In a word? Misogyny.
In a few words? Proof we still fucking need feminism.
In the twenty-first fucking century.
Who is Zoe Quinn? There is absolutely no reason you or I ought to have any idea. She’s a super-small-time indie game developer and if you’ve heard her name before the beginning of this paragraph, you probably have a legion of misogynist trolls to thank.
So, thanks, Trolls. </sarcasm>
Zoe Quinn developed an award-winning game called Depression Quest (you can go here to get it for free, Fair warning: the page contains web audio, so you might want to mute your browser) which I normally would not know or care about. She then broke up with her boyfriend (which I still *really* don’t care about) who then summoned the legion of trolls on 4chan to get his revenge.
The trolls, in turn, have spent weeks now on a truly epic campaign of harassment, including the usual rape and death threats, and they’ve launched the hashtag #GamerGate because apparently we’re not tired enough of people using the suffix -gate to make things seem scandal-y as if that made any kind of actual sense.
They want to pretend it’s about ethics in gaming journalism, but there’s no “there” there. There’s no evidence of any corruption around Zoe or her game, and Zoe is such a small fish in such a small pond that I don’t see why we should care if there was.
They also want to pretend they speak for gamers. They don’t speak for me, and I suspect they’re nothing more than a tiny minority of gamers, the ones who are actually gamers I mean.
The saddest thing is that they’ve succeeded. They terrorized Zoe Quinn. They made me pay attention to them, and they’ve managed to tar the name “gamer” across much of the Internet.
Cracked.com has been managing an epic pushback against this bullshit:
- Here’s Quinn on what it’s like to be on the receiving end
- Luke McKinney explains how GamerGate makes the world worse
- David Christopher Bell provides a quick guide on determining if your Internet Cause is bullshit
- Mark Hill has some hard words many gamers need to hear
- J.F. Sargent explains how anger can lead to this kind of nonsense
Which is pretty good for a site about dick jokes.