In my opinion there is no purpose or value to the phrase 'gamergate'.
This more or less sums up my take on it as well.
I've spent most of this evening giving GG the benefit of the doubt, because that's just the kind of person I am: I started feeling like maybe I was, myself, becoming numbed in the "echo chamber" sense to the possibility of accepting counter information and, even if/when I'm right about something, I like to check that feeling when it comes up. So when I saw someone who I consider an otherwise intelligent and reasonable figurehead appear to be speaking up on GG's side (Popehat, of all people), I asked him what point of view he'd recommend for reading up on the origins of the event.
I ended up here: Daddy Warpig's blog
. As far as I can tell he's a pro-GG person with no professional stake in the field, but not particularly fervent about it either. In trying to approach this from a fresh perspective, yes, GG's claims are made in an unusually hostile manner and several have been debunked, but not all of them. And the ones that haven't been don't get nearly as much press as the ones that were or the harassment at large.
Without going into great detail, I'm more or less back where I started: neither side, recognizing there are definite issues in gaming journalism (and journalism at large, but eh, that's a different, larger issue) but unsatisfied with the methods at work in this mess. As far as I'm concerned, both sides might not be "equal," but both sides are certainly fucking up.
Or, as one of the GGers I discussed this with put it, "We can both admit there are a lot of dogs barking up a lot of trees. But that doesn't mean that all trees are wrong."
There's a metric fuckton of dogs in this fight. The barking is deafening. Makes it impossible to find what isn't bullshit, of which there is also plenty.
Related note: looking at the brief dispute between Liz F and KingofPol just a couple of hours ago, I'm starting to wonder if a lot of this (overt real world harassment not included) isn't just a case of culture clash. Not in the "culture war" sense, but basically a language barrier. In the middle of this scuffle I rode a link over to the 8chan thread discussing it and a couple of posters said, basically, "calling people autistic doesn't mean anything; everyone's autistic on anychan board."
I tried to reply in the thread to ask him why chan board culture has any bearing on a conversation in Twitter conversations but, alas, for some reason 8chan wouldn't let me post - the page would just hang when I tried it. Not sure what the problem was there. Anyway, that meant I couldn't get direct explanation for that remark, but thinking on it, direct harassment aside, it would explain a lot about the ongoing abusive language coupled with "this isn't harassment."
To them, it's possible that it really isn't, that they're incapable of recognizing harassment because it is honestly how they treat each other on a regular basis with no intended harm done. Sure, that's an extremely unhealthy culture from an outsider's perspective, but to them, it's the norm. Smashing that up against people who expect some semblance of civility and you get immediate problems regardless of the topic.
If the hardcore dicks doing the RL harassment would cut that the fuck out, I'm starting to wonder if this couldn't in large part be solved by just getting people to calm the hell down about the language being used, get them to think of all the swearing and casual racism as, essentially, "translation errors."
Probably not. But hey, it's a nice thought, isn't it?