Editor's note: The views expressed in this blog article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, Metaleater Media as a whole.
Disclosure: I am Pro-Gamergate. This article was written purely from my personal point of view and what I have personally witnessed. Names have been omitted for reasons explained below.
"August 28, 2014" will be a day that will forever remembered by those involved in the world of gaming. I had never been involved in anything like it before, I had always tended to keep to myself online and be careful about who I spoke to. In my mind, the Internet will always be a strange place and there certainly are some nasty people out there. I had rarely used Twitter either. I had set up my own account purely for gaming purposes and nothing else because I wanted to keep it separate from my Facebook. I had followed some people and after I had gotten back from a holiday at the end of August, they were talking about GamerGate a great deal. After looking into it and seeing what was going on, I followed it at first and then threw my hat in with the others when more and more revelations came to light. The way some of those involved in Gamergate were treated was, quite frankly, disgusting. I am aware neither side of this was pretty and that does need to be remembered, but I say this with as little bias as I can. I saw those in Gamergate receive the worst of it.
Effectively, Gamergate won, as so many have claimed. The websites and writers involved in this had started adding disclosures to their articles, even though (in some cases) it was clearly a move with reluctance. Ethics policies were either drafted or renewed. One site even went as far as to apologise and even take on new members of staff who were clearly pro-GamerGate, but it could not be unnoticed that two of their most high profile staff left during all that, make of that what you will. There was even a watchdog style website set up to record ethical breaches by the journalists involved and just how many each had to their name. The amounts some have are shocking. Of course, how could the SPJ Airplay event not be mentioned? GamerGate received validation and vindication in the claims that were discussed before time limits and the building being evacuated because of a bomb threat got in the way. However, one thing that fascinated me was the meet ups those in GamerGate were organizing either in the UK or the US, and just how many people turned up for them. The most known was the meet up in Washington DC, which had around 300 people attend. A meet up in Paris had around 40 and one in London was around the same. There have been approximately just over forty GamerGate-related meet ups so far. One was announced in Birmingham, a city just an hour away from where I live. So, I signed up to meet some of these people I had spoken to in the last year and experience one of these meet ups for myself.
Around a hundred people turned up for the event. There were plenty of laughs, drinks, a large selection of brownies, cuddly otters and bears, card games, jokes and probably one of the most butch-looking maids I have ever seen in my life. There were a couple of very well-worded speeches and a video with some supportive messages from GamerGate supporters overseas. After a donation was made for a local charity, a second function room at the pub to be visited next was overpaid for. We even learned that at the GamerGate meet up in Melbourne, which was roughly going on at the same time as this one, had received a bomb threat, just like the DC meet up. When it was time to vacate the first venue, everyone decided to go for a bite to eat a local Five Guys, as apparently it did a good burger.
During my time at this event, I listened hard for any type of abuse towards any of the high profile individuals who had been against GamerGate. I heard criticisms and plenty of dissenting opinions, but abuse? None. I heard and saw the most normal group of men and women I had ever come across in a long time, some of which have become friends. It struck me afterwards that if perhaps those people and others like them had been treated as such instead of easy targets of the August 28 articles, maybe none of this would have happened in the first place. The funny thing is not only did those articles pour fuel on the fire, they essentially galvanized gamers and united a community which I had the pleasure of being involved in. It gives me hope for the future. I didn't see a hate group that day. What I did see was gamers of different races, gender and backgrounds, who came together in celebration of standing up for themselves after large sections of the media went after them. I know there will be more meet ups in the future. There has been talk of one in London and I will be interested to see how it turns out.
I wanted to finish with a wise quote of some kind but to my shame I could not think of one, but then I remembered someone much wiser then me had said one shortly after all this began, so I shall finish with that.
"When the dust settles, remember who it was that fed their own readership to the wolves. I will." - John Bain, aka @Totalbiscuit.