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Many critics of the consumer revolt known as GamerGate continue with their main criticism about its supposed increased level of harassment. This is an issue, but it is an issue everyone on the Internet experiences and not unique to GamerGate. I do also feel compelled to remind everyone that GamerGate is a reaction to corruption in the gaming industry, particularly game journalism.

In a rebuttal to Audrey Watters’ “Yes, #Gamergate is an Ed-Tech Issue,” I’d like to assert that 1) GamerGate is not misogynistic, 2) harassment online did not suddenly spring up, or become an issue, with GamerGate, and 3) that this is not an ed-tech issue, but an Internet/Social Media issue.

Watters first addresses the harassment and threats leveled at Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu. It is misleading to bring up those two incidents and not mention the myriad others that have happened since GamerGate began, especially when leaving out those that are sympathetic to the movement.

Many prominent Internet members have been harassed, some men, some women. The following is a list of just a few examples:

This has happened with prominent YouTuber Boogie2988 who had his personal information revealed online (doxxed) and had his wife threatened with bodily harm.

Milo Yiannopolous has been doxxed and sent a syringe in the mail.

KingofPol, a vocal pro-GamerGate critic, was doxxed and was sent a knife in the mail with a note that read “PLEASE KILL YOURSELF.”

It’s also worth mentioning that a couple of writers here at TechRaptor were also doxxed multiple times.

It’s disheartening how much longer this list could be.

The major takeaway should be that the harassment issue within GamerGate is not based on sex. Instead, it stems from actions, engagement with the community, and presence on Social Media.

The two examples Watters’ brought up of Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu, as well as a few examples I listed here, seemed to have forgotten a cardinal rule of the Internet – don’t feed the trolls. Giving attention to their actions only encourages them and draws more trolls to the cause.

anita sarkeesian smiling

Watters “insists” that GamerGate is an ed-tech issue because Sarkeesian is an educator, and that ed-tech publications have been largely quiet on the issue. She also says it is an ed-tech issue because GamerGate deals directly with the way that we should conduct ourselves online, which she argues the advice for women minimizes their experiences with harassment. That advice being, “don’t read the comments” or ignore the harassers.

Watters implies that ed-tech publications are somehow marginalizing the experiences of harassment women have, which needlessly makes this a gender issue.

This is an Internet issue that has affected just about everyone that has interacted with a community online. The advice to which is the same everywhere, including publications: don’t feed the trolls. Don’t engage or acknowledge harassers.

If you read the organization known as Working to Halt Online Abuse’s website, it says to contact authorities if there is a significant threat, otherwise ignore the harasser.

Nowhere does it discriminate between men and women. Similar advice can be found all over the Internet from a wide variety of organizations.

In a somewhat similar claim, Watters says that the technology industry is plagued by “the culture of meritocracy misogyny.” I am not certain what that means, but it seems to imply that women are held to a higher standard than men, and/or women’s merits do not count for as much as men’s.

If that is what she means, then I would argue that is false.

Far more men are interested and involved in the technology industry and pursue degrees in things like Computer Science than women. Does it not make sense then that there are more men in the industry? Todd Wohling goes into more detail on this if you are interested.


Gamergate isn’t an issue to separate the sexes on. GamerGate is an example of all the terrible things about Social Media coming together at once bursting now like a bubble, the contents and splashback of which have been under intense scrutiny now for more than two months.

The harassment issue within GamerGate is just an example of the general harassment one finds on the Internet and Social Media, on sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit.

Social Media has made it extremely easy to threaten someone without having any consequences. On most Social Media sites, anyone can create an anonymous account then threaten anybody they want. The account may be removed, but the threats have still occurred. And in most cases, nobody will know who issued the threat at all.

This isn’t new and is directly related to GamerGate’s harassment issue. Trolls and harassment is a widespread and accepted (in that it happens regularly) issue on the Internet.

Reddit, for example, has created what they call “reddiquette” in an attempt to mitigate the harassment caused by Social Media.

In tandem with anonymity is the emphasis on connectivity. The expectation to engage with fans/followers leads to more opportunities of harassment, and the increased presence on the Internet makes someone a bigger target as well.

The advice for everyone will forever remain the same though: don’t engage and don’t give attention to attackers and harassers – don’t feed the trolls. Report to the proper authorities when something significant arises.

So no, this is not an ed-tech issue, but a symptom of the Internet as a whole and more specifically of Social Media. Harassment has unfortunately become part of Internet culture and it is only because of GamerGate’s intense scrutiny harassment has been attached to it.

TechRaptor’s Georgina Young also had a response to Watters’ piece, which was published on The Open Standard. If you Google “Georgina Young The Open Standard” you will find it. For some reason linking from TechRaptor leads to a 404’d page.

Andrew Otton

Editor in Chief

Editor in Chief at TechRaptor. Lover of some things, a not so much lover of other things.

  • DeathBattleFan123

    EDIT: This was my response to the ORIGINAL ARTICLE, posted in /r/KotakuInAction:

    > “Last week cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a speaking engagement at Utah State University.”

    She was forced to cancel? Forced? So she wanted to speak, but the authorities wouldn’t let her?

    > “Because of a Utah law, campus officials told her that they could not stop attendees from bringing concealed weapons into her talk — even though the campus had received a threat from someone calling himself Marc Lépine and promising “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if Sarkeesian spoke. (Lépine was the man who, in 1989, killed 14 women at École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal, Quebec.)”

    Ah, so she wasn’t forced to cancel at all, was she? In fact, after the police AND the FBI told her that she’d be perfectly safe and that the threat was not credible, she still made the decision to cancel in protest of the state’s concealed carry laws.

    > “Also chased from her home this week: game developer Brianna Wu. Someone posted her address on Twitter, then threatened her with rape and murder. (Here’s her first person account.)”

    Brianna Wu indicates that these threats were made by a GamerGate supporter… and yet there is zero evidence to support such a claim beyond the use of the #GamerGate hashtag. She is, in fact, guessing. Any sort of fair reporting would make note of this fact. Until it can be proven that this death threat came from a gamer, much less a supporter of GamerGate, it is unethical to cite this event as an example of misogyny in the game industry. An example of misogyny in general? Clearly.

    > “I wrote about this as “What You Should Know This Week” over on Educating Modern Learners (free subscription required). And I insist that this is an education technology issue. I received some pushback on Twitter last night (from men, go figure) when I made this assertion and asked why ed-tech publications have been so silent on the topic of this ongoing campaign of threats and harassment against women.”

    … this ongoing campaign of threats and harassment against women… Are you sure there’s a dedicated, ongoing campaign? Isn’t it possible that the threats are coming sporadically from an extreme minority completely divorced from any sort of movement? You really have no actual proof to make the claim one way or the other, do you? Also, are you sure it is just women being harassed and threatened? Because if you do a little research, you’ll see an equal number of men getting death threats as well.

    > “It’s an education technology issue, in part, because of the expectations that we all are supposed interact online – for professional, personal, and academic purposes. What does that look like for girls and women? You can’t just tell us to “not read the comments” when the threats against us escalate.”

    The exact same thing can be said for men. Threats of any nature should not be tolerated. Perhaps you’re suggesting that women receive more threats than men? If so, I’m sure you have actual, empirical proof that backs that claim up, and not just anecdotal accounts, academic hypotheses, and non-scientific straw polls?

    > “It’s an education technology issue because women like Sarkeesian and Kathy Sierra (who I wrote about last week) are educators (in gaming and in tech respectively).”

    I know nothing about Kathy Sierra, so I won’t try and discuss her… but Anita Sarkeesian? Calling her a “gaming educator” is like calling Kelsey Grammer a “doctor”… at best, they both play one on TV. People knowledgable about games and the gaming industry view her works with skepticism, not widespread acceptance. She is a largely-uninformed fringe theorist, motivated by per political ideology rather than her understanding of the subject matter. That being said, she is certianly welcome to her opinion, no different than anyone else, and she certainly shouldn’t be harassed or threatened because of it.

    > “It’s an education technology issue because we must address the culture of meritocracy misogyny that permeates so much of the technology industry, particularly as we bring more and more of its products, services, engineers, entrepreneurs, and ideology into education.”

    Whoa, slow down, that’s a lot of catch phrases and buzz words. Are you saying that we should encourage more women to get into the tech industry? I think you’ll find near-universal agreement on that one. For that, we need to make more college women interested in STEM, which, for whatever reason, right now most of them aren’t. But addressing “the culture of meritocracy misogyny”… hm, I’m not clear what you’re saying here. Are you suggesting that by encouraging companies to hire the best person for the job, we are encouraging companies to hate women? Sorry, I don’t follow.

    > “That so many men in ed-tech continue to minimize the experiences of harassment and violence against women in ed-tech is pretty telling about whose values and whose risks are being hard-coded into the infrastructure. Duly noted.”

    So if men do not acknowledge the disproportionate harassment and violence (could you please provide a link to an instance of violence?) against women in ed-tech, that means, by default, that they are complacent with — and therefore a part of — said harassment and violence? Isn’t it possible that someone (man or woman) might have a different reason to disagree with such a notion? What you’ve set up here is a false dichotomy.

    At the end of the day, you’ve got no facts to back up what you’re saying, do you? All you’ve got are accusations, heart-felt stories, and logical fallacies. Your entire position is a call to action based entirely on a series of emotional appeals. Don’t misunderstand me… if you CAN prove that the things you’re saying are happening to the degree you’re suggesting, you can count me in as a loyal supporter, because nobody deserves that kind of treatment. But you’re not going to convince an engineer of something without proof, man OR woman.

  • m0r1arty

    Great article Andrew! Anthony Duignan-Cabrera has since apologised for the original article:

  • Took me a second to realize you were criticizing the original article. All valid points!

  • DeathBattleFan123

    Edited to make that more clear. Thanks!

  • Ryan Barrett

    The comment section on that article is INSANE. Total Biscuit wrote a crazy wall of text in there telling them how many things they were wrong on. I suggest reading that too.

  • You continue to be spot on Andrew. Well done.

  • Ryan Lawson
  • Saturnrules


  • Saturnrules


  • Cy

    Good article. I can’t even read the Watters thing because it pisses me off so much, so you have my respect for wading through that particular cesspit.

  • under_score

    Any chance you can paste his response in? I’d rather not traffic that site or sift through all the BS to find it. I realize I’m asking you to take that bullet for me, but you’ve been in there before, so once more into the breach and all that.

  • Alex White

    So it’s important to really know the history behind GamerGate. The catalyst was a long post by an ex of an indie developer called Zoe Quinn. In this post, it alleged a conflict of interest between a Kotaku journalist and the developer. This information turned out to be inaccurate to a point, it alleged that the journalist (Nathan Grayson) had written a positive review of the game while in a romantic relationship with the developer. This is not true, however what is true is that Grayson wrote an article using Quinn as a source on March 31st of this year, regarding a game jam, in which he promoted her game. In “early April”, the two began a romantic relationship. Editor in Chief at Kotaku Stephen Totilo claims he does not see a problem with this, since the romantic relationship began after the article was written, however many people including myself disagree, since it is unlikely that the relationship suddenly sprang out of nowhere and that a friendship was in place prior to this. I and many supporting Gamergate believe this should have been disclosed or that Grayson should have recused himself from writing this article. Kotaku disagrees. However, while this and many other examples of corruption and nepotism are core to what keeps Gamergate moving along, it wasn’t even called Gamergate back then, it was called Quinnspiracy or later, Burgers and fries. These two names were abandoned because people wanted to disassociate with Zoe Quinn and any trolling and harassment that had gone on and focus on ethical issues. After 10+ articles were released in the course of one day, claiming “gamers are dead” and using hurtful and incendiary language to condemn the identity of many innocent people, #Gamergate exploded, after the term was coined by actor Adam Baldwin. It was a consumer backlash against anti-consumer articles. Many people felt angry and alienated by them and in my opinion rightfully so. In the course of this, Anita Sarkeesian released her latest video and inserted herself into the discussion. She published alleged death threats from an anonymous internet troll and then decided to go on the offensive, repeatedly associating these threats with the entirity of those involved with Gamergate and getting directly involved in the hashtag by posting constantly negative attacks. She has nothing to do with journalistic ethics, however she inserted herself into the discussion. I personally have no doubt that she received these threats, death-threats are unfortunately very common online but I do doubt their credibility and who exactly sent them. We simply do not know. The problem with a hashtag is that there are no entry requirements. Anyone can post and claim to be associated with the movement, however it is leaderless and the actions of one person being tied to the entire movement seem fairly illogical and require some serious use of the guilt by association fallacy. In response to a one-sided narrative by the media, proclaiming all those involved to be misogynist, disgusting white male sexists, groups of those claiming to be part of Gamergate raised money for charity, hunted down and reported harassment efforts and even tracked down someone who had been sending Sarkeesian death-threats. Unfortunately Sarkeesian has refused to take this information and use it to press charges for some reason. The idea that in order to discuss journalistic ethics you must disassociate yourself from harassment is a frustrating one. These people already tried that multiple times. They raised over $70,000 for a campaign by the Fine Young Capitalists to help women make videogames. Critics called it “weaponised charity”. They raised money for anti-bullying causes after Gawker employee Sam Biddle, tweeted to his tens of thousands of followers that he endorsed the bullying of nerds. They changed hashtags twice to disassociate from harassment but what good does that do when the entire media is against them? Ashly, you say that we cannot talk about ethics until we stop harassing people. I say, we cannot talk about ethics because you won’t stop talking about us allegedly harassing people. What is the first law of the internet? DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. By pushing this harassment narrative, you are giving these awful people victory and marginalizing the moderate majority who do want a serious conversation to happen about journalistic ethics. I would strongly urge you to come to the table and discuss ethical issues, freeze out those who would harass others, just as popular Gamergate forums like Kotakuinaction on Reddit have been doing for months. This industry has problems that need addressing but this is not the way to go about it. The longer the harassment narrative goes on, the worse this gets, the more frustrated alienated gamers of all races, genders, sexual orientations and creeds involved in this to improve their hobby and passion become. Do we honestly believe this is an organized effort to drive women out of the industry? If that were true, why on earth would the targets be a controversial Youtube critic and two practically unknown indie developers? Wouldn’t people be trying to drive out women of note in the industry who work at major studios and have real influence over the direction of games? If this is a harassment campaign aimed at driving women out of gaming, it is the single most unsuccessful one in the history of mankind. Indeed, there is far more to this. Harassment has happened, I will not deny that, but it is not the responsibility of the moderate majority to apologise for the behavior of trolls. It is indeed partly the responsibility of the media for encouraging said trolls and rewarding their behavior. Yes, we want to talk about ethics. There are plenty of examples that need resolving. This all started with Nathan Graysons relationship, Kotaku believes he did nothing wrong, some of us disagree. Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku wrote glowing articles about developers she was close friends with and in one case, even lived with as a roommate. No apologies were given, disclosure was given retroactively. Said journalist also wrote an article accusing a card game developer (nothing to do with videogames btw) of rape and after he defended himself, complained that he hadnt done enough to start a positive conversation about “rape culture”. This is a man who had a potentially life-destroying allegation held over his head and Kotaku had no issue writing about it and presuming his guilt. Danielle of Polygon gave Gone Home, a game which her friend was the sound designer of, a 10/10 perfect score, she did not disclose her relationship with said person. Destructoid reviewed Borderlands 2 for which the brother of Ashley Burch was a writer and also an ex-staff member of Destructoid. This was only disclosed much later when they fell under scrutiny, they had not thought to disclose it prior. A group called GamejournoPros with a large number of “competiting” journalists allegedly colluded to blacklist a journalist called Alistair Pinsof and also discussed sending letters of support and gifts to Zoe Quinn, clearly not realising the wall that should exist between subject and journalist. Indeed one of them even referred to her as a colleague. The release of so many articles proclaiming gamers dead on the same day raised questions of collusion that have yet to be answered. However, if you need real proof that this is about ethics, you need only look at the following. The Escapist, Polygon and Kotaku all revised their ethics policies soon after this began in direct response to it. IGN and various Youtubers have either published ethics codes or intend to do so. If this wasn’t about ethics, why would you do that? I call on everyone to reject harassment in all its forms, but simultaneously realise that the few do not represent the many. Do not engage in guilt by association and instead treat people as people, not some labeled box of sub-humans online for you to attack and dismiss. Gamers are very much alive and they are more diverse than ever. It disturbs me greatly that anyone would claim otherwise or even worse, attack their identity. Gamers deserve better media, everyone deserves better media. Let’s discuss how to make that happen and let’s not indulge the whims of trolls and bigots.

  • under_score

    Thanks for that. Wall of text, but it’s a good response and worth reading.
    I find it interesting that TB has become such the spokesman for the pro-GG crowd, given that his earliest involvement was a very neutral stance that still managed to enrage the anti-GGers. That whole “you’re either lockstep in line with our dogma or you’re our enemy” mentality has a weird way of rallying opposition.

  • Alex White

    Wow, that article by Audrey got destroyed in the comments section.

  • Alex White

    Wall of text crits for 1000000.

  • Joshua Daniel

    For the record ZQ’s ex never alleged anything of the sort, the point of TheZoePost was to make public her emotional abuse and infidelity. It was the people who read it that found the connection between her and Nathan Grayson, the Kotaku writer, suspicious.

  • Invin

    I must have missed the white supremacist article. Shame we’re losing her valuable voice of reason in all of this, but what was she supposed to do? Acknowledge there’s another side and have a conversation with facts? She did the right thing ragequitting. Really stood up to that non-existent other side of the issue.

  • Assholes have always exited on the internet so I find it stupid how these people like to pretend harassment, threats, etc only started recently and its all gamers and angry white men. Its a social issue and it happens everywhere and it doesn’t matter if you are a man, woman, alien, black, purple, etc. Its really annoying how some of these people treat everything they say as fact and everyone who dares to disagree or have differing view points is misogynist/racist/whatever spawn from hell and they try whatever they can to discredit and fuck them up. As someone who supports gamergate to an extent I will tell you this. When I first saw that wall of text made by Zoe’s ex I didn’t bother reading it. I wasn’t interested in some guy crying a river about his ex cheating on him. People did say she was an indie dev sleeping with a reporter for coverage or something and I was like yeah, what else is new and treated it as just another incident in a long ass list. When I saw Anita’s videos I was like, here we go, another one of those blaming games for all the worlds problems and ignored them. When those articles sprung up about how I was dead and I was a misogynist white trash because I play games that they don’t like, don’t fit into their agenda and their idea of how society is supposed to be thats when alarm bells started to ring and thats when I truly started to follow this shitstorm. I appreciate people like TB and boogie and others trying to bring people to a table and discuss things in a proper civil manner but I honestly think it won’t amount to anything. I may not live in the US but some of my family does and I find it worrisome that they have to deal with this shit, maybe not so much in gaming but these people tend to fuck up other areas of society as well.

  • cfStatic

    Agree with your points, but I want to note that the ‘Death to Brianna Wu’ twitter person made no such connections to #GamerGate. The only ‘connection’ was the the timing from her getting doxxed on /gg/ to when she got the threats on twitter. Which is weird to me, because no one knew Wu before that, and the timing just seems suspicious(harassment is bad mmkay).

  • Thomas Fährmann

    What gamergate showed me is that there a lots of people who engage in gaming communities not because of gaming but to spread their idiological and social oppinions and this is causing lots of unneccesary and heated debates. I never thought about who am I within gaming but now i know it. I just want to enjoy my passion for games (I´m still an active custom content creator and that since 2001) and i have an allergy for people who understand gaming as something completely different. They dont judge gaming communities for what they realy are but instead project their negativity (by reading propaganda how bad and terrible gaming and white males are) into every little thing they see as a symbol of their nemesis (the fun of others). And internet celebrities can be the worst kind of people… i dont like celebs most of the time but this is so increadible stupid and from another planet i cant put in serious words what these people are. These 2 or 3 month are a ride of internet and especially twitter madness DAMN what is wrong with all the hate for gamers and gaming.
    And that someone like TB… who loves games btw. defends gaming and then is getting attacked by all kinds of outsiders just shows this madness. Who these people think they are telling gamers they are not supposed to love gaming and instead feel ashamed to be alive…
    When all gamers of the sims franchise would hate gaming and the game would they participate in doing skins and models for the game ? NO, they wouldnt do that. But this simple logic doesnt exists anymore outthere in the twitter and so called elite gaming world!
    And i´m pretty sure i know why so many people of the anti GG crowd are obsessed with how evil we all are. This gives them something they can be in the center. They are self worshipping self repeating tools of a political group who hide behind “feminism” and the good cause…

  • dingl_

    #Gamergate is what happens when you attempt to silence the majority, what happens? they will get louder and louder and louder. any large movement will attract Trolls- but like is stated here never feed the trolls, they should never be the primary focus. 1 side of all this fail to grasp that concept

  • Excellent and mercifully brief fisking of that really suspect opinion piece. I also really don’t like it when every opinion piece, always and without fail, goes for the gender angle. Even more suspect is the fact that the Mozilla foundation saw fit to promote that article, which included dubious claims by two staunch GamerGate opponents, which had already proven to baseless. Hmmmmmmmmmmm…

    In any case, harassment, when it actually occurs, is a universal issue online. Perhaps all these people shouting “harassment” at the slightest provocation all the time should get out of their small online microcosm into the real world and see what actual harassment is like.

    Alternatively, they could use an arcane concept called “common sense” and do very simple things mentioned in this article to remedy their situation.

  • RD20

    You should add returns I have a hard time believe TB wrote that without breaking that up at all but if so gd impressed anyone could read it.

  • I wouldn’t use such colorful language as you, but it was thankfully short.

  • Thank you for the compliment! I hope I continue to be. Do tell me when I am not though. Probably don’t have to worry about people calling me out…

  • That is great. I think this was something due to ignorance on The Open Standard’s part, though how they act in the future will be evidence of their integrity (I am not saying they lack it now, but that I just don’t know).

  • Alex White

    Just copy and pasted it. It seems odd the lack of paragraphs I agree!

  • Pablo Hernández

    Anita the culture critic, blogger, orator, videogame expert and now “Educator”.

    Can’t take these people seriously