Equality Is Always A Priority
by Mike W Lunsford
GGR, in it's brief history, hasn't really made much of an impact on the internet. I get that. We're small potatoes. We pride ourselves on being a place that everyone can enjoy, regardless of religion, creed, race or gender. There is NEVER a reason to disparage anyone for those reasons. We may not have a loud voice on the internet yet, but we do have a voice and as a wise man once said, "if you stand for nothing, then you'll fall for anything."
The world is changing, and at warp speed. I understand that most of the time, the comments you make on the internet give you the illusion of anonymity. You'll say things online that you wouldn't necessarily say in person (unless you love saying things for the sake of shock value). Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets have given the masses an unprecedented bravado to tell celebrities that they suck and that's just the mostly innocent comments. Those are so harmless they've become fodder for late night talk shows. But there is a dark side to this "I can say whatever I want for the lols" mentality. This swagger has spawned a frightening trend of violent threats towards those who don't agree. And...unfortunately...most of the vitriol is pointed squarely at women.
For a while, it really seemed like it was getting better. I spoke with a female gamer named Debbie about all of this: "When I used to play Gears of War 8 years ago, it mattered if you were a chick. Now, when I play World of Warcraft, you can't tell who is a girl and who is a guy. (It) depends on the gaming forum. I've only had someone bully me once and it was in the middle of a dungeon. The surprising thing was that all the other players ganged up against the dude that was a bully to defend me. Its def better now." She reminded me that the gaming community used to self-police this sort of thing and she even said that it is much better now than it was years ago for women to play video games. Then GamerGate happened, and it set back the progress
I try not to get outraged when it comes to the things that are on the internet, but I think that is part of the issue. As a culture, we have become desensitized to the violent and horrible threats. People will shoo the comments away, "Oh, they're just running their mouth. Don't pay any attention to it." The problem with that mindset is you're enabling people to believe that telling others to shut up or you will do x, y, or z is perfectly acceptable. Ignoring the comments and moving on only works in certain circumstances. And for most women who DARE to have an opinion, ignoring the threats isn't so easy. As a female friend stated to me, "YOU can say whatever you want, you're less likely to be doxxed." This particular friend is an elementary school teacher and has to constantly worry about people potentially finding her information. It's awful to think that people can't speak their minds because someone who doesn't agree with them has the means to publicly embarrass them or harass them. And this is all about video games. VIDEO GAMES! Let that sink in for a moment; women are being harassed and terrorized because they stood up in solidarity for other women who received rape and murder threats while working in the video game industry. Talk about not having your priorities in order!
If you don't understand what the hell I'm talking about, here's a simulated conversation:
Female Video Game Reporter: I really like the new Mario game. Nintendo sent me a free copy!
Male Gamer: THAT'S IRRESPONSIBLE! THEY PAID YOU FOR THAT REVIEW W/ A FREE COPY! I'M POSTING YOUR HOME ADDRESS, PHONE # AND EMAIL ADDRESS BECAUSE YOU ARE BAD AND WRONG!
Female Video Game Reporter: That's essentially terrorism!
Male Gamer: You should have been an ethical reporter. That'll teach you.
The problem with all of this is that no matter the reason for the outrage, from either side, if an extremist does something outlandish and doxxes an opponent or threatens them on twitter with violence, that immediately takes any legitimacy away from the other sides argument. It's called "poisoning the well." It doesn't matter any more that there may have been a legitimate argument for ethics in video game reporting, it's been completely ruined by the extremists. It's our job as HUMANS who feel that all people have equal rights to stand up and say something. If you really want your cause for ethical journalism in video game reporting to be heard, drop the hashtag. Distance yourself from what has now become a disgusting display of ignorance and hatred. None of us are so naive that we think everyone will agree with us. Hell, we may even get ridiculed for our beliefs, even get called stupid...but there is a line and as Captain Jean Luc Picard so eloquently said...
I'm not going to sit down and just shrug my shoulders and say, "Welp...that's the internet!" Eff that noise! This is why I created GGR! Everyone deserves a voice. EVERYONE. And GGR might just be a small speck in the great World Wide Web, but all are welcome. Thank you, and may the Force be with you.