A gaming festival has cancelled an anti-harassment work group because of harassment.
The South-by-Southwest (SXSW) festival, a big gaming event in Austin, has cancelled two panel discussions about harassment due to threats of violence. As a result, festival sponsors BuzzFeed and Vox have threatened to pull out of the festival entirely.
One of the former panelists describes how the Gamergaters cranked up their hate machine, using Reddit and the subreddit r/KotakuInAction to target panel members. The story is a compelling one, and the article well worth reading its entirety, although there will be nothing new or surprising to those who have followed these issues on Wikipedia.
The last question, is worth quoting in its entirety. The Arbitration committee might give pause and consider how they are re-victimizing those who come to them for help, as well as picking at the scabs of the numerous bystanders to their endless stream of gender cases.
SXSW’s actions throughout this whole ordeal have been unprofessional, self-serving, and mendacious. They have never really taken seriously the idea of actively working to curb harassment or keep people safe; their one consistent motivation throughout has been the opposite—exploiting people’s abuse for drama and clicks.
The dividing line between calling attention to abuse to try to make change and turning abuse into spectacle to exploit victims of abuse and re-abuse them has been a matter of long debate and soul-searching among those of us who write GamerGate think pieces. I’ve confronted myself with the question of whether I’m overall helping or harming by getting paid to write an op-ed about horrible things that have happened to someone else. In this account I’ve avoided providing direct links to certain things I reference for precisely that reason.
One thing is certain, though: People who take people who’ve been abused and manipulate them into a situation where they involuntarily “face” their abuser are not good people. They are not helping. Their goal is more fireworks and attention and money, not healing.