(Warning: Many of the sources I link contain strong language and some include less-than tactful approaches to presenting information.)
I am going to begin again by saying this: This is not an attack on Zoe Quinn nor is this an evaluation of her character. The fact she is discussed at all is coincidental, she just so happens to be the nearby example.
If you want some background / my take on the current situation, and what should really be important, look at this article.
I’m tired of Zoe Quinn’s name being relevant – still – as I am sure all of you are. Though, for most people this event does not even exist. It is not something they are aware of because many different sites are working hard to make it that way.
If you do a Google search right now, for Zoe Quinn, look at what you will find. All you see are articles defending Zoe Quinn. Nothing that is talking about her in even a maybe negative manner is anywhere to be seen. That is because nothing like that exists on any significant site anywhere. Quite a few sites have left up some threads on their forum to allow for discussion. But many more have not.
Many communities are only allowing discussion that is positive about Zoe Quinn and defending her. Places like NeoGAF (probably the worst), N4G (though that example may have been the action of a single moderator, as TechRaptor’s previous article was left up), Reddit, even 4chan is having threads removed, and many other sites continually removed threads until they left some up. It is really difficult to get evidence of this happening, as most of the time the thread is removed before most people documented it. Some of it is shown in the previous article. For the most part it still continues, in many places as I have experienced it first hand.
I should highlight some sites and people for doing a good job of allowing and participating in discussion (although most have no official article out on the subject): The Escapist, IGN, Gamespot, some subreddits on Reddit, gabrielaknight, One Angry Gamer, gamerheadlines, TotalBiscuit, The Males of Games and likely a host of others that I probably haven’t found.
I’m not putting myself for one side or another here, but just pointing out how blatantly obvious one side of the conversation is not only being ignored by the bigger sites and communities but actively silenced.
I remember that I used to shrug off the mocking people would make of game journalism as nothing more than them looking down on something that is in its fledgling stages and still learning what its all about. That it was a part of an industry that in itself is only in its infancy. But, that is definitely not the case any longer.
I am not naive enough to think that this is something unique to game journalism either. There are countless examples of mainstream media working together to avoid discussing an issue or just pushing one point of view. At least with those examples I can understand why they do it. They obviously have an agenda to push and are trying to convince the most people to their point of view as possible.
But this? This makes absolutely no sense at all to me. Who is Zoe Quinn that she is so important that we should all be running to defend her? Regardless of the truth behind any of the accusations the amount of protection she has is nonsensical to me.
Let’s say that internet favorite Valve is implicated through a third party’s accusation that they paid off multiple websites to get better reviews for their games and more positive articles for their services. That is not unlike the current Zoe Quinn situation at all. Would so many sites be jumping to defend Valve saying that they could not possibly be so disingenuous to have been a part of these actions? They are too good and pure.
Of course they wouldn’t. Something like this would explode and be all over every gaming website. Discussions would fill message boards, from how evil Valve is to whether or not they have ever made a good game.
While I am not expecting something similar for the Zoe Quinn situation, I would expect at least something. Right now it is so difficult to find information because most of it is buried in small sites not unlike this one.
So I ask again why? Why defend her? Well apparently there does seem to be a lot of connection between Zoe Quinn and a ton of gaming journalists, disregarding the accusations of intimate relationships with them. All of those in that infographic have direct stakes in her well-being and have what seem to be more than professional relationships. This is all likely just what was readily available to see as well, who knows what else might be going on.
I would like to mention one more interesting point about the double standard that exists in gaming journalism. So many sites are saying how this is a huge sexist/misogynistic event surrounding Zoe Quinn. That it is just because she is a woman that this kind of attention is unduly being put on her.
Well some, including this video (it is mostly good and worth the watch if you are interested in the issue), bring up the instance where Max Temkin, a co-creator for the popular Cards Against Humanity game, was accused of rape (which in the end turned out to be untrue) and gaming journalists everywhere seemed to jump on the the chance of discussing it. Places like Rock Paper Shotgun, TheDailyBeast, Kotaku, Jezebel, NeoGAF, Reddit, and others.
Because that exists, the current explanations surrounding the lack of discussion in the Zoe Quinn issue are totally senseless. The accusation has far less connection to gaming than this incident, as Temkin’s alleged rape (turned out to be false) didn’t involve another member of the gaming community. Even then, it really has no relevance to the gaming industry. However, for some reason it was completely justifiable to talk about though.
It does have something to do with sex, so the whole sexual nature (the taboo) of the Zoe Quinn issue is not something that should be at issue. Neither should the fact that it is an inherently personal issue. The accusations for both were, to begin with, personal matters, and for both the accusations didn’t have the evidence to back it up. So none of these can be the reason as to why sites refused to discuss Zoe Quinn.
John Walker, editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, said this on twitter, which was then followed by this the next day. Rock Paper Shotgun, if you remember, was one of the sites that not only discussed the Max Temkin issue but was genuinely surprised that nobody was talking about it.
That second tweet, about the supposed hypocrisy that “foul bigots” are spewing, is something worth discussing. A ton of huge sites are talking about the Zoe Quinn issue through the lens of just how terrible the internet is. How sexist, misogynistic, malicious, and a whole bunch of other negative connotations people could be and how sites that are talking about Zoe Quinn, even slightly negatively, are helping perpetuate that nasty portion of the internet.
That is just not true, but an issue that will be discussed tomorrow.
Why is this being put out there? Really for no other reason than to have it exist. There are far too many places that are being disingenuous and actively censoring discussion, largely because they are likely directly involved. We should know about this, other should know about this, and we should keep it here as a reminder to hopefully stop more of it from happening in the future. This won’t be the piece to do it, but it will add to the slowly building momentum out there.