Well it's 2017 and oddly a recent turn of events relating to Gamergate has spurred me to write a another blog tangentially related to it and other matters both in gaming media and lets just say media in general.
On the BBC radio (yes I sometimes hear radio programs and even listen to a few series, make your jokes now) there's a program called More or Less. It's on the BBC World service so you might be able to pick it up where you are in the world reading this.
The idea of the show is to look at claims in the media and put them in some kind of actual context to show how even figures can be made to lie. There's an old saying "There are lies, damn lies and then there's statistics."
So let's look at what I mean with another controversial and recent example.
The claim of Trump's inauguration being the most watched vs the claim less people were at it to watch.
Well the truth is they're two different claims and it's pretty hilarious as someone from the UK to see the US media and the US president arguing past one another.
Trump "May" (read probably still wrong) be right that more people watched his inauguration due to internet streaming etc etc as every major media site seemed to have a livestream for it. The total views for the livestream however aren't the number of viewers due to people having to reload streams etc etc.
The US Media is also right less people attended his Inauguration as you can see in pictures.
This is the idea of how to lie using stats or information to spin the story you want while ignoring information that contradicts it.
Well it's this kind of lie that's been creeping up more and more. The "It's technically correct in what they say but not in the larger context". So to give another example lets go to another controversial figure in Anita Sarkeesian (What I may as well hit all the bases) and her claim about the female Dota 2 characters all having
Now she is technically correct in so far as those examples shown they do have conventionally attractive facial features. Though quite how attractive the Horns on Queen of Pain or the whatever the hell is on Naga Sirens head is well that's debatable.
However her whole point is about the lack of body diversity in video game characters and she even says.
Again technically correct, there are no female rock creatures or skeletal priests in DOTA2. You know what there are though?
and last be not least Spectre.
Now unless people want to argue that having eyes counts as an attractive feature now I doubt any-one would call them exactly conventionally attractive.
In context Anita was talking about lack of body diversity in Dota2 female characters which if you did body diversity you could add in Legion commander as showing body diversity too as she's actually a towering strength hero in game.
More on Anita's wok another day maybe as there is an actual point to this odd rambling, and it's to point out how it's possible to prove anything you like when you fit the figures and information to the goal rather than look at the figure and information in the full context.
Now that I've got all that out the way it's time to talk about the FBI's report on #Gamergate and the almost comical reaction The Verge has taken to it and the no doubt even more comical reaction that is as I write this if it's not already been pushed out by a number of media outlets will soon be.
What the Verge article says is that there were threats mentioned in the FBI report into #Gamergate. Is this important or a major thing to say? Well it depends on how you look at it.
You see the report is already being taken by some as absolute confirmation that not only was every single threat people claimed to have happened totally real and the fault of Gamergate (more on that comedy in a moment) but that the report absolutely proves Gamergate was about misogyny and forcing women out of gaming.
That is until it's put in complete context. Subscribed to KotakuInAction the main subreddit right now are over 75,000 people.
Reading even the Verge's version of the report one thing becomes clear only a small number of people were actually interviewed by the FBI in connection to threats made.
3 people were interviewed.
yes, just 3.
One of them admitted they were in a Chat group with Brianna Wu who regularly got upset about things that the group were talking about and as such they tried to upset her more and harass her. And claimed responsibility for 40-50 threats and said others in the same group as them and Brianna Wu likely sent others to her.
Here's the rather bonkers part about that. Wu wasn't part of any Gamergate chat group that I'm aware of. She was part of the Gamerghazi moderation team at one point though and as such their live chat.
I mean what sense would it make for the supposedly super evil monsters of Gamergate to knowingly let Wu sit in on group chats? For those who don't know Wu I wrote a portion of what is known to have gone on before relating to them here.
Of the three threats sent to the university of Utah in relation to Anita's attendance (none considered viable by police) 1 didn't mention Gamergate. 1 did mention it and 1 mentioned Gamerjaite. According to page 79 of the FBI report it's suggested the email was designed to frame a person (likely due to Federal Agents visiting him this person being framed was likely Mr Repzion) With page 123-125 detailing interviews with a person (presumably Mr Repzion) in relation to the framing.
The entire FBI Dossier documents a rather insane international effort from across the USA to even sections to the USA Embassay in Australia.
Of the claimed threats, evidence was provided for 8
1 was framing Mr Repzion
4 emails never mention Gamergate at all. With one being before it existed
1 was from Jace Connors who turned out to be a member of a comedy group Million Dollar Extreme and it was a stupid joke video he'd made which someone else linked Brianna Wu to.
1 more was this one posted by Anita Sarkeesian
Did you notice the strange thing about it?
Does it mention gamergate?
Does it even mention video games?
Or does it mention sucking blood?
Now why would Anita Sarkeesian received a threat on about sucking her blood. I mean it's not like she's critiqued Twilight, and True Blood slamming both and wrote a piece about why Buffy is better than Bella or anything right?
So 1 threats left.
That 1 was to the University of Utah. 1 which Authorities said had no validity and there was no risk to students
Beyond that page after page after page of complaints being made accusations of threats (which the FBI seemingly found no evidence of). People reporting threats but no evidence. At least 1 email from the FBI telling individuals they must attach evidence of the threats in some form. An email claiming a threat had been received on voicemail but the audio file sent over was mysteriously unable to be played.
Most of the claims of threats relate to peoples tweets with the FBI document noting multiple of the accounts actually sharing ID numbers in Twitters Database (meaning it was the same person).
Other reports were of people reading internet chat boards and then reporting to the FBI that they felt threatened and were being threatened or targeted.
To put that into context that would be like me stumbling upon someone threatening to kill me on an internet web board then taking it 100% seriously without suggesting there was a load of internet hyperbole because it was people on a public board not knowing I was watching. It's not nice but things happened when it's pressumed people aren't watching often are done behind said person back because people know how it will go down.
To be clear. People were reported being threatened because they went out looking round places they knew they were disliked watching people talk about them then reported what was almost certainly trolls if not pure hyperbole from people unaware they were being watched.
Meet some people from an IRC talking about what they were doing toward me :)
So to put it all in some kind of context.
3 people, just 3 were interviewed and found to have sent threats by the investigation. 1 was seemingly not even in Gamergate.
Remember how I said there's over 75,000 people in the Gamergate subreddit KIA?
That means if we take KIA as the entire membership of Gamergate then 0.003% of Gamergate are what it's claimed. 0.003% !
That means you're nearly 3 times more likely to face violence from someone protesting Donald Trump than you are to get threats from Gamergate.
Now to be clear, I do know the violent protestors were Black Blocks or Anarchists and not actually people who oppose Trump as such but the entire present democratic system believing the people should hold all the power in some commune where everyone votes on everything.
Also worth being clear the FBI report makes numerous mentions to the idea that many messages and threats and everything else was likely coming from goons from Something Awful (To be clear like 4chan Something Awful isn't one giant thing that acts as a whole there's lots of different posters and boards). The thing to remember is a small minority of Goons will go after any-one they believe the result of going after will give them a laugh. They're essentially trolls but very dedicated ones. So like the Black Block people saying they're on a side isn't exactly true.
Welcome to what I mean by the lies told as Gizmondo try to spin the FBI investigation as a massive failure because Gizmondo (the skinned remains of Gawker) tries to spin it as all the threats being totally real direct death threats. You know despite the FBI seemingly being told by people they were being threatened but oh so often not being given any evidence to show it just claim after claim being made.
So this has a big important message and it's not just me here defending Gamergate. It's me pointing out how easy it is to manipulate things and how things get spun. You might think this is stupid but then EA did try to do this when they won worst company in America
EA' chief tried to portray those who voted for it as part of anti LGBTQ groups
So just be wary, because I wouldn't put it past companies deciding to try this more in the future by just presenting one side. I mean many already to try to spin things positively but it might not be long before they're trying to spin backlashes as a Boogeyman as horrible as Gamergate has been spun into being.
And with that I bid you thank you to those who bothered to read this whole thing and I'll off in to get back in the Gamergate Hot Tub Time Machine to try for some of that free love at Woodstock.