What follows is the first article submitted for my Voice for #Gamergate invitation. I will use the authors twitter name for now (thought I do have permission to use his real name, I want to give him some level of anonymity at this stage). Durakken is a Pro Ethics Gamergater and one of the people to talk with me recently.
These are his words and his opinions, they do no represent the opinions of YARS or its editors.
#GamerGate is a group of people who like games, who have been slagged off by the very people that are supposed to represent them in the larger world who have realized that the minor problems are only the tip of the iceberg. This being the case, gamers are coming from different places as to what the problems are that need to be addressed and how to do that. That also means that there are a variety of maturity, surprise, and emotional attachment levels resulting in a spectrum of reactions from pure apathy to crazed, frothing at the mouth, anger. Likewise, this means that there are different goals involved, some of which may compete with that of others, so let’s try to list what groups there are (even though there may be crossover between the groups);
- Base Gamers – These people are just confused why they are suddenly having to deal with clique bullying again after decades of growing from some niche hobby to the worlds largest entertainment industry. When they were younger they experienced a time, just like comics, where people were actively bullied and looked down on by society for simply liking games. Gamers grouped together as all fans do. When new people showed an interest they were welcomed. The industry grew a little, and they faced the same outlandish accusations that all new things face, but they triumphed over that and continued to grow. Now, when the industry has reached the zenith, somehow, they’re being made out to be vile creatures that hate others, even though all they want is to play games and not be attacked for doing so.
- Trolls – These people just want to stir up trouble and see this as an opportunity.
- Ethically Concerned – These people can be broken up to several categories in themselves, from basic journalistic ethics to the general ethics of these “journalists” who think its ok to put out material that makes children think negatively of themselves for liking a medium. One of the more notable of these sub-categories is #NotYourShield.
- Investigators – People who want to dig into and report on what is actually going on, whether to just get to the bottom of it, or for some other reason.
- Academics – These people just have some sort of academic interest in what is going on. There is plenty to look at from, for example, a psychological or PR point of view, because what is happening from multiple facets of inspection is new or interesting.
- Refugee/Cultural Big Picture – This group is from other areas of interests that have gone through this similar take over and corruption that we see in games journalism and are more concerned with the wider implications of how and why this is happening than games themselves. They view the events of #GamerGate as a symptom, rather than some new disease, from which they can use to help people see the real underlying problems.
Make note that none of these groups are any less valid parts of #GamerGate than the other, however, the Troll group is arguably not sub-group. This is because the only interaction trolls have with the other groups is to provoke them rather than to discuss any related topic. In other words, I would say that an ethically concerned immature person who is angry may do or say something that is terrible, but it is apparent they are not trolls, because they do interact with other people in a positive way, where as with trolls all you see them doing is provoking one side or the other.
An area of contention to take note of, is that gamers come from all walks of life and ideologies which puts rivals on the same side. The biggest hurdle of this is that, to the Refugee group, one of these ideologies is the cause of the whole thing, but not everyone who identifies as that ideology agrees with the Game Journos actions. This creates a problem when you are trying to solve the issues, because the people who are likely to stay on this issue and really drive it home have to consider this with any solution lest we just want to see a repeat of these same problems in a few years after this is all resolved.
This self-same problem generates a difference in goals and as such, how things will play out for individuals progressing into the future of #GamerGate. These groups’ goals, as well as the solution to the problem that is the Game Journos, is luckily one and the same. The basic answer to what needs to and what is going to happen is that there are going to be groups of people that start organizing, but are still part of the overall ethos of #GamerGate. This in itself, solves the problem to some degree of the concerns Gamers have.
What follows are, in essence, the pathways that people need to and likely will follow;
- New Game Journalists – We already have people acting as Journalists. The only thing that really needs to be done is for them to come out of the shadows, codify themselves, and become known as some organized entity. Currently, these people are working behind the scenes to dig up information, fact check, and present information to the public objectively, however, that they are in the shadows does raise some flags. Not being codified allows them to not have to face questioning by people and in turn this allows for corruption to creep in. If this happens, we’re right back to where we were, but with a different ideological bent.
- Consumer Advocacy Organization – #GamerGate is great and all, but at the end of the day it is disorganized and composed of hundreds of thousands of voices that have different, sometimes opposing views. I see no reason to try to appease people who, for all intents and purposes, will be unhappy no matter what I do. This is one of the current problems with the ideology of Game Journos, and I see it even less if I am placing myself in the position of game companies, or indeed Games Journos. Why listen to a raving lunatic? That’s essentially what any group with no clearly laid out standards of demand will sound like. Shout ethics all you want, but until you tell someone what that means, you’re just making noise to make noise.
This was proposed poorly by MundaneMatt (a youtuber) and Damien Schumann, GAMR. I do not think what they suggested are good systems, but there is definitely something to having a standard as well as a specific group to look out for and protect against the very corruption that #GamerGate is against. A specific organization may not be the end or even beginning path, but at the very minimum a statement of standards expected from the Journalists supported by a significant number of people is something that is needed.
- Game Critics – As a direct result of needing to explicitly separate reviews and critiques as well as to treat games as art, sites that focus more on this area need to be developed. There are a number of critics already in this area, but they are of such a type that they carry very little critical value currently. I could very much see Game Journos turning into this completely, but I hope that other ideologies would start putting their voices out there and getting platforms. There are only a few critics that I know of that are of a different ideology than what Game Journos are putting out.
- Supporter – The basic supporter needs to still exist and should continue on with the #GamerGate tag throwing their support to who they think are in the right. Hopefully who is in the right will be the other groups mentioned here, but if those groups go wrong then these people should be just as outspoken about them. The important part of these people is that they need to be awakened to the power they have. That is to say they are not only the solution, but the cause of the problem to some degree. If they did not continuously click on, read, and support the unethical behaviour it wouldn’t have ever gotten so pernicious. And likewise, those with other voices died off, because they were not supported by these same people. This in turn means that all the rest of this is a complete waste of time if the people in this category will not support the others. So in the end everything lives or dies based on these people and this is why to a certain extent #GamerGate is nonsense. If the same enthusiasm that #GamerGate supporters have was put into supporting a new truly journalistic site these problems would just go away naturally.
- Big Picture – It is my hope that people will take this path, seeing the root causes of what is happening in Gaming Journalism and route them out of the other areas in the world where they have been permitted to corrupt just as equally, if not more so, and are vital to our civilization as a whole. This means that #GamerGate should be mostly used as an example and a place of recruitment. This would be all that needs be said here, but because these people understand that the ideology that caused this corruption has done it multiple times it is important for these people to speak up and try to guide the other groups away from letting events repeat themselves.
Those are the roles that gamers need to take up. Some will take up multiple paths, others will take only one. If gamers choose to do none of these or grow bored then the longer this goes on the less valid the complaints and the speaking about ethics has validity, because what it begins to look like is that you are interested in the drama, rather than solving the problem.
~ Durakken ~
I would like to thank Durakken for taking the time to write this. If you have any comments, please leave them below and if you want to have your side or voice heard please let me know!