Over the past few weeks, you may have heard rumblings (or participated directly) in the #GamerGate hashtag. The controversy was relegated to the gaming corner of the Internet but, last week, prompted Intel to pull ads from an involved website, so things are spilling into mainstream circles. It's a pretty complicated situation, involving important conversations about journalistic integrity, nepotism and online threats. But, more than anything, GamerGate highlights two competing narratives: journalistic integrity when writing about video games and the struggles women face in a male-dominated industry.
The bare facts are this: #GamerGate began when a young man named Eron Gjoni posted a lengthy tirade accusing his ex-girlfriend, who goes by Zoe Quinn, of cheating on him. Quinn had achieved some fame for making a game called Depression Quest, a text-based adventure based loosely on her own struggles with mental illness. The game received a mention in Kotaku, Gawker's video game wing, by a writer who—as it turned out—would go on to date Quinn. To a huge swatch of the gaming community, this all smacked of video game journalists giving certain people favored treatment and women using sex to ascend the ranks of the gaming elite. This is where most of the GamerGate community wanted to keep the conversation.
Unfortunately, whatever valid concerns GamerGate sympathizers may have are being buried under a wash of truly horrifying misogyny, with a small but determined sect of gamers treating Quinn and her defenders to the release of violent online threats, private photos, personal addresses and even banking information. All of which has prompted at least three women in the gaming industry to quit their jobs and, in two cases,flee their homes ... Discuss