Gamergate on Reddit: A Change of Pace?

Of the activity surrounding Gamergate in the reddit universe, it, for the most part, mirrors what is being said in other parts of the web, though some notable exceptions have arisen including an overall lull or dying down in the activity, and an accompanying civility in tone. If you’re looking for your classic Gamergate discourse, go no further than the subreddit KotakuInAction. This is the subreddit that was listed in some of the previous blog posts where pro-Gamergaters and trolls like to gather and muster all of their courage to do things like mass email Gawker, dox and harass people, etc.

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However, there are some other subreddits that show a distinct shift in behavior in this bizarre video gaming undercurrent. Some of these are the subreddits Gamerghazi, AgainstGamerGate, and GGFreeForAll.

GGFreeForAll is essentially just that, a free for all. In the forum description there are only two links, this and this. Only some of the posts even relate to Gamergate. Most of them have to do with the “upcoming” election or what it means now that the election is over, and the thread is dominated by only a few users, such as IAMPOUNDCAKE and netscapeprime. One of the few GG-related posts I saw was a link to a youtube video criticizing Zoe Quinn. The response on reddit, however (even on the FreeForAll), was surprisingly more mature. I can’t go as far as saying it was mature, but the overwhelming majority of the response was essentially people saying how the guy should stop caring about what one developer is doing, stop encouraging people to harass her and to just get on with his life. This marks a big change of tone for anything I’ve read in the GG universe, albeit they were still insulting each other.

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Of course, all things must pass and I was quickly re-emerged into the Gamergate world with this post on reddit linking back to twitter.

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Reddit users post links from all over, so it’s no surprise that links from facebook and twitter show up here quite often. On GGFreeForAll, one of the characteristically non-Gamergate-related posts links back to Michael Moore’s Facebook page, to a post where he gives a “Morning After [the election] To-Do List.” 

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However, Twitter seems to have a bigger pipeline to reddit, with a lot more links to the site. This post, linking to Brianna Wu’s twitter profile (a female game developer who was victim to doxxing and death threats) is found on KotakuInAction:

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Gamerghazi was quite surprising, however. It seemed to be people acting…civil. First of all, to find anything nearing civility in the entire Gamergate subworld garners wonder, but a Gamergate forum on Reddit? I had to look it up and down several times just to wrap my head around it. From just the name, you expect this subreddit to be littered with trolls, and at the very least, extremely snarky posts. What I saw instead, was, well, pictures of cats (????).

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Indeed, even the rules required the users and posts to be civil and respectful. I thought it was very interesting how much the rules emphasize the inclusivity of trans people. It had its own category with a detailed set of sub-rules, such as being up-to-date on the latest trans terminology (including a link to outside resources where users can stay current). It also forbade asking about someone’s surgery and misgendering people.

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Other than the “No Pro-GG Posts” rule, it was quite confusing to figure out just exactly what this subreddit was about, and why it was connected to Gamergate. After digging more and reading through the rules again, it seems like it’s simply a response to all the trolling and misogyny found in the Gamergate movement and seeks to create a “safer space” for those people in the gaming community that don’t support the movement and/or are subject to doxxing, threats and bullying.

Another surprising facet of the reddit dimension of the Gamergate fiasco was AgainstGamerGate. This subreddit also had very clear rules aimed to protect civility – no doxxing, “don’t be an asshole,” and the like.

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I was surprised by how well moderated it seemed, and the fact that civilized debate was actually possible in this world. The sad part, however, was that this thread seems to have died down because discussion basically ceased. “Hooray!” I thought, but it wasn’t that all the Gamergate discussion ceased, it was that only the civilized debate had. Other subreddits, like the aforementioned KotakuInAction still exist, which essentially are just mudslinging contests that people still happily engage in, apparently.

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