Media, Academia, And Wikipedia’s Misinformation About #GamerGate

GamerGate Wikipedia

There was a recently published article over on Breitbart from T.D. Adler, a former editor at Wikipedia who went by the handle Devil’s Advocate. The article pertains to the corruption within media and academia that repeatedly refer to, cite, or utilize information from the Wikipedia article about #GamerGate, which is steeped in falsehoods and grandiose canards.

The article is a spin-off of what was written by Adler back in September of 2019 over on Medium.com, where he detailed the long and arduous history of corruption he encountered while he was an editor for the online encyclopedia.

The Breitbart article, however, attempts to condense and summarize the copious amounts of exposition from the Medium piece into something more bite-sized, specifically relating to how the media and academia has covered the topic, where Adler writes…

“One of the first clear cases of a news article on GamerGate deriving a substantial portion of its material from Wikipedia was in a December 2014 article in The Kernel by Aja Romano. Several paragraphs in the piece appeared to closely mimic the pacing, structure, and phrasing, of sections from the page on Wikipedia regarding GamerGate’s e-mail campaigns pressuring advertisers to pull out from unethical gaming outlets and sections on the Wikipedia page that falsely frame users of the NotYourShield hashtag, which highlights the diversity of the GamerGate movement, as fake accounts pretending to be female and non-white supporters.

 

“Many news outlets and academic sources use the page on GamerGate for a simple definition. During the time Wikipedia described GamerGate as concerning “misogyny and harassment in video game culture”, articles in outlets such as The Christian Science Monitor and News Corporation Australia repeated this description. The current description of GamerGate involving “issues of sexism and progressivism” has endured for years and appeared in New Zealand media, academic papers, Fusion (the now-defunct Splinter News), and Canadian state-owned broadcaster CBC News (the subject of a years-long effort by GamerGate supporters seeking accountability for unethical reporting on the movement). None of these sources directly credited Wikipedia.”

The Breitbart piece is littered with citations, archives, and links to every single claim made, every single detail that’s elucidated, and every single point that’s inferred.

It’s an exhaustive piece that goes much further than our own coverage of Wikipedia’s corruption relating to #GamerGate and other similar controversies, including how they attempted to bury the information related to Crash Override Network’s harassment and doxing, or how one of the anti-#GamerGate editors on Wikipedia was paid to keep Zoe Quinn’s side in a positive light, or how Wikipedia editors jumped to discrediting journalists who covered #PizzaGate by calling it “debunked” and “fake”.

Journalist Nick Monroe also did a lengthy piece that covered Wikipedia’s exploits surrounding #GamerGate and the malfeasance that ran rife within the editor’s circle.

Adler points out, however, that some of these sites seem to be copying what’s printed in the Wikipedia page without crediting Wikipedia, and attempting to shift the blame elsewhere…

“Nearly all material about GamerGate in the BBC article appears to be copied from Wikipedia. Some phrases such as “Gamergate has led figures both inside and outside the industry to call for better methods of tackling online harassment” are almost perfect matches for the phrases on GamerGate’s page at the time. The BBC author alludes to using Google for the piece, without directly crediting Wikipedia.”

Personally? I don’t think it’s so much that these people are completely mimicking what’s on display within the Wikipedia article, so much as they’re all part of the same clique, run in the same circles, and are oftentimes found to congregate on the same mailing lists. So it’s more a matter that some of Wikipedia’s content comes directly from the articles that purport the same narrative that Wikipedia’s editors are putting forward, while at the same time these articles are also mirroring what’s in the Wikipedia article because it’s the same as the narrative they’re portraying in their articles.

This was part of a larger conversation that former Slate writer David Auerbach discussed in an article published on February 5th, 2015 discussing Wikipedia’s citogenesis, where there’s an oscillating ouroboros of playing a game of telephone and then repeating the lie that was originally told through additional outlets until it becomes the “truth” that the media and information repositories like Wikipedia attempt to flagrantly put forward without credible scrutiny nor any mainstream contention.

However, Adler does go more in depth about the text-copying in the Medium piece, providing examples of the similarities between the Wikipedia article on #GamerGate and the articles published by media and academics.

The last paragraph of the article sums up the whole affair quite succinctly though, where it states…

“Aside from legal issues (Wikipedia content is released on a free license, but still copyrighted and requires credit), such use of the heavily biased and unreliable online encyclopedia contaminates the information space with difficult-to-trace circular sourcing. Readers of Wikipedia often know to be wary of its claims. By concealing reliance on Wikipedia, elites touting their credentials in opposition to “fake news” and alternative media are engaging in widespread deception themselves. Anyone reading a textbook or news article describing GamerGate may unknowingly be reading the Wikipedia spin of some anonymous anti-GamerGate burner account.”

Unfortunately this has become the standard.

Even though the FBI debunked the claims that #GamerGate was an organized harassment campaign (wherein evidence for such a claim was never presented nor found) there are still some outlets and activists who persist the false narrative about #GamerGate being about a harassment campaign to this day.

It looks like the future is grim when it comes to writing history about an event that’s been drowned in a sweeping torrent of media lies.

(Thanks for the news tip T.D Adler)

(Main image courtesy of RoadRager)

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