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What he said.
When it comes time to make a point about an important issue the tool I usually default to is humour, or satire, because I find it’s easiest to change people’s minds if you can make them laugh along with you. A lot of awful things have happened this week, and in the week before, and I’ve tried a few times to think of a clever way I could write them up while still getting the point across that, hey, things are really bad. I can’t. So here we are.
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48 comments
 
Internet is a scary place sometimes and I agree that there should be equality not just in games but all over internet.

I don't understand people who send death threads over internet, seriously, find something better to do. Like install Android L Developer Preview and enjoy material design from +Matias Duarte (and his team) #PraiseDuarte. 
 
That's the reason why a big name game developer like Bioware is way ahead in this matter. They brought gender equality in games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises.
Thanks for sharing this post, +Matias Duarte! 
 
There are stupid people everywhere, what matters is freedom, and being open-minded and empathetic (i.e. the douchbag who threatens the girl in the article is not respecting her freedom). However here is another example, if Rob Pardo thinks that diversity is not important in his fantasy game he should not be bashed by feminist for it. You get what i mean.
 
There's a huge difference between criticism and death threats.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with being critical of a game for lack of diversity -- certainly it's no worse than being critical of a game for gameplay mechanics or the plot or the software stability.

Of course developers are not under any obligation to change what they're doing because of criticism, though you never know, maybe the critics (of gameplay, story, portrayal of female characters, or whatever) might have a worthwhile point.  Just like any other feedback that developers receive, it's going to be filtered applied (if at all) in ways that makes sense to them.

One may even freely argue with critics over the logic or merit of their criticism.  There's a line that's crossed when you're threatening violence.
 
We already have equality. You're [author] addressing a vulgar behaviour exhibited by trolls. Modern day feminism is little more than a joke.
 
A website I had never visited now has my loyalty.
 
This is a difficult subject to talk about (because it, rightly, comes off as blaming the victim), but I wonder whether community self-policing like this is actually an effectively policy, or if it's a dangerous long-term policy that reinforces the problem.

To qualify that, I want to reiterate that when a community joins in solidarity to drive out and silence cruel harassment and undesirable bigots, that's great. It's way better that the community jumps up and confronts the problem head-on than shrink away under the pretense of "civility" to let the aggressors run roughshod over the people who need to be protected ("well, their voices deserve to be heard too!"). I'm glad people are so ready to take up arms for such a good cause.

But I'm still not ready to give it a free pass, because this is such a big and important issue with so much at stake (see: death threats, terrorist hacking, threats of sexual abuse, not to mention a culture of intolerance), it's not really safe to just assume that people's individual consciences are sufficient to manage communities so large and so powerful. It might be necessary to actually have a leviathan to protect everyone, even undesirables.

The average teenager grumbling about how "unfair" he thinks feminism usually pulls out the old argument, "you're being so divisive," which is to say, "it's not fair if you respond to my heated, emotional argument with a heated, emotional reply." That's a cop-out, there's no way you could possibly hold individuals to that impossible double-standard because individuals have beliefs and emotions and are humans. But is there any truth to it? Is there a way to police communities without digging wider and deeper trenches, and to actually build build a community, not necessarily with open borders, but that can integrate and naturalize outsiders who, to the amateur, seem like hopeless lost causes? Most of these idiots online are 14-year-old kids, they're going to grow up, or at least they can if they're guided right.

I have no idea what studies there are on this subject or if there even are, but if there is any research into creating accepting online communities I know where it's being done: Online games. In online games, like, say, Defense of the Ancients, you don't want players who are terrible to ruin the experience, and you also don't want verbally abusive players to ruin the experience. In the old days, the DotA community was infamously harsh; new players were immediately policed out by the community, blamed for ruining games and bullied until they left. When Valve took over and created Dota 2, they took community management seriously, and made sure that the community was welcoming to everyone. Abuse, bigoted language, harassment, and even sore-loser behavior is not tolerated, and players who are abusive suffer consequences. But it's also not in Valve's interest to banish players who can be reformed, so presumably they put a lot of thought and design into building systems that help new players and bad apples join. Does Valve's community management have any lessons to share?

The consequence to Dota having a self-policing community is that is spun off into a hugely successful competitor, League of Legends. Which is fine. But the competitor to a community that supports social justice is dangerous beast. We can't expect individuals to be anything more than noble warriors for justice, but it might be important to have a group that can operate on larger, calculated principles.

Anyway I don't have a very concrete thought, though I would be tickled if online communities got together and elected an online marshal to represent justice for them. It would be an all-new world government rising out of nowhere, which would be crazy. I wish I could write this thought more eloquently.
 
I honestly didn't realize there were people out there with this view. I can't even wrap my head around why any guy wouldn't want girls/women to be online chatting with them while they play . 
 
Well said. The only way now to deal with these unhinged children is just to exclude them from the conversation. They contribute nothing of any importance, and won't be missed. 
 
+Asher Wood The accusations were completely false though. The alleged positive press Zoë's boyfriend wrote doesn't exist, and even if it did, you're talking about a free game that's been out for a couple years now. The AAA industry literally spends tens of thousands of dollars to coax reviewers and do mock reviews to predict scores, and they still get it wrong.

Before I had found out what was happening, I was also skeptical about what appeared to be a broad defense of poor journalistic integrity, but the facts reveal that the argument against Zoë isn't based on any kind of fact whatsoever.

I don't expect you to believe this, since you subscribe to the absurd "Quinnspiracy" idea, but none of it holds up. I don't have time to get into why this and other conspiracy theories are wrong.
 
+Damian Dalle Nogare I'm skeptical of that idea because these are mostly easily-swayed children lashing out because they got a stupid seed of an idea in their heads and a lot of misinformation. I have no idea what the appropriate way to deal with them is, but frankly I don't think the answer is telling them they're unwelcome and should leave and never come back. I don't know how your adolescence was, but mine was full of being angry at perceived (but false) injustices, and having to accept later I was wrong. This does not mean that people are wrong to lash out at the bitter children who won't take no for an answer and concoct a ouroboros of conspiracy (see: Quinnspiracy), and to shun abusive, bigoted, and harassing undesirables. I'm just less hasty to say that a leopard can't change his spots, and maybe it's not the best idea to tell impressionable kids that they should go hang out on Reddit. I don't have an answer though.
 
Her crime isn't making a video that says maybe games could treat women better.

Her crime is lying about games and inciting a sexism war by shamming people who call her out on her lies.

Her message is good. Her execution is detrimental to the cause.
 
+Christopher Wyatt This is why I hate suggesting counter-arguments to popular wisdom re: community management and social justice on the internet. It puts me in the company of idiotic comments like this.

I'm going to backtrack because insulting isn't very helpful: She doesn't lie about anything, and her series isn't some kind of irresponsible rabble-rousing. I for one don't altogether like her series as a matter of taste and presentation, but the research and arguments she presents are unmitigated. Accusing her of lighting the fire for being the first person to dare collect a thorough body of evidence is intellectually dishonest, and kind of socially irresponsible too. I understand the desire to pick apart the problems, but it's necessary to give her credit as a rational human being making thoughtful choices.
 
+Jude Jackson I don't disagree with anything you've said here. I guess in my previous comment I had mostly in mind those people who are issuing rape threats or the more vile of the vitriol that seems to be being hurled around. Your broader point is well taken, and bears some consideration, but I'm just (sadly) becoming more and more skeptical that that kind of change can be affected through these communities and in these spaces (comment sections, blog posts, and online in general), because the environment has just become so toxic. It's to easy to surround yourself with a filter bubble that tells you that your opinion is the right one and that uncomfortable stuff people over there are saying is crap (become of some nitpicked detail or some imagined conspiracy theory).

Honestly I think that most of these people need to grow up a little, get out into the world and understand that their experience is not the only valid one, and certainly not the only important one. That equality doesn't mean that anything is getting taken away from them; the world doesn't work in a zero-sum manner like that. I would hope that people could come to learn that through interacting online, but I'm less and less sure that that's the case as the days go on.

Like you say, it's a difficult problem, and I don't mean to sound cynical about its solution. I think your approach, in the best of all possible worlds, is the correct one. I'm just tired of having the same arguments, over and over again.
 
On a related note, thank you +Matias Duarte for publicly and continuously advocating for equality for everyone. It is incredibly heartwarming and encouraging to see that coming from such a highly visible person in the developer community. 
 
+Damian Dalle Nogare Thanks for being so understanding with my poorly-phrased comment. And yeah, I failed to mention that when Valve is managing their community, they're starting with a product that can draw people back on its own. Other communities don't have the advantage of being backed up with a tangible benefit: If I were a kid who got buried in a dogpile of bigotry accusations for making an ignorant comment, why would I ever want to go back? Why wouldn't I just decide that those people are closed-minded? At the same time, the other side is just wave after crashing wave of the same stupid relentless ignorance. It's super gross for everyone.

I may have sounded optimistic, but I think my point was pretty cynical too: That communities will basically always face this kind of awful behavior for perpetuity as long as there isn't some kind of higher authority acting to squelch it, instead of just a bunch of well-meaning individuals being angry and trying to help.
 
Unfortunately the online gaming community has become a melting pot for all of society's illogical bial: racism, sexism, and homophobia just to name a few. These are fundamental and foundational concepts that are rotten to their cores. The people perpetrating these horrible ideas are, seemingly, incapable of having their misinformed minds changed about important issues. Virtually every common social fallacy is working against those in favor of positive change. We are the ones who can make a difference by calling bullshit on it when we see it and standing up for the idea of equality in everything we do.
 
While I have no issue with equality, I would still love to avoid boneheaded people like the guy who wrote the article (imo, he is confusing a lot of things and he is unwilling to talk about it). Perhaps they could invent a little badge or something to tell people who stumble upon their web site that they won't miss anything if they skip it?
 
All this "problem" with feminists or LGBT and their "special treatment" is not worth of an eggshell, because it's very easily solvable.
Just make a special version of game just for them so they could watch how strong women beat the shit out of weak straight sexist men. The rest of players will actually play the game for mainstream audience.
And make the "special" game at least twice as expensive as "normal" one. Extra profit.
Sad thing that such minor problems float on surface while fundamental issues of our world are buried very deep below this nonsense.
 
+Arþur D You are sadly mistaken if you don't think general inequality and exclusion of minorities is one of the most fundamental issues of our world. So your idea is to patronize LGBT communities and feminists?! First off it sounds like A) you are part of the problem and B) you don't understand the importance of inclusion of minorities.

I really don't see that this issue is for the gamemakers. They are a business and they have no control of the statistics of people the play their games. If more white males play their games than any other demographic, then why wouldn't they most our playable characters be white men? Also, we know that anonymity is the real culprit in these online situations of hate. When we can protect our real selves, we tend to explore the more asinine aspects of our psyches. If there was a way to hold real people accountable or find a way to punish offenders and the problem should fix itself. 

EDIT: So after reading the article, it looks like half the gamers are women and the inclusion of playable female characters is very easy. What's the big deal then?! I'm not a huge gamer, but its funny to think of your stereotypical "gamer" as an overweight unattractive sleazeball who is attracted to women but can't get a girlfriend so they turn to games and become women haters...that's honestly the visual I get from reading about these awful people that have rampaged these people's lives all to fight against including women and gay people...cmon! Aren't Gamers more advanced and progressive?! Then why does it seem so many of them are acting like their bigoted conservative dads?
 
Are they gaming sites or social justice sites? There are forums for everything, and saying that if you're not pro-feminism you're a sexist is fucking stupid as hell. I don't care for feminism, women already have equal rights and in some cases even have more rights (laws that protect women specifically by carrying harsher sentences) or receive special treatment (more spaces in university, scholarships for STEM fields). There are things that need improving for them, and gaming is not one of them.

Of course there are areas in which games can improve, but why the fuck are they asking writers to change the way they write? Why are they asking studios to make specific kinds of games? You would think that side half of the gaming community is made of women, that they would also be passionate creative forces in the industry. Are women treated as second hand citizens when getting hired by companies? Or are they individually not good enough for the position, just as the other men that weren't hired on that process? What happens in Norway, the country where the equality index is higher in the world but women still don't get in STEM fields? There's obviously more things at work than sexism and bias.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that saying shit like "if you don't accept feminism you're sexist" and then "feminism is comprised of a lot of ideologies, it can only have a personal meaning" in the same breath is fucking stupid and weird. Please first define what feminism is, and then ask people to join. Only the stupid can be bullied into compliance, the rest need actual arguments.



 
Are women treated as second hand citizens when getting hired by companies?  +Martin Romero 

Yes. Very, very often. 
 
Wouldn't unemployment rates be more indicative of this bias? If more women are being rejected from jobs, it follows that there are more unemployed women than men. Does such a statistic exist? 
 
I'm sure it depends on many cultural and country differences, but it's a fact women face the "hmm she might have a child soon and thus cost us extra money" issue with employers. I once saw the employee list of a bureau where I worked at. Every single female entry below 50 years of age, single or in a relationship, carried a note: "Possible pregnancy in the near future." In the job game, we are marked from the get-go, by a simple fact that we have a uterus. As such, we are seen as a much higher liability then male competitors, and there's really nothing we can do about this perception, outside of delivering a "note of sterility" to every potential employer. 
 
+Martin Romero I'm afraid it's too taxing to address your points one-by-one, because these are points I've seen a hundred times before, and frankly I don't reckon you're apt to just let a few facts and informed counter arguments reverse your extant prejudices. To wit, it's not worth my time, a point the author of this article arrived at in harsher language.

I don't doubt that you despise bigotry and would recoil if you recognized open sexism in your life; the problem is a matter of recognition. I also sympathize with the desire to see, and correct, the unjust hypocrisy of justice and the imbalance of equality. I get it. Still, it's glib to dismiss the intellect of people who promote affirmative action and social justice: ie. A point left unsaid is rarely left unthought like you assume: ie. Ignorance obscures pith. The foundation of modern social justice is centuries of philosophy, politics, and demography that you don't know yet, and don't need to be elaborated every time someone throws a smug (but ignorant) critique into the comments.

tl;dr, shut up and listen, people are smarter than you think.
 
+Jude Jackson
And you wonder why people dislike feminists? Show some respect to other people if you want to be respected.
 
+Bjoern Guenzel I don't wonder, I just don't have the time to treat people who mistake feminism for the Fox News straw man (or straw woman as it were) like their arguments are reasonable and valuable.

But that, in your mind, is the "real problem", is it not?
 
+Jude Jackson
Sorry I don't understand you. I don't know Fox News. But if I understand the last sentence correctly, yes, the arrogance (and ignorance) is part of the problem.

Well actually it's understandable to not feel like discussing things. Just don't expect any positive reaction to that attitude.

FWIW: people are smarter than you think, as you said. Some people have been following feminism for a while (beyond Fox News) and made up their own mind.
 
+Bjoern Guenzel
Don't worry, I used to stagnate at that stage. You'll grow out of it someday too. If you're curious enough to find a variety of wrong ideas, eventually you'll fall into the right ones.
 
+Anja Cimerman
To be fair, the perception is realistic: the probability of a woman becoming pregnant eventually is very high. That's a real issue - maybe society should offer employers insurance to offset the risk. (Edit: I just looked it up on Wikipedia, the probability for a woman to have children eventually appears to be around 80% in the US).

In any case it's not a good enough excuse for not buckling up and creating the games they want. That is the honest way. Telling people what games they should create, or worse, what games they should play, is only going to create resentment.

If feminists are convinced that there is a market potential X for a certain type of games (and I suppose X exceeds several billion dollars by analogy to the male gamers market), they should have no trouble raising money for building such a game. The idea that capitalists would forego the chance to make a billion dollars because of a sexist attitude is rather ridiculous - especially since women have enough buying power to raise that money even if no men would want to get involved (which is not the case).

It's called "putting money where their mouth is". Or having a stake in the game.

It's possible that existing game companies got their market research wrong. Then that would be a chance for a competitor to prove them wrong and steal some of their market share. It has nothing to do with discrimination.
 
+Jude Jackson
Lol - sorry, you won't make me angry that easily. I guess we can mutually agree to consider each other unimportant. Good bye.
 
+Bjoern Guenzel
Certainly! Thankfully, you rambled long enough to tip your hand at your utter ignorance to the matter the article is referencing, namely the horrific harassment the women who are creating games face on- and offline. And the people who love games and dare to speak up about how women are treated in games, both fictionally and culturally. And the people who dare to voice their support for those people. Either you were ignorant about the issues, or you think it's "not a big deal," which is the same thing.

I see you're taking a page from the Amazing Atheist school of feminist counterarguments: say, "that's just the way things are," point to some statistics that highlight the problem, and then come up with a benign cause for the problem, which magically justifies the problem away. Yeah, don't worry, you'll grow out of it.
 
+Jude Jackson
Well I think it is ridiculous to accuse millions of gamers because of the misdeeds of some bad apples. Also the harassment is experienced by everyone who creates something popular (which is a problem, but what solutions can you suggest?). As for death threats, I think they are a case for the police. If the police doesn't act, now that would be something to get mad about. But lashing out at millions of people who have nothing to do with it whatsoever doesn't make sense.

The issue is also mixing together all sorts of unrelated things. Feminism is not the same as equality. Criticizing feminism is not the same as approving harassment of game developers. But since the author proposed a "either you are for us or you are against us attitude", I guess it's all the same.

I don't understand your second paragraph, but I will consent that I think lack of proper knowledge of statistics is a big problem with feminism. And I didn't "justify a problem away", but how do you suppose to solve a problem if you don't acknowledge that it exists?
 
+Bjoern Guenzel
"Feminism is not the same as equality"
As I touched on before, if one starts with false axioms, one cannot reach a true conclusion. Well actually one can, but it's still bad logic.
 
+Jude Jackson
To that I can only say: if feminists would practice what they preach, the world would be a better place. But since it is an ideology, you will of course never challenge your own assumptions. Especially not if "being a feminist" is tied to your identity.
 
+Bjoern Guenzel Aye, that feels like the tragedy, does it not? I remember the feeling, it's funny looking back at what I learned. Simple things, really. Little pragmatic insights.
 
+Jude Jackson
Enlightened, open minded, ultra-accepting feminists like you are really what pushes the world forward.
 
+Jude Jackson problem is she does lie. When you look at the bigger narrative of the scenes she displays, they do not actually convey the message she is giving.

If I took a 3 second clip of Mario jumping on a koopa troopa and then kicking the shell over a cliff, I could say that game promotes heartless animal abuse. Of course anyone that plays the game knows thats not the case. But if they pointed that out, I could just call a them gun toting animal slaughter. (Sorry can't think of a single word label like misogynist) eventually one of them will say some stupid things to me.

People sensitive to animal abuse, and not knowing the game, will rush to defend me. They will do it blindly, they will also cast the same labels on people attacking me.

That is lying. Denying the truth and casting labels incites people.

This is what this particular person does. Its not helping. All its doing is drawing battle lines on a issue that should be above that. 
 
+Christopher Wyatt
Can you provide citations for a lie she made? Are there any objective facts she stated that are false, or do you simply disagree with the language she uses?
 
+Jude Jackson how many would it take to satisfy you? This isn't the first discussion I have been in or read. Evidence doesn't typically mean a whole lot to someone who hasn't seen the actual context and has a passion for the opposing side.
 
+Jude Jackson and there you go. You don't actually care about the truth. Just the overall message regardless of the validity of the talking points it uses to substantiate itself.
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