EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a plan currently circulating on how to end GamerGate. It was leaked to this outlet moments ago. It has the support of several big name GamerGate “ecelebs,” but it hasn’t been revealed to the masses. I like, respect, and am friends with many of these people, even though I’m sure some of them may see this as an attack. The masses deserve to know, though.
I don’t think this is a good idea. Still, I will let the community judge it on it’s own merits.
A Guide to Ending GamerGate
There is a concept circulating currently that the GG hashtag must end, and that a victory must be declared to bring closure. While the former is simply an inevitability, I wish to offer an alternative to the latter.
This will be my 7 step guide to ending the GamerGate identity. It is admittedly a radical manifesto, intended to be utilized on a personal basis.
1. Admit the failure of the identity.
You can chart the progress of GGs effectiveness versus the introduction of identity politics. They have an inverse relationship. As identity politics were introduced in to the hashtag, the following became true:
a) People began to gatekeep. If you did not GG in the right way, you were ejected, or social pressure was applied to enforce conformity.
b) People began to bandwagon. If you exhibited behaviors that matched those expected of a “gator”, you were assumed to be one. This was done both by the press and by gamers themselves, using different criteria.
c) People began to take things personally. When anyone insulted GG, it was taken as a personal insult. This defeated the effectiveness of some of the action against the press, as it obscured the fact that many of the lies told about GG in the press were straight up unethical in and of itself.
d) People began to think collectively. People began to accept credit for things they did not do. People began to also use guilt by association.
e) People began to enforce their own personal definitions of what GG is on to other people. By the way, this is the meaning of “ethics cuck”, not someone who cares only about ethics (as almost every “ethics cuck” was actually terrible at caring about ethics) but someone who tried to force everyone else to play the game the way they wanted it to be played. That is the reason it is being phased out in favor of “ethics scrub”.
f) People began to form cliques. And use the labels of other cliques as pejoratives, even if the accused was not a member of said clique. As none of these cliques had a former membership structure, it was impossible to defend against such accusations. Note that, this is a mirror of how the press treated GG, defining the label based off of behavior they dislike, and then slapping it on anyone that they wanted to defame.
This was all due to the treatment of GG as if it was an identity. A group, a movement, a social club. It should never have become any of these things. If you read the early posts on 8chan, there were active efforts to resist the introduction of identity politics. They all failed, and that is how we arrived where we are today.
The first step to ending GG is to declare that this approach was a universal failure. The GamerGate “movement” does not just need to end, it needs to be declared that it was a mistake to form a movement in the first place.
2. Dismantle the idea of “sides”.
You often hear aGG make the statement that there actually is no aGG side, there is simply “everyone else”. They are right. But, as a corollary, the idea that there was ever a GG side must be destroyed. All collective credit for the accomplishments of GG should be ripped from the hands of those who did not PERSONALLY engage in them. Did you personally give to the sea-lion charity? No? Well then you get zero credit for the sea-lion charity. Did you send emails to advertisers? No? Then you get zero credit for the advertiser boycotts. Did you contribute to deepfreeze? No? Then you get zero credit for deepfreeze. Did you email the FTC? No? Then you get zero credit for the new guidelines. GG has accomplished nothing. Not a single one of these things was accomplished by GG. How can it be? Hashtags and events can not have accomplishments.
This will include the destruction of the concept of e-celebrity. All of the various ecelebs must stop engaging in collectivist thinking as well. Most deserve little to no credit, besides being a pretty voice that occasionally made compelling calls to action. They deserve credit for only the content they made.
The flip-side of this is, if you have not personally harassed someone, then you deserve none of the blame. If you have not personally been a misogynist, you deserve none of the blame for misogyny. It is uncomfortable to admit, but harassment has been a part of the series of events known as GG. It is undeniable. But like the accomplishments of individuals, only individuals should be given blame.
And the aGG “side”? They are not a part of “anti GG”, as there is no such thing. They are a part of GG. They are an integral part of the series of events known as GG, and some of its primary participants. Therefore, Wu is a part of GG. Zoe is a part of GG. Butts is a part of GG. Leigh Alexander is especially a part of GG. They are all a part of GG.
3. Undo the whitewashing.
It is undeniable that every stakeholder has formed their own propaganda. Perceptions of reality are so disjoint, that this will need to be undone before reality can be met. Harassment? Yes. People were harassed. Be comfortable admitting it. Misogynists? Yeah, those are around too. Neoreactionaries? Sure, you can find a few here and there. MRAs? Yep, those are out and about. Scammers, opportunists, and people wishing to make money off of the GG hashtag? Yeah, plenty of those, with a variety of purported allegiances. The thing is, these are all individuals and they should be treated as such. See 2: Each person should be credited only for their own individual behavior.
4. Be realistic about the progress.
There continues to be tons of problems in gaming. “Diversity initiatives” in gaming are still gatekept by a small clique, and projects like TFYC will be doomed to failure still. Polygon (and other sites) seem to be completely ignoring their ethics policies. Conflicts of interest, serious ones, are still being found on every single gaming site on a weekly basis, with no action being taken other than a note in DeepFreeze. The issue of Youtuber corruption has not been addressed in the slightest (and in fact, with the popular Youtubers present in GG and the amount of blinders as a result, has been made worse). New GameJournoPro-like groups have formed, both among people participating in the revolt as well as those wishing to halt the revolt. There are no stable guidelines for behavior within private groups like this, and some of it appears to be crossing over into collusion between competitors, or appears to have issues with professional distance. Review events like the Konami “review boot-camp” continue to be held, without disclosure in the majority of outlets. That is just the “ethics” front.
What about the SJW front? They still exert so much influence on the industry that few developers have spoke out, and those that have have done so under guarantees of anonymity. Articles on the latest Metal Gear Solid still have criticisms resembling the articles on Bayonetta. The issues in IA’s first videos about game developers and creative control still exist within the industry.
What about the censorship front? Every platform that was censored in the initial blitz will again be censored if horrible issues were found in some protected clique in the gaming industry again. Zero progress. The attempts to smear and defund any platform that allowed discussion were largely successful.
So, how about the agenda pushing reporting in general? After seeing multiple gamedrops a day, it’s stronger than it ever was. Zero progress here either. And again, new platforms that have been established (with a few exceptions) are still having issues remaining up and running.
How about academia? Despite a bunch of attempts to portray DIGRA as largely harmless, it remains to this day a larger source of problems in gaming than a source of solutions. I would say this is another regression, as any discussion of things like the push towards ed-tech research in academia has been successfully spun as tinfoil despite being a simple fact.
Finally, what about moral panics about gaming? They are still as bad as they ever were, with misuse of cultivation theory just as rampant as it was in the 80s. This is another possible regression, as the creation of “GamerGate” as an identity has enabled the press to defame the gaming community while using a label that has been painted indefensible.
If GamerGate is to end, it must be made clear that there is much left to do in the industry as an individual, as a consumer, and as a gamer. This whole thing started because evidence came to light that gamers were being shat upon. Gamers are still being shat upon. We need to make sure that gamers still want this to stop, and can still find platforms to discuss it, and platforms to coordinate action against it.
5. Bust the cliques.
If GamerGate is to be retired, that leaves just one unifying identity behind: The identity of Gamer. This leaves no room for cliques. Skype groups should be disbanded, or completely disassociated from GG. DM groups should be disbanded, or completely disassociated from GG. Facebook, Steam, the list goes on and on. Anywhere where people who once self-identified as “gators” communicated in private solely due to the shared identity of “gator” must be dismantled. Competitors who are viewing each other as temporary allies must go back to seeing each other as competitors, and must stop colluding between each other. Some friendships must be put aside. Some identities should be retired completely. At this step, I may consider vanishing never to return, unless I can find a home that has been properly disassociated.
6. Return the communities to the gamers and the gamers to the communities.
With the destruction of the concept of an overarching “GamerGate” community comes the idea of what to do with each individual community. Some, like /v/ and KiA disassociate naturally. Others, like #burgersandfries and Dountain Dew and Moritos, already have disassociated or were never closely associated. Each community should move to operating with its own special purpose, even as bonds may remain strong between them. These should return to being gaming communities instead of GamerGate communities.
Gamers should also return to gaming communities at large, taking what they learned with them. The idea of disliking Kotaku and Polygon is widespread, it does not need a label for social pressure to be exerted against gaming communities to abandon these (and other) outlets.
7. The continuation of progress through true individualism.
There are still digs in progress. There are still things in need of publishing and spreading to a wider audience. There are still things that need to be rebuilt. There are still things that need to be torn down. The quest for the self-actualization of the gamer identity is neverending. It does not need a label, nor an identity, nor a group. All gamers are people, all gamers are individuals, each gamer has their own quest that they must now embark on.