September 9, 2019
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Gamergate

Revised 9/9/19 to clarify Eric Corbett’s political affinities.

Gamergate was the template for the villainy of modern social media. Here’s a great NPR interview on Gamergate today.

It’s still simmering. At Wikipedia, an unbannable editor, “Eric Corbett,” was banned over the weekend. In a previous version of this note, I described him as “right-wing (or at least anti-Feminist)”; Corbett, formerly a notable prolific Wikipedia, suggested by email that I describe him as “an equal-opportunity abuser.” Corbett continued:

You may have been duped by those I categorised as ‘militant feminists’ - and I'm sure you know who I'm referring to - but I have always supported equal rights and opportunities regardless of gender. My dispute with your gender gap heroes was quite simply over my distrust of the figures produced by the WMF purporting to claim that only something like 10–15% of editors are female, which the WMF have themselves been forced to admit is a figure they pretty much made up.

Corbett became notorious when, in an argument over the encyclopedia’s gender gap task force, he told one of the leader’s of the task force that “the easiest way to avoid being called a cunt is not to act like one.” Wikipedia bent over backwards to avoid a sanction then.

When opponents of women in computer games showed up for Gamergate’s attack on Wikipedia, the arbitration committee banned every feminist they were ask to sanction, and only the feminists. (One throwaway right-wing account was banned, and its author decamped to a write a regular column at Breitbart. The editor behind another Gamergate account got drunk one night and got into a fight with a policeman; the resulting jail term disrupted their editing.)

Like clockwork, right-wing Wikipedia is now out to “balance” Eric Corbett’s ban by ridding themselves of PeterTheFourth, one of the few remaining people who are not right-wing extremists and who are willing to edit Gamergate pages. Meanwhile, Wikipedia's coverage drift’s further and further to the right, from a constant years-long edit war to smear Margaret Sanger to exercising extraordinary care to avoid covering last week’s game-industry meltdown in which several prominent game-industry figures were accused of rape, assault, and creepiness by their former colleagues.