Brandon Strader

Tropes vs. Women / #GamerGate Conspiracies

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1. A female game developer creates a game.

2. Her vengeful ex-boyfriend publicly alleges that she cheated on him with a number of game journalists.

3. The internet being what it is, a witch hunt begins where lizard-brain trolls start posting her private information, harassing her & her family, sharing nude pictures of her, etc.

4. The justification for the above is that she 'slept her way to the top' in order to get coverage for her game.

5. On websites like Reddit, in the first few days after it became public, moderators censor discussion of the controversy as threads routinely degenerate into people posting nude pictures of her, sharing her private info, etc.

6. The controversy creates two 'sides'. Most game journalists and developers are on the developer's side, showing support in light of her severe harassment. Various randos on message boards on the other hand take this as a crusade against the perils of corruption in game journalism.

A couple points

  • Nothing her ex has alleged has been directly refuted/contradicted, has it? I was under the impression she basically agreed to all those things, did not refute the evidence he presented as being false/doctored? Just to be clear, airing personal dirty laundry = not cool, at all. Doesn't make it false, though.
  • "Most game journalists and developers are on the developer's side" vs. "various randos" - this sounds an awful lot like a combination of bandwagon & appeal to authority fallacies. Does being a game journalist make you right, and being a "various rando" make you wrong?
  • Is TotalBiscuit a rando? JonTron? The former made his thoughts known, the latter at the least has indicated that the issue is far from clear and that bullying/mob mentality is taking effect just as much, if not moreso, in her defense.

"Misogyny" really DOES start to lose its teeth as a label when it's used willy-nilly... all I'm seeing are a bunch of posts from people who want to spin the whole story to support their own individual worldview. Assuming the information is true, I don't know too many people who would approve of someone cheating on their partner five times, having unprotected sex, and not informing them. That's not behavior to champion, or defend. Most of what I'm seeing here is a "my enemies' enemies are my friends" mentality, which has never seemed particularly admirable to me, personally...

I certainly agree that this isn't primarily about the ethics and corruption of game journalism... to me, it's another sad case of the schism that's created wherein you're either "against" or "for" something, and little room for nuance or alternative exists. The cultural significance and polarizing nature of the events seem to have transcended their need to be considered :)

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A couple points

[*]Nothing her ex has alleged has been directly refuted/contradicted, has it? I was under the impression she basically agreed to all those things, did not refute the evidence he presented as being false/doctored? Just to be clear, airing personal dirty laundry = not cool, at all. Doesn't make it false, though.

That's not accurate. What she posted on that specific subject was: "I’m not going to talk about it. I will never talk about it. It is not your goddamned business."

[*]"Most game journalists and developers are on the developer's side" vs. "various randos" - this sounds an awful lot like a combination of bandwagon & appeal to authority fallacies. Does being a game journalist make you right, and being a "various rando" make you wrong?

No, I was just describing the situation, albeit disparaging one group more than the other simply because one group has people doing the 'doxxing', nude photo sharing, family harassment, rape threats etc...

[*]Is TotalBiscuit a rando? JonTron? The former made his thoughts known, the latter at the least has indicated that the issue is far from clear and that bullying/mob mentality is taking effect just as much, if not moreso, in her defense.

TB's original post made a few points.

1. He doesn't support using DMCA to suppress criticism. However, whether or not Quinn did this is entirely speculation, which he also said.

2. He said that he takes issue with nepotism in games journalism and that he would be disappointed IF the allegations were true. However again, he said that you can't really know whether they are or not.

These are both fair points. All of this is based on speculation. There is only one journalist writing for Kotaku who was confirmed to have been in a relationship with Quinn at some point. He wrote one piece mentioning her game - not reviewing it - before their relationship started.

"Misogyny" really DOES start to lose its teeth as a label when it's used willy-nilly... all I'm seeing are a bunch of posts from people who want to spin the whole story to support their own individual worldview. Assuming the information is true, I don't know too many people who would approve of someone cheating on their partner five times, having unprotected sex, and not informing them. That's not behavior to champion, or defend. Most of what I'm seeing here is a "my enemies' enemies are my friends" mentality, which has never seemed particularly admirable to me, personally...

Sure, but people aren't really defending that behavior. They're saying it's not a public matter, which it isn't. I think the shitstorm - as it were - is more because of the so-called censorship of the matter. And I think THAT is a very difficult issue, as you and I well know as moderators of a public forum.

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TB's original post made a few points.

1. He doesn't support using DMCA to suppress criticism. However, whether or not Quinn did this is entirely speculation, which he also said.

I'm just wondering on this:

Does this also fall under "Not any of your business" umbrella of protection? Were these faked?

2. He said that he takes issue with nepotism in games journalism and that he would be disappointed IF the allegations were true. However again, he said that you can't really know whether they are or not.

These are both fair points. All of this is based on speculation. There is only one journalist writing for Kotaku who was confirmed to have been in a relationship with Quinn at some point. He wrote one piece mentioning her game - not reviewing it - before their relationship started.

Well, we know she DID sleep with the Kotaku dude, right? I mean, he indicated so, himself. What we don't know - the speculation part - is whether it did her or her game any good. It doesn't seem like it, since as you mention he didn't review it and only mentioned it briefly. She's also (alleged) to have slept with a previous employer. Again, one can only speculate. Ethics, however, are often about eliminating even the suggestion of impropriety by removing speculation from the equation. That's on journos and employers, too, of course.

What I want to know, Andy, is where was "It's all just speculation" when you were talking about Ferguson? Because I agree, there IS a lot of speculation here, but it's a similar instance where there are a lot of indicators that point in a given direction, that are hard to ignore... but it's also hard to be sure. I feel like Ferguson was (and still is) a similar thing - I don't want to derail too awful much, but I appreciate your refrain from leaping to judgments and your skepticism surrounding sources of information in THIS instance, I just don't know where they were when we were discussing THAT topic. Seems highly inconsistent? Or, rather, seems consistent with skepticism and speculation only being worthwhile depending on your ideological stance on the topic...

Sure, but people aren't really defending that behavior. They're saying it's not a public matter, which it isn't. I think the shitstorm - as it were - is more because of the so-called censorship of the matter. And I think THAT is a very difficult issue, as you and I well know as moderators of a public forum.

It's clearly a public matter. Whether it should be or not is up for debate; whether it IS seems rather tangibly obvious. I think people ARE almost implicitly defending that behavior by employing a mob mentality that is casting any aspersions on Zoe whatsoever as being misogynistic groupthink. No matter how ugly the ugliest of trolls gets, I don't think responding to them or criticizing them should morph into attacking ANYONE who might find certain aspects of this incident disturbing or believe, however mistakenly, that it warrants public debate. You're saying the censorship is "so-called" but I'm wondering why the qualifier was needed? Because it's alleged, or because you don't view it as legit censorship? Using DMCA to get rid of stuff that's clearly fair use, because YOU don't like what it's saying, is to me clearly censorship. As to the question of it being alleged, there appears to be proof. Also, many of those defending Zoe are doing so in the form of attacking people:

http://gamesnosh.com/the-ugly-side-of-justice-total-biscuit-denounced-over-zoe-quinn-scandal-comments/

Just look at the shit TB got for making the relatively benign points that he did.

https://twitter.com/devincf/status/503986333334114304

This guy appears to be a complete idiot. First he said he hated anti-quinn people more than ISIS, then he attempted to backpedal and referred to it as a joke. Which... these guys are actively beheading people.... maybe not good joke material?

I do believe that if a male game developer were accused of these things:

  • It wouldn't be as notable because you wouldn't have legions of trollish women coming out of the woodwork to make this their poster child example of what's wrong with gaming. This immature reaction is what explodified the whole thing.
  • HOWEVER, the flip side is that I DO think the guy would be criticized, marginalized, etc. and that "it's none of your business" would not be accepted as a valid defense/point

More on the "none of your business" line... does it hold up? I can see making a compelling argument that it's the way things SHOULD be, but I don't see much evidence that it's the way things ARE. I don't see it being used as an effective defense by anyone accused of anything that SHOULD be personal, and I feel like when someone makes a public accusation that involves five other people (one of whom has confirmed), numerous pieces of evidence, etc., the cat's out of the bag. If you believe this is still a viable, respectable response, I'd only suggest that you remember taking the high road here and think about whether you have in the past, or will in the future. "It's none of your business" doesn't hold water for most people, when it comes down to it, and I'd personally argue that once people start putting their professional reputations on the line to defend you, and you let them, it's all the more problematic.

http://ogeeku.com/2014/08/31/war-over-zoe-quinn-nowinners/

This article seems to have it right.... no winners. It was a loser of a battle, but because of the antagonists involved (MRA-types and genuine troll/misogynists), the reaction in kind has been QUITE ridiculous and childish and disturbing in its own right.

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I'm just wondering on this:

Does this also fall under "Not any of your business" umbrella of protection? Were these faked?

I agree with TB's opinion on this as noted earlier. I don't condone the use of DMCA like this. However, it's quite possible that someone NOT her did this, either as a misguided attempt at helping OR to make her look bad. Considering the lengths to which people have gone to do both of these things, both are very plausible.

Well, we know she DID sleep with the Kotaku dude, right? I mean, he indicated so, himself. What we don't know - the speculation part - is whether it did her or her game any good. It doesn't seem like it, since as you mention he didn't review it and only mentioned it briefly. She's also (alleged) to have slept with a previous employer. Again, one can only speculate. Ethics, however, are often about eliminating even the suggestion of impropriety by removing speculation from the equation. That's on journos and employers, too, of course.

Sure... Kotaku released two statements on the matter.

http://kotaku.com/in-recent-days-ive-been-asked-several-times-about-a-pos-1624707346 <- Short version here is that their romantic relationship began after his one and only article mentioning her. Seems open-and-shut.

http://kotaku.com/a-brief-note-about-the-continued-discussion-about-kotak-1627041269 <- Basically adding that they're taking the matter of integrity seriously and making strides to ensure ethical journalism on their end. etc etc. All good stuff.

What I want to know, Andy, is where was "It's all just speculation" when you were talking about Ferguson? Because I agree, there IS a lot of speculation here, but it's a similar instance where there are a lot of indicators that point in a given direction, that are hard to ignore... but it's also hard to be sure. I feel like Ferguson was (and still is) a similar thing - I don't want to derail too awful much, but I appreciate your refrain from leaping to judgments and your skepticism surrounding sources of information in THIS instance, I just don't know where they were when we were discussing THAT topic. Seems highly inconsistent? Or, rather, seems consistent with skepticism and speculation only being worthwhile depending on your ideological stance on the topic...

Definitely a derail :-P If I were to summarize my opinion on Ferguson, it's that I personally find it MORE likely that the shooting of Brown was not in self-defense given the facts we know - although if I were on a jury, I would not be able to say that without a reasonable doubt given current info. I find the other explanation, of Brown turning + charging, far less plausible. That's about it. The rest of my opinion is more about how the local police botched things up.

It's clearly a public matter. Whether it should be or not is up for debate; whether it IS seems rather tangibly obvious. I think people ARE almost implicitly defending that behavior by employing a mob mentality that is casting any aspersions on Zoe whatsoever as being misogynistic groupthink. No matter how ugly the ugliest of trolls gets, I don't think responding to them or criticizing them should morph into attacking ANYONE who might find certain aspects of this incident disturbing or believe, however mistakenly, that it warrants public debate. You're saying the censorship is "so-called" but I'm wondering why the qualifier was needed? Because it's alleged, or because you don't view it as legit censorship? Using DMCA to get rid of stuff that's clearly fair use, because YOU don't like what it's saying, is to me clearly censorship. As to the question of it being alleged, there appears to be proof. Also, many of those defending Zoe are doing so in the form of attacking people:

http://gamesnosh.com/the-ugly-side-of-justice-total-biscuit-denounced-over-zoe-quinn-scandal-comments/

Just look at the shit TB got for making the relatively benign points that he did.

Well, a few points here... one is that again, we don't know who sent the DMCA request, whether it was faked, etc. Yes, a DMCA is actual censorship. But I think when a moderator of a user-curated section of a private website deletes posts that they believe are breaking the rules... calling that 'censorship' cheapens the word, IMO. When we delete shitty posts on OCR, would you call that censorship? Deleting spam from a Facebook page? I mean if you do, OK I guess. The dictionary definition of the word seems stronger.

https://twitter.com/devincf/status/503986333334114304

This guy appears to be a complete idiot. First he said he hated anti-quinn people more than ISIS, then he attempted to backpedal and referred to it as a joke. Which... these guys are actively beheading people.... maybe not good joke material?

OK, so people posted dumb opinions on Twitter. TB got called out. Sure. I'm not sure I see the problem here. People aren't posting TB's personal information all over the internet, or threatening his family, or posting private nude photos, etc. There is a huge disparity between those actions - wouldn't you agree? Arguing on Twitter vs. criminal actions?

More on the "none of your business" line... does it hold up? I can see making a compelling argument that it's the way things SHOULD be, but I don't see much evidence that it's the way things ARE. I don't see it being used as an effective defense by anyone accused of anything that SHOULD be personal, and I feel like when someone makes a public accusation that involves five other people (one of whom has confirmed), numerous pieces of evidence, etc., the cat's out of the bag. If you believe this is still a viable, respectable response, I'd only suggest that you remember taking the high road here and think about whether you have in the past, or will in the future. "It's none of your business" doesn't hold water for most people, when it comes down to it, and I'd personally argue that once people start putting their professional reputations on the line to defend you, and you let them, it's all the more problematic.

I think it holds up in this specific case, given the facts that we know. If her sexual history resulted in any positive press for her game, then it might be relevant (albeit the public is still not 'entitled' to know this, we're talking about video game blogs and not matters of national security). But the point that I'm going to keep coming back to is that it DIDN'T result in anything.

http://ogeeku.com/2014/08/31/war-over-zoe-quinn-nowinners/

This article seems to have it right.... no winners. It was a loser of a battle, but because of the antagonists involved (MRA-types and genuine troll/misogynists), the reaction in kind has been QUITE ridiculous and childish and disturbing in its own right.

I'll only reiterate that there's a big difference between people being argumentative and belligerent with your opinions on Twitter, and people posting private information, pictures, home addresses and phone numbers of family members, hacking Skype accounts, etc. Let's not have a false equivalency here.

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I think it holds up in this specific case, given the facts that we know. If her sexual history resulted in any positive press for her game, then it might be relevant (albeit the public is still not 'entitled' to know this, we're talking about video game blogs and not matters of national security). But the point that I'm going to keep coming back to is that it DIDN'T result in anything.

Yes but that's not how ethics work. As I mentioned, not sure if you read it (???), but ethics are quite often about avoiding even the impression of impropriety. If you agree that Kotaku's post about clarifying ethical responsibilities of journalists was, in your OWN words, "all good stuff" then don't you ALSO agree that the public discussion of questionable ethics regarding this topic was justified in the first place? And NOT just a private matter for which "it's none of your business" was 100% acceptable? Also, I thought your point was that it was purely speculation that it resulted in anything, not that it DIDN'T result in anything, which are two different concepts? When did you leap from it being pure speculation to it being factually incorrect?

How can you have it both ways? How can you feel that Kotaku's post clarifying/explaining ethical policies was positive & beneficial while at the same time insisting that the conversation that sparked it did not deserve public scrutiny to begin with? It's a somewhat paradoxical position, imo... I'd love an explanation, or perhaps I've actually changed your mind?

If you're making the argument that the ends didn't justify the means - that the topic in the abstract, or with names/specifics removed, would have potentially warranted discussion, but not at the expense of Zoe's privacy & airing what was basically dirty laundry, well, I'm right there with you. That's squarely on the ex-boyfriend though, right?

"Basically adding that they're taking the matter of integrity seriously and making strides to ensure ethical journalism on their end. etc etc. All good stuff."
See what I mean?
I'll only reiterate that there's a big difference between people being argumentative and belligerent with your opinions on Twitter, and people posting private information, pictures, home addresses and phone numbers of family members, hacking Skype accounts, etc. Let's not have a false equivalency here.

Did I claim equivalency? Where did I say that? Quote me where I said that those things were equivalent. They are not. I did not say that they were. I did not say those things were equivalent. Nowhere did I say those things are equivalent. I did not mention, imply, or otherwise state that those things are equivalent. No aspect of my writing indicated a belief that those things are equivalent. Saying:

"Let's not have a false equivalency here."
...is exactly the type of (frankly) bullshit mischaracterization I'm talking about!! Two wrongs don't make a right, but in this case, answering ten wrongs with three wrongs ALSO doesn't make a right. It doesn't matter that the misogynist douche-wads employing methods of harassment and abuse are worse - that's not a blank check to vilify, label, antagonize, generalize, or stoop to even HALF of their level. Is it?

Who's fighting the good fight, here? From my vantage point, it seems like the answer is no one...

No matter how disgusting SOME percentage of your opponents are, once you cede the high ground in a polarizing debate like this, you're just arguing the benefits of "pretty terrible" against "considerably worse"... Now, I don't personally know any of the "considerably worse" crowd who would actually stoop to the lows being HIGHLY publicized, but the "pretty terrible" folk are the ones I otherwise consider the forces of progress & creativity. I'm FAR more concerned with THEM "getting it right"...aren't you?

Given that, on ANY topic involving feminism & games, we are almost GUARANTEED to see worms emanating from the woodwork who pull shit like this, don't you realize this means you'll ALWAYS be saying, for ANY debate on pretty much ANYTHING, "Well, WE'RE not the ones posting nude photos and making physical threats, so WE must be RIGHT!!"?? Isn't that a massive hole in accountability and ANY potential for discourse?? Isn't that a logical/rhetorical blank check - as long as these bozos keep showing up & pulling their shit, we're irrefutable & infallible?

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First he said he hated anti-quinn people more than ISIS, then he attempted to backpedal and referred to it as a joke. Which... these guys are actively beheading people.... maybe not good joke material?

It's like outspoken liberal activist Janeane Garofalo said, "It's comedy, deal with it."

Then again, when's the last time you saw her in anything?

More on topic, if the newest walls-o-text is any indication, it's that this is one crazy-ass blitzkrieg of culture war insanity, and I think should be bronzed and put on a pedestal as an icon with a plate underneath that reads "This is when the culture war of videogaming reached its logical extreme". What good can come of this is that people can now start to see "wow, this shit really is going too far" and they can start letting their brains back into the control panel to take comments from internet trolls and celebrities with the massive icebergs of salt they were supposed to be using in the first place.

And I just now spotted that Cynical Brit is actually one of our sponsors...

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It's like outspoken liberal activist Janeane Garofalo said, "It's comedy, deal with it."

Then again, when's the last time you saw her in anything?

That's just mean.

And I just now spotted that Cynical Brit is actually one of our sponsors...

Of course, that's the sole reason why I'm defending him here - been paid off nice & good. He made a ReMix, too, and I'm going to post it directly without even listening to it :)!!

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Of course, that's the sole reason why I'm defending him here - been paid off nice & good. He made a ReMix, too, and I'm going to post it directly without even listening to it :)!!

I didn't say anything other than I just now noticed he's one of our sponsors. :)

Even if I wanted to take a side here, there's juuuuuuuuuuuuust no way in hell I could. This is some sort of dodecahedron conflict shit right hurr.

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This video didn't provide much material for discussion other than "this example is bad" anyway.

I've only been able to finish one of her videos because they are so incredibly tedious and she doesn't really engage in much constructive criticism. It's like watching someone read a TV tropes page to you aloud in the most boring manner possible. I skimmed the others and have found her videos to be overwhelmingly examples of how women are treated badly ad nauseum. I'm not a game maker (aspiring writer type), but I found the Extra Credits video about how to handle women in games much more useful from a creative improving my fiction standpoint.

Also, I feel like her videos lack a bit of soul. She never talks much about her personal reaction to games very much. I'm convinced that's because she's not really into games as she stated in the clip in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcPIu3sDkEw She also doesn't seem to be aware of any games besides the AAA types.

Unfortunately, all the hater asshole death threat types have escalated the conversation to the point where you can't criticize her videos without being branded some sort of misogynist. I'd love to see more media investigation into the clip above, but any website that questioned her gamer cred would get boycotted by the social justice warriors.

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Of course, that's the sole reason why I'm defending him here - been paid off nice & good. He made a ReMix, too, and I'm going to post it directly without even listening to it :)!!

#pretzelgate

Speaking of TB, he did a blog on the whole thing that I found insightful: http://blueplz.blogspot.ca/2014/08/this-game-supports-more-than-two-players.html

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Yes but that's not how ethics work. As I mentioned, not sure if you read it (???), but ethics are quite often about avoiding even the impression of impropriety. If you agree that Kotaku's post about clarifying ethical responsibilities of journalists was, in your OWN words, "all good stuff" then don't you ALSO agree that the public discussion of questionable ethics regarding this topic was justified in the first place? And NOT just a private matter for which "it's none of your business" was 100% acceptable? Also, I thought your point was that it was purely speculation that it resulted in anything, not that it DIDN'T result in anything, which are two different concepts? When did you leap from it being pure speculation to it being factually incorrect?

How can you have it both ways? How can you feel that Kotaku's post clarifying/explaining ethical policies was positive & beneficial while at the same time insisting that the conversation that sparked it did not deserve public scrutiny to begin with? It's a somewhat paradoxical position, imo... I'd love an explanation, or perhaps I've actually changed your mind?

There might be a miscommunication here... Kotaku said there was no impropriety on the part of the journalist who wrote about Quinn. Their post about tightening standards were for two other cases / writers, one of whom was writing about a friend's project, another who was using Patreon to support the subject of an article. There was 0 issue with the writer whom Quinn had a relationship with.

If you're making the argument that the ends didn't justify the means - that the topic in the abstract, or with names/specifics removed, would have potentially warranted discussion, but not at the expense of Zoe's privacy & airing what was basically dirty laundry, well, I'm right there with you. That's squarely on the ex-boyfriend though, right?

We're kind of on the same page. Of course I think that ethics in game journalism are an important subject, and this scandal as a whole has drawn more attention to the issue even as it does NOT relate to Quinn (i.e. the two other writers on Kotaku). But the blame isn't solely on the ex-boyfriend, it also falls on the legions of people who decided to harass Quinn & her friends / supporters (including Danny B, among others). It's depressing to see so many people on sites like Reddit basically cheer on the slandering of Quinn & others, saying she "deserved it" etc. It's been an EXTREMELY shitty way to have a conversation about an issue. About as shitty as one could imagine.

Did I claim equivalency? Where did I say that? Quote me where I said that those things were equivalent. They are not. I did not say that they were. I did not say those things were equivalent. Nowhere did I say those things are equivalent. I did not mention, imply, or otherwise state that those things are equivalent. No aspect of my writing indicated a belief that those things are equivalent.

You wrote "the reaction in kind"... which I interpreted to mean a response "in the same way", which is the definition of those words.

...but because of the antagonists involved (MRA-types and genuine troll/misogynists), the reaction in kind has been QUITE ridiculous...

I don't think any reaction to the MRA-types and troll/misogynists has been "in kind", because nobody on Quinn's side AFAIK is executing the same level of harassment, doxxing, hacking, photo sharing, privacy violations. It was so bad on Reddit that r/games banned all threads on the subject for several days, because, according to the moderators, they could not effectively moderate threads due to the overwhelming amount of personal information being posted (i.e. phone numbers, addresses, etc.) along with personal threats.

Given that, on ANY topic involving feminism & games, we are almost GUARANTEED to see worms emanating from the woodwork who pull shit like this, don't you realize this means you'll ALWAYS be saying, for ANY debate on pretty much ANYTHING, "Well, WE'RE not the ones posting nude photos and making physical threats, so WE must be RIGHT!!"?? Isn't that a massive hole in accountability and ANY potential for discourse?? Isn't that a logical/rhetorical blank check - as long as these bozos keep showing up & pulling their shit, we're irrefutable & infallible?

You might be surprised to learn that I agree with you here. After all, since the beginning of this thread I've come to disagree with a number of views/opinions expressed in the Tropes videos. I've merely said that in the case of the Quinn discussion, one "side" has behaved far worse than the other, which is not really in dispute I think. It makes it a lot harder to have a tempered conversation on the matter, because you have to parse between people who are disagreeing for logical reasons, and people who are out to attack/slander women for being women (or whatever other reasons they might have).

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There might be a miscommunication here... Kotaku said there was no impropriety on the part of the journalist who wrote about Quinn. Their post about tightening standards were for two other cases / writers, one of whom was writing about a friend's project, another who was using Patreon to support the subject of an article. There was 0 issue with the writer whom Quinn had a relationship with.

Okay, but... it's probably a bad idea, right? They did make general comments about being more transparent and bullshit-free... take any other art form, or medium that seeks to be taken seriously as an art form, and ask whether it would be weird for an artist to sleep with a critic, whether that critic writes anything relevant or not... I don't know, really. As I said before, it STILL seems tenuous to me... but it also still bugs me, at the same time.

As for all the rest, I think you made some excellent points, and I can see where "reaction in kind" could be interpreted as you did. It was poor word choice on my part; "in kind" was only meant to convey "in a similarly over-generalizing, antagonizing, etc. fashion" and not the specific means.

One point that bears mentioning... Zoe's attackers are in many cases cowards hiding behind anonymity or random forum-goers with little regard for their reputation outside the like-minded venues they frequent. Their vitriol is more aggressive and their threats and actions more objectionable, no argument. Something that kind of bugs me, though, is that on the other side of the fence, you've got folks who are well-known, have professional reputations to consider, are (as you point out) actual game developers themselves, and are absolutely going batshit against people like TB, in public, or making sweeping generalizations about anyone & everyone that disagrees with them, Zoe, or Anita. While you're absolutely right that there's no equivalence in the levels of harassment, there's also very little equivalence in the reputation, notoriety, and bullhorn-power of the two opposing groups. The group that has little-to-nothing to lose is (unsurprisingly) behaving far worse, but the group that should be more concerned with image - both their own and of the industry they represent - isn't really knocking it out of the park...

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I haven't watched any of the Tropes episodes since the second damsel video, I believe. A few too many instances of questionable examples/research and stretched definitions when you looked closer at some of her choices and comments after the first two videos, and I simply lost interest. Frankly, I'd forgotten about the series until I saw this thread had gotten bumped.

And speaking of this thread, "Tropes vs Women" no longer fits. "djp vs zircon" works better ;-)

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One point that bears mentioning... Zoe's attackers are in many cases cowards hiding behind anonymity or random forum-goers with little regard for their reputation outside the like-minded venues they frequent. Their vitriol is more aggressive and their threats and actions more objectionable, no argument. Something that kind of bugs me, though, is that on the other side of the fence, you've got folks who are well-known, have professional reputations to consider, are (as you point out) actual game developers themselves, and are absolutely going batshit against people like TB, in public, or making sweeping generalizations about anyone & everyone that disagrees with them, Zoe, or Anita. While you're absolutely right that there's no equivalence in the levels of harassment, there's also very little equivalence in the reputation, notoriety, and bullhorn-power of the two opposing groups. The group that has little-to-nothing to lose is (unsurprisingly) behaving far worse, but the group that should be more concerned with image - both their own and of the industry they represent - isn't really knocking it out of the park...

I think there's such a strong emotional reaction from people in the industry because many of them have been in the position of receiving large amounts of internet hate, and they empathize with her position. Then, because of heightened sensitivity (which is probably warranted on their part) they're lashing out at people who don't deserve to be lashed out at.

I WILL say one thing about TB, even though I agree with the points he was making. His post could have been.. better-timed. He's publicly talked about how difficult it can be to be a visible figure in the game industry. Because of his popularity, he's received tons of hate himself and he said it's extremely stressful etc. By making that post at the time that he did, he drastically magnified the attention drawn to the situation.

I think he should have known that some % of his readers would be the type to take allegations & speculations as fact for any NUMBER of reasons, skimming over his points that cooler heads should prevail, that there are other possible explanations for things, and so forth. The end effect of his post, intended or not, was significantly increasing the amount of negative attention (putting it lightly) directed at Quinn & her friends. Were I in his position, and given the harassment already occurring, I probably would have waited a little while to make my points about game journalism and focused first on condemning people acting like shitlords.

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Kotaku said there was no impropriety on the part of the journalist who wrote about Quinn.

I'm not sure they get to make the call of whether what they did was improper, the backlash against them is enough evidence of that. But I also think this should be in a different thread as it has nothing to do with the video series the thread was made for. :pretzel: You guys can split it off into a new Quinnspiracy thread, but I want nothing to do with it. :-)

Edited by Brandon Strader

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I'm not sure they get to make the call of whether what they did was improper, the backlash against them is enough evidence of that. But I also think this should be in a different thread as it has nothing to do with the video series the thread was made for. :pretzel: You guys can split it off into a new Quinnspiracy thread, but I want nothing to do with it. :-)

But no one wants to talk about Anita's videos anymore!! :-(

Most have seen enough to dissuade them from watching the rest - and I'm not talking about the people who disagreed with her from the outset, I'm talking about people who are all about equality and progress and cultural criticism and what not, who just want to see it done, well... better.

Perhaps more on topic:

https://twitter.com/josswhedon/status/504508687722250240

I watched a bunch of women get sliced up in video games and now I'm watching it on my twitter feed. @femfreq is just truth-telling. Deal.

Now I love me some Whedon, don't get me wrong, but... Anita's latest video is on violence, and well, anyone wanna splain something to me:

  • Feminists will argue (quite correctly, in my opinion!) that human history has been full of the barbarous, vile, possessive, and otherwise unequal treatment of women.
  • This was clearly FAR worse in the past than it is in the present. Sometimes I feel like more radical feminists don't want to admit this because it somehow weakens their rhetorical position if things have gotten better, or (even worse!) are continuing to improve. This is silly; there are plenty of injustices left to resolve, and equating the present with the past both ignores the progress that has been made BY previous generations of feminists and flagrantly illustrates a prioritizing of rhetoric and marketing over reasonable analysis.
  • Most video games are about the past. What do I mean by this? I mean that even when they take place in completely fictionalized universes, those universes USUALLY resemble the past in terms of their politics, social structures, and general dynamics. Of course, not the ACTUAL, historical past of the human species - which is far more complex and nuanced than most of us ever grasp through liberal arts educations - but a generalized, ancient, antiquated version of "how things used to be" that we can more or less identify as being not at ALL "how things are." And how did things used to be? They used to be bad. Especially for women, but generally for everyone. Lots of wars, lots of conflict. Pretty shitty, but a great setting for a video game!
  • I'll agree that when things are set in a technologically advanced, clearly futuristic environment and you STILL see gratuitous violence against scantily clad women, it doesn't jive, and it would be quite odd to see it in something like Battlefield 4, which is set in something resembling the present. But when you're talking about anything less than the future or a modified present, you're usually talking about the past. Even if there's Orcs, or magic, or giant mushrooms, or WHATEVER - it's the past. And the past is good for conflict-based games, because it presents a lot of antiquated ideas about good vs. evil that don't end up seeming completely ridiculous.
  • Why does all of this matter?
    • Why can't violence against women be seen as one of many environmental indicators of antiquity?
    • As such, why isn't it a GOOD thing that we see this type of behavior as indicative of a universe that is NOT like our own, that we have outgrown, and that we need to make MORE like our own & modernize as a protagonist?
    • If we whitewash games set in the "past" (i.e. anything ancient or otherwise antiquated so as to distance itself from reality) and attempt to diminish or altogether extinguish violence against women in such universes, aren't we just running equal risk of undermining awareness about how things were, and the more RECENT progress we've made?

In other words, if I could summarize in a single question:

Isn't the contrast meaningful??

Of course, you know me... I'm still not sold on the overall premise that this type of content has a lasting psychological effect that manifests itself culturally. I feel like an equally supported (i.e. not at all) hypothesis is that it serves as an outlet; I don't think you eliminate adolescent male power fantasies by cutting off the supply of fictional entertainment that caters to them, and I don't think you decrease testosterone by pretending it doesn't exist.

What embarrasses me is that second-wave feminists fought & lost this war with regards to film, art, and pornography back in the 1970's. Gaming culture isn't mature enough to realize that its own immaturity doesn't evaporate through demonization, and shouldn't.

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And the past is good for conflict-based games, because it presents a lot of antiquated ideas about good vs. evil that don't end up seeming completely ridiculous.

  • Why does all of this matter?
    • Why can't violence against women be seen as one of many environmental indicators of antiquity?
    • As such, why isn't it a GOOD thing that we see this type of behavior as indicative of a universe that is NOT like our own, that we have outgrown, and that we need to make MORE like our own & modernize as a protagonist?
    • If we whitewash games set in the "past" (i.e. anything ancient or otherwise antiquated so as to distance itself from reality) and attempt to diminish or altogether extinguish violence against women in such universes, aren't we just running equal risk of undermining awareness about how things were, and the more RECENT progress we've made?

In other words, if I could summarize in a single question:

Isn't the contrast meaningful??

I agree with this. I never quite thought about it in this way, but now that you say it, it's quite plausible that female characters' treatment within video games is indicative of an effort to be "historically" accurate (again, like you said, partially representative but not quite accurate to the actual past). I can't say I'm sure if those were the original intentions of the developers, but that would be nice!

Unfortunately, at least with what I've found with a quick little google search, women over the age of 18 are pretty prominent gamers over boys under 18. The only reason why I revolve around the age of 18 is because generally, actually noticing that misrepresentation of women in video games might be indicative of trying to be accurate to history could be hard for people who haven't gone through all of high school yet. I, myself, felt like I became much more analytical than I used to be by the age of 17, but even more so after I began my university classes. Now, of course, I don't represent that many people my age, but at least, at 17~18, I took two difficult English courses, and that's what seemed to substantially elevate my thought processes... so there's my account.

In other words, noticing this beautiful contrast seems to me like it comes from quite an analytical viewpoint, and while it would be great to see others noting this and seeing it in a new light, perhaps the rather even percentage of female gamers adds a little personal bias into the picture, and skews the common perception through some social media shenanigans... i.e. the thought, "ugh, why are we women being so misrepresented in this game?" kiiiinda overtakes the thought, "ooh, this is pretty historically accurate! Wow, I understand. So THAT'S why there's a misrepresentation of women in this! Cool!" (not that I'm even saying that's how ALL women are acting, of course, but... surely some are)

Edited by timaeus222

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Dude, Joss Whedon is an overrated horse's ass. He's an above-average writer that is far more a master of manipulating his fanbase's wants to boost his nerd cred than he is anything else.

He, and most other "male feminists", are just jumping on a political bandwagon and pandering to a lower common denominator of "thinking" to serve personal gains and possibly push progress forward while doing the least amount of real thinking they can muster. It's not a completely asinine way of accomplishing things that need to be accomplished, but they're capable of so much better and more efficient ways to rally people to knowledge, wisdom and movement, and they just don't because it's often too much work, and it's counter-productive to the one thing every smart celebrity knows they need to do to remain relevant in the entertainment industry: tell people exactly what they want to hear.

Ask yourself this - why is nearly every significant celebrity and entertainer that you know of a hardcore liberal? Sometimes they're hardcore conservative too, but how often do you really see them in the middle? Not very often at all, which is a bit odd considering how political and religious beliefs really run the spectrum across a wide selection of people (and being of a certain type of person to succeed in art really doesn't count either). When you're in the public eye, you are a business and a brand, and like all brands, you do things in the public eye to grab attention and try to remain relevant. Many do dumb stunts to grab headlines, and others simply seem to do no wrong while remaining outspoken on so many issues. Some work and some don't, but each person in the public eye knows that to remain there and milk it for all it's worth and act accordingly to the fanbase that supports them. To keep them buying, you keep doing exactly what you think they want, whether you agree with it or not. It's just business.

So, bottom line, don't trust celebrities to know jack shit about social issues. They currently live in bubbles making millions of dollars doing movies, writing music, doing books, going all over the world, managing their brand, surrounded by a team of people, etc. etc. When do they have time to study intensively these issues intensively? They don't. Most of them barely qualify as educated in the first place, and yes they used to be homeless, but they haven't been in some time. Once you get money, you forget what it was like when you didn't except to know you don't want to go back to doing that again.

And if it takes some bullshit to keep that money flowing, of course you'll do it. Who wouldn't regurgitate some high school sophomore politics if it meant you still got to do AAA, $$$ work again?

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Dude, Joss Whedon is an overrated horse's ass. He's an above-average writer that is far more a master of manipulating his fanbase's wants to boost his nerd cred than he is anything else.

I can agree with that, it deserves its own thread :lol:

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Dude, Joss Whedon is an overrated horse's ass. He's an above-average writer that is far more a master of manipulating his fanbase's wants to boost his nerd cred than he is anything else.

He, and most other "male feminists", are just jumping on a political bandwagon and pandering to a lower common denominator of "thinking" to serve personal gains and possibly push progress forward while doing the least amount of real thinking they can muster. It's not a completely asinine way of accomplishing things that need to be accomplished, but they're capable of so much better and more efficient ways to rally people to knowledge, wisdom and movement, and they just don't because it's often too much work, and it's counter-productive to the one thing every smart celebrity knows they need to do to remain relevant in the entertainment industry: tell people exactly what they want to hear.

Ask yourself this - why is nearly every significant celebrity and entertainer that you know of a hardcore liberal? Sometimes they're hardcore conservative too, but how often do you really see them in the middle? Not very often at all, which is a bit odd considering how political and religious beliefs really run the spectrum across a wide selection of people (and being of a certain type of person to succeed in art really doesn't count either). When you're in the public eye, you are a business and a brand, and like all brands, you do things in the public eye to grab attention and try to remain relevant. Many do dumb stunts to grab headlines, and others simply seem to do no wrong while remaining outspoken on so many issues. Some work and some don't, but each person in the public eye knows that to remain there and milk it for all it's worth and act accordingly to the fanbase that supports them. To keep them buying, you keep doing exactly what you think they want, whether you agree with it or not. It's just business.

So, bottom line, don't trust celebrities to know jack shit about social issues. They currently live in bubbles making millions of dollars doing movies, writing music, doing books, going all over the world, managing their brand, surrounded by a team of people, etc. etc. When do they have time to study intensively these issues intensively? They don't. Most of them barely qualify as educated in the first place, and yes they used to be homeless, but they haven't been in some time. Once you get money, you forget what it was like when you didn't except to know you don't want to go back to doing that again.

And if it takes some bullshit to keep that money flowing, of course you'll do it. Who wouldn't regurgitate some high school sophomore politics if it meant you still got to do AAA, $$$ work again?

Right on, dude.

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I see what you did there. >:P

And so what? 99% of every opinion and argument is a logical fallacy of some kind. I'm a human being, not a program.

I'm kinda lying about that last part.

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