[Disclosure: This is a guest editorial]
Tyler Malka (a.k.a. EviLore) is the current owner of NeoGAF, a once critical forum for discussions and leaks from industry insiders in the world of video games. With last year’s allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against him, however, Malka’s once thriving and controversial forum had seen its moderators and users migrate to ResetEra as a form of dissociation and denouncement. The presence of NeoGAF within the wider gaming community had drastically dissipated.
But this isn’t about whether the allegations leveled at Malka are true or false, nor is this necessarily about his website. If you wish to read about NeoGAF’s history, journalist Nick Monroe’s writings are the place to read and discuss it. This article, instead, is a response to Malka’s recent comments about the conflict between GamerGate and their opponents of many names. Whether you call them liberals (erroneously so), progressives, social justice warriors (SJWs), postmodernists, neo-Marxists or any other term: if you’ve been following the culture war that has been raging within the Western world over the past decade, you’ll already know who they are. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll refer to them as the commonly used acronym.
Malka believes video game culture had become toxic in a world where the Internet and real life are intertwined, and that he wishes for GamerGate and SJWs to stop being hostile to each other. If you knew anything about Malka prior to reading this article (and pretty much anything before 2017), you would know this is a drastic change of tone for him. Malka is infamous for many reasons, one of them being his history of hostility toward what he used to call a ‘basement-dwelling virgin subculture’, and detailing how he believed GamerGate to have been a harmful chain of events toward people whose lives were ‘ruined’ by them, namely women and members of minority groups.
Nowadays, Malka is openly acknowledging NeoGAF’s far-left authoritarian culture systematically destroyed its community. He even made the decision to reopen the previously banned GamerGate thread, and allow users to more freely discuss whatever issues they deemed of interest. You can honestly argue NeoGAF today is far more tolerant of viewpoint diversity thanks to Malka’s recent decisions.
The response from GamerGate supporters has been less than welcoming, and it’s difficult to disagree with the reasons why.
The articles I linked above contain many comments expressing strongly worded skepticism and doubt surrounding Malka’s supposed change of heart. The general consensus seems to be Malka is only making these positive changes because his reputation within the social justice community is ruined, and his website is desperate for user growth. These two arguments are based in truth; the SJWs who were once on his side exiled him, and the lack of moderators and user base would be a concern for anyone who owned a website as large as NeoGAF was.
Speaking for myself, my perspective is similar, but with a catch: despite the circumstances, I am willing to extend an olive branch to Tyler Malka as a show of good faith.
Note my usage of the term ‘good’ faith, as opposed to ‘blind’ faith. For as much as I respect his admittance of NeoGAF’s failures and his apparent attempts to fix them, if Malka wants us all to ‘talk it out’ with one another, there are some acknowledgements that need to be made for dialogue to be exchanged. This doesn’t mean I think Malka should denounce feminism publicly, nor should he be forced to apologize for everything he had done up to this point against his detractors. That should be left up to his own discretion. The following points need to be understood — not agreed upon — by Malka to see any progress in dialogue.
- GamerGate did nothing wrong.
I debated with myself whether or not to use this heading, but I went with the confrontational approach to drive something through: after following the movement ever since its inception — I was a feminist at that point until November, 2014— the narrative surrounding GamerGate is objectively false. It was never about harassment, misogyny, racism, nor any other accusation that was thrown by the gaming and mainstream media. There are a host of articles and an endless supply of first-hand accounts from female, non-white and/or transgender gamers who supported (and still support) the movement; I could do my best to try and collect every single story I ever read from GamerGate supporters and use them as evidence to prove my point, but it would be literally impossible to do it by myself.
I decided to keep it simple, and link to three things: the FBI report finding no evidence of GamerGate being a harassment campaign, Women Action Media (WAM!) concluding less than 1% of pro-GamerGate tweets constituted harassment, and the sub-reddit KotakuInAction, specifically the “What is GamerGate?” section on the side of the page.
Why is it important for Malka to think about this? Considering his past animosities, it’s because if we exchange dialogue under the pretense of GamerGate being exactly what the media accuses it of being — let’s cut the bullshit — we’re not going to get very far, since we’ll get bogged down in arguments such as what constitutes harassment. To understand GamerGate, you have to actually listen to what those people are saying. You don’t have to agree with their opinions about feminism or social justice — what’s important is you have to stop presuming any GamerGate supporter you end up talking to is just an angry white man who hates women and minorities. You don’t even have to talk to a supporter specifically; you can talk to a game developer and his experience, or you can talk to journalists Brad Glasgow and Nick Monroe. Those two are some of the best journalists I know.
If it’ll make Malka feel any better, then yes, of course there were GamerGate supporters who were also bad people — but let’s be honest, if you exclude the people who express their opinions in a crude and offensive manner, we can count the bad apples on one hand. Ethan Ralph had largely been excommunicated from the movement, and ‘Hope McKenna’ was immediately denounced after it was discovered ‘she’ was actually a convicted sex offender against children. SJWs and male feminists have far more skeletons in their closets — too many to count — to insinuate they have the moral high ground.
2. GamerGate supporters reacted to hostility, not instigated it.
If you read one of the links on the KotakuInAction page, you’ll find an article going over an abundant amount of evidence detailing what exactly happened in August, 2014. Two things of note are that GamerGate supporters wanted to discuss ethics in journalism and the SJW takeover of gaming, and that almost every outlet known to man for discussions promptly censored or slandered the entire thing. A cover-up.
When you are denied the ability to discuss something, and are then labelled an evil bigot for doing so, do you not think some anger and animosity would develop within you, warranted or otherwise? Brad Glasgow had to fight tooth and nail to demonstrate his trustworthiness just to get a condensed version of GamerGate’s basic arguments into print. I would know — I personally read every single post he made on KotakuInAction trying his best to tell people to stop writing ten-paragraph responses to him. Point being, GamerGate had been salivating at the chance to discuss things for literal years, but were denied it, because…
3. War was declared against gamers, not the other way around.
Tyler Malka had gone on record saying the following:
“Turn off the us vs them, regardless of which “side” you’re on right now. It’s video games. It matters to all of us, but it’s still just fucking video games. We’re adults. We can have a civil conversation like adults about goddamned video games, can we not? We can treat each other decently as human beings despite whatever our opinions are about video games, can we fucking not? Let’s start now. Erase the line in the sand. Let go of the anger and hatred and grudges. It’s gone on long enough.
“Let’s talk it out and put an end to this shit. I insist.”
Broadly speaking, I don’t disagree with the underlying point: I also want to talk about video games and have fun playing them. What I disagree with is it’s ‘just fucking video games’, because this is a hobby gamers hold dear to our hearts. It defined our childhoods, and in some way made us who we are today. Game developers had modeled their entire lives around the idea of creating something for one of their favourite hobbies.
So yes, of course we can discuss games like adults; I would love nothing more than to do so. Almost every other day, people I follow on Twitter talk about video games, and they always have. Not all the time, obviously, but more than enough to demonstrate their gamer credentials.
The reason we aren’t — can’t — is because SJWs declared war on us.
Many of us realized we had to fight a long-term culture war fairly early on, but it was not an easy pill to swallow. The meme posted below is the best representation of the feelings GamerGate supporters have regarding this entire debacle. Even sadder is, the events prior to GamerGate weren’t caused by us, either.
2011 was the Mass Effect 3 controversy, thanks in no small part to Colin Moriarty (whom I still don’t like to this day). 2012 was Feminist Frequency, who — as I’m pretty sure even Malka admits — was never interested in actually talking about video games, but instead used it as a springboard for social justice (and a shit-tonne of money, too, but that’s a discussion for a later date). GamerGate was unable to stop political correctness from infecting the Western gaming industry; it feels like almost every day, I’m confronted with article after article about how I’m a misogynist for liking sexy female characters, or how video games need to be ‘culturalized’ to fit my supposed ‘Western sensibilities’, or how history is too politically incorrect, or how game developers want more ‘diversity’ (no matter what), or how if I ever dare express support for GamerGate as a public figure, I will face endless media slander and SJW hate mobs until I apologize and repent (and still wouldn’t be forgiven anyway). The fact remains it is far more (socially and professionally) dangerous to be a supporter of GamerGate than it is to be a social justice warrior. Palmer Luckey’s girlfriend unfortunately found this out the hard way.
I invite Tyler Malka to discuss anything he wants with me. My DMs on Twitter are open, and as unlikely as it’ll be, I have a YouTube channel if he wishes to do a livestream discussion (even with a moderator, if need be). My only question prior to any contact is thus.
Are you willing to listen?