Moderating GamerGate Threads October 28, 2014 7:42 AM   Subscribe

It would be helpful to have a statement from our moderators about how they're handling moderation in the GamerGate threads, before certain myths take hold.

In the latest GG thread, clarknova stated:

I know two concrete things: If I bring the anti-gg talking points to the Gaters on 4chan I will get insults. I will get epithets. I will get thier arguments. And I'll get some agreement. I will get debate for as long as I want it. If I bring thier points here, or any other anti-gg forum I will get my comments deleted.

Various users have disputed this in-thread. I could find only a single moderator comment about a single deleted comment out of almost 4000 comments across the six Mefi threads tagged "gamergate", and I'm not even sure whether that deleted comment was pro-GG. Could our mods comment on their approach to moderating these threads, not only for our benefit but for visitors' benefit as well?
posted by rory to Etiquette/Policy at 7:42 AM (332 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

There were a few comments removed, but none were pro-GG – with the possible exception of one, which wasn't deleted for that reason. In that exchange someone made a comment like, "Zoe Quinn linked to this storify on her Twitter," with a link, and someone else said, "why are we linking to anything she says though? She's no more credible than the gamergaters are." Which might have started a fight but wouldn't have been deleted if it were to something that Quinn was saying rather than a link to content by somebody else.

Other than that, which was not really pro-GG, as much as "not pro-anti-GG" comment, what I'm seeing is deletions for a couple of bad/offensive jokes, a couple of "I'm bored with this / I don't care about this" sort of comments, one "ironic racism" sort of comment, one spat between a couple of people, a couple of personal attacks, a derail about the Southern Poverty Law Center, a derail about English instructors, and the one gnfti deleted, which was fine (explaining why they think everybody should ignore GG) until the end, with a sort of "I'm about to be labeled a monster by the Mefi lynch mob so I'm outta here" kind of thing tacked on, which was the problem.

This is what I found on my first scan for deletions on these two long threads. I don't find any pro Gamergate comments deleted, but I don't think many were made.

In terms of what we *would* delete, we're not going to issue a blanket statement about never ever deleting any pro-GG comment, because as with everything else, it's going to depend on the particularities of the specific comment and situation. Basically, we're doing what we always do, which is to try and strike the delicate balance in a hot-button subject, riding the narrow line, and trying not to let things descend into fights and/or name-calling, rather than deleting for any "pro" or "anti" position.

Is this basically the sort of info you were asking for?
posted by taz (staff) at 7:44 AM on October 28, 2014 [30 favorites]


What myths?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:49 AM on October 28, 2014


Is this thread about ethics in MeFi moderation?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:06 AM on October 28, 2014 [139 favorites]


Actually....
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 8:09 AM on October 28, 2014 [11 favorites]


Does anybody read the comments down here?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:09 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


What myths?

I don't want to speak for rory, but I think the worry is that gamergaters may start to claim that the mods are actively suppressing pro-gamergate points of view. One of gamergate's main talking points is that gamergate is 'actually about corruption in games journalism', but you'd never know it because everyone with any kind of platform is colluding to hide gamergate's 'real' agenda and reframe gamergate as a movement that hates women.

So I get why it's desirable to get the mods on record preemptively as saying they're applying the same moderation standard to pro- and anti-gamergate comments, but I'm skeptical that this will convince many gamergaters. Some of the gamergate lines of argument have a lot in common with conspiracy theory reasoning, where evidence against the conspiracy is always reframed as evidence for it.

One argument gamergaters could make, for example, is that claiming to be impartial and to delete pro-gamergate comments not because of ideology but because the comments were breaking site rules is exactly what a mod would say if they wanted to cover up their anti-gamergate bias.

The problem with this kind of conspiracy theory reasoning is that it's essentially unfalsifiable, so once someone's talked themselves into one of these argumentative loops it's really hard to talk them back out. The analysis of gamergate tweets Newsweek covered, for example, got handwaved away as data manipulation on the part of biased media.
posted by amery at 8:18 AM on October 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


What myths?

The myth that if you post a pro-GG comment here, the mods will delete it simply for being pro-GG. Not true, as we now see.

Thanks for the clarification, taz.
posted by rory at 8:19 AM on October 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Timing!
posted by amery at 8:19 AM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thanks, amery, that's exactly it. I don't know how much it will help either, but it felt important to get a clear statement on the record.
posted by rory at 8:22 AM on October 28, 2014


Thanks, amery, that's exactly it. I don't know how much it will help either, but it felt important to get a clear statement on the record.

You're taking the barking of small woodland creatures way too seriously.

This is like creating a helpdesk ticket system for every time my 2 year old has a tantrum because she wants a mommy hug and only daddy hugs are available.
posted by selfnoise at 8:25 AM on October 28, 2014 [27 favorites]


It's certainly unfalsifiable here, amery, but maybe not unfalsifiable in other cases or in other places. However, it would be nice if you didn't try to sell your case in here, particularly with words like "handwaved."
posted by adipocere at 8:26 AM on October 28, 2014


Next up: Can we get the mods to clarify whether they would or not not remove any comment which denies vanilla is the supreme ice cream flavor.
posted by Justinian at 8:27 AM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


#ethicsinicecreamjournalism
posted by ChuraChura at 8:28 AM on October 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


#notallicecream
posted by Kitteh at 8:29 AM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


#notyourcone
posted by zombieflanders at 8:32 AM on October 28, 2014 [23 favorites]


You're taking the barking of small woodland creatures way too seriously.

I was responding to a comment from a Mefite of five years' standing, who has posted many times and would know how the site functions well, yet who still felt able to state with "concrete" certainty that the mods would delete pro-GG comments. A Mefite who's also a game dev, not just a random gamer. That felt like a comment worth taking seriously.

Also, GG has dragged on for two months, threatens to drag on for more, and has spawned several threads to date. Given the nature of the beast it's useful to have a MeTa thread for issues around how Mefi handles the topic, but there hasn't been one yet. So here it is.
posted by rory at 8:36 AM on October 28, 2014 [12 favorites]




I was responding to a comment from a Mefite of five years' standing, who has posted many times and would know how the site functions well, yet who still felt able to state with "concrete" certainty that the mods would delete pro-GG comments.

That's something one only learns with experience, that there is a clique of long term posters and readers here who delight in being oppressed by the jackbooted thuggery of the moderators, but never seem to leave or bother to do anything about it.

Goofusgate is only the excuse, not the cause.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:50 AM on October 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


His comment just doesn't make a case for responding. It's a long apologia about how much he respects women, which has nothing to do with Metafilter moderation and... uh. ok pal? And then an unsourced complaint.
posted by selfnoise at 8:54 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


yet who still felt able to state with "concrete" certainty that the mods would delete pro-GG comments.

You'd think people would be more scared of getting snarked at by the Cabal there is no Cabal
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:56 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


The myth that if you post a pro-GG comment here, the mods will delete it simply for being pro-GG. Not true, as we now see.

[Let's just stipulate my standard objection to calling falsehoods and fictions "myths," which are illustrative stories of value.]

Except that the whole appeal of conspiracy theories to conspiracy theorists is that they can always simply believe it's just more cover-up. You think a moderator statement like this is going to be taken as truth by the victim brigade?
posted by phearlez at 9:03 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


rory, yeah, it's good to get an explicit, preemptive mod statement. Didn't mean to imply otherwise.
posted by amery at 9:03 AM on October 28, 2014


It's admirable but the mods don't usually work that way. A close reading of taz's response shows why.
posted by kalessin at 9:04 AM on October 28, 2014


>getting snarked at by the Cabal there is no Cabal

Yeah, there is no Cabal. ::wink::

But addressing the topic at hand: has anyone made a pro-GG argument (on MeFi) that doesn't boil down to misogyny or leave gaping oversight of what does and does not constitute ethics in journalism?
posted by Tevin at 9:06 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


A comment wouldn't be deleted for being pro-gg, but I imagine if someone wanted to come in guns blazing that they'd eventually get a "knock it off" message for taking on all comers and dominating a thread. Which would probably be enough for them to be silenced all their life even though it's SOP around here.
posted by charred husk at 9:11 AM on October 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


rory, yeah, it's good to get an explicit, preemptive mod statement.

Why?

Is there some reason I'm missing why MetaFilter would want to solicit GG's respect or approval? Have they acquired thermonuclear weaponry or something?
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:11 AM on October 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


Is there some reason I'm missing why MetaFilter would want to solicit GG's respect or approval? Have they acquired thermonuclear weaponry or something?

Actually it's about ethics in games journalism.
posted by Talez at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


prize bull octorok: "Have they acquired thermonuclear weaponry or something?"

They've played boss battle after boss battle, they've restored from saved games, they've weathered every storm and they always come out on t--

Ahem. Sorry. Too much /r/BestOfOutrageCulture.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've been a presence in one way or another in most (if not all) the GG threads and as far as I can tell there's only been the "take it outside" sort of moderation you get in any heated thread. We've had surprisingly few drank-the-Kool-Aid defenses of GG, but that points more toward the severe vulnerability GG arguments and actions have to the most basic level of scrutiny than a conspiracy to silence the voices of the revolution or whatever.
posted by griphus at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


The myth that if you post a pro-GG comment here, the mods will delete it simply for being pro-GG.

People say a lot of things. One person making a false statement is not actually myth-making.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:20 AM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


Unless that person is Homer.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2014 [31 favorites]


One person making a false statement is not actually myth-making.

Yeah to make a myth you need a mummy myth and a daddy myth who love each other very much...
posted by Talez at 9:26 AM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


Hey, I want to state for the record that I made the comment that Zoe Quinn is no more credible than the gators are, because I want to be clear why I said it in this very specific context and also that it was NOT the storify link I was referring to.

Someone in the thread asked how to show support in the fight against gators, and a commenter in the thread recommended giving to that Patreon site as a method of doing that, because the Patreon is for Rebel Jam...sorta.

By which I mean, the link goes to Zoe's personal PayPal, it's been up for at least six months, there's no start date for Rebel Jam...it is, frankly, what I would normally view, with anyone else, as sketchy as hell. And I don't think that someone being harassed should automatically make that person's own actions beyond reproach, immune from any reasonable criticism.

If you look into it, and you disagree, hey, fine. If you just want to give money to Zoe personally, because you feel bad for what she's been through, that is a fine way to do it, go for it! But if you want to support projects for women in gaming, female devs or critics tin a stance against gamers, you have many, many better choices. Consider Anita Sarkeesian's projects, for example--she has also been harassed like crazy by the gators.

I am not a gamergator proponent. I do NOT support harassment. I do feel uncomfortable with holding someone who has been harassed to a lower standard than I would anyone else because of their history, though. YMMV.

I get why taz felt my saying Zoe Quinn was not any more credible than the gators should be deleted, though. (1) because the comparison was unnecessary and also stupid on my part and I can see how it would be inflammatory, especially given that (2) I did not provide enough of the specific context.

In my defense, I have been in a situation (sitting in a hospital waiting room between visiting a relative in hospice care) where wifi is wonky and so my inputs are not getting through half the time as it is (I even wrote the mods to see if I had a bunch of stuff deleted), so I was going for brevity.

So I 100% support the deletion taz made in my case.
posted by misha at 9:26 AM on October 28, 2014 [17 favorites]


Part of how Gamergate has developed is through an accumulation of unsourced complaints.

This was clarknova's first comment in that long thread, and he hadn't commented at all in the GG threads that preceded it. I suspect his specific complaint merely voiced what other pro-GG Mefites are thinking, that the whole place is set against them. Another longstanding Mefite was mentioned in one of the threads for something pro-GG they'd posted elsewhere, and it became glaringly obvious that they hadn't commented in any of the threads.

Is there some reason I'm missing why MetaFilter would want to solicit GG's respect or approval?

It's more about keeping lines of communication open... maybe I've just been affected by waxy's analysis of 72 hours of Gamergate, but I'm thinking about the polarization we're seeing, and the value of trying to keep talking to the other side, as Film Crit Hulk is doing elsewhere.
posted by rory at 9:28 AM on October 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Wish I could figure out a way to say this that wasn't inflammatory in some way.

GG as just a collection of ideas with no real organization and a bunch of conflicting communities collected under it means pro-GG folks don't come off looking good by any stretch of the imagination. There's no consistency of message, ethics, goals, or any other aspect folks look for in a social movement.
The conflation (deserved or not) of pro-GG folks and the trolls who are doxing/doxxing dissenters and doing other terrorist acts (which I define as any violent act designed to deprive, through harassment, threat or fear, others of their right to free expression) only serves to further dilute the "ethics in journalism" message and frankly makes it look totally hypocritical.

I wish I COULD say something positive about GG but as it stands, no.
posted by kalessin at 9:29 AM on October 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


misha, I don't think it's helpful to this thread to defend your deleted comment here.
posted by introp at 9:31 AM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's more about keeping lines of communication open...

I speak from personal experience here: it's trivial to keep these lines of communication open. Twitter, tumblr, Facebook, here (in MeMail and in some discussions).
posted by kalessin at 9:32 AM on October 28, 2014


Is there some reason I'm missing why MetaFilter would want to solicit GG's respect or approval?

I have no desire to solicit GamerGate's respect or approval, but it's nice that this thread exists as an easy link that someone can copypaste in case anyone's like THE MODS ARE AGAINST US, rather than derailing a thread with a huge multiparagraph assurance about the Nature Of Moderation At Metafilter.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:33 AM on October 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


I was responding to a comment from a Mefite of five years' standing, who has posted many times and would know how the site functions well, yet who still felt able to state with "concrete" certainty that the mods would delete pro-GG comments. A Mefite who's also a game dev, not just a random gamer. That felt like a comment worth taking seriously.

And yet, from what I've seen, no one is taking it seriously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:34 AM on October 28, 2014


[Let's just stipulate my standard objection to calling falsehoods and fictions "myths," which are illustrative stories of value.]

My apologies to the spirit of Robert Lynn Asprin.

I have no desire to solicit GamerGate's respect or approval, but it's nice that this thread exists as an easy link that someone can copypaste in case anyone's like THE MODS ARE AGAINST US, rather than derailing a thread with a huge multiparagraph assurance about the Nature Of Moderation At Metafilter.

Thanks, that was the idea. A few of us were posting comments in that thread that felt decidedly MeTa, and I just thought it would be better if they were over here rather than there.

And yet, from what I've seen, no one is taking it seriously.

I didn't mean in the sense of "hey, this guy has a point" - more like "people who have been here for years are saying this stuff about how the place works - what's going on?"
posted by rory at 9:41 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


"people who have been here for years are saying this stuff about how the place works - what's going on?"

They are wrong, is what is going on. There's not necessarily any connection between longevity and trustworthiness, as much as we might like it to be.

To me a big part of this is that it's a total internet-phenomenon that barely makes a ripple in the not-gamer-non-internet world except as an example of how

- Twitter's harassment policies and procedures suck
- corporations can get bullied just like people
- folks bend over backwards to pretend they're not misogynist which is so curious when they're being terrifically misogynist.
- a small group of provocateurs can do a lot of damage when people aren't willing to do the work to denounce their activities
- internet people are often terrible

I love the "Actually..." memes as much as the next person but this GG isn't a thing I can really explain to my offline friends much at all. It's basically about online mobs, an harassing and silencing women and on a meta level at how bad we all are at having genuine discussions about how to keep that stuff from happening.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:48 AM on October 28, 2014 [68 favorites]


more like "people who have been here for years are saying this stuff about how the place works - what's going on?"

To me, what's going on is that some folks are feeling the squeeze of our overall pattern/dynamic in MetaFilter of not being able to get away with just saying anything we want to the exclusion of others' feelings on social justice matters. Also I think the overlap of the douchery going on in the GG discussions (across the Internet) is running face-first into the communal expectation of not being able get away with being random douches to each other.

I have always experienced MetaFilter as a place, at least in principle, where we can disagree but still get along. Where outright insults and disrespect isn't generally well tolerated.

In sharp contrast is the bedlam that usually surrounds off-MetaFilter discussions of GamerGate. Discussions on Twitter I had with pro-GG folks ranged the field of trolling, disrespect and insults, including:
- impugning my mother's angelic nature
- threatening me with violence
- threatening imagined threats with violence
- feints at public humiliation
- calling me gay and telling me I like to be penetrated
- calling me a feminist and other failed attempts at ugly titles
- telling me I was "typical" in my misunderstanding of hunting and gun culture
- telling me that simple disagreement was insult, disrespect, hurtful and unkind

I feel sure I'm missing some stuff. But this kind of dialog and rhetoric is not welcome here on MetaFilter. And I'm grateful for that.
posted by kalessin at 9:51 AM on October 28, 2014 [29 favorites]


Gamergate, as the movement actually behaves, isn't really defensible. Its targets, small developers and their supporters, don't have nearly the overwhelming influence on games journalism that the major studios do, because they don't have nearly as much money as the major studios, yet the small developers remain the primary object of the movement's rage.

Actions speak louder than words: Gamergate's problem, from the start, has been with women and political liberalism in gaming, not corruption in games journalism. The "corruption" that sparked the outcry was either fictional, in Zoe Quinn's case, or adult artisitic criticism, in Anita Sarkeesian's. The final straw was apparently that no mainstream outlets were covering this obviously baseless group temper tantrum.

Games journalism, like movie journalism, music journalism, etc., is certainly dominated by big money, and insofar as that's true, the Gamergaters' concern for ethical games journalism is legitimate, but this legitimate concern isn't addressed by the movement as it exists today, which verbally condemns the harassers, the doxxers, etc., without actually doing anything to stop them.

With all this in mind, I think a really reasonable pro-Gamergate comment would have to clear a much higher bar than Gamergate currently does. It would have to address basically different problems than Gamergate does. It would have to barely even be a pro-Gamergate comment.




On preview, I'm with Greg Nog: I'm glad this thread is here to prevent any derails in the threads themselves.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:51 AM on October 28, 2014 [23 favorites]


rory, yeah, it's good to get an explicit, preemptive mod statement.

Why?


Because derailing conversations that aren't rhetorically in line with the narrative of gamergate being about ethics in games journalism with claims of being silenced all my life by the Powers that Be is by this point an old standard in the Gamergate Argument Fake Book. It's good to have a specific discussion about that claim outside of those other conversations because

a) it lets those other conversations be about what they're about;
b) it gives the silenced all my life claim the space to be about what it's about; and
c) it gives us a resource we can point to if people make the claim in the future.

Usually silenced all my life Metatalk threads are made by the person who feels silenced, so they've got a dynamic of interpersonal fightiness from the get-go. Having one framed by someone who doesn't feel personally silenced gives us an opportunity to have a more useful talk, maybe. At least, I hope so.
posted by amery at 9:57 AM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


I didn't mean in the sense of "hey, this guy has a point" - more like "people who have been here for years are saying this stuff about how the place works - what's going on?"

That's how I meant it too. From what I've seen in the thread, Clarknova's claim has been largely met with a wide number of comments which all seem to be variations upon the comment, "oh, bullshit."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on October 28, 2014


I should note also that aside from the threats which make me feel a little off-put, none of the attempts to insult and disrespect me really bothered me, but that they were attempted was something I registered as disrespectful and unnecessary and are things I prefer to be able to count on not seeing on threads here.
posted by kalessin at 10:20 AM on October 28, 2014


Clarknova's claim has been largely met with a wide number of comments which all seem to be variations upon the comment, "oh, bullshit."

Well, clarknova's comment draws false equivalences based on selective readings of the facts and cloudy abstractions. It declares its political indifference to women in games as a point in its favor, and then it gets the facts about women in games wrong. It considers anti-Gamergate forums' silencing opposition by deleting comments a grave thing indeed, when Gamergate itself silences opposition by chasing its figureheads from their homes. And then it turns out that Metafilter's moderation, at least, is not actually silencing pro-Gamergate comments this way.

So, yeah. Bullshit.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2014 [28 favorites]


Clarknova is not exactly known for arguing in good faith on here (I remember when he accused me of being a paid shill for disagreeing with him about something), and this seems a lot more like a "hey guys, look at this gauntlet I'm throwing" attention grabbing move than it does even a gesture at an accurate representation of the way GG convos are moderated here. All of which is to say he sure is brave for standing up to the man, but he's also wrong.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 10:26 AM on October 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


hey guys, look at this gauntlet I'm throwing

Contrarian needs argument – badly!

Mod – shot the argument!

posted by griphus at 10:33 AM on October 28, 2014 [26 favorites]


Mod – shot the argument!

But they did not shoot the deputy....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:35 AM on October 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


I used to play a lot of computer games. Then I became poor and most games wanted a monthly subscription. I was more of the buy it used and late and beat it in a weekend for $20 kind of guy and less of the pay $20 a month to keep my space opera addiction fed kind of guy, so the idea of paying real money on an ongoing basis put me off of gaming.

The one thing this whole gamergate phenomenon has made me realize is I have no interest in ever becoming part of gaming culture. It's like someone finally came up with something worse than con culture.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:04 AM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


> Gamergate, as the movement actually behaves, isn't really defensible.

I think this is the main reason why you don't see pro-gomglopper posts here. People are expected to make a reasonable argument in good faith and there's just nothing positive about gammygapers that can be said without doing so much handwaving at the bad parts you risk taking flight.

"Aside from all that trouble Mrs. Lincoln, the play; did you note it was about ethics in game journalism?"
posted by anti social order at 11:13 AM on October 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


Is anyone actually pro-gg on Mefi?
posted by humanfont at 11:16 AM on October 28, 2014


Am I alone in wishing that the myth was that Zues tamed the Hekatonkheires by using his thunderbolts to cut each hundred-handed giant into 50 nonrmal-sized social media commenters? Because I'd kind of like to see that one take hold....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:26 AM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Most of my friends that play games, which is to say 'most of my friends', had no idea that gamer gate was a thing until it made the mainstream news. Whatever kind of culture gg-ers are in, it's more a chan/fan-boy culture than anything to do with games.
posted by empath at 11:33 AM on October 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


But addressing the topic at hand: has anyone made a pro-GG argument (on MeFi) that doesn't boil down to misogyny or leave gaping oversight of what does and does not constitute ethics in journalism?

No, because such arguments don't exist.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:05 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Well may we say 'God save the Queen,' because nothing will save the GG."
-- The Rt Hon Gough Whitlam AC QC, R.I.P.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:23 PM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


I have no desire to solicit GamerGate's respect or approval, but it's nice that this thread exists as an easy link that someone can copypaste in case anyone's like THE MODS ARE AGAINST US, rather than derailing a thread with a huge multiparagraph assurance about the Nature Of Moderation At Metafilter.

The thing about this is that they're operating in the false-flag-conspiracy theorist mindset. Within that worldview, this thread is just a "limited hangout" that proves that in fact the Metafilter unofficial official policy is to delete any anti-GG content.

It is a good thing to focus this meta discussion here, of course, but I think we should be realistic about the level of discourse.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:24 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am now wondering what the overlap is between truthers and Gamer Gate true believers.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:27 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering what the overlap is between GamerGaters and people who ride eBikes.


Because they are the worst.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's pretty nice to do the feminism thread thing and not have to deal with the standard dozen or so users who are shitty about that topic taking giant dumps in the thread. We all agree GG is a thing and it's awful, so we can talk about it without constantly having to answer (or ignore) the mostly bad faith posts asking questions or justifying it. It's a nice change, especially because we really need these spaces with how saturated the rest of the net is with sewage on this topic.
posted by NoraReed at 12:32 PM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


We all agree GG is a thing and it's awful, so we can talk about it without constantly having to answer (or ignore) the mostly bad faith posts asking questions or justifying it.


a.k.a. Sealioning
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:35 PM on October 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


There is also a shirt re: sealions!
posted by winna at 12:41 PM on October 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's less that and more a "oh gee another woman talked about her experiences with patriarchy, let me say why she is wrong" plus a lot of denial that basic Soc 101 concepts like rape culture and patriarchy are real. Pretty accurately describes Twitter, though.
posted by NoraReed at 12:43 PM on October 28, 2014


There is also a shirt re: sealions!

Aw, I already bought my gamergate-related t-shirt.
posted by griphus at 1:05 PM on October 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


The censorship thing is big because /r/GamerGhazi has a policy of no pro-GG threads. The thing is, as far as I can tell, it's not like the pro-GG sub is particularly welcoming to anti-GG threads, they just don't forbid them. There are other subs where debate is expressly encouraged. But they want to engage at /r/GamerGhazi, where the people are not there to debate, and they can't, and some people are very unhappy about that. Here is also a place where debate is good, but I agree with above that it's also a place that expects critical thinking and good faith, and... you know, it's not that I don't think someone could have ever come up with a way to transition this to something sensible, it's just that nobody did, and now I'm afraid I really do think of GamerGate proponents as being either clueless or malicious.

But there's no need to delete them, here, if they're civil, because it's not like we aren't up to actually having civil discussion. We do it all the time. We did have that one guy who came back, didn't really try to engage, and then left. I haven't even really looked at the thread where this came up to know if there's been any more than that.
posted by Sequence at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2014




Is anyone actually pro-gg on Mefi?

I'm sure there are, but none of them are stupid.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:36 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why does this thread even exist? Why should the mods have to make a public statement that there isn't a "double standard"? Why appease these people? Why care?

I would have fully supported an official response to thread being "yes we are, fuck you" and it getting locked.

This seems like some tiger repelling rock in hopes of those people not calling us "part of the bad team" and I don't understand why any of us should care, or why we or the site staff should be seen as some neutral party.

There is, at this point, a right and a wrong side to this. There's the side threatening to shoot up schools and the wtf r u doing side. This thread seems dangerously close to the "both sides" crap even conceptually.

Basically, I think it shouldn't exist, and any comment in one of the main threads about "the moderator conspiracy" should be deleted with a "fuck off" as well.
posted by emptythought at 1:57 PM on October 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


a pro-gg'er was participating in kotakuinaction and came back just to mildly flame out and close his account - he was an old timer - account for as long as i've been here, i think.
posted by nadawi at 1:58 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love the "Actually..." memes as much as the next person but this GG isn't a thing I can really explain to my offline friends much at all.

Has anyone actually tried to do this? Because for me it was basically a rabbit hole of things I needed to explain to the first principle level, which basically led everyone to believe that I just live in a totally different universe from them 90% of the time.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:59 PM on October 28, 2014 [11 favorites]


i think i explained it as "shitty dudes think women have stormed their clubhouse so dudebros responded by harassing "the threats" under false pretenses. they also say women didn't care about gaming until portal while talking about the good ole days of gaming back in 1999."
posted by nadawi at 2:03 PM on October 28, 2014


To me a big part of this is that it's a total internet-phenomenon that barely makes a ripple in the not-gamer-non-internet world

It sure seems that way. I'm only familiar with it as something I read about here, though I was struck by the op/ed piece in the Times linking this to the reluctance of women to speak out in the Jian Ghomeshi case.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:06 PM on October 28, 2014


Has anyone actually tried to do this?

Yeah, I caught my wife up on some of it recently because it was basically the entire answer to "how was your day" that day, and man did we both find the process of me trying to unpack the whole spiel overly long and complicated. Not least because at its root the answer to "what is it?" is "just sort of a stupid, ugly mess that doesn't make sense".

I'm mostly just going to avoid trying to explain it again to someone unless there's a really, really good reason to. I find the whole thing super gross and frustrating as someone who just unambiguously loves video games.

Which puts me in an annoying position as a mod because, per taz, per jessamyn, per a decade and a half of moderation practice, it's nonetheless really plainly implicit that we're not going to delete something just for being on the far side of an argument. I can think something is dumb as hell and still let it be in a thread just fine if it's not wrapped up in some sort of mind-meltingly bad, guidelines-breaking packaging.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:08 PM on October 28, 2014 [16 favorites]


Yeah to make a myth you need a mummy myth and a daddy myth who love each other very much...

You mean... a myth and mythter?
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:15 PM on October 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


I only casually scan the threads about gaming (not much of a gamer myself), and I can tell you all that I find most EVE-Online posts to be easier to make sense of that any of the GamerGate things I've seen.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:18 PM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


emptythought: "This thread seems dangerously close to the "both sides" crap even conceptually. "

Really? I don't get that vibe. I am in favor of this thread, despite being in no way in the "both sides" camp.
posted by Bugbread at 2:25 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Not least because at its root the answer to "what is it?" is "just sort of a stupid, ugly mess that doesn't make sense".

Fractally so, even! When you zoom into the stupid ugly nonsense, it's just as stupidly ugly nonsensical.

I'm reminded of a few years back and a turn of conversation making me need to explain what Mens Rights Activists were to a friend. "To start out by summing up, they're guys who think that white men have it super tough in modern times." Whereupon he looked at me expectantly, and I had to add, "No, I swear there's no punchline coming here. That's honestly the core of it!" Then we got into things like confirmation biases and cognitive misfires that underlie conspiracy theories, and then I'm pretty sure the conversation got sidetracked by one of his kids practically tackling me with a book they wanted read to them, which in retrospect I could have pointed out as a part of the terrible oppression visited upon men.

Anyway, chalk me into the side of the census that doesn't really see the need for this thread or explicit statement of "no we don't delete things for that" policies. Those who need to see it will never process it, or it'll backfire-effect into confirming the systematic deletions and censorship and But Other Side Too dumbnesses.
posted by Drastic at 2:40 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Basically, I think it shouldn't exist, and any comment in one of the main threads about "the moderator conspiracy" should be deleted with a "fuck off" as well.

How nice that you don't run this place. People have questions and people come here to get answers to them. It's actually easier to put a conspiracy to rest by just speaking in plain language that there's nothing going on (taz is the best! cortex too!) than to make it seem like there's something going on. There is nothing going on GamerGate is a stupid fight that should be demystified, not dug into and fought from the trenches.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:59 PM on October 28, 2014 [19 favorites]


most EVE-Online posts to be easier to make sense of that any of the GamerGate things I've seen.

to be fair, while EVE itself is totally mystifying, its drama and wars and stuff are totally fascinating from the outside and there are usually writeups that aren't all inside baseball about the big stuff.
posted by NoraReed at 3:13 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I may be unbalanced, paranoid, and straight-up unhinged at times, but I don't think I post in bad faith.

I believe, and still believe, that had I flatly refuted status-quo opinions about the titular heros of this movement, and the hand-waving over the claims about cronyism, or how there's namecalling on both sides, or the presumption that certain readings of historical context make that all OK for side X but not Y, a hundred users would have flagged me.

A short email exchange over some of my recent deleted posts led me to believe MeFi moderators are overworked, and often delete things hastily when they see a bunch of user flags. I may have read that wrong. I don't think so, but mods will obviously disagree.

These two observations together led me, in good faith, to make the judgement any comment refuting consensus first principles about this THING would have been deleted.

Now that I have made this claim and it has stirred a lil' shitstorm, I can probably go back in that thread with carte blanche. But the point is I had to say it first. Now I would get considered attention, rather than a quick delete because 10-100 offensive[!] flags. But I don't have the stomach for it and never did. I know exactly how much of my time that will take, and how little it will accomplish.

Too late I realize it is again more culture war bullshit, and to even mention it is to punch a tarbaby.

So why am I bothering to respond at all? To explain myself to the mods, I guess. I find some of you very clever and charming in spite of differences we've had. I have said pointed things about you from time to time, practically none of which I apologize for, but I don't want you to think I take you for fools or liars. Or that I'm being dishonest either.

If we disagree, if we even despise each others' opinions, that's fine with me.



(I remember when he accused me of being a paid shill for disagreeing with him about something)

I erroneously called you out as shill because you were repeating what I considered obvious corporate propaganda. If I had kept to the script and phrased it as

"Pepsi Blue?"

I suppose it would have been much less offensive (but would have meant exactly the same thing in a much more passive-aggressive way).

It's much more comforting to think people repeat talking points verbatim because they're paid, rather than because PR works.
posted by clarknova at 3:19 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


sealioning

Don't get me started.
posted by arcticseal at 3:23 PM on October 28, 2014 [25 favorites]


a hundred users would have flagged me

If a hundred users flag you unreasonably, a hundred users will have to deal with being disappointed about not seeing the flagged thing go away. It is profoundly unlikely that a hundred users will flag something that is not retina-searingly terrible, though; it's also unlikely that more than like two people will flag something that's straight up civil dissent or counterargument without some kind of actually problematic framing or baggage, and again those two people will just have to deal.

But the point is I had to say it first.

No, you really didn't. Your comments are no more or less likely to be deleted than they were before; you are not buying deletion insurance by declaring your expectation of unjust deletion first, you're just making your future participation in that discussion sound super duper sketchy and antagonistic from the get-go because it goes from "here's my opinion about something" to "here's my opinion that I DEFY YOU TO FAIRLY CONSIDER" and basically turns everything up to eleven for no reason.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:28 PM on October 28, 2014 [60 favorites]


I believe, and still believe, that had I flatly refuted status-quo opinions about the titular heros of this movement, and the hand-waving over the claims about cronyism, or how there's namecalling on both sides, or the presumption that certain readings of historical context make that all OK for side X but not Y, a hundred users would have flagged me.
[...]
These two observations together led me, in good faith, to make the judgement any comment refuting consensus first principles about this THING would have been deleted.

Now that I have made this claim and it has stirred a lil' shitstorm, I can probably go back in that thread with carte blanche. But the point is I had to say it first.


"I had to say something contrarian because I like to go after sacred cows regardless of the facts" is pretty much the definition of bad faith.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:31 PM on October 28, 2014 [26 favorites]


to even mention it is to punch a tarbaby

you... you actually said this? I'm not hallucinating?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:42 PM on October 28, 2014 [28 favorites]


This is like creating a helpdesk ticket system for every time my 2 year old has a tantrum because she wants a mommy hug and only daddy hugs are available.

There's a section here called Projects and I would totally vote for this
posted by Hoopo at 4:02 PM on October 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


Is anyone actually pro-gg on Mefi?

I think the assumption is that there is a silent majority of pro-gamergate people here, unwilling to speak out because of the mods, or if not the mods, because people will disagree with them. And as you know, disagreement equals censorship.

You have to understand though, it must be very frustrating and isolating to not be able to drum up support in the form of a dozen or so sockpuppet accounts. I confess I was kind of expecting there would be a couple thousand or so concerned netizens spending their moneys to join metafilter and flood gamergate threads, but I guess that was either too expensive, or the payment system too identifying.
posted by happyroach at 4:32 PM on October 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


happyroach: "I confess I was kind of expecting there would be a couple thousand or so concerned netizens spending their moneys to join metafilter and flood gamergate threads, but I guess that was either too expensive, or the payment system too identifying."

They're a consumer activist group that won't put their money where their collective mouth is.

lol.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:34 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


the titular heros of this movement

are you talking about Jonathan Gamergate
posted by Greg Nog at 4:41 PM on October 28, 2014 [39 favorites]


I don't know about the rest of you, but I am firmly pro-Skub.
posted by killdevil at 5:19 PM on October 28, 2014


You mean... a myth and mythter?

Mythter and Mythos, surely. Wouldn't want to encourage wanton promiscuity in mythmaking.
posted by RogerB at 5:20 PM on October 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


>either too expensive, or the payment system too identifying.

Does it take bitcoin?
posted by anti social order at 5:25 PM on October 28, 2014


I find the term "tar baby" to be a racist and anachronistic term. I think it would be wonderful if in the future we could all try to avoid using it. I understand that the idea that it is racist is an embattled concept, but it still seems like we could do better.
posted by kalessin at 5:27 PM on October 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


anti social order: "Does it take bitcoin?"

*slaps knee*

That's what this clusterfuck was missing! A gamer-exclusive cryptocurrency! Viviancoins, or something.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:31 PM on October 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


This seems like some tiger repelling rock in hopes of those people not calling us "part of the bad team" and I don't understand why any of us should care, or why we or the site staff should be seen as some neutral party.

I thought clarknova's claim about insta-deletion of pro-GG comments was bullshit and needed to be challenged, which I and others did in-thread, but our assertions could only take things so far; we needed the additional info on reasons for deletions that only a mod could provide. We were also at risk of clogging up the thread with MeTa-style stuff by trying to handle it in-thread, so I brought it to MeTa instead.

At some level I was also curious about how the mods had been affected by this GG stuff over the past 2 months, in terms of their day-to-day operations. I was also conscious of other pro-GG Mefites who hadn't participated in those threads, and was wondering what made this topic so different from others in that regard. I've been here a long time, and have seen endless threads about 9/11, the Bush years, I/P threads, all sorts of toxic debates with entrenched views from both sides represented here, many of which have had a lot more at stake than this. It wasn't about repelling gamergater attacks or wanting outsiders to see us a neutral, it was about the internal dynamics of Mefi and how contentious topics fare here. Typical MeTa-type curiosity, in other words.

So those were my motivations in posting it. Not a tiger-repelling rock, and not some sort of "both sides" equivalency, which isn't something I personally believe for a moment.

I think the assumption is that there is a silent majority of pro-gamergate people here, unwilling to speak out because of the mods, or if not the mods, because people will disagree with them.

I think it's a small silent minority.
posted by rory at 5:41 PM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Too late I realize it is again more culture war bullshit, and to even mention it is to punch a tarbaby.




If you find that commenting on "culture war bullshit" threads is like (in your words) "punching a tarbaby," could it be that the premises upon which you base your arguments are easily refutable, and that it becomes frustrating to you when multiple people are able to do so, each time you post?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:43 PM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


misha, I don't think it's helpful to this thread to defend your deleted comment here.

She stated "So I 100% support the deletion taz made in my case" -- how is that "defending" her deleted comment???
posted by Jacqueline at 5:48 PM on October 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


I only casually scan the threads about gaming (not much of a gamer myself), and I can tell you all that I find most EVE-Online posts to be easier to make sense of that any of the GamerGate things I've seen.

When your online community is orders of magnitude more toxic than people who cheerfully refer to themselves as Goonswarm it may be about more than ethics in game journalism. (NOT GOONIST)
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:17 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


For those of you who have been niggardly with your research into cultural references: Tar Baby.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:45 PM on October 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yeah, you should probably avoid using the phrase tar baby solely because some people will think its a racial slur but it's not widely considered to be. No reason to give offense unintentionally, though.
posted by Justinian at 6:50 PM on October 28, 2014


I didn't think it was a slur either, but the OED (referred to in the Wikipedia article that Tell Me No Lies linked to) gives some examples of it being used in a racist way (although those examples are all from novels, not non-fiction). So agreed, best not to use it.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:59 PM on October 28, 2014


I love the "Actually..." memes as much as the next person but this GG isn't a thing I can really explain to my offline friends much at all. It's basically about online mobs, an harassing and silencing women and on a meta level at how bad we all are at having genuine discussions about how to keep that stuff from happening.

The unfortunate reality is that this thing that launched and pretty much flourishes in internet world is also incredibly hard to resolve with any satisfaction in that particular medium. That is where the problem thrives and survives and has its context, but communication just doesn't work well enough there to actually make a significant dent in the problem. It's like setting a bunch of goldfish free in a swimming pool and then thinking that being in the pool to gather them all up again is the most effective method.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:01 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


[Let's just stipulate my standard objection to calling falsehoods and fictions "myths," which are illustrative stories of value.]

My apologies to the spirit of Robert Lynn Asprin.


I am not Skeeve'd out by this statement but I was thinking more Joseph Campbell.

RIP, RLA. The Myth Adventures were some of the funniest things of my teen years.
posted by phearlez at 7:51 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Or, in other words, the internet is fully capable of making problems bigger than it has the resources to resolve, and it often can't resist the temptation to do so.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:43 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Personally I think the mods are too pro-#1 quidnunc kid.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:01 PM on October 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


Yeah, you should probably avoid using the phrase [..] solely because some people will think its [...]

On an extremely tangential note my favorite two words of late are "gunsel" and "nimrod". Both gained public visibility in very limited circumstances, both were taken to mean something very different from their actual definition, and both have lost their original definitions in favor of the popular misinterpretation.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:05 PM on October 28, 2014 [3 favorites]




I find it enormously gratifying and charmingly funny that there have been So! Many! Words! spent on the whole gamergate thing here at Metafilter, while over at MefightClub (which is, you know, a gaming community and all!), it just hasn't been a Thing, that I've noticed, at least.

Not that the misogyny and harassment and other vilenesses that have come out of the horrific hashtag brigade should be left unrecognized and unchallenged, it's just that I think we've deliberately built ourselves a vibe over there where it's all about enjoying the games and each other and quietly cherishing the fact that we've got that muck well washed from our boots, and if we want to venture out and take on the bad guys, we can do it where the mud and blood won't get on the sofa.

Good bunch of folks we've got over there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:53 PM on October 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


I generally try to avoid words that evoke slurs even if they're etymologically and definitionally unrelated; it can be really jarring to come across slurs in the kinds of places that generally isn't okay with having them up and I don't want to give people that kind of reaction.
posted by NoraReed at 12:53 AM on October 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I've been here a long time, and have seen endless threads about 9/11, the Bush years, I/P threads, all sorts of toxic debates with entrenched views from both sides represented here, many of which have had a lot more at stake than this.

I think the reason you don't see many "pro-GG" (and god I hate that phrase) commenters is there are less of them than one would think. I would guess that at most there are a few thousand in total, but they are very active and have made a concerted effort to seem louder than they are (when intel get a thousand emails on a subject they usually assume that this a small percentage of those who are annoyed. I suspect in this case it is a large percentage).
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:51 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


ArmyOfKittens: That's what this clusterfuck was missing! A gamer-exclusive cryptocurrency! Viviancoins, or something.

Actuallira?
posted by xqwzts at 4:08 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nice coin - little fedoras on the obverse. Flip them over, the motto: "I was only trying to be nice!"
posted by elephantday at 4:29 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


"pro-GG" (and god I hate that phrase)

Is it the "GG"? I'll spell it out in future. Or is it the "pro"? That's just after the "anti-Gamergate" formation. Talking about "Gamergate Mefites" doesn't sound quite right. Mefite Gamergaters? Gatorfites?
posted by rory at 4:37 AM on October 29, 2014


I think its the whole "pro-gamergate" and "anti-gamergate" thing, it just comes across as ridiculous: to an extent it feels like one is aknowledging gamergate as a real movement. I also think its a weird way of expressing movements. We don't really say "anti-tea partiers" because to do so is to assume that people who disagree with the tea party are essentially defined by that.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:45 AM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I grew up with the Uncle Remus stories. My mom is from the same area of Georgia as Joel Chandler Harris (her hometown is actually part of the Uncle Remus Public Library System. They are treasured memories of my youth. But I recognize all of the racism inherent in them, and I don't think they make good cultural references modernly.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:45 AM on October 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


Also to play a shitty game with "niggardly" and "tar baby" just so you can: not clever and frankly disappointing.
posted by kalessin at 5:41 AM on October 29, 2014 [20 favorites]


That wasn't my reading of that comment. I read it as, Here's one word some people got bent out of shape over purely for how it sounds, so not treading lightly around another word that actually does have cultural baggage is problematic. Here's why: Link.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:49 AM on October 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I would agree except for general tone and the use of "niggardly" which read to me as a very passive-aggressive bit of bait.
posted by kalessin at 6:05 AM on October 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah, maybe. Just saying there was an alternative reading of that. I didn't see it your way until you wrote it. Helvetica isn't always nuanced.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:07 AM on October 29, 2014


while over at MefightClub (which is, you know, a gaming community and all!), it just hasn't been a Thing, that I've noticed, at least.

Stavros, not trying to start something but you may not have noticed this. I left MeFightClub a while back mainly because of the backlash 256 and I experienced over interrogating our community relationship to violent and misogynistic tropes in gaming. I felt harrased and persecuted by a particular and prominent member and told you and Kimberley and queried a number of other members and essentially got the answer "he's been with us for a long time and that's just his way" and "are you sure you're a good fit here?" So for me the horse was already out of the gate.

Gamergate may not be a thing at MeFightClub because folks inclined to be vocal about it are not or no longer there.
posted by kalessin at 6:13 AM on October 29, 2014 [13 favorites]


lil' shitstorm

Oh, you think shitstorms are cute.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:15 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


We don't really say "anti-tea partiers" because to do so is to assume that people who disagree with the tea party are essentially defined by that

I would be comfortable being defined by being opposed to everything GG is.
posted by phearlez at 6:21 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


And I with the tea partiers.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:36 AM on October 29, 2014


I've actually seen Mythter several times.
posted by malocchio at 6:48 AM on October 29, 2014


I would agree except for general tone and the use of "niggardly" which read to me as a very passive-aggressive bit of bait.

Yeah, pretty much the only reason that words gets used anymore is people who are just itching to say the first two syllables. For the small set of people who just loved the word: sorry, guys, the racists shat all over your word and there is no way to clean it up and make it presentable. Stop complaining and go punch a racist; they're the ones that fucked up your word.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:52 AM on October 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


SpacemanStix: Or, in other words, the internet is fully capable of making problems bigger than it has the resources to resolve, and it often can't resist the temptation to do so.

That's an issue in the world at large. Things run smoothly if people behave in a civil manner, but if a significant portion of the population loses their shit and goes on a rampage, it takes another significant portion of the population to respond. So unless there's a whole lot of people who are able to drop whatever it is they were doing, there's going to be chaos for a while, until enough people can make time to respond.

In short, it's much easier to make chaos than it is to return chaos to order.

(Which also makes me think of little kids playing with blocks - you can spend time stacking up blocks to make a tower, but they can lash out in a moment and ruin it all, and sometimes do it just to hear the noise of blocks clattering.)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:21 AM on October 29, 2014


Stop complaining and go punch a racist; they're the ones that fucked up your word.

Actually it was the over-reaction of those harmed by the other word and a witch-hunt that fucked up a perfectly cromulent word. I lived through that and still remember the pearl-clutching and the people who said he should have known better.

My memory may be bad, but I don't remember any racists even having an opinion.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:27 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


overreact? pearl clutching? seriously? also maybe if you reached just a tiny bit you can see how racists continually using the other word could make someone who was victim to that react in a specific way to a word that sounds similar.
posted by nadawi at 7:38 AM on October 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


Sticking to an embattled word when there are so many less embattled words (http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/niggardly) may be seen as problematic in some cultures.
posted by kalessin at 7:39 AM on October 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Actually it was the over-reaction of those harmed by the other word and a witch-hunt that fucked up a perfectly cromulent word.

This is a bit like arguing that, since the swastika has millennia of use prior to the Nazi co-opting (and remains a significant symbol in Buddhism) that your neighbors should not be upset at your choice in topiary design. That you are, technically, right does not also make you utterly wrong.

Remember, ther is no word police who will stop you. However, if you use that word, a significant number of people will assume you are a racist and crying about that after the fact is not going to be productive. We all make our own impressions, but not under circumstances of our own choosing, as Marx might say were he talking about word choice on the internet.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:46 AM on October 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Yeah, pretty much the only reason that words gets used anymore is people who are just itching to say the first two syllables. For the small set of people who just loved the word: sorry, guys, the racists shat all over your word and there is no way to clean it up and make it presentable. Stop complaining and go punch a racist; they're the ones that fucked up your word.

Especially since parsimonious is so much more euphonious!
posted by winna at 7:47 AM on October 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


For those of you who have been niggardly with your research into cultural references: Tar Baby.

hey remember that kid in sixth grade who was all like loserssaywhat haha and really loved the "naggers" joke in south park

that kid was awesome, let's act like him now that we're adults online
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:49 AM on October 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


The problem with invoking niggardly re: the David Howard incident is that it's springboarding from a one-off clusterfuck to using the word and the Right To Use It and the Well Actually It's Not Really Derived From That Other Slur, You Know The One, You're Thinking It Now But I Didn't Actually Say It! as a cudgel in unrelated arguments about speech and slurs and political correctness and folk etymology.

It's picking a fight—a fight that is ultimately about flaunting etymological justification to knowingly push people's buttons about an unrelated-but-also-now-undissociable racial slur—on the basis of being convinced of the righteousness of your sociolinguistic position, and it's picking that fight whether or not you specifically actually want a fight. Maybe you just want to be a little pedantic about word use; maybe you learned "niggardly" in a neutral context and wish the word hadn't been skunked by circumstance. I can absolutely believe someone feeling like they're just making a simple "well, we need to be careful about assumptions about language" point and not having some darker intent. But when a core aspect the point you're trying to make is "hey, I/they didn't actually say that word, which is the word everyone in the room is now thinking about though", that's a big problem if that's not what you're actively trying to do.

Bringing up niggardly in an academic discussion of word taboos and phonological skunking and so on makes sense. Bringing it up in a charged discussion where people are expressing squicked feelings about other racially-complicated language doesn't, so much. Intent is entirely beside the point: it's just a foolish and distracting thing to do.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:54 AM on October 29, 2014 [36 favorites]


Wow. I vaguely remember the niggardly thing in 1999, but I either totally forgot or never even knew that the chairman of the NAACP stood in favor of its use.

But using "niggardly" like the Economist example, "During the 1980s, when service industries consumed about 85% of the $1 trillion invested in I.T. in the United States, productivity growth averaged a niggardly 0.8% a year." is very different from using niggardly in a sentence like "For those of you who have been niggardly with your research into cultural references: Tar Baby." The first example is just using the word. The second example is using the word with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge.
posted by Bugbread at 7:59 AM on October 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


Yes, context matters.
posted by kalessin at 8:01 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can get why someone would think it was funny in an abstract sense to bring up that word, haha people think non-racists words are racist, aren't they being silly?

But all you've done is insult someone whose feelings were already hurt, rightly or wrongly, which is kind of a shitty thing to do.
posted by empath at 9:01 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Intent is entirely beside the point: it's just a foolish and distracting thing to do.

That would appear to be the case. Truthfully I had no idea that the word held any emotional currency other than "Fifteen year old reference to a bit of silliness in the D.C. Mayor's office." Apparently people are freshly upset by it, so I apologize for using it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:02 AM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


If only there were alternative metaphors! Stupid English with only hundreds of thousands of words to choose from!
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:04 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


But all you've done is insult someone [...]

And of course provide a bit of context for a term that was being used to justify openly calling someone a racist.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:06 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I actually really like the image of someone making their own situation worse through anger and over-reaction, and "tar baby" is a good, vivid shorthand for that. What other word or phrase delivers the same concept so well?

Dang it, Celsius! How did you sneak in there while I was typing?!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:09 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Morass? Quagmire?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:12 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Askville provides some suggestions. I get that "tar baby" is a word that evokes a bunch of useful associations to the concept we're communicating about. But it also comes with some unavoidable racist connotations.
posted by kalessin at 9:13 AM on October 29, 2014


Your assertion: And of course provide a bit of context for a term that was being used to justify openly calling someone a racist.

If you are referring to my quote (which I give below), perhaps you could clue me into which someone I openly called a racist.

My quote: I find the term "tar baby" to be a racist and anachronistic term. I think it would be wonderful if in the future we could all try to avoid using it. I understand that the idea that it is racist is an embattled concept, but it still seems like we could do better.
posted by kalessin at 9:15 AM on October 29, 2014


There was a deleted comment flatly asserting that the person who used the word originally in here was "[also] a racist", which is maybe the source of the confusion. Needless to say, wanting to say "I think that's unfair and here's some context for that word" is an understandable instinct, but with the offending comment itself gone it gets less clear what the issue was and in any case the problem with how that defense was presented became most of the issue in here.

Probably, unless people really specifically want to pivot this into a discussion of language taboos and skunked terms, it mostly makes sense to just move on from discussing either term at this point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:20 AM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


That would appear to be the case. Truthfully I had no idea that the word held any emotional currency other than "Fifteen year old reference to a bit of silliness in the D.C. Mayor's office." Apparently people are freshly upset by it, so I apologize for using it.

It's not so much that "niggardly" is inherently offensive as that the way it was used was the way a wannabe Cartman would use it. It was childish and unfunny.

on preview, yeah, this is a derail, sorry
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:29 AM on October 29, 2014


On an extremely tangential note my favorite two words of late are "gunsel" and "nimrod".

My mother's boyfriend came back from Israel with a bunch of photos. While we were going through this, he pointed to an old structure. "I don't remember whose castle this was," he said. "Nimrod's?"

He then showed me another photo. "Who did that belong to?" I asked. "Some dillweed?"
posted by maxsparber at 9:37 AM on October 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


I actually really like the image of someone making their own situation worse through anger and over-reaction, and "tar baby" is a good, vivid shorthand for that. What other word or phrase delivers the same concept so well?

I'd just say "tar pit." I get that it lacks the visual of someone actually striking something/someone. But a big reason many of us have a visual for that is from a sequence from an in-itself problematic movie, Song of the South. (What's the age cutoff for having likely seen this before it was shunted away? I'm 44 and it was all over my pre-teen years pre-1983.)

If you're not in a discussion where any nationality issues would muddy the water you could go with Chinese Finger Trap.
posted by phearlez at 9:58 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Those finger traps are not Chinese, so that term is just as problematic as "Chinese fire drill", "Chinese whispers", and "Chinese checkers".
posted by Tanizaki at 10:25 AM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


quagmire
posted by twist my arm at 10:35 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


NPR's treatment of "Chinese fire drill" may be illuminating.
posted by kalessin at 10:36 AM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I actually looked for information before posting that as its more common name, rather than saying "finger cuffs." Unlike those items listed there is no definitive indication it is not of Chinese origin, though I think its inclusion in the Abbot&Costello movie which was released at about the same time as "chinese checkers" was being marketed is a mark of suspicion against it. Which is why I said it could be problematic in any situation where people might take it askance.
posted by phearlez at 11:05 AM on October 29, 2014


> Personally I think the mods are too pro-#1 quidnunc kid.

I really didn't want to get involved in this thread, but I can't let this stand. It is impossible to be too pro-#1 quidnunc kid.
posted by languagehat at 11:15 AM on October 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


Is there a non-offensive term for Chinese Checkers?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:38 AM on October 29, 2014


Actually, it's called Ethics in Game Journalism Checkers.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:42 AM on October 29, 2014 [24 favorites]


As the writer of a blog with several hundred thousand readers, I am ready to write about how Depression Checkers is the best game I have ever played or heard of. zoe my email address is in my profile
posted by Tanizaki at 11:55 AM on October 29, 2014


Just to be clear, Tanizaki, that sounds like a pretty gross joke implying taking the worst of the Zoe Quinn slut-shaming/sexuality talking points at face value, and being willing to degrade women in your pursuit of sexuality.

Is this an unfair/mistaken reading? I'm kinda hoping so, because otherwise, that's an *extremely* ugly statement to make.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:18 PM on October 29, 2014 [13 favorites]


"Chinese whispers"

Perhaps it's time to bring back Russian scandal?

Russian scandal n. (a) a game in which a whispered message, after being passed from player to player, is contrasted in its original and final versions (cf. Chinese whispers n. at Chinese adj. and n. Compounds 3); (b) gossip inaccurately transmitted.
  • 1861 Q. Rev. Apr. 348 There is a game called Russian Scandal, which is played in this fashion:—A. tells B. a brief narrative, which B. is to repeat to C., and C. to D., and so on.
  • 1893 C. M. Yonge Girl's Little Bk. 17 Do not repeat it [sc. gossip]. You will probably make Russian scandal of it, and the next person will add to it.
  • 1929 H. G. Wells King who was King ii. 59 When I was a boy at Templedale we used to play a game called Russian scandal.
  • 1960 G. E. Evans Horse in Furrow xiii. 177 Stories passed from one to another are proverbially incorrect as ‘Russian scandal’.
  • 2002 Herald Express (Torquay) (Nexis) 22 Nov. 31 Party games of the more distant past would have included favourites like Bobs, Russian Scandal, Proverbs, and Puss in the Corner.
posted by zamboni at 1:22 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This thread is like a Dutch oven.
posted by Nevin at 2:08 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


See, I find the whole "naming stuff based on a caricature of a country we don't like" thing increasingly problematic the further away from England the country is (or maybe the more marginalized immigrants from that country are in the speaker's country). I am totally not bothered by the French and English tradition of naming bad stuff euphemistically off of each other ("the French disease" for syphilis, etc), but "Mexican train" is kind of offensive.

I wonder if one could just replace all references to countries Turkey and eastward that have stuff named after misconceptions about them with "Orientalist" and end up okay. Orientalist Checkers. Orientalist Fingertrap.

Re: words that sound like or look like slurs, the one I had trouble with recently (I'm Bowdlerizing it here just in case anyone's scanning the thread so they don't get startled by something slur-esque) is "n*ggling", which has a different etymology than the slur and not lot of good synonyms, so I end up replacing it with multiple words, because frankly anyone who might be startled by that kind of thing probably has plenty of shit to deal with and doesn't need any more things to trigger their slur response, even if it's not meant that way. It's a probably-being-over-careful thing, but I kinda feel like I'm obligated to be over careful when I can afford to because of my privilege, you know?
posted by NoraReed at 2:17 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really didn't want to get involved in this thread, but I can't let this stand. It is impossible to be too pro-#1 quidnunc kid.

I wouldn't be too quick to say such a thing! We may all be in danger! #BrainstemGate
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:22 PM on October 29, 2014


"Chinese whispers"

I'd never heard this term until a few weeks ago. It was used frequently in an Australian documentary I was watching and I had to look it up. Based on the context I assumed it wasn't a compliment.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:44 PM on October 29, 2014


Wikipedia's entry on Chinese Checkers suggests that the original name of the game was Stern-Halma.

Board Game Geek has a number of alternative names.

Seriously, folks. 2 minutes on Google.
posted by kalessin at 2:47 PM on October 29, 2014


Nevin, to continue the joke, that's not Dutch Oven. That's "Ethics in Game Journalism" Oven.
posted by kalessin at 2:47 PM on October 29, 2014


Weird thing is when I grew up in China, "Chinese Checkers" was called Tiao Qi (jumping piece game) and what we call Checkers was called Yang Tiao Qi ("foreign" jumping piece game).
posted by kmz at 2:53 PM on October 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


Well it looks from the Wikipedia article that the game was originally created in Germany, so "foreign" is totally accurate. A good alternate English name that is evocative and probably would work is "Star Checkers".
posted by kalessin at 2:59 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Draughts is what we called "foreign" checkers. Of course, really, both types are actually foreign, but I guess the mythology was so good that we bought into it. I even remember some story about how some Emperor invented Chinese Checkers.
posted by kmz at 3:06 PM on October 29, 2014


Wow this shit really went off the rails fast
posted by emptythought at 3:06 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Actually, it's about ethics in foreign jumping piece game journalism.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:07 PM on October 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Honestly I don't really mind "Chinese Checkers" because it's relatively neutral, even if it's a lie. Chinese Fire Drill, Chinese Fire Whispers, etc, those bug the shit out of me because they're obviously denigrating.
posted by kmz at 3:16 PM on October 29, 2014

I really didn't want to get involved in this thread, but I can't let this stand. It is impossible to be too pro-#1 quidnunc kid.
#quidnuncgate
posted by scrump at 3:22 PM on October 29, 2014


kalessin: "Askville provides some suggestions."

So does MetaFilter ^_^
posted by Bugbread at 3:23 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had no idea Chinese Checkers didn't originate in China until today.
posted by josher71 at 3:45 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Technically, they're all "Silk Road Checkers."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:51 PM on October 29, 2014


I wonder if one could just replace all references to countries Turkey and eastward that have stuff named after misconceptions about them with "Orientalist" and end up okay. Orientalist Checkers. Orientalist Fingertrap.

One Euphemism Treadmill coming right up!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:52 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like "Orientalist" because it actually is a straight up reference to the problematic "mysterious east" narrative, and I have vague hopes of people googling it and reading Said.
posted by NoraReed at 4:01 PM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Stavros, not trying to start something but you may not have noticed this. I left MeFightClub a while back mainly because of the backlash 256 and I experienced over interrogating our community relationship to violent and misogynistic tropes in gaming. I felt harrased and persecuted by a particular and prominent member and told you and Kimberley and queried a number of other members and essentially got the answer "he's been with us for a long time and that's just his way" and "are you sure you're a good fit here?" So for me the horse was already out of the gate.

Whoah, whoah hang on a sec, here. This is not something I'd want to drag out here, necessarily, but given that your comment received 10 favorites, I feel compelled to do so.

I'm going to assume that you're talking about the thread you started back in September 2013 titled Child's Play, PAX, Penny Arcade, Harassment & Rape Culture, because that's the only one I can recall in literally years where people were actually arguing a bit about things (in a far less fighty way than as traditional way here at MeFi, but jarringly so over at MFC).

I've just reread that thread, including our whispered private sidebar comments to one another, and literally nowhere do you say anything about feeling 'harrased and persecuted'. Anything to me, at least, and I can't speak for others. I'm going to whisper Gemmy and Kimberley over at MFC to ask them to come over here and weigh in on any discussions you had with them.

The only person in that thread who was actively pushing back in favour of Penny Arcade, or not seemingly giving the near-universal support other members expressed in support of your basic thrust, was whorl. He or she joined 10 months after you, so I can't think that would be the user you're referring to as being an Elder Member in some way.

He also said, near the end of the thread, directly to you
To be clear, as you mentioned earlier that it seemed like I was singling you out with the PC bs comment, I was not and have not been in any of my posts. I am talking about the issue as a whole with two "sides" that aren't really sides at all because no one is pro-rape. At least no one vocal is pro-rape that isn't an idiot and ostracized from the rest of the crowd.
Reading the in-the-clear comments in that thread, I can't see any harassment going on. I see pretty measured discussion and disagreement over particulars. If someone was whispering you in a harassing way, at no point did you inform me that I can recall, and if there were whispers and you didn't tell me about them, there was literally nothing I could have done about it, because I didn't know. If there were no whispers to you involved, I fail to see any harassment happening there.

In fact, after you took early comments from tittergrrl personally, I whispered to you
I don't think anyone is attacking you personally in any way here. There are larger difficult questions that are worth discussing here, definitely, and there's going to be disagreement, but I don't think anyone is pushing back against you directly here.
and after you told her she was doing 'backhanded permission giving' I whispered to you
I'm not sure what you mean by 'permission-giving', but I don't think anyone here is approaching this discussion in bad faith, or spoiling for fight. Nor would I want that to happen.

It's a fraught issue, especially in the larger context, and intensely personal for some (if not all) people involved. Just the kind of issue that can result in bickering, fighting, personalizing or perception that others are unnecessarily personalizing, and bad feelings, because of the emotional issues attached.

It's good to try to keep this at the level of issues, is all I'm saying, and for all of us to try hard to speak carefully and also listen charitably. No pun intended. Heh.
Later in the thread (which was only 164 comments in total, so I invite anyone who cares to go have a look at it), I said in the clear
I think it best, if (edit for clarity) you you all would like to discuss sexism or misogyny in gaming in general, and in GTA in particular, that that be a conversation for another thread. Better perhaps to keep the discussion here specific to the Penny Arcade personalities and their statements and behaviour, and more specifically, our collective decision about whether or not to run our annual charity drive this year with the beneficiary once again being Child's Play (while acknowledging of course that discussion of the larger issues is germane).
not, I though was clear, because I wanted to shutdown the kind of discussion about larger issues you were keen to have, but because I wanted to keep focused on the issue of Penny Arcade, which you brought up in the context of the ramp up to our annual charity drive for Child's Play (which, as a result, we ended up splitting into donations to multiple charities last year).

Gamergate may not be a thing at MeFightClub because folks inclined to be vocal about it are not or no longer there.

People leave, and it breaks my goddamned heart every single time I have noticed someone has, foolish as that may be. But to intimate that people are leaving MefightClub because it's not accepting enough of people's diversity, when it's written into our freaking DNA, that makes me very angry and resentful indeed.

So: I'm going to have to ask you if there was something going on that you didn't tell me about that constituted harassment and persecution, and I'm going to ask Kim and Gemmy to come here and let us know if you informed them of something like that but not me. I'm also going to whisper 256 and ask him or her if they experienced this backlash of which you speak. And if the answers come back in the negative, I'm going to have to demand an apology, because claiming that members of the community at MFC are given a pass for behaviours that we specifically and explicitly deem unacceptable are fightin' words, I'm afraid. One of the fundamental raison d'etre for MFC is to provide a place where that doesn't happen. Arguments, fights, disagreements, sure: that's part of any community. Persecution and harassment, no.

If, on the other hand, there was whispered harassment or persecution going on, even though you didn't tell me about it, I am absolutely willing to apologize for that, and to ask you to consider returning, and if you experience that kind of thing from anyone in future and it really does qualify as such, I promise it will be dealt with.

I can't do much, ever, except try to consistently repeat and reinforce the values that I personally believe are important and foundational for the community. I can't police every comment and every member, and people need to be able to disagree in good faith. What I can do is take administrative action on legitimately bad actors, and try and be a voice of reason or moderation when I feel like it's necessary or am asked to (something it's taken me many years to learn how to do), but only if I know that Bad Things are happening.

In this case, I don't see any Bad Things that needed my intervention, and if there were Bad Things that were happening in private messages, I was not informed. So again: I regret your departure as I regret all departures from the community for any reason, but I don't know what you would have had me do.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:29 PM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Stavros, I will save you some time. I won't apologize, no matter what your findings are.
posted by kalessin at 5:33 PM on October 29, 2014


Well, OK, that's your prerogative, of course.

I would still like very much to hear from Gemmy and Kimberley if you told them you were being harassed (and if they come back in the positive, I am not going to hesitate to apologize sincerely for it not being escalated to me to deal with), and from 256 if they had a similar experience of backlash. I've asked them over at MFC to come on over (although I'm not sure if 256 is also a Mefite).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:36 PM on October 29, 2014


I left MeFightClub a while back mainly because of the backlash 256 and I experienced over interrogating our community relationship to violent and misogynistic tropes in gaming. I felt harrased and persecuted by a particular and prominent member and told you and Kimberley and queried a number of other members and essentially got the answer "he's been with us for a long time and that's just his way" and "are you sure you're a good fit here?" So for me the horse was already out of the gate. Gamergate may not be a thing at MeFightClub because folks inclined to be vocal about it are not or no longer there.

Just weighing in. I did start a thread in mefightclub about misogyny in video games around the release of GTA5. I personally felt that GTA5 had crossed a line where, despite their notionally comedic genre, the game was working a net evil on society. I was not putting forth that the game should be banned or censored, but rather than buying it was not an ethically neutral proposition, "best game of all time" or no.

This was definitely not a majority viewpoint over at MFC. Most people seemed to feel that, as it was a work of art, buying and playing this game had no moral weight. Similarly, most people at MFC seem to be able to see their way to forgiving Penny Arcade their sins, at least to the degree required to attend PAX. But there is a huge gulf between that and being sympathetic to gamergaters.

Personally, I have had almost no involvement in any gamergate threads here because there seems to be basically nothing to say other than "fuck those guys." I believe that the opinion of the overwhelming majority of mefighters is probably similar. If that's not the case, I really encourage someone to start a thread on MFC so we can have a lively debate about it.

I'm really sorry you felt harassed, Kalessin, and I certainly can't speak to any private messages you may have shared with stav and Kimberley, but it doesn't match my experience. I was a little surprised (and maybe sad-dad disappointed) at how many people were willing to absolve GTA5, but I never felt persecuted or unwelcome.

I hope you come back.
posted by 256 at 5:36 PM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Given stavros's voluminous response and aggressive apology-seeking, I think I'll give this a rest. I will note that this kind of under-the-microscope analysis, while I know it seems natural to stavros, is something that very much makes me feel like I will not be at an advantage and I don't really welcome the attention from folks in general on MFC. Specifically I fear that the person whose behavior I found deeply problematic will come here and deliver unto me more shittiness of the same kind I got before.

I must end by saying that I still feel kind of excluded and under the microscope primarily because the person I had trouble with there was not kind to me and remains, as far as I know, prominent there.

For what it's worth I've sent folks on AskMe to MFC without making any kind of qualifications about the experience they'll have there (except positive ones).
posted by kalessin at 5:41 PM on October 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Specifically I fear that the person whose behavior I found deeply problematic will come here and deliver unto me more shittiness of the same kind I got before.

I would very much welcome you sending me MeFi mail telling me -- even though it's long after the fact -- who this person was and the ways in which they were shitty to you, and if this happened in private messages I couldn't see or in the clear. It would help me greatly.

For what it's worth I've sent folks on AskMe to MFC without making any kind of qualifications about the experience they'll have there (except positive ones).

I appreciate you saying so, and I reiterate that you are welcome back any time, with the proviso that if you experience harassment from anyone (as distinguished from healthy good faith argumentation), that you let me know right away.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:48 PM on October 29, 2014


[Yeah, at this point I'd say please take this offline to MeFi Mail instead of further hashing it out here, as it's pretty far away from the original topic of this thread.]
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:52 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


One quick note, and I'll drop it publically per Matt's request: in a chat just now with Kimberley (one of our MFC mods), she told me that she had indeed had some conversation with kalessin about private conversations at the time between kalessin and one of our members who does indeed have a reputation for prickliness. She didn't feel it was worth escalating to me, which was fine, but perhaps in retrospect that's what should have happened.

So it looks like there was indeed some unpleasantness happening between members, in a way that I didn't have access to and wasn't informed about, and so: I apologize sincerely to kalessin for any implication that their complaint was unfounded. I don't have access to the contents of the private communications, but if it felt like harassment, it pretty much in principle was.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:01 PM on October 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


kalessin: "Wikipedia's entry on Chinese Checkers suggests that the original name of the game was Stern-Halma.

Board Game Geek has a number of alternative names.

Seriously, folks. 2 minutes on Google.
"

Sorry. I honestly had not previously considered that it could be considered offensive, and was looking for alternatives. Didn't mean to cause any kind of fracas.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:25 PM on October 29, 2014


Huh. Reading the Wikipedia article, it looks like "Chinese Checkers" is just an inaccurate term, not a racist term like "Chinese Fire Drill" or "Chinese Handcuffs". I went from not even thinking about the term, to being offended by the term, to being bemused by the term in about 5 minutes, which might be a record.
posted by Bugbread at 7:56 PM on October 29, 2014


Well, speaking as a half-Chinese dude, there's this thing where "Chinese" or anything foreign is used to, forgive me, portray that the speaker or namer or nomenclaturist or designer or marketeer or whatever, feels that there's something different or exotic or weird about the thing that is being named. So it's not necessarily racist per se. But it's exoticist and sort of on the spectrum of unthinkingly biased and setting things up so that being Chinese, not being normative, is put at a disadvantage when compared to the normative, not-Chinese, not-exotic aspect of a thing, person, place or thing.

So even if Chinese Checkers isn't overtly racist, I will be trying to remember to use "Star Checkers" from now on, knowing there are viable and evocative-enough synonyms.
posted by kalessin at 8:52 PM on October 29, 2014


Sounds like we're getting back into 'denigrate' is racist territory.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:56 PM on October 29, 2014


Normative/non-normative theory in social justice studies of intersectionality is pretty well established and not really something I'm comfortable putting at issue. I am aware of the truisms within, and I'm not willing to debate it.

I didn't say anyone else has to use the phrase "Star Checkers", only that I will.
posted by kalessin at 8:57 PM on October 29, 2014


Is anyone actually pro-gg on Mefi?
posted by humanfont at 11:16 AM on October 28 [+] [!]


Not sure if this even belongs in this thread, but since you asked... it seems it's like, from an outsider's view, something like how non US people view US politics. Everything seems to be phrased in terms of "Democrat" and "Republican" and then somehow we get this perception that Christians on the majority fall into the Republican camp and thus automatically support gun rights, laissez faire style government, more warlike foreign policy, etc, which have little to do with Scripture. But then there's this whole historical gap which we're not seeing - desegregation, civil rights act, the democrat's perceived links to communism during the cold war, etc.

If you pick a random person off the street it's unlikely they'll agree with 100% of either party's stances, but if you force them to vote, they'll pick a side.

A large component of this war is around the ownership of labels and just simple human group dynamics - groups exist by exclusion. A writer's group, by definition, exists by excluding non writers. But who gets to define what a writer is?

Women who want to be as legitimate gamers were being pushed out by the existing male gamer crowd who denied them the use of the label through a series of weak excuses - women don't play games (false) women don't spend money on games (false) women are bad at games so the industry panders to them by making easy games (false). Then we get to Leigh Alexander's brilliant piece where she says "Gamers are over" - it's no longer just the small group of male nerds who can call themselves gamers. Chris Kluwe, in his piece eviscerating Gamergate, claims people like him are the real gamers, not the misogynists in Gamergate.

But again, who gets to define what a "real" writer is? If you want to use a label for yourself, can anyone else take that right away from you?

A person is many things. I may be a finance manager, but I may also be a photographer. I'm a dad, but I'm also a son. I'm a writer, and I'm also a gamer. They're all identities we've claimed for ourselves.

Leigh calls gamers "Lonely basement kids, obtuse shitslingers, wailing hyper-consumers, childish internet-arguers" and then declares that "Gamers are over". Kluwe... well he goes further, with a highly entertaining choice of words and insults.

After being so thoroughly insulted by these Anti-GG champions I suspect a significant number of gamers will casually cast their vote into the Pro-GG side, even if they have zero idea what being Pro-GG means - especially if their first introduction to the whole issue is seeing those two widely shared and highly popular articles. I've seen it happen first hand online, where people (in good faith) share them and some people seeing this issue for the first time go whaaat??? And immediately plant themselves in the Pro-GG camp.

Again I sort of see parallels to the Democrat / Republican split: tell someone, hey Democrats are pro-Choice. And they have this negative reaction to it, and go, wow, so how do I oppose this? And the answer is, please vote Republican - without any thought or consideration given to what that actually means - or if they even care at all - which I suspect most don't. It's a big echo chamber. So if someone wants to be anti-Leigh and anti-Kluwe - who are in the anti-GG camp - the default way of demonstrating your displeasure with them is throwing your vote in with the pro-GG camp, because there isn't a reasonable alternative.
posted by xdvesper at 9:50 PM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm amazed at how detailed the insults toward gamergaters were, while the rape and death threats on the other side weren't even mentioned.

In the interest of balance, Anita Sarkeesian had a threat of mass murder email to the Utah University she was going to speak at, Zoe Quinn had her address published along with threats to murder her, and Brianna Wu had her address published as well as graphic threats to rape her and murder her, her husband, and any children they might have.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:14 PM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


The difference is, Leigh and Kluwe are upheld to be the paragons of the anti-GG movement, while Gamergate claims no association with the threats issued to Anita / Zoe / Brianna, and officially does not support doxxing or threats of any kind. Fine: you may want to argue that one person's crimes makes the entire class culpable, but that's kind of already been mostly defeated in the "all Muslims are terrorists" argument. Mostly.

Kluwe's article is in the top 3 posts on Gamerghazi, while this is on the top 3 posts in KotakuInAction. (Sam Biddle is a senior writer at Gawker: this was more or less the motivation for targeting Gawker)

Honestly, I'm leaning more towards being pro-GG than anti-GG, but realistically, if you start having an internet argument and try to state your position you've pretty much lost to begin with. Same as I/P threads, and anything else you could conceivably argue about on the internet. I'm more interesting in playing games than arguing about them...
posted by xdvesper at 11:37 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was more addressing things like this:

GenjiandProust: Yeah, pretty much the only reason that words gets used anymore is people who are just itching to say the first two syllables. For the small set of people who just loved the word: sorry, guys, the racists shat all over your word and there is no way to clean it up and make it presentable. Stop complaining and go punch a racist; they're the ones that fucked up your word.

In my experience, that is simply not true. It's not racists who took the word away, it's the anti-racists who act like, because it resembles a terrible racist slur, it must also be racist. It becomes not worth using because people will insist that you mean to use it for racist reasons, even though it isn't, itself, a slur, it just sounds like one.

It's an increasingly common way of seeing and arguing things, this cargo cult version of taking offense that says the similarity to something offensive is enough to declare it, too, offensive. It also prizes the experiences and worldview of those who take offense over anyone else's view; because of their associations and experiences with the word and how it reminds them of things that they find offensive, they are imposing those associations on people who don't make that connection. To say something they find insulting isn't insulting, then, is to deny their lived experience (which is considered a dreadful thing to do), even if they are in the extreme minority in making these insulting associations.

Which, in a way, brings us back to the topic of this thread, which is concerning moderation on a topic some people are too sensitive about. Any gamergater of the precious few who appear to have any rationality about them should be mollified by any claims of modly bias on the topic by this MeTa, but evidence suggests that if a gamergater were to believe the modding here was unfair to them, nothing so piddling as 'facts' or 'actual evidence' would dissuade them of this idea.
posted by gadge emeritus at 11:41 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


while Gamergate claims no association with the threats issued to Anita / Zoe / Brianna, and officially does not support doxxing or threats of any kind

They don't officially support anything because they are not centralized and have no actual leaders. They are an angry mob.

If your feelings are so incredibly hurt by an article discussing the increasing separation between people who identify as "gamers" and people who just play games that you're willing to throw your weight behind an angry mob that actively harms games by attempting to drive developers out of the business, I don't know what to tell you, except that I think I use more critical thinking and forethought on any given level of Candy Crush Saga than you seem to have used for this entire issue, and that if you would rather play games than talk about them, no one has pried your controller out of your hand and replaced it with a keyboard.
posted by NoraReed at 12:08 AM on October 30, 2014 [14 favorites]


Honestly, I'm leaning more towards being pro-GG than anti-GG, but realistically, if you start having an internet argument and try to state your position you've pretty much lost to begin with. Same as I/P threads, and anything else you could conceivably argue about on the internet. I'm more interesting in playing games than arguing about them...

I am surprised, given this statement, that you stated your position and are arguing on the internet.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:40 AM on October 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


Darn social justice warriors, tricking me into needlessly respecting people!
posted by fleacircus at 1:22 AM on October 30, 2014 [9 favorites]


This thread is like a Dutch oven.

Fun fact: you can't generally buy Dutch ovens in the Netherlands. If you find them they are usually imported from the US.
(Yes, I'm aware of the alternative meaning as well.)
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:57 AM on October 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


In my experience, that is simply not true. It's not racists who took the word away, it's the anti-racists who act like, because it resembles a terrible racist slur, it must also be racist. It becomes not worth using because people will insist that you mean to use it for racist reasons, even though it isn't, itself, a slur, it just sounds like one.

Oh, honey.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:37 AM on October 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oops - hit post too early.

I don't think you're wrong, gadge emeritus, in the sense that it is anti-racists have indeed created a situation in which people are less comfortable saying "niggard/ly". Thing is, they haven't just done that to be dicks and ruin people's enjoyment of Old Norse-derived adjectives denoting parsimony.

It's like... you know how feminists often suggest that going up to women in the street and telling them how nice they look and asking if they'd like to go out with you is not a great thing to do? That's not just because feminists are assholes who want to stop men from meetcuting the woman of their dreams. It's a reflection on the fact that this gambit has been ruined by douchebags, to the point where women a) get approached on the street all the time and b) have to go fight-or-flight in case those approaches become abusive or violent.

In a world without douchebags, we'd all have a much better chance of getting dates. In a world without racist dog-whistles, we'd all able to identify parsimony using a richer etymological palette.

And, tying it back into the topic, in this ideal world it would be possible to discuss ethics in video games journalism without having to filter for moon-logic conspiracy theories, misogyny and anti-Semitism, because holy crap what the Hell are they doing in this discussion. However, we are not living in this ideal world.

I think that's the only real connection in what is otherwise a sideroad - but there is a MeTa thread open right now about what people don't feel comfortable saying on MetaFilter, and it feels like this is something that needs addressing, that's probably the place to do it.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:54 AM on October 30, 2014 [11 favorites]


Fine: you may want to argue that one person's crimes makes the entire class culpable,

I do not. What I wish to do - and am doing - is judging people who are willing to choose a label to hang around their own neck despite it being strongly associated with mistreatment of women and bad actions. To compare it with the Muslim religion which has distinct theology is a poor analogy. It is more comparable with people who choose to pick up the banner of a movement and hen claim they're only there for the donuts.
posted by phearlez at 6:32 AM on October 30, 2014 [10 favorites]


That's true of people who associate themselves with the GamerGate hashtag but not of people who call themselves "gamers" in general. Not that you said it was, of course, but I was reminded of that bit from Office Space when they ask Michael Bolton why he doesn't change his name and he says "Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks."

That's how I feel about the "gamers" in GamerGate.
posted by Justinian at 7:48 AM on October 30, 2014


Not that you said it was, of course, but I was reminded of that bit from Office Space when they ask Michael Bolton why he doesn't change his name and he says "Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks."

Or Michael Sheen's character in 30 Rock, insisting that he does not have the same name as Wesley Snipes; rather, Wesley Snipes has the same name as him.

"Look at us! Which of us looks like he should be called Wesley Snipes?"
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:07 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Like I mentioned in the other thread, I'm hoping this debacle helps take back the word "gamer" by providing a new term. Like, I read game sites and I play games, and until maybe a year or two ago I would have described myself as a gamer (but never a hardcore gamer). But the shit that's been coming down for so long now has kinda poisoned that term. Now I'm a "guy who likes to play games and read about games and generally keep abreast of the game scene", which is a big fucking mouthful. So hopefully the rise of the word "gater" will mean that I can just say "I'm a gamer, but not a gater" or "a non-gater gamer", which is so much more concise.
posted by Bugbread at 8:08 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Speaking of preferred terms, I understand from tweeting with some pro-GamerGater types last week that "gater" is a term they consider pejorative.
posted by kalessin at 8:11 AM on October 30, 2014


That's fine then-we can separate the categories into "gater" and "gamer"for everybody else. A bit like making a distinction between "Klansman" and "American".
posted by happyroach at 8:40 AM on October 30, 2014


What's their preferred term, kalessin? If it is "gamer" full-stop they are going to have a hard time.
posted by Justinian at 9:18 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, and I say this not as an insider by any stretch of the imagination (the reason I was tweeting with them was to try to convey how important I feel it is that they repudiate and document that they are repudiating the trolls who they claim are coopting the gamergate message since they tacitly benefit from the trolling and everyone's holding them responsible for it anyway. In the end there was no real progress but it's honestly no skin off my ass - I felt I had to try anyhow)...

But from what I could gather, they would prefer to frame the discussion about pro-GamerGate and anti-GamerGate and not about GamerGate(r) or simply gater as an identity. They feel that "GamerGate(r)" is a label or a platform (a collection of ideals) and that calling anyone a GamerGater or gater is an inaccurate label based on a misunderstanding of what the ideological battle is about.

Again, I don't claim insider knowledge AT ALL. If anything I felt a little more like a journalist or anthropologist while tweeting "with" these folks. I say "with" because, and I summarized this in an earlier comment, a lot of the interaction was rather game-ish, with folks trying to get me or get a rise out of me or otherwise harm or insult me. Mostly they seem to think that outsiders to whatever their group(s) are are already there to hurt/insult them and there can be no resolution until the "attacks" by which they seemed to mean any criticism stopped.

Not unlike how it can get around here sometimes.
posted by kalessin at 9:24 AM on October 30, 2014


In a world without douchebags, we'd all have a much better chance of getting dates. In a world without racist dog-whistles, we'd all able to identify parsimony using a richer etymological palette.

Sure, but these are two wildly different examples. Niggardly is hardly a common word anymore, but it really got its burst of being associated with racism in the example people are referring to upthread. I don't believe it's in use as a coded chance to say the n-word without getting in trouble; I don't believe it's in use much at all. But it's not because it was being used in a racist fashion, it's because it was claimed to have been used that way when it was, in fact, not.

Perhaps it's also because I balk at losing useful words and terms like 'liberal', 'socialism', 'hippy' and 'politically correct' to the arseholes determined to demonise the concept behind them. It's attempting to force a common usage change on language for the purposes of an agenda, and even when it's well-meant it's still not something I agree with.

But your comparison was a complete stretch, and the original 'Oh, honey' an obstacle to overcome to treat your response in anything like good faith, coming across as it did as immensely condescending, so I sincerely doubt this could go anywhere productive.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:34 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't believe it's in use as a coded chance to say the n-word without getting in trouble.

It would absolutely not be appropriate or polite for me to say "Oh, honey", again, which I acknowledge. But dude.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:51 AM on October 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Saying you're not saying the thing is actually still saying the thing.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:00 AM on October 30, 2014 [11 favorites]


You couldn't even google further? Links are useful.

Just because a couple of stupid people use the word incorrectly doesn't mean the word is now racist. And a grade-A bigot and attempted right-wing provocateur like John Derbyshire (from the Wikipedia link) suggesting it doesn't make it a slur either. Those few examples are hardly enough to rewrite the definition of the word, and it makes your comparison to unwanted street attention even more spurious.

It's an uncommon word; many people haven't heard of it before, so they assume it means something like how it sounds. But it doesn't, and their mistake doesn't change that it doesn't, and never did.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:08 AM on October 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Glad we had this thread to clear things up! Now gaters who come to the site will know what this whole controversy is REALLY about: grammar.
posted by selfnoise at 10:15 AM on October 30, 2014


It is not my fucking mistake. I am not a know-nothing. I have a B.S. and a minor. I grew up with intellectuals. I read dictionaries and thesauruses for amusement. If I didn't know what niggardly meant, it would be to my shame, but as I have noted before, there are a lot of usable synonyms.

To ask, politely, that we maybe use the word less is not equivalent to requiring that we use it less. I have expressed that I felt that its initial use in this thread was impolite, shitty and, to be honest, disingenuous. The sense in which it was used was clearly inflammatory.

I would consider it a real favor if we could ease off, also, on calling me and other social justice-oriented folks stupid, just because I think the word, "niggardly", does not have a comfortable or good place in a discussion about social justice and MetaFilter moderation.
posted by kalessin at 10:15 AM on October 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


The problem is saying "niggard" or "niggardly" as a jokey way of saying "ha ha ha I'm not saying the n-word lol," not the word itself.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:15 AM on October 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


I also want to note that I am sick and fucking tired of how every single fucking time a social justice-oriented person makes a request about language usage it has to boil down to an OED or First Amendment discussion.

Requests to be and honoring requests to be nice/respectful are not impositions. It's what we adults do so we can talk to each other even if we disagree.
posted by kalessin at 10:20 AM on October 30, 2014 [10 favorites]


Saying you're not saying the thing is actually still saying the thing.

Yeah, I also acknowledge that. However, we've got the "reality-based community" problem here. Belief is an important thing. Belief has helped people through some really difficult times. Google has also helped people through some difficult times, however, and on preview it seems Gadge Emeritus has discovered this. Which is great! But there is a reality thing going on here, and it's not even etic reality - this thread contains all the ingredients required for not having this derail.

So, Gadge Emeritus, you seem to be intent on proving something that nobody has said. To wit:

Just because a couple of stupid people use the word incorrectly doesn't mean the word is now racist.

I mean, I have no idea what you mean by "incorrectly" there. The person who put up that "OBAMA=NIGGARDLY" sign was not using the word incorrectly. They were using the word to do precisely what they wanted the word to do. From Poniewozik, at the time of the David Howard conroversy:
For every stupidity there is an equal and opposite stupidity. One: A man loses his job for having too large a vocabulary. Two: The idiots who oust him, ironically, give a few genuine racists cover to prove said idiots’ point. You don’t have to look long in newsgroups (from alt.politics.white-power: “Even O.J. conducts typical niggardly acts”), in chat rooms or around certain watercoolers to find people who would drop an obnoxious pun, just as Howard didn’t — all thanks to the city of Washington’s grand celebration of ignorance. Any bets on how many newly vocab-enhanced pinheads somewhere in America asked black waitresses not to be “niggardly” with the coffee this week?
Now, whether one chooses to avoid the word as a result of this is up to you. Nobody here is your mother (unless your mother is on MetaFilter, in which case that's actually kind of awesome). However, your claim that nobody has ever used it intentionally to connote its near-homonym is manifestly untrue. And as a result of that, people's attitude to the word has changed. Poniewozik again:
Sure, the op-eds have had a jolly time positing what ridiculous proscription might be next (“spic-’n'-span”? “a chink in the armor”?). But when’s the last time you’ve referred, say, to a “faggot” of wood (itself an innocuous word corrupted relatively recently)? Or, more to the point, the more alike-sounding and equally defensible “niggard”? The newspaper and magazine database Proquest Direct turns up nine references to the word in the past three years. Five are from the last week. The other four are in the wildly populist glossies Technology and Culture (in a footnote referring to another paper), Criticism (quoting Shakespeare), Studies in Philology (quoting Goldsmith) and Reason (ah, that would be Shakespeare again).
The irony of a hugely obscure term causing accidental racial offence, and subsequently being popularised subsequently by bona fide racists, is clear, but it should not be confusing to anyone who has lived on Earth. For one thing, it is being very obviously riffed on in this very thread by tell me no lies. That riffing was almost certainly not malicious - rather highlighting a term that, like "tar baby", has become freighted with meaning beyond its original usage as a result of assholes - but it is also not uncomplicated.

David Howard, of course, acknowledged the complexity himself, saying at the time to the Washington Post:
I used to think it would be great if we could all be colorblind. That's naive, especially for a white person, because a white person can't [sic scriptum - I assume actually "can"] afford to be colorblind. They don't have to think about race every day. An African American does.
Insisting in a discussion sparked by a knowing riff on the complexities around "niggardly" that there is no such complexity is pretty much the height of a very specific kind of color blindness.

If you want, personally, to use the word "niggard" to mean "miser", go wild! I doubt anyone will stop you. However, you may at certain times be challenged for doing so, and this very thread - along with a number of other referenced sources - may help you to understand why.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:33 AM on October 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've been thinking about this entire thread since it started, so a few things:

One, I think 'siren's song' is the best safe alternative to 'tar baby'. It includes the nuance of something that is tempting to interact with, but has harmful results for oneself. Though it's a little different in that the attraction is out of desire, rather than anger.

Two, concerning 'niggardly', it seems clear to me that the word isn't unequivocally racist, and there's no problem using the word in, say, an academic setting, around people that clearly know the meaning of the word, and are either talking about something that doesn't deal with race, or everyone mutually agrees that the word has nothing to do with race. That's a lot of qualifiers, and a public sign talking about Obama surely doesn't pass that test. While I think a moderated forum such a MetaFilter can be mature enough for such a word, using it in the context of 'I'm using a word that looks racist to the ignorant to describe a word that looks racist to the ignorant' is easily inciteful, and I'd say is a terrible choice to make, unless I understood all my readers very, very well. And I don't think anyone here could fully claim that.

Three, I've been following the gamergate stuff since it had a name, and have followed both the ethics violations and the sexism/threats in the gaming community for much longer. As a few people have (rhetorically?) asked for it, I believe that I could present a good defense for some aspects of the pro-gamergate side, assuming best intentions. I had an issue with seemingly every anti-gamergate article claiming that the opposition is completely without merit, which I feel is most likely not true for any given opposition, so I spent a lot of time reading up on the pro-gamergate side, and I think that claim isn't true. I believe that there's many problems with the pro-gamergate side, but I feel that if anyone plans to improve, modify, or dismantle their platform, one should first understand the best arguments they have. But that argument isn't for here, so I'd likely write it for the next time the topic inevitably shows up on the Blue.
posted by Skephicles at 10:43 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


(There are currently three Gamergate-related threads running on the Blue, I think - "Hate Group", "Actually..." and "Film Crit Hulk".)
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:51 AM on October 30, 2014


I see the issues of the pro-GamerGate side being very similar to the issues of folks who want to be free to use the word "niggardly" without repercussion and seem to take offense that there are folks who, educated, well assimilated, still take its use as an implied pejorative.

To me, as long as GamerGate (or pro-GamerGate factions) fails to step up and become a formal enough organization to firmly and unequivocally repudiate the trolls (whether that means to truly separate and oust some folks who are sending the wrong message within a well-meaning organization or whether it means to ostracize extremists on a spectrum I don't honestly know and I truly don't care. That's GamerGate's problem and they have to be the solution), they will implicitly benefit from the bullying effects of the trolls who ID as pro-GamerGate. And that is the problem.

In the case of using niggardly as a feint toward using the n-word or implying it, or trapping people into thinking you're going to use it as in the case of pro-GamerGate folks who are not trolls still implicitly benefitting from the harassing, threats and so on that the pro-GamerGate trolls do, the effects are similar (though I totally get that the use of one semi-innocent word in conversations on MetaFilter is different in scale and intensity from what the pro-GamerGate trolls are doing). What are the effects? Folks getting to passive-aggressively benefit from the use of bullying tactics to unnerve and upset the opposition.

I don't care if someone uses "niggardly" in a non-adversarial context. If the context becomes adversarial because they use the term, I would hope that they'd step up and own that. What I do care about is shitty, passive-aggressive feints at bullying when using that term, like when it was first used in this term, to reinforce or distract from an assertion that the term "tar baby" is not racist. That shit is not cool. Please refrain from doing that, MetaFilter. Thank you in advance.
posted by kalessin at 10:52 AM on October 30, 2014


running order squabble fest: "In a world without douchebags"

Paging Don LaFontaine.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:53 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Paging Don LaFontaine.

Or maybe the more socially aware "In a World..." movie.
posted by kalessin at 10:54 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's an uncommon word; many people haven't heard of it before, so they assume it means something like how it sounds. But it doesn't, and their mistake doesn't change that it doesn't, and never did.

I'm not sure anyone has argued that with you, but I appreciate you admitting what many people are saying: using the word makes a non-zero number of people think you're saying something you're not saying.

So that's the cost. What's the benefit? You get to use a word that's less well understood that "stingy." Wow. I can see why people think that's worth making some people feel bad or confused or angry or making them think you're racist, as well as making the people who do understand the meaning wonder if you're trying to disingenuously start some shit.

I'm sure there's stupider hills to die on but it ain't a mountain range of em.
posted by phearlez at 10:55 AM on October 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


So is there a place where pro-GamerGate stuff is discussed that doesn't involve horrible misogyny? I'm only familiar with some Reddit subs and /v/ and you can guess how lovely those are.
posted by charred husk at 11:00 AM on October 30, 2014


the problem with gamergate isn't that they are entirely without merit, it's that from the very beginning - like, hours after 5guys happened, there are chat logs that prove the ethics stuff was a fig leaf to cover harassing women out of the business and ruining their careers. that was their stated goal. the fact that some people bought the fig leaf and ran with it is pretty much of little concern to me. it is a movement built by and for poison, everything after that is fruit of the poison tree.

also - while there might be a claim or two that's valid, they aren't consistent with what they're asking for - they complain about a reviewer having some hesitation about some aspects of gta v and tried to get her fired for giving it a 9/10, but then they also complain that someone was fired for not giving a game a 10/10. their focus is pretty narrowly focused mostly on indies and the blogs while ignoring the AAAs and the magazines which have been ethically dubious from the very beginning. they are so far to the right on this that on list after list of gaming sites they approve of is christian gaming review pages which are aligned with groups that straight up want to ban the video games they're trying to protect. they are so muddled and full of absolutely bizarre conspiracy theories, it's not entirely surprising that of all the balls of shit they threw at the wall one or two might have a gem inside.
posted by nadawi at 11:09 AM on October 30, 2014 [9 favorites]


The thing is about gamergate is that its focus has been almost entirely on SJW issues. Note that of the "gamers are over" articles, Leigh Alexander's, while the first, was clearly aimed at a stereotypical view of what a gamer is, and was clearly addressing game developers. There are other articles which are designed to directly insult members of gamergate, yet isn't it funny how GG focused on Leigh? In fact GG has resolutely failed to focus on men at all.

The thing is, there is of course corruption in video game journalism, as there is in all journalism. And people have been talking about actual corruption for a while: doritosgate and the GMA, the Kane and Lynch controversy. But GG has just not been interested in it at all.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:16 PM on October 30, 2014


the /r/KotakuInAction subreddit is probably the least-awful hub of discussion. You certainly have to spend time searching for the better content, though.

nadawi, I agree. I think the original intent and the results of that intent has irrevocably destroyed the name, and most chances of the well-meaning members of creating positive change. Unless they created a large, focused campaign to denounce the misogynist participants, but would likely not do it.

However, I think it's not quite correct to say the group's beliefs are all-together inconsistent. As it's a decentralized 'movement' of sorts, and it's main hubs are a subreddit, 4chan/8chan, and Twitter, all of which are poor avenues for deciding upon agreement on a topic, it's common for an idea to appear popular one day, and then the opposite on another. There's no good way to say "50% or more of these people believe X." And yeah, a lot of the beliefs that bubble up to the top are hypocritical in one way or another.

But I find the group interesting because I believe most of the members have hopped on because of a sincere belief for "ethics in games journalism", rather than "promote misogyny". These are largely not the ones that send hate speech through Twitter, but rather are comprised of those that were hurt by the "gamers are dead" articles, got defensive about it, and joined the side that they felt most aligned to them. And I think these are the people that can be talked to, can be reasoned with to distance themselves from the toxic core of the movement.

There's no purpose in having a discussion with those with destructive goals, as there's no common ground. So I think the only way to minimize that part of the movement is to steer everyone else away from it.
posted by Skephicles at 12:22 PM on October 30, 2014


And I think these are the people that can be talked to, can be reasoned with to distance themselves from the toxic core of the movement.

I'm happy to be wrong on this, but it strains my belief that anyone online enough to care about this doesn't hear the message that the rest of us think that we think they're laying down with dogs and therefor picking up fleas. I would be far more likely to wager that they are at best being disingenuous and are well aware of the folks they are associating with and just don't care about the harm those people do.
posted by phearlez at 12:28 PM on October 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think what's happening is this awful feedback loop, where both groups see the absolute worst part of the other, and then respond as if the entire opposition is that subset of the group. So we get the original volley of death threats + the cover of "ethics in games journalism", the anti-gamergate people respond with "gamers are over", and the average 16-24 gamer interprets this as, "that social group you find a connection with is bad and you should feel bad", gets caught up in the idea that this is an ethical violation, reads up on pro-gamergate material which, sincerely or not, states that, "there's an ongoing problem in games journalism, but we don't condone harassment or doxxing." It's easy to get behind that message, join these groups, and then suddenly all info fed to them is spun in this pro-gamergate way.
posted by Skephicles at 1:18 PM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


at some point what has to be realized is that the "volleys" are in no way equal - gators actively worked (and are still working) to ruin careers and put gaming sites & studios out of business...and "the other side" wrote some opinion pieces...

also, it's really sad that gaters are too ignorant of history to realize that "x is dead" is a mark of it thriving.
posted by nadawi at 1:29 PM on October 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


Glad we had this thread to clear things up! Now gaters who come to the site will know what this whole controversy is REALLY about: grammar.


Actually, it's about ethics in etymology.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:29 PM on October 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


In my experience, that is simply not true. It's not racists who took the word away, it's the anti-racists who act like, because it resembles a terrible racist slur, it must also be racist. It becomes not worth using because people will insist that you mean to use it for racist reasons, even though it isn't, itself, a slur, it just sounds like one.

Sorry for being so late here, but work has been bus. My only response to this is that we have very different experiences then. I rarely hear "niggardly" -- it's an awkward word phonetically and there are (as pointed out upthread) better choices -- but when I have heard it, it has been overwhelmingly delivered with a knowing smirk of schoolboy enthusiasm of getting away with something. The fact they aren't getting away with it, I think, is part of the fun for them. They are just trying to piss people off with a bit of deniability. I don't doubt that you have a different experience, but I'm fairly sure I am not living in BizzarroWorld.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:12 PM on October 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


GenjiandProust: My only response to this is that we have very different experiences then.

Yes, we do! I didn't universalise my experience, however. But certainly it's also very rarely used in my experience, also. Just when it is it's not to be crypto--racist.

rosf: So, Gadge Emeritus, you seem to be intent on proving something that nobody has said.

Well, except for that one deleted comment, explicitly calling the use of it racist. And the several instances of people saying it gets used by people wanting the association of a slur without the approbation of saying one. And the reaction of other people in the thread that it had to be used maliciously in the first instance it was used, even though that commenter has explicitly said otherwise. And, of course, you originally tied it in with racist dog-whistles in your first reply.

I don't use the word niggardly particularly, and I wouldn't use it on Metafilter in general, because it is clearly more trouble than it's worth. But that doesn't mean the assumptions that go along with it are correct, or that the underlying problems that these 'simple requests' have of removing words even when they're not offensive, just because they look offensive or are misused to be offensive, aren't problematic.

And it's never as simple as just a polite request, no matter how many times that is claimed, because it always boils down to the effect of, 'I'm asking you to not use this word, which means if you do I will feel free to treat you like an arsehole and derail the thread because it is less a request and more a declaration of intent.' I am not dying on the hill of using the word niggardly, but I do think that's a pretty terrible trend to have go unchecked on this here community website.

Oh, and kalessin, I didn't call you stupid, this isn't at all about you or your reactions, please stop responding as if it is, because all you are doing is aggravating the situation. Thanks in advance.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:42 PM on October 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, except for that one deleted comment, explicitly calling the use of it racist.

Well, I'd probably take as a hint from the fact it was deleted that that wasn't a central part of the discourse - and from the comment by cortex, it actually sounds like that's not quite what it said. However, I'm absolutely happy to acknowledge that I "tied [the use of 'niggardly'] in with [the use of 'niggardly' in certain cases as part of the set of terms that can be used as] racist dog whistles", as did cortex, as did many other people in this thread. NB also the attested uses of the word as a racist dog whistle subsequently cited.

I don't quite know what you're trying to argue here, though. You are offended by the suggestion that a word might have implications that you don't want it to have, even though those implications clearly and demonstrably exist, and mentioning those implications will never feel to you like a polite request to be careful with the use of the word? That's fine, but your emotional response to statements of demonstrable fact are not something we can do very much about as a broadly reality-based community. We can't as a community enforce a pretence that things do not exist, or that events have not occurred. Your feelings are important, but they're not actionable.

Tell me no lies stated precisely that s/he was riffing on the David Howard incident - as a matter of historical interest, Tony Snow and Mitt Romney used the phrase "tar baby" and their usage occasioned some discussion also - but was innocent of the subsequent uses of the term as a racist dog whistle by others.

If it's upsetting to you that these associations exist, then that's a valid feeling to have - as I said, it's a perfectly cromulent word that's been ruined by its use as a winking did I/didn't I callout to another, more hateful term. Before David Howard, it had disappeared almost entirely from the modern venacular, and since David Howard its use has been informed by the Howard case, as it was in this thread. However, none of this changes the historical record.

Since you don't plan to use it, I don't really see the problem. We have the mod thinking on it here, which seems to me perfectly sensible.

So, the next question would be "why are we even discussing this?". To which the answer may be that it's less depressing than discussing Gamergate.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:25 PM on October 30, 2014 [8 favorites]


Your feelings are important, but they're not actionable.

Would that everyone could remember that.

I never said I was offended. That whole paragraph, in fact, is a rather insulting paraphrase of what I've said.

The argument has not involved me being offended. You, however, have managed to do so.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:38 PM on October 30, 2014


-- gators actively worked (and are still working) to ruin careers and put gaming sites & studios out of business... --
posted by nadawi


Do you have a problems with gamers highlighting public statements like Sam Biddle's tweets I linked earlier and forwarding them to sponsors / advertisers asking them to reconsider their partnership? It's a free market. If careers and companies are destroyed due to their own unsavory behavior, that is exactly as it should be.

-- In fact GG has resolutely failed to focus on men at all. --
posted by Cannon Fodder


Last I checked Sam Biddle was a man. There were two major attacks on sponsors, one on Gamasutra (due to Leigh) and one on Gawker (due to Sam). That puts the ratio at 50/50 in my books.

-- I don't know what to tell you, except that I think I use more critical thinking and forethought on any given level of Candy Crush Saga than you seem to have used for this entire issue --
posted by NoraReed at 12:08 AM on October 30 [12 favorites +] [!]


Hah! I guess we shall have to agree to disagree then. I don't prefer doing the vacuuming but I do get around to it, the same way I might read and comment on an issue to learn more about it. And I think our conversation can hardly be construed as arguing. I'm putting forward KotakuInAction's stance on the issue, since some people honestly seemed curious about it. I would hardly have funded Anita if I was truly pro Gamergate. And FWIW Candy Crush is indeed a pretty interesting game, I think I got up to about level 100 and I'm somewhat in awe of my aunt who's at 700+.

Don't underestimate the size of KotakuInAction either: they've hit a peak of 100k unique IPs per day on their subreddit recently, compare that to say the DOTA2 subreddit which is stable at a peak of about 300k unique IPs per day (for a game with 8 million monthly players). There may be more pro-GG people out there than you might think: they're mostly not going to bother engaging or outing themselves.
posted by xdvesper at 8:18 PM on October 30, 2014


Last I checked Sam Biddle was a man. There were two major attacks on sponsors, one on Gamasutra (due to Leigh) and one on Gawker (due to Sam). That puts the ratio at 50/50 in my books.

This isn't really a MetaTalk issue, but that's a really weird interpretation of "focus". Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Danielle Riendeau, Patricia Hernandez, Briannu Wu, idledilletante... I'd say thee have all been subjects of "focus" from both Gamergate as a whole and r/Kotakuinaction specifically.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:30 PM on October 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


xdvesper: "If careers and companies are destroyed due to their own unsavory behavior, that is exactly as it should be."

Perhaps. Maybe in Sam Biddle's case, it's justified, I dunno. But the vast majority of attempts to destroy careers and companies here are because of them complaining about sexism, racism, or trying to make less sexist games, etc. That is exactly the opposite of what it should be.

xdvesper: " There were two major attacks on sponsors, one on Gamasutra (due to Leigh) and one on Gawker (due to Sam). That puts the ratio at 50/50 in my books."

The quote you're responding to wasn't saying "GGers have only focused on women in their attacks on sponsors", but in their attacks in general. Like the death threats and rape threats and crippling threats and doxxing. Maybe they're good at gender parity when it comes to attacking sponsors. Good for them. Doesn't really let them off the hook for all the non-sponsor related attacks.
posted by Bugbread at 8:36 PM on October 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Brianna Wu, in her recent Isometric episode, cited specifically watching the 8chan room "Gamergate" during her doxxing, and saw herself doxxed there first, and then her doxxed on Twitter.
posted by Deoridhe at 8:36 PM on October 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


That puts the ratio at 50/50 in my books.

I tend to avoid Twitter, but have engaged it mildly with the @mefightclub username in the last few months, and even among the few people, mostly gaming community folks, that I follow with that account, I personally watched at least a dozen women who are involved in the industry in one way or another (like Kris Ligman, who runs Critical Distance) harassed and harangued as the whole thing geared up.

That suggests to me that there were many more who were attacked but the ripples of which didn't get as far as my timeline or whatever it's called.

I suspect in your 50/50 estimate that you're missing a lot of what was going on on the ground, so to speak, in the name of this gamergate thing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:12 PM on October 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


"Gamergate is dead".

And not a minute too soon.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:19 PM on October 30, 2014


I suspect in your 50/50 estimate that you're missing a lot of what was going on on the ground, so to speak, in the name of this gamergate thing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken


Again we're back to the question of what's organized and concerted action and what's fringe action.

So, in a discussion about, say, Christianity, wouldn't it be fair to focus discussion on the policies and actions of the largest groups (Catholics, Southern Baptists)? And not using, say, Branch Davidians or Heaven's Gate as examples of Christian policies and influence in society.

KotakuInAction is easily the biggest gamer movement in support of Gamergate, and hence I'm using them as the basis for analysis.

Harassment and doxxing occurs in the name of Gamergate. Anyone can append the tag to their tweet. KotakuInAction has no control over this. Their subreddit rules strictly say no doxxing or harassment is allowed. Their members condemn doxxing. What else do you expect them to do? There are some ongoing efforts by KotakuInAction to track down doxxers and harassers.

Look at their top posts, go down 50 topics, they are a tightly focused organization: there's only two ongoing issues they have a call to action on (Gawker and Gamasutra) and the other posts being screenshots and articles exposing corruption in various organizations but with no specific action taken. Misogyny, harassment, or doxxing? Not that I can see. I don't know, they read like a pretty reasonable group.
posted by xdvesper at 12:14 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


Even assuming that, for example, KiA is a totally hands-off, words-only, no-threats branch of GamerGate...what articles exposing corruption are they posting? The only actual corruption stuff I've heard has been from anti-GGers saying "If they're so concerned about corruption, why haven't they talked about Shadow of Mordor?" and the like. KiA's primary concerns seem to be A) meta-concerns (how they should present themselves, who has said what to them, who they have said what to), which is natural for any group in any big fracas, and B) about Gawker, which is a non-ethics, non-corruption related issue. On the whole first page, I can only find a single article that even tries to be about ethics and corruption in games journalism, "Destructoid, Allistair Pinsof And The Sour Side Of Games Journalism".

Now, I get that when there's a big fracas, the majority of posts are going to end out being meta discussions. That's just the nature of big fracases. But if KiA is the reasonable wing of GamerGate, and other wings are the harassment wings, where are the "actually talking about ethics in gaming journalism" people?
posted by Bugbread at 1:02 AM on October 31, 2014 [4 favorites]


What else do you expect them to do?

Just get on with their lives.

Look, I assume you've watched the Colbert interview with Anita Sarkeesian, perhaps you noticed the point where he mentioned that it would be terrible if you can't trust games journalism, like you can't trust the E channel. Even if we assume corruption is rampant, the correct option is simply to stop reading or engaging with corrupt games journalists! When I see a magazine written by a cinema to promote its films I don't start a campaign, I just ignore the magazine!

Worse yet, getting advertisers to withdraw based on editorial content is precisely the action one would want to avoid if you wanted to prevent corruption!

In fact GG isn't about ethics, it is, every time I check, explicitly about trying to remove any kind of SJW issues from games journalism. Thats why it has focused on Polygon, Gamasutra, Rock Paper Shotgun and Gawker media (although the latter group is a bit of a mess). You keep talking about who is a member of the group... well look, the movement started on 4chan, and Zoe Quinn picked out logs demonstrating the toxic and poisonous nature of the movement. Zoe Quinn, who was viciously attacked and is not, by the way, a news journalist. On twitter Newsweek found that most tweets involving gamergate were directed at Quinn, Sarkeesian and Alexander, only one of whom is a journalist. On kotaku in action, which you keep highlighting as a paragon of virtue, read this post.

Go search the hashtag now. It'll be talking about itself. About how its fine, and it stops harrasment, and it wants ethics. It won't be talking about its goals, or its concerns, because those are nebulous and deliberately unstated. Every piece of corruption GG has focused on has transpired to be fictional.

Gamergate, whatever some members might think of it, is poison, and is thoroughly focused on the wrong targets.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:03 AM on October 31, 2014 [6 favorites]


KiA's current headlining post is a link to an image of a series of tweets, in which some woman feels threatened and ostracized by Sarkeesian's very existence. She doesn't allege Sarkeesian or anti-GG folk did anything threatening. She's just in a panic because of Sarkeesian's favorable media coverage.

Commentators are encouraging her irrational fears. I don't know how "focused" or "reasonable" you would call this post or the response.

I admit KiA's mods have done some things right. They've made decent anti-brigading efforts, kept the worst elements away from the front page, avoided discouraging non-gators from posting. But go into the comments and the nature of the asylum becomes quite clear. Journalism takes a back seat to the real enemy: SJWs and feminists.* Corruption and ethics become defined as anything which hurts GG & KiA. There are enough feverish war cries to keep /r/BestOfOutrageCulture busy.

Sure, a brief scan of the headlines, especially if you didn't know much about GG, would make them seem like a "not terrible", and possibly even "reasonable", group. But it becomes much different after spending time with their community.

* - Here's a bot-generated most used word list for KiA. "SJW" is number 3 on the list and well above the first mention of journalism / journalists.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:15 AM on October 31, 2014 [4 favorites]


honestcoyote: "* - Here's a bot-generated most used word list for KiA. "

sjw:5,434
feminist:1,979
corruption:769
ethics:593

Actually, it's about ethics in games journalism.
posted by Bugbread at 1:32 AM on October 31, 2014 [10 favorites]


So, in a discussion about, say, Christianity

I implore you to not go there with me, my friend, or I will go positively apeshit. And I just don't have time to go apeshit positively or otherwise right now, much as I might enjoy it.

'KotakuInAction'? You've got to be kidding me. No wonder ordinary goddamned people still stereotype video game enthusiasts as sad rank basement masturbators.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:46 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, while I'm enjoying this discussion, it occurs to me now that the MeTa part of this MeTa post is kinda long over, and now we're just discussing the general issue. I invite anyone interested in the topic (on either side) to move over to one of the threads in the blue (that's an invitation, not a demand or anything).
posted by Bugbread at 1:47 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or, better, yet, just let this hammered-horse-hamburger sink into the mud, and let us never speak of it again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:52 AM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


hammered-horse-hamburger

That... sounds... delicious.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:47 PM on November 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, now Taz has deletied another of my comments in the newer of the two gamergate thread. I think that is three of mine gone now.
posted by misha at 12:59 AM on November 2, 2014


If they're anything like the one that's still up, which looked like an attempt to veer the discussion back to the 'well what if Zoe actually was a really bad girlfriend' bullshit seen everywhere on the internet a few months ago and adding more fuel to the fire of speculation about Quinn's sex life, well, good. Considering the fact that this shit has driven her from her home and basically ruined her life already I think it's really unconscionable to add to that; It's a shitty derail and retread of long-dead conversations as well.
posted by NoraReed at 1:26 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Misha, I've responded to your contact email with the full texts of your deleted comments as requested, and I'll just answer here as well about the reasons: the latest one was because it was all complaining about how people were responding to your earlier comment, with suggestions about what sorts of comments would be okay, with a lot of references to flagging, and was basically just fighting about meta issues rather than discussing the topic. I can post it here if you'd like.

The earlier one I deleted was saying "Why are we linking to anything Zoe Quinn says, though? She's not any more credible than the gamergaters are," but the link that was posted before you commented was to content by someone else, not something Quinn was saying, and that was causing a big derail pointing that out.

Matt deleted a couple of comments from you that were 1) a specific spat with someone else, and 2) another personal response to someone else.

Your earlier comment about Zoe Quinn (which began with taking issue with the way another commenter characterized Gjoni's actions) wasn't deleted, but I will just say that if you want to continue in the vein of discussing the moralities of her personal life that's definitely not a good direction to go.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:13 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm most often finding myself disagreeing with misha on these sorts of things, but I'm seeing her point of view here, at least to a certain extent. I didn't see the deleted comments, but it seems like it at least shouldn't be deletable to post the sort of hesitatingly wait-I-agree-with-you-but-maybe-you're-going-a-touch-too-far-with-the-hagiography comment that wasn't deleted (though of course pushback from others on that is also fine).

That said, of course the pushback will lead to counter-pushback, after which the conversation naturally would become more focused on the personal-life accusations, which do feel like things that should be off-limits. (One way of thinking about that: if none of this internet-mob blowup ever happened, if the ex-boyfriend's post happened with minimal response, it would definitely not make for an appropriate FPP.) So after seeing that pattern a couple times I could see how it might make sense from a mod perspective to nip the conversation in the bud even before anyone's crossed the line into actual inappropriateness.

But that said, I think it might make sense to also restrict ourselves from making the sort of over-reaching claim that misha was responding to in the first place, since there's no way to discuss that sort of claim without delving into the off-limits details?

But also: it's worth remembering that ZQ is not the leader of any sort of movement. It's that last part that maybe gets lost by those who feel compelled to take her down a notch. Like if she were a politician there might be a discussion to be had about what these claims mean for her trustworthiness, but she's not. She's a game developer (and a young one, at that), and even if the kind of meta-duplicitous lying she's accused of would deserve a tough-love diagnosis in an AskMe post, she hasn't made this public and so doesn't deserve that kind of scrutiny.

I'm getting a little lost in the weeds here. I guess the upshot of all this is that I'm admitting to having the sort of impulses misha has followed through on (at least in the not-deleted comments), and I'm feeling through why acting on some of those impulses might not be quite appropriate, even in an imaginary world in which there weren't an internet mob at the gates (and, thus, even after all this -- hopefully soon -- dies down).
posted by nobody at 7:18 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Taz, if you don't want a derail in that thread, then you should be deleting the comments that are actually derailing, not mine.

I agree that talking about Zoe's sex life should be off the table. But lodurr brought that whole subject up with the ridiculous crap about how Zoe just wasn't "validating his wonderfulness" .

So either you should delete lodurr's original comment and all those, my initial response included, that responded to it, or let my last one stand. Because you have about half a dozen comments in there directed to me and not allowing me to respond to them because the response is the derail? That is a bullshit argument.
posted by misha at 9:56 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not validating his wonderfulness isn't bringing up Zoe's sex life or lack thereof.

It is utterly irrelevant whether Zoe was Mother Teresa with a d-pad or the second coming of Samantha from SATC. It does not matter, in any way.

What matters is that an entitled asshole smeared her online, deliberately inciting harassment that has cost her a job, a home, most likely a relationship, and has left her living in fear. That's it. There is nothing else relevant here; anything else is victim-blaming.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:59 AM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Matt deleted a couple of comments from you that were 1) a specific spat with someone else, and 2) another personal response to someone else.

Yes, and I am fine with that deletion because Matt deleted the comment that addressed me personally (which you are choosing to frame as a specific spat with someone else, implying I started an altercation, which is not true) AND my response. You are selectively deleting just my responses to others, and that's not okay.
posted by misha at 10:03 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


It is utterly irrelevant whether Zoe was Mother Teresa with a d-pad or the second coming of Samantha from SATC. It does not matter, in any way.

I agree with you completely! Which is why I don't understand why lodurr feels the need to sugarcoat anything in the first place. There are no perfect victims. There's no reason to propagandize any of this.

Anyone remember the Suey Park incident, where she incited her followers on Twitter into calling for canceling The Colbert Show and then claimed it was all performance art later? We still have people who are unclear on what actually happened coming into threads and saying, "Remember when hateful bigots attacked Suey Park on Twitter for daring to take on The Colbert Report?" And then we have a derail to point out No, because that wasn't what actually happened.

It is not okay to just rewrite parts of a narrative because you don't like the way they make the good guys look. Sticking to facts is important.
posted by misha at 10:20 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


How do these 'facts' matter? Misha how do you even know what the facts are at this point? You don't appear to have any special source for your 'facts.' Zoey Quinn appears to be the victim of an overwhelming disinformation campaign. Repeating any negative claim about her is participating in the attack. Your attempts to present an honest or accurate view may be well intended, but they come across as victim shaming.
posted by humanfont at 10:54 AM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I agree with you completely! Which is why I don't understand why lodurr feels the need to sugarcoat anything in the first place. There are no perfect victims. There's no reason to propagandize any of this.

Misha, I realise that what you do looks to you like fearless truth-telling in the face of the man-hating uberfeminists of MetaFilter.

However, what you did was not fearlessly tell the truth about Zoe Quinn, because you do not know the truth. What you did was uncritically reproduce the assertions of an ex-boyfriend who wrote a novel-length jeremiad about Zoe Quinn specifically designed to make MRAs and PUAs angry with her.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:56 AM on November 2, 2014 [13 favorites]


(OK, 9,000 words - so, Grantland feature-length.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:59 AM on November 2, 2014


I agree that talking about Zoe's sex life should be off the table. But lodurr brought that whole subject up with the ridiculous crap about how Zoe just wasn't "validating his wonderfulness" .

No, lodurr mentioned "validating his wonderfulness," and you chose to make her sex life the narrative that they were speaking to. At that point, instead of choosing to move on, you decided to bring their sex life back up, go on a tear of hypotheticals related to AskMe, and otherwise turn the conversation back on Quinn rather than Gonji. Quinn's actions have no bearing on the subject, but Gonji's reactions most certainly do. You seem unable or unwilling to make this distinction.

Because you have about half a dozen comments in there directed to me and not allowing me to respond to them because the response is the derail? That is a bullshit argument.

Your response was deleted because it was about the the thread itself rather than the subject of the FPP. This was made abundantly clear.

which you are choosing to frame as a specific spat with someone else, implying I started an altercation, which is not true

That's a pretty misleading conflation of the separate instances taz pointed out.

There are no perfect victims. There's no reason to propagandize any of this.

This is advice you should be taking to heart. You've repeatedly used the statements of a manifesto designed to incite harassment as part of some sociopathic "better she dies so we all may live" calculation as if it was an official reporting of events. As a result, you've gone after Quinn's character as some sort of shield for Gonji, and to borrow a phrase from the lynch mob, that's #notyourshield.

It is not okay to just rewrite parts of a narrative because you don't like the way they make the good guys look. Sticking to facts is important.

Ironic, seeing as how the only narrative is from Gonji, who has thus far proven himself a completely unreliable narrator and antagonistic to the point of Quinn initiating legal action. You can protest all you want that you're the one sticking to facts and neutrality, but that doesn't matter one whit when every time you're given the opportunity, you repeat propaganda and insist everyone else is rewriting the narrative.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:05 AM on November 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


misha your concern trolling on this is tiring. Can't you find something better to do than discussing the sex lives of strangers on the internet?
posted by empath at 11:07 AM on November 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Suey Park's critique of Colbert was a little more nuanced than just "claiming it was performance art," and I think we should be cautious about retelling a story like this and leaving out the fact that the reponse to Park included rape and death threats.

I mean, regardless of the merits of her critique, I think the story isn't so much "a female activist of color had an opinion I find easy to mock" and more "yet another woman criticizing a man online was met with gendered terroristic responses."
posted by maxsparber at 11:59 AM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I agree with you completely!

If you agree that it's irrelevant, why do you keep bringing up Quinn's lack of halo?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:05 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit puzzled by anyone attempting to declare Quinn as angelic or not angelic, as such celestial beings are unknowable to us as puny humans and who knows to what transhumanistic heights she has ascended to already, let alone where she may go over her majestic, cybernetically enhanced lifetime
posted by NoraReed at 3:39 PM on November 2, 2014


humanfont: "Zoey Quinn appears to be the victim of an overwhelming disinformation campaign. Repeating any negative claim about her is participating in the attack. Your attempts to present an honest or accurate view may be well intended, but they come across as victim shaming."

I have written and deleted so many comments about this that I'm going nuts.

Look, if we have any idea what really happened, then this side discussion shouldn't even be happening. "Here are the facts", boom, done.

And if we don't, then I don't get why everyone seems so cool with lodurr saying this happened because Zoe "refused to validate Eron's wonderfulness". If we know, we know. If we don't know, we don't know, so saying "oh, the reason is refusing to validate wonderfulness, but don't disagree with me, because we don't know the reason" is just stupid.
posted by Bugbread at 3:45 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


But we do know that Eron was jilted (in what specific fashion is unclear), and we do know from his basic MRA bullshit is that 'failing to validate wonderfulness' is more or less exactly why MRA types despise women. If perhaps a somewhat pithy way of saying it.

We also know that it doesn't fucking matter because he was the one who chose to unleash chan trolls and hound Quinn out of a job and a home.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:27 PM on November 2, 2014


feckless fecal fear mongering: "But we do know that Eron was jilted (in what specific fashion is unclear), and we do know from his basic MRA bullshit is that 'failing to validate wonderfulness' is more or less exactly why MRA types despise women. If perhaps a somewhat pithy way of saying it."

Ok, I guess that makes sense. Though my experience at MeFi makes me think that "pith" creates far more headaches than it provides benefits.

feckless fecal fear mongering: "We also know that it doesn't fucking matter because he was the one who chose to unleash chan trolls and hound Quinn out of a job and a home."

Yes. This is a point that, as far as I've been seen, everyone on MeFi, Misha included agrees with. I'm not sure why it keeps being pointed out as some kind of counterargument.
posted by Bugbread at 4:33 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


If misha agreed that what Zoey had done prior to Eron pulling this bullshit is irrelevant, then I am utterly baffled as to why misha keeps bringing up the idea that Zoey isn't perfect.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:59 PM on November 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is a point that, as far as I've been seen, everyone on MeFi, Misha included agrees with. I'm not sure why it keeps being pointed out as some kind of counterargument.

It's because she keeps on insisting on using "facts" and unbiased narratives while simultaneously characterizing Quinn based on the words of someone who has proven to be a liar, a harasser, and a manipulator. She can choose not to do so, but her actions keep on contradicting her words, and vice versa.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:05 PM on November 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


Zombieflanders, if you can show me proofs that anything I have said is factually inaccurate, please do, because all I have done is try to keep the narrative as close to factually accurate as possible.

I disagreed with a very specific part of lodurr's comment, and wrote a long comment that made it very, very clear --as I have continuously made very clear--that I am 100% against harassment and there is no excuse for that.

If it is okay for anyone here to pick at part of my comment, as you are doing, than it should be okay for me to do the same with lodurr's. And if lodurr can then defend what he said, I should be able to defend what I said also, without it getting deleted from that thread.
posted by misha at 5:54 PM on November 2, 2014


The question remains, misha: if you agree that Quinn's behaviour is irrelevant, why do you keep bringing it up?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:57 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's really hard to pick apart the character of a victim of something like this without sounding like you're defending or condoning her abuse. The "Zoe is no angel" (and they always call her by her first name, which comes across as really patronizing, especially when they misspell it, but I guess they do both to Gjoni too) narrative is irrelevant because she would not deserve this kind of abuse even if she was devouring live puppies on camera.
posted by NoraReed at 6:10 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Zombieflanders, if you can show me proofs that anything I have said is factually inaccurate, please do, because all I have done is try to keep the narrative as close to factually accurate as possible.

Every time you talk about Quinn's relationship with Gjoni using his version of events, those are not facts. They're the words of someone who has proven they can't be trusted with the truth, and are irrelevant. His reaction is relevant because it is the core of the events we are discussing.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:27 PM on November 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Even if every single thing the disgruntled ex said about her was true, that wouldn't justify all the bullshit Zoe Quinn has been through. The truth of what she did or did not do has, time and time again, proven to be irrelevant to the gamergaters, no matter how much they insist it's their only point.

However, I think there's a point in what misha says in that there's a downside to the sanctification of victims, which often happens in these sorts of situations. Not only does it subtly dehumanise the victim, it also reemphasises, usually inadvertently, the idea that only perfect victims are worthy of defense. It's a difficult line to walk, and I don't really think misha managed it, but it should be possible for it to be acknowledged that victims of horrible offenses can be imperfect people without it being an attack.

But we gloss the imperfect a lot. I remember reading a New Yorker article about the truth behind the Lawrence v. Texas decision, and how much the facts of the case differed from the popular perception, because they needed the 'perfect case' to successfully fight for the bigger picture and so massaged reality to fit.

It also reminds me a bit of the Michael Brown shooting, where it doesn't matter what happened with the store he visited shortly before he was murdered, or that he had pot in his system, because that's still not reason enough for him to be shot by police.

So, yeah, overall bringing up Zoe Quinn's personal life is irrelevant, because it just shouldn't matter. What's relevant is that she's getting attacked, and by whom.

Which is why, though it is also a derail, I think it's also useful to remember just who was sending death threats to Suey Park.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:10 PM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Or, better, yet, just let this hammered-horse-hamburger sink into the mud, and let us never speak of it again.


I miss it when it looked like this thread had ended with this comment.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:15 AM on November 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


maxsparber : Suey Park's critique of Colbert was a little more nuanced than just "claiming it was performance art," and I think we should be cautious about retelling a story like this and leaving out the fact that the reponse to Park included rape and death threats.

I mean, regardless of the merits of her critique, I think the story isn't so much "a female activist of color had an opinion I find easy to mock" and more "yet another woman criticizing a man online was met with gendered terroristic responses."


If that's the story, then it basically was performance art. If the takeaway she intended for us was the horribleness of the reaction to, (i.e., what she said was more for us to she how people would abuse her rather than to hear content of the actual message,) then the message itself was something closer to performance art than argument. That's not exactly the right term, maybe "experiment" would be better, but we're ultimately not talking about what she said.

The gendered-abuse Suey Park received was horrible, sadly predictable and disgusting. It was also personally frustrating because a) I recognized similar treatment suffered by the women in my life and b) I found the content of her words to be really fantastically wrong, but it was pretty easy to be lumped in with the harassers if you engaged with her ideas. It also would have seemed weirdly unfair to Park if all we talked about was the trolls, to the exclusion of her point, because then they basically got what they wanted: to shut down her discussion. But then she basically pulls the rug from under the discussion and any one who did engage her ideas was missing the point or mansplaining or I don't know what.

So it was nuanced in that it was confusing, not straightforward, (and not effective in my opinion) but I think she- purposely- undermined her critique of Colbert specifically because she wanted us to focus more on the responses. So I don't really get how calling the criticism "performance art" is leaving out the response when talking about the later to the exclusion to the former seems to be her point.
posted by spaltavian at 6:18 AM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


If that's the story, then it basically was performance art.

That's not performance art. Unless you mean "performance art" to mean "something I can easily dismiss."
posted by maxsparber at 7:13 AM on November 6, 2014


Come on man, read the rest of that paragraph.
posted by spaltavian at 7:44 AM on November 6, 2014


Yes, yes, you have a critique of why Park was an imperfect critic, and that's far more important for you to discuss than the fact that her criticism, tweeted out to maybe 20,000 followers, which had negligible impact on Colbert,was responded to with death and rape threats.

Somehow the imperfect critic is always a more interesting discussion than the death threats that follow. I'm sorry, but I don't agree. And I know you gestured to the fact that she was threatened, and you think this was terrible, but really, the issue you're pressing it that it kept you from feeling comfortable criticizing her as well.

I don't really want to have that discussion. I do know an awful lot about performance art, but obviously you don't want to have that discussion.
posted by maxsparber at 8:11 AM on November 6, 2014


Yes, yes, you have a critique of why Park was an imperfect critic

It's astounding how much you missed the point here, and I can only presume you are so amped up about this that you cannot make a good faith reading.

My critique was of you, not Park. An honest reading shows that I'm actually saying Park was critiquing something else that was initially apparent, and purposely did so, I found that confusing because I was thinking about her initial remarks on face value. I parenthetically added that I thought it was ineffective, but it's dishonest to claim that was the main thrust.

and that's far more important for you to discuss than the fact that her criticism,

This is from imaginary land. You have no basis to say it's more important to me, let alone "far", and my post directly states it is not. I don't think it's more important, I explained that I thought it was valuable to actually engage in her criticism, but that the reaction to it silenced her point. Then I added that her change up afterwards changed the terms of her criticism and I called that confusing.

Somehow the imperfect critic is always a more interesting discussion than the death threats that follow. I'm sorry, but I don't agree.

Neither do I. I addressed them in my comment, and I addressed them at the time. We are discussing an ancillary point months later, and my point was that the comment you responded to didn't necessarily ignore the death threats as you claims. So even there I am acknowledging it as an important issue to discuss.

And I know you gestured to the fact that she was threatened,

This is a ridiculous assholic phrasing that I have done nothing to earn. I didn't fucking gesture, I meant what I said. I often relate these things to my wife because she is a super intelligent, mature, professional women who gets treated really poorly because of her gender all the time, and is often a target of street harassment. "Gesture", Jesus Christ.

but really, the issue you're pressing it that it kept you from feeling comfortable criticizing her as well.

Yes, I pressed it by mentioning it exactly once.

I don't really want to have that discussion

It's pretty clear you don't want any discussion. I've appreciated some of your comments in the past but this is buffoonish.
posted by spaltavian at 8:34 AM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's awesome that we've found another woman, totally unrelated to Gamergate, to traduce. This feels totally worthwhile and in good faith.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:36 AM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Traduce. Awesome, even maxsparber didn't accuse me of slandering Park. You have the gall to complain about good faith?
posted by spaltavian at 8:40 AM on November 6, 2014


Well, no. I think misha randomly threw in another visible woman she wanted to pick a bone with, because I guess that if you type "Colbert" into the search engine for man-haters who give feminism a bad name you get Suey Park. That's not good faith.

I think I'm probably just complaining about you being led by the nose into that, when Suey Park has nothing to do with the topic under discussion.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:23 AM on November 6, 2014


running_order_squabble_fest, I participated in the discussion about Suey Park and the #CancelColbert farce here on Metafilter, which was a lengthy discussion with a lot of tangents happening as the situation changed real-time, so it went on for days. It was, in other words, a pretty memorable thread. So when someone brought Suey Park up recently, I was pretty surprised at the spin they were putting on the incident, and it became obvious pretty quickly that their knowledge of the #CancelColbert campaign was at best secondhand and they'd gotten their facts mixed up.

This happens, of course. People wade into forums (or go on Twitter, or wherever), and make claims of things happening that never actually happened, and usually it is because they were not actually present and were misinformed after the fact or just uninformed of later developments. I have made mistakes like these--just recently, even--probably you have, too.

When someone says, Nope, you're wrong about that and here is what really happened, the mature response in those cases is to either accept the correction gracefully or go check the facts for yourself, right?

Sometimes, though, people just keep spouting the misinformation. It's hard to see it as anything other than design when they do this, like they hope that if they just say something often enough it will become true simply by virtue of repetition. Ironically, Colbert himself coined a phrase for this phenomenon, "truthiness". The concept is a rueful nod to various factions on the right, who have used 'talking points' to spread propaganda, and been scarily effective at changing the discourse with this tactic. It has become a recognized propaganda technique. Gamergators have attempted to do this with their "jounalistic ethics" defense.

Ideally, I feel that those of us on the left should combat this kind of thing not by engaging in our own truthiness campaigns, but by sticking to the actual truth; i.e., arguments best supported by the facts and the preponderance of evidence we can gather. I therefore get pretty disgusted when I feel people are doing the former and making up a new narrative to play better to the masses. When you are the good guys, it seems pretty self-evident that you shouldn't have to distort the facts. If you feel you need to resort to telling half truths and glossing over the facts, you might need to step back and examine your motivation for resorting to the kind of tactics you would otherwise condemn from your opponents.

This spread of misinformation, either innocently or by design, is a theme that has been explored in gator threads already, though, so it really shouldn't be necessary for me to go into all this with such detailed simplification. I don't think it is necessary for me to do so for anyone, whether they agree with me or not, who is making any attempt whatsoever to read my comments in good faith.

But since there isn't any valid reason for you, running_order_squabble_fest, to smear me as an anti-feminist unless you just really didn't grasp this very simple concept, I figured I would give you the benefit of the doubt and lay it all out again, in painstaking detail, rather than assume you are just attacking me for no good reason at all.
posted by misha at 10:05 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


But since there isn't any valid reason for you, running_order_squabble_fest, to smear me as an anti-feminist unless you just really didn't grasp this very simple concept, I figured I would give you the benefit of the doubt and lay it all out again, in painstaking detail, rather than assume you are just attacking me for no good reason at all.

This dovetails neatly with:

This happens, of course. People wade into forums (or go on Twitter, or wherever), and make claims of things happening that never actually happened, and usually it is because they were not actually present and were misinformed after the fact or just uninformed of later developments. I have made mistakes like these--just recently, even--probably you have, too.

It is simply an untruth - although quite possibly one you sincerely believe - to say that I have called you an anti-feminist. What I did suggest is that your feminist practice is built in part around condemning the man-haters who give feminists a bad name.

I don't see this as a controversial statement. This is explicitly a part of your practice as a feminist. I think it's generally considered not good practice to cite people's previous statements in MetaTalk, but it seems like this thread, passim, is kind of a useful reference, and particularly:
When I have complained about ugly generalizations about men in threads, or come to the defense of a man commenting in those threads, all the tactics the angry people in those threads claim to hate (tone argument, mansplaining, silencing, fallacies of all kinds) come out, and are used by them against me. I have been accused of concern trolling because, I guess, I am not a man? Because even empathizing with men is bad now? Makes no sense to me.

I tried to teach my sons to respect people, regardless of race, religion or gender. Those threads make a mockery of that endeavor. That it is taken as a given here that men do not deserve the same consideration as women is appalling to me. Wrapping sexism up in buzzwords (like citing the Patriarchy when you make hurtful comments about men, as though that was some Get Out of Jail Free card) to rationalize ugly behavior doesn't make it any less ugly. Doing it while you deny misandry even exists is just--it's absurd. It's Bizarro World.
and
What's worse is that I actually have a more negative view of the feminist movement these days as a result of what I have witnessed and experienced on Metafilter. I used to take it as a given that those straw feminists who were contemptuous of men were hyperbolic caricatures. These days, I am not nearly so sure of that.
I have no interest in drawing lines around what is or isn't feminism, and who is or is not a feminist. Christina Hoff Sommers identifies as a feminist, and it feels like arguing that she is insincere in her self-identification, rather than that the way she selects and presents information is antithetical to the broad goals of feminism, falls into a very obvious trap.

So, in this case, I don't think there's a lot of point in arguing about who is or is not identifying as a feminist. It's not an interesting or useful question, nor is it one I raised.

OTOH, I think it is useful to query specific actions.

So, in the case of GamerGate, which is our topic at issue, I think it's problematic in terms of any feminist project uncritically to repeat talking points that have a) been disproved and b) have been used to justify hate campaigns against women, such as:
Yeah, My impression was that the Twitter kerfuffle about the gamergate meme with the autistic kid put Brianna Wu in the spotlight.
I also think that it is problematic in terms of any feminist project to accept uncritically the premises and presentation of a lengthy post very clearly designed to engage a particular kind of misogynist in a hate campaign against one's ex-girlfriend:
I don't think it is unreasonable, or suggestive of entitlement of any kind, when you are in a relationship, to expect your significant other not to cheat on you repeatedly and then lie about it to cover it up, while gaslighting you that it is all in your head and nothing is going on.

That is a shitty thing to do, even if we don't personally like the person who was cheated on. It shouldn't make a difference, but in case it does, don't forget other people were hurt by Zoe's actions, too; one of the men she had a sexual relationship with was married, and his wife was also hurt by their actions.
So, to recap: I have no interest in describing you as an anti-feminist, nor have I done so. I am taking you at your word when you explicitly say that you believe that men are attacked unfairly by feminists, and specifically some feminists on MetaFilter, who have made you question your belief that the "straw feminists" depicted here are not in fact real people.

I am not convinced that the feminist project is served specifically by spreading falsehoods used in defence of the people sending death threats to Brianna Wu, or by accepting everything said by someone seeking to encourage others to send death threats to his ex-girlfriend (successfully) as gospel truth, and further citing that account to argue that this woman, who is currently afraid for her life and the subject of ongoing harassment, was no angel, and that failing to factor her low morals into any discussion of this ongoing harassment is "sugarcoating". I do not believe in general that uncritically accepting and repeating smears against women is part of many feminist projects. It is, however, definitely a defining feature of the actions of pro-Gamergate activists.

In the same wise, I think that there is no great feminist purpose to be served by defending multimillionaire broadcast idol Stephen Colbert against Suey Park, a twentysomething Twitter activist who (and tell me if you see a theme, here) is the subject of ongoing harassment, especially when Suey Park had not previously been mentioned. However, if one chooses to do so, it were better to be honest about one's goals.

So, when you say:
So when someone brought Suey Park up recently, I was pretty surprised at the spin they were putting on the incident, and it became obvious pretty quickly that their knowledge of the #CancelColbert campaign was at best secondhand and they'd gotten their facts mixed up.
I guess my response is first informed by having seen you uncritically reproduce smears against Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn as facts.

My response is second informed by having no idea where "someone brought Suey Park up recently". Yours is the first mention of Suey Park in this thread. There is one mention of Suey Park in the "Gamergate is now a hate group" thread, which is literally the words "Suey Park". This is citing a mention in David Auerbach's article "How to end Gamergate", in which Suey Park is mentioned in passing as an anti-Gamergate celebrity. I have to assume that you meant someone brought up Suey Park in some part of your life unrelated to MetaFilter, so she was front-of-mind. This seems to be supported by:
Anyone remember the Suey Park incident, where she incited her followers on Twitter into calling for canceling The Colbert Show and then claimed it was all performance art later?
In MetaFilter terms, then, the "someone" who is bringing up Suey Park is, AFAICT, you. In which case, it seems my surmise is absolutely correct - "Suey Park" is your stimulus response to "Stephen Colbert" when the term occurs in a discussion relevant to feminism.

As it happens, Suey Park is being mentioned at the moment - she is being mentioned specifically in the context of another Gamergate smear, that Anita Sarkeesian supported #cancelcolbert. It is possible that this is the context in which "someone brought Suey Park up recently".

So. If you believe that it is part of your feminist project to represent the arguments and mirror the tactics of Gamergate - that Brianna Wu mocked an autistic child, that Zoe Quinn's sexual morality is both relevant and accurately described in The Zoe Post, that Suey Park's highly performative and often alienating activism should be raised in discussions that touch on Anita Sarkeesian's inclusive critique of gaming media being featured on the Colbert Report - then that is what you believe. I'm not going to question your identity as a feminist, nor have I. I am, however, going to suggest that your feminist project is quite different from that of many feminists engaging with Gamergate.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:51 AM on November 7, 2014 [13 favorites]


Hey now, don't link to my comment without linking to my follow-up comment as well:

Sorry, I didn't know it was a stock photo! I do know that Brianna Wu didn't even come up with the meme, anyway, just responded to someone on her Twitter feed. And then all hell broke lose.

I'm going to flag my own comment anyway because yeah, I don't want to spread gg propaganda.
posted by misha at 11:19 PM on October 28 [+] [!]


And I did flag my own earlier comment, too, which the mods could attest to if it is in question.

I was out of the loop on some of the gamergator info because I was visiting my FIL in hospice (sadly, though not unexpectedly, he passed away .The funeral is tomorrow) and was also sick myself during a lot of it.

I came into the Metafilter threads, as well as reading everything else both anti and pro I could find, in order to educate myself on the issue. This is what I referred to in my comment when I said it is easy to be uninformed and even spread misinformation without meaning to and that I had made that mistake myself!

I also found the Suey Park comment I was actually referencing here, too, by the way.

So, I guess, thanks for making my point for me.
posted by misha at 6:51 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I clarified what I was talking about later in that thread, misha, but I'm not sure what some badly phrased attempts of mine to get people to realize that sic'ing hate mobs on Twitter activists isn't ok, even accidentally, and that people with hate mob containing fan bases have a responsibility to be careful not to accidentally fuck up the lives of their institutionally less powerful critics, has to do with anything, especially since I made that comment back in May.
posted by NoraReed at 5:55 AM on November 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


So, I guess, thanks for making my point for me.

Except for the fact that ROSF's comment addressed much, much more than the very narrow point you chose to focus on.
posted by dogrose at 10:51 AM on November 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


My condolences, misha. I lost my father a month ago, and I can say with reasonable confidence that it's been the worst time of my life.

You're quite right that you accepted correction on Brianna Wu. And people who are new to this might not be up to speed on how the online Gish gallop works - which is to find as many arguments as possible, regardless of quality or truth, and blast them at the target, in the hope that people are credulous enough to repeat them, and the psychic toll of refuting the same lie over and over again wears the victim down to the point that they just give up and drop out - as happened with Jenn Frank, as is happening right now.

Which, I confess, merely makes me more surprised that you then did exactly the same thing with the accusations against Zoe Quinn. And, as I said, I understand that may fit into a feminist practice that seeks to defend men against man-hating feminists, if the only way to avoid being termed a man-hating feminist is uncritically to accept and reproduce allegations made by an ex-boyfriend with the fairly clear intention of directing a hate campaign against his ex-girlfriend. That does not fit into most feminist practices I have encountered, but there are self-identified feminists who have taken part in that harassment, so I accept that it might for someone else. If that's not your intention, can I just suggest that you approach things - even things that seem to you instinctively right - with a little more circumspection?

(And, yeah, I don't think six months fits my definition of "recently" on Suey Park, but I think that's a side road.)

So, I guess I don't exactly know what point you think I have made for you, but I think my contention stands. If there is a positive and feminist response to this, it is possibly to exercise caution before giving fodder and provender to ideas promulgated by people whose stated aim is to try to drive women out of their homes and careers, and in some cases to suicide.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:13 AM on November 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


(I don't mean that to sound as harsh as it might, btw - this situation is totally bewildering. But the persecution of individuals gains strength by repetition - people claim that e.g Anita Sarkeesian never reported her abuse, or that Zoe Quinn never donated profits from Depression Quest to charity, and that is picked up and passed around, and by the time the truth has laced up it's boots, the lie is halfway around the world. It's particularly important, I think, to be critical of statements that appear to support one's own attitudes or suspicions, because that's where one is most likely to give something a pass - which applies to every perspective.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:35 AM on November 10, 2014


It's particularly important, I think, to be critical of statements that appear to support one's own attitudes or suspicions, because that's where one is most likely to give something a pass - which applies to every perspective

I agree with this 100%, and try to question my own frequently. Of course, it has spectacularly backfired in my case and the usual suspects take delight in characterizing me as a concern troll, misogynist, gamergator, whatever. But I keep trying! On some level I even understand; it is so much easier to lash out than examine your own perceptions that I can understand why someone might choose that path. I struggle sometimes to remind myself this is water.

It is easier to put online squabbles into perspective, frankly, when you start thinking and dealing with serious realities, like an imminent death. I am so sorry that you also lost your father recently, running_order_squabble_fest! My husband has been devastated by this loss; he remembers his father healthy and happy and well and it was hard for him to let go. As someone who has been dealing with chronic illness myself for so long, I think it was easier for me to empathize with his Dad's decision to forgo any further "extraordinary measures" and die with dignity in hospice care.
posted by misha at 3:25 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Looks like people didn't read the link I posted, then.

I expect that 'Colbert's fans threatened Suey Park' canard to pop up again, probably around the time of his final episode, and based on the number of times I've seen it refuted but still have it appear, it appears the narrative some people want to believe is not the actual truth, but that doesn't matter.

As per this thread, that puts them in esteemed company.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:58 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, that is exactly the "Truthiness" problem I was speaking to! It's frustrating when people would rather repeat (and believe) falsehoods that they would like to be true than, you know, the actual truth.

I think sometimes we so want to believe our heroes are clean and shiny and perfect that we have to paint those who oppose them as dirty, evil and monstrous to justify that hero worship.

But then again, we also cut those heroes a lot more slack, so there is inconsistency there. We make excuses for them instead of expecting them to admit they are wrong and apologize, like everyone else who screws up is expected to do.
posted by misha at 7:09 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think at this point it's become abundantly clear that however misha self-identifies, she does the work of any two other anti-feminists here put together.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:31 AM on November 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


...That was a bit low, Ivan.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:55 AM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ivan, it's weirdly personal to come back in with that, a week or two after the thread has kind of ground itself out.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:35 AM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Ivan, it's weirdly personal to come back in with that, a week or two after the thread has kind of ground itself out."

It looks that way, but what happened is that I'd just read most of the #shirtgate thread, got to misha's comments there, saw that a block of comments had been deleted, went to misha's profile, ended up looking at her most recent comments where she's been doing her thing in several other threads, then went back and finished the #shirtgate thread and reached the comment near the end where phearlez directs people to misha's comment above where she argues that she's being wrongly slandered by rosf calling her "anti-feminist".

So it wasn't random or gratuitous or "personal". Yeah, the thread had been dormant for a week, but it had just been linked in another comment on MeFi. I took this thread out of my recent activity list long ago, so this whole latter part of it is new to me. But, regardless, it's relevant because this is being discussed here, even if a week ago (which isn't that long) and misha just keeps doing her thing, day after day, she's done it for years, and she's been given an absurd amount of deference about it. Whether she self-identifies as a feminist or not, every one of her defenses of sexist behavior, her "what about the men?" comments, her "a lot of feminists are misandrist" complaints very strongly act as cover and encouragement of the anti-feminists and sexists on MetaFilter. She has become effectively their officially sanctioned spokesperson.

I believe she means well, just as I believe that some other controversial mefites with minority views have meant well. But, like those other controversial mefites, on this topic she's doing much more harm than good and in a way that, regardless of one's views on these topics, ends up distorting discussion. What happened with her mere two comments at the end of the shirtgate thread happens all the time with her, it's a site problem and not merely a "misha is wrong" problem.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:09 PM on November 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ah, the extra context for why it's on your mind is helpful.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:49 PM on November 23, 2014


Yeah, people do sometimes just out-of-nowhere express their grudges in inappropriate places and, without the additional context, that's what it looked like I was doing here. It wasn't, but, regardless, the thread being dormant and that this argument had run its course means that, yeah, I think I shouldn't have posted it. It seemed to me at the time completely organic but that's not the only relevant consideration.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:05 PM on November 23, 2014


Ivan has harassed me on the site before, to the point where I once pushed the button. That harassment was the direct cause, and it was the only time I've ever quit the site, unlike Ivan. I have never changed my name, either, which Ivan has done a few times.

It's incredibly frustrating to have someone who has previously harassed me come into a thread weeks later just to attack me. Again. Jesus, Ivan, what are you doing, stalking me across threads now? Nice.

I took the high road last time the harassment happened. But this is unacceptable and frankly disturbing, and given that I have already written to the mods on more than one occasion about the harassment I have received and nothing has ever been done to address it, I'd really like to know how the hell it will be handled this time.
posted by misha at 6:20 PM on November 23, 2014


Is there some harassing communication going on, beyond the two comments Ivan made in this thread just today? You can also use the contact form to let us know if you'd rather not discuss publicly.

If it's just what we are seeing in this thread, then it doesn't strike me as harassment. Earlier today his short comment seemed weirdly personal to me, yes, and I said as much. I still am not wild about the timing of it, but Ivan explained where he was coming from with it, and that seemed to bring it more clearly within the ambit of MeTa discussion, to me.

I'm not wild about MeTa threads that intensely focus on one person, no matter what their views. I think they make for a ton of heat that people carry over to interactions elsewhere on the site, and they don't usually resolve much, and I wish people didn't feel the need to vent frustration and give other people a piece of their mind over and over. But. For better or worse, we have MeTa as the outlet for that stuff so it doesn't gum up discussion on the blue too badly. So this is the place to bring meta complaints about people's site behavior.

You mention previous harassment by Ivan - we can talk about this privately via the contact form, or publicly here if you prefer. Offhand, I'm not remembering what you're referring to, but I believe you that there was some occasion and I'm looking through my old emails and will touch base with other mods. (It may just be from before my time as a mod?) As for "nothing has ever been done about it," I don't know the specifics of that case but in at least one past case I remember, you were asked to send the harassing messages to us and didn't, and that's why nothing eventuated from that complaint.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:06 PM on November 23, 2014


For what it's worth, Misha's comments in a few threads recently have had me thinking the same thing as Ivan, more or less. I can't think of any particular interactions I've had with you, Misha, but I also noticed a pattern of comments and the fact that they turned out to be pretty anti-feminist.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:19 PM on November 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


The mods have gotten at her comments and deleted her derails lately, luckily, but the combination of "I'm a feminist but" and standard anti-feminist rhetoric (tone policing, calling feminists humorless, man-hating accusations, etc) does manage to throw threads into frustrating clusterfucks so effectively and regularly that if I were an anti-Justice type I'd be taking some serious notes on her techniques.
posted by NoraReed at 7:48 PM on November 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


People who disagree with your particular brand of feminism are not anti-feminist, ChuraChura.

misha just keeps doing her thing, day after day, she's done it for years, and she's been given an absurd amount of deference about it

This reads to me like IF is trying to get me banned because he doesn't agree with my opinions in some feminist threads. Now, IF can choose to stay out of those threads (which by the way, is something I did for quite a while after he harassed me the first time), but he doesn't.

What he does instead is, he comes in a thread a week late, goes to my profile and starts going through my comments and then comes here specifically to post a nasty personal comment about me.

Now, I thought making personal comments about other members rather than the topic of the discussion was against site guidelines, and there is nothing in that comment but a personal attack on me. But instead of deleting it, LobsterMitten is letting IF make a longer comment, also just going off about me personally. Given that I am not going around breaking site guidelines and Internet stalking another user and he is, that naturally bothers me. I feel trying to get me banned is a pretty nasty harassment tactic, yes.

I also want to know why personal attacks against me are perfectly okay, no matter what "context" IF is trying to use to excuse the timing of them, because that is outrageous.
posted by misha at 7:58 PM on November 23, 2014


To me, his first comment seemed like it was a personal comment about you, and that seemed weird to me. But I left it because we rarely delete things in MeTa, and then he clarified that he wasn't commenting on you whether you personally are anti-feminist, but on, connected to that shirtgate thread, how your comments have certain effects on discussions even if your intentions are something else.

It doesn't sound to me like he is "trying to get you banned," and even if he were, that would be ineffective because the mods aren't robots. People have objected to your pattern of commenting for a long time. We've had several threads about it this year, as I recall, and we've exchanged a lot of behind-the-scenes email with you about specific situations. I think you should understand by now that somebody making a comment about you in MetaTalk isn't going to result in you getting banned, because there are human beings making that call, who have been working with you extremely patiently.

Now, nobody should be harassing anybody. Nobody should be sending harassing MefiMails, and as always, if you get any of those, block the sender and let us know. To the general crowd: if you ever find yourself tempted to send harassing, urgent, fight-continuing, point-making, last-word-getting MefiMails or emails to somebody based on a heated thread here, even in a case where you're really really right and the other guy is really really wrong: don't.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:23 PM on November 23, 2014


You mention previous harassment by Ivan - we can talk about this privately via the contact form, or publicly here if you prefer. Offhand, I'm not remembering what you're referring to, but I believe you that there was some occasion and I'm looking through my old emails and will touch base with other mods

July 2012, if it helps.
posted by misha at 11:58 PM on November 23, 2014


I feel like maybe you're confusing actual harassment campaigns where people use automated methods to get people banned (like the ones on Anita Sarkeesian's YouTube account) with callouts of bad behavior here, misha. Whether you're a feminist or not isn't a point that can be proven either way-- as has been pointed out before, no one can stop Sarah Palin from co-opting that word, let alone some rando on a website. But you've used a lot of arguments anti-feminists are fond of and your doing so has had a detrimental effect on the quality of discussion. Asking someone to avoid all threads that you've taken shits in is pretty unreasonable, in my opinion, because you tend to manage to do the anti-feminist "turn whole thread into a conversation about me" thing really effectively. I'm really glad your comments are being deleted (often along with mine; I have poor impulse control about not responding) because they aren't just bad in themselves but they tend to negate any good conversation going on. I feel similar frustration to Ivan, and his recent comments in context don't seem like anything but a response to your behavior.
posted by NoraReed at 11:59 PM on November 23, 2014 [5 favorites]


NoraReed, Ivan came in an inactive thread just to insult me. I did not make this thread about me, he did.
posted by misha at 12:05 AM on November 24, 2014


I though this thread had been linked in a "if you want to talk about misha's comments there is already a MeTa on that" context. I knew exactly what behavior he was talking about when that showed up in my recent activity, though he obviously should've used better phrasing and provided context from the get-go.
posted by NoraReed at 12:20 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


By the way, looking at my most recent comments, I have been defending a woman who is getting harassing emails against another user saying she deserves them, ranted a bit about rape apologists in the Bill Cosby thread and discussed how glad I am the victims are finally being taken seriously , and commented about a study alleging there is no sexism in academia in which my first observation after reading it, was that holy cow is there sexism in economics!. That is what Ivan would have seen if he'd read them, as he said he did, before making that anti-feminist crack.
posted by misha at 12:23 AM on November 24, 2014


Last comment, I promise, but I know it was long enough ago that mail may have been deleted, but this was the last thread with IF before I pushed the button, LobsterMitten, and gives a pretty good idea of what I had been experiencing from him for a while.
posted by misha at 12:43 AM on November 24, 2014


Hey, misha, the only mail we have from that time or addressing that Metatalk thread is when you reactivated your account a couple of days later, and there is no mail at all from you (via the contact form or mod list address) that we haven't responded to. As LobsterMitten mentions, you had a complaint about someone else at a different time, and we asked you to forward the mefi mail comments for us to check out, but didn't hear back.

So, just to clarify, it is the comment in that Metatalk thread that you feel was the earlier harassment?
posted by taz (staff) at 1:46 AM on November 24, 2014


Ivan: this thread was about GamerGate, not misha.

Misha: this conversation in the thread is only going on and people are only running in to add things to it because you are answering back in here instead of emailing the mods behind the scenes about it.


.....ah, screw it - "EC, this is only showing up to bug you because it's still in your bookmarks threads." (Walks out to remove this from Recent Activity)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:44 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Actually, it's about ethics in games journali-

(A shot rings out.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:26 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


> For what it's worth, Misha's comments in a few threads recently have had me thinking the same thing as Ivan, more or less. I can't think of any particular interactions I've had with you, Misha, but I also noticed a pattern of comments and the fact that they turned out to be pretty anti-feminist.

Same here. Misha, I'm sorry you feel picked on, but you have to answer for your views just like the rest of us. I basically stopped interacting with you a while back because you pissed me off so much, but I'm not going to let you get away with pretending that IF has it in for you for weird personal reasons. He doesn't like your views (it's not about you as a person) because he's a real feminist, and I don't either for the same reason, and I'm quite sure there are lots of people who feel the same way. Don't try to turn the mods into your personal defense team.
posted by languagehat at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


but you have to answer for your views just like the rest of us

Nobody has to answer for their views here, long as they aren't violating conduct guidelines. People can just drop their opinion-bombs and bail. That's a perfectly valid way to interact with the site. It's not actually necessary for everybody stop and circle up around the outliers and creatively express how bad their opinions are until they submit to the orthodoxy. There are myriad ways to refute and counter "wrong" arguments without turning a thread into the $individual_wrong_commenter show, an eventuality for which $individual_wrong_commenter always, inexplicably, seems to be held primarily responsible.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:27 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are myriad ways to refute and counter "wrong" arguments without turning a thread into the $individual_wrong_commenter show, an eventuality for which $individual_wrong_commenter always, inexplicably, seems to be held primarily responsible.

They're responsible because they don't just drop their wrong arguments in the thread and bail. The drop them in bad faith and then continue to defend them in bad faith. Misha's contributions to the site are toxic, not just because she's wrong, but because of the way she engages with people and argues in a really disingenuous way.
posted by empath at 9:33 AM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't really have it in for her, btw -- I never noticed her before the gamergate thread where she continuously dropped in nasty, gamer-gate generated rumors about the people involved in a really disingenuous 'just asking questions' way while pretending to not have taken sides.
posted by empath at 9:36 AM on November 24, 2014


and then continue to defend them in bad faith

My position would be that the people who are supplying them with the comments against which they feel the need to defend themselves are equally complicit in shitting up the conversation, especially if they actually think they're debating somebody who's not just wrong, but arguing in bad faith. Arguing in bad faith is trolling. FIAMO.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:52 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


What do all the people attacking Misha hope to get out of this? I appreciate she restarted this thread unnecessarily, but it was quiet for 8 days. Is everyone's goal really to make Misha a better person, or just to have their say?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 10:10 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


My position would be that the people who are supplying them with the comments against which they feel the need to defend themselves are equally complicit in shitting up the conversation, especially if they actually think they're debating somebody who's not just wrong, but arguing in bad faith.

I dunno. Leaving bad arguments unaddressed allows misinformation to stand and spread. I don't think calling out bad behavior is morally or practically equivalent to the bad behavior itself.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:37 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah but this is MetaFilter, not your town council meeting. This is an opt-in, self-selecting community of mostly smart, erudite grownups; we are not the last bulwark protecting the masses from picking up dangerous misconceptions about the controversial issues of the day. Well let me back that up, you're not wrong, and there have been great moments on this site of people who know whereof they speak correcting dumb shoot-from-the-hip comments in really edifying ways, but what I'm talking about here is the usual suspects and their usual foils going around in circles over and over again.

As to the rest of your comment, bad behavior and bad opinions and wrong opinions and minority opinions on MetaFilter are all very different things.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:48 AM on November 24, 2014


Back to the issue of GamerGate itself, I've been engaging people on KiA, which is alternately interesting and amusing. I recommend it. You can definitely feel the loss of momentum.

One current thread is about a Twitter blacklist tool to weed out pro-GG commenters from your feed. Some activists there are urging GGers to "write the government" because this is so "illegal." As you might suspect, I've been pushing back asking how exactly this breaks the law, leading to this peculiar response:

Look, we're going to go in circles here. With that in mind, here's a gold star for "winning an internet argument" and I shall continue on with what I want to do regardless of your diligent attempts at dissuading people.
You are advocating not even so much as sending an inquiry on the basis of...what exactly? So, sure, okay...have your "win" if it helps you feel better. It's a win in name only, if just to put an end to this foolish discussion.
To everyone else in the world...there is literally no harm in putting out an email on this matter to inquire as to whether or not there are legal ramifications

posted by msalt at 10:48 AM on November 24, 2014


> Nobody has to answer for their views here, long as they aren't violating conduct guidelines.

No, that's true, I expressed myself poorly. I should have said "people have as much right to oppose your views as you do to state them."

I would also like to say that I truly have nothing against Misha as a person; I've often gotten the feeling we'd get on well if we met, as long as the topic of feminism didn't arise. It is only the things she says about feminism, and the whole associated men-are-unfairly-vilified stuff, that pisses me off. This makes me unhappy, since I enjoy liking people, and I'd like to like Misha, if you see what I mean. Ah well, such is the way of the world.
posted by languagehat at 2:39 PM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Taz, I think I may still have email sent to me regarding that incident in 2012, and of course there are Ivan's rather oblique references in later threads (I think at one point he grudgingly admits that I was gracious about forgiving him for the harassment) and if I can find anything, I will forward it.

I wasn't in the habit of running to MeMail to complain to the mods back then, and only did so much later when things got bad enough that another user went cyberstalking to another online forum just to MeMail me nasty stuff about my profile pic here (the second incident you referred to). I responded about what happened at the time in a Metatalk thread, so that was why there was no further response from me via email.

Honestly, I wish I had never gone to the mods in the first place, because every time I have (even the 2nd incident, which the community supported me on in that MetaTalk thread), the answer from the mods has been pretty much an aggrieved response that I am causing them more trouble. Neither time I was harassed did the other person get even a day timeout when I did complain.

I have tried not going into feminism threads for a while, but it kinda sucks that I should have to do that. I thought more than once about doing a Brand New Day, (like IF has, several times, I remember his first incarnation), but having to pay $5 more bucks to change my user name feels like caving in to bullies, too. I wrote to Matt recently, who assured me that none of the mods have a specific issue against me, but also that threads I participate in create more work for them now, and if I have been made so uncomfortable because of the harassment that I want to quit he will understand. Which is not exactly a great thing to hear, given that I have been here since 2007 and never had any problems with anyone until that stuff with IF in 2012. I have just pretty much been told I am not particularly welcome here any longer, and that sucks.

So that's why I am answering you both, taz and LobsterMitten, in thread rather than through back channels despite knowing that the usual suspects would weigh in here just to get in their shots at me. I want transparency, because I have tried to go through channels before and gotten no help.

So here we are. IF, who harassed me off the site once, came in to a dead thread just to take a potshot against me, and it is on the record that I complained, and the moderation's official response to that complaint is basically that he did nothing wrong and I should get over it. Got it. Thanks.

It's probably too much to ask that you at least close this thread so people don't keep piling on, but I would appreciate it.
posted by misha at 3:50 PM on November 24, 2014


"Is there some harassing communication going on, beyond the two comments Ivan made in this thread just today? You can also use the contact form to let us know if you'd rather not discuss publicly."

Not at all. Here is the comment of mine from 2012 that misha referred to as the harassment which caused her to leave the site. I regretted being intemperate at the time and, after misha had disabled her account, I expressed regret in the thread and that I wish she'd come back. Then, a few days later when she did re-enable her account, in the only memail that I've ever sent to misha I apologized for hurting her feelings and misreading her comment, that I felt badly about the whole thing, and that I was glad she had returned.

It's pretty clear that hers is a long pattern of behavior that, at this point, I object to strongly. It's my impression that I've largely kept silent about this most of the times that misha's anti-feminist pattern has come up (and it's come up again and again), but I don't doubt that I've commented upon it from time to time and that, in any case, misha has been aware of how I feel. So it's perfectly natural and excusable that she would feel very defensive -- though perhaps not to the point of mischaracterizing our interactions and implying that I've behaved quite other than I have.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:00 PM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


the answer from the mods has been pretty much an aggrieved response that I am causing them more trouble.

Difficult threads cause more work for mods, whether or not you are personally participating in them. Your paraphrasing of mod responses is at odds with my read on the same set of interactions.

I have just pretty much been told I am not particularly welcome here any longer, and that sucks.

Part of moderating is setting expectations of what people can expect here. If you view a particular set of interactions as harassment and the mod team doesn't, and they explain that they're not going to delete comments or ban people as a result, you can then make a decision about what you want to do about that. You have many options. Paraphrasing their statements as "You're not welcome here" or "Get over it" does no one any favors and obscures the pretty difficult job they have trying to get people with widely divergent beliefs to be able to interact together and talk about difficult topics.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:43 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel that Ivan's Ivan's attack above was petty, nasty and insulting. It also appears to be driven by a longstanding grudge he has held against Misha. This behavior makes reasoned discussion by people with diverse opinions impossible. It reduces the level of our conversations to defensive slugfests.
posted by humanfont at 5:38 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I though this thread had been linked in a "if you want to talk about misha's comments there is already a MeTa on that" context.

I actually meant it as a "oh jeebus, this has been discussed to death over there so could we not have it all over again here" but obviously there's two opposing sides both unable to put down the topic. In addition to the standard misha dance still going on over there. Yaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.
posted by phearlez at 7:59 PM on November 24, 2014


I got email from EB, Ivan. Changing names doesn't negate that.

I'm done with this thread.
posted by misha at 9:57 PM on November 24, 2014


"I got email from EB, Ivan. Changing names doesn't negate that."

That account has been disabled since November of 2007. I did not write you any memails other than the one I mentioned in my previous comment.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:26 PM on November 24, 2014


OK, we're definitely at the point where if this particular conversation needs to continue, it needs to do so in its own thread. I'm closing this one.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:14 AM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


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