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Comment Re:Unhelpful Whining (Score 1) 277

Your thoughts on this?

My thoughts? Personally, I think the whole "Zoe Quinn" scandal was bullshit as well. Considering how much of the "evidence" came from her ex-boyfriend calling her an evil manipulative bitch (no ulterior motives there, no sir,) it just cannot be taken seriously. The most damning thing, in my opinion, is that it wouldn't be big news even if it was true. It wouldn't hold a candle to much more serious ethics problems that have been documented beyond a shadow of a doubt (like the writer fired for giving a bad review to a game who's publisher paid for expensive ads on their news site; see link in prior post.) A few writers getting doe eyes from an indie dev cannot compare to instituitonal editorial corruption. And none of it matters because it wasn't true.

"Gamergate" only became noteworthy after the remarkably shady way several gake journalism publications responded to it - but I think you raise a good point. Was the initial furor that needled thr journalists into that response born of petty sexism? As one familiar with that community, my take on it is thus: yes, but not as much as you might think.

What made the "zoe quinn conspiracy" so attractive to the bored 20-something hobbyists was that her game was more of a "disabilities awareness" interactive fiction than a game. Thus it smacked strongly of "SJW." "Social Justice Warrior," among my generation in general and among the 4chan community in particular has a more narrow connotation than most think. It refers specifically to self-righteous youth/young adults whom engage in constant mutual outrage/agreement with one another on social media for the purpose of moral self-aggrandizement. (Currently this trend is most visible and famous on tumblr.) Games promoting "social justice" themes - especially if they have little actual gameplay - are generally seen as the video game equivilent of "Emmy Bait"; movies that pander shamelessly to this or that sancified cause in order to win awards that enhance the director's reputation as Righteous. In this case the "Emmys" were the many glowing reviews the game recieved, which irked an audience already rightly distrustful.

But for all that, its hard to explain the vehemence with which the tempest was stirred in that teapot without at least some sexism. Yes, a great deal of it owes to bored 20-somethings treating rather minor matters with the gravity real adults save for national politics. They sit around and bitch about game publishers like you or I might bitch about major leauge teams. But anyone trying to tell you that young 20-something males on the internet is a demographic devoid of sexism is lying their ass off. 4chan and such is no exception. The angry lneckbeard sexists you sneered at? Oh yes, my friend - these petty little trolls exist.

And before the "Gamers are Dead" articles, that's exactly what the whole thing was - petty. A rather small number of clowns "sticking it to the biased media Man" who was backing up some "tumblr-tier hack." And many of them went about it with the same air of righteous crusaders as the "tumblrinas" they so despise. Kids sniping at kids sniping at writers so corrupt even journalists (with their own remarkably low reputation) won't deign to call real journalists.

But when it went big, it went BIG - and that's because sexism (and identity politics) are things that have been batted around by REAL adults in REAL politics for decades. And when THEY came in, "shit got real." You don't hear much about Zoe Quinn anymore, but you always hear about Anita Sarkeesian's latest tweet - because she's a femenist pundit/blogger that grown adults pay attention to. Her counterpart is Milo Yiannopoulos, the right wing pundit for Huffpo's dark mirror, His original blog posts were remarkably candid: "Listen, I don't know shit about video games, but I think you're being left out in the cold."

The effects were felt very fast on 4chan. 4chan is a big damned site, and given the broad demographic appeal of video games it's unsurprising that the video game board is one of the most populated. To wit, the little neckbeards were truly little. Then "Death To Gamers" happened - and everyone on the board; white, black or green, were dragged into it. After all, they had all been told to drop dead. Milo posted on /v/ to ask questions. It was suddenly an actual big deal.

Christopher Poole, owner and founder of 4chan, quickly banned "gamergate" discussion from the site. Soon after, he sold it off and moved on. He had been planning it for a while - the site took all his time and while it brought him fame, it never brought him much money - but it is widely suspected that he hastened his departure following Gamergate. And for good reason - association with something "sexist" makes you unhireable. Period. Recall the destruction of Mozilla's last CEO. Poole has testified before Congress concerning terrorism threats and child porn on 4chan, and he stayed... but sexism? He bailed as fast as possible. And I don't blame him one damn bit.

That's the power of the issues in play here. That's why "Gamergate" as it exists now is both much bigger and largely unrelated to the parties that spawned it. For instance, take me - I didn't write all this text because I give a damn about a bunch of dipshits who think they're on a crusade to save us from review writers who dared to write something nice about an arty game. It's something very different now - my entire generation pulling their heads out of their collective asses and waking up to issues I was writing op-eds about in high school because it finally kicked over one of THEIR sand-castles. And these otherwise disinterested 20-somethings, well, they're registered voters, too. The people who obsess over and harass Zoe Quinn are trolls and CHUDS - sexism is the least of their problems. But Gamergate as a phenomena? It is much, much bigger than that. If it wasn't, I wouldn't be wasting my breath on it!

Comment Re:Unhelpful Whining (Score 1) 277

The only important thing to know is that "Gamergate" ceased to be about "games" very, very quickly. Some indie game developer (who happened to be female) received a glowing review of her game from a game journalist. Said journalist was accused of being her boyfriend and demonstrating favoritism. Even if it was true (and it was likely not,) it was just another tempest in a teapot - games journalists have been fired for giving bad reviews to games whom their publication were currently running expensive advertisements for, so the low standards of game journalism were hardly news to anyone. Gamers accused reviewers of being biased, reviewers accused them of being sexist basement-dwellers, the Earth revolved around the sun, etc. It would've ended there, but for what the journalists did next.

About a day after the #Gamergate hashtag was created, several game journalism media outlets published almost the same article - all of them consistent in tone, topic and message. The message was "Gamers Are Dead." The Gamergate wiki has a fairly comprehensive list of said articles, the archive links are dead, but googling the article names brings them up on their own site. The Gamasutra article is fairly typical, so I'll quote from it briefly:

‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’ about social justice or ‘game journalism ethics,’ straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of video games.

Subtle, they were not. These articles basically said two things: gamers (especially the ones criticizing the journalists) were all angry white males (and this implicitly without legitimacy) and it was high time they all just fucked off and died. And they were published by multiple media outlets all around the same time. This isn't news to anyone who follows politics, of course - but for the 20-something video-game playing college students who'd never showed great interest in politics, it was a very rude shock, and a crash-course introduction to identity politics as used in the modern age. This event is what put GamerGate on the map, because it drew in a huge groundswell of support. Overnight it had went from sniping over a mostly-forgettable spat to a full-on cultural war.

Note that this isn't acknowledged by the "anti-gamergate" crowd - they still portray "gamergate" (insofar as it can be identified as a unified entity, which isn't much,) as a bunch of angry white misogynistic males who're just screaming because girls with cooties got into their clubhouse. That, alone, is a testament to the power of identity politics. By portraying her game as some sort of feminist critique, that original developer was able to decry any criticism as sexism - and in so doing, immediately tapped a much, much, much more powerful bloc of people; pundits and writers who've been involved in real politics for decades. And they wasted no time in bringing the brunt of it to bear on their opponents in a coordinated campaign to demolish their legitimacy - character assassination by the city block, you might say. This is the heart of complaints about "Social Justice Warriors"- their critics consider them people who exploit the legitimacy of worthy causes to destroy the legitimacy of anyone who opposes their views, on almost any topic.

"Gamergate" isn't clean or innocent, of course. I'm familiar with the communities from which it spawned; mostly occupied by young college students with too much time on their hands. They follow the "game industry" like others follow Hollywood gossip or the internal politics of major-league sports; i.e. as a hobby. Combine this over-investment with the air of young folk who believe they've just discovered a NOVEL TRUTH nobody knew about before, and you get some hilarious overstatement. There's also the standard "edgy" ones who are clinging to that 90s "hacker" mystique, "fighting the man" by looking up publicly available info on Google and preening on being the super edgy underground resistance that rides skateboards and wears leather shoulder pauldrons (but only on one shoulder.) Unsurprisingly they generate as much self-righteous back-patting as those they accuse of being self-righteous back-patters.

But again, the proof is in the pudding. Once you start looking for the patterns, you'll notice them. Until then, don't believe a word I say!

Comment Re:Unhelpful Whining (Score 3, Interesting) 277

It's all playing to hurt an indignation of white poor uneducated americans who feel left behind and carry a big grudge.

There's actually a name for it: "privileged panic." It refers specifically to people who honestly have no clue why the disenfranchised are angry, or that they even ARE disenfranchised. All they know is, they're suddenly under attack for things they've done all their lives and never thought twice about, much less been criticized for. The hue and cry is what happens when you shift a paradigm without a clutch. And as you say, it is playing to the panic - Fox news et al has a very simple model of journalism; i.e. the Jerry Springer one. They take one conservative, one liberal, and then lock them in a cage and give them knives - because clash sells. This is not the way with, say, MSNBC - or even Huffington Post compared to They are not seeking to push policy issues - or personal advancement - based on their religion being special. They're circling the wagons and barking at anything that comes close. Abuse of identity politics makes things hard for people looking for real change. You can't impose social change from the top town, no matter how hard you try - Reconstruction in general and Jim Crow in particular, for instance. You have to win hearts and minds. You have to communicate. And that's very difficult to do when the panicking privileged have become accustomed to seeing these issues wielded like just another political club.


I'm familiar with gamergate as well. a reactionary neckbeard riot

I'm a "gamergate" supporter, and a gamer. I also have a bachelor's degree from a four year university. Video games are now a 93 billion dollar global industry with development teams and budgets that rival Hollywood blockbuster movies in their scope, cost and sophistication - and are marketed much the same way. Long gone are the days when computer games were limited to two markets; kids (on consoles) and computer geeks (who were the only people really using personal computers back in the day.) "Gamer" has retained this stigmatic association well into the modern era, and the fact you feel no shame in using it to attack those you disagree with puts the lie to your earlier sneering at the " white poor uneducated americans." You feel no shame or hesitation in attacking their ethnicity, educational opportunities, socioeconomic status or even their intellect (rather ableist of you, chum,) because white males are fair game by dint of being born "privileged." This is, indeed, the beating heart of identity politics. You seek to elevate your voice above reproach - and discredit mine beyond consideration - by holding legitimacy to be intrinsic to socioeconomic status. Naturally, those that disagree with you are categorized as "reactionary neckbeards rioting," and thus, intrinsically, are stripped of legitimacy.

I am telling you all this so you will understand that not all of us "reactionary neckbeards" are stupid, nor are we uneducated. We have voices, and we vote. Think about that.


maybe they didn't want a large industrial installation on top of what the local community feels is a natural resource?

It most certainly is a natural resource - it's a really good place to build telescopes. I would understand completely if the locals were upset over 14 years of construction work going to offshore contractors rather than the locals, or something similar - or if they were lobbying for a rental tax, so the local population with a significant cultural claim to the land was receiving at least as much use of that public land as the astronomers from timbuktu were. Unfortunately, that's not how it has been characterized or argued.

Comment Re:Unhelpful Whining (Score 5, Interesting) 277

I've never seen it explained how a telescope (of which several are already up there) could possibly be a "NIMBY" issue, considering that it has exactly zero possible negative consequences for the locals. It's jot nuclear waste, it's not noisy - shit, it doesn't even block anyone's view. To say nothing of their "hokey religions and ancient weapons" being exactly what they, themselves cite in opposition:

Since you were fortunate enough to be under a rock for the last few decades, you've missed the rapid proliferation of "identity politics." The basic idea is to assert that you are a member of a sexual, social, religious or ethnic minority, so that you may characterize any criticism directed at you as inherently bigoted, racist, et cetera. It is a variant of "moral fiat high ground" argument style - the idea being to avoid debates one cannot win by making it impossible for anyone to speak against you.

You have probably seen articles/comments on /. about "gamergate;" this was simply a lot of 20-somethings with no prior interest in politics getting a crash-course in identity politics when they found a "game dev" trying to hype a very poor game on its merits as femenist-affiming art, or something. These same 20-somethings were also astounded to discover that journalists are neither honest nor principled (fancy that,) and they all got very excited. That entire fracas is a case study in how widespread exploiting identity politics has become - and how commercialized. You can reasonably expect to drum up undeserved hype (and sales) for a poor product if you cast it as pro-whatever; by writers seeking to establish their moral righteousness, or just seeking to head off accusations of bigotry or intolerance (i.e. character assasination.)

In this case, identity politics is stopping Science, which /. is fond of. Therefore many cnsider it a big deal. You may disagree with the above assesments (and you'd be a fool not to do your own research on all this and just trust my word, anyway,) but it is a description of the issue as I (and many others) percieve it.

Comment Not Entirely Bullshit (Score 1) 89

While it is quite true that many people have friends lists in the hundreds, simply because they can, I have personally seen how Facebook can kind of act as a "network map" of social relationships. For instance, just starting with my friends from high school, I can see which friends of mine independently knew one another. I can also see who they know that I don't; and investigating them leads me to discover a whole new "circle" of mutual friends; people who's names and faces I knew, but who's social dealings I was unaware of.

The above observations came about by recognizing patterns in usernames posting on each other's feeds; in other words people whom actually interact with each other. Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for studying social relationships (within the bounds of its demographic capture, of course,) if it's utilized in a proper manner. That certianly does not apply to some pap written by a Facebook PR staffer, (though it was nicely written, at least,) but don't let that obscure the real scientific value that can be gleaned from more intensive, focused observations. Facebook must be sociologist catnip; all those social interactions - many of them tied into "real life" via phone/geotagging integration - laid out on a table for easy perusal and analysis.

Comment Re:How smart? (Score 1) 464

I have a double major degree in Journalism and Political Science - trust me, I've "thought a bit" about media messaging for partisan gain. You argue that they're targeting children with their advertisements, the same way toy and cereal ads do. I looked up the ad:

Pay attention to the language of the voice-over. This ad was not targeted at children. Compare it to an ad that was: I trust you'll notice some differences in tone and presentation. The famous bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. He replied, "That's where the money is." In other words, to reach your target demographic, you have to go to them. I never recall a single actual firearm advertisement ran during my Saturday Morning Cartoons when I was young, nor have I seen them show up when babysitting my young cousins in recent years. Plenty of cereal and toys, but no firearms. Cereal and toys tend to be a lot cheaper than a Crickett rifle (about 130 dollars USD on Cabellas as we speak,) and are much more like "impulse buys," which is why grocery stores place them low on the shelves; so kids can grab'em and chuck them in Mom's cart, and then make a fuss till Mom leaves them there. That's also why the ads are colorful and feature mascot characters so heavily - easy brand recognition for young children; the same imagery and face on the box and the commercial. The Nerf commercial I linked featured one of the most expensive blasters they ever made (50+ bucks, easily 70 or 80 with "accessories" like extra darts and such,) putting it closer to the "expensive holiday gift" price bracket the Crickett's are in, so that's as close to a 1:1 comparison as you can reasonably get. I've seen ads for Crickett rifles in Guns and Ammo and other firearm/sporting magazines; 5 year old's neither subscribe to these, nor read them.

Crickett firearms are not targeting child demographics with their ads, as readily evidenced by looking at advertising in media children actually watch. You're trying to manufacture a false equivalence by shooting your mouth off about things you don't understand and haven't made even a cursory effort to research.

Try thinking before posting next time.

Comment Re:WTF? Seriously? (Score 1) 230

Read Kill Chain [] if you want to see how giving trained troops weapons increases the chance they'll be used (and misused). It doesn't just increase the chance, it virtually guarantees that they'll be used. It's like giving a little kid a hammers and telling them, "Now, don't hit anything with it!"

A book about drones? I find it marginally fascinating that someone felt the need to write an entire book on why a precision-strike weapon which exposes no friendly forces to danger and can directly assassinate enemy chain-of-command elements became 1. popular and 2. prone to being overused. It would require a complete ignorance of the political problems that influence warmaking decisions to not understand it. Drones are "clean." Drones are quick. Drones are easy. Drones are precise. Drones can loiter and wait for hours for the right moment to strike to minimize collateral casualties. (And you can royally fuck up all those advantages by being too quick on the trigger, as we have learned to our chagrin.)

"Clean, easy and low collateral casualties" are three traits that have never, ever, ever been associated with nuclear weapons. There is an institutional bias towards viewing nuclear weapons as a tactical battlefield solution - especially dual-purpose weapons like the B-61 bomb, which can very well be assigned to more valuable strategic targets. In the modern era of reduced nuclear armories, nukes are more valuable than ever. Even from a cold-hearted and dispassionate viewpoint, it just doesn't make doctrinal sense.


Yes, but the fact is that they aren't bombing THEIR civilians, they're bombing the "bad guys" and who the fuck cares if a few million of their civilians burn in the process? They'll count it as a win, and the term they use for it is "mowing the grass".

You really, honestly believe that - in today's world, in 2016, in a world where the specter of global thermonuclear war is but a shadow of its former self - that there is anyone in the military who'd accept "a few million" casualties as a small price to pay to put the specter of a larger nuclear war permanently out of the picture? I suggest you update your stereotypes, sir.

Comment Re:Why am I not surprised? (Score 1) 432

The OP

You mean cherrypicked samples given the "spotlight" treatment and used to imply a much greater "harassment problem" than has been statistically proven to exist? To say nothing of my comment having nothing to do with OP, and rather everything to do with the poster's reply to the other person's personal observation based on "thirty years in tech."

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