Although the Gamergate controversy has petered out a good bit (thank god, deep breath), the rift betwixt the two sides of this phantasmagoria couldn’t be bigger, and this doesn’t just include the opinions each side has. It is quite illustrative of where each community comes from by looking at the large disparity in how each side uses the internet, how they congregate digitally and what mediums they use to communicate across the web.
The anti-Gamergaters have largely stuck to traditional media formats – one-to-many, newspapers, established old world companies, etc, while Gamergaters have fully embraced all forms of interactive new media. This makes sense, seeing that those who are well-versed in the emerging technology of gaming are fully integrated in this digital environment that very much oozes a “for us, by us” mentality.
The anti-Gamergate community includes gamers, to be sure, but this side of the argument has garnered a lot of support from people outside the gaming community, specifically because of how appalled the world was at all of the harassment that was taking place to people like Zöe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu.
Anti-GGers do take part in new media – facebook, twitter, etc – however there is a marked difference in how fluent and potent the user activity is on new and interactive media for Gamergaters. Places like Reddit, 4chan, 8chan and the like are teeming with activity, and act as breeding grounds for upcoming boycotts, DNS attacks, doxxing campaigns, etc.
As previously noted, Kotakuinaction, (a popular subreddit) is a prime example of the new media approach taken by Gamergaters. This type of interactivity isn’t nearly as present in the more mainstream anti-Gamergate approach. There very much seems to be a community-like behavior in the Gamergate community which is much more reactionary (usually to anti-Gamergate broadcasts/articles coming out from the mainstream media). This hive-mind-like activity is what they thrive on, or, thrived on, as the steam seems to have petered out a bit.
The two sides certainly discuss different topics. The anti-Gamergate, more mainstream side, it seems, really only got involved in the controversy to address the insane harassment and death threats going on in the GG movement. So, naturally, this is their main point of discussion, as seen in almost all of the conventional media articles.
However, the Pro-GGer camp presents a more varied argument, asserting that the issue is a complex mess of ethics in video game journalism. However, the fact remains that this argument is buried and obscured by layers and layers of misogyny and abuse. They stick to their guns, though, and keep asserting this as the ‘real’ issue.
The hostility of this debate is definitely one sided – it think it’s fair to say that the team that is sending coordinated mass death threats, taking down entire companies with email attacks, and uprooting people’s families takes the cake on that one.
However, as for the passion, it’s hard to say. There was an immediate and intense backlash against the abuse that was taking place against Quinn, Sarkeesian and others, which is what fanned the flames and turned this into an international controversy.
It is easy to say that the Pro-GG gamers are all white misogynistic males, but this narrative has also been complicated by things like the #notyourshield hashtag.
In fact, Medium published an article claiming that most Gamergaters are more liberal than the average American.
I’m not sure why this surprised me, but it did. Perhaps the misogyny reminds me of conservative social policies? But wait, what does that EG stand for? It couldn’t be Er–Eron Gjoni – literally the guy that posted the first post about Zöe Quinn that started the entire Gamergate controversy. What. Mind blown. Maybe this would make me question the data analysis in that article. But anywho, with this, and #notyourshield, it makes me throw all my preconceived notions about demographics on each side to the wind.