#GamerGate–the free ride is over

Published on Sunday, September 14, 2014 By Brad Wardell In PC Gaming

I’ll hand the SJW anti-#Gamergate people one thing: They have chutzpah.  Seeing individuals who have a history of abusing, ridiculing, lying and misrepresenting people complaining about gamers is…just breathtaking.

The best thing that will come out of this #gamergate thing, and this is the one thing that I think its supporters should really take some pride in is this: The free ride is over. 

So many lurkers and neutral observers have been able to see how these guys operate: If you disagree with them you are either racist or sexist. There is no such thing as a principled argument as far as they’re concerned.

Remember: You’re always racist, sexist, evil no matter how absurd they have to stretch reality to make it so

Now, quick background on myself: I’m actually not very political. But I have been blogging for 15 years so there’s plenty of fodder available. I believe people should be able to do and say what they want as long as they’re not hurting anyone (and I don’t count “feelings” as hurting).

What most casual observers don’t realize is just how close knit the various aspects of the game industry really are. We really are a close knit group with one key distinction: We aren’t physically located near each other. As a result, forums, mailing lists and social networks are how we converse. This has created a lot of cliques.

For the past half decade, those cliques focused on “social justice” have been insulting, smearing and misrepresenting individuals or groups they decided represent “the other”. Because they received little or no push-back, they wrongly believed they represented the majority opinion on a given issue.

As someone who’s maintained a blog for 15 years, I’ve written a lot of words. Some of those words have made these guys angry and thus, at some point, they decided I was some sort of crazy right-winger.  I’m only a “crazy right-winger” if objecting to one group coercing another group is “right wing”. I don’t like telling people what to do and I don’t like being told what to do.

Long story short: Once these guys decided I was “the enemy” it’s been a never-ending stream of misrepresentation.  For people who think Zoe Quinn has had it bad for these past few months, come talk to me in 5 years. That’s about how long I’ve had SJWs stalk me around, misrepresenting what I’ve said, written and then distributing it far and wide to their like-minded friends.  Sounds a lot like the stuff they’re saying about #gamergate with regards to the people they’ve decide they don’t like.

The threshold required to become “the enemy” is very low. Feel free to look through my tweet history or my blogs. You won’t find me telling people to “fuck off” or “die in a fire” or calling people “pieces of shit”. or anything of that nature. I post my musings on any number of topics – from beekeeping to taxation.  That’s isn’t to say I’m not sometimes mean.  I can be a real jerk sometimes. 

On the other hand, if you rely on what others have claimed I have said or done, you would think I’m a monster. That’s how comfortable with distorting words they are. I suspect some of you who have watched #gamergate are now quite familiar with how comfortable the so-called SJWs are with making things up, sometimes from whole cloth, in order to make someone look horrible.

Then again, what do I know? I’m a “self proclaimed sexist, vulgar and embarrassing person” who has also publicly admitted to “eating babies”.

Case in point: fun little fantasy book reported as being “racist”

Lest you think I’m exaggerating on how petty yet dedicated they can be…

In 2010 I wrote a book.

I always wanted to write a book and I did. It’s a fantasy novel. I.e. Humans, Orcs, Elves, etc. type stuff. Random House even published it. Pretty cool eh? WRONG: My book was nothing but a thinly disguised racist screed on the need for building a border fence to keep the darkies out.  At least, that’s what I’m told.

What? How the hell did a light fantasy book become a political book?

Enter the SJW clique: self-described SJWs on a particular forum I participated in decided that my non-progressive views (I’m socially liberal, fiscally conservative, generally believe that people should be free to do what they want as long as they’re not hurting other people)  were unacceptable and harassed me to the point that the moderators banned them.  

And to be as fair as I can be: I wasn’t posting in some political thread. I was posting on a game forum in a thread about a game I was working on.  They had followed me to this thread and were being abusive and off-topic and they got banned for it.

So the wife of one of the people who got banned (who was, btw, the original editor-in-chief of Kotaku – I must have missed the article with the headline “Former Kotaku editor banned for stalking, harassing game developer”), wrote a fake review of my book which claimed that it was a racist book in which the heroes were building a fence to keep dark-skinned people out.

Only one problem: My book has no fence and there are no dark-skinned people in the book. They made it up. Completely.

Having labeled my little fantasy book a racist screed, they immediately created forum posts and Reddits (like this one) http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/d6mvk/so_stardock_ceo_brad_wardell_wrote_a_book_about_a/.  

So our “fair minded” SJWs proceeded to assume I was a monster and of course ripped my book apart and then jumped onto Amazon.com (note that not one of the 1-star reviews is by a verified purchaser – and if you look at the reviews, M.J. Gallant was the person banned from the forum for harassment and, again, was once the EIC of Kotaku and his wife was the one who wrote the fake review claiming my book was racist – that’s the level of dedication.  Note the dates of the 1-star reviews too, clumped together).

Now mind you, I’m not going to argue that my book was some sort of literary masterpiece. I’m a game developer. I had the chance to write a book and I did and you know what? It’s not a bad book. It was a fun, interesting learning experience that didn’t hurt anyone.

Look, I’m a game developer. Having my creative endeavors criticized goes with the territory. After 20 years, my skin is so thick that I barely notice death threats anymore. 

But this isn’t about having a thick skin. Imagine you had always wanted to write a book. You spend a year writing it and it even gets published – to book stores and everything -- only to have a bunch of assholes misrepresent the book and send their friends to trash and ridicule it? Imagine going to a family get together and having relatives say “Is your book really racist?”

Remember, the abuse I received had nothing to do with the quality of the book. If books based on a video game were regularly pilloried we’d have a never ending stream of Reddits. 

No, the reason I was targeted is because SJWs, the people who now represent the bulk of the “anti-#GamerGate” crowd, are perfectly comfortable with harassment and abuse as long as it’s the right people doing the harassment and abuse: Themselves.

Not an isolated incident

This isn’t just some isolated incident.  Having been in the game industry for 20 years, I’ve watched, with some sorrow, as their movement has organized and coalesced.  They’re too polite to call what they do “raiding” but, in effect, this is what they’ve been doing. This is what they continue to do and have been doing for years.

So here we are in 2014 and they’re finally getting a little push back and they’re outraged and upset. They’ve spent years being able to ridicule, abuse and harass people and things they don’t like with impunity.  I don’t blame them for being upset now. The free ride is over.

My recommendation is this: Don’t get your gang to attack, abuse or ridicule any individual. Attack the message not the person. Argue about ideas and philosophies don’t resort to character assassination. Because if you do, you are in no position to take some moral high ground.


Update 1: What inspired me to write this article was reading posts by people attacking #gamergate and clicking on their profile to see what else they had posted on only to find, surprise surprise they had participated in smearing me.  I used the book example specifically because it showed that the SJWs were happy to stalk my activities well outside my day job as a game developer and into my private works. It wasn't enough for them to just go around onto various game sites and attack me, they went out to slime me in an area that obviously has nothing to do with game development.