Anonymous said: I'm curious: Do you have a stance on all this stuff, or are you just drawing the vivian james character because you've been asked to?
Oh, that was done of my own volition. I’ve been following the Gamergate news around a little before the ‘Gamers are Dead’ articles flooded in, sparked when threads were being closed, and comments and subreddits were being deleted, and while my opinion on it shifts from time to time, I’m pretty firmly on the Gamer side.
Due to the brazen disrespect and shame attacks from the gaming press, the bullying of anyone who called themselves gamers, the hypocritical ‘ends justify the means’ defense mindset, the misrepresentation of public logs and chats that were taken out of context, the use of a misunderstanding of 4chan to demonize it, the broadbrush painting from the SJW side that anyone who supports Gamergate is, in derogatory terms, a white cishet male, the heralding of misrepresentation of games that required rebuttals and fact-checks, the following simultaneous defamation on supporting voices, the effects that this atmosphere has had on developers and the creative freedom side of things, and, largely, the damning attempts to silence discussion.
It’s been a ride.
But I also feel this thing has been messily handled by everyone on different fronts, and one of the reasons I’ve mostly just been observing. Harassment, doxxing, name-calling, blocking out discussion, getting overly emotional, misrepresenting the other side, playing the victim card - all strategies that have propped up heavily on both sides, and it’s alarming. But when we put off and discredit the radicals and start to actually discuss things, I think we can start to come to make progress, because I don’t see that a common goal is out of the question.
In the end, I just want game developers of all sorts to create worlds and stories and games as they please, so that gamers of all sorts can find and enjoy and be inspired by whatever they choose and find.
The gaming press is finally getting bit in the butt for their non-journalistic practices, and might hopefully start to amend things, or lose viewers who realize what they are, which should stifle agendas and stop propping up certain games over others. After how damaging it’s been to one’s own side, I’m hoping harassment and doxxing and shit tactics like these aren’t even considered an option when it comes to future disagreements. I think #notyourshield is doing a great job revealing how diverse gaming is, which may inspire devs toward diversity instead of being guilted into it.
tl;dr - Smash demo out now in the US!
Some things to keep in mind whenever looking at a heavily polarized issue.
Research has been done where people were given incorrect “news” about issues they felt strongly about. Then, when given hard evidence disproving the incorrect “news”… many test subjects kept believing the fake news that’d agreed with their stance. Many people are just psychologically uncomfortable with ambiguity, so they seize onto fixed beliefs.
Satisfied customers don’t usually give feedback. People who’re unhappy do. It’s a vocal minority vs. silent majority effect. “As online forums become more populated … customers who are more positive and less involved tend to stick to the sidelines, while customers who are more involved and more critical take their place”. We’re inclined to give negative feedback, and when this is applied to a group, the people we feel are behaving badly get negative feedback, with no positive feedback given to those who aren’t (after all, why wouldn’t they keep behaving well?).
Of course when you see negative feedback being given about something you were very happy with, now you have a reason to speak up and be positive about it, while being firmly negative about the critics. If you’re emotionally invested you give emotional reactions (which can be a reaction to a person claiming there’s a problem with something you like, or to a person claiming a thing is flawless when you feel there’s a flaw preventing you from enjoying it). Vocal minorities. In fact, researchers looking at discussions on a facebook group saw that 15% of the posters were making 59% of the posts. There might be some people on the other side we could disagree with without hating them if we met in person, but with the the most polarized people doing most of the talking it quickly turns into a political cartoon.
We end up convinced that everyone on the other side is a bad person (not just wrong) because the annoying loudmouths dominate the discussions (putting it in the current context, “Well of course everyone on the other side is completely horrible and wrong! Didn’t you see the misogynistic comments/claims we’re all misogynists?”).In addition we’re highly inclined to adopt more polarized viewpoints the more time we spend thinking about the topic even in the absence of new information. We go the things that support our stance it in our heads becoming more sure we’re right. It gets worse when you have the opportunity to keep talking to like-minded individuals. The group collectively pushes one another to adopt more extreme viewpoints simply by repetition and agreeing with one another. And then when people step outside of that angry bubble and encounter people with a different viewpoint, they may as well be Satan. How can someone be so wrong when everyone was just agreeing with me?There’s a few social media sites that are very good creating this situation, and even worsening the effect. Facebook has damn algorithms to try and make sure you only see views you’re likely to agree with, which tends to push people to extremes. On tumblr people usually just reblog what they are inclined to agree with. A dissenting view is less likely to be reblogged and spread around (“why would I want my followers seeing that?”). Meanwhile on 4chan, yes the mods are currently trying to silence discussions, and that’s bad in its own way. But in the past mods have often stickied threads with inflammatory and misleading information. “You can’t talk about this” might be the current problem, but “you should talk about this, and your introduction to the topic should be this viewpoint” was a problem before. Furthermore, anonymity (and not just the 4chan variety) seems to push people to adopt even more extreme stances like they’re having to constantly seek social standing with their peers since they’re anonymous. The internet just pushes people to see things as black/white and good/evil.
The Amazing Sally Hogan highlights a lot of the psychology behind the whole act of picking sides. It’s a fascinating read, and something to keep in mind when things get inflamed, when arguments start, and lines start to be drawn. There’s definitely self-reflection to be done. There’s an old proverb about, before you remove the splinter from someone else’s eye, remove the branch from your own. Thanks for this, something to think about.
One thing I would like to question are the final lines - I don’t think the internet is, inherently, divisive. Ideally, the fact that we can all, in essence, be all in one place, and share our opinions, and hear what everyone has to say would mean we’d learn more about each other and more about other views across the world. Countries are so much more connected than they’ve ever been. And knowledge is so readily available, maybe too easily so, but we can learn if we choose to do so. True, there are systems and mechanics in place that trade that ability to see other sides for convenience, and I know reddit is also guilty of this, and that is something to be discussed and dissected as well, I suppose. I don’t agree that 4Chan is a place to seek social standing, though. Since everyone is anonymous, it’s the message that gets the attention, not the messenger. But, yeah, it’s got its problems as well.
Thanks for this.
Slightly annoying and could be seemingly hypocritical in light of the ‘we should all just talk openly’ thought though - I dunno if I want to keep typing up on this, as it clogs what my blog is about, I’ve stated my case, and there’s plenty of other voices to be heard. I think it benefits me most to step back and try to see things as objectively as I can.
So I’ve been paying way too much attention to the gamer gate stuff and a fellow I follow on twitter who is creative director for Warhorse Studios, Daniel Vavra, has been chiming in pretty heavily on it.
Today he linked to this documentary on gender roles that I found pretty interesting. It’s part of a seven part series that I’m currently working my way through watching.
The rest of which seem to be linked to on the series Wikipedia page.
Presenting the Ladder Monologues, a daring narrative wherein Junpei completely ignores his imminent death by drowning in favor of talking to the furniture.