Think Tank Issues Study on Video Game Ratings

December 11, 2007 -
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank with a free market orientation, has issued a detailed position paper on media content ratings, including those of the ESRB.

Authored by Cord Blomquist and Eli Lehrer, Politically Determined Ratings and How to Avoid Them holds that the ESRB system, while complex, works better than most other rating schemes for media content. Ratings systems alone, however, cannot, over the long haul, influence the type of content produced.

From the report:
The best rating systems have three attributes: They attempt to describe, rather than prescribe, what entertainment media should contain; they are particularly suited to their particular media forms; and they were created with little or no direct input from government.

The [ESRB] system for evaluating computer games works better than most... Parents can tell, at a glance, exactly what they might find objectionable... Congress has held hearings on the video game industry and threatened to regulate content, but the system emerged almost entirely as a result of voluntary private action, and has worked well...

Blomquist and Lehrer, who offer a very readable history of the evolution of content rating systems, contrast the effect of the ESRB to radio, which is government-regulated:
In the radio market, the [FCC]  imposes vague but sweeping content guidelines... The threat of FCC-imposed fines has done nothing to give parents greater control over their children’s radio listening habits — they have virtually no way to protect their children from adult material like explicitly sexual “shock jocks” and violent hip-hop lyrics. Heavy regulation and the absence of a private ratings system have made radio worse for parenting.

The authors look at the severe restrictions imposed on comic books in the 1950's:
Comic books publishers long subjected themselves to an industry “code” that specified exactly what they could and could not publish. While officially a voluntary industry standard, the comics code came into existence following a series of hearings that made it clear that Congress would impose a code if the industry did not write one.

The resulting code became so incredibly specific that it once forbade comics from featuring werewolves, vampires, and zombies. The Comics Code collapsed during the 1990s...

Radio content regulation and the Comics Code fail because they provide very little information — none at all in the case of radio — and attempt to set particular limits over media that, by their very nature, should facilitate a wide range of different types of experiences for a wide range of different types of audiences. Neither takes the nature of the medium into account.

The authors also conclude that politics and media content ratings are a bad mix:
The best ratings systems have evolved in response to market forces. The First Amendment, correctly we believe, has long been interpreted to limit political control over entertainment media, anyway. Ratings systems that avoid government involvement will do a better job giving people the information they need.

GP: Blomquist and Lehrer have provided a well-reasoned look at rating systems. Our only concern is one of objectivity. Despite inquiries, we've been unable to determine whether any video game industry interests fund CEI. The organization has come under severe criticism in the past for its infamous anti-global warming campaign: Carbon Dioxide - They call it pollution; We call it life.

Full report available here (30-page pdf)

Comments

Well, even if they are industry shills, they (*pow* *smack* get out of my head JT! *bam*)...let me start over.

Nice to see someone finally giving the ESRB some recognition. Out of the three major ratings systems I can think of off the top of my head (movies, tv, and games), movies is probably the least descriptive. "R" simply tells me that it's not suitable for children. But WHY isn't it suitable?

At least video games and television (albeit with slightly less descriptive symbols like TV-14, LV) provide some sort of glimpse into how the rating came about.

Good read.

Where is the position paper/study/poll/research/analysis of parental involvement? I mean, all of these groups, whether pro- anti- or neutral-videogames are a solution trying to avoid the underlying problem; parental involvement.

It is great that game ratings get higher marks than other media, especially given the temperature of games-in-the-media these days. But, I think all of this would be moot if freaking parents freaking parented.

Then, all the money spent on these position papers/studies/polls/research/analysis could be put to better use; like advertising parental involvement, or content controls built into consoles, or describing the ratings methodology in commercials or newsprint, or somewhere a parent might see it.

WCC says "“R” simply tells me that it’s not suitable for children. But WHY isn’t it suitable?"

i completely agree, the sweeping brief categorisation is good for a glance, but there's really no more information available than that. to make a right decision, parents in particular would benefit from perhaps a more categorised rating.

I've long held that the ESRB is the best of all of our horrid ratings systems.

I think the CEI is simply trying to earn back some credibility here. Some of their previous.. Commercials.. didn't really help their image in any way.

Very odd that this group would be issuing this. They are mostly funded by big businesses like Exxon.

The MPAA ratings aren't simply "R" or "G" and haven't been for a long time. They always have descriptors. Some of the descriptors are quite funny, too. I remember "R for pervasive language," for example. I don't know about you but I prefer my films to have pervasive language. Intermittent language can be kind of boring at times.

I agree that we need to see where the money and impetus for this study came from before we begin touting it as gospel. The last thing you want to do is get behind something like this only to find that it's credibility can be torn to shreds.

That said, though, they do make some very good points about ratings systems in general and the ESRB in particular. I've always felt that the biggest flaw of the ESRB is that they labeled the most "restrictive" rating "Adults Only" because that immediately brings to mind porn. Why not refuse to rate porn like the movie industry? Porn producers don't need to sell their product in retail outlets so why would they need an ESRB rating?

@Peter/WCC

"R" is like "M". It's a broad sweeping "overall here's the age group this is for" type symbol.

The biggest difference is that while the ESRB has a list of specific "sub-categories" for violence, language, drugs, sex, etc. the MPAA seems to make it up on the fly, for each movie. So there's no consistency, nor is there any guide to what each sub-category for movies means. The ESRB on the other hand, has a lengthy page devoted to explaining those sub-categories.
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@Jabrwock:

Right, that's what I was going for. The thing is that, say, I don't know a thing about a specific R-rated movie, and I'm confident that my child can handle, say, lots of violence, but not sex, then I'm at a loss (yes, I could research it online, but how many parents do you know do that consistently?).

On the other hand, the subcategories that the ESRB provides at least give me somewhat of a glimpse.

jds:
Well, some of the parents that us GP readers would like to be off parenting...could be off parenting, instead of posturing in essays and journals about what damn good of parents they are.

OP:
So, a pro-free market organization likes stuff which isn't gov't regulated, but doesn't like stuff which is gov't regulated? Well, frankly I'm shocked.

Love their 80+ sources, especially the google search. (Full URL C&Ped straight in!)

"Carbon Dioxide - They call it pollution; We call it life."

That was them? They gave me hours of endless enjoyment. Stupidity was never as funny as that.

I thought the article was a really great history of the ratings systems in place. I learned a lot.

They did focus more on praise rather than information when it came to the ESRB but there was still some good history points in there.

The final four suggestions or points or whatever they called them were pretty good and should be taken to heart.

Over all it was a very good information peice but nothing to base anykind of policy off of.

Hey, CO2 gets a bad rap. Its my favorite gas!

The ESRB seems to provide much more info than any other rating system out there. As far as I'm concerned, the critics are knowingly full of crap in their rants against the ESRB- its all about fearmongering.

The media bannings/censorships that happen in Germany, Austrailia, and UK should be all you need to prove government control simply doesn't help. Any politician (or insane lawyer) who says that government regulation in the US won't result in bannings is either overly idealistic, or a grade A liar.

I trust the ESRB system alot more than the MPAA system.For example; the rating of a video game must represent the entire contents of that game, but the rating of a movie on DVD only represents the movie itself and not the bonus features.Thats why whenever you see a comercial for a movie DVD it always says "Bonus Features Not Rated".Just look at the back of a DVD case and it will say the same thing too.The ESRB is just more comprehensive when placed back-to-back with the MPAA.

"Very odd that this group would be issuing this."

There's nothing odd about it. They are a free-market, globalization, keep your hands of our money Government type of organization.

ESRB is a free market driven approach designed to keep Government regulation out of the video game industry. That is its only purpose.

Notice also how they blast the FCC, which is a Governmental organization. Not that FCC doesn't suck...they do, a lot.

ECI is entirely consistent with their lobbying agenda with this report.

What's good about the report is that it really seems to have been done with good research. Their observations, as far as I can tell, are pretty spot on.

@JGS
Yeah, they have descriptors usually tacked onto MPAA ratings, but it's usually just the most greivous thing they found, and only usually one descriptor. I've seen long lists of descriptors from some ESRB games, and that's one thing I like. Especially since the gravity of the descriptor can vary from person to person.

Me personally, I think it's a bit sketchy, and I think that CEI sounds like they are putting their chips on something that'll get them some friends more than actually doing the research. I'm not saying that they didn't do the research, and I can't say that I've read the report, but I'm suspicious after the CO2 ad campaign.

Last time I checked the ESRB has 30ish descriptors and a lot of them redundant, the ESRB needs more fine tuning....

@ Zippy

What redundancy? They have several categories with varying levels of intensity to them. How is that redundant?

A good if long read. Fair to, which is almost surprising except as EZK noted the ESRB was painted in good light, being that I am biased in that direction I tend to agree.

Common themes through-out and hense common sense (which means it will be ignored) would seem to be:

1) Keep the ratings simple.
2) Be clear and easy to understand. Less room for misunderstanding leaves less places for the detractors to attack.
3) Allow for some flexability. Any system that is inflexable will break.
4) Keep the Government out of ratings of ANY format.

There is so much hypocrisy to be found in blasting the game rating system, while praising or even ignoring the problems of the others, it truly makes me sick.

1) The MPAA may have roughly equal-grade descriptors of movie content as the ESRB does for games, but I have quite an extensive DVD collection, and most of them feature nothing more than a tiny [fill in blank with rating letter]. And by "tiny", I mean it took me about two minutes to find the damn thing. (And no, I'm not blind as a bat.)

Meanwhile, unconstitutional legislation has been introduced since "Hot Coffee" that calls for game packages to feature rating emblems so large they'd intrude on the artwork. And probably other bits of information on the back, if the case required the behemoth to be there as well. Un-fucking-believable.

2) The FCC doesn't even actually regulate content on television or the radio. Their entire existence revolves around bending over to a rather small group of people who need something better to do, and handing out ridiculous and hypocritical fines to whoever that group complains about.

Meanwhile, there are calls being made that the government needs to step in on the game industry from lack of self-regulation. I can easily warp a child's mind with a radio better than I can with a video game, even if that game GTA 3.

3) "Parental Advisory, Explicit Content". Do I really need to point out how unhelpful that is? I mean, I'm not on the board that determines what albums deserve this rating, so I have no idea what the parameters might be. Twenty-three years of walking this Earth has very clearly shown me how much opinions can defer, especially when it comes to issues of what's "appropriate" for children.

Meanwhile, there are complaints of game ratings not being descriptive enough. If they got any more so, endings would start getting spoiled right on the packaging.

Granted, I'm an intelligent adult who has a pretty good sense of what kind of content is featured in the various forms of entertainment that I buy. But even I've been surprised by a swear word in a song, a bit of innuendo in a game, and drug use in a movie on DVD.

I'd like to thank this group for railing against the truly inadequate rating systems and aknowledging the only one that works well.

@ Catch 33
most people don't realize that the FCC only fines. They can't actually tell you what can't you put on tv. And The MPAA is a joke because you can put out unrated movies and sell them in stores.

most people don’t realize that the FCC only fines. They can’t actually tell you what can’t you put on tv.

I see. Well, the fines do influence TV content, so I guess they've found a sinister way to regulate.

And The MPAA is a joke because you can put out unrated movies and sell them in stores.

Which wouldn't be remotely acceptable with games.

The paper seems reasonable, and contains our long time message.

"The ESRB works, but you have to look in that box tingajig to see if it appropriate."

(sorry for the spelling)

@ Catch 33

1.IT only influences the networks like CBS ABC CW NBC. Comedy Central Sometimes Adult Swim et alia seem to just ignore it.


2.Which I find incredibly hypocritical. Its ok for jimmy to watch Saw unrated but he can't play Manhunt.

1) I see. I don't watch much television anymore, but I still keep hearing about incidents like the "Super Bowl Nipple Slip", and how it ends up "reverberating through television".

2) Don't you remember? Jimmy can buy adult games at the stores or online, but never "R" or "Unrated" movies. :P

@ Catch 33

1. think about this during you Super Bowl you will see a lot of commercial for pills that get you hard but 3 secs of a nipple is wrong.

2. Hows is jimmy suppose to buy games online in the first place?

The FCC leases out broadcast licenses for the various networks. There are several stipulations that allow the FCC to fine content that violates the lease agreement.

Comedy Central is unaffected because cable channels are not using any frequency bandwidth and instead are coming to your TV over cable(not controlled by the FCC).

I really can't take anything from the CEI seriously because they and objective are about 10 million miles apart. The Institute was made for corporations for the corporate propaganda effort and I would guess that each policy paper they put out is paid for specifically by the industry they lobby for. The question is how much the gaming industry paid CEI to put this paper out.

@jccalhoun graduate student

"The MPAA ratings aren’t simply “R” or “G” and haven’t been for a long time. They always have descriptors. Some of the descriptors are quite funny, too. I remember “R for pervasive language,” for example. I don’t know about you but I prefer my films to have pervasive language. Intermittent language can be kind of boring at times."

The MPAA seems to dumb down the descriptions. For example, "The Sandlot" is rated PG for "Kids chewing tobacco". AVP is rated PG-13 for "Alien Slim and Gore"

Maybe that's what the ESRB needs to do, since parents don't seem to understand what "Sexual Themes" and "Intense Violence" means.

Am I the only one here who kinda wishes JT were reading this stuff, so I could say "Put that in your pipe and smoke it!"?

@ Mnementh

Well, he is here reading this stuff, but he is banned from posting. So you have already said it. :)

LOL Oh wow... this Anonymous is pleased. A winrar is CEI.

1. For retailers: they need to learn not to sell M rated games to kids. There should be a fine if they do this. This would be the only way to narrow the blame of "OMG kids are playing GTA?!" on parents!!

2. For Politicans: These idiots need to learn about todays world. They are so sheltered that they probably don't know how to drive a car. They need to at least reseach the game demographic.

3. For all the children out there: Kids need to stop trying to buy M rated games such as Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat. I swear, most kids will just play GTA and nothing else. They truly don't have a taste for games.

4. For Parents: Games are not for kids anymore. Actually, kids are a minority when it comes to the gaming demographic. Older teens and adults represent 66.6% of the gaming market. Parents need to PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR LITTLE BILLY BEFORE HE BUYS A VIOLENT VIDEOGAME AND THEN BLAMES IT ON THE GAME INDUSTRY AND US WONDERFUL GAMERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On an interesting note, some of the non-gamers like the Parents Television Council(I think they are the ones who said this, I am not too sure) find it "disturbing" that adults play videogames.

@chopperlink

On an interesting note, some of the non-gamers like the Parents Television Council(I think they are the ones who said this, I am not too sure) find it “disturbing” that adults play videogames.

I am not familar with that particular Parental Watch Group but it hardly matters. Worse has been said. There are some that not only think it "disturbing" but go as far as to blame kids playing violent games on Adults playing violent games. They think that a reason to remove all such games. And of course it all about protecting the kiddies.



This is "For our own good" mind you. They feel themsevles to be the moral conscience that we gamers are apparently missing.

According to those types the rating systems do not work or are not strict enough (at which point they Really do not work). They want control to make things "right".
Some might even do this with good intensions (there are always some), those that act out of fear or ignorance, those that just want control, or are seduced by having such power.

Assuming there is no other acceptable options (not bloody likely) and games (or media in general) are shown to NEED rigid controls, which would be the lesser of the evil. Government, PWGs or those like jack?

@Icehawk:
PTC should stand for Parents Tormenting the Constitution. That, and they're the reason I hate the Right-Wing views, oy.

But, just to shut the critics up (again) the ESRB should just enforce the ratings themselves, oy. This is the only effective option I can think of.

@Code Geass: Lelouch the Czar

Don't confuse the PTC with right-wing views.

This is a good look at the ESRB, very well-thought out. However, there are a couple things I don't like about the ESRB.

For one, I don't agree with the ESRB's AO rating. I mean what's the point of it? It pretty much effectively bans a game from getting onto a console. That and their site doesn't help those who want to know WHY this game is rated for sexual themes their site just says the rating and the description you find on the back of the box.

But I guess it doesn't matter anyways.

"The best rating systems have three attributes: They attempt to describe, rather than prescribe, what entertainment media should contain; they are particularly suited to their particular media forms; and they were created with little or no direct input from government."

Amen brother, now all we need is the complete murder of the Ao rating and we'll be fine.

@Geno

My favorite MPAA content descriptor was for the movie Twister. It warned that the movie had (exact quote here): "violent depictions of really bad weather."

No joke.

@Mad_Scientist:
That is messed up. It was a horrible movie anyway, so I guess the MPAA screwed around with it.

On another note, to add on what I said earlier: One thing that groups like the Parents Television Council should know is that America is about being free and having your own view of life, not being free to force others your own view of life.

@Mad_Scientist

Soon the ESRB will have to make game rating descriptions like that. Dumbing it down seems to be the only solution.

I can see it now. Gears of War 2. Rated "M" for lots of red blood and you can cut people with a chainsaw. Also, people use bad words.

The ESRB can't and never will be able to fine anyone. They're a private, non-government run organization. Which means you can't make laws based off their rating system. I remember a couple years back it was big in the news about kids going to R rated movies. No one was checking ID's. It all faded out, because the snag was there was nothing the government could do. It is not illegal to allow minors into R rated movies. MPAA is another non-government run organization.

But really the biggest issue I have will all this doomsday talk is the finances. How exactly does a 10yr old buy a $300 game system and $60 games? That's right, their parents give them the cash or buy this stuff for them. If you're really worried about what your kid is playing, why are you giving him $60 and not checking what he's getting? Even renting. I don't think BlockBuster has started letting kids make accounts and I don't think Visa is handing out credit cards to them.

While it's true that the ESRB doesn't fine people the way that the government does, it can fine people like the NBA fines players. Players are under contract to pay the fines and they want to keep playing. Similarly, game publishers are under contract to pay fines as part of their agreement to continue to be rated and similarly have a desire to continue to publish games with ratings.

No major retailer carries unrated games, so being denied a rating by the ESRB is a death sentence for a game title. So, while it can't throw you in jail like government can for not paying a fine, the ESRB can really hurt your pocket book or put you out of business.

Many in Congress have tried to say that there needs to be better enforcement of the ESRB ratings system, but if you read recent news about the fine-cap, you'll see the ESRB can now fine up to $1 million for deception and lack of disclosure.

In fact, that cap-hike is not as recent as I thought, here's a gamespot article on the subject:

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6152760.html

The AO rating was put in place as a NC17 level and would have worked in a functional fashion but with the console makers banning things its all fcked up artificial censoring is not helping the industry any, the industry needs basic monetary based censoring if they feel they can't sell a project as is then they can edit it to fit who they want to sell it to.
----------------------------------------------
Mad_Scientist
I think that was a joke, someone manage to get the OK to get the OK for it....aint sex for stuff wonderful..or or money...lots and lots of money :P

E. Zachary Knight
Tell me that ALL of these are needed?

* Alcohol Reference — Reference to and/or images of alcoholic beverages.
* Animated Blood — Discolored and/or unrealistic depictions of blood.
* Blood — Depictions of blood.
* Blood and Gore — Depictions of blood or the mutilation of body parts.
* Cartoon Violence — Violent actions involving cartoon-like or animated situations and characters. May also include violence where a character is unharmed after the action has been inflicted.
* Comic Mischief — Depictions or dialogue involving slapstick or suggestive humor.
* Crude Humor — Depictions or dialogue involving vulgar antics, including "bathroom humor".
* Drug Reference — Reference to and/or images of illegal drugs.
* Fantasy Violence — Violent actions of a fantasy nature, involving human or non-human characters in situations easily distinguishable from real life.
* Intense Violence — Graphic and realistic-looking depictions of physical conflict. May involve extreme and/or realistic blood, gore, weapons, and depictions of human injury and death.
* Language — Mild to moderate use of profanity.
* Lyrics — Mild references to profanity, sexuality, violence, alcohol, or drug use in music.
* Mature Humor — Depictions or dialogue involving "adult" humor, including sexual references.
* Nudity — Graphic or prolonged depictions of nudity.
* Partial Nudity — Brief and/or mild depictions of nudity.
* Real Gambling — Player can gamble, including betting or wagering real cash or currency.
* Sexual Themes — Mild to moderate sexual references and/or depictions. May include partial nudity.
* Sexual Violence — Depictions of rape or other sexual acts such as Chinese nipple torture and prison activities.
* Simulated Gambling — Player can gamble without betting or wagering real cash or currency.[2]
* Strong Language — Explicit and/or frequent use of profanity.[2]
* Strong Lyrics — Explicit and/or frequent references to profanity, sex, violence, alcohol, or drug use in music.[2]
* Strong Sexual Content — Graphic references to and/or depictions of sexual behavior.[2]
* Suggestive Themes — Mild provocative references or materials.[2]
* Tobacco Reference — Reference to and/or images of tobacco products.[2]
* Use of Drugs — The consumption or use of illegal drugs.[2]
* Use of Alcohol — The consumption of alcoholic beverages.[2]
* Use of Tobacco — The consumption of tobacco products.[2]
* Violence — Scenes involving aggression, such as fighting, shooting, and/or killing.
* Violent References — References to violent acts.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
with the way smoking is going it will be added with Booze and illict drugs, why do you need use of drugs when drugs+ mature content is more than enough signify illicit drug use, don't even ask why they tossed in strong lyrics when any game to use them is going to have strong content anyway (altho I can barely see PG13 games useing unedited rap/rock music LOL)there are 5 or 7 more than can be changed to properly tell of of level changes in content.

@ Zippy

Took you long enough to come back with a non response.

Refferencing tobacco is different than actually portraying the use of it. Same for drugs.

With lyrics, they are not part of the game content, but are in the game. If the games dialogue uses strong language it gets a different descriptor. Also most games allow you to turn down the music volume and therefore it goes into a different classification from general language use.

Your last sentence really makes no sense. Could you please reword it so that it is coherent?

Ah wait I got my thoughts crossed on the smoking/booze thing :P

still they have 3+ descriptors for "drug" use,my point is they could easily change it to legal drug use and illicit drug use.

E. Zachary Knight
was out for a day, my uncle was just diagnosed with fibermaulja and has been havign a fun time doing yard work and stuff.

My point with lyrics is that most games would already have strong content descriptor but ya looking at some PG13 level films its easy to have lyrics stronger than the content in the film so ya I guess thats a reasonable disciptor.

For drug use
Legal drug content and or use
Illicit drug content and or use
Heavy Illict drug content (anything involing crack hosues, drug hives and the use of illict drugs)

this is much more precise than the 3 in use now,there is no diffrenace in Tobaco and Alcohol its a legal drug also with "legal drug" one could exspand it to any game that used presription meds after a certain point.

@ Zippy,

But that does not tell me much of anything about the nature of the content.

Just as you said, "Legal drug use" could be used to describe a miriad of things, just having someone take an aspirin would have to qualify for that descriptor. It also does not tell me if the game includes alchohol, tobacco, or as I said simply aspirin.

I think separating Alchohol, tobacco and illegal drugs is the best solution. It tells you exactly what to expect.

E. Zachary Knight
No because the only thing that would fall under legal drug use would be prescriptions if used heavily and legalized drugs so it "could" used for trauma hospital and DQ8/FF12 but not lite RPG game X because it dose not have legal drug usage in it, potions and what not do not count.

there comes a time when the people reading the descriptors can only be so ignorant.
 
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Michael ChandraYou want a debate? Build a wall between you and the poisoned well. Make clear you despise it, despise the behaviour. Then get into the other issues you are troubled with, and don't say a single word again about the poisoned well.09/19/2014 - 3:46am
Michael ChandraAnd someone claiming #notyourshield was to be taken serious, when chatlogs show they wanted it going to hide even more harassment behind? Yeah, not buying a word you're saying. You poisoned your own well.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael Chandraallegedly fired over giving a game a mediocre review and the company threatened to pull ads? Sorry but I ain't buying this.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael ChandraBut people arguing this is horrible and just about ethics, even though there's very little support that journalistic integrity was actually violated here, while they never spoke up when a journalist was09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Michael ChandraIf people start with condemning the way GamersGate was used as a misdirection, then use a better hashtag, that would work in convincing me they mean it.09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Andrew EisenOoo, this one came down to the wire! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749082525/nefarious09/19/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoLines like "like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion." are taring everyone questioning the ethics as a harasser.09/18/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Except, none of the articles were talking about gamers complaining about journalist ethics, let alone called them white male misogynists. They were talking about the gamers who were harassing others.09/18/2014 - 8:36pm
Kronomakes plenty of sense. It's rather hard to dismiss someone as a white guy running a sock puppet when they've posted proof they're a woman, or black, or another minority.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat any critics of journalists were white guys that hated women, and could be dismissed as such. It seems to have helped some. It's kind of difficult to maintain the white guy narrative in the face of a bunch of women and non-white guys. So the tag09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat, someone vented on a #gamergate 4chan thread about being dismissed like that. The suggestion they got in return was to organize their own hashtag in response, with #NotYourShield being suggested. Thus the tag came into use to combat the undercurrent09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronomuch more general problem. And while several of the articles were fairly tame, they spured a bunch of people to dismiss any critics of the journalism involved as misogynistic men. Usually with insults aimed at the geek stereotype. After about a week of09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
 

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