Inside the ADL's Plans to Take on Gamergate, Hate in Gaming

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TheMonkeyMan

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https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/adl-gamergate-hate-in-gaming-1202861522/

The Anti-Defamation League is taking its fight against hate to the world of video games, starting with supporting and training game developers in hopes of eventually reaching the massive 2.6 billion person gaming audience.

“The ADL has worked in digital environments since 1985,” said Daniel Kelley, associate director of the center for technology and society at the ADL. “We’ve been on bulletin boards, websites, and social media. I feel like it’s a natural evolution for us starting to think through what does a digital environment mean. Games are a huge part of that. It’s not just Twitter and Facebook, ‘Fortnite’ is a platform. ‘League of Legends’ is a platform.”

Cybercenter
The ADL’s center for technology and society was announced in 2015, but didn’t formally launch until last year. In October, the group was working with the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in California on a project when they were introduced to the idea of a game jam. Kelley said the ADL decided to run a game jam based on anti-bias education. The jam resulted in 33 games and so impressed the group that they started to look into using the approach on a broader scale. It also kicked off a more in-depth look into the world of gaming and game development.


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Kelley said he started having informal discussions with groups like the International Game Developers Association, Playcrafting, Games for Change, and schools like NYU.

He said he found a group of people who had a “real hunger” for engagement from the ADL to “address some of the problems in games.”

“We did a listening tour of different folks, academics, practitioners, others,” he said. “We read a lot about Gamergate in the press and about the harassment, but we wanted to hear from the community about what the problems are that the ADL can help with.”

That led to a summit of sorts at GDC with special interest groups. The ADL found there were three prongs of gaming that they could address: the culture in which games are made, the culture of players, and the games themselves.

They decided that working with the culture in which games are made was the best way to move the needle on combating the larger issues.

The concept is that if the culture in which games are made can be improved, that could in turn lead to more responsible games and then perhaps impact the people who play them.

“The idea is that there is a multiplier effect for engaging a game developer,” Kelley said. “They have a tremendous reach across the game community and can have a broader impact.”

Kelley is quick to point out that the issues the ADL seeks to address in gaming — issues of bias, hate, and harassment — aren’t unique to gaming.

“A lot of these problems are part of systemic problems, not just part of the gaming community,” he said. “It’s not unique to the game community, but there is something unique to who the community speaks to and something unique to the reach the game community has.”


Games for Change
The ADL hasn’t yet solidified how it will address some of these issues inside game development studios and with publishers.

“We are experimenting, trying to see what that looks like, talking to game companies and other entities,” he said.

On Friday, Karen Schrier, the director of games at Marist College, will discuss one of those experiments during a Games for Change panel about fostering empathy and decision-making through games. The ADL is also in the process of putting together a framework for another game jam later this year. This time it will be partnering with the Global Game Jam.

“We are going to focus on the building blocks, starting with identity issues, and have folks talk about what identity means and how that can be expressed in a game,” Kelley said. “But it’s not one and done. It’s a lifelong process of becoming aware of ways in which bias is part of life.”

Bias is the largest, base level of what the ADL calls the pyramid of hate. The pyramid’s next level is acts of bias, then discrimination, bias-motivated violence, and finally genocide.

“The ADL works at every level,” Kelley said. “Education is proactive, starting at the base level of the pyramid.”

The approach the ADL plans to use in video games is similar to what it used in schools, where they trained principals and teachers who then passed on those lessons to students.

The group plans to work with the NYU Game Center to create a course this fall that will incorporate the ADL’s work on game-related media designed for impact. They’re also working with the IGDA to create new developer-focused programming to fight hate and bias in the game community.

Finally, Kelley said, it makes sure to be more proactive about being more vocal in its support of people working to make games better, and to call out those who misuse gaming platforms to proliferate hate and bigotry.

Gamergate
While this is the start of the ADL’s deeper dive into issues of hate and harassment in gaming, it’s not the first time the group addressed those issues.


In 2016, the ADL flew five national experts in online hate to Austin for SXSW’s first online harassment summit, an event created in the wake of Gamergate.

Gamergate, Kelley said, remains an issue still today, four years after it kicked off. GamerGate arose in 2014, ostensibly over concerns about ethics in game journalism, and quickly coalesced into a group of self-identified members whose concerns expanded to include the rise of what they labeled “PC culture” and “social justice warriors.” The more vocal of the group typically harass people, more often women and minorities, who question some of the status quo of game content in the video game industry. GamerGate harassment is most often sparked by the expansion of gaming content, settings, and characters to include more women, minorities, and the examination of modern social issues.

Earlier this year, Kelley wrote a post for the ADL’s blog about using video games to reduce bias and fight hate. In it he mentioned Gamergate once, the result was a wave of vitriolic responses, he said.

“Prior to posting it, I sent it to colleagues in the game community and they said you’re writing about Gamergate, look out, there’s going to be a pile on,” he said. “That speaks to the seriousness in which hate bias and harassment in games is impacting people.”

“From our discussions with people in the industry, Gamergate isn’t over, it remains a significant problem, part of a serious issue that needs to be taken seriously and the ADL takes it seriously,” he added. “It impacts people’s lives, impacts a person’s ability to do their job.”
 

Judge Holden

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Again, given how utterly and repeatedly the whole "say people who disagree with us are all evil bigot rapist manbaby terrorists who want wammen and minorities put in gas chambers and use random trolls as proof" thing has catastrophically backfired like every goddamn time for the past 4 years, It always amazes me to see these fucking idiots STILL trying to push this kind of narrative. Hell memba when hillary clinton earlier this year was traveling the world and literally saying that the only reason trump won is because his supporters want to see blacks re-enslaved and women forbidden from voting? Memba how UTTERLY fucking stupid and hateful it made the dems look (yet again)?


Like...lets just think this shit through. Absolute BEST case scenario this tactic has three effects

a) makes opposition to you far more entrenched (because they now kinda have no option but to oppose you since you declared them untermench to the progressive cause), numerous (because any neutral, sympathetic, or even on side person who disagrees gets thrown in the evil bigot subuman pile and often winds up joining your opposition) , and fanatical in wanting to see you not just beaten but dragged through the mud and humiliated (because you declared them evil bigot subumans and they dont particularly like that)

b) makes the normies either tune out en masse and/or think you are a gibbering idiot trying to turn internet arguements into some kind of genocide tier humanitarian crisis

c) draws only the most drooling and retarded/slimy and dishonest people to your cause whom will act like absolute liabilities either in scaring away neutrals from supporting you (or even driving away people on your own side) or making the other side be even more willing to go nuclear

There is objectively speaking, ZERO positive results from the use of this tactic and a massive risk it could both inflame and enlarge opposition while turning the centre and reasonable people on your own side against you. Its the kind of shit that should be obvious to everyone as absolute poison both for business and politics even to use on a very small scale on very rare occasions...and these fucking people decided to turn it into the foundation of literally fucking every cause and every campaign they latch on to.

The only reason I think its still in use is that PR and marketing people (aka the ultimate Judge Holden rant-bait) have been desperately working overtime to convince everyone that the whole "screech on every platform how people you dont like are super-bigots and they will either run away or fall in line" tactic is totally working fine, with its abject and endless failure record being just a slight bump in the road that will be easily overcome by doubling down on everything
 

ThePurpleProse

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Anyone who still cares about Gamergate in 2018 is a complete idiot, it's as simple as that.
Didn't gamergate die off four years ago? Who's left to take on at this point other than Mundane Matt?
SJWs don't know when they've lost, they don't know how to take no for answer, they're eternal tantrum childrens, so gamergate is not gonna die until every SJWs hit the bottom of a grave, so just point and laugh.
 

Medicated

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People have been complaining about the rise in toxicity a lot in games recently. But the main reason its been going up, is because unlike the old days, games these days are designed by the publishers to make money first. There are no dedicated servers, so people cannot do things like put together a server just for sniper battles, or just for crazy shenanigans. Everyone is lumped together. It's like renting out a baseball stadium and then telling the little leaguers they have to play with the reserves and the MLB players.

Publishers aren't interested in building grassroots community support. They are in it to make money. So they release the game, lump everyone in together, and launch an esports league out the gate on their own money to build popularity.

Then the people who just want to muck around get lumped with people who want to try experimentation, the people who only play their favorite character, and the people who are trying their hardest to get grandmaster. Then they drop all these bandaid fixes in place since everyone is getting mad as fuck, because not only are the skill levels of the players hugely disparate, but their in-game goals are different.
 

AnOminous

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The ADL should disband if their current only project is to fight something that ceased to exist literally years ago.

Next on the agenda is stopping 9/11 and battling the threat of smallpox.

We should probably gird our loins to fight the evil of the Spanish Inquisition too.
 

MuuMuu Bunnylips

As warm and fuzzy as a duckling full of tarantulas
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I can't stress this enough no matter how many times I've said this over and over, but here goes....

Anyone who still cares about Gamergate in 2018 is a complete idiot, it's as simple as that.

I was far too busy playing games to care about anything other than playing games.
 

Keep Yourself Safe

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“We are going to focus on the building blocks, starting with identity issues, and have folks talk about what identity means and how that can be expressed in a game,” Kelley said. “But it’s not one and done. It’s a lifelong process of becoming aware of ways in which bias is part of life.”

They really are flogging the gender/identity politics angle to death aren't they.
 

Slamerella

Stage one midboss of the Transphobes
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Considering how many people already think that GamerGate was such a terrible thing, and how much the ADL tried to say that Pepe the Frog was an alt right symbol and made people believe it (to the point that the creator was getting hate for creating such a thing) this isn't gonna end well at all.
 

Overcast

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People have been complaining about the rise in toxicity a lot in games recently. But the main reason its been going up, is because unlike the old days, games these days are designed by the publishers to make money first. There are no dedicated servers, so people cannot do things like put together a server just for sniper battles, or just for crazy shenanigans. Everyone is lumped together. It's like renting out a baseball stadium and then telling the little leaguers they have to play with the reserves and the MLB players.

Publishers aren't interested in building grassroots community support. They are in it to make money. So they release the game, lump everyone in together, and launch an esports league out the gate on their own money to build popularity.

Then the people who just want to muck around get lumped with people who want to try experimentation, the people who only play their favorite character, and the people who are trying their hardest to get grandmaster. Then they drop all these bandaid fixes in place since everyone is getting mad as fuck, because not only are the skill levels of the players hugely disparate, but their in-game goals are different.

I would argue that it's always been about making money to some extent. It's just that a lot of publishers seem to be forgetting one of the most basic rules of running a business. Treat your customers like they're welcome and that you care about their business.

Unfortunately, a lot of publishers are out of touch with what players want and just do whatever they feel they're allowed to do to squeeze as much money as they can. Whether it be companies like Bethesda trying to cash in on mods, EA locking content behind pay walls, and the war on people buying used games a few years back.

And a large portion of the customers just eat that shit up and say it’s chocolate. So devs and publishers are allowed to keep doing these things. Or at least attempting to before the inevitable backlash.

Basically, they’re short sighted and only care about immediate profit rather than building a long term relationship with their customers. And the customers need to know that and let them know that that is not okay.
 

Secret Asshole

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Jesus fucking christ. Gamergate is 100% dead. The ADL is losing influence and is looking to new media. Hey assholes, gamers don't give a fuck about you. Nobody fucking cares. The only people who really hate Jews are muslims. White supremacists are so small in number it's ridiculous.

The ADL made a big deal about 'white supremacist propaganda' in colleges, but 90% of it was trolling. The ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center are both fucking jokes.