Geek culture halcyon Felicia Day was doxed only moments after expressing her fears that it would happen Wednesday. The event once again highlights the rampant insanity that has gripped gaming culture in recent months. Day herself expressed fears that this would happen, and has largely remained silent on the issue for that reason.
For the uninitiated, “doxing” is the practice of releasing private details about a person in a public manner. Typically this is done by either cyber stalking the individual or hacking into their personal accounts. Day was the victim after posting on her blog about her fears regarding GamerGate.
The GamerGate scandal began in earnest in August, but has its roots in events from late last year. Indie game developer Zoe Quinn created a game called “Depression Quest” and reported receiving harassment soon after, most of it in the form of sexually explicit phone calls and emails. This continued, more or less under the radar, until August of this year when the entire gaming community was enveloped in an all out civil war when Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, Eron Gjoni, posted some accusations leveled at Quinn regarding her promiscuity and infidelity. Soon after, she was the subject of copious amounts of harassment and threatening behavior.
The ensuing fallout led to some deeply troubling revelations about the gaming community, much of it centering on misogyny and privacy issues. Gamers have divided into two main camps over the scandal: Those who support Quinn’s right to be both female and a gamer, and those who are portraying themselves as guardians of journalistic integrity.
Much of the argument for the journalistic integrity comes from the fact that Quinn, a developer, dated a gaming journalist. Apparently this was enough evidence for some to see a conspiracy (or “Quinnspiracy” as they call it) within the industry. They then engaged in absurd attacks on her, accusing her of “sleeping her way to success.”
Despite the fact that someone’s personal life is hardly anybody’s business, and their professional life rarely is either, most of the attacks were on the basis that she is a woman. Quinn did an interview with Cracked.com a few weeks ago to answer some of the accusations, and just a cursory glance of the comments section there should give you a taste of what the atmosphere of the scandal really is. Even if Quinn, or anybody else for that matter, were to use personal relationships to advance their career, it’s extremely bizarre that it has garnered this much backlash and hatred.
Men’s Rights Activists, aka the worst people on the internet, have now seized on the scandal as a means of trying to subjugate women with their usual charm. Even the most ardent of Quinnspiracists are attempting to distance themselves from the madness that is the MRA corner of society.
For her part, Felicia Day has mostly remained silent on the issue, and now we know why. Even now, she did so only to express her fears over the issue, calling back to previous issues she’s had with stalkers, some of which ended with restraining orders. It only took a few minutes for someone to post her personal information in the comment section of the article.
Those who are continuing to engage in this type of behavior are still attempting to paint themselves as occupying the moral high ground. They see themselves as warriors fighting against an unjust system that victimizes them. To them, we can only say a few things:
First of all, the fact that someone is dating someone else within interrelated industries does not matter. If someone is engaging in promiscuity, it is nobody’s business. To attack someone for their sex life is exactly the type of thing that our society has been fighting to prevent. This is not to imply or state that any of the sexual behavior that women in the industry are accused of is true, nor is it to imply the opposite. It is to simply state that it is completely outrageous that anybody feels the need to make it their business, much less use it as a tactic in a debate.
Secondly, participating in hostile activities, such as harassment, threats, or doxing is completely the wrong tactic. Even if someone feels completely justified in doing so, hell, even if they are completely in the right on an issue, engaging in such tactics is always wrong. No exceptions.
As for Felicia Day, hopefully she can continue to be a bright light in geek culture and continue to enjoy the lifestyle she enjoys. It is unfortunate that another woman who is looked up to by many others as a successful woman has had to endure this type of insanity.
“So I write this to urge any person, male or female, who now has the impulse to do what I did, to walk away from something they loved before, to NOT,” she wrote in her blog entry. “Don’t let other people drive you away from gaming.”
We can only hope she is able to take her own advice following this event.