October 16, 2015

Wikipedia Weather

Gamergate has been comparatively calm lately, perhaps because school is back in session, perhaps because one of its most prolific advocates was compelled to give us a few months’ respite.

I asked an Old Wiki Expert, a veteran of the very first Wiki wars, what he thought of the whole sorry Gamergate affair. One suggestion he offered was striking: might Gamergate be much smaller than we think? Sure, plenty of people could be sitting at home and nodding, but how many are actually participating in Gamergate actions? It might all be the work of a handful of people, posting all over the place.

Meanwhile, Umaire Haque speculates that persistent abuse and nastiness is killing Twitter, Reddit, and the rest of the social web.

But I’ve never been to a town square where people can shove, push, taunt, bully, shout, harass, threaten, stalk, creep, and mob you…for eavesdropping on a conversation that they weren’t a part of…to alleviate their own existential rage…at their shattered dreams…and you can’t even call a cop.

These companies think they’re in the business of selling ads, but the unpleasantness is driving everyone away. It’s a sorry mess. Thanks, Philip Werner!