These memes are all I know
Why #GamerGate was a mistake and the worst flavored redpill.
The year is 2016. That is truly the current year. Some of us have been users of the internet for decades. When the internet was invented, 神様 (Kami-Sama) gave the user only two commandments:
1. Don’t believe anything you read on the internet.
2. Don’t feed the trolls.
In a subtext, he mentioned not displaying your personal information online either, but he did clarify that this requirement was contextual and mostly related to discussion forums.
These were the rules, and for more than a decade, things were good and 神様 was happy and the user was happy. Ideas flowed, discussion was open, and people were learning about their digital future. Skill sharing, software, and algorithms were built. Chat and bulletin boards became a new form of networking — you no longer needed to wear a suit and impress other people in suits. The user had unknown power and ability. The potential for the future seemed hopeful and 神様 was hopeful and the users’ potential grew.
In 2003, Tom Anderson made a platform called Myspace. No one thought much of it at the time. Many just used it to post photos of themselves with emo haircuts and glitter H1 tags, or used it as an excuse to order ‘friends’ in specifically passive aggressive ways to purposefully piss off those very same “friends”. Eventually, Myspace lost its user base and now exists for reasons unbeknownst to everyone.
In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook. No one thought much of it at the time. The users were college students upon its official launch and while it brought some users who were new to the internet outside of email, it didn’t matter too much because it was closed to college students. These new internet users didn’t know the commandments that 神様 gave us (yet they could learn 神様 believed). In September of 2006, Facebook opened to the public. Anyone who was 13 and older could sign up for Facebook: this was the beginning of the end.
Google had tried social networking with Google Buzz and Friend Connect, but in 2011, they believed they had found the ideal algorithm and structure for a true Facebook competitor. This platform was named Google+ and for a time, it was an interesting experiment. The Nymwars began in 2011 when Google decided (most likely due to the success of Facebook) to mandate to its user base a new commandment. This commandment came not from 神様 but from a false idol. The commandment was as such:
Google+ makes connecting with people on the web more like connecting with people in the real world. Because of this, it’s important to use your common name so that the people you want to connect with can find you. Your common name is the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, any of these would be acceptable
They spread this policy to a majority of its network, including YouTube and more. The assumption was that people needed to connect online as they do in real life — that by using a real name, users would be held responsible for their content. Somehow, Google forgot that people connected perfectly fine online for decades. In 2014, they redacted the idol’s false commandment, but the damage to the internet had been done, and 神様 laws were quickly a forgotten fever dream of ancient protocols.
In 2003, moot created a clone of Japan’s futaba channel. Anonymous was born and free discussion was born again. Without personal identifiers, users were forced to be judged based on the merit of their opinions and it fostered a scary idea to the outside world. People were able to communicate with others from across all political spectrums and bad opinions and wrong information was quickly dismissed. Every internet meme began on 4chan. A few boards grew into many and without diving into too much history (party vans, hackers on steroids, etc), after the death of the /n/ews board, /pol/ was created. A ton of people wanted the board deleted because the board often satirically (and often not) showed the worst of political ideologies. We’ll come back to this later.
The new users of the internet — grandparents, soccer moms, the children who were born in 2000 to the “digital era” — were regulated to closed networks. They were unable to even explore the depths of the web where the commandments were still followed. They used their real names, put their phone numbers on Twitter, their address on Facebook. They mindlessly shared misinformation and factually inaccurate infographics on social media. They ignorantly fed trolls and believed everything people said on the internet. They learned from how others interacted online , and instead of “lurking” and learning, they parroted hostility that they believed was the primary form of communication online. Discussion of all ideas ceased and discord grew.
#GamerGate and the Birth of the Alt-Right
In 2014, there was some video game drama related to some female developers and critics. It started on 4chan’s /r9k/ when a bitter ex posted a beta blog, and spread to /v/ and /pol/. You can search around the web for the full story, but the basic gist is this:
A large portion of ‘gamers’ had become tired of their media outlets constantly pushing identity politics and collusion (for financial gain) in what was supposed to be a journalistic approach to gaming news. Tensions bubbled after it was reported that an indie dev was getting positive press from ‘journalists’ she may or may not have been intimate with. Unfortunately no one takes video games seriously (rightly so) and this was probably why GamerGate was such a disaster. Funnily enough, it was the first major push back against paid media and hyperbolic headlines. The gaming media teamed up and wrote several narratives which they tried to push on people one at time (in order to make those damn gators go away). “Gamers are dead”, “Gamers are misogynist”, “Gamers are pissbabies”, “Gamers are racist”, “Gamers are over”. These are headlines that came from the very people who needed gamers to be their audience. Funnily enough, it’s the same thing you see the media do with Trump. It’s the same pattern, create a narrative and then just constantly harp on it – while gaming SEO and poll results to make it sound true, regardless of the actual facts.
GamerGate was a horrifying reveal to a segment of the internet, anime fans and gamers (which also happens to be the primary audience of 4chan – which also happens to be a largely growing demographic which is scaring everyone), that the media was completely bought. To be fair though, GamerGate ‘activists’ went about their not-‘movement’ completely wrong after the first 2 months and in the end no one won. While a majority of “pro-GG” dropped out after 6 months due to the rise of web celebs (Milo Yiannopolous, anyone?) trying to make a buck off of the ‘movement’ and newbies not even understanding what they were yelling about – this jaded disillusionment would fester.
These disillusioned gamers helped create the alt-right. The great irony is that half of these gamers weren’t/aren’t conservative to begin with. They’re anti-propaganda and pro-truth. No one likes when people try to sell them lies. The media and the politicians / CEO’s that fund their stories are terrified because more people keep waking up to it. It’s like kicking a beehive. All they have to do is stop kicking it and the bees will stop coming out, yet they can’t seem to. Part of the problem is that the news media absolutely needs to generate controversy and scandal, because without hyperbole they can’t make money.
#gamergate was like the neo taking the redpill except instead of seeing the matrix it just made everyone incapable of happiness ever again
— robek.world (@RobekWorld) August 4, 2016
So while GamerGate was a PR disaster, it educated hundreds of thousands of users on the web how the media actually works, and when 2015 came rolling around and election season started ramping up – these goobers knew how to play ball.
Also Hulk Hogan body slammed Gawker (who kick started the whole “Journalists can be Bias” trend). So that’s good at least.
So, what now?
You’ve got this great tool for sharing information. For a small part of the population, the early adopters, they use it to share information and to learn.
You’ve got the rest of the population, normies who didn’t use the internet until 2009 and kids born into it who think it’s just this thing for entertainment and ego. The two mindsets clash and the late comers refuse to listen or discuss anything and share everything without verifying its accuracy.
The media and news can’t keep up with clicks and no one pays for paper anymore. So in order to combat Buzzfeed-esque trash, they are forced to hyperbolize every single situation on a national level and share and write stupid nonsense.
This ties together with native advertising where corporations can pay media money now because they can’t make money from subscribers. These corporations are making money from lots of start-ups that are selling digital snake oil, who pay advertisers to market and fill the web with content void of susbstance in order to sell products and politics.
If you become popular on your own right, a company will try to buy you to sell their product. At the end of the day none of these products do anything to benefit humanity and most people will be left without jobs save for CEOs. The political establishment is paid for by these CEOs and while there’s loads of evidence readily available showing corruption, the massive amounts of cognitive dissonance displayed by the ignorant masses is outstanding. I don’t blame them though, it’s easier to live without the horrible taste of knowing the truth. The 4th estate is dead. Media is no longer objective. It can’t be.
We are responsible for the future of the internet. We are responsible for the way users act on the internet. The people are the only people who can act as a watchdog against the media and the money that backs them. Identity politics makes money and forces people to pay attention to the smoke screen, as the man behind the curtain chugs away at his secret plans. We’re becoming dumber by refusing to think for ourselves. It’s a fact. All individuals are responsible for their own actions and speech. Instead of censorship and hyperbole, internet users need to open discussion and have true conversation. This doesn’t mean sacrificing our personal convictions to let someone go on about how great Nazis are, persay, but it does mean allowing ourselves to be offended and either respond amicably or blocking that person from connecting with us.
This discernment is incredibly important, not because of free speech, but because when we allow networks like Facebook or companies like Microsoft to censor users or censor themselves for fear of reproach, we lose the freedoms that the internet initially provided. Recovering those freedoms will be difficult. Also, by giving into hyperbole, we feed the pockets of biased news media, and as those pockets grow, so will these types of stories.
There are two paths in the future of the web and reality:
- The web returns to being an information sharing and free thought bastion and people are free and might get their feelings hurt.
- The web becomes a series of closed websites and “safe spaces” regulated by corporations, ISPs and governments, fueled by media controlled narrative and all your friends go to jail for being dipshits on social media.
You can’t have it both ways.
So remember what 神様 dictated and teach others those commandments
1. Don’t believe anything you read on the internet.
2. Don’t feed the trolls. (This includes petty media baiting)
I don’t care who you’re voting for, this isn’t a pro-Trump piece. Push back against the media, whether it’s progressive left or ‘alt-right’. Both are trying to sell you something. Think for yourself and reward objective journalism.
Be thoughtful, yet critical. We can be better. We kind of have to or else we’re going to lose the internet and much more.