This is a personal essay, not an invitation to debate. Not enough time in the day to wrassle gators.
Before the chips fell, the battle lines had already been drawn. Carrying the banner of the Status Quo Warriors: GamerGators. On the other side: feminists. The powder kegs were packed. Agitprop readied. DDoS cannons loaded. Votebots online. Brigades on standby.
The spark was inconsequential, in retrospect. Battle was inevitable. Any excuse would do. Women needed to be put in their place. The sanctity of games had to be upheld.
Skirmishes, scouts, little raids. Harassment, unwanted DMs, pile-ons. Hate-threads, hate-calls, hate-posts. Testing the water, aggravating, priming the charge.
The dust still hasn’t settled, but scant days in it feels like its been an eternity. Pretty much every outlet has covered it, every pundit and wag weighed in. And yet, it’s still a battle in progress; asshats are still beating the drum and attacking anybody who seems remotely feminist in gaming.
Jessica Price, editor and narrative team member for Guild Wars 2, had hosted an AMA on Reddit. After the AMA, she started a series of tweets to elaborate on a point. Guild Wars 2 streamer and ArenaNet partner Deroir replied. And then a dogpile started. Tired of dealing with it, she posted:
Aggrieved, some community members posted on the Guild Wars 2 forum. Soon, they were joined by brigaders from /r/KotakuInAction (the original subreddit for Gators) and the rest of the Gator-web. Spamming tweets to ArenaNet founder and head Mike O’Brien, flooding the phone lines, the angry mob was seemingly everywhere.
Jessica Price and Peter Fries were given their termination slips. Other dev team members had to lock down their accounts.
If there was a moment in internet history that changed communication forever, it was GamerGate. All of the pent-up rage of raging adolescent Weird Boys poured loose. No longer the weird, tiny group of misfits, ‘core’ gamers aimed their rage cannon at Anita Sarkeesian in 2012. But it wasn’t until 2014 that the crusaders had a banner, provided courtesy of proto-altright Eron Gjoni. Gjoni’s manifesto gave the crusaders a target: Zoe Quinn. This quickly expanded to include game journalists and then the progressive left at large.
Gators spent most of 2014 sending death threats to female game developers, to game journalists, to female politicians, and to anyone who criticized the gator hatemob’s actions. The polarization sent a split down the gamer community; Gators claimed that they were the true ‘core’ gamers and that their opponents were out to destroy games. This is also the point were the Gators started labeling people as: Virtue-signaling, cucks, soyboys, feminazi, SJWs.
Gamers were dead.
Now you were either a Gator or someone who just happened to play games. The quiet, ostracized misfit image of the gamer was no more. Gamers were dead.
Every generation has had a clash between the purist Conservatives and the more inclusive Progressives. When a group feels like they’re being overrun, they tend to lash out - sometimes violently so. Gaming’s just the latest issue; Marriage Equality, Affirmative Action, Equality, Socialism, Suffrage, Secularism, Novels, Emancipation - if you can name something, you could be sure there was a violent conservative mob against it.
For all the hand-wringing about civility, there has literally never been a time that civility was the rule. Civility implies respect. Civility implies tolerance, a will to live and let live. But from time immemorial, conservatives have always used hateful words and violent actions to silence opponents. Whether it be Martin Luther’s infamous polemics against peasantry to the Tulsa Race Riot; conservatives have never been civil.
Cries to “be civil” are calls to silence. It’s an act of violence against people righteously standing for their just recompense.
Or as Martin Luther King Jr put it:
It has everything to do with Social Justice.
The same partisans who cheered the killing of Treyvon Martin are the same ones attacking feminists. The ideological descendants of Andrew Jackson marched at Charlotteville chanting “Jew will not replace us”. They castigate those who call for justice as SJWs. They imply that supporters of feminism are virtue signalers (dictionary definition: paying lip service to, but not acting on principles).
Whether their name is John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, Jon “JonTron” Jafari, or Eron Gjoni, they spew the same hateful rhetoric. In an ironic twist, they seek to construct an echo chamber populated only by their types. Their method of achieving that goal? Purging the public of progressives - by the pen or by the sword.
Jessica Price and Peter Fries are only their latest target in this never-ending Status Quo crusade. The latest casualty of a war without end.
And war, war never changes.