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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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seraph4377
5 years ago

Jay – I believe you’re right. Which is why they literally cannot win. Their “win condition” is impossible, and the enemies’ win condition – that games become more inclusive – is not only inevitable, it’s already happening.

They boast about how it’s a mistake to resist someone who’s used to grinding for days, weeks, months…but they don’t understand how to win a “fight” that isn’t about points.

Bogdan Cvetkovic
Bogdan Cvetkovic
5 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.

Oh nostalgia! I always liked Goofus over Gallant. Goofus came across to me as a normal kid who may simply have had neglectful parents and felt frustrated. Gallent was too perfect for me, and frankly kind of creepy.

I guess it’s some comfort that the eeeeevil SJWs are Goofus while Vivian James is Gallent.

Pocket Nerd
5 years ago
Reply to  Jay Elmore

Thus Spake ZaraJay Elmore:

Puddleglum: I’m sure there are a lot of GGers who drink deep from the PUA/MRA trough

Pretty much all of them, from what I’ve seen. Search the hashtag #gamergate on Twitter. (Well, first be sure you’ve a strong stomach.) Then look at some of the people raging and whining about OMG GIRLZ R DESTROYING VIDYA. Winnow out all the sock puppets created solely to create the illusion of public support (e.g. two-month-old accounts with an egg, anime character, or stock photo as as a picture, and 5-6 other followers, all gamergitz).

Now take a good, hard look at the accounts you have remaining — the actual people with accounts that exist to do more than just whine about girls “invading” videlectrics games. At a cursory glance (I just did some checking) I’d say 70 to 80% of them follow and retweet assclowns like Heartiste and Paul Elam, drop PUA and MRA shibboleths, and whine frequently about “fucking entitled WW princess” or “girls don’t like nice guys”.

This is the face of Gamergate, folks. Different lyrics, same tune.

Bogdan Cvetkovic
Bogdan Cvetkovic
5 years ago

And by Jove, I’m still a Goofus!

https://twitter.com/GoofusGallant

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
5 years ago

So it would seem that all the MRAs who Go Their Own Way end up as GamerGators living in the land of Grand Theft Auto. That makes perfect sense.

Myoo
Myoo
5 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.

They’re way ahead of you:
http://31.media.tumblr.com/6b67d24aa7d40778bc89baebe1f81476/tumblr_ndknewLZkx1rr5t33o1_500.jpg

Inez Milholland
Inez Milholland
5 years ago

Are you frakking kidding me!?! YOU LEAVE KATNISS ALONE, GAMERGHAZIANS.

tinyorc
5 years ago

seraph4377:

Jay – I believe you’re right. Which is why they literally cannot win. Their “win condition” is impossible, and the enemies’ win condition – that games become more inclusive – is not only inevitable, it’s already happening.

I honestly think they’re just going to become the gaming branch of the MRA. There’s already plenty of overlap between the two, and all the early warning signs are already there; obscure memes, overblown militaristic rhetoric, conspiracy theories everywhere. I’ve been following the #GamerGate hashtag pretty closely, but any time I’ve looked at it in the past week or so, I’ve had literally no clue what any of them are banging on about. They’re getting so knotted up in their own convoluted bullshit that they’re becoming incomprehensible to the rest of the world.

They’re going to become increasingly irrelevant and delusional, anyone with a basic capacity for reason or empathy will distant themselves, until it’s only the diehards are left. They’ll settle down into seething and frothing at each other in their forums about shit that has no bearing on reality. Much like the MRA, occasionally they will venture forth to attack an individual woman, because that’s the only type of “activism” they’ve been consistently good at, but mainly they’ll just be a mild irritant, a general laughingstock and a good reminder of how far gaming culture has come.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
5 years ago

What’s the difference between a neo-Nazi, a neo-Confederate, a Tea Partier, an MRA and a #Gater?

That’s not a joke. I seriously can’t tell.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

They’re way ahead of you:

I’d actually really like to see one of those that goes like this:

“GGer harasses people on Twitter. Vivian plays games.”
“GGer has meltdown when asked to understand a plot more complex than ‘save the princess.’ Vivian appreciates depth in storytelling.”

Alex Murphy
Alex Murphy
5 years ago

@Myoo I seriously hate the ‘make your own games’ argument. It’s simply a deflection. And then when you see someone like Brianna Wu speaking up, and they tell her to make her own games (which she already does), the argument then becomes ‘well you must not be spending enough time making games if you have time to complain’. It’s never enough for these asses.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with complaining about the status quo. Most of us know it as ‘customer feedback’.

MrFoster
MrFoster
5 years ago

Longtime reader, first comment:
As a frequent Tumbler (Or is it Tumblrite? I’m never sure about that one) The one thing I’m marveling at is their decision to use Katniss and their rationale for it. I mean the obvious “That’s what icky girls are talking about right?” factor is there, but I’m laughing at how even a cursory glance would tell you Tumblr’s favorite fictional female character is Felicity Smoak.

I’m also picturing someone photoshopping flower crowns on prominent Gamergaters’ heads, and them fleeing Tumblr soon after lest they catch cooties.

Christine Cassandra Devereaux Smith

They call everyone other than themselves “shill”. Which makes everything about his hilarious.

Bogdan Cvetkovic
Bogdan Cvetkovic
5 years ago

Occulass sounds like a pretty cool character.

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
5 years ago

What is the Occu supposed to be? A reference to Occupy Wall Street?

JM
JM
5 years ago

So the new hero is Katniss? Okay, because we all know no one loves the chans more than Jennifer Lawrence and her fans. I can’t see this backfiring at all.

/s

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
5 years ago

@wordsp1nner

Oculus Rift. Buggered if I know why.

lkeke35
5 years ago

They can’t win this fight because technically, it’s not a fight. In order for there to be a fight, you need two sides. If there’s only one person in the altercation throwing punches, there’s different names for that.

Assault
Bullying

There’s no fight. There’s no war to be won. And even if there was, what would they win, anyway?

They’re the only ones throwing punches. It’s like Fight Club, where once you know the secret, you realize the guy was just beating the crap out of himself, earlier in the movie. Basically, winning a fistfight with themselves.

vaiyt
5 years ago

Vivian makes her own games

Yeah, that worked out well for Zoe Quinn.

cretaceouskitteh78
cretaceouskitteh78
5 years ago

So they’re gonna fight the Tumblr feminists by becoming Tumblr anti-feminists??? Brilliant plan! But I think they grossly overestimate the number of fucksticks that the “masses” actually give about this shit. What world do these people live in that this is their number one concern?! Because I want that life!!

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
5 years ago

Bane is such a better mascot for #Gamergate. He likes to fuck shit up for fun, and like screwing with people’s heads. I haven’t read the Hunger Games books or seen the movies, but I can help but think that once she figured out gamergate was about women in computer games–A.K.A, nobody was actually dying, and also these people hate women–she’d be pissed off that they tried to appropriate her.

Alais
5 years ago

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).

Not to question their interpretation of The Dark Knight Rises, but did they miss the part where Bane was actually working for a woman, who, if we’re accepting the League of Shadows as a group of revolutionaries, was the actual brutal revolutionary? Can he be a man’s man if he’s actually just the dragon for the main (female) villain?

On a related note, it doesn’t shock me in the slightest bit that they identify with a mass-murdering fuckhead who wanted to blow up an entire city of people because of vaguely defined reasons about corruption and the evil of human nature.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Personally, I think Ramsay Bolton/Snow would be an appropriate gamergate mascot. He’s sadistic, entitled and uses deception to get what he wants. He’s also insecure and desperate for male approval.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I found the perfect gif to express how I feel when reading gamergater comments
http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–mheRlz1H–/oop0jcx5exwgvs7znwrs.gif

pallygirl
pallygirl
5 years ago

Why don’t the GGers take their own advice and make their own games?

I mean, clearly they’re the rationale manly STEMdudes. If they’re so fucking talented, why are they worried?

Oh that’s right, because the only stuff they create are shitstorms, harrassment, doxxing, and threats.

Tessa
5 years ago

Alias:

On a related note, it doesn’t shock me in the slightest bit that they identify with a mass-murdering fuckhead who wanted to blow up an entire city of people because of vaguely defined reasons about corruption and the evil of human nature.

It only seems “vaguely defined” because you missed the cut scene that explained it all. After being mortally wounded (by a woman, no less), Bane’s eyes grow more unfocused as he uses his last breath to say, “actually, it was about ethics in games journalism.”

Bane was the first Gamergater.

Puddleglum
5 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger, that was one of my fav moments tonight! (of the episode, lol)

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
5 years ago

I thought it was an unfortunate response to finally finding, or perhaps not finding, Gallifrey.

Pocket Nerd
5 years ago
Reply to  pallygirl

Thus Spake Zarapallygirl:

Why don’t the GGers take their own advice and make their own games?

I mean, clearly they’re the rationale manly STEMdudes. If they’re so fucking talented, why are they worried?

Oh that’s right, because the only stuff they create are shitstorms, harrassment, doxxing, and threats.

No, rational manly STEMdudes they are not. I’ve talked tech with a few gamergitz — they really have no idea how software development works, or what the industry looks like from the inside.

Puddleglum
5 years ago

I should clarify, I found it the best moment because it was one of those moments that I really felt the story (this season hasn’t impressed me), and was totally immersed in the scene.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
5 years ago

I was on the edge of my chair, and then, and then, nope. Doctor smash. I expected the master/mistress was lying. I also think that discombobulator of the master/mistress is a vortex manipulator and they were time transferred and not killed.
Like you, I have been deeply disappointed with the writing this series.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
5 years ago

you all should check out the gamergate tag on Tumblr. It is a hoot. There are more anti gamergate tags than gamergatos but the gamergator sock puppets are, well, called sock puppets. Yep.

Merbo
Merbo
5 years ago

K i don’t know about you guys but i swear if i see gamer gate show up on my dash i will completely abandon the internet.

Shaenon
5 years ago

This is like a 1950s concept of women, but with Pikachu added for some reason.

“Yes, men, it’s terrifying, but the time has come to communicate instructions to the females. Try to talk about feelings, because their tiny brains can’t handle ideas and logic. And can you pretend to be vulnerable? Females are so gullible, they’ll fall for that. What else? Pokemon! Right, they love the anime cartoons, so put all the pokemons in there. Oh, and don’t call them cunts and fags to their faces, because it gets them all emotional for some reason. All right, we’re ready to talk to ladies!”

Five minutes later, they’re back on Twitter complaining about how unfair it is that people think they’re sexist.

aebars
5 years ago

Folks, how long do you honestly reckon it’ll be before these people start to get bored with GamerGate and eventually abandon it, causing it to fizzle away out of the media spotlight? Stuff like this doesn’t just stick around forever. It couldn’t be over before the end of the year, could it? No, I don’t think it could. By the end of next January, then? By next February?

sylviaplant
sylviaplant
5 years ago

Holy gods these guys are strawmen of themselves. Bane is their mascot? Ahahaha make it stop, this is almost as funny as skullgate.

sylviaplant
sylviaplant
5 years ago

@Aebars I’m pretty sure it will lose momentum and shed members like a balding chicken, but there will be a few tenacious feathers still stuck to the pink, bumpy ass, whispy reminders of what once was “majestic.”

ktrantingredhead
5 years ago

Dis idea is dildos…

Macha
Macha
5 years ago

So is it really slowing down? Seems to still have a ton of twitter posts, and checking tumblr there’s also a number of people spamming it (like the person who keeps posting that meme of “dyed hair = bad person” thinking it’s somehow relevant.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
5 years ago

The #Gaters who actually do play video games will drop out as soon as the Christmas release rush starts (so, in about two weeks). The question is whether that’s a decent percentage of them or not.

thinker2000
thinker2000
5 years ago

Thus Spake Macha:

So is it really slowing down? Seems to still have a ton of twitter posts, and checking tumblr there’s also a number of people spamming it (like the person who keeps posting that meme of “dyed hair = bad person” thinking it’s somehow relevant.

I’ve been looking around on tumblr through the GamerGate hashtag, and you can probably guess how it’s been going: reblogs upon reblogs of the same old, tired points from Twitter, and the pro-GG blogs have names like “cincopeenis,” “featurelengthdk,” and “parti-archie-comics.” My personal favorite is “actuallyaboutethics.”

katz
5 years ago

Policy of Madness: or “Oculass acts out stereotypical good or bad behavior. Vivian is her own person who makes her own choices and mistakes.” Free Vivian!

Puddleglum
5 years ago

I was on the edge of my chair, and then, and then, nope. Doctor smash. I expected the master/mistress was lying. I also think that discombobulator of the master/mistress is a vortex manipulator and they were time transferred and not killed.
Like you, I have been deeply disappointed with the writing this series.

Lol, I don’t know why I liked the Doctor smash moment so much, it just seemed really appropriate. And I thought the red-orange flash for everyone else and blue flash for the Mistress was way too obvious for a Doctor Who episode. I wish they’d go back to really good plot twists again.

Marc-André
5 years ago

Lol. Love it

Erlend J. Alvestad (@ErlendAlv)

I’m sure Jennifer Lawrence bill be thrilled to hear that her image is being used to promote a movement that supports harassment through spreading private nude photos.

Howard
Howard
5 years ago
Michael Lindsay
5 years ago

Yeeah, I can see it now. “Er hai, I haz cute pictures of kitties-don’t you think Vidya games should be less PC and more about short haired white guys with three day growths…Gamergate, never heard of them-cute kitties?”

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
5 years ago

Jfc pallygirl and hellkell, I AM one of the hoary (as in ancient) old feminists on tumblr.

Howard – holy fuck. I hope a mob beats him to death while he’s out on bail. He’s a fucking danger to all around him.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
5 years ago

@Cyberwulf

Erm… We don’t wish violence on people here (very long prison sentences, yes, but not violence). Even aside from the horribleness and inappropriateness of it and the fact that it doesn’t help anyone, it’s kinda hypocritical all things considered, y’know?

saphy
saphy
5 years ago

Would it wildly piss off Gators if we started making “GG vs. Vivien” comics in the style of their Oculass vs. Vivien comics? I see someone mentioned it earlier, I was just wondering if this would be something fun to do to make them rage and shriek. Would it be effective? Or a #VivienIsNotYourShield hashtag?