Tonight, we, the GoodGamesWriting team, write to you in response to the recent “GamerGate” movement that has taken the Internet by storm and taken over the current discourse around games writing and the games industry.
We are not here to recap this discourse. We are not writing tonight to engage with those trapped in the imbroglio. This post will serve as our sole commentary on this issue.
As an organization, GoodGamesWriting believes ethical concerns around the games writing space–which includes journalists, reporters, bloggers, personalities, critics, analysts, and beyond–are legitimate.
We believe publications should be held accountable for their work in the same way teachers are held accountable for their teaching. Parents have a right to press teachers about their methods, their assessments, and their conduct. Teachers have a responsibility to respond to these concerns, basing their answers in pedagogy.
This is not groundbreaking nor revolutionary. It should be the norm and in this respect our industry has room to improve.
However, these concerns cannot be addressed in the current climate, in which harassment and abuse is commonplace. If this movement is, indeed, about ethics as its anonymous leaders claim, then we advocate for an end to the current approach, proposing to start these ethical conversations anew in the near future.
We have challenged gaming publications large and small to begin having these conversations both internally and with us. We have had some success with this and extend our challenge to those publications that have yet to answer our call.
Further to this, we believe ethics policies should be published by all publications wishing to take themselves seriously. Such a policy should not be buried; rather, it should feature prominently on the publication’s home page or be contained within the website’s footer.
Despite appreciating a focus on ethics, the GoodGamesWriting team believes an ethical framework contained within a broader system that doesn’t support inclusivity, diversity, or positivity, has zero legitimacy.
We believe those claiming so-called “SJW”s are misrepresenting this movement fail to understand two points: (1) that, whether intended or not, such a movement has become toxic and about representation; (2) to those specifically believing misrepresentation on this front we choose to stand with those that have shown they receive abuse.
We will not tolerate such abuse.
We challenge publications of all sizes to remove vitriolic and hateful comments as well as the users posting them. We challenge publications that are already doing this to stay the course. We challenge publications that aren’t yet to step up their game on this front.
We believe publications should be willing to separate themselves from personalities whose conduct is not in line with the beliefs of tolerance, acceptance, and positivity outlined here, even if such conduct is not conducted within the publication’s infrastructure.
To this end, comment moderation is not enough. Publications dedicated to inclusion will make efforts to promote diverse content and voices, and GoodGamesWriting is not excluded from this. Editorial staffing is one such area many publications may look to for improvement on this front.
We understand where some frustrations arise. Many of those concerned are “just trying to enjoy gaming”. This is admirable.
It is the same goal all possess. Unfortunately, due to exclusion in the industry as a whole, many cannot reach this goal.
This is not an attack on those gamers. It is a call for empathy. Those affected by a lack of representation or inclusion face this every day. It is not a new phenomenon. It is the status-quo and it should change.
We believe it is appropriate to champion games that support awareness of minority groups, mental health issues, and other matters of inclusion.
To that end, we believe it is appropriate for criticism to exist where the games industry has failed to deliver on these expectations.
We believe that an argument over what constitutes a game is counter-productive. Arguing over semantics on these points gets us nowhere.
Finally, we ask those considering departing this space because of GamerGate to stay strong. We believe you are voices worth championing. We are committed to defending voices such as yours.
To be clear, we are condemning the actions of those members of the GamerGate movement using it as a proxy for hatred. We believe some parties may truly believe in the stated cause of this movement, though these parties are not hiding behind anonymity.
We challenge the industry as a whole to promote both journalistic integrity and inclusion within this space.
GoodGamesWriting is dedicated to changing the discourse around games writing, achieving its goals through ongoing communication with writers and publishers, the promotion of content, and the development of talent.