Friday, June 12, 2015

Reddit and GamerGate: how the hugbox eliminated dissent

Before GamerGate had officially launched, Reddit showed its true colors when a mod in /r/gaming who was a friend of Zoe Quinn deleted thousands of messages in a thread about Kotaku collusion with Rock Paper Scissors. The reason give for the deletions? They might be "harassing" Quinn, who was unhappy with the fact that she had become a public figure once the extent of her sexual favors for promotion scheme was revealed.

Normally, this would have been a minor scuffle. Someone posted a criticism of a public figure; the white knights will foam and the trolls will erupt, but otherwise, life back to normal. Not so when people can click on a single link and see the kind of massacre which resulted, then learn about the connections between mods, Quinn and the gaming industry. The rage was forthcoming, and prompted the same response that made GamerGate and now #RedditRevolt powerful.

You can see the full thread here.

As #RedditRevolt explodes into full gear, and alternative sites like Hubski, Snapzu and Voat are buckling under the weight of people fleeing the sinking ship that is Reddit, the curve of history -- not the "right side of history" but its path -- shows a pattern: people try to control information by creating a "safe spaces" type argument under which they can ban dissent, and the user community then rises up against them, tired of being played.

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