

The article was mocked as inane, pointless and a cheap attempt to create a moral panic [40]https://archive.today/BzrQL [41]https://archive.today/72hb5 [42]https://archive.today/mcktO [43]https://archive.today/DVzFB. By contrast, Penny Arcade’s Gabe praised the tutorial in question, seeing it as a clever twist on the usually boring tutorial mechanics and it resonated on his experience as a family man [44]https://archive.today/N3sIb.


 

References

   [ + ]

1. https://archive.today/XFYBG
2. https://archive.today/9rYNF
3. https://archive.today/K2Lll
4. https://archive.today/BlSj0
5. https://archive.today/033mr
6. https://archive.today/Yfmti
7. https://archive.today/tqlZO
8. https://archive.today/Tqi8X
9. https://archive.today/ZVzqf
10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIRNAQseuec
11, 13. https://archive.today/heut6
12. https://archive.today/LEYMl
14. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2533830/business
15. https://archive.today/ab5ra
16. https://archive.today/1mJfh
17. https://archive.today/ix3ey
18. https://archive.today/cAOeK
19. http://imgur.com/f4PcBjb,3qnxoIs,o9F4MfM,cXirt8b,YeKbtxr,8uw8Mmc,54nSR0l
20. http://games.on.net/2013/03/maxis-to-address-simcity-pathfinding-complaints-as-more-bugs-are-found/
21. https://archive.today/RmYst
22. https://archive.today/i3Rp7
23. http://archive.is/NhE84
24. https://archive.today/A8FwK
25. http://archive.is/kwlHD
26. https://archive.today/LI9fP
27. https://archive.today/gl3jo
28. https://archive.today/nEFHj
29. https://archive.today/VpZTg (comments not available on the archived page
30. https://archive.today/6bOmd
31. https://archive.today/pgrC3
32. https://archive.today/ew6rL
33. https://archive.today/R1K4u
34. https://archive.today/HbDpZ
35. http://idlethumbs.wikia.com/wiki/Steve_Gaynor
36. http://idlethumbs.wikia.com/wiki/Danielle_Riendeau
37. https://web.archive.org/web/20140702044028/https://www.idlethumbs.net/about
38. https://archive.today/tOLBC
39. https://archive.today/XpO7f
40. https://archive.today/BzrQL
41. https://archive.today/72hb5
42. https://archive.today/mcktO
43. https://archive.today/DVzFB
44. https://archive.today/N3sIb
Posted in | Comments Off on Polygon

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

   [ + ]

Posted in | Comments Off on GameJournoPros

Patricia Hernandez

Videogame journalist for Kotaku, Gawker Media’s videogame site.

 

Clickbait

Hernandez is known in videogame communities mostly for sensationalist articles, badly-argued opinion pieces, inane comments on other sites’ content and relatively little to do with actual videogames. Altho this trend towards clickbait is common throughout the internet, Hernandez came to symbolize its presence in the videogames press due to the sheer amount of such articles she publishes.

A not-at-all comprehensive list of such articles:


 

Lack of disclosure

Patricia Hernandez has written several articles giving good publicity to games made by personal acquaintances without any disclosure. The following image explains the case and brings up Stephen Totilo’s attitude towards the accusations [1]https://archive.today/HNUdR, and all claims are sourced in the sections below.

hernandez

Source: 8chan

Anna Anthropy

Indie developer Anna Anthropy (a.k.a. Auntie Pixelante [2]https://archive.today/Xfc1t) is a close friend of Hernandez [3]https://archive.today/bJKQE, to the point once being housemates [4]https://archive.today/XUb6n [5]https://archive.today/gRauY.

Several articles were penned by Hernandez for Kotaku praising Anthropy’s works [6]https://archive.today/Sxfo9 [7]https://archive.today/7reDd [8]https://archive.today/kfTPT [9]https://archive.today/5lUBP, some including direct links to buy them. None of these pieces had any disclaimer about this personal tie during their time of publication, but after the start of Gamergate they have since been updated to include a small disclosure mid-way into the text [10]https://archive.today/ii7zm [11]https://archive.today/Vu27J [12]https://archive.today/gXJuj [13]https://archive.today/yA0GC. Two more such articles don’t have any archived version of the text without disclosure [14]https://archive.today/FpU5l [15]https://archive.today/eCccI.

Christine Love

Christine Love is an indie developer [16]https://archive.today/BoIj3 who was once romantically involved with Hernandez [17]https://archive.today/oOli9.

Hernandez wrote two articles promoting Love’s videogame without disclosing this [18]https://archive.today/bnnWC [19]https://archive.today/8qPKg. After the start of Gamergate, both articles were updated to include small disclaimers that mentioned their friendship [20]https://archive.today/29AFh [21]https://archive.today/luhZM.

Zoe Quinn

Hernandez penned an article on Kotaku featuring Quinn’s body mody-mod [22]https://archive.today/ccUBI, without disclosing their friendship. The piece has since been updated to include such a disclaimer [23]https://archive.today/g8IEp.


 

References

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Posted in | Comments Off on Patricia Hernandez

Zoe Quinn

Indie game developer.

 

“Quinnspiracy”

The controversy that preceded Gamergate, brung about by the personal revelations by her ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni on 16 August 2014 in the form of a WordPress-hosted blog called The Zoe Post [1]https://archive.today/36BBc. The fact that the “Five Guys” Gjoni refers to are all involved in the videogame industry or it’s ancillary press gave rise in internet communitites to many accusations of cronyism and corruption, most of them spurious. This is a great factor in the accusations of harassment and misogyny leveled at this episode and the subsequent Gamergate debacle

Two of these men didn’t have their names revealed by Gjoni because he claimed they didn’t know Quinn was in a relationship at the time they got involved with her. Since then, rumor has pinned these men as indie developers Kyle Pulver and Brandon McCartin. However, there’s no evidence towards this, and Pulver claimed innocence in his personal Twitter [2]https://archive.today/coQ5f, but the rumors surrounding the two has persisted, in large part thanks to Youtube videos who used as sources information cribbed largely from anonymous imageboard 4chan [3]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5-51PfwI3M.

Of the three named men among the “Five Guys”, one was Joshua Boggs, an nidie game developer, soon before he hired her, according to Gjoni’s tell-all.

The last two men however had jobs with possible conflicts of interest with Quinn, which are discussed in their own pages: Nathan Grayson and Robin Arnott.

Gjoni went on to be portrayed by Quinn’s acquantances and sympathetic media as a “jilted ex-boyfriend”, despite the evidence he provided, in the form of many chatlogs, pointing towards him being on the receiving end of an abusive relationship.

Before The Zoe Post was published

Gjoni has stated that before publishing The Zoe Post as a blog, he tried to post them the forums at both Penny Arcade and Something Awful [4]https://archive.today/aVEOG. He chose those sites as they had a positive view of Quinn, thus minimizing chances of harassment towards her while hopefully allowing him to say. However, as he explains it:

[Penny Arcade’s] SocialEntropy++ subforum deleted the thread within 5 minutes of posting. Something Awful sent it to the comedy gas chamber within 20 minutes of posting, until a mod read it there and realized how much it was not funny and deleted like hell.

Someone on Something Awful alerted Zoe on twitter within an hour of the deletion. At which point I knew shit was about to hit the fan, and set up the wordpress so that I could control the primary source of information in case people started twisting things it was saying.

Later it surfaced that it was his friend Rachel M, who had been closely following the nascent debacle, who suggested he posted it to a site of his own. See the section below about Rachel M.

Quinn’s Facebook response

Soon after Gjoni’s “The Zoe Post” went online, Quinn posted the following message on her Facebook, according to LPer Broteam Pill [5]https://archive.today/k6cAP.

Among uncorroborated claims about Gjoni (schizoidal, death threats, spreading The Zoe Post via 4chan etc.), fabrications (the “nude photos provided by a different shitty ex” were actually pornographic pictures she was paid for. See the subsection below about Mallorie Nasrallah), exaggerations (men accused of rose things having the benefit of skepticism, despite the cases of Brad Wardell) and a few correct claims (she was indeed harassed by anonymous parties as Gjoni’s revelations spread through the internet), she repeats several pleas for no one to look into Gjoni’s accusations and asking for “radio silence” (which found echo among journalist friends, as seen in the GameJournoPros list).


Other pre-Quinnspiracy accusations

Sexual harassment

The day after Gjoni’s revelation, indie developer Wolfgang Wozniak came forward on Twitter accusing Quinn of having sexually harassed him at a mutual friends’ wedding earlier the same year. Wozniak was subsequently heavily criticized by Zoe Quinn’s friends. Quinn’s critics pointed out that this seems to constitute a clear instance of victim blaming, something which the circle of internet activists defending Quinn claims to be against.

Wozniak has since deleted the accusations and throughly apologized to Quinn.

 

Sabotage of The Fine Young Capitalists

 

As the arguments progressed, there surfaced a new claim of malfeasance surrounding Quinn. Reddit user Matthew Rappard a.k.a. SillySladar, spokesman for the feminist-guided game development event called The Fine Young Capitalists, wrote on the day following Gjoni’s revelation that Quinn intentionally sabotaged TFYC’s because it was a rival to her own project called Rebel Game Jam, stonewalled their efforts to clear matters and doxxed him [6]https://archive.today/2yj71. The original post has since been edited to point to a Soundcloud recording of the accusations [7]https://archive.today/xaNTQ. He has since clarified that it was Quinn’s friend and possible PR agent Maya Alexander Kramer [8]https://archive.today/UxSje#selection-1226.17-1375.15 who did the actual doxxing, tho that post has since then been deleted [9]https://archive.today/DxJU2. A previous post of his from 23 July 2014 mentioned Quinn sabotage without naming culprits [10]https://archive.today/TovjX.

Quinn has since misrepresented her role in sabotaging TFYC, and has claimed to have no professional relation with Maya Alexander Kramer [11]https://archive.today/RSCJx despite evidence to the contrary. There has also surfaced a rumor that Maya Alexander Kramer, like Robin Arnott, was involved with Indiecade 2013’s highlight of Depression Quest. However, she isn’t listed in any capacity for the 2013 event, only for the 2014 edition. [12]https://archive.today/7cH7a

BwzsS-IIYAAv5fX.png large

These allegations against Quinn drove considerable donations to TFYC‘s crowdfunding campaign [13]https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-fine-young-capitalists–2, with the main collective source of donations by far being 4chan’s videogame board, /v/ [14]https://archive.today/CvtgO, which is often accused by Gamergate detractors of misogyny. SlillySladar argued at length about the topic on the project’s blog, while pointing out that the gaming press had been less than forthcoming with their requests for coverage.

On 25 August, Quinn made a series of tweets where she denied all of Matthew Rappard’s accusations and claimed he privately admitted to not being doxxed by her and that she had documents to back up all of it, and included an offer for journalists to contact her to verify her claims [15]https://archive.today/jXqRC. When asked about it on TFYC‘s blog, Matthew Rappard effectively claimed she was bluffing [16]https://archive.today/sUStI. On 15 October she posted the e-mails to Imgur [17]https://archive.today/fF4uj, and the supposed admission of not being doxxed pictured below.

JXGvDYv

Mismanagement of Rebel Game Jam

Related to the TFYC debacle.

Zoe Quinn had been in the process of organizing her own gameing event called Rebel Game Jam since at least April 2014 [18]https://archive.today/nHBs9. It has been criticized for its lack of transparency, since there’s no public details about it such as planned location and date, and whose donation form leads to Quinn’s personal Paypal as opposed to a company’s or organization’s [19]https://archive.today/BZGIo.

Wizardchan abuse

As Gjoni’s accusations against Quinn were made public, members of 4chan remembered a previous controversy involving her.

In December 2013, soon after submitting Depression Quest to Steam Greenlight for a second time, Zoe Quinn alleged she was harassed by members of Wizardchan, an anonymous imageboard dedicated to adult male virgins. According to her, poster from that site were offended that a woman would make a game about a condition she could not suffer from [20]https://archive.today/vfdU9.

Members of Wizardchan contested the claims as cherry-picking two random anonymous posts and blowing them out of proportion since anyone can post these anonymously, as well as jumping to conclusions about a harassing phone call she claimed to receive. However, it’s impossible to know for sure so it becomes a matter of whose word you can trust.

The press provided massive support for Quinn [21]https://archive.today/FRHnR [22]https://archive.today/VOlCC [23]https://archive.today/L7Fr1 [24]https://archive.today/TiPbj [25]https://archive.today/5Cq3U [26]https://archive.today/wf41Y [27]https://archive.today/MPPVg [28]https://archive.today/CDoRi, and Depression Quest was accepted into Steam in the very next batch of greenlit titles [29]http://steamcommunity.com//sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=205494242.

Due to the nature of Wizardchan’s software, it is impossible for non-admin users to know where the abusive posts made against her came from, as they could be made by anyone. However, Fredrik Brennan, former owner of the site, claims that the abusive posts were made by out-of-site trolls and Zoe Quinn herself in an interview with Know Your Meme [30]https://archive.today/kiwF6:

I was friends with the subsequent admin of Wizardchan, Glaive, who was in charge during the Zoë drama. The way it was described in the media is not the way that it happened at all. Many Wizardchan users are very depressed and have trouble even ordering pizza over the telephone, muchless calling someone they don’t know and making threats. The threatening posts made on Wizardchan were made by Zoë herself for attention and by trolls from other websites, as was confirmed by IP checks. Some media outlets recanted their story, but by then the damage was already done.

He does not corroborate, however, how he can be sure what Zoe Quinn’s personal IP was.

Another past acquantaince speaks out

Early October, photographer Mallorie Nasrallah posted on her Facebook page a past diatribe with Quinn [31]https://archive.today/9sCbq after having heard of the ongoing Gamergate debate. Although this episode isn’t related to videogames, it reinforces the notion that Quinn has an abusive personality despite being defended by so many within the gaming journalism business and indie dev industry.

A close friend of Eron Gjoni speaks out

Rachel M, a friend of Gjoni who closely followed the ensuing drama of the latter days of his relationship with Quinn, provided her account of their relationship [32]https://archive.today/TlcLV, describing Quinn as fitting the profile of a manipulative personality.

 


Faking her own doxxing

On 19 August 2014, Quinn claimed to have been hackd and doxxed by 4chan’s /v/ board. However, evidence provided by Quinn pointed to her own claim being false [33]https://archive.today/vXZwQ#selection-2426.0-2426.1. The personal data present in her dox turned out to be completely unrelated to her, and inconsistencies with her claims were spotted [34]https://archive.today/aZXgq.


Censorship

Soon after the publication of The Zoe Post, several gaming sites enforced bans on talking about “Quinnspiracy” at large. Some of that censorship came at the request of Zoe Quinn herself.

Gamesnosh

On 19 August 2014, gaming website Gamesnosh was contacted by their webhost requesting for an article about Zoe Quinn to be removed [35]https://archive.today/kXsla [36]https://archive.today/MYH4p. It was taken off air, but is currently back live.

MundaneMatt’s Youtube

On the same day, a video by MundaneMatt discussing the same subject was taken down from Youtube on DMCA grounds. It has since been re-uploaded [37]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5CXOafuTXM. Later, mundameMatt confimed that the DMCA takedown request came from Zoe Quinn herself [38]https://archive.today/UqAwg.

The spurious use of DMCA claims to censor a video on Youtube struck game reviewer TotalBiscuit as unethical [39]https://archive.today/MphRL.

Depression Quest forum on Steam store

Know Your Meme contributor Aquapendulum presented a screenshot showing him being banned from the discussion section of Depression Quest’s Steam store after making a post publicizing The Fine Young Capitalists after it surfaced that Zoe Quinn had sabotaged them [40]https://archive.today/vXZwQ#selection-2764.0-2764.1. It makes sense that he would be banned for the post in question which indeed has nothing to do with Depression Quest at all, but what’s unusual is the ban reason, which simply states “abuse”, in another example of the narrative of harassment that is levelled at Quinn’s critics.

85d

Reddit

Still on 19 August, the aforementioned argument by TotalBiscuit [41]https://archive.today/MphRL, presented in a Twitlonger page, was posted to one of Reddit’s two main videogame subreddits, /r/gaming, and the topic was the target of massive post deletion by its mods [42]https://archive.today/ENcGC. This further exacerbated concerns of censorship surrounding “Quinnspiracy”, especially seeing as one of the subreddit’s moderators, el_chupacupcake, spoke to Quinn about it.

Source: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/quinnspiracy

In the ensuing mass of deleted posts, reports of bans and “shadowbans” trickled in [43]https://archive.today/Ai3NI [44]https://archive.today/TgWOK, including automated bans for users who visited 4chan at the same time as they posted on Reddit under a blanket accusation of brigading. These bans came not only from /r/gaming, but also from /r/games, which is the biggest subreddit for proper discussion of videogames, and other minor subreddits.

On roughly 23 or 24 August, the claims of systemic censorship on any topic related to “Quinnspiracy” were confirmed by an accidental leak of private chats of a /r/games moderator, XavierMendel, due to a his badly configured Puush account which made it public. It included several screenshots where he, under the the nickname of ‘Some Guy’, explained Zoe Quinn’s intervention and how the two main gaming subreddits came to enact blanket bans on the subject, and despite not stating his Reddit username he was soon identified and was demodded and banned from /r/games as well as private and publics IRC rooms related to the subreddit. [45]https://web.archive.org/web/20140907134153/http://imgur.com/a/GD4EM [46]https://archive.today/mpOTH [47]https://archive.today/ZUtwq [48]https://archive.today/cI8I6 [49]http://pastebin.com/MyrkRPE6. The leaked screenshots also include a link to a private message which Zoe Quinn had sent to the mod team of several gaming subreddits requesting a complete ban on the topic of “Quinnspiracy”.

Some important details according to these claims:

  • the mods of /r/gaming (among them, the aforementioned el_chupacupcake) catered to her request and enacted a ban
  • the mods of /r/games initially didn’t cater to her and allowed discussion so long as it didn’t involve dox, but were coerced into enacting a ban by Reddit admins (“I can share that they were being intentionally vague in what they were telling us. Never any ultimatums or orders. Just stuff like yeah we could allow this, and we may or may not consider it as you allowing doxxing to go on. The whole “nice account shame if something happened to it” routine”)
  • this also entailed ignoring requests by Eron Gjoni to simply be heard (when asked if he could share what Gjoni had said to the mod teams, XavierMendel stated: “We had to decline before he sent us anything. Sorry.”)
  • Reddit admins have full access to users’ private messages

Soon after being de-modded, XavierMendel shared his side of the story [50]https://archive.today/j6IFo [51]http://pastebin.com/MyrkRPE6. On 7 September, he also gave an informal interview [52]https://soundcloud.com/user613982511/recording-xm-2014.


From “Quinnspiracy” to Gamergate

On 28 August 2014, almost two weeks after the publication of The Zoe Post, a series of articles appeared in various gaming sites and blogs with the thematic of “gamers are dead”. These were made of invective against not just those who criticized or mocked the “Quinnspiracy” and those involved, but against gamers as a whole, thus turning the “Quinnspiracy” into Gamergate.

Please see the page on Leigh Alexander, the author of the first and more vicious article, for more information.


Litigation against Eron Gjoni

At an unprecise date, Zoe Quinn engaged in litigation against Eron Gjoni, who on 23 September 2014 requested for donations for legal services [53]https://archive.today/X55ky. Tho the donation page has since been removed, an archive remains [54]https://archive.today/9kaj1. The court hearing happened on 30 September 2014 concerning an abuse prevention order filed by Quinn against Gjoni.

nMkvN3F

On 2 October 2014, Benjamin Hitov, a friend of Eron Gjoni, claimed to have been to the hearing and posted a thread on Reddit [55]https://archive.today/Qzuuc, saying that the hearing was severely flawed, with the judge being dismissive of the arguments from Gjoni’s side, the granting of an order of physical restraint based on false claims, and the issue of freedom speech curtailed by a court. Also noteworthy is that it was made clear the Quinn’s request was filed under the Massachusetts General Laws chapter 209A [56]https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A, which concerns the prevention of physical abuse, despite the basis of her claims were almost all related to harassment on the internet, which would fall under chapter 258E [57]https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleIV/Chapter258E instead.

On 16 October 2014, Buzzfeed published an interview with Gjoni, where among various parts of Gamergate, discussed the court proceedings [58]https://archive.today/PdVk5. He soon posted the full transcript of the interview to his blog [59]https://archive.today/Q0VjC.

On 23 October, a scanned copy of Quinn’s affidavit surfaced. As claimed in the Reddit thread in 2 October, almost all of Quinn’s claims actually concern internet harassment instead of physical, and the claims that do mention physical harm had been debunked in that thread. This brings back the distinction between chapters 209A and 258E and why Quinn’s side chose the former.

Zoe_quinn_complaint

Eron Gjoni has clarified on Twitter [60]https://archive.today/AJZ7X important legal details concerning the two laws. Namely, it concerns past instances of abuse of restraining orders as gag orders. Past abuses of such orders filed under 258E have been successfully challenged in the past; however, orders filed under 209A lack such a precedent. In other words, it was easier to restrict Gjoni’s freedom of speech by filing under chapter 209A instead of the 258E.

Third-party analysis of Zoe Quinn’s affidavit

On 23 December 2014, a Reddit poster provided an in-depth look at the affidavit provided by Zoe Quinn [61]https://archive.today/PXoJq.

Starting with the suspicious use of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 209A instead of 258E as discussed above, they go on to pick apart Quinn’s claims one by one while providing plentiful sources.

The conclusions reached is that the affidavit is so full of misleading claims or outright fabrications that Quinn might be liable for perjury, and that “Quinn’s primary, if not sole, motive in filing the complaint appears to be a very short-term strategy of imposing a gag order on Gjoni for at least several months to a year”.


Smear campaign against Brad Wardell

On 2 December 2014, Quinn went to Twitter to level accusations against Stardock CEO and developer Brad Wardell, namely that he had offered a job to an artist because he drawn a pornographic strip featuring Quinn and they shared pro-GG opinions. As the accusations turned out to be spurious (Wardell hadn’t offered a job, only told the artist that Stardock was hiring and thus he could send his resumé, and he wasn’t evevn aware of the offending strip in the first place), she brought up court charges faced by Wardell in the past years (the charges against him had been dismissed with prejudice) and tweeted to her friends about it in a seemingly clear attempt to smear him.

This is explained in great detail in the appropriate section of Brad Wardell’s page on this site.

   [ + ]

1. https://archive.today/36BBc
2. https://archive.today/coQ5f
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5-51PfwI3M
4. https://archive.today/aVEOG
5. https://archive.today/k6cAP
6. https://archive.today/2yj71
7. https://archive.today/xaNTQ
8. https://archive.today/UxSje#selection-1226.17-1375.15
9. https://archive.today/DxJU2
10. https://archive.today/TovjX
11. https://archive.today/RSCJx
12. https://archive.today/7cH7a
13. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-fine-young-capitalists–2
14. https://archive.today/CvtgO
15. https://archive.today/jXqRC
16. https://archive.today/sUStI
17. https://archive.today/fF4uj
18. https://archive.today/nHBs9
19. https://archive.today/BZGIo
20. https://archive.today/vfdU9
21. https://archive.today/FRHnR
22. https://archive.today/VOlCC
23. https://archive.today/L7Fr1
24. https://archive.today/TiPbj
25. https://archive.today/5Cq3U
26. https://archive.today/wf41Y
27. https://archive.today/MPPVg
28. https://archive.today/CDoRi
29. http://steamcommunity.com//sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=205494242
30. https://archive.today/kiwF6
31. https://archive.today/9sCbq
32. https://archive.today/TlcLV
33. https://archive.today/vXZwQ#selection-2426.0-2426.1
34. https://archive.today/aZXgq
35. https://archive.today/kXsla
36. https://archive.today/MYH4p
37. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5CXOafuTXM
38. https://archive.today/UqAwg
39, 41. https://archive.today/MphRL
40. https://archive.today/vXZwQ#selection-2764.0-2764.1
42. https://archive.today/ENcGC
43. https://archive.today/Ai3NI
44. https://archive.today/TgWOK
45. https://web.archive.org/web/20140907134153/http://imgur.com/a/GD4EM
46. https://archive.today/mpOTH
47. https://archive.today/ZUtwq
48. https://archive.today/cI8I6
49, 51. http://pastebin.com/MyrkRPE6
50. https://archive.today/j6IFo
52. https://soundcloud.com/user613982511/recording-xm-2014
53. https://archive.today/X55ky
54. https://archive.today/9kaj1
55. https://archive.today/Qzuuc
56. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A
57. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleIV/Chapter258E
58. https://archive.today/PdVk5
59. https://archive.today/Q0VjC
60. https://archive.today/AJZ7X
61. https://archive.today/PXoJq
Posted in | Comments Off on Zoe Quinn

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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Posted in | Comments Off on Robin Arnott

Nathan Grayson

Gaming journalist. Formerly for Rock Paper Shotgun, currently working for Kotaku.

 

Lack of disclosure regarding Depression Quest

One of the five men implicated in Eron Gjoni’s initial deouncement of Zoe Quinn [1]https://archive.today/36BBc. Tho it’s often said in his defense that he didn’t write a positive review for Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest, there’s still two instances undisclosed conflict interest at play.

The first instance involves Grayson’s coverage of the ill-fated GAME_JAM event [2]https://archive.today/ykZbo posted on 31 March 2014, in which Quinn is a central figure. The article was written a few days before they started a romantic relationship, by the recognition of Stephen Totilo, Kotaku’s editor-in-chief [3]https://archive.today/C4W4J, who dismisses this short time gap as evidence that their involvement at the time the article was written was purely professional.

The second instance was an article at Rock Paper Shotgun posted on 8 January 2014 [4]https://archive.today/iS4Ru mentioning 50 games approved in a batch by Steam’s Greenlight initiative. Tho Depression Quest was only one title of many, it was highlit and its screenshot headlined the article.

The day after the aforementioned article, Grayson tweeted he could “burn down the game industry” in defense of Quinn [5]https://archive.today/Ci5Y7, again showing their personal relationship extends before Totilo’s claim.

Both instances are brought into a new light by a post at blog The Ralph Report [6]https://archive.today/p9pur. In the credits of Depression Quest, Grayson’s name is listed among several others receiving a special thanks. As The Ralph Report notes, this either means that Grayson made a financial donation to the game’s Kickstarter or that he was close to Quinn at the time the game was still being developed. Regardless of whether the nature of their relation was personal or financial, it wasn’t disclosed at all in either of the two articles.

Further, as William Usher notes [7]https://archive.today/EiMwW#selection-653.2-661.57, Grayson and Quinn have been familiar on Twitter since at least June 2012, and on January 2014 even kidded about burning down the game indsutry if Quinn left it [8]http://archive.is/MDt0u.


Justifying censorship of games

On 15 December 2014, following Valve’s removal from Steam Greenlight of the controversial game Hatred, Grayson penned an article on the subject for Kotaku [9]https://archive.today/4M752. As is common in gaming journalism, especially under pretenses of being simply blogging sites as opposed to serious publications, the article makes use of heavy-handed proselytizing under the guise of reporting.

Despite pointing out the flaw in Valve’s rationale when removing Hatred from its Greenlight service since there’s several other, similarly offensive games already being sold on Steam, Grayson also engages is thinly veiled apologia for censorship. Using a variation of the canard that it’s not proper censorship since it’s being made by a private organization and the game would still be available elsewhere, he goes on to judge the game and effectively deem its removal as no great loss.

It concludes with tepid admonishings against both Greenlight’s unclear guidelines and against the Hatred’s developers themselves for stirring a controversy, regardless of being censored.

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Posted in | Comments Off on Nathan Grayson