I had a long, thoughtful, detailed, excellent (if I do say so myself...) post all written up and ready to go and then through a combination of my own incompetence and a drunken Saturday night managed to lose it in a way that even Lazarus can't save... so I'll guess you'll have to take my word for it. Here's the bullet points version:
1) "Just change the tag"
I wonder if people who ask for this have actually followed this story... because it's exactly what happened. This wasn't called #Gamergate to begin with; people organized around the #quinnspiracy tag. Why did they move to Gamergate? Because #quinnspiricy was loaded with the sort of misogyny and abuse that we all decry and they wanted a clean start with Gamergate to focus on journalistic ethics, collusion and the attacks of the gamer identity.
Unsurprisingly for anyone involved, people just dismissed Gamergate as a rebranding exercise and the trolls and abusers changed to using it as soon as the term gained traction. Thus here we are. Changing the tag would change nothing beyond losing momentum; the abuse and trolls would just follow it as they did before.
2) "Gamergate was never about ethics."
If this was never about ethics, then The Escapist, Polygon and Kotaku would not have updated their ethical policies in the wake of it. If it was never about ethics then those who oppose Gamergate have the perfect chance to prove it by satisfying those ethical concerns; if they did and Gamergate continued as did the abuse then they'd have their answer. But the ethical concerns aren't being answered.
3) "We all care about journalistic ethics, but you don't need Gamergate to do so".
Since Gamergate started Gamergate supporters have revealed the ethical issues relating to Patricia Hernandez giving extensive coverage and recommendations to buy for her friends, former housemates and seemingly former partners games without mentioning the connection. They've revealed Danielle Riendeau being close friends with the composer of a game she reviewed (and gave 10/10) without disclosing it. They revealed the ethical issues relating to Shadows of Mordor. They revealed the existence of GameJournalPro's. They revealed the collusion that went on in there. They revealed the quite possibly illegal blacklisting that occurred in there. They revealed the repeated patreon and kickstarter support journalists gave to games they then gave coverage and reviews to without mentioning it. They revealed that Grayson did enough work on Depression Quest to be thanked in the credits by Quinn without mentioning it in his glowing coverage of the game and recommendation for others to buy it. They revealed even more coverage he gave to his friends without disclosing his connections.
Since Gamergate started the ethical issues those not supporting Gamergate have revealed?
4) "Gamergate is a movement, Gamergate opposition isn't... it's Gamergate vs everyone."
This is a multi-part answer.
A) "Us and them" positions rarely help anyone.
B) The facts don't back this up. Gaymer X said it was neutral and, unsurprisingly considering it's goal, that everyone was welcome. It was pressured by those opposed to Gamergate to instead declare itself against Gamergate (including by someone directly implicated in Gamergate ethics issues). When Gamers
gate, having received months of abuse, noted that it had nothing to do with Gamergate it was immediately met by demands that it come out against Gamergate. If everyone who didn't support Gamergate was automatically against it there would be no need to do this.
C) There are places like "gamerghazi" and "AgainstGamerGate". There are forums and areas specifically dedicated to opposing Gamergate. There are people regarded as leaders for those opposed to Gamergate. There were hashtags like #stopGamerGate2014 and #againstgamergate. If Gamergate... which consists of essentially a hashtag, a reddit sub-forum and an 8chan board constitutes a movement, so does the opposition.
5) "Gamergate does nothing to stop the abuse."
The major gamergate reddit has strict rules against abuse or doxxing. Both it and the 8chan board ban and remove any doxxing that gets posted. Gamergate supporters have been at the front of reporting offensive and abusive twitter accounts. The one serial abuser of Anita's to be publicly identified and reported was identified and reported by Gamergate supporters... this was a man constantly sending her dick pics, abusing her and sending death threats. Surprise, surprise he had nothing to do with Gamergate. At pretty much every turn Gamergate supporters are both apologizing for and doing what they can to stop the abuse. Those opposed to Gamergate? Not so much.
We've had Zoe Quinn herself come out and thank Gamergate supporters for reporting and preventing abuse. Likewise with this most recent doxxing outbreak; again, even those opposed to Gamergate acknowledge that it has been Gamergate supporters leading the fightback against the abusers and doxxers. There's a reason the #GamerGateHarrassmentPatrol tag is both popular and making news.
6) "Gamergate is behind the abuse"
The person who doxxed and threatened Brianna Wu, largely kicking off the abuse aspect of this discussion? His tweets didn't mention Gamergate once. Yet now it is an article of faith that it was Gamergate behind it. We've recently seen a mass doxxing attempt with most of the targets were anti-gamergate journalists; Gamergate right? No... it was the GNAA
(warning; their full name features racially offensive terms) who fully admit to it. Much of the abuse and doxxing that has happened to both sides can be traced back to either the GNAA or Something Awful's Goonsquad, both of whom have history when it comes to this and trolling both sides of a debate. The previously mentioned Brazilian journalist who was one of Anita's most prominent abusers? Nothing to do with Gamergate. And Brianna Wu posted showing a group of people on 8chan seemingly organising a doxxing attack and abusive raid on her? Each of the posts had the same user-ID; they were by the same person replying to themselves and thus a pretty obvious troll.
If there's one good thing that's come out of this most recent spurt of doxxing's, it's that it should largely put to bed the idea that Gamergate is behind all of the abuse (unless you're an anti-Gamergater on Gamerghazi in which case you'll proudly post about how you're willing to lie and say it was gamergaters behind it even though you "don't doubt for a second" that it has nothing to do with them).
). Likewise the inclusion of a couple of pro-gamergate people in the list of targets should remind people that prominent Gamergate supporters have also been doxxed and abused; knives and syringes sent to them in the post, one was forced from his home, another was threatened with their trans status being revealed to their family, another having someone post his home address and threaten to kill his wife so he'd have to mourn etc etc. That's only a couple of examples out of a much greater whole.
That's not to say that some people who can legitimately be called Gamergaters haven't been involved in abuse; as I've always said Gamergate is both the ethical issues and the abuse. But it's neither endemic to the whole movement or completely one-sided.
7) The Newsweek article.
Despite being presented as anti-gamergate, this should end once and for all the idea that Gamergate is all about harassing prominent women. Brandwatch analyzed around 500,000 #gamergate tweets (25% of over 2,000,000 but we'll keep the numbers low to help out the anti-Gamergate side). Of those Anita Sarkeesian got 35,188, Zoe Quinn 10,700, Brianna Wu 38,952 and Leigh Alexander 13,296. So, as a starting point, if we take the bare minimum of 500,000 tweets then only 19.6% were directed at the prominent women. But we have to look at more than that. What was the context of those tweets? In the graph handily provided
it was made clear than less than 10% of the tweets any of those people received were negative. Even if we take massively round up the numbers to 10% for each that means that of the Gamergate tweets only 1.9% were negative towards those women, the rest being positive or neutral. Less than 2%! And let's also remember that the study doesn't appear to define what "negative" means; I'd assume that something along the lines of "I really hate what @Anita does" is classed as a negative tweet but would anyone call it harassment or abuse?
So the end result of the study by Brandwatch? Less than 2% of #Gamergate tweets are aimed at prominent women and negative (and remember, that's rounding up the abuse to 10% for each). In reality less than that are going to be harassment or abuse.
That right there is statistical proof that #Gamergate isn't
about harassing or abusing prominent female journalists/personalities/developers.
People like to question Gamergate's motives. Let me do some questioning of my own...
I wonder what happened to the idea of intersectionality when anti-Gamergate people are minimising or ignoring minority voices that come out in support of it (again I recommend this article
on how black voices have been whitewashed out of the conversation, predominantly by a largely white headed anti-gamergate movement). I wonder what happened to encouraging minorities in the game industry when a black developer was doxxed and fired for being prominent in #NotYourShield. I wonder what happened to protecting minorities online when a gamergate supporter can be doxxed and have threats to publicise their trans status made against them. I wonder what happened to the idea that it was never right to punch down on those with less privilege then you when the white, CIS-male, millionaire with a massive media platform Chris Kluwe can say black people are "just like the KKK". I wonder why it is that Chris Kluwe can call someone like Boogie2988
... a man who in many ways is the stereotype of a "gamer" that so many people like to bully and abuse, a man who's most popular youtube video is a slow-mo of him falling into a pool (and the comments section is as massively fat shaming as you'd imagine) and a man who had to put up with being doxxed and his wife threatened... a "slopebrowed weaseldick" or a "slackjawed pickletit" or a variety of other imaginative insults and be praised
for it by people who loudly proclaim their interest in social justice. I wonder what happened to the opposition to doxxing when Zoe Quinn... Zoe Quinn of all people
... can happily retweet a document including an opponent's address and photos of their house to her many followers. I wonder what happened to preventing harassment online when someone can promote and encourage others to file frivolous police complaints against someone and get pats on the back. I wonder what happened to social justice when supposed social justice advocates rally around Gawker... Gawker that largely popularised the idea of doxxing celebrities, Gawker that still
has humiliating leaked/hacked celebrity photos up despite the Fappening, Gawker that refused
a court order to take down an illegally obtained celebrity sex tape, Gawker that has engaged in doxxing and online harassment campaigns before, Gawker that is frankly a pretty awful place.
Far too often the people on both sides of this debate have become exactly that "sides". It's good vs evil and everything that supports your "side" or gives the other "side" a black eye is good, however ethically dubious. Perhaps that's why those who are opposed to Gamergate haven't given credit to the ethical issues discovered (or discovered any themselves)... because they think doing so gives legitimacy to the "enemy". Likewise perhaps that's why some on the side of Gamergate are so insistent on saying all the threats the like of Anita and Brianna Wu are either faked or entirely false flags or spend far too long discussing "OMG, look Anita just didn't win an award/OMG look what she just posted". It's why people on the side of Gamergate pretend it's entirely about ethics and those opposed to it say it's entirely about harassment. Because to accept the truth... that's it's both... is giving ground to the "enemy" and you know... we can't have that...
Even if it does involve betray what you're supposed to stand for.
Edit: Just to add, TotalBiscuit's thoughts largely follow my own; text version here
, audio version here