I’m sure that my alt-right audience is already familiar with the concept of signaling. This is for the unenlightened members of #GamerGate who aren’t really familiar with the concept. This is a basic sort of glossary on social signaling, how it works, and how it effects #GamerGate. I expect to maybe expand on this in the future, when I get some free time.
What it is: Signaling is a statement made towards someone as a larger statement about yourself to the public as a whole. The goal is not to meaningfully interact with the person you’re speaking to, but instead to show that world “I get it!” or something similar.
How it works: Imagine you’re walking down the street, wearing a T-shirt with your favorite video game on it. A random stranger, seeing your shirt, shouts a quote from that game towards you. You respond with the appropriate quote, and continue walking wherever it is you were headed. You never see this stranger again. No relationship is ever born from the exchange. That is an example of signaling.
How it relates to #GamerGate: Signaling is the core basis of what the average “conversation” with an SJW will be. Unless they personally know you, they aren’t actually trying to change your mind with their talking points. The conversation is not an attempt to persuade you. It’s all done for show. Their goal is to get their own statements out there for other SJWs to see and approve of, regardless of how accurate they may be. AMIB/Jay Allen is the most notorious example of this. His storify posts are entirely designed to be attacking #GamerGate for other progressives to see and applaud, in turn boosting his social status. Nicholas “Srhbutts” Nyberg functions in the same way. His screencaps are less about a concrete documentation of #GamerGate wrongdoing and more about trying to publicly fight #GamerGate for good publicity. Hell, Tim Schafer might have just managed to salvage his entire career by signaling to the right people at GDC.
What it is: Karma is social standing in the form of a commodity. The entire point of signaling is to gain karma from other people, preferably ones with lots of karma themselves. Karma is rewarded for good signaling, and it is deducted for triggering. Karma is not universally recognized: good karma in one circle will very rarely carry over to another social circle. More often than not, good karma in one circle will mean bad karma in another. Other terms for karma could be kudos, or “brownie points”.
How it works: The obvious example here is the karma system from Reddit. If a reader likes your post, he’ll upvote it, giving you karma. If he doesn’t like it, he’ll downvote it, penalizing your karma score. Of course, reddit karma is not a perfect example, since it follows you around to different subreddits, and the intent is not to reward signaling. However, as any cynical reddit user or ex-user will tell you, signaling is the easiest way to get karma.
How it relates to #GamerGate: Chobitcoin was right. Well, maybe not about being able to cum in a she-twink, but the entire reason that so many of these goony beard-men are attacking #GamerGate is for personal gain. They desperately hope that they’ll be elevated to the special status of being in the progressive media elite. Whether or not it’s working is up to you: Most of “anti-#GamerGate” RT’s and follow only a few different people. Thus, the distribution of karma is decidedly aysmmetrical: People like Brianna Wu, Anita Sarkeesian, Leigh Alexander, Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz are all granted massive amounts of karma. However, unlike what we tend to see in #GamerGate, they fail to reciprocate, almost never promoting or engaging with their supporters who prop them up. It’s helped advance the public image of a select few, but hasn’t really helped build a community.
What it is: A circlejerk is a community almost entirely devoted to signaling. Circlejerks are devoid of any real discussion, but rather individuals all trying to farm karma from each other, or to figure out how to signal more effectively. Over time, the community consensus becomes more and more narrow, and dissenting opinions are punished more and more. Low-karma figures are ignored as the conversation is almost entirely controlled by high-karma elites.
How it works: Reddit wordfilters to “circlejerk” on 420chan for a reason. Regardless of the intent of their karma system, it seems as if nearly every subreddit will eventually become a circlejerk. Indeed, the entire reason chan sites are so popular is that forced anonymity helps prevent a circlejerk from forming, allowing for discussions almost entirely devoid of signaling. Identifying characteristics like tripcodes and names are despised because they allow for reputation, which allows for karma, which allows for signaling.
How it relates to #GamerGate: Ghazi, GDC, Polygon, RPS, etc.? All circlejerks or in the process of becoming one. The reason so many writers hold the comments section in disdain is precisely because it allows for the circlejerk to be broken up. Indeed, the presence of #GamerGate having developer support scares SJWs so much because it can break up their circlejerks. If a high-karma individual breaks away from the consensus, it allows for “undesirables” to gain karma. Thus, people like Daniel Vavra and Brad Wardell get massive targets painted on their foreheads for giving #GamerGate legitimacy. Alexander Macris and The Escapist have become public enemies #1 for SJWs, mostly because of them giving dissent legitimacy.
What it is: Triggering is basically anti-signaling. The goal of triggering is not to appeal to any one group, but to deliberately antagonize a group. Triggering is not intended to gain social status, but to earn the ire of a select group. Triggering must be devoid of any attempts to appeal to someone else: attacking one group to appeal to another is just signaling.
How it works: I’d have to say that chobitcoin is the queen of triggering. While she sometimes does signal to #GamerGate, more often than not she attacks SJWs solely for the sake of attacking SJWs. She doesn’t seem to care about being a #GamerGate folk hero, but instead revels in being a folk demon for them. Teridax and Kerbstar are also masters of triggering, however they prefer to trigger #GamerGate.
How it relates to #GamerGate: Triggering is not done for any reward other than personal satisfaction. Thus, SJWs generally will not try to trigger #Gamergate. It should be an imperative of #GamerGate to recognize who is signaling and who is triggering, knowing the difference between the two. It also helps show that most death threats are not in fact done by #GamerGate: the threats clearly don’t appeal to #GamerGate members and #GamerGate does not reward the people who send threats with karma. Thus, it would make no sense for #GamerGate to take part in or approve of threats made, be it in the name of #GamerGate or not.