That’s a pretty outdated version of the initial stupid shitstorm though. This is in no way complete, but here’s an overview from where I’m standing.
Again, I didn’t pay attention until the stuff started involving journalism, so I don’t have the whole details, but the real hook for attention was that one of the guys mentioned in the jilted boyfriend stuff was a journalist for Kotaku, and another had been a jury in a contest where her game had gotten a prize. This basically splintered the matter into two: on one side, you had retarded harassment, yet on the other, you had people digging around for more dirt on journalists. Things kept going for a while, spawning other unrelated witchhunts (for instance, another kotaku writer was found to have been roommates and even romantic partners of another dev she had plugged a lot on her articles). This kept going for a while longer, but seemed doomed to peter out.
And then the first bomb dropped: within 24, a barrage of articles appeared on most mainstream sites all following the same rough line: “Gamers are entitled manbabies and we shouldn’t listen to them anymore.” The intent was clearly a stand against harassment, but the tone and scope of the targeting were… unfortunate. This is what I meant by lots of these guys not knowing PR. The things read more like they were telling their whole reader base to fuck off. End result: a whole lotta people who didn’t give a shit before got interested since they felt targeted.
Now you got a MUCH bigger mass of people who didn’t give a damn about the original scandal but were interested in the claims of journalistic corruption (around a dozen identical articles dropping simultaneously didn’t exactly help defuse the “You’re all a clique of buddies who simply push whatever you want” accusations.) This is made even WORSE by the magic of Twitter, where guys like Jason Schreder (Kotaku writer already notable for the Dragon Crown scuffle) openly boasted of the fact that “Nobody at Kotaku ever tries to be objective” or Leigh Alexander being… let’s just go with “Not polite”.
So now you got, on one side, a mob made of a mixture of shitheads looking to harass people, witchhunters, people with actual interest in the corruption accusations and the internet in general. In the other side, you got the gaming media insisting this is exclusively about misogyny. An assortment of stuff happened that would take too long to recount, though the highlights are that notorious right-leaning actor Adam Baldwin jumped in when discussing the corruption stuff and coined the #GamerGate hashtag, and later on another journalist from Breitbart (a British right-wing tabloid) got involved as well and started investigating. A startup charity trying to raise money for a gamejam for women accused Quinn of using media connections to torpedo their gamejam in order to help prop up her own and then blocking them from any coverage. Also one of the main accusations in the original slew of “Gamers are dead” articles was also the fact that this was all coming from “white priviledged kids”, so a secondary hashtag (#NotYourShield) appeared where a bunch of women, minorities and people from other countries claimed to support what at this point became “Gamergate”. At the same time, some of the claims of corruption or at least non-disclosure of conflicts of interest seemed to have some validity, so The Escapist released a new code of ethics and promised to be more careful with disclosing stuff in the future.
Shit went on for far longer than anybody would have expected (I was sure destiny’s release would snuff it out, but here we are) and the banhammer started swinging around the internet. The two “sides” entrenched each other pretty firmly. “GamerGate” insisting that the issue is about journalist corruption, and “The Media (Minus the Escapist)” pretty staunchly standing in place and decrying the whole thing as a misogynous withhunt.
And that’s kind of where we are here. Honestly, my opinion is that while the harassment stuff is indeed awful, it’s also being used to deflect investigation on some shady shit going on with journos. There seems to be a very concentrated effort from the media to keep this matter rooted on Quinn that starts to get a little suspicious after several weeks of ignoring a bunch of accusations that don’t involve her on the least. The Genetic Fallacy is being swung around mighty strong here.
Just a few days ago, the Breitbart guy released a story about how essentially all major players in gaming media maintain a mailing list where they mostly coordinate how to deal with news stories in mass. I’ve read the logs, and they irk me. A big problem seems to be that they don’t quite grasp how this is fantastically poisonous to journalistic integrity or ideas like keeping a professional distance from the subjects that you write on. It’s not really a “vicious conspiracy” so much as it seems to be an issue of these guys being essentially bloggers who moved up the ladder, but didn’t stop treating the business like a friends’ club even though they literally held the fate of many indie devs in their hands.
Simultaneously to all this, you get a bunch of journalists and indie devs popping up with stories about how the journalist clique works and how following the group is often the only way to make it in the indie scene. This guy has a pretty interesting read on the matter.
I have to disagree on that one. They don’t matter to the big publishers, but indies live and die by whatever coverage they can get. An article in Kotaku and the like is worth gold to the ramen-fueled production crowd. Even the middle-ranked guys can’t really ignore them, like when Daniel Vávra’s kickstarter project came under fire because of some or other nonsense. Ignoring the impact this has on indies gets harder the more “indies” starts to mean “Everybody who’s not EA or Activision”.