Tauriq Moosa driven off Twitter

In early June, Tauriq Moosa wrote a piece on The Witcher 3  in Polygon where he talked about the problems with the game’s overwhelming whiteness. He’s been getting abuse ever since, despite politely asking for people to leave him alone.

Yesterday, he disabled his Twitter account, citing this abuse, much of which was virulently racist, as the reason.

I was going to write something here about this being yet another way that GamerGate supports the suppression of free speech by harassing people into silence, but Damion Schubert said it better than I ever could:

UPDATE (6/29): Schubert wrote a full blog entry about this.

People supporting Moosa have been posting in the #IStandWithTauriq tag, which #GamerGaters prompty began to fill up with their trolling and racism, including  It’s clear that while #GamerGate is losing steam and has basically negative credibility, there are still enough people in it with enough sockpuppets to do serious damage to the individual lives of people who speak out about issues of social justice in gaming.

UPDATE (6/28): #IStandWithTauriq blew up, and #GamerGate rallied its forces to troll in it and take it over. Also, some articles came out on the whole thing:

Hat tip to squirrelrampage over at r/GamerGhazi for the archive links.

Last Week Tonight and what GG has been up to in general

There haven’t been many posts here for a while! That’s because GamerGate seems to be waning in support; there are still enough dedicated people to ruin small hashtags or (unfortunately) to continue disrupting individual lives, but except on verifiable shitholes like reddit, they don’t have all that much traction these days. Maybe it’s partially because of the recent improvements in Twitter, including shared blocklists, but I expected them to taint the discussion of E3, the biggest gaming press conference of the year, much more than they did; the only thing that really got much attention was putting up a bunch of creepy posters about Anita Sarkeesian.

There was, however, a pretty good John Oliver segment (tw for some cissexism, though) about internet harassment, and, once again, they showed their true colors by getting up in arms about it.

Twitter user Davis ‏(@DFoxtrot15): Funny how #JohnOliver's segment on #OnlineHarassment didn't mention the multitude of threats against females in #GamerGate by #SJWs.

Putting #hastags on random #words is the new #inappropriatecapitalization

Reddit user SoundOfRainOnTheRoof: "Wu is on the record for having purposely sought harassment for months. All of the initial harassment she received can very easily be described as "bullshit" without contrivance I think. Being not driven from her home to a TV interview less than a week prior to her game's release? Come on. It seems a little insulting to equate her with the victims of revenge porn."

 

More from Jezebel.

Other than this, it seems like most of what GamerGate’s done lately has been big name Gaters doing ridiculous and/or shitty things and having their handful of loyal followers continue to agree with them. Mark Kern, a longtime supporter of GamerGate who pretended to be “neutral”, finally “went GamerGate” and did an Ask Me Anything, where he lied a lot (GamerGhazi did some explaining of this), MundaneMatt got mad about stores refusing to sell the Confederate flag, Milo Yiannopoulos (previously) defended sexism in science, the Honey Badgers (previouslymanaged to get Gaters to give them thousands of dollars to hire a disbarred lawyer, etc etc.

a conversation about being sexually harassed as children

Following a report that most women first experience sexual harassment before they turn 17, women on Twitter are talking about the first time they experienced sexual harassment on the #firstharassed hashtag. A bunch of #GamerGaters start clogging it up their bullshit and harassing women who post in it; many people have to either block them by hand or start using the GG Autoblocker, which automatically blocks most people in #GamerGate.

EDIT: I just want to restate, for clarity, that a bunch of #GamerGaters are using a hashtag conversation where women share their experiences of sexual harassment TO SEXUALLY HARASS WOMEN.

Twitter

While a lot of #GamerGate’s planning and organization happens over IRC (Internet Relay Chat, a chatroom protocol) and on message boards like 8chan and reddit, the primary place it targets people on is Twitter.

Twitter is a great platform for this kind of harassment to fester. It’s trivially easy to create new accounts, and it’s also easy to create and use multiple accounts at once. This is great for GGers who maintain lots of what are called “sock puppets”, or accounts in addition to their main one, usually for the sake of making it look like a person or idea has more support than it actually does. Additionally, Twitter is basically the place where a lot of discussion about many professional fields from game development to water policy happens, and so choosing not to use it to avoid the harassment on it must forgo the ability to contribute to the conversation about their work and community and the networking opportunities that come out of that conversation.

Twitter also knows that its platform is being used this way but so far hasn’t done a lot to fix it, despite saying that they would. It’s possible this is just bureaucratic institutional slowness, though– they did ask Women Action Media to help with the problem and they recently released their report on harassment. It’s highly informative and suggests what Twitter should do to fix its harassment problems. (Also, it has pretty graphs.)

One number stuck out to me in particular, and that’s that only 12% of the harassment reports that WAM analyzed were from #GamerGate. The report treated that like a low number, but when you consider the estimates for the size of #GamerGate are around 500 people, many of whom have multiple sock puppets, that’s actually a pretty high percentage.

It’s clear that #GamerGaters aren’t the only people using Twitter for harassment, even though their use of it is unusually intense and planned: they’re exploiting an already broken platform. They might be less the metaphorical straw that broke the camel’s back and more an anvil falling on an already prone camel, and the backlash that they’ve inspired will hopefully get platforms like Twitter to change in ways that reach far beyond #GamerGate’s targets.

WAM’s infographic has a basic overview of their findings, or you can read their entire report [pdf].

ADDENDUM: Sarah Nyberg did some back-of-the-envelope calculations on #GamerGate and it looks like a GG account is about 10,000 times more likely to get a Twitter ban than an average account. (The responses on that tweet will give you a taste of what feminists like Nyberg who stand up to #GamerGate are dealing with every day.)

further doxxing of Brianna Wu

briannawu

Brianna Wu, developer behind Revolution 60, has been a target of #GamerGate for months now; she’s one of several developers who has had to suffer through death threats and harassment despite #GamerGaters regularly saying that their primary concern is journalism and that women should make their own games if we want them. She’s written several pieces on #GamerGate, including “It’s time for the FBI to prosecute Gamergate trolls”.

Well, today #GamerGate got her private phone number and they’ve been calling it to harass and threaten her.

This isn’t the first time Wu has been targeted by this kind of behavior, and it’s just one more in an overwhelmingly long series of attempts to harass and threaten women in the game community into silence.

(Side note: I’m soliciting questions for an FAQ on #GamerGate so as to better provide 101-level information on this hate movement if you have any questions.)

FAQ

 

Since a big part of the purpose of this website is to give 101-level information for people about #GamerGate, I am, for once, making a place for y’all to ask questions that I can put on an FAQ page. I’m doing my best to make this accessible to people who haven’t been following the issues of misogyny in game culture that have metastasized into #GamerGate, but I’ve still been watching #GamerGate specifically and these larger cultural forces in general for years, and so I still may screw up and write things that are pretty opaque. Here’s your chance to help me: what are your questions about #GamerGate?

Kiva Bay’s Feminist Deck project

Feminist Deck image of Katherine Cross

So today some #GamerGater tried to ruin the excellent Kiva Bay‘s day by faking a $10,000 contribution to her Feminist Deck Kickstarter. This is, of course, a dick move, and it’s illustrative of the kind of petty crap that #GamerGate tries to do on a regular basis. Kiva Bay’s an artist struggling to do what she loves for a living and her art has been an absolute ray of sunshine in the lives of people targeted by #GamerGate’s hate mob. (I’ve written about her before on my main blog before.) But the huge “contribution” backfired: it made it to Kickstarter’s front page, Neil Gaiman tweeted about it and Kickstarter chose it as a staff pick in the Art category.

You can contribute to it too! I’d love to see this project succeed; seeing the drawings on my Twitter timeline is really inspiring and energizing.

UPDATE: They’re now trying to get the project taken down by reporting it to Kickstarter.

a new hitlist

#GamerGate made what is basically a hitlist website to list their “enemies” on and link to “ethical alternative” websites. Its list of “good guys” includes people who have released personal information on individuals who are currently being targeted by hate mobs and deadnamed trans women. (Zoe Quinn has more info about some of these sites on her blog.)

It has a massive boycott list but mostly is a list of people who #GamerGate doesn’t like because they are “unethical” for various reasons, including being members of professional organization (this apparently is collusion), giving games reviews that they don’t agree with, and making fun of #GamerGate on Twitter. Additionally, they list a lot of people on their list who are just people they don’t like who aren’t journalists at all.

I’m not going to link to the site here, both because I don’t want to drive traffic and because I doubt the people on the hitlist really need that shit in their lives right now.

actual discussions of ethics in journalism

The Society of Professional Journalists tried to celebrate ethics week with a Twitter discussion; unfortunately #GamerGate, always eager to latch onto anything involving the keywords “journalism” and “ethics”, pretty much immediately ruined it by flooding it with complaints about the Boston Magazine piece, Kotaku, Polygon, Anita Sarkeesian (who is, I should note, a critic, not a journalist), the Blockbot, and all of their other hobby horses.

Some of you may remember the last time they flooded an unrelated hashtag for the Game Developers Conference and drove a bunch of people to start using the autoblocker just so they could separate actual conversations from GG’s spam.

Anyway, here’s a small selection of their tweets that I grabbed so you can see what exactly they’re using to spam. Oh, and if you want to install the autoblocker, it’s hella easy and can make a huge difference if you want a peaceful Twitter experience.

ggethics ggethics2 ggethics3 ggethics4

 

lives

There’s a new article in Boston Magazine about #GamerGate and how it’s trying to ruin Zoe Quinn’s life, and I wanted to give y’all a round-up of links that show exactly how this hate movement has tried to ruin the lives of everyone who stands in their way. So here’s a list of pieces written by people, mostly women who have been targeted by #GamerGate.

There are a lot more of these, but the point of this blog is to be brief, so there you go.