GamerGate and the incentives of threats

The GamerGate fiasco has brought with it the ugly phenomenon of internet threats. If we are to take our assumptions from the media narrative, then the side that is correct at the end is the one that received the most threats, and has capitalized best on these threats.

The incentives to make threats are literally less than zero. There are only disincentives. Anyone with reasoning abilities can see this, particularly based on the proportion of anti-GG coverage devoted to the threats.

Progressives simultaneously understand and do not understand this. There have been a number of blunders where “threats” turned out to be bogus, with obvious intent to stir up public hatred for GamerGate and initiate a spiral of silence by making #GamerGate feel dirty on the tongue of most.

There are astronomical incentives to appear to be a victim of threats. This truth has been leveraged many times in the form of fake threats.
fake threats

Notice the identical IDs in the image above. The unsavvy false-flagger wasn’t aware of the easy-to-miss feature of some imageboard that shows if posts come from the same IP address.

We can deduce that most threats which loudly fly the banner of GamerGate are fake, or by seriously deranged people who cannot understand simple results of actions. Any reasonable person, even a Machiavellian one trying to win an ideological war, would understand the simplest of cost and benefit.

Of course, the source of a majority of these threats isn’t as obvious as in the above image. But we can use reason and understanding of incentives to come to the conclusion that the only people with real incentives to make anti-GG threats are the anti-GG individuals themselves. So if I had to pick, I would guess that a majority of purported threats against women are from anti-GG individuals. If this is still mystifying, let’s break it down:

There are incentives to be a victim of threats by ideological opposition.

There are disincentives to make threats against ideological opposition.

Certainly some of the threats are real, and I have all the sympathy in the world for the victims. We all sleep soundly knowing that nobody is out to cause us harm and destroy our well-being. A threat, even one unlikely to become reality, can temporarily ruin your life. I understand this, I really do, and disagreeing with you on some issues doesn’t change this. Whoever these deranged individuals are that are making threats, they are not the secret weapon of GamerGate. They are, in fact, the greatest weapon of the journalists and ideologues fighting a hashtag war. After all, all of the media reports focus on the outrageous threats received. It’s a sensational phenomenon.

And yeah, when it reads something like

Haha #GamerGate for life bitch, I am gonna rape you, war on women now prepare to die whore >:D I am a typical GamerGate supporter who likes the Patriarchy, I am a proud misogynist haha heil hitler ISIS rules

it’s pretty obvious that it’s a false flag. If you want someone to reap the benefits of being a victim without the associated costs of a real threat, dial it back a bit. Also, only progressives have a paranoid belief in a “war on women.” Just like “trickle-down economics,” it’s a term used to mischaracterize the opposition. It’s not a term that the opposition themselves take seriously.

For those in the anti-GG camp who may be reading this, I want to know: do you disagree with my take on the incentives of this situation? Did I miss something? I ask this earnestly, since I wasn’t born with the right ideas, and my opinions change a lot.

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16 comments

  1. I think you under-estimate the incentive of “for the lulz” (as well as the protection that an anonymous twitter handle provides.)

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      1. My $0.02: Trolling for teh Lulz is a modern version of rebelling for its own sake. The rage of #gamergaters, and anonymous death-and-rape-threatening trolls in general, strikes me as an expression of incoherent anger toward an inarticulable target.
        Robert, haven’t you ever said “f*** you” to some (real or imagined) authority figure, just because you could and they couldn’t do anything about it? I was a teenager once. I’ve been there. The same angst is operating here, multiplied by the presence of an audience (virtual friends, in this case).
        This is a somewhat long-winded way to say that yes, making threats carry a reward for these people. The likelihood of any individual getting caught is very very low. The group affinity and virtual high fives (plus the Lulz) are likely more of a “reward” than many hardcore gamers ever get for anything they do IRL.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Left unsaid is the media’s incentives–when to play up anonymous internet threats and the fallacy of composition to drive the story vs when such tactics would never be employed. Imagine if almost literally every mainstream media outlet insisted that the Ferguson protests were “only about criminals looting” because the first night of the protests (August 10) saw several looters and people who burned down the QuickTrip. Not conceivable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that the reason American law enforcement are now fostering and enable this culture of false accusations..is because they now get massive amounts of federal dollars from it!! But the problem is, men have basic civil rights of “Equal protection under the law”…that they are trampling on just to get the federal pork.

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  4. Yeah, I disagree. There’s a gamer movement led by a right wing, gun nut actor, and lo nad behold, when one women speaks out against it, there’s threats of a mass shooting. What a coincidence. Sorry, Bro, but you haven’t thought it through. Trailing behind Mr. Baldwin, no doubt, comes a lot of hardcore right wingers, who are not noted for their progressive views. The fact that Ann Coulter and Michele Malkin are right wingers does not by definition make the GOP a women-friendly party, particularly considering many of their comments on the topic of rape. So sorry. No doubt their idealistic female gamers who actually think ethics in gaming journalism is a big deal. Then a lot of youngsters seem to think getting a follow on twitter from Justin Bieber is a big deal too. But sad that these female gamergaters tolerate abuse and harrassment by some of their associates. The simple fact is, people question/criticize gamergate, and they run the risk of doxxing or worse. So whatever idealist motives you had at the start have been drowned in hatred by radicals.

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    1. But try to be reasonable here. What do threats actually do for GamerGate? The entire media is on the anti-GamerGate side, and the media uses threats to prove this as the singular correct position. Someone receiving an anonymous threat on the internet doesn’t make them automatically correct

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    2. The problem with this entire post is many fold. First off, associating threats to Anita, which have been a thing as long as she has, with an consumer revolt that started oh, two months ago is fallacious at best. That and the fact that she utilizes handwringing about threats to plug her patreon account shows exactly how seriously she takes them. No one would ever do this if they seriously thought they were being threatened, it’s the easiest way to get the FBI to throw up their hands and say you brought this on yourself, now we can’t track them through all the copycat threats you’re getting.

      Second – Gamergate isn’t a movement, it’s a consumer revolt, one that’s been in the making for years. Look at what Anita herself tweeted, that /V/ the musical circa a YEAR ago, where the exact same accusations have been being leveled for longer than that even. Gamergate has no leaders, and look at that “ring wing” that’s our “leader.” Milo was a journalist every bit as bad as Leigh Alexander for attacking the audience, said all the same things she did, and laughed every bit as snarkily. He asked us for forgiveness, and showed journalistic integrity. So we forgave him. How hateful of us. Oh you meant Baldwin? Really? When has he even been a part of this debate? He coined a term we utilized, rofl. Welcome to IRL, where everything’s already been done and the points don’t matter.

      Third – The only people parroting the “harassment” angle have EVERYTHING to gain from the harassment angle being pushed. First off – the games media has an extremely vested interest in this going away, and a bunch of angry white misogynerds yelling at women was the only way this was disappearing with no questions asked. Secondly the media at large has been PROVEN to have direct connections to the media here, has been pre-coached on what to say about this issue, or is another slam rag who only cares about getting eyes on page. A calm reasoned discussion does not provide this.

      The only legitimate threat I’ve seen in this entire thing (aka not a blah blah I’ll blah blah you, etc) the same shit that anyone who does anything online gets was the one Anita got where she left her home. Not before linking it and providing her Patreon though! The problem with that is it was found to be some Brazilian clickbait journalist. Oh really? Well who found that out? Oh… Gamergate? Well crap.

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    3. What are you even talking about.

      Gamergate is not “led” by anyone, even less Adam Baldwin’s whose involvement is tangential at best at this point.

      It also shows a great deal towards your intellectual state of mind when you’re immediately associating conservative to a bad thing.

      What’s causing this controversy is the fact that most of GamerGate is actually left leaning, like myself, as left leaning libertarians.

      It absolutely horrifies the far, authoritarian left to see so many women and minorities from the left actually disagree with them and call their shit on it.

      As to your point of risking doxxing and harassment if you speak out against gamergate (technically, more if you believe the media’s narrative, full of intellectual naiveté, as almost no one would be advocating FOR corruption in game journalism), you risk the same (if not worse) by speaking out in a pro GamerGate fashion.

      One only has to see what TotalBiscuit, Milo, KoP, Boogie and so on went through to understand your argument holds no basis in rationality.

      How can a feminist game journalist like Liana K come to understand and support the message of the movement while condemning the harassment, but the same intellectual exercise is completely unreachable for the masses of the anti-supporters ?

      You speak of supporters of Gamergate supporters as “sad that these female gamergaters tolerate abuse and harrassment by some of their associates.”. This is hilarious in and out of itself to see what the people involved in the GamerGate Harassment Patrol went through. Contrary to what you might think, the people supporting GamerGate have a lot more to do with stopping harassment than the opposition.

      In fact, almost everyone in GamerGate (trolls and statistical outliers aside) absolutely condemns harassment, and supports game diversity in all aspects of gaming, from development, to journalism, to playing them.

      Jesus, even Leigh and Zoe have tweeted to thanks supporters of GamerGate for their efforts in tackling the trolling and harassment going on in social media.

      How are we going to establish discourse and debate if the first thing you’re going to reply is “A woman got harassed, hold the presses, your argument is invalid” ?

      What when supporters of Gamergate reply with exactly the same thing, the dialogue stops.

      We have to stop with this culture of shock and intellectual bullying at the expression of ideas and start believing in giving people a chance to speak.

      Something that, of course, is not lost on the Author of this post, when he says in a previous article (http://mitrailleuse.net/2014/09/19/intellectual-bullying/) :

      “Rationalism is necessarily the nemesis of ideology. From the ideologue’s point of view, rationalism is assumed to be not only wrong, but an ideologically imposed wrongness that exists to legitimate oppression. Keep in mind: to the ideologue, everything is ideological. In this particular case, we see examples of non-white women making tweets in support of GamerGate accused of being sock puppet accounts of white males. The fact they must be white males isn’t an every day practical truth, but an ideological truth. It’s the special kind of truth that can illuminate a world that was constructed to keep you down. Some of the women respond with timestamped photographs of themselves. I can only imagine the kind of ideological tailspin that this puts their accusers into.”

      There is so much truth in the above paragraph, that I can’t praise it enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The real question is this: after 2 months of doxxing, death threats, rape threats, threats of threats, and “harassment” has there been a single person actually physically attacked in real life as a result of a threat made online?

    Not one you say? Well that’s odd. Because these people have claimed to be in fear of their lives. Driven from their homes. You’d think out of thousands of threats there’d be some percentage that converted over in actual action.

    Unless that is that anonymous threats over the internet are not and have never been credible. Oh wait, that’s exactly what the ACTUAL police concluded about those threats to Anita in Utah. “No credible threat to students or faculty.”

    It’s almost like the people involved are intentionally overreacting and misrepresenting the gravity of the threats they’re receiving. And if they don’t get any, why not just make some up?

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