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

I try to emulate the style of those that are already present in the space when I enter it. The norms here are somewhat different than those at Ordinary Times, and vastly different than at Reason, and all of them are different than those at my place of employment. I follow them because those are the norms of that place/time. I’m not so arrogant as to think that other groups of people should adapt to me. I understand that I am a minority in my viewpoint and values, but it’s been that way my whole life so I’m pretty much used to the process. Yes, I believe that other people should do likewise. For long standing communities (especially those in the real world) those norms have developed for a reason, and particularly in the workplace. Trying to change workplace norms to suit one’s personal ideals is by definition counter to (or at least a distraction from) the workplace’s mission, and makes everyone else’s life worse (and potentially ends the company). Trying to change the bargain made by those that have come before you is unfair.

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 several things. The main impetus is that I know that power will always (for an arbitrarily large value of always) be abused. And I know that I am and will continue to be unpopular, thus it is in my interest to diffuse power so that it is not used against me. Since power tends to accumulate and since it attracts those most likely to want to use/misuse it, it is also in my interest to push for true plurality. Maybe I will be able to find someplace comfortable.

I can’t say that I cannot be dissuaded from my beliefs, but I can say that I cannot think of anything that would do it. This is particularly true in the case of logic/reasoning. The universe may run on math, but people do not. People (actually, life in general) requires impurities and inequality. There’s a synonym for perfect balance, harmony, and equality. It’s death. Attempting to live as an imperfect being in an imperfect world by adhering to any sort of logically perfect or coherent philosophy is a guarantee of failure. Or worse. All the great atrocities of the 20th century are the result of perfect logic being applied to flawed premises (specifically, that abstract entities such as “the state” or “society” actually exist) by imperfect beings.

All that means is that I would have to observe something that makes me understand my past observations in a new way. I can’t say what that is, and the actuarial tables say that I have less time for that observation to happen every day.

Explain Gamergate.

This is the Truth. All else are Lies. Come closer, and I’ll give you the Learning, ‘cause I have the Knowing. I was there, see, when it all came down. I saw with my own eyes the great forests of comments reduced to ash-fields of [deleted].

Gamergate happened because of The Fappening.

What? You thought it was about some dude that was pissed off at his chick? Nah, that’s one of them things that ain’t so. See, claiming that the Zoe Post caused Gamergate is like saying that WWI happened because Franz Ferdinand had coffee for breakfast. Maybe if things had been different, things would have been different, but Zoe was neither necessary nor sufficient for GG. And always remember: you can determine which way the trend goes by cherry-picking your starting point. So go back a little ways, go back to before the beginning.

The internet is for porn, and cat videos, and trolling…

Some people are famous and they are on the internet. Some people are famous because of what they do on the internet. And if you’re the latter sort, you might not be a very good person. Zoe Quinn (nee Richperson Trustafarian) is like that. She has a history. She is what you might call a lolcow or a drama llama. She was a video game dilettante who when she was bored became the master of post-facto harassment (go to a place and loudly proclaim that you are being harassed. Once you piss off enough people, you will be harassed. Use this as proof of your earlier claim.) She wasn’t unique in this, other than perhaps in her access to moola (seriously, when she wanted to shut her ex up, she hired Wilmer Fucking Hale to sue him into submission. Go check their rates. I’ll wait for you). There are lots of people who regularly cause drama on the internet. They flare up a controversy then it goes away and is forgotten be everyone except Encyclopedia Dramatica. So when ZQ was barebacking a handful of guys while telling her boyfriend they were in a monogamous fluid-bonded relationship, it was just another flash in the pan among internet drama types.


Kate Upton has really nice tits.

Somebody somewhere got a hold of a stash of non-publicly released celebrity nudes. They then released them online. The economics of the situation are actually very interesting, but really beside the point. What is the point is that there was a subreddit /r/TheFappening created to track where and when these pics were released, as lawyers kept shutting down the hosting locations as quickly as they could. LOTS (most? All?) of these pics were hacked (which is why they were unreleased, and therefore valuable) and one of the victims of this hack was Jennifer Lawrence. She was an immensely popular and publicly sympathetic figure. Wholesome. Not someone that people were going to sit idly by while she was sexually humiliated. But /r/TheFappening was insanely popular. Imagine the kind of internet traffic that the Obamacare rollout should have had if it had been competently executed, add the latest World of Warcraft patch, and you get the idea. Now Reddit is very much like the internet as a whole. That’s all it is really, a collection of curated topical internet chunks. And there is (or rather, was) a bias towards “live-and- let-live,” YKINMKBYKIOK pseudolibertarianesque free speech. But shit was really getting out of hand what with J-Law’s lawyers, and the news media, and Reddit’s owners still trying to monetize this whole thing so they brought out the banhammer. And swung it again and again as The Fappening folk tried to create new subs. And once that died down, they were on High Alert for more of this nonsense, and hypersensitive towards the mistreatment of women.

So when reports came out about a drama flare involving a woman claiming harassment, the results were swift and OMFGROTFLCOPTER overkill. Everything even mentioning the words “Zoe Quinn” got censored. Whole subs were banned. Since ZQ had written a twine based game previously, and since one of the dudes she was boinking was an editor of an online gaming mag, the situation was mentioned on some of the biggest subreddits, those involving video games. When the orbital bombardment of the comments happened, literally millions of people saw it. I was one. There is a sizable contingent of gamers that Do Not Like Being Told What To Do. They mod. They crack. And when they see their comments on “their” sub get deleted, the whole topic banned, and anyone trying to broach the topic following them right into the (metaphorical) killfile, they got a wee bit miffed.

It’s a small world

And then there were the articles. Soon after the Zoepost/Reddit omnicommentocide there were a full dozen articles by the gaming media on the same day all sharing the same topic with some of the same phrases verbatim. And these articles hated, just HATED those people complaining about the overkill re: thinking Zoe was less than a perfect avatar of goodness. This is often summed up as “Gamers are dead. Gamers don’t need to be your audience.“ Yes, these are purported gaming mags claiming that it was time to discard gamers. Some people thought it was Quite Odd that all of these articles came out at the same day and wondered if there might have been a wee bit of collaboration among all these soi-disant independent “journalists.” These people were immediately denounced as conspiracy theorists for believing something so obviously stupid – much like believing that Hillary Clinton lied about Benghazi being about a Youtube video — and in a sign of the rapidly solidifying tribal identification, the name Gamerghazi was given to the subreddit mocking people complaining about censorship and journalistic incest. It later turned out that yes, there actually is a channel for these writers to communicate/coordinate their stories, called GameJournoPro, but the existence of this did not dissuade those people who had decided that gamergaters were all mouthbreathing basement dwelling cheeto-dust-crusted fat neckbearded virgin misogynist virgins. Who are ugly creepy virgins that no woman will ever touch. Because they are loser creeps. And ugly. And virgins.

So that takes us partway through the first week of Gamergate. The saga involving the Gamergate Wikipedia article is much less pleasant. Also worth noting: The hacker known as 4chan who lives in the darknet also banned criticism of ZQ. Channers roughly number 0.01% of Redditors, but they are several million times more energetic and they REALLY don’t like being told what to do. And then once GG got started, drama hobbyists got involved, leading to GNAA and /baph/ and the real scum of the internet forming a third wing making sure that the Gators and the Ghazelles never got tired of reasons to hate each other.

But what about all this harassment of women?

What about it? Some points:

The most famous episodes never actually happened. ZQ explicitly tied herself to The Fappening by claiming that nudes of her were hacked. This was a lie. The nudes in question were photos taken by a porn site for which she was paid (and thus she didn’t even own). For more goodness, read what one of her photographers has to say about her. Nobody was ever “forced to leave their house.” One of the episodes was someone who left their house to go on a previously scheduled vacation. One was someone tweeting about having to flee their house – from within their house. The Utah State incident was a “threat” from a journalist in South America which was immediately dismissed by the police. The speaker refused to go onstage after USU officials refused her request to ban guns from campus.


Harassment victim: “I want you to ban guns, or I won’t give my speech!”
Utah State University: “No.”
Harassment victim: “Gamergate is harassing me!”

One of the “death threats” was from a long term, known troll account that even without knowledge of the history involved began thusly: They were going to challenge the victim to a drag race in their mother’s Prius. I am not making this up. Someone actually tried to claim that a multi-hundred word scenario that begins with her accepting and losing a drag race challenge against someone driving their mother’s Prius was a literal death threat.

Some of the harassment “victims” are long term drama mongers who actively court harassment. Some of them actually post “Gamergate harassed me, please donate to my Patreon.” Is it victim blaming if the blamee is literally a professional victim?

Hello, is this your first day on the internet? Harassment happens to everyone. Is this minimizing a problem? Maybe. But it’s damn well nothing unique to or uniquely significant/serious to Gamergate.