The Creator of a GamerGate Subreddit Deserves No Credit for Deleting It


#1

Warning: This piece contains some ableist and racist language.

For a short period of time last night, the subreddit KotakuInAction—a community ostensibly dedicated to “gaming, ethics, journalism, and censorship” but which in reality serves as a hub for members of GamerGate who want to complain about feminism, social justice warriors, and their relationship to games—went dark. But Reddit wasn’t experiencing technical difficulties. Instead, the founder of KotakuInAction, who goes by david-me on reddit, shut it down. This was joined by a post on another subreddit, drama, with a statement titled “righting a wrong.”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/qvm83m/the-creator-of-a-gamergate-subreddit-deserves-no-credit-for-deleting-it

#2

The most frustrating this about this whole deal, as the article mentions, is that how irrelevant the shutdown and re-opening of KIA was to the greater GG movement. After spending far too much time reading the ArenaNet response online, I feel like GG is as strong as ever in winning the hearts and minds of the average internet commenter. That mod can be as contrite as they like, but the damage has been done many times over and will continue to reverberate throughout the industry for years to come. We may have lost a generation of players to this toxicity, and the thought is just so incredibly depressing.


#3

“whoopsy doopsy, I created a hub for harassment and neo-nazi’s, sowwy :(”

Like, fuck off guy. It doesn’t take four years to see how this had been hurting people. I hope this guy feels like shit for the live’s his actions have hurt.


#4

Interesting how there’s literally no instance of the words “I’m” and “sorry” used in conjunction throughout that post.


#5

That subreddit once reposted one of my pieces and mocked me because they thought I was female. That was the first time I ever heard of this place and the last time I ever took them seriously. I wrote that Quiet was the best part of MGSV in spite her outfit. All they read was “Quiet’s outfit is ridiculous” and assumed I was some femiNazi.

And I’m nobody at all. I don’t even want to think about what this place has done to their actual victims.


#6

I read the post earlier and I still don’t really follow it.

And it’s because I can’t tell what the line he’s drawing is. He’s decided hate speech is too much, it seems? But he immediately clarifies that he thinks “some isms” aren’t real. For him GG itself was fine, some bad things are fine, but some other arbitrary thing is a step too far. It can’t be about reaching outside the subreddit, because that’s literally what it always was.

It feels more like he vaguely understood something was wrong and decided that “hate speech” was it, but isn’t even at the point that he fully disagrees with, or can even identify, all of the hate speech.


#7

lmao that reddit brought it back after an appeal.


#8

And so the stupid people remain stupid. So tired of this.

The only way you’ll ever get anything out of reddit with low chance of encountering a nazi is to have a niche interest and find that board. I did this with adventure games and it’s working out okay. Any popular board should be approached with caution at all times because reddit is garbage at moderation and dealing with actual hate speech.


#10

As if he thinks briefly closing down the subreddit fixes the lives he’s ruined.

The gamergate mob did not begin or end with gamergate, and I believe they would’ve found another place to fester even if david-me didn’t create the thread, but he did create an open invitation, and you can’t atone for something like that by running away.

I hope these public platforms like reddit and twitter gain new leadership some day, with moderation focusing on cracking down on hate speech instead of emboldening it with their “neutrality”.


#11

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#12

I don’t know anything about how Reddit works, but from Patrick’s description it sounded very easy for an interested third party to bring back KIA? That it was a virtual given that someone could + would revive it.

Just some real performative BS. Try to look noble by destroying a monster you never even meant to create, knowing that the place you loved would just immediately be brought back?

I know I’m screaming into an echo chamber here, but I need that catharsis right now.


#13

Eh, not really. A new board with similar focus could be made, but the chance of it carrying over the same user base due to a lack of name recognition would cripple it a bit.

It seems more like the guy is trying to wash his hands clean of something he’s finally realizing has spun out of his control, but he’s also an idiot so he’s bad at it and four years too late.


#14

Ah. I must have misunderstood Patrick’s explanation.


#15

What Patrick is referring to is a procedure by which site administrators can reactivate subreddits which are deemed to be ‘active communities’ if a ‘rogue moderator/admin’ turns them off. I haven’t moderated for a site like Reddit, but it is basically an emergency switch for if a mod comes in who wants to trash a community after a spat or argument.

I’m not too familiar with the details or how well-known this function is. It makes this kind of symbolic ‘turn off’ not really workable.


#16

Thanks for explaining!


#17

Serious question. Is this something some idiot 13 year old could have done? I have no idea what it takes to create a subreddit. As in actually thinking this would shut it down because they’d be like 17 now and possibly regretting some of what they did but not really understanding it was never going to work?


#18

Also, sports reddit for some reason can be quite respectful and civil. I guess having everyone instinctually hate the Yankees makes it easier for people to get along.


#19

I don’t use Reddit in any substantial way because I don’t want to drive up the cash value of a site that’s run by people who are completely okay with this stuff and I don’t want to be in an environment where any of this flourishes, even in “good” subreddits. I’ve been on KiA a few times and had my tweets screencapped for months on end and hassled. Fuck that dude, fuck that place.


#20

I was about to say, sports Reddit is an oddly friendly and civil place? But venture outside of that and it’s a hellhole.


#21

Creating a subreddit is about as easy as creating a facebook page or tumblr blog or twitter account. Type in a name, click a button, and you’re done.

Managing a reddit community is a whole separate challenge. Recruiting new subscribers is generally accomplished by commenting on other subreddits. Popular posts can also appear on the reddit frontpage or /r/all, which tends to get an influx of new subscribers. Recruiting can also come from non-reddit communities. Most of KIA’s early users came from 4chan’s /v/ and /pol/ boards, The Escapist forums, gamergate IRC channels, and followers of certain gaming twitter accounts.

Aside from recruitment, the other big challenge is rules and moderation. The better subreddits not only have large active mod teams, but also tend to use complicated moderator bots to automatically remove rule-breaking posts. Building and managing a mod team is a real challenge. Setting up bots can get quite complicated and requires a decent amount of expertise.

Moderators are also responsible for enforcing reddit’s global rules against illegal content, harrasment, doxxing, etc. Theoretically, the entire subreddit can be shut-down (see: /r/incels). But in practice, this very rarely happens. If your subreddit has a “rule” that says “no harrassment”, the admins look at it and say “good enough”, regardless of whether the mods enforce that rule. Toxic groups also tend to use reddit as a way to build a community, and then use other websites to actually organize and carry-out their toxic behavior (IRC, slack, discord, twitter, etc.). Reddit admins also don’t really care about it. It’s fine to use their site to organize harassment campaigns, as long as the harassment itself takes place on other sites. Also, even when the admins do shut down a subreddit, it tends to be quickly replaced by new subreddits, with minor rule changes in attempts to find loopholes (again: see /r/incels).

I wouldn’t be too surprised if the creator was a 13-year-old at the time. But so much of the movement was coordinated in other places, by people with more popularity and power, by adults who have no excuse.