Recommended Reading: Mattie’s at Kotaku Edition

A pink and yellow Tamagotchi keychain.

Readers, as part of an ongoing conversation with the editorship at Kotaku, author Mattie Brice has a guest post there today about why Kotaku is unwelcoming to marginalized gamers.

There is only a wrong way to go about this. So let’s just get to why I’m here:

Me too.

I’m part of the gaming community, but Kotaku doesn’t see me as a gamer. No, instead I’m a multi-racial transgender who-knows-sexual possibly-feminist woman gamer. A boogie monster. Someone who uses too many –isms and –ists in their daily tweets to actually enjoy anything. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone ask what it’s like to be me in this pocket of society.

You know that invisible ink in detective movies? If you could get an internet lighter, you’d find “This site is for heterosexual white American men gamers.” Kotaku will never include me until it’s figured out that “gamers” is skewed to one identity and asks me to deal with that. No. Me too.

Gamer culture isn’t Kotaku’s fault. That skewing Japan as a land of weirdoes is humorous. That gamers like to look at galleries made up of T&A shots of women in cosplay. So what if someone like me doesn’t fit in with typical gamers? The editors are just providing what gamers want, how is that a bad thing? Are you using that lighter?

It’s quite well done, be sure to check it out. Insert standard disclaimer about comments here, although I did find this comment to be hilarious:

This is just the pot calling the kettle black. Seriously, I incredibly doubt that the Border House has any articles that pander to “Heterosexual white gamers” and until they do, their point is moot.

what does that even mean

If you’re up for it, please consider leaving a message of support. Or enjoy these 100% unironically awesomesauce comments from embereye and Malice Blackhart.

Consider this thread a safe space for discussing Mattie’s piece.

76 thoughts on “Recommended Reading: Mattie’s at Kotaku Edition”

  1. Urgh all I have to say is that I DID NOT appreciate “-Joel” basically butting into the article saying “BUT WE’RE NOT WROOOOONG!” (Pre-article rambling) and also “Well if you don’t like what WE show, what WOULD you like to see… huh huh OHHHhh you haven’t sent anything in yet… yeaaah” (for the cosplay section).

    That tell me that Kotaku just doesn’t fucking get it (And doesn’t want to get it) and it needs to die.

    1. Yeah, I can’t help feeling that if they wanted to say those things, they should have put them in the comments, NOT butted into the article with them, thus trying to undermine it from the get-go. It showed a lack of general respect, really.

    2. Yea those editorial inserts screamed dismissiveness to me, I don’t think Joel is interested in having a good faith conversation.

      And my god, those commenters >.<

      1. Yes, agreed; in every part of this conversation it has seemed like Joel has been engaging with a smirk on his face. The introduction on this article as well as the header image (“WELCOME!” on a post titled “Why I don’t feel welcome at Kotaku”? Maybe I am reading too much into it, but that seems kind of… snarky?).

        1. Nah, I don’t think you’re reading too much into it. He’s been undermining and dismissing parts of the conversation from the get go.

          And honestly, I think his doing so during a supposedly serious* conversation about inclusivity in gamer culture sends out the “hey its totally cool to be sexist/racist/homophobic” signals even more so than a dozen T&A soaked cosplay picture galleries.

          *I say supposedly serious not because Mattie isn’t doing wonderful work in trying to have this conversation, but because Kotaku and Joel are treating it and the ideas Mattie is presenting like its some big joke

    3. “Urgh all I have to say is that I DID NOT appreciate “-Joel” basically butting into the article saying “BUT WE’RE NOT WROOOOONG!” (Pre-article rambling)”

      Agreed.

      “and also “Well if you don’t like what WE show, what WOULD you like to see… huh huh OHHHhh you haven’t sent anything in yet… yeaaah” (for the cosplay section).”

      This, I don’t see. Maybe this Joel changed the article since it was originally posted, but here’s what it says now:

      “I’ve turned away from Kotaku because it doesn’t like my answers. There’s a reason I can’t find you bountiful resources of sexually liberated cosplayers not posing for straight guys. [I had asked Mattie to help me find some sources of cosplay images more in line with what she would like to see on the site. —Joel]”

      I read that as Joel adding necessary context. Without it, the previous sentence would have seemed like a bizarre non-sequitur to anyone who wasn’t familiar with previous interactions between our site and theirs.

      1. The “more in line with what she would like to see on the site” is pretty dismissive. It’s what a LOT of people get when the call out a site the good old “Well what would YOU like to see.” and if the person can’t find any pictures/audio/games BECUASE of the very reason it’s being called out it gets dismissed.

        1. I’m not seeing it, but then again, I’m trying my best to not take offense at every word typed by Kotaku staff.

  2. I’ve been interested in reading both blogs on this, but there is one thing that I cannot find – what is the change that Mattie wants to see in Kotaku?

    I may not have read closely enough, but it seems to me that a discussion such as this should scream from the get go – here is the problem, here is what I find to be an institutional issue (perspective of editors at Kotaku), and HERE IS HOW IT CAN BE FIXED.

    I said it over at Kotaku – this should be made crystal clear, if not for the author’s sake, but for those that may one day stumble upon it, read it, and become alienated themselves.

    That said, Joel introducing the article as he did? Standard on non-staff pieces, at least from the amount that I’ve read.

    1. I know there’s generally an intro from the editor on guest posts, but does he often make sure his readers know he disagrees with the guest poster he’s introducing?

      1. I think that throughout Gawker, they generally introduce works in a more “personal” manner. I know that with Deadspin, a lot of the mini dust ups with sports media personalities have had less than glowing intros.

        1. Sure. But the issue is he’s going out of his way to make his readers know that he disagrees with Mattie, thereby telling his readers that they don’t even need to listen. We already know his opinion, he wrote a whole post about it, there’s no reason to editorialize more at the top of her post.

          1. Honestly, I don’t look to editors to tell me how to think/respond to pieces. Anyhow, if that one sentence ruined it for you, then it ruined it for you.

            It still doesn’t alter the above (constructive) criticisms that I offered, I don’t think.

  3. But it’s so hard being a heterosexual, white gamer. Why must you insist on excluding them? (sarcasm, just in case)

  4. I feel a little uncomfortable about this conversation partly because there is a lot of potential for miscommunication. A few editors here have commented on the existence of snarkiness, whether or not it’s a big joke on the part of Joel, all based on a few sentences of commentary and I think that is a little unfair. It’s excruciatingly difficult to gauge a writer’s personality through writing alone. I’d really like to see Joel come on your podcast so an actual speaking conversation can take place and the nuances of each others’ arguments can stay intact.

    I’d also advise against reading too much into the comments. Kotaku’s system for commenting on articles is broken. For example, there is no meaning to having “starred” status in terms of commenter quality and I prefer the systems set up by Discus and Reddit, where better comments are upvoted and obvious trolls are downvoted (they still have flaws, but at least they’re better). Of course, the Gawker sites aren’t going to change anytime soon given they just redesigned their sites.

    1. Re: Joel, my comments are based on having watched this entire conversation unfold, from the first post by Dan Bruno through the first conversation Joel had with Mattie on Twitter, and all of these posts and responses here and at Kotaku. It’s not just based on Joel’s editorial notes on this particular post. He’s been snarky and halfway-engaged this entire time, from telling Dan to “just read Kotaku for the articles” (a reference that positions Kotaku as Playboy), to dismissing Mattie on Twitter in a way that came across as if he were simply humoring her and wasn’t listening, to his meandering, nearly nonsensical editorial on Kotaku. That is what is informing my read on his comments on this particular article.

      The problem with user moderation on a site like Kotaku is that bigotry is often UPVOTED because the majority of readers actually agree with it. If they want to shake their reputation as a commenting cesspool, they’re going to have to put some actual work into real moderation.

      1. First, I’ll apologize for commenting a bit too quickly before reading everything. I’ve read everything available so far, but I’m still digesting it. I do think Joel comes off as snarky partly because of his writing style. Almost his entire twitter feed is generally sarcastic, snarky or playful in tone.

        As for comments, I would also like to see a better commenting system for use throughout the web. The implementation of commenting systems greatly influences the tone of the community. I saw from your profile that you’re also a programmer, so you probably have an appreciation for the complexity involved in actually programming something. Even though most people know what a commenting system is supposed to be like, those unforeseen contingent problems come up.

        For example, Border House’s comment tools like moderator power might be manageable because there’s not a lot of comments, but this current commenting system will probably fail to be manageable if readership and commenters suddenly spike. At that point, proper moderation will probably take more time than actually writing and having discussions with people. Not fun. Reddit’s system is more elegant since it uses the community to moderate itself, with general success. That said, people are imperfect and any system that relies upon them is doomed to fail eventually, especially when a lot of people are involved.

        All of that said, to Joel’s suggestion of specific, implementable suggestions, I’d add implementing a better commenting system so that it’s easier to enforce Kotaku’s discussion policy (or rather Gawker’s discussion policy), which probably won’t happen since Joel doesn’t call the shots on that, Gawker just had a major redesign and they’re all part of a corporation with budgets, cost considerations, etc.

        1. Yeah, I just wish he would tone down the flippancy when it comes to issues like this because, whether he means to or not, he comes across as if he’s not really listening and/or is amused by all of this, which is undermining whatever he might be trying to do with his readership.

          lol, I know that moderating the volume of comments Kotaku gets would be a lot of work. A better commenting system would certainly help, but the only way to have an actually good comments section is to hand-moderate. They could hire more writers and rotate comment moderation duty, I don’t know. There are solutions to be found, IF that’s something they care about. I know it’s something a lot of large sites struggle with so the first thing I’d like to see focused on is the blog content, which is completely under the writers’ and editors’ control. That will also help with discouraging nasty comments, somewhat (eventually).

    2. This. So much this. Many of the Kotaku writers write things that don’t come off as friendly, mostly due to the massive amount of complaints they have to deal with on a regular basis. The fact that Joel published Mattie’s article shows his willingness to be an agent of change, he just didn’t state it very clearly (my opinion as a Kotaku regular, anyway). I wouldn’t worry about the info.

      And yes, the comment system needs a lot of work. The star system has been a flawed have and have-nots controversy for a long time. I’ve seen comments be too moderated as well as the unmoderated mess they are now. Quality is a huge issue, but it’s one that needs to be evaluated and worked with carefully. The Reddit system may be an improvement, but I don’t know if it’s the answer. Definitely, something does need to be done however.

  5. Well done getting your (Matties’) article up on Kotaku, it is good to see discussions like these getting more coverage.

    I sit comfortable into Kotakus main demographic and do not see your objections with the site but I am reading up on the different articles and conversations relevant to the topic. Good luck finding your comfort zone and keep sharing, I will gladly read any future articles and do my best to understand them even if I don’t empathise or agree with what is written.

  6. Way to go Mattie. Good on you.

    From Joel: “I definitely don’t agree with a lot of the presumptions she has about our editorial perspective”

    God damn it man, you’re so close to having a meaningful discussion. Stop undermining it by taking little jabs by saying “presumptions” instead of “opinions”.

    It’s great they put up the article, but putting a disclaimer at the top of a dissenting opinion is so blatantly, disrespectfully unprofessional. This is why I stick to Gamasutra/Joystiq for real gaming news.

    1. I should add, not that Borderhouse isn’t a real gaming site, but I think of it more as a place for articles and discussions than a breaking-news aggregator.

  7. I found the responses of the commenters… Troubling. They were quite dismissive overall, saying that if you’re being attacked, it’s because of a dissenting opinion, and they’re just using words that apply to you specifically, that anyone who provides an opinion that does not match group consensus undergoes the exact same thing, regardless of whether or not they are some form of minority. Frankly, I think these people sort of missed the whole point that it’s not acceptable that personal attacks of this sort are part of gaming culture. Exactly what bugged me was the way that they were explaining away attacks as “just words”. Maybe I’m misinterpreting what was meant, but it feels like their commenters didn’t understand the concept that calling someone “a stupid child with no grasp of gaming’ is extremely different to using slurs based on gender identity, sexuality, etc, etc.

    1. The “just words” comments always make me laugh. Words have no meaning! You aren’t even reading this comment right now!!

      But yeah, it’s really sad to me that people can’t even imagine an internet or a community where people aren’t heaped on for whatever reason. But it’s totally possible.

    2. Words hold meaning and power. If they didn’t then there would be no reason to have any websites, to have any comments, or to have any written discussions.

      Slurs especially hold a lot of power. Verbal abuse is a real thing and can have lasting effects on people. It disappoints me when people dismiss that as if it was nothing.

      Luckily, despite some of the negative comments on the post there are a few wonderfully positive responses. It is nice to see that others agree that personal attacks should not and do not need to be a part of our culture and want our general spaces to be more inclusive.

  8. I don’t think this is a useful pursuit. Kotaku and it’s ilk would better be left to rot. The energy is better spent elsewhere building a nice place.

    1. I like to think we can attempt to do both. Certainly, the main focus is in creating welcomin spaces like Border House. But ideally we want these kind of spaces to became the norm rather than the minority. As such, some effort can be expended to try to change the opinions of the people that head the bigger sites like Kotaku or Joystiq.

  9. The comment thread there is FULL of fail. The top one is currently “nuh-uh, people give me shit too because I don’t like Halo. That’s totally the same.”

    And this is why I don’t hang out in gamer spaces.

    1. The argument said commenter is making is that on a gaming blog, you are primarily judged on your gaming choices. In essence that nobody sees Mattie (at least before her article) as a transgender, but first as a halo player (or Mass Effect or Madden or whatever). I’m not asking you to agree with that, I’m asking you to recognize that as the point said commenter was trying to make. I’m not saying there aren’t narrow-minded comments in said threads, but that one has a point beyond “nuh-uh, people give me shit too because I don’t like Halo. That’s totally the same.”

      Again, it’s not even about agreeing or disagreeing with his opinion, it’s about the ability to have an open discussion.

      1. That was not intended as an attack, by the way. I feel like it comes off in digital as angry, and that’s definitely not the case. Honestly, I’m not even asking you to agree with me, I just felt some sort of clarification was needed there.

  10. I fully support Mattie, and I’m giving a standing ovation right now.

    Ignore all of the comments. You can read them, but don’t take them to heart. Because that’s how it works – everyone rejects being called out for something. However, that doesn’t mean don’t do it! Definitely call people out! You have to PLANT the seed! Even if they’re viciously against the idea, there’s a chance that they WILL educate themselves eventually. That seed you planted WILL grow. They might meet someone they respect who has the same problems, and they may one day come to understand that these sorts of environments and “infallible” logic they wield actually hurt people. It happened with PA, it happened with me, and I have no doubt it happens all the time with everyone else. There’s a better chance for change if you do keep fighting, than the zero chance if you don’t say anything at all.

    Keep shedding light on that which doesn’t want to be seen. Light up the whole world, Mattie!

  11. So, I am really glad my comment got props! I figured I should let you all know that that comment would not have made it up onto Kotaku without Joel working with me to get it up there. First, Joel talked to me on twitter and told me I should post a comment instead of just walking away. Then, I found that my account was so old and unused that my comment was not posting. Joel and I emailed a bit and he worked with his internal team and helped me get it up and immediately promoted it.

    I gotta say, perhaps he’s not the best at toning the sarcasm/snarky writing style down (and considering Gawker, I feel like that’s a survival trait there), but I think he does want actual conversation just based on the follow up he did.

    I hope he either gets that the commenting system needs some kind of drastic change or that he needs to keep working on the tone change that I’ve seen hints of already. I know it’s not much so far. Change is slow and people living under rocks are apparently very noisy.

    1. It’s good to hear that Joel was supporting of helping you set up your account. Despite my contentions with the way the article’s presented, it’s good Kotaku’s actually posting things like this.

      “Change is slow and people living under rocks are apparently very noisy.”

      Ha!

  12. Kotaku and the rest of the Gawker network are garbage anyway.

    As a trans reader, every one of their sites has offended me at some point in time.

    Remember when one of the Gizmodo guys went on Reddit and pretended to be dying from cancer? Yeah…that was class.

    1. Agreed… even with Jezebel. They’re pretty good at “feminism 101″ issues, but for anything beyond that they’re pretty awful. I can’t even begin to describe the number of articles involving trans issues that mentioned “sex change” when talking about SRS.

      1. What’s wrong with “sex change” when applied to the surgery (and NOT to the transitioning person, as it is used sometimes and I understand why it’s offensive then)? It never seemed that it would be offensive, and I do not wish to offend anyone even accidentally. I’ve tried looking this up online but mostly came up with sites that said it was a bad term without explaining. Then there was one that said “Referring to a sex change operation, or using terms such as pre- or post-operative, inaccurately suggests that one must have surgery in order to truly change one’s sex.”

        However, most feminists I’m familiar with make a distinction between sex (the physical or biological traits, to say it loosely) and gender (everything else, again loosely). When someone makes the decision to undergo SRS, a common reason is to bring their physical body more in line with their own identity, and “sex” as I understand it, is necessarily changed by this surgery – that’s part of the reason for doing it after all!

        I also thought that this might be a problem with my understanding of the word “change,” having only recently begun speaking English with any frequency. Perhaps the offense of the term stems from recognizing sex as a continuum rather than binary either/or trait? I.e. Saying “sex change” is offensive because it suggests that you are either a man or a woman, and this surgery is what makes the difference entirely, when in fact, someone who is transitioning begins with taking hormones and preparing themselves long before the SRS, and the man/woman distinction is not so clear as many make it out to be. But as far as I can tell, “change” applies to both continual traits and binary traits. If someone grows an inch, this is “height change” even if it does not make that person “tall” instead of “short”. Is this not the case?

        It is also possible, of course that there is historical significance to the term of which I am unaware, as is the case with some slurs which no amount of analyzing alone will reveal the offense of without proper context.

        Anyway, I hope you do not think I am being dismissive of your experience! That is not my intent at all. But I think it is important to understand WHY something is offensive and not just THAT it is offensive and also, wise to give people the benefit of the doubt when they say something that is “pretty awful” out of ignorance and not malice (especially in a case such as this, where it may not be apparent even to someone who looks at the term closely why it is offensive).

        1. “give people the benefit of the doubt when they say something that is “pretty awful” out of ignorance and not malice (especially in a case such as this, where it may not be apparent even to someone who looks at the term closely why it is offensive)”

          I agree with this. Some people might disagree and say this is a matter of forcing yourself to grow thick skin, or to silence yourself, but I see it more as a way of being respectful.

        2. Oh, I don’t think anything Jezebel messes up on is done with malicious intent: I just think they don’t have a good grasp of feminism beyond the obvious, easy stuff. The problem is that the amount of money they make is directly proportional to how many people read their articles, so the articles themselves are biased towards being “scandalous” because yellow journalism is more profitable.

          As for why “sex change” is not a great term… first and foremost, it’s just outdated and sensationalistic. Unfortunately, it’s been used in the past as a sort of go-to phrase for people to undermine our identities and basically say “hey, look at these crazy tr*nnies and how weird they are!” In that sense, it’s almost like a slur. And slurs are usually best left in the past along with the attitudes that created them.

          Second, the term is just not accurate. Physical sex and how we determine if somebody looks “male” or “female” is so much more than what’s between our legs (all things considered, it has pretty much nothing to do with it, as you never see the genitals of 99.999% of the people you meet), and those changes we experience are a result of hormones and completely separate from any surgery. So saying “sex reassignment surgery” (SRS) or “genital reconstruction surgery” (GRS) is not only less sensationalistic, it’s more accurate as well.

          Third, it’s kind of alienating to those who do not wish to have SRS. There are plenty of trans people who don’t want surgery and live successful, fulfilling lives as their target sex/gender, and it’s kind of invalidating to their identities to frame SRS in terms of “they haven’t changed their sex yet.”

          The corollary to the third point is that it’s inherently reductive towards trans identities. I mean, identities are complex things, multifaceted and constantly evolving. And being a trans woman who identifies simply as a woman, female, lady, gal, etc… to say that some part of that identity hinges on whether I get a “sex change” just seems a gross oversimplification.

  13. It’s been interesting to see this dialog unfold! I’m not a Kotaku reader so in some ways I’m still getting up to speed on the debate, but I do think some of the comments in this thread are a little disrespectful of Joel – it’s completely fair to criticize him, of course, but implying he is engaging in bad faith simply because you don’t like his tone isn’t really appropriate.

    As for the comments… well, I can’t claim to have read all of them, but they were not as bad as I expected, given how much heat the commenters get! Some were flippant and dismissive, some seemed reasonable, some offered legitimate challenges, some were warm and welcoming, and some just seemed silly.

    That said, the commenting system on Kotaku seems completely unusable to me, though. The threading is rarely used and hard to read, and there is so little discussion compared to one-off comments that I’m not sure it even makes sense to call the users a ‘community’.

  14. I posted this on the related thread, thought I would add it to the current discussion:

    I’m not a regular Kotaku reader, but saw the article through a friend’s twitter and wanted to chime in briefly .Let me state first, that I am a straight black male.

    This debate centers entirely on what you see Kotaku as. I see it as a niche site aimed at a large demographic- the average adolescent male gamer. I see this site as a niche site aimed at a smaller demographic. If Kotaku should include minority views, shouldn’t minority focused sites include majority views?

    I get that this is not about Kotaku per se, and that they are representative of the gaming media in general. But even so, demanding inclusiveness is the wrong way to go about it. No one inherently deserves to have a business create content catered to them. If the mass media is not appealing to your desires, create your own. See BET, Jet, Ebony, Univision, etc. When the audiences of those get big enough, the mass media will realize they could be making more money and start to try and cater to your demographic. This doesn’t mean that your criticism that it is not inclusive is incorrect. But there is a difference between being exclusive by not allowing people in, and being targeted to a demographic that isn’t you. I don’t care if a dance club wants to cater solely to Rumba music, even though that doesn’t interest me in the slightest despite my love of dancing and music. I will however fight it if they won’t let me in the door because I’m black.

    Just wanted to add my voice. Thanks for generating discussion. Making contact with people different than you helps open minds, even if it won’t necessarily change editorial policies. And finally, good on you for creating your own outlet. The more diverse gaming audiences are, the more diverse the products will be

    1. “demanding inclusiveness is the wrong way to go about it.”

      Asking people to treat you with some consideration, or at least like a regular gamer, is demanding inclusiveness?

      “If Kotaku should include minority views, shouldn’t minority focused sites include majority views?”

      No? That just dilutes the content and purpose of sites that specialize in a certain critical perspective. Kotaku’s not really a niche site at all – it’s big and bills itself as a sort of catch all nerd culture and videogaming general news central.

      I agree that more creators from different walks of life is a great idea in the gaming industry, but it’s not like this article on Kotaku was asking for anything people don’t deserve. Poisonous attitudes have to be called out or else nothing happens, nothing changes, nothing gets examined at all.

      1. “Asking people to treat you with some consideration, or at least like a regular gamer, is demanding inclusiveness?”

        Yes. You are not being treated inconsiderately, you are just not being catered to. Being excluded is different from not being included. By starting these posts, Kotaku is at least trying to have the conversation about how to be more inclusive. Obviously the editorial staff doesn’t get it, but I don’t think they are trying.

        “Nerd culture” is fairly well defined. You want to redefine it. I’d like that too, I enjoy games but find the culture around it embarrassing. I’d also like the cultural definition of “man” to be different than what is reflected in “men’s magazines”. However, I think definitions should be a reflection of the reality. The reality is, the majority of gamers fit into Kotaku’s demographic, and the majority of men fit into the stereotypes perpetuated in men’s magazines. Media businesses simply cater to what they think is the largest audience. I wish people had better taste (read, more like mine,) but, they don’t. I could take over CBS and force them to cancel 2 1/2 Men and replace it with new seasons of Arrested Development, but most people would just change the channel.

        “it’s not like this article on Kotaku was asking for anything people don’t deserve”

        What it asked for was not just inclusion, but specific targeting of media to a niche of the market. No one “deserves” to have media targeted at them. I get the issue, and understand the frustration of being a minority audience. However what minorities deserve is to be treated with respect, protected from discrimination, and given equal opportunities. Having mass media produced that appeals to you is not a fundamental right.

        That said, I hope videogames can continue to evolve to be covered neutrally like other traditional media/entertainment, and that the audience continues to expand beyond the stereotypes. It is already happening, but evolution takes time. Again, I am very glad these posts went up, and that at the very least, the discussion is starting. Showing people that you exist is the first step to getting attention.

        1. “Being excluded is different from not being included.”
          Sorry, just had to read that out loud, and it still makes zero sense to me.

          Also: hi, your logic is one that has been tossed around a lot, and is not a unique or interesting perspective. It’s just the same old excuse for the same behavior. “It’s a shame, but it’s reality” is the exact reason we should want to change that reality, and silencing or chastising those who want to change it is counter-productive. At least, for everyone who is not benefiting from the system at hand. My suggestion to you, if you truly think that it’s unfair to marginalize people, is to let them have a voice. Why? Because then reality will change. Straight white men won’t be the majority, because there was an aura of inclusiveness to other demographics. It’s almost a catch-22: there aren’t more XYZ gamers because the gaming industry doesn’t appeal to XYZ people. The gaming industry has the chance to actually change their end of the cycle. Soooo … let’s do it? :)

          1. ““Being excluded is different from not being included.” Sorry, just had to read that out loud, and it still makes zero sense to me”

            See his danceclub analogy below. While it would be a flagrant civil rights violation to refuse entry to blacks to the rumba club, it is not a civil rights violation to only play rumba music there and not, say, jazz or hip-hop. Ultimately I think his point is that the very existence of Kotaku is not in and of itself a form of systemic oppression.

            HOWEVER, if, while he at the club, the other patrons gave him threatening looks and created a hostile environment, mere access to the club would not enough to convince me he is not being oppressed. I bring this up because of the commenting situation at Kotaku, which according to some visitors can be cruel and unmoderated. That said, as I mentioned above, the comments on Mattie’s article actually didn’t seem anywhere near as offensive as I’d expected.

            1. That analogy is crock for a multitude of reasons. Musical taste is not equitable to the social issues at hand. (You aren’t, for instance, born with only an appreciation for country music and had to struggle with that your whole life.) And being told you’re not welcome somewhere is indeed what Kotaku, and most of gaming culture, is doing. It may not be clear to those who aren’t being pushed away, but it’s clear-as-fucking-day to those who are. Because when you get past convincing people that there even is a problem, then comes the myriad of excuses as to why they’re happening. Most of them end with “because you don’t matter!”

              I agree that Kotaku isn’t some hideous blemish on the internet or is the only site to be a bigoted cesspool, but it represents gaming culture; my culture. And it’s doing it wrong.

            2. “You aren’t, for instance, born with only an appreciation for country music and had to struggle with that your whole life”

              Unfortunately, for some people I’m not sure this is the case! :)

            3. “That analogy is crock … being told you’re not welcome somewhere is indeed what Kotaku, and most of gaming culture, is doing”

              There’s a fundamental miscommunication occuring here, and I think I’ve begun to understand why. This is actually an aspect of Mattie’s piece that I found problematic but was unable to explain why until now.

              There are two issues at stake and, while they are related, they are not identical and require different tactics if we are to make progress on understanding either of them… or attempting to make changes.

              The first is Kotaku’s editorial perspective and the selection of content. I believe this is what ProjectPat was speaking to with his rumba club example.

              The second is the environment in the comment section, their moderation policy, and the attitudes of the site’s audience themselves.

              I think we need to be both more specific and more targeted in our criticism of one or the other. The reason the “Fat Ugly or Slutty” site was successful is because it directly targets gamers who behave poorly… and I say this with reluctance, because the mean-spirited tone of the editors at that site turns my stomach nearly as much as the subjects of their mockery.

              Also, I have to ask – ProjectPat, are you actually the rapper, or just a fan?

            4. ~”There are two issues at stake and, while they are related, they are not identical and require different tactics if we are to make progress on understanding either of them… or attempting to make changes.

              The first is Kotaku’s editorial perspective and the selection of content. I believe this is what ProjectPat was speaking to with his rumba club example.

              The second is the environment in the comment section, their moderation policy, and the attitudes of the site’s audience themselves.”~

              Actually, I think is problem is that you see it as two different issues. It’s been stated from the getgo that the problem was both. These aren’t two parallel issues; they’re connected in that one directly affects the other. The lack of diverse content sets the tone for the comment area.

          2. @Angel:

            I couldn’t disagree more. As I said, I agree that they ARE related, not parallel, but I don’t think its at all clear that more diversity in Kotaku’s content would necessarily lead to to a more inclusive tone in the comment section on its own.

            Obviously the tone and the feel of the site is created by both the content and the comments from the readership. However, actually implementing the changes that we’d like to see would involve making a series of decisions, some of which involve the content of the site, and others which involve the comment section rules and moderation.

            1. And then I would have to ask: if you walked into a club, no matter what music was playing, and you found a patron dressed in blackface telling racist jokes while the owner laughs and/or gives him a free drink – where is the personal taste level in that? You may see it as two issues; one is the bad idea, and other is housing and condoning. To me, they are both the same problem, even if there are multiple things happening to create it. It’s why people say you’re just as guilty as the wrongdoer if you don’t report the crime.

            2. Exactly, feministgamer.

              @Kasey:

              When Kotaku posts something it’s saying “we respect this point-of-view”. If closer comment moderation didn’t follow, it wouldn’t feel sincere. For example: Even when many mainstream (read: White, able-bodied, cisgender, young, heterosexual) feminist websites attempt diversity by posting content from marginalized person, they fail to check to their commenters when things get ugly and the people they are trying to welcome feel even more ostracized….which is exactly what happened when they posted Mattie’s article. The moderators have to take a stand and say what will and won’t be tolerated. Stronger moderation must follow increased diversity of viewpoints, or we’ll end up right back where we started. You can’t have one without the other. To put the idea in reverse, it would be hypocritical to post “-ist” content while strictly moderating the comments for -ist language.

            3. “You may see it as two issues; one is the bad idea, and other is housing and condoning”

              Exactly. I feel a need for more specific rhetoric. I see this as extremely seriously and important; if ones goal is to make a change in people’s thoughts and behavior, being able to craft a message that is as clear and unambiguous as possible is vital.

              Why is it so important? Look at this very thread! People who care about these issues are arguing and talking past each other, largely due to miscommunication on the simplest levels.

              “To me, they are both the same problem, even if there are multiple things happening to create it.”

              My perspective is this: if we want to resolve a problem, it’s not enough to identify the problem. That’s the first step. However, that’s not the real work…. addressing it requires being able to look at and talk about the sources of the problem and actually make changes.

          3. @feministgamer Here is the difference between exclusion and lack of inclusion: if I lived in 1850, I would be excluded from voting in an election; if I lived in 1950, I would be able to vote, but no one in the mainstream would be including me in the conversation or addressing issues that uniquely affected me.

            All of this simply depends on what you are looking for. If you want more content that would appeal to female or LGBT audiences, it seems like Kotaku would be willing to do that, but they don’t know what that content would look like and I haven’t seen anyone suggest what that content would be. That was the biggest flaw in Mattie’s editorial. If you want them to exclude content that appeals to their current audience but is unappealing to a female or LGBT audience, that isn’t going to happen until gaming is more diverse, and I think the diversity needs to increase before the editorial policy will change. Note by unappealing, I am NOT subtly endorsing anything patently offensive or discriminatory.

            I understand as well as anyone what it is like being a minority. But I’ve made peace with it. The mainstream will rarely appeal to me, and that’s ok. The world is a big place and I have plenty of alternative sources that speak better to my sensibilities. The inclusiveness in the world has changed dramatically for the better in the past 50 years. The fact that you didn’t get the difference between exclusion and lack of inclusion shows how far we’ve come in some respects. Discussions like this help keep things moving.

            @Alex – As a straight black male gamer, I disagree. It skews towards straight adolescent male gamers aka the majority of gamers, but I find the majority of their content asexual. They do have a fairly masculine editorial voice, but the only solutions I can see to that is to replace male editors with female, or to strip the personal tone to be more neutral and professional. I’m not sure either of those are acceptable. Obviously you can also add a female voice, but if you don’t replace someone on there while doing it, you have to justify the expense. Are there going to be enough increased pageviews to justify that for a business? Is there likely to be in the near future if you gamble and hire ahead of the demand curve?

            I realize people here are unlikely to agree with this. Just wanted to add some perspective from someone who sympathizes with both sides while relating to neither.

            1. ~”If you want more content that would appeal to female or LGBT audiences, it seems like Kotaku would be willing to do that, but they don’t know what that content would look like and I haven’t seen anyone suggest what that content would be.”~

              That’s their job, not ours.

              Marginalized persons have had to learn about bigotry the hard way – by living it. It isn’t going to kill a privileged person to pick up a book and read about it.

              ~”I understand as well as anyone what it is like being a minority. But I’ve made peace with it.”~

              Then why are you here? If you’re fine with a defeatist attitude and you can live with being ignored by mainstream society, why are you so intent on convincing others to leaves things alone the way they are? Why do you care?

            2. That’s fine if that’s how you, personally, would like to deal with marginalization. But there are other ways of dealing with it – like not putting up with it. And those become more prevalent when there aren’t “plenty of alternative sources that speak better to my sensibilities.”

              So is your point about being exclude vs not being included is that one is purposeful, the other is just unfortunate? And what then, after we point out the situation? People like you say “well it’s unfortunate and that’s how it’s got to be” – which is purposeful exclusion. It’s not “oh you’re right let’s fix that!” It’s acknowledging that there’s a problem and then dismissing it or excusing it. Every. Damn. Time.

              So please, stop playing devil’s advocate. There are enough actual devils we have to put up with. Sorry that equality in gaming journalism and marketing means less booby pics, but you know what? You’re an adult. There are “plenty of alternative sources” for that for you. And they’re not even covered up with game controllers that force them into a subject matter where they don’t belong! Yay!

            3. One more thing:

              ~”@feministgamer Here is the difference between exclusion and lack of inclusion: if I lived in 1850, I would be excluded from voting in an election; if I lived in 1950, I would be able to vote, but no one in the mainstream would be including me in the conversation or addressing issues that uniquely affected me.”~

              If you tried to legally vote in 1950, in many places in the US you probably would’ve been harassed, beaten, and/or killed. How is that not exclusion?

        2. Kotaku claims to be a blog for gamers.

          Currently it is only a blog for cis, straight, white male gamers.

          That is the problem we are trying to fix.

        3. “You are not being treated inconsiderately, you are just not being catered to.”

          I AM talking about people being treated inconsiderately. That’s entirely separate from being catered to.

          I think the poster below saying people are conflating two issues – “I’d like to see more inclusive content” and “I’d like people in gaming media AND other posters to treat me with a certain level of dignity” – is correct. I’m personally talking about the part of the article that talks about the later.

          I also don’t agree that nerd culture is “defined”. People who love books are nerds. People who build race-cars are nerds. People who collect stamps are nerds. Nerd culture’s MARKETING and branding methods – particularly videogame marketing methods – are pretty monolithic. That’s not the same as a culture, no matter how much advertisers wish it were.

          “The reality is, the majority of gamers fit into Kotaku’s demographic, and the majority of men fit into the stereotypes perpetuated in men’s magazines. Media businesses simply cater to what they think is the largest audience.”

          And it’s a shitty, damaging model. “These stereotypes exist and that’s why they’re catered to and it’s simply the way it is!” is pure bullshit. The human race isn’t a gallery of cartoon stereotypes. We’re complex, often very confused creatures bombarded by more mass media than has ever been avaliable in the history of the human race. Advertising assumes we act a certain way because that makes it easier to manipulate people. It reflects reality in the most crude, distorted ways. It’s like a funhouse mirror that wants your sixty dollars.

          “That said, I hope videogames can continue to evolve to be covered neutrally like other traditional media/entertainment,”

          That we agree on.

          “and that the audience continues to expand beyond the stereotypes.”

          But it already HAS. The average gamer is getting older and older. A huge chunk of gamers are women. “College-aged hetero white male GAMERZ” is simply the most pandered to in advertising.

          “Again, I am very glad these posts went up, and that at the very least, the discussion is starting. Showing people that you exist is the first step to getting attention.”

          I disagree with some of your fundamental assertions, but we’re of the same mind here at least.

    2. I see it as a niche site aimed at a large demographic- the average adolescent male gamer.

      The incorrect assumption being made is who is the average adolescent male gamer. And because Kotaku is such a large gaming site, why should one assume that it targets only the male demographic?

      If Kotaku should include minority views, shouldn’t minority focused sites include majority views?

      They’re called majority views because they’re already every where.

      If the mass media is not appealing to your desires, create your own. See BET, Jet, Ebony, Univision, etc. When the audiences of those get big enough, the mass media will realize they could be making more money and start to try and cater to your demographic.

      Ebony has been around for 66 years. Mainstream media representation of Black men and women has barely moved beyond stereotypes. How much longer do we have to wait?

      I don’t care if a dance club wants to cater solely to Rumba music, even though that doesn’t interest me in the slightest despite my love of dancing and music. I will however fight it if they won’t let me in the door because I’m black.

      But that’s exactly what is happening! They are saying that they don’t care if you’re a POC, or a woman, or LGBT, or differently abled, they just don’t want to have to deal with it or think about it or see it. By attempting to shut down discussion from anything that doesn’t have to do with being an “average adolescent male gamer”, they are barring the door from those who don’t fit in with that identity.

    3. Sorry. Fixed my quotes:

      The incorrect assumption being made is who is the average adolescent male gamer. And because Kotaku is such a large gaming site, why should one assume that it targets only the male demographic?

      “If Kotaku should include minority views, shouldn’t minority focused sites include majority views?”

      They’re called majority views because they’re already every where.

      “If the mass media is not appealing to your desires, create your own. See BET, Jet, Ebony, Univision, etc. When the audiences of those get big enough, the mass media will realize they could be making more money and start to try and cater to your demographic.”

      Ebony has been around for 66 years. Mainstream media representation of Black men and women has barely moved beyond stereotypes. How much longer do we have to wait?

      “I don’t care if a dance club wants to cater solely to Rumba music, even though that doesn’t interest me in the slightest despite my love of dancing and music. I will however fight it if they won’t let me in the door because I’m black.”

      But that’s exactly what is happening! They are saying that they don’t care if you’re a POC, or a woman, or LGBT, or differently abled, they just don’t want to have to deal with it or think about it or see it. By attempting to shut down discussion from anything that doesn’t have to do with being an “average adolescent male gamer”, they are barring the door from those who don’t fit in with that identity.

      1. Wow, lots of great comments since I last refreshed. I don’t really have time to respond to them all, but would like to address a few quick points.

        - Any comments I’m making are strictly on editorial policy. I don’t read the comments there, can’t say anything about it. If they aren’t adequately moderated to prevent bigotry, that is a serious problem.

        - @Angel, I don’t know how you can logically claim they are shutting down discussion about these issues when the staff has featured several editorials on the issues. It isn’t part of their regular daily content, but that isn’t the function of the site. Editors have expressed a willingness to be more inclusive, yet haven’t been able to figure out how without eliminating content that appeals to their existing audience.

        As for mass media moving beyond stereotypes, I think it is happening now, and has been for awhile. Mass media is more diverse than ever. But I also realize I’m a minority. Blacks make up about 13% of America. I don’t expect to have more than that % of “air time” in mass media. Thank god for the internet, which easily creates homes and outlets for minorities.

        @feministgamer – if Kotaku is publishing bigoted content, they are trash. If they are failing to moderate bigoted comments, they deserve the criticism they’re getting. From my experience I haven’t seen this, but I’m not a regular reader. The worst things I’ve seen from them is T&A cosplay shots. While I can understand not having any interest there, I don’t think that is in the same league as the offensiveness of black-face. Of course, that is tied to my own personal biases based on race and gender. I don’t think it advances any gender/sexual issues to deny sex, I just think the power roles need to be equal. I think that has gotten considerably better, but still has ways to go.

        Finally, @Kasey- thanks for the support, glad I’m not completely on a limb. While I have met him a few times, I am not the actual Project Pat. Just a random handle.

  15. Apparently the word “Kotaku” means “a place where people write massive walls of text about things they claim to not care about at all”.

    I mean jeez, talk about your cognitive dissonance. If you really feel THAT compelled to write a treatise on why we’re wrong, maybe it’s because there’s a even hint of truth to what we say.

  16. Ugh. This whole ongoing ‘discussion’ and the, ah, twists and turns it has taken in its path has left me pretty disheartened. Unexpected? No. But still disappointed and repulsed (by the commenters on Kotaku from Mattie and Denis’ posts, and the writer weirdness butting into Mattie’s article to undermine it — as I can see it in no other way than defense/subtle offense), like I thought would happen. Still, being vocal and visible and wanting to be represented and acknowledged is important.

    Kudos and much love to you, Mattie, for all the work you do on the podcasts and in continuing to hold these discussions and willing to be visible/heard. Even when people *just don’t get it* or can see through their own privledge. :)

  17. first time poster. i got here while reading up on the tetris documentary.

    have read the articles and posts and whatever else i could get i couldn’t but ask myself that other than the words flying between authors what is the way forward. the kotaku readership is the majority if a may assume and they get the content they are assumed to enjoy. i dont know whether kotaku should move to incorporate the marginalized view point and im not sure thats exactly how we would want it.

    but the civil rights movement was something like this. you have a majority that dictates the content of what life in America is like and you have a marginalized portion that disagrees. some want to go back to africa, others want integration and still others just want to kill as retribution or seek reparations.

    what do we have now? its not the perfect solution and the “previously marginalized” are slightly marginalized. the optimist in me says that hate isnt forever and neither is misunderstanding or ignorance, however you find that blantant racism has been slowly subverted with underlying racism or replaced with demeaning a culture new to the cooking pot.

    i dont think there will ever be a time when everyone will get it because sadly ideas never die they just lose most of their supporters for the next best supporter idea. there will always be a dissenting opinion Is it totally out of the question to leave the “privilaged white male/gamer” to his own and continue growing this community.

    1. If I read that right (your punctuation was way off), you’re proposing that the privileged (in this case, the straight white males of Kotaku) be left alone to evolve and come to their own conclusion of not actively offending demographics, because someone’s got to be oppressed so why fight it? Just trying to understand.

      1. (Punctuation and poor spelling will be my down fall) the lack panthers got militant but that wasn’t exactly the answer. I was hopping to sound more world weary than out and out pessimistic. I just think that we you can do so much here. I know we might want to change minds and enlighten and all that but why isn’t anyone actually building or leading up to the alternative. I think e presence of a vibrant, engaging and fun alternative community filled with gamers, game makers and reviews who who are not afraid of an inclusive description of gender and sexuality would help bolster what’s being said on e soapbox. I’d like to believe that we won’t be oppressed or that no one ever has to. I’m black. Born in zimbabwe, raised in southern california and now working in south africa. I’d love to say the change happened in all these places but I just keep seeing a little more of the same each day. This discussion is a start, don’t get me wrong, I’m just trying to search myself and else for the next step. Someone earlier said that trying to convince one of these internet bros is to paraphrase is somewhat futile when you can discuss with those you have a more direct impact on and move on from there.

  18. Alright. I’d really like to avoid sounding combative, but I don’t think I’m going to be successful.

    In reading through these comments, I’m feeling like there’s some misdirected outrage and and just unreasonable expectations. Whether or not you take exception to Joel’s introduction to the article (which seems pretty innocuous), the fact that this is an issue being broached at all should be encouraging. Lashing out and searching for additional reasons to take offence is not going to facilitate constructive communication.

    And all of this talk about moderating community comments really concerns me. I will agree that the Gawker family’s comment system is about the crappiest I’ve come across, but it sounds like you’re suggesting limiting people’s ability to communicate.

    This is the internet: anonymity brings out the worst in a great many people. Particularly amongst gamers, historically, a rough and abrasive tone and irreverent/obscene language has always been common. As a featured commentator to the Kotaku article attempted to explain, ridicule in the Kotaku comments section isn’t presonal: it’s really just how these nerds talk. If you give them ammunition by telling them you’re queer or black or like karaoke or whatever, some people are going to use that, sure. Don’t give them personal details, and they’ll revert to blanket insults. It’s all the same to them.

    That’s not an intolerance issue, it’s a general human decency issue. Unfortunately, the internet is not where you find decent behavior, and the concept of “saying anything I want is a basic human right” is not the kind of attitude which is going to propagate pleasant discourse for a lot of people.

    What I’m trying to say is pick your battles. Considering the fight you have ahead of yourself, try to be as gracious to others as you want them to be to yourself. Bear in mind the context of the content that’s upsetting you, and try to determine if there are mitigating factors.

    We don’t have a right to be pandered to. If you want a community to cater to you, it will need to be built. It’s unrealistic to approach established communities and demand that they start providing you the service that you want at the expensive of the previous customers. It’s perfectly natural to want equal access to all services, but it’s not okay to expect all services to change their behavior to suit your demands.

    Vote with your dollars!

    1. ~”And all of this talk about moderating community comments really concerns me. I will agree that the Gawker family’s comment system is about the crappiest I’ve come across, but it sounds like you’re suggesting limiting people’s ability to communicate.”~

      How is asking people not to be racist/(cis-)sexist/homophobic/ableist limiting their ability to communicate?

      ~”If you give them ammunition by telling them you’re queer or black or like karaoke or whatever, some people are going to use that, sure. Don’t give them personal details, and they’ll revert to blanket insults. It’s all the same to them.”~

      Classic victim-blaming. People need to be responsible for their own actions. It’s not our fault for being “different” that people act like assholes. It’s their fault for being assholes.

      ~”Unfortunately, the internet is not where you find decent behavior, and the concept of “saying anything I want is a basic human right” is not the kind of attitude which is going to propagate pleasant discourse for a lot of people.”~

      I’m not going to accept that. I refuse to believe that should just put up with being looked down upon. Fuck that.

      ~”What I’m trying to say is pick your battles. Considering the fight you have ahead of yourself, try to be as gracious to others as you want them to be to yourself.”~

      Apparently, pointing out that we’ve been done wrong is the wrong thing to do. Oopsies.

      ~”We don’t have a right to be pandered to. If you want a community to cater to you, it will need to be built. It’s unrealistic to approach established communities and demand that they start providing you the service that you want at the expensive of the previous customers. It’s perfectly natural to want equal access to all services, but it’s not okay to expect all services to change their behavior to suit your demands.”~

      There is so much fail here I don’t know where to start.

      First of all, nobody is asking to be pandered to. We just want people to recognize our existence and our right to exist without being harassed. For example, there’s a difference between being seen as a gamer, a woman gamer, and a gamer who is a woman. One of them erases a part of the gamer’s identity, another places emphasis on the gamer being a woman, and the other acknowledges that the woman is a gamer while also acknowledging her identity as a woman.

      As for demanding a change to an established community, you’re assuming that the community was established without the presence of marginalized bodies. As you’ve said earlier, it might be better not to reveal certain parts of our identity for fear of being attacked. But why should have to limit our own interactions just because someone else wants to be an asshole?

      We r in ur internetz harshing ur squee.

      And we’re not going anywhere.

      1. Okay, this keeps coming up:

        – ‘Classic victim-blaming. People need to be responsible for their own actions. It’s not our fault for being “different” that people act like assholes. It’s their fault for being assholes.’

        Again, this doesn’t have much (if anything) to do with people being different. Internets folks will lash out for zero reason, over a disagreement. You can be just like that person, and if they decide to be rude, they will be. Providing personal information in a non-secure environment invites unpleasantness. Sure, that sucks. Unfortunately, not everyone is as pleasant as you (presumably) are.

        – ‘How is asking people not to be racist/(cis-)sexist/homophobic/ableist limiting their ability to communicate?’

        You can ask people to do whatever you want. But when you start controlling what they do, it becomes a very different situation. Why do you get to decide what I get to say? If I want to be racist, I can be racist. It’s not “right,” but it’s my right. Different organizations can control the level of vitriol (or just insensitivity) they allow to appear on their sites, but trying to enforce a “no rudeness rule” on a site targeted towards gamers is unrealistic.

        I’m not saying “unrealistic is bad” or “pragmatism is good.” But it’s the way it is. I don’t think as much positive can be affected by railing against those sites as by creating your own utopia. Creating a place (like this) which reflects your values will draw like-minded people to you. It’s inappropriate to impose your own ideals on everybody else.

        Just as it’s inappropriate for others not to play nice, absolutely. In a world of people behaving outside of each others’ comfort zones, we need to find (or create) our niche, not expect everyone to conform to us.

        Are you as tolerant and inclusive towards the religious as you want people to be towards you? All religions? Cultists? Who decides what a cult is? “The only thing I don’t tolerate is intolerance!” Why do you get to decide? People are different. If you want to promote tolerance, be someone who people want to have relationships with. Kill with kindness, don’t expect things to just be how you want them to be.

        Intolerance over gender issues sucks, but it’s not a simple problem, and it’s not a problem that can be resolved by getting your pants/panties in a twist and getting aggro about it. “You people are horrible because you’re not how I want you to be” is not an effective way of swaying people, not in real life, and certainly not on anonymous internet message boards.

        And lastly:

        – ‘nobody is asking to be pandered to.’

        In above comments, that’s exactly what’s happened. To quote you, when asked to provide examples of the sorts of things you’d rather see articles on at Kotaku, you said

        “That’s their job, not ours.”

        Not only are you asking to be pandered to, you’re complaining about a problem and providing no insight as to how to solve it.

        As Kimiko said, above:

        “I don’t think this is a useful pursuit. Kotaku and it’s ilk would better be left to rot. The energy is better spent elsewhere building a nice place.”

        I’d tend to agree.

        1. ~”Again, this doesn’t have much (if anything) to do with people being different. Internets folks will lash out for zero reason, over a disagreement.”~

          There’s a difference between lashing out at somebody because of a difference in opinion and lashing out at them because of something they have no control over such as race, gender, or sexuality.

          ~”You can ask people to do whatever you want. But when you start controlling what they do, it becomes a very different situation. Why do you get to decide what I get to say? If I want to be racist, I can be racist. It’s not “right,” but it’s my right.”~

          Wrong. Your right to express yourself on a blog or website only goes as far as a moderator’s banhammer.

          ~”Different organizations can control the level of vitriol (or just insensitivity) they allow to appear on their sites, but trying to enforce a “no rudeness rule” on a site targeted towards gamers is unrealistic.”~

          Why is that unrealistic? Even kindergarteners know the meaning of the words “play nice”. Why are white male hetero cisgendered gamers (WMHCG) so damn special?

          ~”In a world of people behaving outside of each others’ comfort zones, we need to find (or create) our niche, not expect everyone to conform to us.”~

          This isn’t about conformity; it’s about respect. And if somebody’s comfort zone involves them not having to deal with racism or sexism or homophobia or transphobia because of their unexamined privilege, I say fuck ‘em.

          ~”Are you as tolerant and inclusive towards the religious as you want people to be towards you?”~

          I have been called out for being intolerant of people who aren’t Christian. But instead of saying, “this is the Internet I’ll say what I what fuck u”, I listened. I’m examining my privilege as a Christian in the U.S. I’m learning that my views as a Christian are privileged over the views of those who are not. I’m learning that – OMG! – maybe I don’t have all the answers. That maybe there are people out there who have different experiences who deserve respect and acceptance just as much as I do. I’m also learning that it’s a process. That despite how far I’ve come, there is a long ways to go. Of course it’s uncomfortable, but that’s *my* problem, not theirs. How fucked up would it be to tell a non-Christian not to talk about being a non-Christian just because *I* may have issues with it? How fucked up would it be for me to harass someone just because they identified as a non-Christian? And how fucked up would it be if that person said my behavior wasn’t cool and I told them, “well if u werent being so aggro maybe ppl will listen”? It would be pretty damn fucked up.

          And this is the kind of mess we’re dealing with.

          As for being pandered to, we’re the ones who have been pandering to WMCHG by not revealing our identities and by not speaking up with -ist language has been used for the sake of community. All we want is some respect in return.

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