So there's this thing called #GamerGate

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    farsicon said:
    But not everyone is capable of those basic overrides yet.
    Which is where the other points come in. Enlightenment for all is ideal, but not necessary. We can get rid of harassment with or without harassers' enlightenment. At least, I think we can to some extent, based on what we have done in other areas as I explained in the previous post. But yes, I'm not saying it's easy or a "solved problem"; as you say, we should try.

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    farsicon said:
    But not everyone is capable of those basic overrides yet.
    Which is where the other points come in. Enlightenment for all is ideal, but not necessary. We can get rid of harassment with or without harassers' enlightenment. At least, I think we can to some extent, based on what we have done in other areas as I explained in the previous post. But yes, I'm not saying it's easy or a "solved problem"; as you say, we should try.
    Are you proposing chemical treatments for harassers? Not sure this will ever be a viable option. People will always need to opt in their levels of commitment towards the greater good. I don't think we'll get rid of trolls ever. But here's hoping :)

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    I gave a few examples to show we do not have to put up with "my hormones made me do it". I think we can get rid of trolls, and my feeling is that we won't need chemical treatment (oi oi oi, seriously man!), but I am not an expert in troll-management, so I cannot offer the complete solution. Anyways, I think our ideas of what is possible is simply different; so be it.

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    I don't think there's anything to substantiate the idea that trolling is a biological certainty. It's a learned behavior and, as such, can be dealt with through the same channels it came in on.

    Harassment is equally learned, it's just backed up by a larger culture too (internet troll culture isn't quite as global) that's what makes it seem unavoidably ubiquitous. But the point remains that it's learned, practiced group belonging behavior, not a cruel twist of biology. That's a good thing, because that's infinitely easier to deal with.

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    Zoe just released an article talking about the falseness of neutrality in requests that people targeted by GG respond reasonably to calls for discussion. You should read it.
    ...

    Treating it as though it were a mere matter of difference of opinion when one group has been relentlessly ruining lives and trying to cover it up, and the other is made up of people targeted by that group, treating them equally is NOT fairness. It is NOT balance. It is falsely seeking the Golden Mean for the Golden Mean’s sake, while discarding the spirit of fairness it represents by asking victims of a group attacking them for weeks or months to defend their right to live their lives without that. Even if every single false justification that GamerGate has given for their existence was true, even if I was the Machiavellian hellbeast they make me out to be, no one deserves to be GamerGate’s target. No one deserves to have their real lives ruined over video games.

    ...

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    dislekcia said:
    I don't think there's anything to substantiate the idea that trolling is a biological certainty. It's a learned behavior and, as such, can be dealt with through the same channels it came in on.

    Harassment is equally learned, it's just backed up by a larger culture too (internet troll culture isn't quite as global) that's what makes it seem unavoidably ubiquitous. But the point remains that it's learned, practiced group belonging behavior, not a cruel twist of biology. That's a good thing, because that's infinitely easier to deal with.
    Are you calling sociopathy a learned behavior? While there are varying degrees of sociopaths, it is pretty naive to claim that this is simply something that could be unlearned... Some of the behavioral patterns may be fexible, but the psychological drivers are most certainly not, and to make light of this is not really smart imho as I believe all factors must be taken into account, not only the ones that resonates with our personal ideals.

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    I think there's truth in both viewpoints.

    There are real sociopaths who have those behaviours innately born into them. They often do learn to handle those to be able to live in society on way or another, but their impulses will result in behaviour X. Anonymity affords them the chance to relinquish that self-control.

    There are also people who have learned behaviours that the majority dislike. They weren't born with sociopathy but having it "born in them" isn't the prerequisite for behaving a certain way.

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    @tuism: Agreed, except that these are not differing viewpoints, but a call to be more inclusive on the original. Education is not enough, and to understand a bit of the psychology will go a long way towards finding resolutions to these problems. While the general public can be swayed by additional education (which is great and must be spearheaded), the true abusers do not do it for lack of knowledge but in spite of it.

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    Biology certainly does play a role in mental illnesses like psychopathy and sociopathy, and while I think there's a possibility that could be driving some of the more heinous parts of Gamergate, there's a lot of really subtle sociological stuff going on as well. Also, we should be careful about using labels that describe very real mental illnesses that affect real human beings when the person we're talking about is just an arsehole. Adding to the stigma that surrounds mental illness is definitely a thing I propose we try to avoid.

    The notion that this is learned behaviour certainly isn't naive, it's based in psychological theory and is in fact taught in university psychology courses, along with a number of other theories that might be entirely different. 'Psychology' isn't monolothic, there's tons of disagreement within the academy and between its practitioners. Hell, Anna Freud and Melanie Klein almost physically fought each other over disagreements in their approaches to psychology a number of times.

    The proposition is that we live in societies where values towards groups and identities are informed by intersecting kyriarchal power structures: patriarchy, white supremacy, heterosexism, etc. As such, we, as a society, regard with less value those groups who have been marginalised by those power structures. Harassment, discrimination, and aggression in general is almost always informed by the relation of power between two people, for example, how women receive significantly more harassment just while walking down the street, and how their claims of harassment are often dismissed. Consider how often white police officers just get away with murdering black men in spite of overwhelming evidence that they were in fact guilty. Trans people can't even go to the bathroom without fear of harassment or assault. The people responsible for these individual acts and the lack of consequences that follow them can't all be sociopaths.

    Unless we're extremely self aware and critical of our surroundings, we internalise these values. We begin to understand women, people of colour, queer and trans people all as lesser human beings, if we even see them as humans at all. As long as we have more privilege than a person, we can get away with doing bad things to them, because the rest of society has internalised these views as well. This isn't sociopathy, this is just the ideological landscape we find ourselves in. Dismissing this as the purview of the mentally ill dismisses how easy it is for the average, everyday human being to act on that privilege to harm someone from a marginalised group, and perpetuates views of people suffering from mental illness (themselves a marginalised group) as universally violent people who can't contribute to society.

    So yes, I'm not saying mental illness has absolutely no bearing on the behaviour we've seen in Gamergate, but to call this a biological problem is too reductive. I'd argue that this is predominantly a problem with the way society, and men in particular, have internalised misogyny, which is so evident in how GG has attacked women on the internet, and how any complaints about this harassment are immediately dismissed by them as lies or the woman creating sockpuppet accounts to harass herself.

    PS, with regards to the comments about prison being an indicator of our inability to contain biological urges. It's important to remember that, in a lot of places, the US especially (I am embarrassingly unaware of whether or not this is true in SA), the justice systems are really fucked up and overwhelmingly stacked against people of colour. A majority of inmates incarcerated in American prisons are people of colour, many of whom were given absurdly long sentences for minor crimes that white people probably wouldn't even have been arrested for. Obviously this doesn't mean they're all innocent, but the prison system as a whole probably doesn't show how incapable we are of resisting biology as it might seem at face value.

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    @brondin: the intent is great, as long as we remember that the complexities and nuances go both ways. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater by calling everyone misogynists is very counter productive when there is only a small minority who truly hate women. The majority can be educated, but this minority (the true hate mongers) will not stop and attacking them will increase the rancor and escalate things (as we have seen countless times in our recorded history - not just with gamergate). These are complex problems and require complex solutions - not just idealistic over-simplification - otherwise any real attempts to make progress will keep being obstructed due to unnecessary red herrings and technicalities like #notallmen.. etc.

    Understanding is important.
    Tolerance is important.

    Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela have dealt superbly with extreme hatred - this works.

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    farsicon said:
    the true abusers do not do it for lack of knowledge but in spite of it.
    I agree with that last piece of what you said.

    I tracked a couple of them and confronted them.

    Mostly they were doing it 'for lulz' or whatever.

    But a few made vague statements about employers and paychecks.
    Which is possibly the most concerning thing in all this.

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    farsicon said:
    @brondin: the intent is great, as long as we remember that the complexities and nuances go both ways. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater by calling everyone misogynists is very counter productive when there is only a small minority who truly hate women.
    Misogyny isn't just actively or consciously hating women. It's performative, it entails the (re)production of societal discourses that ideologically frame women as inferior to men. I certainly agree that there's only a small contingent of Gamergate that truly hates women, and they might be the least likely to change, but everyone involved is participating in misogynistic discourse, either due to ignorance of how the things they say and do are harmful to women, or through implicitly condoning the actions of those who have been more actively misogynistic. Dismissing this as 'a few bad apples' erases the complex, nuanced, sociological problems that fuel misogyny on a wide scale.
    farsicon said:
    The majority can be educated, but this minority (the true hate mongers) will not stop and attacking them will increase the rancor and escalate things (as we have seen countless times in our recorded history - not just with gamergate).
    By 'attacking' them, do you mean 'calling out misogynistic behaviour for what it is'? Telling people that they're saying or doing shitty things is important to a) try to get them to behave like better human beings, and b) show support for the people they've hurt.
    farsicon said:
    These are complex problems and require complex solutions - not just idealistic over-simplification - otherwise any real attempts to make progress will keep being obstructed due to unnecessary red herrings and technicalities like #notallmen.. etc.
    Like I said, this sort of Foucauldian critical psychological approach takes into consideration how misogyny is a subtle, every day problem, not just an 'only dudes throwing slurs around and punching random women are misognyists' type affair. It's not saying that all men are misogynists, but that all men benefit from patriarchal power structures. As for notallmen, that's going to be a response to the topic of feminism for a very long time, because people for the most part don't understand it. I honestly don't have a solution to that, but I know it's not watering down the philosophical tenets of feminism to appeal to the fragile egos of bros who don't want to acknowledge their privilege.
    farsicon said:
    Understanding is important.
    Tolerance is important.

    Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela have dealt superbly with extreme hatred - this works.
    Of course, but government-level civil rights issues require different approaches and compromises. I'm not saying we have to dismiss everyone in GG as human beings or throw them all in jail just for their involvement. But we do have to acknowledge how shitty their behaviour is, and talk about the societal issues that facilitate this behaviour, because the more we tolerate the actions of a bigot, the more we discursively condone the harm caused to their victims.

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    brondin said:
    Dismissing this as 'a few bad apples'...
    Is anyone saying that?
    brondin said:
    By 'attacking' them, do you mean 'calling out misogynistic behaviour for what it is'?
    Are you saying that the discourse so far has only been mature, rational, constructive and informative?
    brondin said:
    As for notallmen, that's going to be a response to the topic of feminism for a very long time, because people for the most part don't understand it. I honestly don't have a solution to that, but I know it's not watering down the philosophical tenets of feminism to appeal to the fragile egos of bros who don't want to acknowledge their privilege.
    Improving the way we communicate and translate difficult subjects to others does not mean watering down the message. It just requires a level of maturity, respect and mutual understanding... topped off with copious amounts of tolerance and patience (yes.. even in spite of the loathing we harbor for those that practice these behaviours). I have seen very little of this over the last couple of months, and it doesn't really surprise me that there has been very little positive progress at all.

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    farsicon said:
    Is anyone saying that?
    Is this not the argument you're making in the following quote?
    farsicon said:
    Throwing the baby out with the bathwater by calling everyone misogynists is very counter productive when there is only a small minority who truly hate women.
    It sounds like you don't believe Gamergate to be misogynistic at large, and that the true problem lies in this small minority?
    farsicon said:
    Are you saying that the discourse so far has only been mature, rational, constructive and informative?
    Which specific examples would you like to address? This is an easier topic to discuss if we have concrete texts to talk about.
    Improving the way we communicate and translate difficult subjects to others does not mean watering down the message. It just requires a level of maturity, respect and mutual understanding... topped off with copious amounts of tolerance and patience (yes.. even in spite of the loathing we harbor for those that practice these behaviours). I have seen very little of this over the last couple of months, and it doesn't really surprise me that there has been very little positive progress at all.
    In hindsight, that bit wasn't quite relevant to what you said, sorry about that. :) But watering feminism down is a concern a lot of people have voiced, especially in response to the recent bunch of celebrities identifying as feminists using definitions that are overly simplified and effectively designed to appeal to as many people as possible without requiring them to actually examine their own behaviour.

    Regarding positive progress: @dislekcia has outlined the achievements of this thread. Many of those seem like pretty big deals to me, even if they only apply to the small scale of this message board. He also called for further suggestions for how to improve behaviour and try to educate people. I feel like, more than anything, we might be arguing semantics here, so I'd kinda like to hear what sort of solutions you would suggest to the problem at hand? That might be a healthier discussion than 'cognitive/biological psychology vs critical/social psychology'. :)

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    brondin said:
    It sounds like you don't believe Gamergate to be misogynistic at large, and that the true problem lies in this small minority?
    Calling out blanket misogynism at a large audience is just a very serious allegation, especially if the ignorant majority does not really know what they are supporting (and I fully disagree that pure association means intent in this case) - it's just fuel on the fire, and I can see why they may feel insulted. And believe me, once someone feels attacked (for whatever reason), the nuance is completely wasted and pretty much irrecoverable from that point.
    brondin said:
    Which specific examples would you like to address?
    Does this really need repeating?
    brondin said:
    we might be arguing semantics here, so I'd kinda like to hear what sort of solutions you would suggest to the problem at hand? That might be a healthier discussion than 'cognitive/biological psychology vs critical/social psychology'. :)
    I only ever advocate tolerance and understanding.

    If we want to change anti-tolerant behaviour, then it is our responsibility to put ourselves in the shoes (and/or all physical limitations) of those we need to teach, and lead by example. Online crusades, academic rhetoric, idealism... these are all meaningless concepts if not clearly understood by the target audience. We need to learn to talk the language of the un-enlighted: this means first and foremost that trigger language needs to be avoided in every single conversation, regardless of how frustrating it is, otherwise the message dies right there.

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    @farsicon, Good ideas! But what does that look like? What's an explanation for why Gamergate is bad that's easily digestible for its average participant?

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    brondin said:
    What's an explanation for why Gamergate is bad that's easily digestible for its average participant?
    Let me throw that back at you. In your experience, which explanation so far do you feel has actually been digestible to the average participant? And do you feel that it is showing enough global results to support that it is effective?

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    @brondin: Wait...let me not be so damn lazy...

    Simply put, gamergate so far has been a lot of talking (and by this I mean chest thumping and screaming over the fence over who owns the moral high ground) and almost no conversation. What I would have liked to see (much earlier in this sordid tale) is the repetition of one simple question instead of countless explanations on why each side is right.

    "Why do you feel that way?"

    This not only opens the door to discussion while addressing my previous concerns, but also allows the subjects to reflect on their position themselves.


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    David Hill's explanation is probably the most conversational and easy to comprehend. Of course, the day after he posted this his wife was threatened and harassed on the internet. Not him, his wife. But remember, ethics in video game journalism. :P

    Plenty of people have been genuinely engaging with GG, and even asking that question, but it almost always falls into the endlessly frustrating cyclical series of accusations where the person ignores the questions and shouts about issues that were debunked the same week Eron Gjoni put up his blog post.

    Freudian psychotherapy is great for those who find it helpful, but it also relies on very specific conditions, the social contract between therapist and patient dictates how the interactions between them play out, even the way furniture is arranged has a specific psychological purpose. The contextual parameters are very important to making that question work. Not saying that "why do you feel that way?" is useless outside of that context, but a big part of the reason that it works is a set of conditions that can't be fully replicated over the internet. I wish that the solution was as easy as just asking that question, but my guess is it'd only really work on folks who've had a lot of psychoanalytic therapy (which is unlikely, because purely Freudian therapy is evidently quite rare these days). :(

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    brondin said:
    David Hill's explanation is probably the most conversational and easy to comprehend. Of course, the day after he posted this his wife was threatened and harassed on the internet. Not him, his wife. But remember, ethics in video game journalism. :P

    Plenty of people have been genuinely engaging with GG, and even asking that question, but it almost always falls into the endlessly frustrating cyclical series of accusations where the person ignores the questions and shouts about issues that were debunked the same week Eron Gjoni put up his blog post.

    Freudian psychotherapy is great for those who find it helpful, but it also relies on very specific conditions, the social contract between therapist and patient dictates how the interactions between them play out, even the way furniture is arranged has a specific psychological purpose. The contextual parameters are very important to making that question work. Not saying that "why do you feel that way?" is useless outside of that context, but a big part of the reason that it works is a set of conditions that can't be fully replicated over the internet. I wish that the solution was as easy as just asking that question, but my guess is it'd only really work on folks who've had a lot of psychoanalytic therapy (which is unlikely, because purely Freudian therapy is evidently quite rare these days). :(
    That's a pretty narrow view, and also grossly incorrect, as this is a great communicative tool that is in fact very effective... especially outside the formal setting you described. I have little further to add on that limiting perspective.

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    farsicon said:
    That's a pretty narrow view, and also grossly incorrect, as this is a great communicative tool that is in fact very effective... especially outside the formal setting you described. I have little further to add on that limiting perspective.
    Alright, I won't press it. I'm sorry that I upset you. Really. If you want, maybe at some other point we could talk about it some more. I don't have my psych textbooks on hand, I lent them out to friends when I finished my degree (did linguistics honours, didn't really need them), but I'd be happy to try to find articles on the topic, if that'd be of use/interest to you. Again, sorry for any bad behaviour on my part.

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    brondin said:
    farsicon said:
    That's a pretty narrow view, and also grossly incorrect, as this is a great communicative tool that is in fact very effective... especially outside the formal setting you described. I have little further to add on that limiting perspective.
    Alright, I won't press it. I'm sorry that I upset you. Really. If you want, maybe at some other point we could talk about it some more. I don't have my psych textbooks on hand, I lent them out to friends when I finished my degree (did linguistics honours, didn't really need them), but I'd be happy to try to find articles on the topic, if that'd be of use/interest to you. Again, sorry for any bad behaviour on my part.
    Hold on... why would you assume I'm upset or that any bad behaviour was called out?

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    @farsicon, oh, misread that. It just seemed like a strong response to the criticisms that other psychologists have made against that particular technique. Thought I might have touched a nerve, and was worried I'd been an ass, so I apologised. :)

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    brondin said:
    @farsicon, oh, misread that. It just seemed like a strong response to the criticisms that other psychologists have made against that particular technique. Thought I might have touched a nerve, and was worried I'd been an ass, so I apologised. :)
    :) see what I did there..?


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    @farsicon Hahahaha! Man, I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that. I laughed so hard. I have actually been to psychoanalytic therapy, so I'm just going to go ahead and use that as my excuse. :P

    Look dude, I really wasn't trying to say your idea is useless, the idea that it's completely without value is absurd, and I'm sorry if I came off that way. But, like any idea or theory (my own included), it has limitations. No idea is universally applicable. Like you said, complex problems need complex solutions. :)

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    @brondin: XD. I fully agree. It will somehow be the combination of the best understanding we have to date that will win this battle imho, no singular theory or ideology will be the killer. I am waiting for someone much smarter to coin something that everyone can latch onto and move us into the next millenium.

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    edited
    I dunno. I've asked "why do you assume that?" plenty of times in this thread. If it were such a great tool, it wouldn't have gotten the responses it did from other people.

    I think that you need someone with the conversational skills, domain understanding and self-awareness of @brondin on the other side of that question to truly get something out of it. Unfortunately, that's a pretty damn rare combination.

    So, let me try that out: Why do people who say that men in general are being attacked when people point out the misogynistic performances of society feel that way?

    P.S. I'm honestly curious about that, I've even asked that same question in other ways in this thread already... I've always wondered why the actual performed attacks on women (the things people are complaining about as misogynistic) are apparently less worrying than men feeling unfairly identified via self-association. The logic of that escapes me, so I'd love to hear it articulated.

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    edited
    War on Boys by Prager University. Saying boys need to be encouraged more academically.



    I wanted to share this on Twitter but I didn't want to fuel #GamerGate or get my account spammed.

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    @dislekcia... if you phrase questions like obvious attacks, why are you surprised when people pick up on it? It is not apparent from your posts that you actually do care about anything except when it is supportive of your own particular ideology.

    You've completely missed the point, and I have learned not to argue with you.

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    dislekcia said:
    So, let me try that out: Why do people who say that men in general are being attacked when people point out the misogynistic performances of society feel that way?
    It's so disturbing to see GG position themselves as the actual victims, instead of, you know, the women who have been harassed and threatened out of their homes and careers. And practically every perceived slight against them is a product of (almost certainly deliberate) misunderstanding or criticism of genuinely harmful behaviour.
    farsicon said:
    if you phrase questions like obvious attacks, why are you surprised when people pick up on it?
    Dan Golding, author of the original 'Death of Gamers' article, recently wrote another piece responding to some of the backlash from the first article. It's worth reading in its entirety, but I want to talk about the closing sentiment here:
    The only response to such rampant misogyny is more equality, more feminism, more diversity in the most visible elements of videogame culture, more championing of marginalised voices.
    I agree with this. I strongly support the idea of intersectional feminism(s), and do my best to be an ally to both feminists and women in general. I feel that, when talking about misogyny, it's best to privilege a set of political and philosophical theories and ideas whose main thrust is to address issues of gender in society, ie feminism. As such, that leaves a pretty obvious blind spot for me, and I literally can't think of how to have this conversation in a way that does not make recourse to sexism or patriarchal power relations.

    So, with that limitation of my own knowledge in mind, how do you propose we have a discussion with Gamergate about how their behaviour relates to gender without coming off as an attack? I think your proposal of "why do you feel that way?" is great in that it allows us to start a conversation without jumping straight to those issues, but how do we go about pointing out that their behaviour is problematic and misogynistic without stating it in explicit terms?
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