#Gamergate is the reaction to years of feminist criticism of games and gamer culture as misogynistic. Here's why things like that generally don't happen in sciences such as physics which are just as male dominated. These fields have maturity and a perspective that comes from a formalized or at least semi-formalized system of faculty and students of varying ranks. While what has been called mobbing can and does happen, it is usually not sexist and it is more about getting rid of people who the more powerful feel threatened by their ideas. When that happens there are remedies. Not so in the much more free for all community of gamers. Structure is the answer.
Academic science is notorious for the overwhelming lack of women. Assuming all things are equal there should be about equal numbers of women with tenure their are not. There are also fewer women in school to become scientist (if we exclude bio-medical fields at least). Women have made fundamental breakthroughs and not been awarded a Nobel Prize for it. Gender norms in society as a whole probably influence this imbalance. The supposedly liberal New York Times wrote in the first line of the obituary of a female rocket scientist that she made a mean beef stroganoff .
I am not going to hold the Sciences out as ideal. There are very few women in science and there are very famous writings and speeches about whether or not that is an issue. In science we seek to answer the question of whether or not that is a real problem by way of even more science. Are women less able to be scientist in general? Are women less encouraged by sociological forces, are they misogyny from men, are the gender norms enforced in great part by other women, etc? We don't assume or accuse (much) and ultimately some kind of data settles the matter.
It seems gamers approach this matter as if life were a game.
Sex, Lies and Screencaps
In short this is the core of #GamerGate stripped of all the false intellectualism.
- Boy who's never had girl meets girl.
- Girl lets boy think they are exclusive when in fact girl and boy aren't really exclusive (Girl is after all surrounded by single intelligent men Darwin demands she prevent idocracy by mating with them).
- Boy ignores all common sense evidence that girls playing the field.
- Boy questions girl.
- Girl lies to boy about sleeping with men who incidentally can help girl and who aren't chumps.
- Boy is shocked to learn that people are often hypocritical about sexuality.
- Boy exposes girls lies instead of just letting her be.
This happens plenty on the net. Men and women alike do that to ex'es. In and of itself the post that sparked the firestorm was not really unusual.
The problems started when....
- Numerous Boy's realized that girls will sometimes use sex to manipulate things and decide to do something about this girl. (I thought South Park taught us that a long time ago now?)
- Boy's blog post gets tweeted about and all sorts of boys who have been hurt by girls decide to swarm and mob girl online.
- Girls who may or may not have done this take a "principled stance" saying that they haven't and that being acquainted with and having sex with boys they know who can also do them favors is ok. (Ironically these are the same groups who criticized Sarah Palin for wearing red pumps and batting her eyelashes in a debate. For that matter they think Hillary Clinton's pants suits are worthy of their own pages.)
- Girls and boys hurl pseudo intellectual and vacuous buzz words and phrases at each other.
My conclusion: There are few to no grown men and women in gaming with the authority to resolve these matters. So #Gamergate and #anti-gamergate can just go on forever and ever.
In science, ethics and standards are things written into codes at places where people seriously interested in science and who are of typical gamer age either study or now are faculty. The sciences have their issues with sexism and the clash between the confrontational ways that males behave and the more passive ( or passive-agressive) way that females can behave. If these were two university students both would have been disciplined by now. This would be settled.
Had I the authority to do so, I would decree that all the initiators of gamer gate would have to apologies to each other in writing, and do some community service of some kind. Admit everything they did wrong to each other and move on. At that point, anyone still beating this drum is just a trouble maker and hopefully it will fade.
The mainstream media gets gaming culture wrong too.
The mainstream media act like the gamer culture is new. It is not. The main stream press, like Time Magazine, seem to think a subset of girls and young women being into games and male gamers is new... it is not. Since about 1983 or 1984 it has been mainstream... one of the biggest movies in those years was WarGames.
Just back then only "nerds" were aware of such things. I'm sure many of today's big time journalist when they were young.... they would have identified more with the Jocks in a Revenge of the Nerds movie.
Gamer culture is as old as computers, and it has had a relatively steady but small number of women who are really into it. Heck Ada lovelace wrote the first computer game before computers were ever a real thing . Most of the programmers of the original ENIAC and UNIVAC computers were women! The idea that men won't play games written by a woman is absurd. They just want to play games that are good!
I call on my fellow children of the 1980's the first generation of Gamers to provide some adult supervision to my younger brethren. One older person has tried to talk some sense into the mass Christina Hoff Summers for example points out that male gamers are not misogynistic. We need more of them. We need Professor Falken to deal out some perspective if not discipline. My guess is most of these children, on either side, don't even know what they are doing to each other is wrong. Afterall gamer guys and girls... who do you think you are most likely to meet, greet, and make more little gamers with.
TL;DR: GAMERGATE began and continues because the gaming community is immature as a community. Once it matures it will have some sort of hierarchy that can impose meaningful sanctions on behavior. Until that happens Gamergate and anti-gamergate will continue. More of the same misbehavior that started it and makes it continue will occur.
The sciences have people like the real life inspiration for Professor Falken, if they give you even a look of disapproval as a student you're done. No one can really do that among gamers. So this could go on for years.
(Edited to clean up auto "correct" induced errors)