Tuesday Freebies: things mostly about GamerGate

Hi, folks! I was in a play this past weekend, which meant I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to blogging. Thankfully, the internet has been super interesting in my absence, which means it’s time for more freebies!

Things that are interesting

Courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune, researchers at Brigham Young University are trying to make a game that will encourage more women and minorities to get into STEM fields. I’m a bit skeptical of the idea as it’s presented, but it might be something interesting to follow.

Meanwhile, over on Paste Magazine Ian Williams and Austin Walker have an enlightening conversation about Blaxploitation in the context of upcoming game Funk of Titans. WELL worth a read, since Blaxploitation is usually something I’ve seen discussed in regards to film, not games.

People being stupid on the internet

The Mary Sue storified a bunch of tweets in which they tell the tale of how #GamerGate is literally unable to process the idea that there might be more than one person in the world with the same name.

In an entirely different kind of stupidity, e-sports leagues have long followed the practice of gender segregating their tournaments, a practice when sane and rational people have pointed out makes NO FUCKING SENSE. Nevertheless, it’s a policy that e-sports isn’t likely to ditch any time soon, as illustrated by the staggering level of ignorance displayed by Garena’s recent rules change to their LoL women’s league which mandated that each team of 4 women could have a maximum of 1 LGBT woman, because queer superpowers? Thankfully, this decision has since been reversed, although Garena’s apology was a totally bullshit “sorry you were offended” apology, which doesn’t really surprise me.

Online harassment: it’s a problem, and the cops don’t care

Several excellent pieces addressing the frightening new reality of GamerGate have scrolled through my feeds in the last little while. They are not easy reads, but they are all valuable. (That said, if you’ve been harassed online or fear being harassed, please exercise caution and maybe don’t read these.)

On Gawker, Sam Biddle writes about recent threats against Brianna Wu by a deranged GGer who appears to have attempted to seek Wu out in real life with intent to murder her and her family. Terrifyingly, the cops are aware of these threats, and of this recent incident, but have yet to lay charges against the perpetrator and even suggested to Wu that she simply “turn off her devices”.

On their blog, Ronan Wills tackles the problematic habit of not believing women when they talk about their abuse online. It’s an excellent read, so go read it and save me the trouble of quoting the whole damn thing.

On Pacific Standard, Amanda Hess wrote about her personal experience with harassment and death threats online, most of which mirrors what is being said about the harassment faced by Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, et al. It also talks about the impracticality of “just don’t go online” as a response to such harassment.

Similarly, on Jezebel Anna Merlan writes about her own run-ins with online harassment. She also chronicles her attempts to take these threats to law enforcement. It’s a pretty terrifying look at how behind the times law enforcement is on this issue, and how deeply they really just don’t give a shit.

…but maybe that’s changing?

In the first bit of good news I’ve seen related to GamerGate, it turns out that Brandon Wilson (aka Famed God) has been arrested for two different SWATting attempts, with a possibility of a 5 year jail sentence. I hope to God that he actually gets convicted, and that we see more such arrests soon.

Also, in what is definitely a first for Twitter, CEO Dick Costolo has admitted that they really fucking suck at dealing with abuse of its platform:

We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day

Granted, their primary motivation for tackling this problem now is that it’s costing them users. But even cynical motivation is still motivation; let’s hope this is more than just lip service.

Lastly, The Mary Sue has a preview of the upcoming GamerGate episode of Law & Order: SVU. And while their heart is obviously in the right place, the actual script looks like it’s going to be something of a trainwreck. (I don’t know what’s more painful, hearing Olivia Benson say “doxxing” or Ice T talk about “the dark net”.)

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