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#gamergate evil SJWs harassment misogyny threats

SXSW panel on harassment cancelled due to harassment. No, really.

SXSW’s Big Tent (Artist’s conception)

Another one for the HUGE GIGANTIC IRONY file: A panel on online harassment, scheduled for the 2016 SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, was cancelled today due to threats of violence.

The panel organizer, Caroline Sinders, got an email from SXSW organizers explaining that the panel wouldn’t be happening because

we have already received numerous threats of violence regarding this panel, so a civil and respectful environment seems unlikely in March in Austin.

The note went on to explain that “[f]or this reason, we have also cancelled other sessions at the 2016 event that focused on the Gamergate controversy.”

By “other sessions” SXSW actually meant only one other session, a putative discussion of “the Gaming Community” featuring a panel of Gamergaters.

The panel on harassment, while featuring Gamergate critics/targets Randi Lee Harper and Katherine Cross, was not intended to be an anti-Gamergate panel as such, but a wider discussion of harassment online.

SXSW’s public statement on the cancellation of both panels, which echoed some of the language of the email sent to Sinders, had a weird, victim-blamey tone to it. Declaring that “SXSW prides itself on being a big tent and a marketplace of diverse people and diverse ideas,” the statement went on to explain why SXSW had tossed both panels out of the tent:

[P]reserving the sanctity of the big tent at SXSW Interactive necessitates that we keep the dialogue civil and respectful. If people can not agree, disagree and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised.

Of course, the “marketplace of ideas” is also compromised if harassers can shut down discussions they don’t like with threats.

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anon
anon
4 years ago

@Ace They care as long as they can cling to plausible deniability.

They only amputate when someone goes over the top like how ThunderHarasser amputated Professor Skull because of his ridiculous documentary.

Ace
Ace
4 years ago

@anon Yeah, they want their plausible deniability, but they also want everyone to know that they will do these things. I mean, if people don’t think they will get doxxed, they might not be afraid to speak up and that can’t happen.

katz
katz
4 years ago

They care as long as they can cling to plausible deniability.

I don’t think they even care about that. They plan this stuff in public forums. There’s no possibility of denying it. They only care that they, each as individuals, aren’t in serious danger of suffering real-life repercussions. IE, the only thing that would make them let up is if online harassment led to frequent and predictable serious consequences like arrest.

Even a few individual arrests wouldn’t change their tune, because they don’t care what happens to other people as long as it isn’t likely it’ll happen to them too. Like how rapists don’t care if a different rapist gets arrested.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

Much as it hurts, I disagree with katz here; I think GGers care about their plausible deniability but forget what “plausible” means. GGers love them their “third party trolls” and “she probably doxxed herself” and “no true gator” nonsense, even if no sentient being falls for it. The fact that we can see those forum discussions too hasn’t really entered into their minds. Remember all the gators claiming that Zoe Quinn faked the IRC transcripts she released?

That said, I definitely agree that the lack of individual consequences is the issue. After all, no true gator ever gets arrested.

Duck Apologist (@Prios)

They plan this stuff in public forums. There’s no possibility of denying it.

Thing is they still do deny it, over and over, angrily and emphatically. Gaters are cynical enough to believe reality can be shaped purely by loud yelling and impressive posturing. They’re like a guy trying to do karate when he thinks karate is all noise and flash.

katz
katz
4 years ago

Much as it hurts, I disagree with katz here; I think GGers care about their plausible deniability but forget what “plausible” means. GGers love them their “third party trolls” and “she probably doxxed herself” and “no true gator” nonsense, even if no sentient being falls for it. The fact that we can see those forum discussions too hasn’t really entered into their minds. Remember all the gators claiming that Zoe Quinn faked the IRC transcripts she released?

Okay, that makes sense. They do love saying that kind of stuff.

Of course it still means that making them look bad from their perspective is essentially impossible as long as they’re physically able to say “False flag!”

guy
guy
4 years ago

@Jarred H: The convention does have a responsibility for the safety of attendees, though I would prefer them arranging to ensure that via a police presence rather than cancelling the panel. If they can’t get that, the announcement should at least say that’s why.

Orion
4 years ago

SXSW is the host, not the presenter. We didn’t blame Anita for canceling her talk, but we definitely would have blamed the university if they had.

Orion
4 years ago

Whoa, this story is blowing up on my Facebook. Evidently Buzzfeed and Vox are both threatening to pull out of SXSW. Glad someone is taking this seriously.

anon
anon
4 years ago

@Orion
I’m going to bet that they’ll apologize to GatorGape for the “sake of fairness.”

They will put their mind to finding a way to eff it up.

weirwoodtreehugger
4 years ago

That’s great that this is becoming such a PR clusterfuck for SXSW. It seems to me like Gamergate has helped feminism more than any other group I’ve seen my whole life. They’ve done a great job of exposing the myth that feminism’s work is done and we don’t need it anymore. They’ve proven to the apolitical and apathetic what we already knew. That misogyny is alive and well and not exclusive to bitter old conservatives. This is probably the first time in my life that I’ve actually seen sympathy for feminists in the mainstream media. I grew up with irrational straw feminists like Jessie Spano.

It’s terrible that people are being harassed and threatened by these assholes, but I see a silver lining here.

Miss Andry
4 years ago

I thought I posted earlier but, in any event, they’re terrorists. That is all.

freemage
4 years ago

Yup, WWTH: Gamergate is Lewis’ Law, writ large. It’s just about impossible to look at and sincerely doubt that there’s deeply entrenched misogyny in large parts of our culture.

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

Yup, WWTH: Gamergate is Lewis’ Law, writ large. It’s just about impossible to look at and sincerely doubt that there’s deeply entrenched misogyny in large parts of our culture.

Yeah, especially gaming culture. That’s one of the big underlying ironies of GG: they attempt to silence people talking about the toxicity of gaming culture, and in so doing create a shining example of said toxicity.

anon
anon
4 years ago

@Mike
HOW DARE YOU HAVE THE SHEER UNMITIGATED GALL TO SAY THAT I MIGHT HAVE A SMALL ANGER PROBLEM YOU **** ***** ****** ***** ***************!!!!

I WILL COME TO WHERE YOU LIVE!

/sarc Justin Case.

Shaenon
4 years ago

What I want to know is why they were holding a pro-#GG panel in the first place, when every other big-name con booted their arses out a year ago.

The Daily Beast piece goes into more detail, but the order of events was basically this:

1. GamerGate hub Kotaku in Action notices proposed panels at SXSW featuring some of the Gate’s arch-enemies, particularly Brianna Wu.* Since SXSW stupidly lets people vote on programming online, KiA mobilizes its flying monkeys to get three panels–two on fighting online harassment, one on VR tech that just happens to include Wu–downvoted into oblivion. (Wu is also on a proposed panel on women in tech, which is left alone simply because KiA didn’t notice it. I always love how random and poorly-researched their attacks are.)

2. SXSW rejects one of the panels on harassment and accepts the other. This seems like an effort at placating both sides: we’ll give the Gamergaters a victory, we’ll give the folks they harass a victory, and that’ll satisfy everyone, right?

3. HAHAHA no. KiA now decides that even one panel on online harassment is too much unless there’s also a Gamergate panel to “balance” it. (Keep in mind the panel is on harassment in general, not Gamergate.) KiA crafts its own panel and submits it to SXSW past deadline. The KiA panel is careful not to mention Gamergate by name, but over on KiA the regulars openly plan it as a Gamergate panel featuring top Gamergate leaders (oops, sorry, it’s a “leaderless movement”).

4. Because it’s submitted late, the Gamergate panel skips the public voting process and goes straight to being accepted by SXSW. No, it doesn’t make sense, but here we are.

5. Meanwhile, Gamergaters have worked each other into such a lather that some of them start making violent threats against the anti-harassment panel. I mean, third-party trolls doing amazingly good impressions of Gamergaters do this. Gamergaters would never threaten people. It’s those third-party trolls.

6. Everybody loses their shit. SXSW responds by cancelling both the KiA panel and the anti-harassment panel, because in “South Park” logic that’s fairness.

*Why is Brianna Wu one of their level bosses, anyway? Zoe Quinn is on the list because her stalker is the guy who started Gamergate, Anita Sarkeesian makes YouTube videos that mildly criticize sexism so you can see why she’s terrifying, but Wu… retweeted jokes about Gamergate? Is that seriously it? These people are so weird.

pkayden
4 years ago

This is very sad. SXSW just took the side of the harassers. Nice big tent they’ve got there.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

@Shaenon:

Wu is one of their level bosses because she stood up for Quinn in a minor matter and then dug in her heels and refused to be cowed when the third-party trolls unassociated with gamergate gators started closing in.

The irony is that if you do an archive binge on Wu’s blogging then you discover that before this kicked off, she was yet another glib tech libertarian who disliked identifying with feminism because she had grown up wealthy enough not to feel discriminated against and therefore felt that there couldn’t be such a thing as institutional sexism. Nowadays she is, to use her own phrases, “the Tyrannosaurus Rex of Bitches” and “the Final Boss of Feminism.” Bit of an own goal there by the gators.

Catalpa
4 years ago

I believe that Wu also has the absolute, unmitigated gall to be a game developer while not simultaneously being a man. That’s a huge point against her in the gators’ eyes.

anon
anon
4 years ago

@Catalpa No, they’d have no problem with her if she was a female game developer that stroked their ego and told them that their shitty behavior was proof that the people that they harass are wrong.

Hell, she could have nothing to do with gaming or have previously shat on gamers as long as they got properly flattered.

megpie71
4 years ago

The problem with having a big tent is you have to watch what’s supporting them very carefully, because the slightest problem with the support can have the tent crashing down on everyone inside and causing a great deal of harm. I leave the point of the metaphor to everyone’s imagination.

Shaenon
4 years ago

The irony is that if you do an archive binge on Wu’s blogging then you discover that before this kicked off, she was yet another glib tech libertarian who disliked identifying with feminism because she had grown up wealthy enough not to feel discriminated against and therefore felt that there couldn’t be such a thing as institutional sexism. Nowadays she is, to use her own phrases, “the Tyrannosaurus Rex of Bitches” and “the Final Boss of Feminism.” Bit of an own goal there by the gators.

In college I knew a number of girls from rich white liberal backgrounds who thought feminism was silly because they’d never been discriminated against. Anytime I run into one of them now, she’s turned into a raging feminist. I don’t know what happened to them in the interim, but I can field some guesses.

Orion
4 years ago

My dad didn’t realize racism was a “big deal” in America until December 2008.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

4. Because it’s submitted late, the Gamergate panel skips the public voting process and goes straight to being accepted by SXSW. No, it doesn’t make sense, but here we are.

… Would it be conspiratorial of me if I said “Nevermind, forget Fair And Balanced™, I think one of the SXSW organisers is a #Gater”?

mockingbird
mockingbird
4 years ago

Sorry if this is a repeat (rushed), but read this this morning:

Exclusive: After Gamergate Misstep, SXSW Weighing an All-Day Forum on Online Harassment http://on.recode.net/1PQcvJP

freemage
4 years ago

mockingbird: That is AWESOME! Nice to see the continuing efforts finally showing some dividends.

Ace
Ace
4 years ago

@Scented Fucking Hard Chairs I’m not sure I’d disagree that someone is a Gator. Like seven or eight posts back someone linked an article- in it, the writer talks about how the Gator panel was all but guaranteed to be dismissed, since the people submitting it were seen harassing people in the upvote/downvote comments. That was supposed to automatically get them out, since it’s against the terms; but a new staffer apparently approved it anyway, and dismissed a non-GG panel instead.

Shaenon
4 years ago

… Would it be conspiratorial of me if I said “Nevermind, forget Fair And Balanced™, I think one of the SXSW organisers is a #Gater”?

I think it’s just a lazy, cowardly effort to placate both sides (that is, the side of Gamergate and the side of Everyone Else), with a dollop of “if people just stop talking about harassment we won’t have to deal with it.” The Geek Social Fallacies are strong in this decision, particularly the notion that maintaining the “big tent” is more important than dealing with problems inside the tent.

I also want to correct an error in my earlier post when I said KiA targeted panels with Brianna Wu. They also went after panels with Randi Harper, another popular Gamergate villain. The final harassment panel that just got cancelled had Harper on it.

Arawhon, Beast of the Matriacholypse

Holy shit, that letter from Kluwe is EPIC!

freemage
4 years ago

Kluwe was probably one of the best guys to come out of the NFL.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
4 years ago

Chris Kluwe has, for me, single-handedly redefined the phrase

Punted on an issue.

From now on, I will only use that phrase to mean “kicked the hell out of it.”

lm
lm
4 years ago

There’s been a change.org petition to have the Anti-Harassment panel (only one of them, note) reinstated:

https://www.change.org/p/sxsw-protect-your-community-sxsw-don-t-cancel-panels-on-the-harassment-of-women

It’s been up two days; it only needs 67 signatures (at this writing) to get to 500.

mockingbird
mockingbird
4 years ago

This was briefly discussed at the opening of today’s Kojo Nnamdi Show:

http://thekojonnamdishow.org/shows/2015-11-03/computer-guys-and-gal

With some continuing commentary as callers chimed in.