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What discourse norms do you tend to follow? Why? Do you think everyone else should follow them, and why?

The fundamental principle of any sort of rational discourse should be free speech. However, some speech can suppress other speech, which means that it is impossible to have complete freedom of speech. If someone says credibly that anyone who insults them will be murdered, then it is impossible to freely speak about them. The choice, then, is which speech can be suppressed. Death threats, for example, are obviously outside of the bounds of freedom of speech. Similar harassment is I believe that everyone should follow these norms, because not doing so is a threat to any discourse whatsoever.

I think that no idea should be dismissed without being given due consideration; however, some ideas are sufficiently absurd that “due consideration” is very little. Furthermore, once an idea has been considered enough, there is no obligation to continue to treat it with any seriousness. This holds especially true in the case of ideas which can be actually harmful – for example, questioning whether or not someone has the right to exist can harm that person. I don’t think that everyone should have to follow these norms – if people want to create a space for discussing completely refuted ideas, then they can, although I don’t expect much good will come out of it. Nobody should have to interact with that space, for obvious reasons, but if they choose to then that is their choice.

What is the true reason, deep down, that you believe what you believe? What piece of evidence, test, or line of reasoning would convince you that you’re wrong about your ideology?

There are a few different components of my ideology. It’s partially based on factual beliefs, and partially on values. For example, my views on racism are mostly rooted in factual beliefs (that race is not a real category, that people are discriminated against because of race, etc.). Most of my views on gender, on the other hand (e. g. acceptance of transgender people) are based on values – I’m strongly in favor of complete morphological freedom, including freedom to have whatever mental state one wishes. There are exceptions in both cases – for example, I believe that racism is bad because unjust discrimination is wrong, and I support the abolition of gender because I think it’s an artificial category which will eventually go away if we stop violently enforcing it. In terms of factual beliefs, studies (or other reliable evidence) showing that the facts as I understand them are incorrect would suffice. I would only change my views on things which are motivated by values if it turned out that they ended up significantly violating other values, like if it turned out that acceptance of transgender people actually caused significant harm.

Explain Gamergate.

For a long time, video games were considered to be the province of children and not seriously engaged with by anyone. There were the occasional fundamentalists ranting about how they were tools of the devil, of course, but for the most part they were simply played, rather than analyzed. Eventually, however, this started to change. Some critics began analyzing games as art, rather than as toys, and not all of this criticism was positive. A lot of the negative criticism (especially that of Anita Sarkeesian) focused on the sexism and other such qualities – as a result, it fed into a growing backlash against feminism and social justice in wider nerd spaces (Elevatorgate, etc.). Similarly, “art games” began to grow in popularity, and faced a backlash which was partially but not entirely based on the above.

In events that were pretty much entirely unrelated until Gamergate happened, the general gaming press is shit. Since mainstream reviewers depend on publishers to get advance copies of games so they can review games ahead of time and get pageviews, it is difficult for them to review games critically. The result is that mainstream games journalism is overly positive, meaning that critical reviews (except of games that are so bad that nobody could review them well in good conscience) are mostly limited to independent people, like Anita Sarkeesian, who is (to put it lightly) not universally well-liked.

One day, a guy wrote an essay in which he claimed to have been abused and cheated on by his (ex-)girlfriend Zoe Quinn, who happened to be a developer of such art games. It was deleted from a few outlets where he initially posted it, until it got to 4chan. 4chan immediately seized on to the bits about how she cheated on him with a reviewer at Kotaku, and from there the whole thing blew up. Attacks on Zoe Quinn expanded into false claims that she had received positive reviews in exchange for sex which spiraled into attacks on games journalism in general which exploded into attacks on SJ-affiliated figures (like Anita Sarkeesian) in the gaming world. This resulted in harassment and threats sent to SJ figures, campaigns against games sites which were perceived to be especially bad about reviews (this is not actually bad, but it happened so I’m putting it here), and some of the most tediously bad discourse the world has ever seen. There may be more, but the whole discourse just so boring that I have no clue what actually happened beyond this point.