I know Jennie Bharaj has come under attack recently. Some of them are valid, some perhaps a little less so. Now, I take below the belt shots myself all the time, so who am I to criticize? I’m just saying, I found some of these type of attacks on Jennie to be slightly distasteful. I’m not close friends with her at all, and would definitely consider myself closer friends with the ones who wrote the piece. Still, I want to share my thoughts on the matter, since it’s weighing heavily on my mind.

First off, BasedGamer.com is not likely to reach its fundraising goals, even with the extended time given. So what is the point in going nuclear on someone when what you’re worried about happening isn’t even going to happen? That was my view, and still is. I guess some people got worried when she extended the deadline, but she still wasn’t going to get it. That might pain her to read, and I’m sorry if it does. But it was the truth of the matter.

As for her past videos and stuff, I didn’t watch them all. They just looked like someone who was trying to make it with a persona, no different that millions of others. Also, I don’t feel like she was being disingenuous with a petition to put a female character in GTA 6. In fact, I don’t see anything wrong with that at all. It’s not a top priority of mine, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to take action to affect change that you would like to see. That’s much different that Kotaku mandating that there be one, or Polygon saying it from on high. She’s a consumer.

This is a short post, mostly to just say that no, I don’t think Jennie Bharaj is our “Our Own Anita Sarkeesian,” as the piece calls her. She was a guest on my show back in the early days, so I have a soft spot for her. She also had the killer segment on Huffington Post Live, which everyone saw.  But the other reasons I like her, is because I find her to be funny, nice, and honest. She’s made some mistakes with this roll-out, (asking for too much money possibly, not enough community outreach beforehand, too few details, etc) I won’t deny that. But I still think her heart was in the right place. So, I wish her well in her future endeavors, and I think everyone else should as well. Also, there’s still 2 weeks or so left. I suppose a post-Christmas miracle is possible.

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(Art credited to @Toshi_TNE)

36 comments
  1. To be honest, I’ve been skeptical of BasedGamer from the very beginning. That’s not going to change as I don’t know much about Jennie or how good she is at managing websites. It doesn’t matter if she has the best of intentions and wouldn’t harm the site in any way. If the site gets made and it ends up being a pain to use then everybody will have wasted money.

    1. The weird thing is that she leapt into it without seeming to reach out at all to a community full of tech-saavy webgeeks. Hell, she could have asked hotwheels how to set up css for a test run board or AMA-themed board to vet potential volunteers. I think that how well she did in the HuffPo interview emboldened her too much and she bit off more than she could chew, first with Pakman, whom she appeared to think might be another Ricky, and then with BG. She basically needed an irl friend in on this with her to pull her back from jumping to bad conclusions.

  2. Jennie was one of the first women who supported #gamergate and went head on into the MSM to defend us
    People seem to forget that conveniently

    1. Yes but the thing is she took it upon herself to go all in with this ‘commerical’ basedgamer endeavor… something like this needs to be grass roots honestly, a site an entire community can grow behind organically and invite their friends taking in ideas for the site from that community and see what happens. she took a left turn into nowheresville we all saw that coming.
      Meanwhile the bigger issue is she pretty much shut up, we need voices in this mess hosting live streams, tweeting information constantly, supporting. she kind of stopped doing that in favor of I guess $ and a potential website to run
      Tweet I left her 12 Dec
      https://twitter.com/dingl_/status/543250299045965826

  3. Thing is, BasedGamer simply asked for too much money
    Now the entire concept of BasedGamer like sites will forever be under tighter scrutiny

      1. yeah, people think that asking $10k for potential legal issues (As stated in her cost breakdown) is outrageous. in fact, that seems like a reasonable price for having a lawyer on retainer should any legal issues arise.

        1. People are confusing hobby costs with the costs and risks of running a business. So many cheapo sites just flame out, you can’t pay your workers in ramen. This is why the big sites are so entrenched, they have the view base to sustain their operation and actually retain talent. People only work on enthusiasm for so long….

  4. I’ll be honest, whenever I see things like this, it is disheartening. I still firmly believe in the goals and opinions that started GG: that video games press is seriously lacking in the ethics department and that many are using it to push personal and political agendas that most gamers either don’t want or don’t care about. That being said though, it feels like recently many in the tag are more concerned with going after anyone and everyone that they feel have wronged them, than they do in exposing actual problems within the press and various other gaming organisations.

    I’m not going to go as far as to make ridiculous claims “misogyny” or “harassment”, because those are just buzzwords nowadays to deflect any and all criticism. That doesn’t mean, though, that all criticism is justified and it feels like a lot of people tagging gamergate on twitter lately have taken to jumping at shadows. Anything that can vaguely be considered “anti-gamergate”, or anyone who is supportive of gamergate but can be considered to have some kind of ulterior motive, or deemed the enemy and they lose all credibility with people who consider themselves gamergate supporters.

    I understand why it happens, because I too have lost faith in many people I had a great respect for before GG started, for their reaction to the whole situation and how they treated their respective fans and audiences. But each person I have chosen to stop following or supporting I have done so for specific, individual reasons, and not just because they are “anti-gamergate” as if it were some kind of political stance.
    Similarly, I will continue to like and support some people who do not agree with gamergate, and are critical of it, if I can understand (but disagree with) their point of view, assuming they do not partake in the usual bullying tactics that we have come to associate with SJWs.

    So I’m sad for Jennie, she tried to do something proactive and positive for the gaming community and it will fail, in part, due to the now deeply-sown mistrust created by all the problems the gaming industry has that have been exposed since GG began.

  5. Taking a shit on her after she went on MSM to defend GG, and with very weak reasons (most of them are literally “misogyny!”-tier smears) doesn’t do anything good.
    Never boycott a business before it even starts.
    When Bill Gates started MS, on paper it seemed like a shit project too, and you could probably say most of the things that were said about this (although Bill had more credentials I’ll give you that).
    But most of all, why? Nobody is pointing a gun at you forcing you to donate; every crowdfunded project has a chance to be a flop, but pre-emptively shitting on it without reasons doesn’t fly too well with me.

    1. Well said.
      I don’t get how 50k US is such a shocking amount.
      Even with the sparse information given, it’s hardly gonna fund a lavish lifestyle, especially as its trading on her “brand”
      Cost/benefit just doesn’t suggest a con being played.
      I hope she doesn’t feel too set upon and definitely wish her the best.
      I think she has some maturing to do as a content creator, but she’s shown massive potential (just needs to stop sounding like a cheesy newscaster :D)

        1. Tweaking a few lines of CSS aren’t quite the same thing as fully customising a CMS to do what they apparently have in mind.

          What Bharaj should have done was asked for a smaller amount, say $1000, to secure the hosting etc. for a few years and used a standard CMS to see if the idea was viable. If it is/was then you change and upgrade as the project grows.

          The mistake she made/making was in thinking that competing in this market-space is simply about having a cool website, it’s not, it’s the infrastructure behind the scenes that make sites like Kotaku et al work.

          She was/is also nuts for not setting up a corporate entity; with that much cash floating around her personal liabilities are going to be huge come Tax time.

        2. Was it just for construction?
          The breakdown wasn’t exactly detailed, but site construction was just part of it, and if you want to dress up an aggregation site to be an alternative to metacritic that’s gonna take some work.

          Hell, if we going straight for a comparison to AS, the indiegogo campaign video means the 50 is only a little more expensive than a tropes video on its own :3

          If you think of it simply as the cost of webdesign you’re sorta missing where this is coming from, the amount of work put into JUST the campaign cant have been small and I think this is being worked into the cost.
          I think Jennie’s approaching it as a genuine startup enterprise, and probably wants to invest that 50k into building a brand.
          Not my cuppa tea as a socialist agitator, but that’s sorta a done thing, right?
          Anyone could knock up some kind of facebook analogue, but they’re not gonna be able to value it at billions.

          Rumcious makes some damn good points ^^
          I too think it was a case of being overly ambituous, rather than greedy.
          Wanting to jump to competing with established corporate backed websites, rather than build organically.
          And honestly, I ca appreciate her getting lost in the hype of a good idea.

          I just don’t think there’s much money in this kinda thing 😛
          That was the problem. The websites we’re protesting against didn’t adopt their clickbait bullshit because reasons.
          They did it because it generates revenue.
          Sad but true :<)

          1. lol, well there’s also that we do have a lot of sites that can be modified to support our purposes. When a car company improves on tire and wheel design, they don’t freakin’ rebuild it from the ground up. They fork the original idea and see how it can be improved to handle stress, wear, or weight. Plus, no one says it has to be forked from another GAMING site, you could fork from any entertainment or trade aggregator for probably cheaper cost.

            And yeah, the holidays probably killed her idea just as well as that, lol.

            although you don’t have to mimick clickbait nor facebook to make oodles of cash. There’s a ton of strange little unknown sites out there social and otherwise making ridiculous cash because they adopt a ‘paywhatyouwant’ or ‘freemium’ style for features or other widgets, giantbomb/escapist style.

            http://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/entertainment-articles/friendster-inspired-japans-youngest-billionaire-yoshikazu-tanaka-launch-empire/

      1. I think people are confusing a hobby with how much it costs to sustain a business. 50k isn’t even the salary of a single dev for a year, frankly its almost nothing when it comes to business costs.
        This very fact is why the games sites we all know and hate are so entreched, if the cost of entry were low, we wouldn’t have gamergate right now. The cost to get a sustainable business running is non trivial, people have even said her quote is low.

        1. Indeed and well said.
          I *certainly* don’t think the figure points to any nefarious scheme.
          Either 1) it’s over budget for wed development or 2) its EXTREMELY cheap as a development plan for a business.
          I certainly wish her every success, even if everyone is too jaded to fully support the idea.

    2. >When Bill Gates started MS
      Comparing Bharaj to Bill Gates? She’s not the only one getting ahead of herself. This is nonsense.

  6. I don’t get what the hold up is. I’m not supporting basedgamer, I don’t like what I see, so I’m not supporting it. If you like what you see, support it, if not, then don’t. The core of our consumer revolt is to question every thing from 10 to maybe 20 different angles. If Jenni hasn’t sold you on basedgamer, vote with your wallets and choose not to support it. If you feel the project is sketchy, state your reasons why, no need to character assassinate. If she hasn’t addressed your concerns by now, then all the more reason to not support the project.

  7. I enjoy her on the personal level, but she really needs to pull her Based Gamer campaign at this point. Based Gamer was quite poorly thought out IMO.

    I wish Jenny well, and hope that she can come up with a more concrete plan to start Based Gamer within her own means, and then grow it from there. If she at least spent some time managing a gaming blog then she would have more of a foundation from which to ask the community for donations.

  8. 1) I don’t kickstart anything. Get your product together and I’ll see if I even like it. I’m swimming in products as is.

    2) She seemed okay in the handful of interviews and youtube videos I saw her in, but I wasn’t overly impressed either.

    3) Based Gamer is one of the stupidest names I’ve ever heard for a website in my life. And I hate the entire “based” meme in general. It’s just dumb. It sounds dumb. “Based Mom” is also an extremely dumb nickname.

    4) Her website idea doesn’t really seem that compelling. Aggregating user reviews doesn’t really do much for me. Some of my favorite games of all time are hated by most people (see my avatar). My tastes don’t line up with most people. In addition, I never got a sense how it would be better than Metacritic, which I complain about, but still do check out of curiosity. I never got any sense how this was a pending “need” that I should fund before it’s even out, when I don’t pay for any websites – period.

    5) The “ethics in journalism” angle for me has always been confronting radical feminists about their propaganda.

    I’m also interested in the quality of reviews, and undisclosed, inappropriate relationships between journalists and the people they write about. But that is second on the list for me.

    1. The “ethics” thing is played out. David Pakman has already challenged Jennie Bharaj on it and she had no response. This is about challenging SJW on their attempts at censorship.

  9. Myself and others were calling for a site like based gamer, so when it was announced we were happy it was happening. However the amount ‘needed’ and the complete lack of any work by her to promote it, relying instead on us to spread the word for her, has not gone down well. The amount on legal fees is bullshit as far as i’m concerned when people have offered to do that for free for example. Also start button’s website is being built by volunteers for completely fuck all, not a penny. It’ll be going live sometime in 2015 with a similar idea behind it, hopefully it will become the rotten tomatoes of gaming circles. But Jennie Bharaj has done the bare minimum from what we can see, which is not a good signal to fans about transparency, and shown effort. It all looks fishy after this length of time with little information.

  10. I wanted to comment on this because I have been very critical of basedgamer.com.

    I really like Jennie. I like what she says and how she says it. She seems like a really nice and genuine person.

    I hate the comparison between her and Sarkasian. It doesn’t hold warter becasue Jennie hasn’t been paid a fortune to produce a series of badly-researched videos aiming to change a subculture based on her own prejudices.

    I think there is a lot of mistrust only because of the crowd funding and people are conflating that to mean an attack on Jennie as a person. I dont think that’s completely the case.

    I work in web design and I am currently running my own business. To me, the costs for the campaign were far too much. The premise of the Internet is that sites are free to the users, with a few exceptions. Investors sometimes put money in to internet ideas for a return later down the line but the concept of free for users is important here. Basedgamer.com was asking users to pay without a suitable ROI, which brakes the established model.

    Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing that. People know what they’re getting in to, after all. The fact is though, there are many, talented people within the community who may have been able to help get this off the ground without the need for a funding to begin with. If that were the case, a later call for legal fees might have been more welcomed. I can’t comment on those. I am not a lawyer and so have to accept them at face value.

    The fact then remains, ambitious project or not, basedgamer.com could have been a sucessful community project. That’s the way to leverage a community, not by asking it for money to fund something that will be a commercial entity.

    But those are all arguments against the idea and not the person. Once again, I do like Jennie. She is one of us and that shouldn’t be forgotten.

  11. Considerably, after kotaku, gawker, and so on.
    You’d be hard pressed to find gamers who aren’t apprehensive and cautious about trusting another media outlet and/or gaming website.

    Only time will tell whether she doesn’t turn into the kind of gaming website that she stood against to begin with.

    A curious thing though, should she betray our trust would Ralph report it? Or will it be buried under charges of harassment? A gamergate 2.0 if you will.

  12. OK we gamers have had enough with the way kotaku gawker etc etc blah blah represents us. Jennie comes along with a perfect alternative, explains in detail everything about the site, through videos and pages of text. Gamers yeah nah man don’t like her, she’s a feminist. Sorry can’t get behind this idea not something i like, too much money. Same gamers who funded a sea lion, and a bunch of other worthless things. Yup good times. Main reason she’s not getting funded? Feminist end of story, beat around the bush all you like I’ve been there when people told me she’s a feminist didn’t you know? my reply was nope, because i don’t give 2 shits about feminism, i don’t label she’s done nothing but be supportive of GG. In short i support basedgamer and i don’t give a fuck about Feminism. RagingGamer here if you want to bitch at me on twitter knock yourself out.

  13. If she wants to start a website for gamers good luck. I’m not obligated to fund her for nothing.

    Just because someone supports GG doesn’t mean they are entitled to $50,000 in free money to start a website business. If you believe in it, go to the bank and borrow the money to start it. Or do what others do and fund it yourself on a smaller scale and build it up.

  14. I think a lot of the hate against Jennie is coming from people who are so poisoned by interacting with Anita or or just anti-gamer douche nozzles who will throw all sorts of bile at her because she isn’t part of the herd. Not to mention the fact that she was LITERALLY trying to take food out of the journo’s mouths by creating a new media outlet to compete with them; the very thing Milo had said should/could/would have to have happen to deal with the corruption.

    1. I like the idea I saw on /gg/ of supporting TR more or taking over Reaxxion completely. The best way to fight the industry and be ‘anti-fragile’ is to have a site owned and maintained by someone who can’t be HARMED by the industry you fight. Rutledge could be our Kotick, minus the harebrained grocery chain marketing schemes, and Roosh doesn’t care about games at all, just being the checkbook and providing what he sees as oppressed folk a platform. I admit I had my misgivings about Roosh at first but it seems he realised we share a common foe, even if we never buy his books or use RoK, he still wants to chip in. Well good on him on that front, because by being so divorced from the industry it means his site can have as much autonomy as CCG.
      There’s no way a AAA gaming company or PR firm like Silverstring can strongarm him.

      1. We just need SOME website that is 100% transparent and has a very clear code of ethics it is willing to enforce. Not these coteries of circle jerking losers who won’t hold each other accountable because they’re friends.

        1. Yeah. Poster was saying that we have content sites at least that are already, they are just unloved and need a higher frequency of visitors. Like comparing Techraptor and Gamasutra, they cover a lot of similar content. And Jennie didn’t seem to know much about them in the streams so people didn’t have a lot of trust there for BG aside from people already following her or that didn’t know about Drybones’ own ongoing efforts.

  15. If you have any feedback for basedgamer I suggest you send them a mail, from what i can see they seem open to suggestions and feedback.

  16. I’ve heard that people think asking for 50000 is much regarding a project of this size and their goals with it. Since their intentions is to make it their business which means it will be their first priority, their job, and not a side project, we can expect high quality, but a company is hard and expensive to build. 50000 is enough to last for a few months, this will be enough to kick it off. Remember that people that are gamers but not interested in participating in the hashtag because of it’s high controversy, want a site like this too so this could work out quite well for us.

    to my knowledge basedgamer has been open to criticism and suggestions, so if you have any fire it in their general direction.

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