Tuesday, November 11, 2014

GamerGate and the painful realisations of a confused man

Before you begin, let me stop you by saying that this won't be an opinion piece on Gamergate, Zoe Quinn and such.
My direct opinion on those things pretty much mirrors that of TotalBiscuit: Condemn the bad and illegal practices (that have been proven) and demand transparency.

On that, I wish to stay with the facts, rumors only serve to distract.
The real issue that I want to address, is how 'the public' has been left to their own devices the entire time. People who were overwhelmed with Blog Posts, Videos, angry conversations, all conflicting eachother or providing more extreme perspectives than the last.

Yes, in all truth, had I ever turned into someone who suddenly supported misogyny the past few months, you shouldn't have blamed me. You should blame the endless stream of information that's been doing nothing but telling us that our opinions are wrong and there's a bad guy out there that we need to kick the shit out of.

From here on out, I will call the Gamergate situation, as well as what lead before and after it, as The Event. I dislike using hyped up words, especially as I seemingly can not fully grasp what their definition is. In such situations, I prefer to invent my own words.

I also suck at remembering specific names, so I'll be using some crutch words instead. Your assumptions on the identities of the people I am speaking of will most likely be correct)

Heh, I'm not one of those fancy, apparently intelligent, protesters.
I don't feel equipped to form an opinion surrounding those topics.
But apparently, many in the same position, still did.

Oh, they barely understood what's going on, yet willingly following the tidal wave of others within their social group, accepting their opinion because... hey, these are MY friends, they can't be wrong, right?
And so their opinion was formed for them, and they treat it as theirs.

Looking on the web, I always have a mental facepalm when people start talking about something they clearly have no idea about. When I investigated the The Event, I came up with very little solid facts.
These are the facts that I managed to gather during the entire ordeal.
  1. The Ex wrote The Zoepost
  2. DMCA claims have been issued
  3. Doxxing and online harassment and death threats have been exchanged
Even if there was more solid proof out there, I failed to catch it. And I'd like to blame it on this information being drowned out. But more on that later.

And what I'd like to make clear now is that, for all intents and purposes, there was a serious shortage of actual proof of what is true and what isn't. I don't treat Twitter screenshots and other social media snapshots as foolproof. Forging is always a possibility. So is misrepresentation and taking something out of context.

Lest you are starting to think that I might argue that the allegations against Ms. Quinn are false, then you are wrong.
In my experiences as an IT man, there is a thing I have learned: Data is Holy.
If your goal is to, or your actions have lead to destroy or obscure valuable information, then you are bound to displease me.

Look, I am not treating the lack of evidence against anyone as a hint that there is something conspiracy-like afoot. Or the opposite.
Instead, I sit frustrated at the fact that there is a lack of data. The very same data that I require to base my opinion on.

And yet, many people, feeling as a default that their opinion is as equally valuable as that of their peers or superiors (even if they have made no specific efforts to improve their knowledge), form their opinions based on whatever information they have at the moment of consideration.

Now, this results in the fact that they will support their opinion until completely proven wrong (and even in some cases, there are those who refuse to change their minds) resulting in the truth being drowned out even more.

I wish to only form an opinion on things I believe I have the full story on. Both sides of the story too, I demand no less.
Which is where my second frustration stems from: Both sides have put in a lot of work to make proper debate an impossibility.

So yet again, I have to refer back to TotalBiscuit, who tried to get both sides around a metaphorical table to talk about the subject. I wish to not point at any sides, so I'll just summarise that some didn't wish to partake until everything had blown over.

But the sad fact is, this very discussion could have been the early start of this blowing over and meeting a peaceful end.

Either way, I solemnly believe that, if you can get two parties to sit together at the same table and behave civilly, then almost no argument could remain standing. And if it still does, it will transparently show where the real issue, the block holding the solution back, stands.
And when I say civilly, I mean no shouting, taking turns (no interrupting), no personal baseless attacks, and an all around formal debate where only resolution would be an acceptable outcome.
And that's what I didn't see, despite TB's efforts.

However, I am aware of what is said to have happened. I'm sure that there'll be a good portion of truth in it. But nothing helps me determine which parts are actual truth. Asking me to trust a name blindly because said person has been very relevant in the past few years is like asking me to not question my government, even though it's supposed to operate on the beliefs I took part in voting in favor of.

In between all this confusing talk, I hope you are still following.
Just for your convenience, allow me to summarise:
  • The public has little solid information, having only rumors and angry conversations to base their opinion on, with nary a thing convincing enough to support anything as truth.
  • Representatives of either side have not gone into debate together, meaning there were no signs of resolution as far as the public was concerned.
  • Everyone is god damn fucking yelling at everyone else. Likely about things they barely understand because there is no straight line, no source of information that both parties can respect as truthful.
Now, in other words... we, the people (including myself), barely know what the fuck was going on. We receive streams of information, data, that we barely can determine the validity of. And before we've gotten around to verifying one thing, another thing happens!

Don't know about you, but to me it's a source of frustration, a terrible position to be in as a nobody.

Yes, that is why I asked all of you, those who weren't directly involved, to not take part.
To not even express your opinion on the matter and just watch from the sidelines.
Preserve your sanity, and please don't pretend that you know the full truth by default, for you do not.
It would take going into the minds of all the parties involved to know the full truth.
Even just the relevant parts of it. The debate was meant to provide a chance for us to grasp more of the full truth, which was sadly postponed.

Ongoing the the continuing madness, we were riled on to shout louder and louder, we were drowning out the chances of this perhaps resolving on it's own, or being fought only by the people who were knowledgeable enough and were meant to be fighting it.
Some sent death threats, others sent them in response of someone else getting them.
The cycle seemed like it would never end.

Up in arms I am not, but I remain unconvinced that it is a good thing to yell and fight in another's name simply because you have faith in them.
Always desire the full story. Always desire the full truth. And do not stop seeking it. Do not take peace with some of it.
Be not a blind Knight to your King, but a Private Detective in the shadows, seeking the truth and acting upon it when it's completely revealed.

But, If you were to have ONE job, it would be to find out the full truth. Listen to both sides, confirm or disprove their allegations with facts.

Really, if you are too lazy to do the footwork, to actually put in effort to learn the truth, then you should know that you are not deserving to express an opinion about it and think yours should matter.
But that is my opinion, and you should always take mine with a little bit of salt.

Oh, and one more thing...
Never trust me, never trust anyone else, never trust yourself.
Trust only what cannot be disproved.
Words are just words, easily spent and easily taken back.
What we know and what we believe has become muddied.

Words are meaningless
and forgettable
Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence

Yes you could summarize this entire blog post as me ranting about the fact that I'm confused and I don't trust anyone in telling or knowing the truth.

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