Gamergate and the Culture of Online Shaming

Only recently I read up on the details of Gamergate, an incident where a spat between two ex-lovers in the gaming industry became a full-blown harassment campaign on the Internet. I will let other sites like Rationalwiki give the details about the incident. It came to my attention since a recent news report said that one of Gamergate’s victims, Zoe Quinn, has given up her legal case against the perpetrator of the online campaign, Eron Gjoni, and instead decided on doing an information campaign. My assessment of this incident is that Gamergate is another example of the Epidemic of Facelessness; where one can hide behind a fake identity, harass a person and get away with it.


The news about the Gamergate victim is also well-timed with Benign0’s and FallenAngel’s recent posts about “STEM-shaming.” This may support what the victims of Gamergate have been asserting: sexism in the I.T. industry is still affecting women adversely. STEM-shaming looks mild compared to the destructive aggression of Gamergate, but both show one thing: it’s still a man’s world; and many men are still abusive and arrogant.

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It also reminded me of back in 2009, before the elections. Our esteemed webmaster Benign0 was a contributor to a blog site called Filipino Voices, and I started out commenting there. Once BS Aquino III started his campaign, sides suddenly became polarized, with the pro-Aquinos suddenly coming together and attacking those who did not agree with them. In other words, as recounted in an article by Benign0, the shills were gathered, and they attacked. Thus, the same thing that happened in gamergate, things that actually preceded it, happened before the 2010 elections: threats, doxing, online shaming and the works. This is why despite the apparent issues with the recent cybercrime law, some have expressed support for something like it. Something that at least would facilitate the stopping of online harassment.

I also suspect that people like the Gamergate harassers do shilling elsewhere, for pay. After all, shilling and trolling are a business, as this video shows:

From the Rationalwiki article, it’s interesting to note a connection to right-wing parties, such as Breitbart, a questionable, strongly right-wing blog outfit with strong anti-feminist leanings. This leads me to suspect that some Gamergate attacks and participation could have been paid for. This makes sense when you see that one of the targets of the Gamergate harassment is feminist figure Anita Sarkeesian.

Although I’m not a fan of Sarkeesian or of political correctness, harassment is still harassment. This is why in my own blog, I voiced support for anti-bullying initiatives. Simply put, bullying is harassment, and harassment is something that should be addressed by organized action and enforcement of rules. But it is also possible, as I surmised in my article, that the people who are against anti-bullying efforts simply want to legalize harassment and get away with whatever harassment they do. And it does seem that this is getting political support in the U.S.

Zoe Quinn, one of the victims of the Gamergate online harassment fracas

Zoe Quinn, one of the victims of the Gamergate online harassment fracas

The Gamergate harassers claimed to be supportive of “ethics in the video game industry.” But they themselves were actually the opposite of what they claim. They are actually nothing more than thugs. They claim to represent freedom of speech, but their harassment of someone due to that person’s freedom of speech is ironic. They derisively call those they attack “feminazis,” but they themselves are closer to real Nazis. Yet it shows how some people with hate-mongering intentions behind the computer screen can cause a lot of trouble.

It reminds me of case of Return of Kings website owner Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, who foolishly proposed legalization of rape (His website’s name does sound like he wants to go back to the era where men are “kings” and women are slaves, probably similar to how John Norman’s Gor series depicts them). It was ironic that he made misogynistic comments from his mother’s home’s basement. Who knows if he was one of the Gamergate trolls, as well as a believer in silly conspiracy theories. It might prove that those believers and harassers are actually, self-absorbed, sex-deprived and socially inept recluses so holed up in their caves, they’re unable to see the reality out there.

These events show that lamebrained machismo culture continues to be behind a lot of stupid behavior on the ‘Net. It doesn’t help that the speed of the Internet makes spreading of false information and hoaxes much easier. So it’s not surprising that even some Filipinos take the needlessly anti-“feminazi” and pro-bullying stance. We are after all a culture that supports online shaming.

It’s also an example that we can’t blame the government or authorities for our problems. As usual, the people themselves are the problem. Indeed, these problems of online shaming and harassment show that there is still a lot of growing up to do in many societies. Even in Filipino society.

26 Replies to “Gamergate and the Culture of Online Shaming”

  1. Why label feminist as a negative thing? They have their belief, as long as they are not throwing bombs because of what they fight for… we cant help be feminist sometimes especially when a chauvinistic man wants to push his distorted backward views of women.

    1. Hello CCC, I am not attacking feminists. You are right though about the chauvinist men, they are sometimes the problem. That’s what I’m talking about here, the chauvinist man is making threats against a woman, probably threatening to throw bombs against a woman. It’s getting pretty common on the Internet, and it’s even getting political support.

      1. And yet Feminists don’t shy away from their own form of hypocrisies and shame tactics. Crying foul when asked to wear a skirt, but would look down on effeminate men (not gay, there’s a difference.). Don’t just assume this issue is a one way street when both parties are just as guilty of the same garbage they accuse each other of.

        1. In other cases indeed, such as where women ask for special privileges over men, that’s where they’re wrong. It’s just clear in this particular Gamergate case where cyberbullying clearly shows who’s doing wrong.

  2. I was one of those bloggers, in the closed “Filipino Voices” blog site. They sold it to Aquino, when he was running for President. The Web Master, then, endorsed Aquino. And, all anti Aquino bloggers, were kicked out.

    It is up to you, if you allow yourself to be bullied…if you are a weakling , internet blogging or the internet is not for you.

    Our Information Technology produced, both bad and good effects. Accentuate the good; and discard the bad.

  3. When will people stand up for themselves. I agree that bullying is wrong and there needs something to be done when it turns into a mob. Unfortunately recently in the USA, we have seen the exact opposite effect of protection of these laws. Instead of kids fighting on the playground at school anymore. We now have more kids killing their bullies and other innocent people. many people in the USA question whether letting kids fight like in the old days is the answer. I hate to say it but the bullies would stop eventually because they would get tired of fighting with the same person who always fought back whether the kid won or lost. I also think this help give those kids growing up the never quit attitude that most kids do not have these days. Sporting events for kids now give awards to all the children participating not just the winners. It appears we have created a new society where kids think that trying is all that matters and that the world should be given to you. The suicide rate has skyrocket from teenagers and young adults whenever the face one problem, they appear to be destroyed. They have lost the ability to get up and try again. What are your thoughts. I know something has to be done differently. I just do not know what, because these school shootings

    1. Most of my thoughts are in the link to my own blog in the article. But I’ll put a few thoughts here.

      There is no reason to believe bullying victims standing up for themselves and adults intervening should be mutually exclusive. You can do both. However, it seems people these days are getting more polarized saying you can’t do both. This is doing part of the damage. It’s another use of the false dichotomy.

      When it comes to suicide rates going up, one explanation is simply because the population generally increases (and so does the proportion of the particular group under discussion). But certainly, there seems to be a lessening of toughness or teaching of toughness against the hardships of life. There are certainly lots of factors. Yet I don’t see it as generational, since even older people aside from young are committing suicide these days. Compare to Japan, though, it has the worst suicide rate in the world.

      But as I claimed in my blog, there is an ongoing scheme to put more guns in the hands of people. Right-wing groups helping gun companies make sales. They don’t care whether it’s used for suicide or shootings – as long as the guns are sold. They might even encourage bullying and harassing because it creates a reason for someone to get a gun – and a sale is made. It seems farfetched because of the callousness of the idea, but I’m not surprised that people can be that callous. As Marius said in my article about robots, society is sales-driven, and the problems with bullying and shootings are a likely result.

        1. Ah…the money-grubbing Koreans, who are trying to follow the Chinese on their “Bamboo Network” schemes throughout the world.

  4. I personally would not use Rationalwiki as a source in regards to Gamergate. They have left leaning bias and push just as much of the same agenda towards anyone who disagrees with them.

  5. hello, i just like to clarify that those who are pro-gamergate actually want to have ethics in video game journalism, the whole reason why people are hating on zoe quinn is because she made a game and she slept with 5 guys to get good reviews and publicity for her game so her boyfriend eron got pissed and it caused a huge uproar because her game got good reviews solely because of favors….so the goal of gamergate is to have video game reviwers(the journalists) to be honest-no nepotism,favoritism,bribes etc when it comes to reviewing games. As for the harrassers, they are very much real and many believe that they are with gamergate BUT they are just the minority, just because they are a few evil people in a group doesnt mean the rest are evil…not to mention that there are trolls who want to give gamergate a bad name by pretending to be gamergaters. Yes it sucks that that she is being mocked and she doesnt deserve that but she sure does deserve constructive criticism for cheating on her boyfriend. There are so many well known people who support, theres even an actor of superman supports gamergate (

    There are many articles that are very biased and theres many misconceptions so i recommend this neutral article that explains gamergate a lot

    1. But the end result was, the “gamergaters” came out looking real bad because of the online harassment. And Quinn’s sleeping with other guys is still an allegation. And even if there are trolls pretending to be “gamergaters,” there did not seem to be calls from “gamergaters” for the trolls to stop, as far as I know, so it seems that they gave their blessing to the online harassment, except for that Boogie guy. So hence my call that calling for “ethics” was discredited by another failure in ethics. I would say the sites that banned Gamergate made a needed call, because it was getting out of hand.

      Or in short, despite the girls’ own errors, they did not deserve the harassment that was seen online.

      1. you are very ill informed about this topic. do you even know about “gamergate harassment patrol”? do you even know that gamergate tracked the person harassing Anita, and they give her the detail of her harasser? i been following this on day 1, you just echo what the unethical media is saying.

        1. Good thing that happened. But all this makes me wonder if there should certainly be an all-knowing, all-omnipotent agency policing the Internet and making sure such incidents are prevented. And yes, I’m willing to trust this with government. It makes the anti-Cybercrime law more attractive.

  6. Two years too late… Full of misinformation as well lol… I hope it won’t take another two years before you realize how you have it all backwards…

  7. This is a Philippine blog?

    Kung ganon, eh protip lang bro: may “shades” and Gamergate bilang isang leaderless na grupo.

    Member ako ng GamerGate. Sa nakita ko di lahat ng miyembro eh gumagawa ng harassment.Totoo na may trolls kami na members, di naman mawawala yan sa isang open na grupo. Pero sana bro wag kami i-generalize.

    Di mo kasi mapipigilan ang mga trolls: gagawa at gagawa ng paran yang mga yan para manggulo.
    Fake accounts, for example, ang paboritong taktika ng mga yan.

    So yun. Nakakainis lang yung mga trolls pero ano magagawa namin? Di naman namin pwede ipa-ban sila: babalik at babalik sila, so useless lang.

  8. I’ve read both the GamerGate and Zoe Quinn’s story and I don’t feel like taking Zoe Quinn’s side any time. If there’s anything more detestable than blame shifting idiots, it’s blame shifting idiots who uses their bodies to get to the top and cries “misogyny” towards people who criticized her.

    Also, just because Zoe Quinn got harrassed doesn’t mean that she’s also in the right. She stole a lot of money from a prospecting group of female game developers just to start her own group and run it down the ground. She also went to that joke of an organization called United Nations with Anita Sarkeesian in order to whine about how the internet is mean to them when the slot that they used could have been given to someone else who deserves to be heard. And to top that off, all of her antics started when she cheated her boyfriend for five different game journalists just to get a positive review on the steaming pile of garbage of a text-based game called Depression Quest.

    GamerGate may have its own sets of demons and trolls but the other side is much worse since they force gamers to see in their own puritanical eyes, censor and edit the content of the games that are imported from other countries and enforce their ideals on us. Feminists and Social Justice Warriors would rather complain about how everything that we play as problematic and sexists without even spending a single minute playing it or creating a game that they envisioned.

    Our favorite past time is getting pissed upon by a bunch of millenial whiny piss babies and scam artists pretending to be feminists who couldn’t shut their gobs just because one whore of a gamedev couldn’t keep her hips closed is unforgivable. GamerGate wouldn’t have happened if Zoe Quinn decided to accept the fact that the majority of the gamers who spent minutes on her games and gave it a bad score not because they are sexist but because it lacks content and design.

    1. As I said elsewhere, Quinn, Sarkesian and similar have their faults. I simply called out the online harassment. Which does nothing but bring down upon themselves consequences others approve of, such as the Anti-Cybercrime Law a few years back.

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