I was recently sharing posts on the need for both sides to calm down in the Sad Puppies 3 thing going on with the Hugo, and one of my friends on the site replied to me about how they recently had a run-in with someone whose twitter feed was full of Gamergate and SadPuppies tagged retweets, and how it made them feel unsafe, given that gamergate people will, if you push them too hard, sometimes dogpile on you, dox you, and attack all of your friends. I went and tracked the tweets down and looked at them. Since I had been posting about civility, I figured I should lecture those who are theoretically on my side about how it hurts the image of the Sad Puppies 3 campaign to go around insulting and intimidating people while having the sad puppies name splashed all over their feed. He asked what he did wrong and how he was intimidating people…
I wasn’t entirely happy with my reply, so I spent the next few hours mulling it over while playing Axiom Verge. Ultimately, the best I could come up with was “because you’re associated with gamergate, people will prejudge you about it. Thus, if you want to be taken seriously you need to do all you can to distance yourself from their prejudices.”
But then, I realized where I had heard that line of thought before, and why I was thinking about it now. Earlier in the day, I had read an article about how black students were more likely to be suspended when talking back to the teacher in class, because it was interpreted as being more aggressive than when a white student talked back, and this had me thinking about a documentary I had watched 4-5 years ago about the “black code” which fathers would teach their sons, about how to behave so that you break people’s preconceptions and in the long run change people’s minds.
The argument just didn’t sit right with me anymore.
I still think it’s pointless to insult people on the internet and the person I was talking to obviously took their bait hook, line, and sinker, but I’m not going to tell people to be quiet about it anymore unless they’re doing actual intimidation. It’s just not a valid enough reason that they’re intimidating people by their association with gamergate, especially with the associations that I’ve now dredged up in my own mind about it.