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Top Question for Jesse Singal AMA


At this point probably over 30 people, at least ~25 that I know of, have been doxxed and gotten rape/death threats exactly like Brianna Wu's.

Worse than that: People have had their bank accounts hacked, income cut off, internet shut down, mutliple people have lost jobs, gotten knives and syringes in the mail... the list goes on and gets worse.

And all of this has been publicly condoned and even actively participated in by leading figures in gaming journalism.

Meanwhile "#gamergate harassment patrol" and others are doing such a good job of protecting even the other side that we are literally taking abusive accounts offline faster than Brianna/etc can retweet them for publicity.

We have raised $70,000+ for feminists to fund female game developers, $16,000+ for anti-bullying charities, and several thousand more dollars for suicide prevention. At this point we've raised at least $100,000 for charity to my knowledge.

But if you were to count the number of articles written about Brianna Wu and write as many articles for each #gamergate supporter attacked in exactly the same way that would total over 450 articles in support of gamergate and condemning anti-GG. Instead even as black men are targeted for revenge attacks that cost them their jobs we are compared to the ku klux klan. Soldiers who served their country are told they're worse than ISIS. Women and non-white gamers are deliberately targeted for doxxing attacks which go utterly unreported.

My question is this Mr. Singal: How can you possibly justify the state of reporting on #gamergate according to ANY code of ethical and factual reporting? We are called "house ni***ers", we are getting knives and syringes in the mail, losing our jobs, and the people we are protesting are publicly condoning and encouraging this behavior. And none of that is being reported.

Instead more and more articles are printed damning us in ever more extreme language. This hatred has escalated to the point that a 16 year old child doxxed a gamergate supporter and threatened his 7 year old cousin with rape and death because she thought that's what it meant to be a "good feminist"[1] .

This is what the reporting on gamergate is encouraging.

Mr. Singal I am a non-white jew from a family of holocaust survivors. There is a word for when people tell lies that stir up hatred and lead to violence. You are an educated man, I know you know the word I am speaking of.


You completely failed to answer my direct question, I will reiterate in less than 10 simple statements:

1. Of the major figures gamergate is protesting a majority (if not all at this point) have publicly condoned or even encouraged harassment, abuse, and even doxxing.

2. Most if not all of the leading individuals against gamergate (the de facto leaders of "anti-GG") have openly and publicly engaged in racism, sexism, trans and homophobia, and publicly condoned or even outright participated in doxxing and recently outright crimes.

3. Brianna Wu was doxxed and received threats on twitter and had multiple television interviews and over 15 articles written within a day or two.

4. Around 30 gamergate supporters have been doxxed the exact same way as her and many more got worse such as losing their jobs, having bank accounts hacked, income cut off, getting knives and syringes in the mail, and so on.

5. These attacks have been publicly condoned and supported, and even participated in, by the LEADING individuals who oppose gamergate.

6. None of this has been reported on. If the media were covering these remotely equally there would be over 450 articles written about the attacks against gamergate supporters.

7. Gamergate is so anti-harassment that it takes down harassment faster than Anti-GG people can even retweet it, even newsweeks flawed statistics prove it's overwhelmingly neutral or positive, it is an overwhelmingly left wing movement supported by a statistically abnormally high number of women and non-whites.

8. Despite all of this reporters continue to publish material so hateful towards gamergate, regardless of how provably untrue it is, that even a 16 year old child was motivated to threaten a 7 year old child with rape and murder because she thought that's what it meant to be a "good feminist".

9. The end result is leading anti-GG individuals publicly encourage acts of violence and harassment and news articles written about gamergate endorse these people and demonize gamergate.

Now... I did not "invoke the holocaust" Mr. Singal, I gave you my family's history because overwhelmingly articles against gamergate claim that we are all unattractive white male virgins, and because it is directly relevant to what is being done in the news media today.

>There is a word for when people tell lies that stir up hatred and lead to violence. You are an educated man, I know you know the word I am speaking of.

Blood Libel Mr. Singal. When people told lies about Jews and used those lies to justify hatred and violence it was called Blood Libel.

My observations from academia, from staying on the sidelines for a long time, and why I'm here now


This is going to be long.

I literally knew nothing about gamergate except seeing random posts reach the front page of reddit and sometimes seeing it mentioned on facebook. You guys have great points and a great story, but you just need more exposure - more people need to publicly come out on facebook, not twitter, in support of gamergate.

I'm an academic, a sociologist. The thing is, I am what you call a quantitative, positivist sociologist. Basically, what that's saying is that I study people through numbers, statistics, and the scientific method. I'm actually surprisingly effective at what I do - I've developed a predictive model that I'm starting a business off of.

I've been in academia for quite a while now, and I have to say, I saw something like this coming eventually. I first learned of Sarkeesian about in a gender graduate seminar - the professor was what you call a "postmodernist." I didn't know at the time what the hell a postmodernist was. This was before tumblrinaction really got on the upswing. Anyways, this class was tumblrinaction in person - seriously, it was bad. Internalized misogyny, heteromasculine hegemony, contextuality, intersectionality, and these long sentences that basically amounted to syntactically correct statements that were entirely devoid of meaning. I remember myself and this girl in the class both appalled at the statements and arguments of the articles.

The first thing is that this school of thought that the modern SJWs are coming from is one of radical individuality - sounds good at first, but it literally makes sociology and coming together for a common cause meaningless. They demonize feminists for not including black issues, feminist blacks for not including lgbt issues, and it really keeps going further and further. The idea is that categorizing people and coming together under a banner to fight for your rights oppresses others because you aren't fighting for theirs at the same time and because getting their own rights placates people. To the girl in the class, and to me... the only white male in the class... it seemed absurd, you're meaning to tell me that people banding together to get their rights is bad? I just couldn't buy into that system.

The second thing is that I, a quantitative sociologist, had to read through every single article in the seminar. I noticed about halfway through the semester that she did not assign a single quantitative article. Every article was theory only or used methods that are described as qualitative... basically just "let me write about this group of people with quotes that I've got." Every attempt at me to bring in science and quantitative methods was referred to as the "modernist perspective" of "trying to fit everyone in a category." It got so bad that I even emailed Noam Chomsky, a noted critic of postmodernism, and got a response.

This class was in support of Sarkeesian and there was an entire class on women in video games. Having played a number of video games, it was hard to defend myself when I said that I played and enjoyed GTA4. But I also played enough to correct a lot of misconceptions and bring forward games with positive female models - that, and I was dating a girl in the gaming industry at the time. I used a lot of what I learned from her to at least give a little insight into how men are aware of the issue in games and things are changing.

Anyways, fast forward a few years and I see gamergate just behind the curtain. Seriously, again, you guys need to do more advertising - I know it seems like you're already there, but this issue is so complex it took no less than 4 reddit posts on various subreddits for me to get an answer on what gamergate really even was, and 2 more weeks before I finally felt compelled to join the ranks. I think that 60 second primer and any video less than 5 minutes work well - I found a few that worked on me that got me to at least see things from your perspective. That's when I posted on my facebook about gamergate, it was something simple, but I knew I'd get a response... and having to argue something really makes me learn the facts, so I binged out on facts and learned a whole lot. Here are some snippits:

- Snippet 1: I am a social statistician... so nothing gets me more upset than reading statistically flawed articles.

- Snippet 2: The two people on my timeline who posted the article come out swinging. At this point, my original comment gets a lot of likes and people message me thanking me for engaging.

- Snippet 3: I pretty much get called a sexist for attempting to take a stance on this being about game journalism. I am suddenly skeptical of the entire anti-GG movement, people know my background in equal rights and definitely know my background in violence against women. After this post, I begin to take a far less "both sides are right" tone:

- Snippet 4: I bring up the bullying angle and the "why this should matter" angle, type out a long, reasonable response, to be met with just saying "You've drunk the kool-ade."

- Snippet 5 Others quickly come to my defense, others who might otherwise be classified as "neutrals" and people who haven't educated themselves heavily in the debacle.

- This goes on and on... here's how it ends, a lot of factual discussion, a lot of arguing... there are over a hundred comments. Here's how it ends though

Anyways, all of the people that came to my aid and the people that liked it reposted various videos I posted, got more educated on the topic, and this resulted in ME getting educated on the topic. It also made me realize how often people who support gamergate are just outright labeled sexist misogynists. It brought me back to that class I had a few years ago. So pretty much as of yesterday, I decided that I'm firmly in the gamergate camp and not going to stand by anymore.

tl;dr: Am a sociologist, had some classes that resemble TiA, prefer statistical methods, see gamergate, takes me a long time to really understand what gamergate is due to difficulty accessing history "primers," post on facebook, get some blowback, get some support, now understand and support #gamergate.

Update: and this is how it just ended - I believe the professor is now out of the firm, vehement anti crowd. That Slate article is really a good one:

Update: People really wanted to see the email exchange between Chomsky and I from a while back. Here you go :)

Criticism of Anita's Videos


Whenever someone says, "Sure there are problems with these videos, but overall I thought they were good" it demonstrates either

1) a stunning lack of critical thinking and the ability to deconstruct critique

2) passive aggressive criticizing without wanting to offend people

Personally, while I don't have a problem with critique existing, I have two issues with Anita's work:

1 - **It's really bad**

There's no other way to slice this. Her work is terrible and poorly researched. She has a nice little ideological box that she likes to fit conclusions in and then works backwards from there. Everything she does is rife with this. Basically it comes down to if she personally likes something or not, then she constructs a framework around the subject that props up a view of it being empowering or "problematic". The inconsistency here is entirely on display - just a look at a few of the video's she's done will demonstrate this. Also - in terms of her game specific critique, she ignores game mechanics entirely. Which is just - well it's indefensible. When a game punishes you for committing violence against women, it's hard to argue that the game encourages you to commit violence against women. Yet she makes this argument.

2 - **It's terrible feminism**

As a feminist, I find most of Anita's work fairly offensive. First of all, the "Public Health Argument" has no place in feminist critique. For those of you who don't know, this is when someone makes a claim that "stimulus y" causes "effect x". Like "Violence in games causes school shootings" or "Large breasts in video games cause sexism". This type of argument is pernicious and dangerous because it's **easily disproven** and gives a nice big fat target for anyone who wants to have a go, not just at Anita, but at feminism in general.

Second, the attributes that Anita would like to ascribe to women, or female game characters as being "positive" are **completely fucking sexist** She has this perverse view that a woman displaying traits that she deems as "masculine" (good and negative ones like decision making, apathy, leadership) are demeaning to women and put there for the benefit of men. This type of nonsense ought to be incredibly apparent to anyone who actually watches her videos, but the fact that this goes largely uncommented on by the press is astounding (oddly enough, before she closed down comments on her videos, this was one of the things she repeatedly got called out for. It seems women don't appreciate being told they're acting like men.)

Honestly, I think most people are pretty uneducated about these topics, including our press. I think most of them are well intentioned, but frankly dumb and they're more than happy to believe something that "sounds good" because it "feels good" rather than understanding how pernicious it really is.

I won't disagree with Jake that maybe it's time that video games **do** receive a good critical treatment as art. Not at all.

I just think the people trying to do it are **hysterically bad at it**

I Am Afraid

(from: (mirror:

I Am Afraid

When a number of people supporting a cause have their personal information spread all over the internet, I am afraid, because one of those names could be mine, and there are people out there who I do not want to have that information.

When the person who created a platform for minorities who felt their voices were being erased has his work contacted and is fired over it, I am afraid, because it would take only one phone call and I would find myself in the same situation.

When major media personalities say to Bring Back Bullying or that Bullying actually is good, I am afraid, because I've been bullied, and I know exactly what they want to reintroduce in my life.

When I'm told that the previous comments were ill-advised jokes, I am afraid, because those words have been used to excuse actual bullying in my life, and they got away with it, then.

When the number of death threats, rape threats and other forms of harassment against one side is too big to count, I am afraid, because a culture of fear is being created, and that is not a culture I want to live in.

When none of this is reported on in mainstream media in order to reduce three other women to their victimhood, I am afraid, because I am being demonised to promote a narrative, to fabricate a moral panic that has no basis in reality.

When I think of this happening to me, I am afraid, because I am forced to consider that this may have happened to others before, and I was not aware.

Many people have gotten hurt over this, and nobody is talking about it.

When I hear friends from eastern Europe and China tell stories about this, I am afraid, because the stories they tell have far too many similarities to the current situation for me to feel anything else.

When a transgendered individual supporting us is banned from a subreddit and told she is their property by the moderators, I am afraid, because this is the mindset we are up against.

When I'm told I should be sent to death camps, I am afraid, because I do not want to die.

When I'm told that we're weaponising charity, I am afraid, because it shows that we will never be able to do anything right in the eyes of the other side, and they will see everything we do in a negative light.

When a prominent member of the opposition says that 'there is (almost) no such thing as a bad tactic, only bad targets' and isn't called out on it by others, I am afraid, because this is exactly the 'ends justifies the means' mindset that caused so many problems in history.

When prominent news outlets question whether our side of the story should be heard at all, I am afraid, because I am apparently so evil that I have less rights than confirmed serial killers.

When all of this happens, I am powerless, I am voiceless, I am afraid.

But I am not going to stop.


  1. Well that was a surprisingly real phonecall

> last modified on 2 December 2014, at 22:24.