On people in #GamerGate who hate shitposters
So I recently had a long conversation with an influential person in #GamerGate who actually, unironically subscribes to the ideas being mocked in this image
Among other things we discussed were their beliefs that the AyyTeam was evil ('terrorists' was a word they actually used) and that 'channers' and 'chan culture' were ruining #GamerGate (specifically in relation to shitposting on the #SPJEthicsWeek tag).
Their argument was basically that AyyTeam and AyyTeam sympathizers (this person actually had no idea what AyyTeam really was and had absolutely no concerns about making an accurate distinction) take their trolling too far to the point where there was the 'potential' for 'actual damage' to occur.
So I tried to open a discussion of what constitutes 'damage' vs what constitutes 'harm' and how this relates to potential vs actual and intentional vs unintentional. They seemed uninterested in exploring these ideas so that we could actually identify where exactly they draw the line at acceptable vs unacceptable actions. They were simply adamant that AyyTeam or 'channers' were taking things too far.
My response was that their case for actual harm was extremely weak, and that the case for damage is mostly inconsequential because we're not talking about physical damage to property; we're talking about damage to feelings or reputations caused by people expressing themselves freely. Jokes about Ralph raping a girl behind an Arby's for instance, while subversive, are just that; jokes. More often than not, any kind of 'damage' that may occur as a result of trolling is compounded by the incompetence of the subject being trolled or of a third party. In these circumstances, if you want to be mad at someone, be mad at the incompetent party (even if it's yourself), not the trolls.
As the conversation continued it became clear that their perspective on these issues was so vastly different to mine, I was actually pretty shocked that they ever made it this many months into GG without 'leaving' or going nuts.
I asked them to describe in their own words what they saw GG as (just in relation to twitter, to keep it specific). Did they see it as a resistive force or as a proactive movement, for example? Their response was neither. They saw GG on twitter as a pool of resources--people and information--and that the actions of 'channers' were poisoning that pool for them.
I tried to explain to them that online communities are almost inevitably dominated by the lowest common denominator, and that twitter specifically, because of the way it works, is an incredibly empowering medium for shitposting and trolling (even more so than an imageboard, IMO). Therefore twitter was simply not what they thought it was, and that they could not realistically view online communities so simplistically and so irrespective of the nature and health of the community as well as the medium that it communicates through.
Again they didn't seem to care. They were convinced that twitter would be what they thought it was if only channers would stop shitting the place up. They tried to make a case for shitposting being morally wrong in relation to things like the #SPJEthicsWeek hashtag but their argument was so weak, it's not even worth elaborating.
I confronted them with the issue that their moral ultimatum on chan culture and shitposting had implications on freedom of speech and was tantamount to censorship. They repeated the same weak argument that they see it as protecting their own right to not be 'damaged' or 'harmed' (where, again, their attempt to establish a case for either damage or harm was weak). I deconstructed it, but they remained adamant that this is what they believe.
Overall, I could see their point of view, but argued that it was based on a false premise, that they were struggling pointlessly against the constraints and rules of a medium that they chose to communicate over but had no control over. They, however, could not see my point of view at all. Much of their arguments were based on strawman representations of 'channers', and when pressed their arguments were often revealed to be based upon flimsy, poorly justified moral imperatives.