Why #GamerGate Should Be Showing Solidarity with #FreeChuck

This Sunday, I asked /r/KotakuInAction what we should do about the Chuck C. Johnson affair. I was expecting a lukewarm response, and the end result was exactly that. A few people discussed how great Johnson was at trolling SJWs and how they loved him for it, a few others said his methods were too extreme, and Nicky Nyberg even graced us with his presence to complain about Johnson’s work in tracking down the mysterious “Jackie” from the UVA hoax. The overwhelming majority, of course, said something along the lines of “it’s not our problem.” Fair enough, I suppose. Except now, it actually has become our problem.

For those of you don’t know, Chuck C. Johnson is a journalist who runs his own site, GotNews.com. Johnson’s work has been, well, provocative to say the least. Most of it is investigative work, blowing the lid off of stories that most of the mainstream media doesn’t want to touch. I had first heard of Johnson when he filed suit in Ferguson to obtain Michael Brown’s arrest records. I had a great laugh when he exposed the two reporters responsible for leaking Darren Wilson’s home address. He made national news during the aforementioned UVA controversy- he was one of the first reporters to reveal that the Rolling Stone story was a hoax, and put a great deal of effort into finding out who this “Jackie” that Rolling Stone cited was. He made a lot of enemies, and Gawker started a vile, scatological smear campaign against him. Having made enemies with Gawker, he reached out to #GamerGate. Of course, since he had nothing of value to offer, #GamerGate obviously refused to be his personal army.

Most recently, Johnson made a tweet asking fans of GotNews to donate to him, promising he’d go after Ferguson/Baltimore agitator Deray McKesson. In particular, Johnson said he was going to “take out” Deray. Hoping to protect one of their own, twitter SJWs immediately rallied to mass-report the post as a “death threat,” with Deray’s encouragement. Caving to mass pressure, Twitter suspended Johnson. That was when I came to KiA, asking what we should do.

Since then, the situation has only gotten worse. Upon discovering his suspension would be permanent, Johnson made an alternate account. That’s standard procedure. I’ve done it plenty of times- I’m on my second account for my blogging and on a second account for personal use (the third actually got perma’d, but I discovered the second was only temporarily suspended). However, twitter banned this alt fairly quickly, much to my surprise. Still, I suppose it was reasonable, given how he admitted it was an alt to ban-evade, and the angry mob was still angry. It wasn’t too feasible to believe that he was targeted for mass-reporting again.

Then things finally got weird. The twitter account for GotNews suddenly vanished. Obviously, Chuck C. Johnson runs the account. But seeing someone’s legitimately professional twitter account gone like that? I can’t ever recall a precedent for it. I’m not alone, either- folks like Milo Yiannopoulos and the Popehat team even noted that this was a bit bizarre and over the line, along with twitter’s steadfast refusal to reinstate Johnson despite the offending tweet being obviously misunderstood.

But that was only the tip of the iceberg: in an interview with Milo yesterday, Johnson claimed that he had been ip-banned from twitter. For those not in the know, an ip ban is the most severe sanction twitter has to offer- normally reserved for dealing with automated spam systems, twitter’s own FAQ makes it a point to say that they don’t ip ban people. On top of that, prolific hacktivist weev, who was supposedly working with Johnson on understanding the AdultFriendFinder leaks, received a mysterious e-mail from twitter support claiming that he was encouraging his followers to harass people. I’ve never seen this sort of e-mail before, and you’d think with roughly 9 months of #GamerGate I would have. All I can think of is that weev was one of the first people to start the #FreeChuck and #GingerRevolution tags, along with twitter user @Jokeocracy, AKA Duck Enlightenment.

More and more, we’re seeing signs that twitter is engaging in blatant censorship*. It doesn’t matter who Johnson is, or what he’s done in the past, this just is flat-out not okay. If we let twitter get away with this, then there’s a good chance that they’ll come for us next. We all know twitter is compromised, or “pozzed” as I like to say. But so far, they’ve done very little to stop us. Rogue is still here, I’m still here, almost everyone from day one who wants to stay is still here. We need to make it clear that twitter can’t expect to do this to anyone without there being blowback of the highest level.

So what is there to be done? Well, most of the organizing is going on in the two twitter hashtags I mentioned earlier: #FreeChuck and #GingerRevolution. #JeSuisChuckJohnson was also tried, but it’s too long. If we could really boost those hashtags, that would be a great start. Hell, getting them trending with #GamerGate support would be a great show of force. Second, you could change your avatar to this picture right here. If we flood twitter in a sea of orange, they’d feel even more pressure. Remember- the more vocal and persistent we are, the more pressure we put on twitter leadership. I’d also encourage you to read GotNews and help share GotNews links, if not just to spite the people who want it to go away.

This isn’t about spiting SJWs, though. This is about standing up against censorship and silencing. If we’ve been receptive to Ian Miles Cheong despite his past, we can do the same with Chuck C. Johnson. We need to keep twitter open and keep the web free for everyone, even the people we don’t like. This is a chance to show the world what we stand for.

*For those of you who are going to say “BUT ONLY THE GOVERNMENT CAN CENSOR PEOPLE, NOT A PRIVATE PLATFORM!” allow me to present you with a three point rebuttal:

  1. Given that the primary target of weev and Johnson’s collaborative work on the AFF leaks is to find government employees using the service, there is more than enough reason to believe that the government is in on this. We all know that they aren’t too fond of leakers making them look bad.
  2. Privately-owned services are essentially sovereign entities. While they are legally allowed to silence individual voices in their sphere of influence, it is for all intents and purposes censorship on a much smaller scale. Since the english language doesn’t have a word for this, “censorship” fits my purpose.
  3. Blow me.

GDC, DiGRA, and the Delusions of Academia

One thing I’m glad #GamerGate has done is helped spread awareness of what’s going on in the gaming industry. Before all of this, I had never even HEARD of DiGRA. Honestly, now I’m starting to wish I hadn’t, because the sheer degeneracy on display makes me physically ill. I’m not even sure why I’m so shocked- when I was in college I witnessed first hand how genuinely awful academia was. But DiGRA manages to take things to a new level, that just astounds me.

To begin with, let’s talk about why academia is so awful. If you want a primer on why I generally disdain higher education, you can start here. The goal of academia can generally be summarized as advancing society through research. Unfortunately, for the most part that’s almost entirely redundant in a capitalist society. The largest innovations in technology and science in recent years have almost always come from the private sector. After all, private sector research inevitably leads to a new commercial product, which leads to more jobs in production, and more goods for sale, which is good for the overall economy of the nation. Of course, not all fields are created equal. If the private sector takes all the hot fields where progress is in high demand, that leaves academia with, well, everything else.

If you’re familiar with the alternative right or even the right at all, you’re well aware of the rest of the picture. If not, let me explain this. Almost all of academia is overwhelmingly liberal and progressive. All the work is run through a liberal filter. For instance, if you were to bring up the transformation of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, it would be dismissed as irrelevant due to the authoritarian, legalistic, anti-egalitarian policies of the government. Somehow, the discomfort of a few natives under apartheid invalidates the miraculous success of colonial states like Rhodesia or South Africa. The era of Manifest Destiny and western expansion is somehow treated as a shameful period in American History rather than an ideal time. It’s a complete degenerate cesspit with the most skewed priorities imaginable. Rather than actually advancing society and civilization, a higher priority is put on the feelings of utterly unimportant individuals.

So obviously, this carries over to DiGRA. Let’s compare DiGRA to the GDC for a moment. For all intents and purposes, the GDC is the private sector equivalent of DiGRA. At GDC, you’ll see talks mostly oriented towards the business side of things. For better or worse, DiGRA are professionals. Everything they do is dictated by the industry and the profit motive. As I’ve noted before, you are going to find periodic worthwhile discussions at GDC where real talk can happen. Even the pozzed portion of GDC is still kept in line by capitalism. The feminist talks are given with the intent of gaining and retaining female customers. Hardly ideal, but there could be worse.

And that worse usually finds itself in DiGRA. I browsed the #DiGRA2015 tag today on twitter and was appalled by the sheer nonsense of what I was reading. Most of it was absolutely meaningless- comparisons of Mario to Nichetze, rambling about tabletop game mechanics, and other pretentious nonsense that has no impact on making games that sell. Because DiGRA isn’t for professionals who make games and rely on those games making money- it’s for academics who need grants to justify whatever asinine research they want. None of this is actually beneficial or important to the games industry- it won’t make anyone any money.

As I mentioned in a twitter rant, as a history student, most of this DiGRA nonsense reminds me of Weimar Germany’s “culture” in the sense that it’s totally vapid. Back in the post-war era, Germany was rife with rampant inflation, socialist/anarchist/communist terrorism, and plenty of other problems. However, the intellectual and cultural “elite” of Germany, the artists, filmmakers, and writers, were all more obsessed with making movies about women and gays and the deconstruction of traditional values than they were actually fixing Germany. For all of Hitler’s faults, at the very least he was initially acting for the good of the nation.

The most irritating thing in all of this is that despite their complete lack of worth, DiGRA still has relevance. As Sargon of Akkad has shown, DiGRA writing still finds its way into the gaming press. So as much as I’d love to ignore this little gathering of utterly worthless people, I have to begrudgingly realize that it is a very real problem that exists. Make no mistake- it is for the good of the industry, perhaps even society as a whole, that DiGRA and their degenerate nonsense about “queer mechanics” and such be removed from gaming. They have nothing of value to offer us as gamers. They have nothing of value to offer developers and publishers. They have nothing of value to offer to us at all. They are nothing but a toxic drain upon the community.

So yeah, vitriol and all aside, it should be the goal of #GamerGate to forcibly remove DiGRA from the industry and the culture around it. There should be no quarter for their utterly useless, irrelevant, and outright degenerate nonsense. We must make it overwhelmingly clear that this is our territory, and that they are not welcome.