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Developers React to the IGDA Controversy

Technology article by on Monday, November 24, 2014 - 10:00

Disclaimer: Please note due to recent circumstances I should include that the people represented in this piece do not reflect the views of TechRaptor and are not endorsed by this article.

Authors Note: The developers had a lot to say about this, so I have cut down many of their answers for length with their permission.


Following the recent controversy, where the International Game Developers Association wrongly labeled almost 11,000 people the worst offenders of online harassment, many have spoken out. TechRaptor decided to give a voice to developers to tell their stories. "In addition to being labeled a harasser of women and other vile insanity, I am constantly told by many powerful organizations because I have spoken out about this, I will never have a career, I will never be promoted, I am finished, I am blocklisted, I am blacklisted. I feel like I have worked hard to overcome adversity [Gibbons is disabled]. I feel like perhaps I do have an interesting story. I feel like I should represent, to at least some degree, what indie game development is all about. I feel like, at the very least, we should live in a time where my game is limited only by its quality, not by my opinions or desire for an ethical industry? Instead, I am told how privileged I am to experience all this by people who get hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund their attacks on me."

- Joshua Gibbons, developing Shadow Sol: The Reaper of Stars.


"So I had never heard about the IGDA until I saw a tweet from one of their twitter accounts questioning Intel over pulling ads from Gamasutra, and now there is this and their support of a poorly put together block list. The entire list is based on the idea of guilt by association and has hit many innocent bystanders some who have never heard of #GamerGate. With the ongoing situation, the IGDA could actually have tried to help bring this to a resolution by trying to get discussions between developers, journalists and more started but have instead decided to make this rift even bigger. As a developer who is hopefully just getting started and has been placed on a block list by the IGDA and labelled as one of the "worst offenders in the recent wave of harassment" I don't know why I would ever trust them or want to be associated with them, as a developer I don't really see how they are helping developers with stupid ideas like this."

- Simon Bates, developing Kid Nebula


"I think they need to get off their high horses and stop being such a damn exclusive club where the only people they want in, are the people that fit their narrative. It's been like that for a long time. I've been in the indie games scene for the better part of a decade and it's always been that you have to play ball or you're not welcome. 

IGDA is helping support a culture where game devs are scared to speak up because their so called 'peers' will do what they can to shut them out of the game dev industry just for not falling in line."

- KM, developer of Super Oppressed PPL "To me, it now looks like a foolish crusade in a very sensitive time for gaming. IGDA is trying to demonize a huge slice of gamers and game developers who are asking for transparency and ethical practices in game Journalism, and what is worse, they are allegedly doing that in defense of women, minorities and LGBT communities. The number of people in GamerGate that support the role of women, minorities and LGBT in gaming is overwhelming, denying that does nothing to help those issues, on the contrary, it just radicalize the conflict. Sometimes I wonder about the thousands of people shamed and attacked every day, branded as harassers and terrorists in the name of social justice and that, unlike me, had not the chance to feel the importance of those issues in their everyday life. I would argue that any big organization making a huge claim like that would be expected to do pass their claims through a decent amount of scrutiny before they are made public.

- Simone Tanzi, Developer of Cupets.


"We're shocked that the IGDA would so hastily endorse such a tool as the GGAutoBlocker List without properly researching the contents of that list or the algorithm it is built upon. We do not endorse or engage in harassment, yet by being on that list we have been labeled as such. IGDA should know how difficult it is already for indie developers to gain exposure and there are multiple developers on that list besides us. It's a shame and reaching our audience just got a little harder."

- Kevin Gray, GravTechGames, developing NORA

" I believe that there are individuals who deserve to be blocked. There are trolls involved in both sides that are creating chaos and harassing others. These people should be blocked and I fully support everyone who does so.  But this list has already shown why a public block list is a bad idea. Innocent developers, consumers, and restaurant chains have been accused being "The worst of the worst harassers" without a chance to defend themselves. This is, at the very least, irresponsible and quite possibly, "Unethical".

I follow twitter accounts from all walks of life to see the world from other points of view. I want to question my beliefs every single day because I don't ever want to be blinded by them. I listen to voices that I don't agree with all the time because I know they might say something worthwhile. I was lucky that I wasn't following the wrong person this time. But what about next time the Elders deem someone a "Villain". It's bad enough worrying that a random HR person who decide arbitrarily to throw away my resume, but now the IGDA supports punishment without checking the facts? The truth is, I'm ashamed and downright furious at my industry right now"


- Anon Male Developer

"Let me just make this clear: I have been victim of harassment and verbal abuse myself. I have stood against any kind of harassment, often helped complete strangers emotionally, and sometimes, financially - on or offline. Because I KNOW how it feels to be truly harassed, shamed and oppressed, I'm doing my best to help people. I don't consider myself a threat. Now I landed on a twitter block list for following individuals that are pro GG with the intention to get updates on the entire GamerGate [scandal]. How can you just go around and claim such horrible things? Even moreso, how can you even add such a flawed blocklist to a professional site? Don't you have to verify first before even consider adding it? This seems like pure recklessness. I appreciate that they took it down, but I fear the damage has already been done I don't think an apology from the IGDA would even be able to fix the damage they have already done.

If you really care about inclusiveness in games, blacklisting should be out of the question. Rumor has it that "Women In Gaming", a subdivision of the IGDA, has had its hands on creating that list. This really baffles me. People in GamerGate claim it's about ethics. Antis are claiming they are bullying women out of gaming and gamedev. Maybe this is true for some toxic individuals that exist on both of these sides. But as a woman affected by the blocklist, I'm seriously starting to wonder who's trying to bully who out of the industry. I hope for the future that people will learn to deal with these things better. We must take ourselves as human, first and foremost. Everything else, like gender, sexual orientation, religion, should be secondary."

-  Anon Female Developer

"The idea that we are to be labelled among the group of "worst harassers" is both baffling and insulting. Its fascinating how in the name of progress and protection, they basically enter their own, protracted and essentially self-defeating form of harassment while we just try to make our game and share our thoughts."

- Developers of Gods and Idols.

"Quite honestly getting unfairly labeled is just another day in the office for us so we've made jest of it on Twitter, and it would be simply hilarious if the implications were not so worrying for less established developers, should this kind of practice become somehow acceptable. What makes it worse is that this endorsement came from an organization that claims to look out for the rights of developers and also to protect their freedom of speech.  

What they've done could potentially really hurt an innocent developer, the people they claim to protect, by branding them harassers and encouraging many of their potential customers to block them. Ultimately though when the dust has settled the people they will have hurt the most are themselves and the image of their organization. It's not too late for them to own this mistake and come out with an unconditional apology to all those caught up in this, and I suspect many within the organization are not happy about how this was handled."

- Running with Scissors, developers of Postal "The list is fundamentally flawed, IGDA had no business putting it on their site, which is clearly an endorsement by them despite what they might state. Their reaction to backlash from people not unhappy with their endorsement to the list is disappointing, and I'd like to see a full apology.  Contrary to popular opinion I believe that a properly curated, community driven, and much smaller list would be a good tool for the community and would help all involved in GamerGate"

- Ashley Ross, developer of Still Free

"It's really rather unprofessional to gather ten-thousand people on an unchecked list, developed by an extremely bigoted, biased, 3rd party individual, based on who they follow. But that's not the part that upset me. Normally I wouldn't mind in the slightest to be put on some type of auto block list. I've got really thick skin. The part that really made me mad was that they called me, and everyone else on the list "Twitter's worst harassers". That's careless, reprehensible, and downright damaging to start-up indie developers, like myself. Libel like that could very well hamstring my company before it can get off the ground, and destroy the dream I've looked forward to accomplishing since I was 5 years old. Personally, I have never harassed anyone. The very idea that these people have such blatant disregard for the industry they're supposed to be part of make my blood boil. To reiterate: it's unprofessional, it's low, it's condemnable, and I'm never trusting these people again. One does not accuse thousands of people of being the worst harassers, and then walk away like they're better than us. Like we deserve to be slandered. Despicable."

- Bastendorf, developer of Savage