Hello, my name is Allistair Pinsof.

I worked 3+ years as a game journalist (The Daily Texan, The Escapist, Destructoid) until I became part of a scandal when I revealed the identity of a developer in an effort to end a fraudulent charity (read my full, horribly long personal account here: http://pastebin.com/nnR5gqdX). I felt awful about my mistake and tried to reconcile, at the time: https://archive.today/JVyaL

Recent leaks from private game journalists emails have revealed there is more to my story, involving other parties agreeing to cover the mismanagement that led to my decision and the blacklisting that would follow. These leaks came from the GamerGate camp.

As someone who was both a game journalist elite (E3, press junkets, one-on-one interviews with game icons, etc.) and case study of game journalist corruption (according to GamerGate), I'd like to answer questions from a neutral perspective.

I remain critical of both GamerGate and game journalists. So, do please Ask Me Anything!

My Proof: https://twitter.com/megaspacepanda/status/523580544211509248

Article GamerGate blogger wrote about me: http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/10/gamergate-destructoid-corruption-and-ruined-careers/

Update 1 (10/25 12:30EST): That's all for tonight. Thanks for joining me. I'll come back to answer more questions on Monday 10/27. I hope there are more anti-GG voices then; tell your anti-GG friends or Twitter detractors to come here post. This can't be neutral if the majority is pro-GG.

Update 2 (10/27 5:30EST): Ok, that's the end of this AMA. Thanks for your questions. I hope I helped inform both sides and showed that neither is entirely in the wrong and that we can learn something from listening to both and filtering out the more unsavory, charged voices. If anyone wants to know what a neutral position sounds like in this, share this AMA with them. Thanks again.

Comments: 307 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

zonkvert245 karma

Explain gamer gate and why it is important/significant plz. PS thanks for doing this, and blacklisted is this like Hollywood and the Communist blacklist kings?

lonelypanda24 karma

Edit: Oh, I'm reddit dumb and thought this was a mod message. Yeah ... haha. I'm going to wait for them to OK, before I answer questions in full.

Edit 2: Ok mods said this is all good to go, sorry for deleting first response (now I'll have to type it all over again!)

I don't think anyone is capable of succinctly describing GamerGate. I can only describe it in very vague terms.

It reminds me of a public protest where people are all angry against the establishment (in this case: mainstream game outlets and its reporters) but for reasons that aren't always clear or consistent. It's been viewed as a sexist and hate movement by mainstream press, but minorities in the group have talked against these claims and say it's only about transparency and accountability in games journalism.

In New York Times, The Guardian and many other well read publications, GamerGate has been tied to the attacks against prominent female developers privacy and safety. This aspect, more than any other, has garnered it much attention, online and off.

Thanks for your question.

BowAndAxe45 karma

The other day I was viewing steam and to my surprise found that TotalBiscuit is currently the most subscribed Steam Curator. His following is bigger than all major review sites combined.

Do you think that this has anything to do with some websites being out of touch with their consumers?

The first ever TB video I watched was a 1 on 1 interview where TB asked a developer some pretty hard questions. At the end of the video I came off with a sort of impression "man he was being a bit of a dick to that guy, whats his deal, why do people like this stuff?"

I didnt plan to watch any further TB videos after that, his style just wasnt my thing. Afterall, I can just read what my favourite website has to say about the game. But then I read a press interview, and I asked myself, why isnt the website asking about framerate? Why isnt button mapping being mentioned?

I guess I sort of realised that TB wasnt being a complete dick, he was just asking hard questions that were relevent to him and his fans. I know the Press sometimes have to do a complicated dance so that they dont offend the Publishers/Developers, while at the same time trying to get some hard and relevent questions in, but over the last year Ive felt a little let down with it and feel like a lot of my favourite websites are feeding the hype machine a little too much with not enough content to help inform the consumer.

So I guess my questions are:

  • How do you feel about this stuff?
  • Do you think what consumers expect from the Gaming Press has changed?
  • As a Journalist yourself, did you ever feel like you had to tread a fine line between asking consumer firiendly questions, while at the same time not pissing off/getting blacklisted by the developers/publishers?

Cheers for the time!

lonelypanda17 karma

Perhaps gaming journalism is a cyclical beast, wherein more money = more problems for outlets that soon see themselves outpaced by small time bloggers and YouTube stars. Kotaku and Dtoid were once small fish in the big pond of Ziff Davis, after all.

People want fresh, real views from people they feel are within reach via social media. I'm a huge fan of Super Bunny Hop. I supported him when he had barely any views and now he's a big deal (even on GameJournoPros list SUPER LEGIT lol)

For those of us who don't want the buffet of semi-interesting news and forced opinion pieces that keep major outlets running, cherry picking who we feel are the true experts and supporting them via Patreon is the best option.

And when they get big and sellout (like Yogscast or whoever), you cut them loose. Then the next promising YouTube star rises up.

If any of these outlets had someone as talented as matthewmatosis, I'd visit them on a daily basis. That said, I hope they don't hire him, hah.

ParlHillAddict32 karma

I see many journalists I follow (and have enjoyed for years) say that GamerGame should be ignored and isn't a big issue (which is actually pretty close to my opinion). Then they regularly post jokes about "Goobergate", "virgin neckbeard manbabies", memes making fun of anyone supporting GG, and other actions which seem to be the exact opposite of ignoring it. The constant stream of this, frankly, circlejerk makes me slightly more likely to sympathize with GG, if only in a devil's advocate way.

While I understand the idea of countering hate with laughter, at a certain point it starts to look like some journalists and their followers are enjoying kicking the hornet's nest, as it were. Is that a responsible approach for journalists, especially senior editors, EiC's, etc. to take?

lonelypanda43 karma

It's indicative of the greater problem with game journalists: they have distanced themselves greatly through their elitist culture.

They are so deep in their circle jerk (which was primarily GameJournoPros purpose) that they grow out of touch with the public. I have a lot of respect for someone like Jim Sterling who is very, very popular (drove half of Dtoid's traffic while I was there) but is decidedly against being part of the private cooljournobros club.

Dug through my email last night and found one where a writer linked Russ Pits saying 9/10 people on GameJournoPros said they want industry jobs. Sterling said that's one of many reasons he'd never join. I laughed.

muleyman1325 karma

I have to ask. Why in your opinion are the Female,LGBT etc members of GamerGate being ignored mostly by any and most of the Gaming sites and even the main stream media as well?

lonelypanda25 karma

They haven't been ignored by gaming outlets entirely. Many have addressed them directly or indirectly on social networks.

The journalists argue that they are "puppets" of the movement or that "culture jacking" has occurred -- which I think means people joined the party thinking it was a pizza party when it actually is a key party.

Even the Men's Rights movement has female members who speak for it. Just because minorities and women support GamerGate doesn't mean it's entirely in their interest. This is why most sites don't acknowledge them or write about them.

As for myself, I'm still on the fence about this aspect. I think there are legit LGBT and female members who really do believe in ethics in journalism and enjoy listening to them. As for the rest, who knows. There needs to be more investigation, surveys and digging from all parties.

Alfarin19 karma

Do you intend to follow up with legal action after your blacklisting by the GameJournoPros group?

lonelypanda26 karma

No. I hope the journalists know this. I do worry they have been suspiciously silent about the articles concerning me because of this aspect.

I knew about the blacklist first hand, a year ago. I looked into legal action against Destructoid -- if only to clear my name about the fact I was never given an order to not post -- but it would have been long and costly.

Libel really isn't worth the trouble, especially for someone like me who was planning to leave game journalism anyway and wants to do constructive things in life (which don't usually occur in court).

Chrisbizkit8716 karma

What are your thoughts on games writers supporting or being supported by game devs they write about via patreon?

lonelypanda20 karma

It's not a good look.

Any professor will tell you, even if there is no real conflict of interest, you don't want to give people any reason to think there is.

My feeling when I wrote about Kickstarters was that me writing about them was my way of supporting them. That's my power as a journalist. I don't need to personally fund them.

catpor13 karma

Hello, Allistair.

Is it reasonable for "reviews" from gaming journalists to disclose financial and/or personal ties to the product and/or team they're reviewing? I do ask this of many people and the answers are always interesting.

lonelypanda36 karma

Reasonable? If they don't, they are hacks.

No Editor-in-Chief should let someone with financial or personal ties to a developer review their game, and if they have to for some ridiculous reason then all possible ties should be revealed on the page itself (not some staff page no one will look at, Polygon).

"But Roger Ebert!" -- but Roger Ebert also paid his own way for press trips and was never afraid to give negative reviews of friends' films (also, even he flat out shouldn't have reviewed them). Show me examples of negative reviews of friends' games from game critics.

thekittycommander12 karma

Are these problems unique to games journalism or journalism as a whole? What are your long term plans?

lonelypanda34 karma

Gaming journalism is hitting a lot more speedbumps than any other form of media journalism, but it's also a younger industry full of younger people (many are only now hitting their 30s and having families).

Gaming journalism is just a much stranger beast as well. No other media has as many events like games (PAX, constant press junkets, award shows), so it brings journalists closer together. This doesn't always result in good things, however. It's my personal view that outlets should be somewhat distanced and critical of one another. But in game journalism it's a huge no-no to publicly say anything against another publication. I bet outlets wanted to talk mess about Polygon's Bayonetta 2 review, but it would have been discouraged by superiors. This results in the public feeling they are colluding and in a way they are by not sharing their honest opinions publicly. I can say there was a lot of shit talking about other sites behind the scenes at sites I worked at -- in most cases, these should have been made public and open to discussion.

Do you think Pauline Kael would have pushed movie journalism forward had she not constantly battled other critics and publications? Journalism shouldn't be a cooperative business; it should be a competitive one. And, it is when it comes to reporting, but not so much elsewhere.

golgar12 karma

How has your opinion of #GamerGate changed over time?

lonelypanda23 karma

It's changing day-by-day. Before I was brought into it, I saw it as a toxic, weird internet thing that I didn't want to read about. When a GamerGate blogger approached me about the emails that leaked, I was friendly and cooperative but was hesitant to do anything that could be seen to the outside as "pro-GamerGate".

Since then, I've been thinking about it, researching it, and discussing it 24/7. I think there have been some really good points and discoveries made by the GamerGate side regarding ethical conflicts at game sites, but I still think there is a whole lot wrong with it, from its origins to now.

Arean9111 karma

Hi Allistair, thanks for doing this.

Earlier, on Twitter, you stated that reviewers hurting a games sales over political agendas is not a public issue. Could I ask you to expand on that statement, as I don't think we see eye to eye on that?

lonelypanda30 karma

A reviewer can criticize Bayonetta 2 for its portrayal of its main character. A review can also criticize Borderlands The Prequel for its character that repeatedly mentions she's a lesbian without much relevancy or character depth, as if the writer wants a pat on the back for including a minority. Both are political views I've seen in game reviews. They are subjective views.

How these subjective views effect the Metacritic score that effects pay at companies is none of the critics' business. His or her business is writing true and from the heart.

You don't stare into the Metacritic abyss. It serves the system, you do not serve it as a critic.

Nevflinn10 karma

Thank you so much for doing this AMA, Alistair. It's a godsend for people like me who want to get to the issue.

Keywords among those asking for reform from gaming news sites are 'transparency' and 'disclosure'. However, I watched a live stream with Erik Kain where he argued that more should come about than just disclosure, as a dishonest deal that you're up front about is still a dishonest deal. The example he used, IIRC, was journalists constantly being invited over by companies to conventions to do their reporting.

What is your take on it? Is it really enough for a journalist to be fully transparent?

lonelypanda16 karma

Isn't a dishonest deal you're honest about become a ... honest deal?

I see what you are getting at, though. This was a hot topic when I was at Dtoid. Dtoid doesn't have the backers of Kotaku or Polygon, so it needs publishers to fly and cover hotel during press junkets. The concern on being transparent about these agreements was that it'd only attract people saying "oh yeah he likes the game, because he was in a 5-star hotel!" I forgot what I said at the time, but I think I've always though transparency is the way to go. Let them talk shit and doubt, if they must.

The bigger issue is that reporters have some of the best times of their lives on these press junkets. Unconsciously or not, they may start being cautious in how they report on companies in fear of being cut out of the loop. That's the way these PR design these trips. They want to make it a luxurious, unforgettable vacation. The gameplay sucked, but the food was incredible!

Furthermore, there can be real concern of getting cut off for a bad review. I know Dtoid were worried about Capcom not inviting us to junkets after the 3/10 Resident Evil 6 review. It happens.

PR run the industry, not press, and it can make things difficult for managing staff.

I tried to be transparent about it to the point that I sometimes ridiculed companies publicly for spending so much money on this bullshit: http://www.destructoid.com/this-is-not-an-article-about-david-cage-252639.phtml

My all time favorite personal run-on sentence: "Despite being flown across the country, shacked up in a hotel that looks like a futuristic, glass hen house for humans with more money and escorts than they can shake their dicks at (Dear fellow at room 1908, I enjoyed the discussion you and your two female friends had at 2 A.M. about who has the “most perfect tits.” Glad you settled it. Sincerely.) and invited to a game demo disguised as a film premiere, I didn’t actually talk to David Cage."

yonan826 karma

Are these "press junkets" necessary for good games journalism? Can't you get 90% of the same information online through skype and pre-release keys to get your coverage? It seems as though the intent behind them is purely to give the journos a good environment which will hopefully influence their opinions which is a substantial downside. If not much is gained from it happening you'd argue that it's better for it to not happen.

lonelypanda11 karma

You answered your own question. It's an indulgent mess, a lot of times. There are even jokes and speculation about PR indulging themselves with these trips, like "Fuck it, let's have our Capcom event in Rome so we can all party there for a week after the previews."

It's as simple as this. PR says the only way you'll see exclusive footage and play the game is by coming to the event. You don't do it and then you are the site without the Resident Evil 8 preview. Some sites go to these trips but have strict rules about not eating ANY food and paying their own way. They always seemed so miserable because of it.

SocialJusticeWombat10 karma

A lot of people blame Gamergate for the harassment and death threats women are receiving even though they have been receiving it long before gamergate started. I have also found no basis for these claims. In you research do you see gamergate as responsible for these attacks, it being mostly trolls and antigonizers or do you think the opposition is taking advantage of there finally being a group to blame for these kind of horrible acts to further their agenda?

lonelypanda20 karma

This is the most complex and concerning topic in all of this. My answer: a little of both.

The Daily Dot Zoe Quinn article presents some strong evidence that trolls rallied behind GamerGate in their attacks. I've seen some arguments against that post but not quite sold on them so far. However, I think GamerGate has largely evolved out of this and now any talk or suggestions of attack against female devs is reported and prevented, as far as I've seen.

Outlets tying Felicia Day to GamerGate seemed a little knee-jerk to me. You need proof for those accusations. If this really is all GamerGate's doing, wouldn't it be easy to track the origins of these attacks onto GamerGate hubs where this would have been discussed and organized?

I think game outlets are deeply concerned for these female champions in the industry and rightly so. However, I think they have yet to answer to some of the ethical conflicts that have come to light during this mess (Kotaku with Patricia Hernandez, Polygon with Gone Home, all those undisclosed Patreons, GameJournoPros, etc.)

The internet is a gross, sexist place. Musicians like Chvrches and Sky Ferraria were recently attacked, as well as actress Emma Watson. Nothing about this is exclusive to gaming. GamerGate is an open movement and as such anyone online can join in and most people online are assholes, so things like this happen. It's sad but true. Hopefully better policing and tracking can prevent these abusive attacks from anonymous trolls and bigots in the future.

OctavianXXV8 karma


You said you wanted more anti-GG'ers here. So I came by: Thanks for doing this and nice to see that folks can still act like adults and see their own mistakes and actually work them out.

As a (ex) Games-Journalist: What is your opinion about this whole "objective" reviews-stuff. Do you think games should be criticized as art and in that manner subjectivly or do you see reviews as pure consumer-help that should focus purely on the "objective" parts of a game.

Oh and a bit afar from topic: You saw the movie "Snowpiercer"? Got it on Blu Ray recently.

So far and best and late (it's 2am here) wishes from germany :)

lonelypanda16 karma

I think its silly. I never wrote a review where an editor told me to keep it more "objective". Like Adam Sessler said on G4's great Feedback podcast long, long ago, game reviews are not car reviews. Well, they are but they are more than that. You aren't just saying how everything FEELS, you are also saying how the game MADE YOU FEEL.

If Katamari Damacy makes you feel like a giddy 8-year-old, you should share that. If Bayonetta 2 makes you feel the guy last in line at the strip club buffet who is contemplating where is life started going wrong and why he can't look women in the eye anymore, you should share that!

When I was a kid, I read all sorts of game magazines. Go back and read them now and they are terrible at reviews (well, Edge was always cool). Reviews used to be interchangeable but now they aren't.

I really disagree with Polygon's Bayonetta 2 review but I think it's cool that I can.

lonelypanda5 karma

Oh, and Snowpiercer was okay. It lost me near the end when it tried to be serious and I thought, "But you are a stupid movie!"

I recommend Memories of a Murder for anyone that wants a real heady Bong rip.

intheface428 karma


lonelypanda19 karma

I don't know. Why not ask him?

Dale was a great guy who was always nice to me and proud of my work. I spilled hot coffee on his crotch during a business trip and even then he was totally understanding, lol.

Dale's problem is that he was never fit to be an EiC -- he even admits to it. He loves games and developers but he would take no part in internal conflicts and discussions. During the scandal I got wrapped up in, he stayed silent outside tame Twitter posts and emails to GameJournoPros (his biggest mistake, some may say).

I think Dale loves games but not the drama that they sometimes come with. I hope he does cool stuff and does what keeps him and his beautiful corgis happy.

aquapendulum28 karma

In your story, you told of Jim Sterling' breakdown. Now that he's no longer at Destructoid, do you think you can get him to tell his perspective of your firing now?

lonelypanda14 karma

"Breakdown" is a pretty dramatic way to frame it. He, like most not directly involved, felt conflicted in how things went down between me and Niero. I think he was sympathetic to my situation, having been there before.

I don't think it'd be to either of our interests for him to expand on those feelings. He's a good guy that I was always happy to see and talk to. He's a real person in an industry with few of them.

galnegus8 karma

Jason Schreier said the following on twitter regarding your claims about being blacklisted

I'm not sure why Allistair thinks Kotaku blacklisted him. IIRC we took pitches from him months after that incident.


I've been seeing a bit of what you've shared in the last few days and I get the feeling that you have a tendency to jump to conclusions. How can you be certain that you were blacklisted? Isn't it entirely possible that other journalists chose not to share your story because it was tough to sell, because it wouldn't be interesting to read about, because most of them shy away from writing about something not immediately related to video games or video game culture? Plenty of sites cover issues like feminism because readers are interested in them, but how many readers do you honestly think are interested in the office politics of competing video game blogs?

Out of all major games sites, Kotaku would've been your best bet (a year ago), they've done plenty of investigative journalism in the past, Jason Schreier specifically, and they don't really seem to care about who they're pissing off, they'll post it anyway. So it's interesting to see Jason stating that you weren't blacklisted there at all.

lonelypanda17 karma

Jason's telling the truth. Both Polygon and Kotaku were open to my pitches many months later and pretty cool about it. Kotaku were also forthcoming that they didn't want to work with me until my name cooled down which I appreciated at the time.

The blacklisting thing is more of a narrative that the GamerGate blogger rolled with. He wasn't wrong; I mean, my employer did email everyone telling them to not talk to or work with me.

However, that wasn't really my problem with the situation regarding GameJournoPros. My problem is that my employer used their influence to frame events in a way that made them look good and made me look like garbage. It's true I made a bad decision in outing the girl, but it was all libel saying I acted against any orders. I was compliant throughout, to a fault. While I agreed to keep silent and let my employer do damage control, he instead chose to spread lies about my reporting and motives.

What I wanted at the time was to let other outlets know I was a trustworthy and thorough reporter. Whether they thought what I did the wrong or right thing (some of them told me they did) was a separate issue.

It may seem like splitting hairs but there is a very real difference between making the wrong decision in an ethical conflict and being called an untrustworthy loose cannon by your former employer. Journalism is all about being transparent and dependable.

I didn't ever think a site would write about what occurred at Destructoid, but I expected they'd in the very least listen to my side of the story and understand what exactly went wrong internally for their own benefit (in regards to ethical problems that may happen at their outlet, if nothing else). That not one choose to merely listen is really what soured me on the industry.

It's not that they don't want to report on ethical issues of their friends, it's that they don't even want to hear or acknowledge these things. It's like being told your uncle is a sex offender and just ignoring and being like, "Oh yeah, I heard those lies. Don't pay attention to them." Out of mind, out of sight.

saaawa5 karma

Are there still examples of corruption in the games media that you're aware of that hasn't reached the public? If yes, are you able to talk about them?

Have the shady practices increased in frequency or is more just leaking to the public (source: http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/355300/The-Dirty-History-of-Games-Journalism/)?

lonelypanda6 karma

I was never part of the gamejourno CIA. If you feel passionately that some wrongdoing hasn't been investigated, pester mainstream outlets and fringe reporters. If you have a convincing argument, they may look into it.

SnarkPolite4 karma

How do you think #GamerGate will effect the industry? any concerns that will occur due to it?

lonelypanda5 karma

I bet Adam Baldwin won't be in a Halo any time soon. But, seriously, it's hard to say right now. I think a lot of people are hurt and, although some efforts have been made at improving ethics policies at sites, none of it feels like it's been entirely worth this trouble.

muleyman134 karma

Ok hard hitting. Can you give us some examples of any corruption you personally saw in your time working in the industry? I.E writing about friends games, money or benefits being exchanged for positive coverage etc.

lonelypanda12 karma

Nothing overt. There was general behavior I found worrying (flirting with PR, reviewing games of industry friends without disclosing, being elitist slobs at events, press winning things at events).

After the scandal, I got letters from other game journalists who had been fired and allegedly thrown under the bus. Those are concerning but they could be full of it. Regardless, it's their stories to tell (I doubt they will).

theonewhowillbe4 karma

Why do you think the media is giving so much weight to threats against females compared to those against males?

For instance, there wasn't nearly as much of an outrcry over twitch streamers being swatted, despite that being so much worse (y'know, since threats vs getting raided by the police).

lonelypanda12 karma

People wrote about the swatting and were critical of those that did it.

Male users online and in gaming is the norm so there is nothing noteworthy about male-on-male jackassery. Women are outcasts in most online spaces, so attacks against them attracts more attention for those who are supportive of their presence and input. Same reason why a white person being called "cracker" isn't a big deal in the media.

People have their own political views about these sorts of things, but in general that's why stories about abuse against female gamers are more news worthy.

orlyyarlynowai3 karma

Do you think you could have avoided most of the controversy by just staying off of Twitter for a while? It doesn't seem totally genuine to blame a secret society of game journalism overlords when you had a history of being a combative employee... i.e. attacking The Escapist on Twitter when they were going through financial troubles. I freelanced there at the time and know you had a history of being somewhat troublesome to work with. Do you take any of the fault for your own actions or believe you were completely in the right?

lonelypanda13 karma

I seemed to have attracted controversy as soon as I came into this industry, didn't I?

I remember one of my first stories was something about Zelda and I messed up a quote or something. I went to class and when I came back there were 300 comments telling me I'm a fuck-up, haha. Quite the jump from print when you hear from no one.

It was only a couple months after starting at The Escapist that the payment episode happened, where its popular personalities went public with not being compensated for their work. I saw those tweets and was like, "Oh yeah, I haven't been getting paid have I?" So, I joined them and was magically paid soon after. Don't exactly regret going on Twitter about that.

You have to be specific about "being troublesome to work with" but I can talk about my time there. I was pretty unhappy with how staff treated me. There was a very basic, normal thing of simply not clicking with staff (they were more board game, science geeks which isn't my thing), but I remember being pretty upset about E3.

I flew out there and got a hotel on my own -- not uncommon for most people's first E3 -- and happily worked my ass off. Susan Arendt is an awesome editor in a technical sense but I found her a very toxic person to work under. Maybe something about me got on her bad side, but she'd always say stuff like, "You know no one here likes you?" which was pretty hurtful. And she blew up on me when I said something jokingly in a preview about being reluctant to go to a game preview but actually enjoying it. I saw it as honesty, leveling with the reader, but she saw it more as an attack agains the publisher and the editor who assigned me to the story.

So, if people say bad things about me at the Escapist I think it just comes down to not gelling well together and not much else. I got the sense I got on people's bad side during that trip for reasons I didn't entirely understand. I probably was a bit nervous and defensive, being my first big game junket/thing. I remember writing an apology letter of sorts to those who felt bad about that preview.

As for your comment about blaming a secret society, that's a weird way to frame things. I express what I think you are getting at in detail here:


Thanks for your question. It's the sort of challenging, nuanced type I wanted to find here.

happylittlelark3 karma

Hi there! I'm glad you're coming back to this.

What do you think the chances are of leading individuals of all views having a rational discussion of GamerGate?

For example TotalBiscuit has put out an open call for a discussion but doesn't seem to have had much luck.

lonelypanda3 karma

Little to none, unless things change. We are seeing developers blacklisted from media for merely saying they agree with some GamerGate's arguments.

This has become as much a media war as it is a cultural war, so it's hard to blame anyone with something to lose to want to sit it out.

Remag3 karma

If Zoe Quinn had been a male and had an ex say he had been cheating with people in the I industry and got a charity to raise money to get women into game development black listed and shut down the website and Patreon momentarily, how do you think the game journo pros and ex-popular websites like Gawker, Kotaku, and Rock Paper Shotgun would have reacted?

2nd question: How do you feel about Jack Thompson saying video games are murder simulators and being a playable character in Mortal Kombat where he can be brutally murdered when compared to some pop culture critics saying video games cause sexism and taking a "game" where you click on a screen to show a photoshopped picture of bruises so seriously?

lonelypanda5 karma

Sorry, this question isn't loaded enough for me to answer.

Seriously, try to break it down a little and be more balanced and I'll respond.

EyeThat3 karma

Do you think it is good idea to start a gaming news website dedicated to a major metropolitan area?

lonelypanda4 karma

No. But do convince your local paper (university or city-wide) to have a gaming section. I've met a lot of cool people who are basically independent game journalists supported by newspapers.

Helium_Pugilist2 karma

Do you see an out for Gawker/Kotaku/Polygon ? is there a state where they survive this ?

lonelypanda2 karma

It's hard to tell what damage has been done. Verge and Gawker are media empires. Hell, it was known Polygon had been bleeding out Verge for several years, with plans to keep it going hoping it will make up for it later. Looking at the sudden embrace of "pop culture" news (remember Penny Arcade Report), I imagine they have bigger problems.

I don't think the damage done by GG is that severe but I don't think it's helping them. So "survive this" is a little dramatic and perhaps wishful thinking of GamerGate"

Jynx32 karma

Why do you keep calling them transgender? If a game developer is doing something shady you say game developer, you also don't lead off with the sex of other people you wrote about. You wouldn't say a female game developer or a male game developer. Seems like you are using transgendered for no reason.

lonelypanda5 karma

Like I said, I'll answer more questions on Monday but I want to get to this one now since it's an important and sensitive one.

You're absolutely right that people, especially reporters, shouldn't lead off with gender if not relevant and that you should use the gender the person identifies with in reference.

I use transgender in the above for the sake of full disclosure. It is very relevant to why I was fired, why my boss conducted his smear campaign, and why there was an attempt at blacklisting.

It's complicated because I don't want people to feel I am hiding anything, but I also don't want to put attention on an element that I feel isn't the focus here. Sadly, when I convinced GamerGate bloggers to leave out any mention of transgender it led to anti-GG and journalists only wanting to talk about that element, since they felt it was hidden with questionable motives.

With all that said, I will change it to "identity of a developer" if you and others feel strongly about this.

Jynx34 karma

I happen to be transgendered and a gamer.

But I myself never ID as a TG gamer I am just a gamer. I never added TG to my work title because to me it isn't really that huge a part of who I am as a person I am me and I have lots of different aspects to what makes me me. If it comes up I acknowledge it and move on. I understand to a lot of people it may be interesting or fascinating and accpet that too. As for how you report it or write about it that really is your own business you are the professional and I just have my opinions. Had trouble with seeing the relevant story of the outing and a link would be nice (maybe it was my phone) But honestly IMO a lot of GG thing is really people splitting hairs for "gotcha wins" on minor points. I would much rather see objective stories with numerous citable sources. But this is the internet and even if you do something just right people will still bitch. I wasn't implying any form of hostility in any way just an honest question based on what I saw. Anyhow thanks for the answer i wish you best of luck in whatever you do next.

lonelypanda6 karma

I appreciate your input.

I took out "transgender" to avoid upsetting anyone. I still feel it is relevant but there is a link that goes explicitly into what occurred at Destructoid (from my point of view, anyhow) at the end of that sentence so that should be enough for disclosure.

In doing this IAMA, I really want to hear from minorities and women since media insists these are the people under attack and GamerGate insists these people make up their movement. So, thanks for chiming in.

rarebitt2 karma

On her IndieStone post Chloe said tht the IndieGoGo campaign was not her idea and taht she was against it in the begining. Did you know that? If you did, did you ever mention it when you wrote about the fundraiser.

I can't any reference to that anywhere else. The only place to read it is the IndoeStone post which you have to fond an archived version of since it has been deleted.

You seems to suggest that Niezo was indiferrent or even encouraging to you publishing further details and lied about ordering you not to. However the communications you divulged seems to be consistent with his public statements.

1) He clearly states he himself would not publish any further information. 2) He says he fears negative reaction. He warns you that there will probably be catastrophic consequences.

This isn't anything else but discouraging. And then he said you need to do more research.

Now you either didn't or you did, found out something new and ran it past Niezo without informing him. Either way, how can you claim he is lying bout wanting you to run the story?

This is nothing but he said she said.

Now I empathize with you greatly, but I feel you are just trying to alleviate your blame by sharing it.

And why throw under the bus people who were not familiar with the situation as you were? You were the one who had a communication with Chloe not them.

Again you got a lot of shit thrown on you some maybe undeserved.

lonelypanda1 karma

Let me answer your question by first redirecting to a different question no one had yet to ask, strangely: What good could come from pressing this issue further?

Let's say in an ideal world Kotaku's shining cast of reporters jumped on my initial email a year ago. They look over my email & chat history, interview Destructoid's managing editors, and conclude that an issue that should have been handled with the upmost seriousness was instead handed with joking attitudes, dishonesty, and disinterest.

So Destructoid is kind of shitty? Big whoop. Most people think this already.

Now, let's say Kotaku never investigate (our reality) but someone from the mainstream press does. They find what Kotaku would have found (Dtoid handled the investigation poorly) in addition to that Dtoid pressured other outlets to not investigate how poorly the investigation was handled because they knew what could be found.

It would be in the public interest to see how such a serious LGBT-relevant story was mismanaged and than such mismanagement was ignored in the industry, as these sites continue to act in ways that don't hold journalists accountable or force them to be transparent about mistakes.

I'll answer your question more directly now:

I never leaked those emails publicly because they'd be confusing and misleading to anyone outside of the company -- I also wasn't sure if that'd be legal (so I only shared with internal staff who already knew the situation). For instance, you seem convinced that Niero was in the right because he was cautious and hesitant -- however, you are referencing the April 9 email which took place when I confirmed it was a scam but had yet no idea who the scammer was or why she was doing it. The email Niero sent on May 13th (night before I took to twitter) and final email about the investigation:

"All we know for sure is that her indiegogo campaign was a scam and that she appears to be mentally ill and doing crazy things for attention. Its possible this is real but I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole."

This was in direct reference to the original post in which a staff member asked if we should cover the news of her suicide attempt.

So, no, Niero nor any other managing staff made the right calls (or any calls) throughout the investigation.

I really think if I did choose not to unveil every detail of my investigation to staff that things have would ended up better for the girl, the public, and myself. But, you are right, digging up this kind of dirt is just dragging others through the mud (guilty or not) and it's hard to say it'd result in any positive change in the industry.

This is why, when people ask, I didn't publish that Reddit post a year ago and why I don't want to be interviewed in any of these articles (I gave one quote to One Angry Gamer to clarify that I admit to what I did and regret it.)

Fighting over who shares the blame in a tragedy feels like a bum fight I rather not pull myself back into. But if the public wants to examine and discuss what I felt most ignored a year ago, I'm not going to intrude on that either. I'll sit back and hope something positive results.

lonelypanda1 karma

Oh, I missed the Indie Stone bit (there was a lot to handle in your question, sorry).

No, I did not know about this until much later, after I took to Twitter. She eventually shared a lengthy letter with me that covered all the details. I even discuss this in the Gamers Against Bigotry roundtable (linked in op).

Thanks for your questions!

tonicvodka1 karma

What does being pro-gamergate even mean?

lonelypanda3 karma

It means you identify with the tag and support the movement, or whatever we agree to call it. Simple enough, right?

rarebitt1 karma

Why do you feel Patricia Hernandez had a conflict of interest when she wrote about you? Even if it was Anna Anthopy what difference would it make? They were both NOT personally involved with the situation.

This argument sounds to me like this basically - Somebody obviously had a negative opinion of you so s/he shouldn't have written about you at all.

lonelypanda2 karma

The day Hernandez contacted me she had tweeted that she was hanging out with Anna Anthopy. It was also later revealed that there were roommates, which leads to other conflicts in Kotaku stories.

The reason this is an issue with me is that Anthopy was the person who sparked the LGBT mob who wanted me fired. Fair enough on her part, but Hernandez should have known better to contact me about the story. Interesting enough, it does cast things in a different light when I recall being weirded out by Patricia asking for more of the developer's private info (perhaps they wanted to get in touch, as supporters instead of reporters).

cmunk131 karma

How do you feel about the GamerGate community's reaction to Anita Sarkeesian? And about her as well? Edit: Also wanted to ask about Felicia Day and all the other threatened people. How do you think this will end? And as a woman gamer growing up in a game culture that clearly needs work and better societal boundaries, thanks to you and everyone else for noticing the problem and doing something about it!

lonelypanda6 karma

I don't follow people who work with the purpose to hate and make others' lives miserable. Many of these people have targeted Anita and Felicia, but the question is whether it can be shown that they have acted in GamerGate's interest.

When I saw the Felicia doxx blowing up, I saw GamerGate supporters calling for people to gather in support of Felicia, to start a charity to detract the negative attention (deserved or not), and to remind others to report any wrongdoing in the community. These are the actions that occurred on KotakuinAction.

Journalists tying attacks on these women to gamergate are feeling increasingly knee-jerk. It's logic that says "this thing is going on so it must be tied to this other thing going on". These are feelings that are natural to have, but actual reporting should be tied to investigative efforts that display facts.

If GamerGate really cares about ethics, don't these attacks only attract attention that goes against their goal? So, anti-gg say that GamerGate don't really care about ethics and only use that conversation as an excuse to attack women. In that case, it should be easy to track these attacks to GamerGate hubs if that is truly their modus operandi but I haven't seen any good reports proving it yet.

I'd love to see efforts at deeper investigation done by journalists and if any of this has occurred and I missed it, please share links in a reply.

Eternally65-1 karma


lonelypanda1 karma

You're right. I would have ignored it entirely had I not been wrapped up in it via the emails that GamerGate shared.

For most, it's online rubbernecking.