Jenn Frank

Journalist for The Guardian.

 

Response to IGF criticism

This is explained in more detail in IGF’s page on this site.

Indie studio Rotting Cartridge, an entrant on IGF 2012, fiercely criticized the judging process of the event [1]https://archive.today/MpeFi, claiming many of the judges assigned to their game, Kale in Dinoland, barely even played it. This lack of proper judgment runs counter to the supposedly meritocratic order of the awards.

A judge at the 2012 IGF event, Jenn Frank took umbrage at Rotting Cartridge’s revelations and offered a rebuttal [2]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.


 

Undisclosed conflict of interest

Most of the information in this section comes from a thread on Reddit. [3]https://archive.today/5Ut7m.

On 1 September 2014, Jenn Frank published an article on The Guardian [4]https://archive.today/rV5iZ. Although it doesn’t mention Gamergate, it revolves arround the narrative of harassment against women in videogames, chiefly Zoe Quinn, that has surrounded it since. The initial version of the article failed to disclose her ties to Zoe Quinn in the form of support to her Patreon. On the same day, the article was edited as a tiny disclosure was added at the very end of the article [5]https://archive.today/nLuJR. On 5 September the edit was changed to clarify that the disclosure (which also included Frank having briefly met Anita Sarkeesian, also feature din the article) was included by Frank in the copy she sent to the newspaper, but the editor thought it wasn’t a significant connection, thus assuming the fault for omitting the disclosure that was being unfairly blamed on Jenn Frank [6]https://archive.today/1OcX5.

However, there are four other factors that aren’t mentioned anywhere that indicate conflict of interest.

The first is the fact that Maya Felix Kramer, a friend and possible PR agent of Zoe Quinn, pays into Jenn Frank’s own Patreon [7]https://archive.today/UkRWS. However, the possible PR tie between Kramer and Quinn is circumstantial. The page on Zoe Quinn expounds on their relationship.

The second one is that Frank, by her own admission, Frank booked and paid approximately US$1,000.00 for the hotel room where Zoe Quinn and her then-boyfriend Eron Gjoni during Game Developer’s Conference 2014 [8]https://archive.today/yDePm [9]https://archive.today/yE0is [10]https://archive.today/24qTi, which is corroborated by Gjoni in his blog [11]https://archive.today/hTjM6. GDC 2014 took place in San Francisco during 17 to 21 March, with Frank paying for a week’s worth of the hotel room and Gjoni paying for further two nights.

The third factor is that in the same series of tweets where she admits to paying US$1,000.00 for Quinn’s and Gjoni’s hotel room, she lashes out at Gjoni. Besides the common and misapplied epithet of “jilted ex” [12]https://archive.today/yDePm, she calls him “this idiot horrible asshole” [13]https://archive.today/pQJRP and flings even more colorful profanities [14]https://archive.today/L3maK, while wishing that he would pay her back [15]https://archive.today/yDePm [16]https://archive.today/pQJRP [17]https://archive.today/1hPWg. Beyond the vituperation, these tweets perfectly indicate her bias in the issue she covered even without considering the financial matter of the hotel room payments.

The fourth one is simply how close she is to Zoe Quinn at all, regardless of hotel fees. Being close to the would-be subject of your journalistic articles is a conflict of interest in itself. Tho Frank saw fit to disclose having briefly met Anita Sarkeesian, she far closer relationship to Zoe Quinn went unremarked upon.

These tweets predate the publication of the article on The Guardian, but to this day, it makes no mention of this financial tie, let alone her personal friendship and bias towards Quinn’s side of the story.

“Quitting” for 17 days

On 3 September 2014, Frank made a public display of quitting freelance writing, because her editor having not published her initial disclosure caused her to come under unwarranted scrutiny [18]https://archive.today/7j7X8. No mentions are made of the hotel fee, her relationship with Quinn or her bias towards Quinn’s side of the story.

17fdf60e630d84d88927e9e08307acaf

On 20 September she was back to penning articles for The Guardian [19]https://archive.today/ZgMZH.

Explaining her side

On September 11 2014, Frank made a post on her blog expounds on her short-lived decision to quit freelance writing. Between personal details irrelevant to the topic at hand, she reiterates that it was the newspaper’s choice to not initially include her disclosure, and clarifies that her payments to Zoe Quinn’s Patreon amount to three monthly payments to $5, thus an insignificant amount (“I am being taken to task for $15, far less than any journalist’s bar tab”) [20]https://archive.today/E4yzA.

Again, no mentions are made of the hotel fee, friendship with Quinn or bias towards her.


Assorted

N64 controllers too complex for girls

Source [21]https://archive.today/bOP8Y#selection-1255.0-1255.373

By 1996, most of my female classmates had stopped playing video games. I think some of this had to do with societal pressures but the rest of it had to do with the Nintendo 64. Even now its controller is nonsense; in 1996 it was outright galling. Where had all these buttons come from? Why was it shaped like that? Why was there an analogue stick stuck in the middle of it?

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Adam Sessler

Former gaming journalist.

 

False accusations of drug abuse

During Rev3Games’ coverage of E3 2013 which ran from 11 to 13 June, in several videos Sessler is seen behaving very erratically, presenting nervous tics, slurred speech and other symptoms often associated with drug abuse [1]https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWnpHOQXsPDvkhaVsuEydVguE37dVzYnN [2]https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWnpHOQXsPDvK2UFvRCUll5ja7Z81Af3k [3]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6P2synObts.

Soon the internet had plenty of rumors regarding the use of cocaine [4]https://archive.today/Q3Z5F [5]https://archive.today/4Vki2 [6]https://archive.today/vBjI5 [7]https://archive.today/XjX9P. Although they were for the most part in mockery, nevertheless mean-spirited assumptions took some hold. There is no evidence whatsoever about drug abuse beyond conjecture based on the videos in question, which has been attributed to stress and overwork during E3 [8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo8QPyf24FA.


Justifies doxxing

During the ScrewAttack Gaming Convention 2013, which lasted from 11 to 13 July, Adam Sessler and Jim Sterling shared a panel to talk about the state of online gaming communities.

On the topic of hate speech and the trolls that use it, Sessler makes a perfectly valid point that just as its their right to free speech to behave in such a manner, he has the freedom of speech to call them out and offend them too. However, he follows this up by immediately justifying doxxing, namely by finding their address and publicizing it, to cheers from the audience and enthusiastic agreement from Sterling [9]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOxRxyv6TFs#t=26m.

Accusing 4chan of “live hacking attempts”

On 21 August 2014, two days after Zoe Quinn faked her own doxxing, Sessler tweeted about being in a bar with her and “watching these hack attempts going down live”, with screenshot showing Zoe Quinn and her boyfriend Alex Lifschitz browsing what seems like a 4chan board (at the time, 4chan hadn’t banned Gamergate discussion), and soon afterwards he advertises her Patreon [10]https://archive.today/nFMLG [11]https://archive.today/H5N7z [12]https://archive.today/vg8UT [13]https://archive.today/E1nQh.

Suspicions of favoritism arose from the event, considering the facts that:

  • journalists associating too much with devs and publishers being one of Gamergate’s contentions (although Sessler has left gaming journalism since April 2014, he remains a personality in the gaming press)
  • he flat-out encouraged people to donate money to one such dev
  • Quinn unsuccessfully attempt to fake her own doxxing only two days prior
  • she indeed hasn’t been hacked then, or at all

4chan’s /v/ board mocked Sessler’s accusations, which they saw as just another smear attack on Gamergate [14]http://4archive.org/v/thread/259122764 [15]http://4archive.org/v/thread/259128004.

However, hours after Sessler’s tweets, the site of Phil Fish’s Polytron site was hacked and with it his doxxes were leaked. The perpetrator is unknown as the message left on Polytron’s defaced site is purposefully sarcastic and obfuscating, which led pro-GG people to argue it was a “false flag” like Quinn herself had attemtped two days previously. However, Polytron’s hacking proved to be genuine. More details in Phil Fish’s page in this site.


Excusing conflict of interest

In a video uploaded to Youtube by Rev3Games in February 2013, Sessler essentially calls gamers “paranoid” for being distrusting of one of their reviews of an EA-published game which featured ads for EA itself [16]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-22uspc2VrQ.


 

Assorted

Anti-gamer

CnBiemW

Source [17]https://archive.today/t3BeL

Supports real-life harassment of pro-GG people

BzzRgrYCQAEvkXW

Source [18]https://archive.today/dVERp

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David Pakman

Host of the syndicated political talk show that ebars his name, broadcast for radio, television and online.

 

Involvement with Gamergate

Pakman joined the discussion when he started doing interviews with several key figures from Gamergate starting late October 2014:

Others were invited on the show but their interviews didn’t come to pass for various reasons:

  • Stephen Totilo, who on 31 October was invitated via Twitter and politely declined [1]https://archive.today/v1exp
  • Zoe Quinn, who on 31 October was invited via Twitter, accused him of “public pressure” and enabling a “hate group”, among other claims from her and her peers, especially Alex Lifschitz. Please see the sections below for more details
  • Oliver Campbell, scheduled to be interviewed on 3 November, cancelled it [2]https://archive.today/QPKfW

Public reception of Gamergate interviews

Pakman’s very first piece on Gamergate, Brianna Wu’s interview, immediately drew criticism from the anti-GG side.

Brianna Wu’s criticism

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 [3]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 [4]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. 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 [5]https://archive.today/3izMF [6]https://twitter.com/search?q=from%3Aglennf%20to%3ASpacekatgal and donated to the Kickstarter of her game Revolution 60 [7]https://archive.today/3qEvW#selection-463.0-463.15, whereas Wu has collaborated twice to Fleishman’s publication, The Magazine [8]https://archive.today/CQ6Yp [9]https://archive.today/3w6os and donated to two of his Kickstarters [10]https://archive.today/EXQU2. Thus Fleishman’s bias in the interview is a foregone conclusion [11]https://archive.today/wEkiA, as was his open stance against Gamergate as whole [12]https://archive.today/FLFlq.

Milo Yiannopoulos gets involved

Yiannopoulos took umbrage at supposed lies about him that Wu said in Pakman’s interview [13]https://archive.today/8Q7Ms [14]https://archive.today/yusbO [15]https://archive.today/9TMM9. This eventually led to more misunderstangs, explained on their respective pages.

Ben Kuchera’s preventive refusal

On 31 October, after receiving Totilo’s recusal for an interview, David Pakman lamented that they were having trouble finding anti-GG people to be on the show [16]https://archive.today/4oHHz. After a random commenter suggested he ask Ben Kuchera, the latter preventively recused himself with a peculiar message that compared Gamergate to creationists [17]https://archive.today/7N7dU. This reinforced the anti-GG narrative that GG, as a harassment campaign, has no merit whatsoever and doesn’t even deserve to be debated.

dsgsgsgsdfg

Zoe Quinn’s invitation

Still on 31 October, as Pakman sought for more anti-GG voices to be interviewed, he tweeted at Zoe Quinn asking if she would like to be interviewed. She immediately responded by accusing him of applying “public pressure” against people [18]https://archive.today/U4oSF especially with GG’s “interference” involved [19]https://archive.today/hurQE, and of legitimizing a “hate group” via a golden mean fallacy [20]https://archive.today/LnIH4, before refusing the offer and requesting further conversations to be in private [21]https://archive.today/5IrEF.

The implication of her accusations, in keeping with the standard anti-GG narrative, is that Gamergate has no valid points and isn’t even worthy of being discussed. As Pakman defended himself from these accusations, she further berated him for not asking in private [22]https://archive.today/b3H77 [23]https://archive.today/qXHmb. He apologized, claiming her replies were appearing out of order because of the software he was using, Hootsuite.

Still later on 31 October, Alex Lifschitz went on a rant because of Pakman’s requests for an interview. It’s pretty much impossible to highlight the most egregious tweets because it was effectively a day-long tantrum [24]https://archive.today/L57Ze.

Regardless, on 1 November Quinn mentioned responded to David Pakman to talk about a possible interview deal in private [25]https://archive.today/39CUy [26]https://archive.today/h0W7V. As of yet, she wasn’t interviewed by Pakman.

Source: 8chan

Source: 8chan

The same day, Pakman mentioned on Twitter how he had received many accusations of “leading a hate mob against women” simply for stating his neutrality regarding GG during the previous day’s fracas with Zoe Quinn [27]https://archive.today/SinMV.

tjrjtyjytj9

Wu piles on again

Following the multiple attacks on Pakman that followed the fracas with Zoe Quinn on 31 October, Wu again weighed in against Pakman, accusing him of egocentrism and making this “about him”, which Pakman refuted [28]https://archive.today/zJFEW.

asdfghjj

Arthur Chu’s criticism

The interview with Arthur Chu happened on November 4.

The second and so far last anti-GG figure to be interviewed by Pakman, Arthur Chu already had demonstrated animosity towards Pakman due to perceived victim harassment when offering her an interview [29]https://archive.today/iAFxm [30]https://archive.today/gvlvY.

Chu started openly criticizing Pakman soon after the interview was done [31]https://archive.today/4HzQT, to Pakman’s apparent surprise as he claims they agreed more often than not on the topics discussed. Later Chu claimed that his contention was that “the shows were set up as ‘Gotcha!’ zingers and whaddya know we did a half-hour on zinging me” [32]https://archive.today/6HBsZ, which Pakman denied [33]https://archive.today/qdrBO, without any proof presented by Chu.

Throughtout these Twitter conversations, Chu tries to smear Pakman’s reputation by claiming he is an unethical journalist who owes his career to a 2010 interview with Glenn Miller [34]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNrKqjYfv74 [35]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH93qfvnxls, a white supremacist who came to national attention on 13 April 2014 after a shooting rampage in a Jewish retirement community [36]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overland_Park_Jewish_Community_Center_shooting. Pakman and other Twitter users point out that the interview happened literally years before Miller’s crimes, which makes Chu’s accusations of sensationalism patently false, and moreover the interview tapes were handed as evidence to the FBI. However Chu still insisted that Miller’s 2010 interview and 2014 rampage where the springboard of Pakman’s career, while claiming his feud with Pakman wasn’t due to Gamergate but due to Pakman being only interested in “dirt” on his interviewees.

Days later, Arthur Chu put his contention in more simple, honest terms.

tjrjtyjytj8

Yet a few days later, Chu wrote an article for The Daily Beast against Gamergate. Beside the usual narrative of misogyny and self-denefnse from personal accusations, he took the time to write Pakman “seems to enjoy doing sensationalistic clickbait interviews for the attention and the fireworks, without considering whether they make any positive impact” [37]https://archive.today/u511N. Pakman responded in a tweet that Chu had shown no objections to their research process at the time of the interview but now rants about how it’s “evil” [38]https://archive.today/W8H0j.


Further defamation and David Pakman’s defense

Besides rebuttals on Twitter seen in the section above, David Pakman has saw fit to follow the series of interviews with a few video “editorials” of sorts.

Pakman’s position on Gamergate itself

In the first non-interview video about Gamergate [39]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9fiz35EP2I published on November 10, Pakman clarifies his position on GG itself. Claiming to be accused of bias for both sides and that he accepts neither label, he explains he clearly sees harassment and trolling coming from both sides, states that issues of sexism misogyny clearly exists but has not be presented with evidence that such issues are worse in the gaming industry than elsewhere, and that it’s clear that there’s no doubt about collusion in gaming journalism even tho obviously the field is obviously not a serious matter in the grand scheme of things. In the next video, he clarified that tho neutral in the issue, he sympathized more with the anti-GG side.

CBC misidentification

In the second “editorial” video about GG [40]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kC7s7tfaEc, Pakman shares past instances where he was misidentified in the press (once as a former neo-Nazi, once as a dead gay suicidal teenager), and now it has happened again, thanks to CBC’s piece on Gamergate [41]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELZXPvdH9AY from 13 November.

During the segment, as the voiceover says that Gamergate began as a hashtag for the discussion of ethics in gaming journalism but has degenerated into a harassment campaign, the camera shows tweets and videos of several different people on the pro-GG side. Due to this lack of clarity, it can be implied that these specific people were labeled as either common gamers discussing ethics or harassers, and among the visible people is Greg Pakman. Worse still, the footage of Pakman that they used was precisely his previous video, where he states his neutrality. So the CBC article not only spuriously implies several people might be harassers, but it demonstrates they didn’t do any research at all in showing David Pakman as pro-GG at all.

The third “editorial” video is about CBC’s clarification e-mail to Pakman regarding the use of his image on the segment [42]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_782j_Cev8. It states that they didn’t imply he was a harasser, as his footage appears right as the voiceover mentions “initially a hashtag for the dicussion of ethics…”. However, it also states that his footage was chosen because he was an “early adopter” of GG discussion, which Pakman himself denies, claiming himself a latecomer to the debate. Thus the charge that CBC’s segment was badly researched remained.

ggautoblocker misidentification

During the fiasco of IGDA’s endorsement of the ggautoblocker program, it turned out that David Pakman’s personal twitter, @dpakman, was listed as one of the 10,000+ “harassers” within Gamergate [43]https://archive.today/d7WUG#selection-4902.1-4951.7, despite the fact that his maain account, @davidpakmanshow, had been whitelisted long before [44]https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/9fe7878983450b33f9fd716ae3799a2bd14b6e68

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1. https://archive.today/v1exp
2. https://archive.today/QPKfW
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETVcInunAss
4. https://archive.today/T4cqM
5. https://archive.today/3izMF
6. https://twitter.com/search?q=from%3Aglennf%20to%3ASpacekatgal
7. https://archive.today/3qEvW#selection-463.0-463.15
8. https://archive.today/CQ6Yp
9. https://archive.today/3w6os
10. https://archive.today/EXQU2
11. https://archive.today/wEkiA
12. https://archive.today/FLFlq
13. https://archive.today/8Q7Ms
14. https://archive.today/yusbO
15. https://archive.today/9TMM9
16. https://archive.today/4oHHz
17. https://archive.today/7N7dU
18. https://archive.today/U4oSF
19. https://archive.today/hurQE
20. https://archive.today/LnIH4
21. https://archive.today/5IrEF
22. https://archive.today/b3H77
23. https://archive.today/qXHmb
24. https://archive.today/L57Ze
25. https://archive.today/39CUy
26. https://archive.today/h0W7V
27. https://archive.today/SinMV
28. https://archive.today/zJFEW
29. https://archive.today/iAFxm
30. https://archive.today/gvlvY
31. https://archive.today/4HzQT
32. https://archive.today/6HBsZ
33. https://archive.today/qdrBO
34. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNrKqjYfv74
35. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH93qfvnxls
36. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overland_Park_Jewish_Community_Center_shooting
37. https://archive.today/u511N
38. https://archive.today/W8H0j
39. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9fiz35EP2I
40. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kC7s7tfaEc
41. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELZXPvdH9AY
42. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_782j_Cev8
43. https://archive.today/d7WUG#selection-4902.1-4951.7
44. https://github.com/freebsdgirl/ggautoblocker/commit/9fe7878983450b33f9fd716ae3799a2bd14b6e68
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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

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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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.

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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
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Robin Arnott

Indie game developer.

 

Indiecade and Depression Quest

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


References

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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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Brad Wardell

Game and software developer with 20 years of experience, CEO and founder of Stardock.

 

Stardock lawsuits and Kotaku’s coverage

In August 2012, Brad Wardell’s company Stardock filed a lawsuit against a former employee over her supposed participation in damaging the production of the 2010 game Elemental [1]https://archive.today/Jshoz. On its article about this, Kotaku’s Kate Cox brought up a past lawsuit from 2010 when the same employee accused Wardell of sexual harassment [2]https://archive.today/JTUza. The article went on to draw conclusions about Stardock’s lawsuit having an ulterior, retaliatory nature.

When Kotaku published its one-sided article accusing Stardock’s Brad Wardell of sexual harassment, Ben Kuchera, then at Penny Arcade Report, “signal-boosted” Kotaku’s article [3]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.

Both lawsuits were later dismissed with prejudice upon a settlement that involved the former employee issueing a public apology [4]https://archive.today/STvyf, and Kotaku updated the original article to add this fact [5]https://archive.today/jIiw8.

harassment

Wardell has since then claimed on his personal blog and Twitter that Kotaku’s article was badly researched and one-sided to the point where it caused distress to his family. During Gamergate, as part of a series of interviews with developers, The Escapist talked to Wardell [6]Page 1, page 2, page 3, who provided further information on the results of the lawsuits and Kotaku’s article, among other topics concerning GG, claiming that his immediate family was harassed and to this day his and his company’s reputations are undeservedly tarnished because of Kotaku’s article.

He further delved into the matter on more in-depth posts on his blog [7]https://archive.today/soMBN.


 

Apologies from the media

So far, there have been only two apologies directed at Wardell regarding his slandering by the media.

One was by James Fudge, member of the now-closed GameJournoPros list and editor of GamePolitics [8]https://archive.today/ejbOU. It was among of the sites that echoed the initial one-sided allegations against Wardell in 2012 [9]https://archive.today/9POHM.

The other apology came from Damion Schubert, developer and vocal anti-GG blogger [10]https://archive.today/1NLM0. Although having never a member of the press himself, he apologized for not being critical of Kotaku’s claims, which he condemned.


 

Smear campaign

On 2 December 2014, Wardell was accused by Zoe Quinn of offering a job to the artist of Shredded Moose, who drew a pornographic strip involving her, clearly implying that said job offer was because of said cartoon and a shared bias as both of them have pro-GG views [11]https://archive.today/YHBhU [12]https://archive.today/tNjVB. The fact that the supposed offer happened on 1 November, over a month before she complained on Twitter, later compounded claims of ill will, discussed at teh end of the article.

Wardell refuted both accusations, stating that he didn’t offer a job but merely stated to the artist in question that his company was accepting applications, and pointed out that he extended the same invitation to Quinn herself a year before. He further stated that he routinely tells people who express interest in games in Twitter that they can apply to Stardock.

Later in the day, Wardell said he wasn’t aware that the pornographic strip existed [13]https://archive.today/AExhJ [14]https://archive.today/Q7lfU [15]https://archive.today/lDubh [16]https://archive.today/DkXTY [17]https://archive.today/srnrX, as the artist deleted it from his site soon after publishing it months ago, and the remaining strips aren’t graphical [18]https://archive.today/aZrph.

 

As the argument escalated, Quinn referenced back to the sexual harassment case discussed in the sections above, and some of Quinn’s friends and journalists weighed in, including John Walker from Rock Paper Shotgun [19]https://archive.today/jzcNs [20]https://archive.today/QcMLa [21]https://archive.today/OfWxp, Jim Sterling [22]https://archive.today/SMu2S, Ian Miles Cheong [23]https://archive.today/VR1v9, Brianna Wu [24]https://archive.today/udYoZ, Chris Kluwe [25]https://archive.today/hsBxW [26]https://archive.today/G5VXi, Arthur Chu [27]https://archive.today/V5ASk and Alex Lifschitz [28]https://archive.today/EfYTR [29]https://archive.today/twDIz.

As mentioned before, Wardell wasn’t even aware of the offending stip until after this blew up [30]https://archive.today/AExhJ [31]https://archive.today/Q7lfU [32]https://archive.today/lDubh [33]https://archive.today/DkXTY [34]https://archive.today/srnrX [35]https://archive.today/SKuZd [36]https://archive.today/4JVQg [37]https://archive.today/98T5H [38]https://archive.today/1V5NM [39]https://archive.today/1aool:

Wardell claims ill will from Quinn

Wardell claims that Quinn hasn’t displayed any good will, as demonstrated by a conversation from 2013, altho it took place before the suits Wardell was involved in were dismissed [40]https://archive.today/y9dJZ. However, Quinn brought these claims up again in her 2 December accusations. Compounded by the fact that the supposed “job offer” had happened a month before on 1 November, and that Wardell wasn’t even aware f the offending strip until this blew up, it seems this was a wholly false accusation created to garner attention and smear Brad Wardell’s reputation further.


References

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