Damion Schubert has blogged a post, which called for GamerGate supporters to form a consumer organisation. He claims that #GamerGate has come from Anonymous and 4chan’s culture of mob movement without any organization, which is not entirely true. GamerGate’s origins are far more convoluted and 4chan was only a place of discussion and GamerGate itself began as a multi-faceted movement tied to the consumers’ own motions, not to any certain website’s culture.
I’ll be straight from the get go; GamerGate has been as successful as it is because it is not organised in the fashion Schubert proposes. GamerGate, from where I as an individual see it, is a consumer movement without any common ideology or banner. There is only a goal, on which various people agree upon. Of course, there are variations how many goals people have, but one all GamerGate supporters agree on is the removal of corruption, nepotism, journalism driven by agenda, threats among other negative aspects within the video game press. All supporters are behind the ideas of journalistic integrity, open and honest debate, transparency and inclusive approach.
Organisations are for political battles. While to some GamerGate is a political battle, at its core its customer voicing their distaste on the current state of the video game press. If there would be a GamerGate organisation, it would be easy to make it into a sock puppet to play with and ultimately knock down, but it would also be something the opposition could actually stand against. To keep GamerGate as a consumer level movement requires two things; discussions on the matters on open forums, spreading the information and voting with your wallet. The Customer is god, and the customer can show some divine wrath
As GameGate is a customer driven movement, there’s no rifle that could take it down. You’d need one helluva shotgun to even try to take part of it down. Because it consists of individuals working on their own for a common goal, these individuals are completely on their own. If there exists criticism on how someone acts, that act never reflects on the rest of the people behind the movement. Engaging conversation with the customers is easy, because it’s sort of no-words communication to a large extent. The customers have voiced their distaste and want for change, and all the industry needs to do is either press yes or no. There is no middle ground here, there is no negotiating like it would be between two organisations or similar. There is no one true voice and that is strength, but it does have its detrimental qualities as well. Lack of cohesion would be one as would be the individuals Schubert calls as crackpots. However, that would be one thing GamerGate is against; exclusion. Not to mention these crackpots get things done at times, even if their behaviour might reflect negatively from time to time. All that said, you’d think a person working in game industry would know how to do customer research at this point.
Hell, I’d even argue that then industry should not have a discussion with its customers, all it needs to do is to listen and believe.
Schubert seems to regard that only an organisation could do things like vet rumours to attend conferences. The customer can do all these and then some. Being unorganised does not mean things will go unnoticed as long as there’s change. Worldwide there are movements that go unnoticed and unreported but they change things just as much. GamerGate supporters are like a hive of ants; all working towards one goal with their individual strength. The difference is how there is no queen and work is done through wallet voting and e-mail campaign, both of which have given positive results.
However Schubert is right, there is no reasonable criteria for success. Consumer movements rarely do have one, and the movement will die out when certain change is achieved that brings the wanted change, or interest is dropped. Nevertheless, this also demands the service provider to think for themselves what to do in order to fix the situation and restore the faith of the consumer. There is a clear direction, no matter how anyone will tell you otherwise. It may not be terribly cohesive, but it’s equally driving force.
Schubert has sixteen points in his post, all more or less singing the same gospel. I won’t touch all the points because of redundancy, but first of all, GAMR already exists and using pre-existing name is a humongous mistake. If an organisation wants to be taken seriously, it would need a proper name, not this hipster level garbage. While the whole organisation idea is awful, Schubert essentially suggest in creating a force that would police the movement with officer elections and leaders. While there may be need for some leading voices from time to time, it would be absolutely detrimental to the movement. Then he would suggest putting up a damn Patreon or Kickstarter for funding the movement, but this is a movement that doesn’t need one. Actually, it’s the very opposite; GamerGate is a movement that does not need funding because it’s done by not funding the opposition while voicing consumer wants.
I’m sounding like a broken record already.
The thing with GamerGate is that the industry has no idea how to handle the movement’s population, it has never had to do it before. It’s natural that they feel threatened by it and that someone would suggest in creating an entity they could handle, something they could reason and fight with. Perhaps change their modus operandi and aims, if needed.
I remind you that the video games crash of late 70’s and mid 80’s happened because the consumers did not see products worth purchasing. There was no organisation voicing the consumer distaste against the low quality of games. It didn’t help that the companies didn’t listen to the consumer voice, that is often silent and spoken in numbers and returns. Then things came crashing down. Twice. Times have changed now, and the consumers have the Internet to discuss things on message boards and in chats. Because of this, there’s no geographical limitations, there are no country borders keeping one from voicing their distaste as a customer.
I will out myself once more on GamerGate; I support it. I personally see it as a movement against all that is wrong in the industry from corruption and nepotism to breaking journalistic integrity and customer service ideals. I am making a stance with my wallet and e-mails, meaning I’ve stopped browsing sites that encourage anti-consumer ideals and enforce censorship, as in case of 4chan. While all this seems to small, like a droplet in ocean, I can assure you that the ocean is storming and all individual droplets are making a difference.
Music of the Month returns on Sunday.