Thoughts about the state of the internet's culture
So, incoming rambling and such, but I have a few points I want to put out.
This isn’t something related to GamerGate, per say, but more of a series of musing and ramblings about the internet and its culture.
I took a read at Kerazad’s latest rambling essay and found myself in agreement of most of the things said (the post can be found here http://kazerad.tumblr.com/post/109585139443/privilege) and I found some things echoing a series of thoughts I have had regarding the entire internet.
See, the internet has always been the romanticized version of the Wild West, romanticized because the shoot outs at noon and the shotgun diplomacy were not nearly as bad as everyone thinks it is. It’s been a place with a miniscule amount of law governing it’s inhabitants and it’s inhabitants are free to do pretty much what they damn near please. And as technology has advanced, it has made it easier for these people to get onto the internet and partake in all of the benefits and drawbacks of this near lawless environment.
Much like Kazerad, I’m used to maneuvering in the seemingly lawless nature of the internet. I have been on the good and bad end of sudden explosions of attention in the past 12 years in various mediums around the internet and, honestly, I don’t see how the tactics being used by those who claim Anti-GamerGate and GamerGate surprise anyone. Doxxing has been around since….fuck Usenet boards, harassing phone calls have been around since people could use a telephone, and Swatting has been in use for over a decade, at least.
No seriously, the FBI had a report out back in February of 2008 stating that five people used swatting in over 60 cities from 2002-2006. And those are the five they were able to investigate. (http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2008/february/swatting020408)
Now, this isn’t me saying ‘This is the internet, deal with it.’ I really hate that when the internet spills over to real life and people are ousted from the handles they use by any means that isn’t from their own volition along with what follows. I would love for that to stop. But I don’t think it will for one sole reason:
People are fucking assholes.
This is where the scope widens greatly. I don’t mean people in gaming, in tech, in any narrow modifier. As a rule, people are fucking assholes. Shit, people get into fist fights over sports teams, people have their personal lives pulled into their politics, people are far more accepting of what people are but will, without hesitation, exile someone for not following a certain belief (Hi Atheism+), and people care far more about the scandal and subsequent drama than the resolution or the people involved.
And, unless there happens to be some major sweeping change to anonymity on the internet, it won’t end.
See, all of the shit has happened far before GamerGate has happened and it will continue to do so because people are assholes. If GamerGate ended, do you think anything would change? Nope. The people who are the most outspoken on either side will continue to be about something or other and there will be the other events that garner harassing someone at their work about their twitter misogynistic ‘behavior’ or sending pizza to someone they don’t like as a power play.
And to anyone who questions that, let me present you exhibit A:
Alex is a 16 year old kid from Texas. He works at Target. While working at Target one day, he had his picture taken and posted on Tumblr where a girl from Brittan, with a ludicrous amount of twitter followers, reposted it on her twitter. And it quickly exploded into a trending hashtag. He had 144 followers before going into work on November 4th, 2014. On November 13th, 2014, he had 730,000. Sounds like a success story, right? Well, outside of the normal set of haters saying typical shit like “Why does everyone think he is cute?” “He is nothing special.” “He doesn’t deserve any fame,” he has also been receiving death threats.
The 16 year old kid who cashiers at Target received death threats because he went trending on twitter when some girl from another country posted his image on twitter.
If this doesn’t prove the fact that these sorts of acts are done independently of the interests of the people involved, I have no idea what does.
People are fucking assholes. And for that reason, there will always have a some form of…..well fucked up shit pointed at anyone for anything.
I don’t think any of these things will be going away until we have a major culture shift and people stop being assholes for the sake of being assholes.