The last few weeks in videogame culture have seen a level of combativeness more marked and bitter than any beforehand.
First, a developer—a woman who makes games who has had so much piled on to her that I don’t want to perpetuate things by naming her—was the target of a harassment campaign that…
Q:I'm sure you've been asked already, but how do you feel about all the drama going on right now about Zoe Quinn?
You want me to walk into a minefield? OK. Let’s try to keep this short.
There are numerous angles to what’s unfolded over the last few days, and I’m not going to address all of them. Please keep that in mind here.
This has turned into TMZ. For just about all of this, it’s not our business.
There’s no excuse for the extreme harassment and abuse in the last few days. No one deserves to have nude pictures of themselves distributed all over the Internet without their consent. No one deserves to have their address blasted on social networks as a veiled threat. No one.
There is no excuse. None, nada.
Some people see a conspiracy. Others see common human decency.
What we have is an ugly corner of the gaming community exploiting an opportunity to tear into a situation with the flimsiest of justifications. The idea that such abuse is warranted because of concerns over the “ethics of games journalism” cannot be taken seriously by people who utter “whore,” “cunt,” “faggot,” and other words in the same sentence. A quick perusal of “zoe quinn” on Twitter will find you plenty of these people.
A response to that line of criticism might be “yeah, but…”
There is a universe where a blog was written specifically to raise ethical concerns about personal relationships between the games press, and not a character assassination meant to tear a person’s life apart.
We do not live in that world. Do not try to pretend that’s what this about.
Disclosure is important. Kotaku editor Stephen Totilo addressed this specifically on Twitter, given his reporter and publication are in question:
I’m on vacation overseas this week, but a matter has come up I need to address. This will take a few Tweets… (1)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
At root there has been a question about disclosure and one of Kotaku’s reporters, Nathan Grayson. (2)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
My standard has long been this: reporters who are in any way close to people they might report on should recuse themselves …(3)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
…from reporting about those with whom their close. If they must report about them, disclosure is mandatory. Readers deserve that. (4)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
The root of the questions about Nathan involve whether he was in a relationship with a developer he quoted in a Kotaku article on 3/31 (5)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
Nathan and I have discussed this and he assures me that at the time of that article he has not begun a relationship with the developer (6)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
Nathan also has not written about the developer on Kotaku since. I see my reporter as having met standards readers would hope for (8)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
Nathan has my trust, and I believe he deserves yours as well. (9/end)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
Nathan Grayson never wrote a review of Depression Quest for Kotaku. He did write about the indie game jam that went to pieces, which happened to involve Zoe Quinn. Numerous publications also wrote about the same incident, and nothing in Grayson’s write up is particularly different from what you would find elsewhere. On Rock Paper Shotgun, Grayson mentioned Depression Quest in a writeup about 49 other video games that were recently greenlit on Steam. Another mention of Depression Quest was published on RPS written by Adam Smith. You can verify this through the Depression Quest tag.
Yes, disclosure is important. Yes, we should be aware if the press has engaged in a personal relationship with a developer. But nothing justifies what’s transpired since. People have hijacked this for madness.
Cliche but true: some just want to watch the world burn.
Given I’ve spent the last few days trying to ignore folks accusing me of cheating on my wife, you’ll excuse me if I’m over talking about this now.
This is the last I’ll say on this topic. No other questions will be answered.
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