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Lo it was discovered journalistic malpractice was the way of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, MSNBC, CNN, Salon, and The Mary Sue when WAM published the Harassment On Twitter report and their narrative was torn asunder.
-The Gospel According to GamerGate 13:37
Women, Action, & the Media published a report about Twitter harassment. Data was collected during a three week period in November 2014, when WAM was granted authorized reporter status by Twitter. According to the report, WAM accepted reports of harassment over Twitter, assessed them, and escalated specific reports for special attention by Twitter. Here’s what we learned from the report.
The Media Narrative About GG Was a Lie
Active members of GamerGate already knew this, but it bears saying out loud. The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, MSNBC, CNN, among others couldn’t be bothered to do any research whatsoever about GamerGate when they wrote their SocJus propaganda. Here is a fact:
Only 12% of 512 alleged harassing accounts were GamerGate related, which is 65 accounts total.
Let’s go a step further. There are nearly 10,000 accounts in the ggautoblocker blacklist that’s been used by nearly everyone to “identify” GamerGate supporters. Of those 10,000, only 65 accounts were flagged as harassing. Written as a percentage, .65% of GamerGate supporting accounts are harassing accounts. The media narrative was a lie, which we’ve known since most of us got here after the 2 Minutes Hate on Labor Day Weekend 2014, and the narrative should be well and truly dead.
I’m not suggesting the media outlets mentioned above do the same kind of research WAM did in order to write this report. I’m suggesting they spend some time where the majority of GamerGate supporters hangout, Twitter and the Kotaku in Action subreddit, ask questions, and decide for themselves. Not a single person, beyond my wife, has ever asked me why I support GamerGate. Until someone in the media finds to courage to ask those questions, I expect the media narrative will continue to be opposite what the data shows.
The question going forward is two fold: 1) will the media outlets that miscast GamerGate as a harassment movement or hate movement recant and attack the individuals who are harassing? 2) Will the media narrative going forward change in the least?
I’ll believe it when I see it.
GGautoblocker is .65% Effective and 99.35% Industry Blacklist
Randi Harper’s ggautoblocker is one of the worst designed and implemented pieces of software ever written. All it takes to determine autoblocker’s profound lack of quality is to look at the code. Autoblocker is designed to be a guilt-by-association Scarlet Letter as a means of passive-aggressively bullying consumer advocates out of the GamerGate movement. It was so badly designed, one of IGDA’s own chapter presidents was flagged by it. It was greenlit by IGDA thanks to the first 2 Rules of SocJus, and because Kate Edwards well and truly knows nothing about software design or development, yet somehow continues in her role as Executive Director of IGDA.
Going back to the WAM data for a moment, my personal opinion is someone screwed up by using ggautoblocker as a source for GamerGate supporting accounts. Who’s to say the ggautoblocker list is an accurate representation of GamerGate supporters? I’m a GG supporter, yet I’m not on the blocker, as far as I know. The Kotaku in Action subreddit has over 30,000 subscribers, for example.
But even the 30,000 number is troubling. Some of the KiA subscribers are vacuum brained Ghazi-ites. Others are members of the vastly more reasonable AgainstGamerGate subreddit as well, which inflates the number of accounts. Given that GamerGate isn’t a harassment movement, I don’t see a need to overpopulate the number of Twitter accounts supporting the hashtag, especially if we apply the 1% Rule to reddit subscription numbers.
I suppose you could start with ggautoblocker’s 10,000 accounts, use the 1% Rule applied to social media, and take some sort of “fudge factor” to account for anti-GamerGate people who are, by WAM’s definition, false flagging, report trolling, and spewing to make GamerGate look like something it’s not.
If one were to do all this, one would end up with a “number of GamerGate supporters” at around 70,000. The next problem is to know who those accounts’ Twitter handles, so WAM could determine whether or not the accounts are harassing. That’s the rub, so while I’m skeptical of the methodology used by WAM to collect their data, I also concede their way was the best way to collect data given the time allowed. My point in all this is simply the percentage of GamerGate supporting Twitter accounts that are also harassing accounts is artificially high because of the source data picked due to time constraints.
Picking the source data they did actually makes ggautoblocker look more effective than it actually is as an anti-harassment tool.
Of course, Harper created the tool to be used as an industry blacklist, which is why no one at IGDA looked at it before it was given the green light as an anti-harassment tool. If anyone following Milo is automatically out of the running for gaming industry jobs, then there would have to be positions available for the fundamentally unemployable, dishonest, and incompetent, right?
WAM Should Be Celebrated For Letting the Data Tell the Story
Let me be the first to say how happy I am that WAM collected the data and reported on the data they collected. They’d have every reason to not report on the data, specifically the GamerGate data, in favor of making a series of alarmist claims about online harassment relative to GamerGate.
wolf GamerGate” strategy has worked for every member of SocJus that’s tried it so far; thus, I posit the following: What would Dan Golding, Katherine Cross, Jill Pantozzi, or the SocJus holy trinity (Wu, Sarkeesian, and Quinn) have done had they possessed this data and reported on it?
You’re fooling yourself if you think you’d have seen inlays stating that only 12% of total reports over the reporting period were related to GamerGate. You’re fooling yourself if you think they would have reported the starting point for “what is GamerGate” was Harper’s blacklist. You’re fooling yourself if you think the entire report would have been anything other than Chicken Little shrieking “Twitter is falling! Twitter is falling!” The WAM report is calm, cool, and collected; it makes reasonable criticisms of the current systems in place for handling harassment, and the report would be a good jumping off point for any downstream discussions on how to make Twitter better relative to online harassment.
A second point, and far less important, is a fundamental problem with harassment reporting on Twitter in general. It’s not the idea of “authorized reporter status”. I actually kind of like that, assuming if WAM is going to be a authorized reporter, then men’s equivalent would also be an authorized reporter. Ideally, I’d much prefer ideology stay out of harassment reporting altogether, but I’m asking for way too much from the “criticism is harassment” SocJus crowd for my preference to be reality.
What I think needs to be done away with totally is being able to report a harassing Twitter account on a stranger’s behalf. The WAM data actually brings this weakness in reporting to light, as 53% of all reports were made by other parties, and of those reports, bystanders were a 3:1 majority over official delegates. It’s clear, based on this sample, there are far too many busybodies with nothing better to do than report a troll for other people who may or may not consider an individual tweet to be harassment. When we’re (well, not me, because I’m a white, heterosexual, well-adjusted, career-oriented male, but I mean the Royal we, when I say we’re) working on the fix for Twitter harassment, the short comings in the reporting process, specifically proxy reporting by strangers, should be addressed at the same time other reporting solutions are presented.
So, nice work, WAM. You’ve proven to have more courage than most of the main stream press and online gaming press combined when it comes to treating GamerGate fairly and treating consumers like adults. As both a GamerGate supporter and adult consumer, I appreciate that.