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Inside #GamerGate's super seekrit plan to take over Tumblr with cute cat pics and Vivian James

Actually, it's about ethics in cynical Tumblr takeover plots
Actually, it’s about ethics in cynical Tumblr takeover plots

GamerGaters claim they’re on the side of truth and righteousness, but they sure do love monologuing like cartoon villains.

They claim to be shocked by alleged evidence of journalistic collusion, yet they happily plot strategies and “operations” together both in secret and in broad daylight. They claim to be about ethics, but regularly employ not-so-subtle subterfuge to try to disguise their carefully coordinated propaganda campaigns as spontaneous uprisings.

This week, GamerGaters on 8chan launched a new “operation” to win over the hearts and minds of the masses on Tumblr. And it’s as ethically bankrupt as anything they’ve ever done.

Operation Firefly, as it’s officially known, is an attempt to take the GamerGate “fight” to a “new frontier.” Tumblr.  As the originator of the initiative explains it in a somewhat less-than-stirring manifesto:

In recent weeks the revolt has been getting bogged down in a stalemate. Useless drama and e-celebrity happenings are sidetracking us and sapping our strength. We’ve become demoralized and are losing momentum. …

Time for a new frontier, a new fight, a new chance to spread the truth.

Apparently, the GamerGaters are beginning to realize that their current strategy of being dicks to people on Twitter isn’t paying off quite as well as they had hoped.

While Twitter can be considered an important part of the movement, it is one of the worst places to focus our efforts. Too much time, energy, and attention is currently being wasted there. … The only things twitter is good for are out-of-context quips and angry outbursts.

Twitter is wearing us down, and it’s becoming a red herring/albatross around our neck. It’s time to use our limited resources where they will be more effective.

So they’re Tumblr-bound.

As a group we’ve done a horrible job at reaching out to others and spreading our message. That’s a problem. Instead of waiting for people to come to us, we need to go to them. That’s why we need to go to Tumblr. Going forward, only 25% of the people who are currently on Twitter should continue to post and debate there. 25% should redeploy to fight on Youtube and defend our home turf while the other 50% should go to Tumblr.

But isn’t Tumblr full of, you know, girls? Well, yes, but even this obstacle can be surmounted with some calculated pandering.

Most users on Tumblr are teenagers between 12 and 20, and most of them are girls. They are very interested in fandoms, anime, and other memes. … A good idea would be to use popular anime characters and pokemon to get the #Gamergate message out. Another idea would be to create crossover fanart with Vivian James in it.

That’s right: use an imaginary girl to win over the real girls. Just try to avoid being too logical, because, as everyone knows, girls don’t logic.

Tumblr enjoys appeals to emotion. While rational debate is important, make sure you are making it personal.

And remember to use GamerGate’s “female and minority” members as your shield! Oh, sorry, as your totally not a shield.

A major effort will be spent on pushing our female and minority voices to the forefront via #notyourshield. the goal is to discredit and debunk the narrative and shut it off at the source.

Operation Firefly doesn’t have to limit itself to the GamerGate hashtag on Tumblr. Go ahead and flood all discussions of vidya games with your propaganda. Just don’t make it too obvious, guys!

In order to be effective, you must also talk about Gamergate in other relevant hashtags, such as popular video game titles like “Mario”.

And make a bit point of pretending to be a victim. Sorry, not pretending. Authentically being a victim.

Tumblr is a different place than what you’re used to, so take time to lurk if you must. You are the victim in order to gain sympathy and support.

Remember to support your comrades!

Any time you see a pro-gg post, you need to follow the poster and reblog it in order to signal boost. This increases solidarity and cohesion. Build numbers and stay in contact with each other.

Just don’t lay it on too thick with your propagandizing, lest the Tumblrites catch on to the fact that you’re part of an invading propaganda army. Maybe reblog some kitten pics too.

It’s important to be a real person and not some faceless nobody. This means you should round out your blog by reblogging interesting content you like from other, non gamer-gate related things.

And try to lay off the scary skull imagery.

[T]umblr enjoys relatable and homely things. Consider when conveying your opinions to produce approachable and likeable art pieces. Look at the “art motivation” comics, high reblogged and non sexual fan art, cute stories and the like. …

Don’t be afraid to turn Vivian James into Hello Kitty or a pony.

When cynically setting up a throwaway blog to spread GamerGate propaganda, try to avoid looking too much like a GamerGater cynically setting up a throwaway blog to spread GamerGate propaganda.

[H]aving a profile say why you love video games, why you’re a decent person and concluding with “I am a person and I support gamergate” will show you’re human. … If you are making a new account, don’t choose a name that has anything to do with video games or gg.

Yeah, the “Tumblrinas” will never be able to figure out what’s going on.

Oh, and do your best to not make it too obvious what a hateful dickweasel you really are.

[T]alking like a cunt can be really fucking hostile even if it sharply nails the point. I get some of you guys enjoy the shitslinging language and the fuckyouisms of the prominent youtuber, but it’s not inviting. That’s not to say you have to read like a Disney script, but the language you use will be one of the deciding factors in who you appeal to.

Sounds like a foolproof plan!

On 8chan, some of the regulars put forth suggestions of their own.

off1 off2 off3

CUTE KITTENS ASSEMBLE!

off4censored

Meanwhile, another 8chan anon tried to convince the GamerGate invaders to ix-nay the ane-Bay memes, at least on Tumblr.

So, y’know how Bane is basically the mascot of GamerGate in the chan community? He’s a good fit: A brutal revolutionary and since he’s a Christopher Nolan character, he’s automatically a man’s man, which for some reason appeals to a community defined by their love of a sedentary hobby. …

Bane will not work on tumblr. He’s a bad guy. He’s all big and beefy and while some subset of tumblr’s mostly female audience will like him, most prefer dexterous pretty boys (hence the neverending love for Benedict Cumberpatch and David Tennant).

So what can GamerGaters do to get around the Bane ban?

[O]ur tumblr mascot needs to be Katniss. She’s in an upcoming movie which means even tumblrites with extremely short attention spans know about her. She’s a revolutionary fighting against a corrupt government. She’s a teenage girl which makes her easier for the average tumblrite to associate with her. On tumblr, GG is Katniss.

Uh oh, nobody tell Vivian James she’s got some competition.

So how is the invasion going? Well, if you go to the GamerGate tag on Tumblr, you will indeed see a bunch of GamerGate spam in it.

So by GameGate standards, I guess they are WINNING.

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Bernardo Soares
Bernardo Soares
6 years ago

I’ve no idea why, but my comment seems to have gotten stuck in wordpress and I only get duplicate errors. any ideas?

Bernardo Soares
Bernardo Soares
6 years ago

@tinyorc

I remember that talk. Another connection between what’s been going on for years and GG. There is an interesting analysis of the whole campaign and its “Gamification” here:
http://designislaw.tumblr.com/post/100651306295/the-gamification-of-terror-manufacturing-gamergates

I find this really sad, in a way. I read a lot of fantasy as a teenager, and played all kinds of games (though I’ve never been into shooters). Both empowered me – I went on to study literature, and I’ve always found joy and enlightenment in intelligently made games, but both because I always engaged with them critically (which never meant that I couldn’t also lose myself in stuff). Their way of consuming mindlessly and taking the stuff they find in games into the real world rings very hollow to me.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Tumblr enjoys appeals to emotion. While rational debate is important, make sure you are making it personal.

Uh-huh. Like a bunch of mangry rageboners who throw shitfits about “Five Guys” are rational debaters.

Bernardo Soares
Bernardo Soares
6 years ago

A propos connections going back for longer than the start of GG: looking at the “propaganda” they produce, one can also see the connections to discourses and tropes of MRAs that have been around for longer. For example, there is a picture going around (which wordpress doesn’t let me link to, for whatever reason), in which a caricatured “feminist” character is derived from the woman who shouted at MRAs at a rally in Toronto last year. That shows they have been connected to MRA circles for much longer than just for this specific hate campaign.

quantumscale
quantumscale
6 years ago

Operation Firefly: let’s coopt the name of a show made by a feminist for our campaign

Then again, Adam Baldwin was on Firefly. Maybe they think that’s enough to get the Whedon fans on their side. They’d be mistaken, of course.

tinyorc
6 years ago

becausescience:

Why does every. single. one. of gamergate’s “operations” involve them trying to trick people into supporting them?

Because it’s not fun otherwise?

“Let’s Trojan Horse our way into a SJW base using Katniss and My Little Pony!” = super seekrit infiltration operation, embattled GG warriors against the world!

“Let our arguments speak for themselves on whatever platforms we happen to already be active on” = time consuming, intellectually challenging, honest engagement with the “other” side.

Pocket Nerd
Pocket Nerd
6 years ago

Ha ha ha, oh wow. If the gamergits can’t maintain credibility on Twitter — famously dominated by white, male, middle aged techbros — I can’t imagine they’ll get traction on Tumblr, which skews younger, female, and multiracial. I don’t think the Tumblrites will be receptive to the whole gamergate message of “Stupid gross GIRLS should stay out of our games (and non-white people, shut your mouths, you’re all on notice too).”

tinyorc
6 years ago

Bernardo Soares:

I find this really sad, in a way. I read a lot of fantasy as a teenager, and played all kinds of games (though I’ve never been into shooters). Both empowered me – I went on to study literature, and I’ve always found joy and enlightenment in intelligently made games, but both because I always engaged with them critically (which never meant that I couldn’t also lose myself in stuff). Their way of consuming mindlessly and taking the stuff they find in games into the real world rings very hollow to me.

Ditto. I do not for a second believe that videogames or any other form of media has a direct cause-and-effect relationship with misogyny, it’s fascinating to me that so many GGers resort to using overblown military rhetoric or comparing their “opponents” to NPCs or treating online spaces like levels to be conquered. These are the people who are rolling their eyes and assuring us that they can obviously tell the difference between fantasy and reality – but they talk about their actions and goals of their “movement” in terms of game mechanics so often that I’m left thinking “Really? I’m not so convinced that you can.”

Someone smarter than me once said something to the effect of “those who rail against critical analysis of media messages are the ones most likely to be influenced by them.” That’s GamerGate in a nutshell.

lkeke35
6 years ago

Tinyorc: I was just about to make that same point. People who are on Tumblr do know how to use the rest of the internet. It’s not like they’re sealed off in their own universe and have to peep through wormholes or something to know what’s going on over on “teh interwebz”.

But hey! We’re talking about people who exist in their own fetid echo chamber of stupid, so I guess they think the entire internet is like that.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

Lol, I was going to share this post on my tumblr, but I kept getting a pic of the frog and decided, ‘Nahh’.

I have a love/hate relationship with tumblr, and frankly I’m really looking forward to gators going to a place that’s infamous for tearing into each other for the slightest SJ error.

Pocket Nerd
Pocket Nerd
6 years ago

Thus Spake Zarapallygirl:

So the avatar of “The Leader of Gamergate” is a troll licking its erect penis.

Charming. But truth in advertising.

To be fair, all anonymous posters on 8chan show up as “the Leader of Gamergate”.

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
6 years ago

Yeah, the people who don’t actually think progressive/social justice terms actually mean anything substantive are going to go… take over tumblr.

Why, that is on the same level as a anti-semite pretending to be a jew who wasn’t offended by anti-semetic drawing going by the name Paul W. Asright.

And will probably be about as effective.

booburry
6 years ago

@Puddleglum seriously, they clearly don’t spend that much time on tumblr to not realize that even if you stop misgendering someone and apologize, even if you mean it, you will continue to get piled on because it is so hard to communicate via reblogs.
I look forward to those assholes saying terrible shit that they think is just fine and then getting piled on and having no idea how to make it stop. Would serve them right, really.

James Yakura
6 years ago

…do I want to know why they have a cartoon of an autofellating Deep One?

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

How can someone not stop and think What the hell am I involved in?! when they have to advise their friends not to use violence/ porn/ violent porn when venturing somewhere new.

It sounds far too much like mummy and daddy reminding the 3 year old that granny doesn’t like it when you pick your nose/ jump on the sofa so you’ll remember not to do that while we’re visiting, won’t you.

But I s’pose it’s clear by now that introspection and sober reflection aren’t big features of this group.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
6 years ago

hahaha these assholes have no idea about all the hoary old feminists on tumblr just waiting to call them out on their crap

vaiyt
6 years ago

Psst, gaters: if you plaster Vivian James all over your insidious takeover, everyone will know it’s you.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

@Cyberwulf: “hoary old feminists”? Fuck off.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

It’s striking that they seem to think tumblr invented trans and other non-cis gender identities. Just more evidence to add to the pile that they don’t have any concept of life outside the internet, videogames, and action movies.

lkeke35
6 years ago

Aaaaahhhh! I went to Digg and read Brock’s article.
I haven’t laughed so hard about #Gamergate, since this entire mess started. OMG!

#Takeawaytheirhalos, needs to be tweeted right now!

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
6 years ago

Although Tumblr is known for porn… (There is a tumblr I’ve browsed a couple of times called something along the lines of “Bored cats in indie porn”… which is exactly what it sounds like, but looking at real naked pictures makes me nervous so I stopped.

I also stopped watching Trueblood about fifteen minutes in, and have never even tried to watch Game of Thrones.

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

I was hoping Katniss would be Native American, personally. Her sister is described in the books as blonde, though, so there’s that

Puddleglum
6 years ago

@booburry, yeah, they think *twitter* is full of SJWs, lol. They can have absolutely no comprehension of the horror they are about have fall on their butts.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

That is because her mom was a townie but her dad was from the seam.
The thing that disappointed me the most about the film was the total erasure of the character traits that made Katniss the mockingjay. They stripped the characters and the story itself of what made them powerful.

tiko72
tiko72
6 years ago

Going forward, only 25% of the people who are currently on Twitter should continue to post and debate there. 25% should redeploy to fight on Youtube and defend our home turf while the other 50% should go to Tumblr.

I wonder if they have a mock up of an actual plotting table on their computors. You know, they’re usually surrounded by uniformed women in old world war two movies pushing around symbols for aircraft or ground troops.

Instead of the names of battlegrounds or fronts on the map,they’d have you tube ,twitter and tumblr etc. I still think they would have the same symbols representing themselves because they do think they’re fighting an actual war. Rather than uniformed women pushing everything around though they would probably have un-informed big babies.

Note to GG’s

You’re not actually fighting in a real war. Stop being so bloody dramatic.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

@wordsp1nner but tumblr porn is… really weird. Not better, just… weird.

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
6 years ago

Falconer
6 years ago

Oh my god.

That one jackass we’ve been talking about getting exported from South East Asia, his strategy was “Tamagotchi pikachu [sexual assault].”

GG’s actual strategy that they’ve actually talked about is “Tamagotchi pikachu [SEA LIONS].”

That is kind of unbelievable.

tcwill00
tcwill00
6 years ago

@Puddleglum: Welcome to Tumblr, #GG. Hope you like AU furry buttsechs!

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Cyberwulf: Piss off.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

You know, given the overall brain melt that tumblr can be, I have to wonder how many warriors for ethical game journalism they will lose to the enemy.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

@Falconer, it’s like an introduction to cyber surrealism. With body parts.

Jay Elmore
6 years ago

Psst, gaters: if you plaster Vivian James all over your insidious takeover, everyone will know it’s you.

I love how GGers go through the effort of making “Vivian James”, who’s supposed to be the good, safe kind of female gamer—doesn’t call them on their bullshit, doesn’t assert herself, just wants everyone to “shut up and game”—and the first thing a bunch of those idiots do is start drawing pornographic pictures of her. And not just porn, but bondage/rape/degradation porn.

How pathetic are you, that a fictional girl who was literally designed not to offend your sensibilities is still so threatening that you have to assert yourself by objectifying and degrading her?

Adopt Vivian James
Adopt Vivian James
6 years ago

#FreeVivianJames

Puddleglum
6 years ago

How pathetic are you, that a fictional girl who was literally designed not to offend your sensibilities is still so threatening that you have to assert yourself by objectifying and degrading her?

She’s still the shadow of girl. That’s literally all it takes.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
6 years ago

How pathetic are you, that a fictional girl who was literally designed not to offend your sensibilities is still so threatening that you have to assert yourself by objectifying and degrading her?

I don’t actually think they feel threatened by her, so much as they feel entitled to her. Which, given that she’s fictional, would not be intrinsically a problem. The problem in this instance is the part where she represents “real gamer girls” to them.

By putting her into degradation porn, they are putting “real gamer girls” into degradation porn, out of a sense of entitlement.

I said in another thread that Vivian James is a black monolith of meta, and I stand by that statement.

Jay Elmore
6 years ago

Puddleglum: I’m sure there are a lot of GGers who drink deep from the PUA/MRA trough and would love nothing more than to be surrounded by a bunch of Vivians.

I used to work with a woman who is a gamer, and the group of gamers that she hung out with as a teenager was horrible. Her nickname among the group was “2” because she was the second girl to join their group. Yeah, they couldn’t even call her by a real name.

That’s one of the reasons why I find the whole “Literally Who” thing so abhorrent. You really can’t dehumanize someone any more than by referring to them as if they don’t actually exist.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

Vivian James can be controlled. Cartoons don’t do annoying things gamers don’t like, such as break up with men and sleep with whoever they want while focusing on their own career goals. No seriously, real women suck, amirite, duders?
But their little mascot is a revelation because she’s wearing casual street wear and not a steel thong and matching breast plates? See guys, gamers are so totally enlightened.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

I really shouldn’t try to do graphics (but I can’t help myself).

https://imgflip.com/i/dyb6f

Jay Elmore
6 years ago

tiko72: I think they really believe that they are fighting a real war. Their endgame is to push “SJWs”, feminists, LGBTs, and anyone who doesn’t fit into their pitiful idea of what it means to be a capital-G gamer completely out of their world.

If they had their way, all of Kotakus and Escapists and IGNs would do nothing but talk about how f*cking AWESOME the new Assassin’s Creed is going to be. Pre-order the DLC and check out the outfits you can dress Bayonetta up in! Jiggle physics are awesome, lulz! Bring back booth babes! Dickwolves for everyone!

katz
6 years ago

There’s a real Goofus and Gallant feel to Vivian James. She exists solely as an example of how to behave, usually juxtaposed with an example of how not to behave. Except, of course, she’s only aimed at women.

friday jones
friday jones
6 years ago

They’ve “deployed” their heads squarely betwixt their flanks. Battlefield strategy fail!

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
6 years ago

So, basically, they’re trying to invade the girls’ clubhouse in retaliation for the girls invading “their” clubhouse. But first they have to coach each other on how to pass as a decent human being, like Professor Higgins.

“When feigning pain, refrain from Bane and try not to be a shitstain.”

seraph4377
6 years ago

Buttercup – This internet, I give it to you.

apeculiarpersonage
apeculiarpersonage
6 years ago

Skye: I always pictured Katniss and her family as Métis. Thus her sister’s blonde hair.

tiko72: All the overblown war metaphors would be hilarious if it weren’t just so pathetic.

Luzbelitx
6 years ago

@Puddleglum

That’s adorable and made me laugh so much!

tiko72
tiko72
6 years ago

@Jay Elmore.

Oh definitely,It just cracks me up the way they talk about it. I wonder if they have sweating brows and the sound of crickets playing in the background while they’re planning their campaigns.

Kinda related brain bleach.

Hope that embeds.

takshak
takshak
6 years ago

ya know, the longer these guys go one, the more I understand the concept of salting the earth….

rjjspesh
6 years ago

Tumblr is swarming with intelligent, hilarious, progressive *gasp* girls. They’re going to have to tone down their hateful language just a bit. I don’t think they’ll last very long. Plus they’re going to run smack-bang into LokiXThor fan art and run off screaming.

Haha, I’m going to get in on this action.

Sunny Burn
6 years ago

personally I’m just amused they don’t realize that people on tumblr have been aware of and making fun of them for months now. if they try this it’s going to be the funniest thing in the universe