An organized party operating out of Edmonton, Canada called the Women’s Initiative recently ended up a hot topic on social media when they made some disparaging comments about #GamerGate. They proceeded to block anyone they thought was associated with the hashtag. After finally having a two-way conversation, the organization reviewed their position and changed stances regarding the hashtag. They’re now open to more dialogue and bridging communication between both sides.
On January 20th, 2016 the Women’s Initiative social media account posted the apology on their Twitter page, stating the following…
We apologize about our #Gamergate tweet. We didn’t fully understand all the nuances in this movement and we’re learning from it. Thank you.
They followed up the tweet by making it known that they were also unblocking a lot of people that they indiscriminately blocked in association with the hashtag, tweeting…
“Also, sorry about indiscriminate #gamergate blocking. We got overwhelmed with responses & we’re now reviewing those blocking decisions.
“We apologize for blocking you yesterday. We were a tad trigger happy on the block button, and we’re working to make it better.”
They received the ire of people like Randi Lee Harper, who is known to have been involved in her own form of initiating harassment campaigns, as reported by Breitbart.
Nevertheless, once they opened up communication they were able to better explain their position, and those fighting for ethics in journalism were better able to explain their position.
For those of you wondering what the Women’s Initiative is about, they’re part of an advocacy group in Canada to help inculcate women with the drive to be a bigger part of the socio-political infrastructure of Canada. They describe some of their practices, initiatives and goals on their website. In a series of tweets they also stated…
“A couple of years ago, #yeg (that’s Edmonton, Canada) was reported to be worst city in [Canada] for women, due to a number of factors. So we were created to try to change that. We’ve been working on all kinds of things, from improving transit safety to encouraging more women to get involved, and use their voices in civic affairs.
“We believe that by making the city better for women and girls it makes it better for everyone. After all, it’s already a pretty awesome place for men. So just trying to raise women up here. And help direct and address inequities for men too. We’re all about making our a place where everyone feels safe and included. And to create policies at the gov level to do that.”
Some of you might be wondering what any of this has to do with ethics in journalism. Well, it doesn’t.
The reality is that groups like Women’s Initiative have been led to believe that that #GamerGate is about sexism in gaming, when in reality it’s about ethics in media journalism.
“[…] so I think for me as a former games journo and gamer, GG was/is about ending the awful practices in the industry, focused on the press & their relationship with publishers & developers. Too close = unable to cover the industry accurately or retain the trust of their readers. Which is frustrating. Entities that should be protecting their readers from exploitation, and conducting themselves with some journalistic integrity weren’t.
“It has been going on since the early 90s, it all just came to a head in 2014. It created a big storm, where ever there is drama or the possibility of getting a rise out of folks, trolls & actual loons flock. So you end up with valid criticism & anger at the awful state of the industry & community peppered with trolling.”
Gamers – men, women, boys, girls, black, whites, Asians, Hispanics and everyone else in between – are fed up with the corruption in media and have been fighting back more than a year and a half under the hashtag #GamerGate. This includes exposure of FTC breaches by websites like VG 24/7. This included exposing blacklisting attempts by secret cabals like the Game Journo Pros. This included detailing all of the different conflicts of interest, many of which are now cataloged on Deepfreeze.it. This also included running anti-ad campaigns against sites regularly practicing defamation like Gawker Media.
For #GamerGate, it’s easy to rattle off a list of charities they’ve contributed to – including ones for anti-bullying, as reported by APG Nation or a campaign to get more women into gaming by The Fine Young Capitalists – and it’s easy to list all of the ethics-related accomplishments that have been made so far. What’s not easy is finding actual evidence that it’s a harassment campaign, something the media has repeatedly pointed to, as detailed in the WAM! report.
But just like the Survival Island 3 scenario, the media has been caught lying about #GamerGate. It’s why none of the authors of those articles can produce evidence that it is a harassment campaign, and none of the writers can engage in a discussion about the actual evidence involving corruption.
It’s good that some organizations, such as the Women’s Initiative of Canada, have taken time to step back from their predisposed hatred and have apologized for pulling the trigger of criticism too early. Hopefully a dialogue with more neutral and moderate parties can be opened up, similar to what #GamerGate accomplished with the SPJ Airplay event (for which I was a committee member).
(Main image courtesy of PyroKorwin)