Over on Facebook, a person trying to be “middle of the road” on GamerGate says that he sees both sides of GamerGate as extremist, and as being pretty much the same. And no, as automatic as it seems to be to set up such false symmetries, I won’t accept that.
One side is explicitly and specifically intending to drive women out of the industry and feminist discussion of video games, with particular focus on a few specific hate targets. This isn’t speculation; I’ve read the chat logs. There are screencaps; there were more logs actually provided by GamerGate leaders who screamed “context” when those came out, but they really needed to learn that calling context should only be done when the context helps your case, not hurts it.
So the nature of this movement isn’t really disputable. Here’s a reasonable Wired article that points to a lot of original sources, from last month, before the bomb and shooting threats became a weekly problem.
And here an interview with Eron Gjoni, the ex-boyfriend with a restraining order against him whose post really set off the misogynist explosion which had been smouldering for a while, and became GamerGate. In the referenced post, he accused Zoe of cheating on him and sleeping with a reporter to get better coverage of her game. Problem is, said reporter never wrote about her or her game, aside from a very brief mention months before they are even alleged to have become involved. And despite everything that this has exploded into, and the harassment that has spread to like wildfire, he says he would absolutely do it again.
And he has in fact recently resigned form his job to spend more time coordinating GamerGate. Oh, and he declines to either stop violating his restraining order or stop seeking to have it removed.
If someone is consciously associating with “GamerGate,” this is what they are associating themselves with.
You – the generic “you” – can make a real good point about journalism being a farce. You can make a better point about it being systemically corrupted. But you can’t ignore that this is a systemic problem through journalism, and you can’t ignore that this subfield isn’t any worse (and may indeed be better than) the field as a whole, and you can’t ignore that the only thing that made these people care is…
…an ex-boyfriend, against whom there is a restraining order he keeps trying to get overturned, making a ragepost against his ex-girlfriend, saying she’s cheating with sex to get her games better coverage they clearly don’t deserve.
As a movement, this was started on and is still centred on rage against women commenting on and contributing to videogames.
On what you’re calling the other side – there isn’t a movement, in a greater sense, like there is with GamerGate. There are a lot of people opposed, sure – but to what? A lot of things. To harassment, death threats, bomb threats, rape threats, misogyny, and the silencing of women, and – ironically – the attacks on journalism, like the Wired UK article I linked above. All of these things appear to make you, in the GG world, a “social justice warrior.” (Personally, I think of myself more as a social justice rogue, but maybe that’s just how I roll… my stats. XD)
But there’s not an identity, like there is with GG. There are a lot of different identities, sure – but if opposing the Tories makes the Bloc, Liberals, NDP, and Greens all one movement, then I’m not really sure how you can define “movement” in a way that has any meaning at all.
Essentially, a Green saying “Harper’s agenda must be stopped” doesn’t make them part of a group lobbying for Quebec separatism. But calling yourself a GG does make you part of a group that is actively misogynist and is actively and continually threatening people.
Saying those two situations are the same is a false equivalence. That matters, because it makes “both sides the same,” which is about as untrue as can be managed in a socio-political situation. And that, in turn, downplays what the actual movement here – the GamerGate movement – is trying to do.
Through threats of violence, intimidation, and harassment, the visible bulk of the movement wants to force women and feminist commentary out of games – and, if you believe some of the threads on 4chan and 8chan, then out of geek culture as a whole. (They’ve gone fishing around for support in comics fandom already, I’ve seen it.) I do not believe it would stop there, and I do believe the evidence shows that it is profoundly misogynist.
And that is not the same thing at all.