Update: The primary source of this article has been brought into question. The extreme GamerGate harassment against five feminist Wikipedia editors resulted in their banning from the publication, not in them being recognized as victims. In the ongoing GamerGate saga, Wikipedia made a decision to ban feminist authors on the website over the weekend of January 22. Earlier in January, retaliation over the controversy reached a peak when about 20 police officers were sent to GamerGate critic Grace Lynn’s former residence.
In a breaking news article by The Guardian UK, five Wikipedia editors were banned from gender-related articles and 10 editors were, “deemed to be breaking the site’s rules amid GamerGate controversy.” The offenders were tried by Wikipedia’s highest courts and since the news was announced that Wikipedia would ban five feminist editors tied to the GamerGate conflict, voices of outrage have ensued online.
Covering GamerGate and Wikipedia’s response to the scandal closely over the past few months is The Mary Sue. What is surprising to many about the feminist editor ban is that Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, appeared to take a neutral stance. When he was drawn into the debate, Jimmy Wales posted the following on Reddit.
“But #GamerGate has been permanently tarnished and highjacked by a handful of people who are not what you would hope. You might not be the person to lead it. I don’t know who is. But I strongly recommend that someone organize a ‘gamer’s union’ of sorts, with a real mission statement, with real rules, with real organization and leadership…. moaning on a Twitter hashtag is getting you nowhere, particularly for the reasons I have outlined in this note.”
Posting on The Mary Sue, author Alanna Bennett writes, “The ‘Gamergate Controversy’ article has been a sort of Gamergate battleground since the beginning, receiving the kind of push and pull that the rest of the conversation around Gamergate has — namely, whether it should be presented as being about ethics in journalism or whether that particular cause flew straight out the window the second the campaign became widely associated with its horrific threats against and general harassment of any woman who dare speak up.”
Last year, popular geek-culture actress Felicia Day who plays “Charlie” on Supernatural, spoke out on Tumblr about the GamerGate conflict on Wikipedia saying, “I have not said many public things about Gamer Gate…. Why have I remained mostly silent? Self-protection and fear.”
In August, The Washington Post reported on the GamerGate conflict and discussed the issues surrounding the Wikipedia page “A Voice for Men.” According to the article, “A Voice for Men, the controversial men’s rights website, sees feminist conspiracies in many unassuming places: college stadiums, women’s shelters, hospital delivery rooms. But on Saturday, AVfM managing editor Dean Esmay published an essay decrying ‘censorship’ and ‘misandry’ on a new platform: Wikipedia, that sum of all human knowledge, where Esmay says editors ‘infected’ by a ‘hateful Gender Feminist dogma’ have conspired to silence him and other members of his movement.”
Wikipedia editor Mark Bernstein posted his thoughts online about the GamerGate controversy that led up to the ban of the five feminist editors and said, “The infamous draft decision of Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) on Gamergate is worse than a crime. It’s a blunder that threatens to disgrace the internet.”
Mark Bernstein includes a long background history of the Wikipedia GamerGate controversy on his website. Statements made by Mark Bernstein about how Wikipedia was involved in GamerGate and how the controversy became harassment includes the following.
“Late last year, a group of computer game enthusiasts and journalists apparently decided to strike out against what they considered unfair feminist critique of violence and sex in their favorite games. They called themselves ‘#GamerGate.’… But it’s not clear that they really had a grievance, that the purported fears were anything more than a rationalization for anonymous persecution….The #GamerGate crowd decided that their ideal tactics were to identify women in the game industry who were “social justice warriors,” and to drive them out of the field.”
The techniques for striking out against or driving out those editors behind the perceived unfair feminist critiques in video game entries on Wikipedia quickly got out of hand. Mark Bernstein says the following on his website.
“Through Twitter and unsavory chat boards, these women were subjected to intense harassment. Their sexual histories were dissected. They were repeatedly threatened with assault, rape, and murder. Their employers were sent anonymous email, both embarrassing and threatening. Some of the women had to cancel speaking engagements. Some have been forced from their homes.”
Mark Bernstein discussed the decision made by Wikipedia to ban the feminist authors as deciding to “give GamerGate everything they’d wished for.” He continues to explain the severity of the Wikipedia decision by saying, “By my informal count, every feminist active in the area is to be sanctioned. This takes care of social justice warriors with a vengeance — not only do the GamerGaters get to rewrite their own page (and Zoe Quinn’s, Brianna Wu’s, Anita Sarkeesian’s, etc.); feminists are to be purged en bloc from the encyclopedia. Liberals are the new Scientologists as far as Arbcom is concerned.”
On Friday, Dr Mrs The Monarch reported on Jezebel, “In comparison it appears that no established pro-GamerGate accounts are being sanctioned.” Currently, no reports have been posted concerning whether GamerGate warriors that opposed the feminist editors on Wikipedia will receive any reprimands. Archives about GamerGate on Wikipedia are on their website as well as their sanctions guidelines.
[All images from the referenced links.]