Rock, Paper, Shotgun Apology For Using Female Writers

By John Walker on March 27th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

We made a mistake. It’s important as a website that readers can trust that we are up front when this happens, and willing to admit to our failings, and promise to address them. And as recently as last week, Rock, Paper, Shotgun let a woman write an article. We would like to apologise to our readers for any offence caused.

Perhaps what makes what’s becoming known as #PeaSoupGate so serious an error on our part was the apparent subterfuge used in the run up to this article. The author and – we now confess – woman, Cara Ellison, had been writing articles for us for a few months in advance of this particular piece. And with no appropriate warning, the article finished with an image revealing that Cara was in fact female. Clearly many readers were upset, and we now hope to redress the balance over this unfortunate incident.

The piece, an interview with someone else we have since discovered to also be a woman, Rhianna Pratchett, finished with a picture of Ellison in the foreground, with a pot of pea soup in the background. What is so particularly problematic with this picture is that rather than containing the face of a man, as readers trust to expect, it seems we published what is identifiably a picture of a woman.

Naturally commenters expressed their shock and rage. Most were in fact so upset by the situation that they forgot to even mention that their horror was born of Ellison’s apparent lack of a Y chromosome, and instead in their confusion simply argued against the use of an image of the writer at all. With RPS’s male writers having frequently posted their own faces on the site over the years – and of course to no complaint – it just shows quite how wrong it was of us to allow this situation to occur, so upsetting and confusing as it was that people would become so muddled.

Some have observed that it is deeply peculiar that none of RPS’s male writers have ever been so vitriolically criticised for featuring picture of themselves, if it’s even happened at all. Others have claimed that rarely do readers feel the need to comment on whether they find the male writers of RPS attractive or not when images of them appear. Also that complaining about Cara’s writing about herself seems peculiar on a site that is proudly self-indulgent before it’s informative. Lines like “it’s almost like women in games journalism have something to prove” applied to a style of writing used by all of RPS’s male writers since we launched nearly six years ago, they say, appear incongruous. But this is a very insensitive argument that does not take into account the severity of the trauma our interview has caused.

RPS would also like to apologise for featuring other female writers, both born and identifying as female, on a regular basis. Clearly by being women they are imposing their agenda on an undeserving audience, in a way that is inexcusable.

From this point going forward, we will ensure that if a woman is somehow writing on the site, that during the process they will be required to wear a top hat, false moustache, and steely, manly glare as they type, in order to eradicate the unpleasantness so many have had to experience. No longer will they be allowed to “play the gender card” by openly having their gender be so not-male.

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752 Comments »

  1. TV-PressPass says:

    I don’t normally comment on RPS articles, but I love reading them.

    This time I’ll say well done sirs.

    Please continue to stem the tide of the internet as best you can. It’s a torrent of liquid monstrosities out there that I don’t care to see or interact with.

    • evenflowjimbo says:

      Hehe. Now that people found out she is a … she. They’re trying their best to suck up to her. I think that would be worse than just joking around(not the sick stuff, but simple jabs people throw out that’s harmless).

  2. Abendlaender says:

    I’m glad this matter has been resolved and I can come back to RPS now.
    A woman writing? About videogames nonetheless? Ha, what a ridiculous idea. You can write your name with ketchup on the sandwich I can’t even finsh it.

  3. ResonanceCascade says:

    So apparently I missed something. When I read her article, the comments section had ironic things like “uh oh, you showed a woman, here comes the internet assholes!” but I didn’t see any of said assholes actually appear. Now I’m kind of afraid to go back and look at the wreckage of what came.

    • Acorino says:

      yes, there was some awkardness to be sure, but that was the extent of it.

  4. douknoukem says:

    Your unfunny joke aside walker,
    what does that have to do with VIDEO GAMES?

  5. douknoukem says:

    there are better sites than RPS anyway

    how the mighty have fallen

    and not even because of women, that’s funny

    i wonder what’s the point of that non video game article that has no place in the main page

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Then why waste your time complaining in forums on a bad website that doesn’t talk enough about games for you when you could be on a better, more ‘game’ focussed one making positive and constructive comments? One might start to wonder if you care about games yourself more than you care about whinging and being negative.

    • Anabasis says:

      All thoughts that are too complex for a single post.

    • OfficerMeatbeef says:

      Is there a non-”main page” on RPS I haven’t been made aware of?! HAVE I BEEN MISSING OUT ON SUCCULENT NOT-GOOD-ENOUGH-FOR-THE-MAIN-PAGE MORSELS?!!

    • MacTheGeek says:

      No offense, dude, but you suck at haiku.

  6. Sander Bos says:

    This apology feels very insincere. If there’s anything I have learned from Donglegate last week is that in any real apology involving sexism there have to be some announcements of people losing their jobs. Preferably firings at all involved sides, and without proper motivation. This post seems to have none of this.

    On a totally unrelated matter, I have learned an important Internet lesson on Rock Paper Shotgun in the last couple of weeks: Having funny irrereverant error web pages with text adventures only work as a joke if your site has decent uptimes…

  7. zbmott says:

    I hope this doesn’t mean Cara’s going away, because I like her writing and think she is pretty, in a way that I hope comes across as complimentary, as opposed to objectifying or frightening.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      General rule of thumb. If you’re a total stranger and what you’re replying to isn’t really related to their appearance, it’s usually creepy to some degree to tell someone they’re pretty out of the blue.

      I’m not trying to pick on you, that’s genuinely how I gauge these things.

      • Supahewok says:

        I agree, but to play devil’s advocate: why did she put up a picture of herself if it had nothing related to the subject at hand? If she writes for the internet, then Ms. Ellison very well knows the sort of comments her picture would generate.

        To get off the devil’s shoulder: I have lost all faith in the internet in regards to these matters ever since the stream of Project Eternity’s end-of-kickstarter party. In the foreground was Chris Avellone getting drunk and having a merry time drawing quick little troll pictures, some guy’s kid saying kid things, and other revelries and celebrations. When they started fielding questions from the stream chat, what were some of the most repeated questions/ requests? “GET GREEN SHIRTS BOOBS GIRL CLOSER TO THE CAMERA!1!!” “WHAT IS GREEN BOOBS NAME!!!” etc., etc. And the devs didn’t really say anything much about it, but you could tell the woman in question could see the “requests” and how uncomfortable they made her.

        Now, usually you could say that “It’s the internet, everyone’s anonymous, we can say whatever we want!” But the poor woman was RIGHT THERE. IN REAL TIME. Just what the hell.

        I wish somebody in the party had stood up and said “hey internet dudes, cool it will you? We’re ALL trying to have a good time here.” But nobody said anything – at least, not while I was watching. But that was the day I said “Fuck you, internet. Grow up.”

        Sigh. I hate how often people I don’t even have a chance of knowing leave me depressed.

        • Bhazor says:

          God the PE stream was painful. The girl notably kept trying to back away but they kept reading out the comments about her.

          • Supahewok says:

            To be honest, that stream was when I decided that maybe there was some truth to sexism in games, and that a bunch of it wasn’t overblown hyperbole. Or at least that there are people out there who really have no consideration for the feelings of others, no matter how improbable that seemed to me. I mean, for crying out loud. SHE WAS RIGHT THERE. There was no excuse for that behavior. Absolutely none. Cause and effect were crystal clear.

            I don’t bother with getting too deep into the internet, because I know people like that are lurking below the surface (or above it) wherever you go, and they make my soul cry.

  8. evenflowjimbo says:

    We’re not allowed to joke around when it comes to women and gaming. It’s alright that we can call a man who writes an article or in a game a fatty, fatty, two-by-four. Meh. It doesn’t matter, most the community in video gaming are nerds that live with their parents and will fight for some woman online they haven’t even met …

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      Well they also have a series of articles about board games.

      And furthermore, they can write about whatever the fuck they want.

    • Prime says:

      Could it be due to RPS’ readership growing so much that the all the jerks came in and started with their sexist shit and bad-mouthery and suddenly RPS has to police that shit? Could it be because ‘Games’ don’t exist in some weird sterile vacuum but form the basis of a “culture” that people also want to talk about, and socio-political issues comprise a very important part of that?

      Could any of that explain why RPS is not content to “talk about video games and only video games?”

  9. Shooop says:

    The only thing Cara’s written that I really didn’t like was the SimCity preview.

    It was really horribly amateurish – “I’m going to go into this preview trying to make myself absolutely hate this game so I can walk away praising it!”

    There hasn’t been anything like that since. And the Crysis 3 preview that went some very strange places was hilarious. Even more so when you read into it like a snarky jab at the team’s “We’re so serious guys” tone of a game that’s supermen shooting aliens.

  10. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    Gawd. I did briefly flick over the comments and, yeah, just horrifying. While the overtly misogynistic bullshit was bad enough, just about every other comment on there seemed, in one way or another, astonished at the idea of one woman talking to another woman about games.

    Jesus, RPS. How far we haven’t come. That comments section would embarrass any website, let alone one that’s supposed to have something between the ears like this place.

    It’s worth noting, though, that the readership that responded so embarrassingly badly to that article is the same one that’s been reading a lot of John Walker articles on gender in gaming – and still responded like that. I’m not saying John Walker has provoked the shocking response to Cara’s article, but it seems perfectly evident that he’s accomplished very, very little in changing the minds of his readership. To me, that’s not surprising – John is always concerned about chastising people rather than offering actual solutions. He wants to point out how right he is and how wrong everybody else is and, unsurprisingly, this hasn’t changed anyone’s mind, as shown in the rabid response to Cara’s piece. John’s primary concern is to be ‘right’ rather than ‘useful’.

    Maybe if RPS had somebody who wrote articles about gender in games because of their concern about gender in games, then we’d be making more headway in tackling this issue and pieces like Cara’s wouldn’t have such a sorry pile of misogynistic bullshit left in the comments section. Unfortunately, RPS has John Walker, and John Walker writes articles about gender in games because of his concern about John Walker.

    Yes, yes, I know – it’s their website and they can write whatever they want, but I deeply, deeply care about the topic and I hate seeing Walker fuck it up just so he can parade his own credentials around. Gender is an important topic and in this case the toxic attitude that exists around video games stops lots of people from enjoying a pastime that I love. It deserves better than an angry sixth former screaming in the common room about how everybody else is a fascist.

    • alw says:

      Yeah, he should actually be emailing commenters with free information on How Not To Te An Internet Fuckwit and providing counselling for those who wish to change their ways.

      Good grief…

      • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

        Hi alw,

        I guess personal experience factors into this a great deal. Whenever I’ve talked to people who I consider to have prejudiced opinions with a view to changing their mind, I’ve always found that I’ve only made headway when I presented the positive results of not being prejudiced. Maybe you view your experiences as proof to the contrary – nonetheless, to roll your eyes and declare “Good grief!” as if that stands as some sort of “proof” against my opinion seems rather arrogant.

        I’ve had a quick look and it’s just one study, but this certainly tallies with my experience – http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/ironic-effects-of-anti-prejudice-messages.html , although you can mutter “Good grief!” and dismiss that too if you’d rather.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          Agree with Capt Eduardo in principle, if not totally in choice of words. The best stuff I have read on the debate came from Kim Swift. Authors that seek to educate and provide a more balanced article I find to be highly influential. I consider myself pro-feminist yet in the past have found myself unfortunately feeling polarised against some of what has been written here on the side of pro-feminism, and the common aspect to those posts is usually a polarity-strategy positioning. Precisely as the study you link to suggests, even despite feeling sympathetic to their views, their presentation sometimes propels me to the opposite, if it uses a totally-with-us-or-totally-against-us tactic. On the other hand, articles such as Swift’s, the videos by Anna Sarkeesian on tropes, and others have been refreshing and powerful in generating a sympathetic response.

        • alw says:

          My comment just messed up and I got sidetracked talking to writers fixing Castle Shotgun (best error page ever), so I’ll do the short version this time..

          The link you showed was a study. That environment is very different to the situation here (I’m sure you don’t need me to point out the differences). Having said that, you don’t agree with John’s approach, so what do you think John (or RPS) should be doing in order to more usefully address the issues brought up?

          :edit:
          re: my “good grief” showing arrogance – exasperation would probably be closer to the mark.

    • Snids says:

      If someone was to deliberately insult and attempt to degrade me, I would feel completely justified in punching them in the mouth. Right, Wrong and the duty to “educate” wouldn’t come into it in the slightest. In my own house or on the street.

      • Kadayi says:

        And how exactly has that approach been working out for you outside of your head?

        • Supahewok says:

          Well, he posted on the internet, so I’m guessing he’s not in jail. Which means people haven’t tried to “deliberately insult and attempt to degrade me”. So, I hazard to guess, he’s doing pretty well.

          • Kadayi says:

            Yes I’m sure. One never tires of hearing how people would tackle situations they’ve never personally faced like TV heroes.

    • Asurmen says:

      Did we read the same comments section? Because they weren’t that bad. The occasional dodgy comment but far outweighed by normal postings. Certainly not to the point that an article needs writing about it (which also seems to me a bit sexist in of itself. Does she need defending by a male?)

      • samleu says:

        And so are the all ‘Oh, a female gaming journalist. Yay!’ comments felt sexist to me too.

    • Lambchops says:

      I know it’s extremely childish (and just a little bit mean) but it’s quite amusing to read sections of that post substituting the words “gender in gaming” with “John Walker” and “John Walker articles” with “Capt. Eduardo del Mango comment” and so on.

      I’m sorry, I don’t really mean ill, I’m just easily amused.

  11. DickSocrates says:

    This site has gone toxic. Idiot foul minded commenters paired with shit stirring “Flag of truth and justice” writers.

    Bleh.

    • Prime says:

      Yes, and PC gaming IS dead, Piracy doesn’t factor into online-only thinking in any way and Queen Elizabeth II is a reptile come to enslave the planet. Thank god we got that cleared up!

  12. ArmasEctos says:

    A sarcastic slap in the face of sexism!

  13. Christo4 says:

    Umm, what is this all about? I always knew Cara is a woman, i never even read that article because i didn’t care about tomb raider, but i’ve read others (the one about LoL was funny) and i don’t see a problem… I’d like to read more articles from her in the future because they are funny but i really do not understand what all the fuss is about.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      The fuss is that some people see her as not taking the journalism side of things seriously enough and if you will “lowering the tone”. The picture stuff was, from what I saw (I read page 1 when the article released, went back and read page 2 after this and got bored) mostly people saying “hey be careful posting pics of yourself online cuz of crazies” which may be a giant over reaction but certainly wasn’t antagonistic or insulting.

      I did see a few comments along the lines of “she writes this way cuz woman journalists always feel they need to impress” which of course is complete crap. There are plenty of women games journalists who stick to the straight and narrow and would never dream of putting anything flowery into their articles, not because they are women but because they adhere to that style, as the vast majority do. There are also plenty of male journalists who write a bit like Cara. Would we see similar “because your trying to impress because breasts” comments on say a Jim Sterling article should Jim Sterling grow breasts and morph a vagina (a terrifying thought), I think we might.

      However such comments tended to be followed by one or two people somewhat agreeing, and at least twice that basically saying “lol… really guys?”

      Of course the truth of the matter is her articles are personalised and stylised, they are flowery and they will wander, that’s how she writes, if people don’t like it they shouldn’t read it, problem solved. As for the people saying “RPS is going / has gone down hill”… well they don’t have to read RPS.

      Personally I really enjoy her articles, they have the info in there but don’t read as the dull bullet point questions / points you see on other sites, that’s why I like RPS in general, it gives you that little something different and I think Cara and RPS are a great fit as that’s how she writes yet does it in a slightly different way from the other RPS contributors, as in turn do they from one another. From the cross section of comments I’ve bothered to read the majority very much seem to agree and the vocal minority will just have to deal with it.

  14. the.celt says:

    Not really getting the point of this. It seems like somebody is mad at somebody about something and that produced sarcasm and wit. I just can’t figure out any of the variables. As I pursue it I’m a bit afraid I’m only going to find a TMZ-quality dirty geek feud like “Lil Wayne BLASTS Desperate Housewives!” I guess I’ll go check out that Tomb Raider article which *seems* like it might be the source and see what I can learn.

    If anyone wants to give links or explain anything it would be appreciated. Is it worth understanding, or is it just squabbling?

  15. cyan says:

    Pea soup is the worst of All Of The Soups.

  16. Buceph says:

    Woo! A woman writer on RPS!

    It’ll be nice to see a female point of view. And I wish you all the best. :)

  17. AbyssUK says:

    Sorry RPS, but i feel this article has just singled Cara out more because of her sex. If any of the other writers did indeed post a picture of themselves and it was commented on sexually no special post would have been made about it. Highlighting the issue this way, however comical you try to do it has done nothing more than shine a light on Cara and make it look like she needs her fellow male writers to jump in and defend her every time somebody mentions her sex. I hope Cara has a long career in games journalism, she seems to have a good and some what unique style, but she has to take her own flak however bigoted it is.

    • Reapy says:

      Yes, I sure as shit hope Walker cleared this article with cara, did she want to be a scapegoat for his soapbox, or did she want to be treated equally as a writer on this site? When other rps writers are heckled in comments I don’t see posts like this.

      I see this behavior in my workplace too, people white knighting for women because they think they are offended and need protection, when in fact their behavior makes things more difficult. Eg I’ve seen people cease cursing when female comes around the corner, then apologize to her in front of the group, only on the basis of her being female.

      This female of coarse freely exchanges curses and off color jokes while working, had the guy just treated her like normal, she most likely would be laughing and part of the group, instead she is singled out and also the reason for a halt in jokes and laughter.

      From cara’s writing and language she strikes me as someone quite capable of handling herself in a male crowd and doesn’t need to be white knighted a week after a comment section that most people didn’t even look at, and by people that assumed cara is a male name?

    • Sinomatic says:

      Christ, at what point does a male writer get to vocally point out the bullshit surrounding a female colleague without people telling him he’s white-knighting?

      Newsflash: Men are allowed to agree with women.

      It’s like the male equivalent of the ‘fake geek girl’ or something…”Oh they’re only doing it for the cred/attention etc…”.

      White-knighting is a relatively rare occurrence from what I’ve seen, but the use of the term to belittle and dismiss people writing articles and comments like this is rife.

      Also, the people complaining that RPS has changed, or that Cara’s self-referential and somewhat daft style is in any way ‘non-RPS’….I have no idea what the hell you’ve been reading all these years. The only thing I’d say has declined in any way over the years is the average intelligence of the comment section.

      Edit: post fail – this was meant to be it’s own comment, not a reply

      • Bhazor says:

        Except there was no bullshit. People complained about the *content* and the author’s *work* not her gender.

        This article is awful and shows the absolute worst kind of white knighting where John just steams into defend a woman who is perfectly capable of writing her own opinions/defense. Again a defense that was never needed.

        Where was John’s defense of Quinn’s New Vegas WiT? An article that was absolutely savaged in the comments.
        http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/10/21/wot-i-think-fallout-new-vegas/

        • Sinomatic says:

          Well I know I’ve definitely seen comments here saying Cara is ‘bringing too much attention to her gender’ and the like, and comments regarding her photo and such. I don’t know if anything has been removed since, or whether there were comments elsewhere too (i.e. twitter/email).

          The reaction to Quinns article was based on what he said, not the content of his trousers. As game critics and reviewers I imagine they signed up to potentially taking flak for their opinions, male or female writer alike. You shouldn’t have to take any nonsense on the basis of what flavour your fun-bits come in though.

          I don’t object to people saying that they don’t like Cara’s writing style but I do object to the idea that the way she writes is in any way opposed to what RPS is all about. In the same way that I objected when they said it about various other newish writers. Like Quinns (“he’s not KG blah blah whine”).

          But I will ask again…why is it not okay for a man to vocally come out and say to his fellow men “what you’re doing/saying there? Not okay. Not okay in the slightest” (albeit in a highly snarky article, which isn’t perhaps the most diplomatic approach). I see John and the rest of the male RPS writers as allies, and it’s one of the (many) reasons that I prefer RPS to many other sites. I have a sense of being backed up when these issues arise, not of someone jumping around in front of me trying to look heroic.

          • Bhazor says:

            It’s about context. Coming out in support for someone is fantastic and worth commending. “Well done, you have met the bare minumum of empathy”. But this article? Yeesh, if I was Cara I would be furious.

            I’ve been a big supporter of gender articles on RPS.* But this here was an article about a total non issue. A non issue that is until he posted it.

            Now the next article she writes will be inundated with comments about this article. An article she had nothing to do with. In effect this dis-empowers her far more than any commentator could. This is the exact worst thing John could have done.

            Cara’s a big girl, she fills her articles with thinly veiled sex jokes and I’m sure nothing in that comment thread shocked her. If it did, she’d have every right to comment on it. But John taking it upon himself to do this? Jesus.

            Again the vast majority of the complaints were about the text of the article. The inane Tea joke and the self indulgence to the point she was writing more about herself than her interviewee. Just the same as Quinns getting ripped to pieces for the flaws in his New Vegas review.

            *I think you may have even thanked me in a Cyberpunk article for my staying calm with my arguments when everyone was accusing me of being a member of the taliban or something for thinking that “sex sells” is not an acceptable justification for using sex to advertise.

          • Sinomatic says:

            “John Walker ‏@botherer 7h

            RPS has formally apologised for having used female writers. http://po.st/VJUJ0l

            Retweeted by Cara Ellison ”

            Yep, she’s clearly furious ;)

            Truth is, we don’t know how any of it played out behind the scenes, either in conversation between the RPS gang or the level of problematic statements before the delete-o-tron got to them. All I can say is that I saw statements that I was annoyed by in the comments, and that I have yet to take issue with the stance John takes, or his readiness to stand up and say something. I’m not sure this particular piece is particularly constructive in its tone, but at least he’s willing to say something.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      I think this article is more addressing those who posted comments that were not of a sexual nature but instead of a sexist nature. Sexual nature would be childish and silly but could be treated as just that, I personally did not see one such comment from the few pages I browsed, however I did see a fair few comments of a sexist nature, comments such as (this is a direct quote from page 1):

      “Ellie Gibson of EG does the same thing. It’s almost like women in games journalism have something to prove…”

      As I point out in a reply to another comment above, should Jim Sterling be instead Jane Sterling, a women, I’m sure we’d see similar comments on his articles, “you do this because woman and show off to male crowd”. There are many, many more examples, all with differing and yet some what flowery and off the straight and narrow styles, that I reckon, should their sources be female instead of male, would trigger similar reactions.

      It’s ridiculous, un-founded and should not be tolerated. Would you tolerate such a comment based on race, “you do this because black and show off to white crowd”, Christ no you wouldn’t. Why should not being the same as the presumed majority justify anything anybody doesn’t like being linked back to that fact… it shouldn’t. That’s what John was reacting to and while I feel it could have been done by some old fashioned clips to the ear in the comments on the article, I enjoyed reading this even if beyond the wit it is addressing a dark subject in the gaming world, not just journalism but right across it, darker and more prevalent than many like to admit.

  18. FluffKillington says:

    Oh there’s no need to apologise dear; the picture has been added to my collection. You’re all one very happy family, and don’t worry – no one gets left out.

    Very happy.

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  19. Turambar29 says:

    I’m confused; is this a parody of people boycotting the Orson Scott Card-written Superman story? We shouldn’t object to the work of people when we find out something we don’t like about them?

    • Supahewok says:

      I doubt it, John once got in the spotlight for a Tweet that was disrespectful to a recently deceased guy who had been pretty anti-homosexual in life, like Orson Scott Card. I’m sure John is with the boycott, even if he doesn’t read Superman.

  20. Swiss says:

    Don’t see why this was necessary, all it will do is generate more shitposting. This article has some pretty heavy passive aggressive posturing in it, piss take or no.

  21. Snids says:

    Unfortunately, these modern newfangled liberal biased pro-woman ideas are a by-product of having intelligent, entertaining writers. Simply read a shittier website if these things annoy you. I personally fucking love that so many people are annoyed. Your tears are my nectar.

  22. TreuloseTomate says:

    Drama!

  23. caulder says:

    First, since I mostly stay away from the comments section, the only complaint I’ve read about Ellison is that her link to Tomb Raider’s site seems to have a referal, which is a valid criticim as far as I can see and hasn’t been addressed at all in this “article”. Second, this isn’t the Wildean satire Walker seems to think it is, it’s just painfully passive-aggressive dreck. I expected better from RPS.

    • Siimon says:

      Had to login just to say I agree. I expected the first paragraph to lead into introducing Cara proper, but no, it was just humorless, passive-aggressive, drivel.

  24. Blackseraph says:

    Was this really a problem? If so I am truly disappointed in rps readers.

    Or are you just being sarcastic for the hell of it? (Which I do approve, snark is always amusing to read. Especially on important subjects like these.)

  25. gulag says:

    There was a controversy? What was it? I missed it.

    Is it that RPS now has a writer that is a bit like what Kieron Gillen used to be like? That guy was real Marmite. Her biggest concern at this point probably isn’t that she may will catch some flak for being a girl in the boys club, but that she may never write anything that comes close to “Bow Nigger”, while invariably drawing comparisons due to a similar style. There is a fine line between emulating and mimicking.

  26. ckpk says:

    What do you feel is a balanced way of not particularly liking Cara’s writing style without it diving into a targeted sexist dislike? I’m not a fan of her writing style, but it’s in a similar way to not being a fan of Alec’s writing style, rather than because her writing style is more feminine or any rubbish like that. I’d like to keep this as a matter of personal taste, because both of their writing styles aren’t my personal preference from RPS articles, but I also want to make sure that it stays purely as a matter of writing style and doesn’t dip into OMG A GIRL WRITING ARTICLES D:<

    I support ladies writing for RPS because there are no good reasons why they or anyone else that isn't white or male shouldn't write for RPS. I'd genuinely like to know how's best to have a personal preference about writing styles, without those likes or dislikes becoming deeply about gender. Gender obviously plays a part in writing style because it's part of the character of the author, so I want to make sure that my opinions stay about that overall character, rather than MALE = GOOD, FEMALE = BAD.

    Sorry if my post sounds sarcastic or aggressive at all. I genuinely am asking because I feel it's important to have it clear in my head.

    • Llewyn says:

      It’s fairly simple: comment on the writing, not on the writer. Yes, there are inevitably reflections of the one in any comment about the other, but if you try to focus on content and style issues rather than personal ones then you’re on fairly safe (and hopefully constructive) ground. This goes for opinions on any writing anywhere, obviously.

      I’m also not a big fan of Cara’s writing (or Craig’s, or to some extent Nathan’s, for similar reasons). However I did think that the Pratchett interview, written by a writer I don’t much like interviewing an artist I have little interest in about a game I probably will never play, was one of the most enjoyable gaming articles I’ve read recently.

  27. Astalnar says:

    And here I thought it was the article that matters, not the gender of its writer…

  28. mr.ioes says:

    No idea what happened but I’m sorry. Hope everything’s settled now. Now let’s be friends again Cara, let’s play some LOD Dota 2.

  29. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    Anyone that knew of the writers in their pre-RPS days (PC Gamer, Kieron’s blog), or know their outside work (e.g. Rum Doings, Twitter feeds) would know that the hive-mind attitude is broadly lefty, certainly feminist. They have always taken editorial stances on RPS, naturally informed by their politics.

    THIS IS GOOD.

    I have no idea why some think that RPS is an ‘objective’ (whatever that is) games news outlet.

  30. Solidstate89 says:

    I love you RPS, don’t ever change. Or do we need to change due to some of the offensive comments? I guess it’s both.

    Either way, I hope one of my comments wasn’t taken seriously. I made a comment about calling Cara a “meatbag” but it was an HK-47 reference, I swear! =/

    But yes, you editors at RPS; don’t ever change. I lurve you guys (and gals).

  31. DiamondDog says:

    What I’d have to ask is, pointless sarcasm aside, why haven’t RPS put their money where their mouth is and hired a permanent writer that isn’t a stupid blokey bloke.

    Go on John, bugger off and let Cara take your place for a while.

  32. Tom Servo says:

    I think RPS is overreacting here, I only saw a couple of comments on Cara’s interview article that were really inappropriate (admittedly I only read the first page) and the internet is filled with a certain percentage of jerks who will make such comments. This is nothing compared to the abuse women who write articles for sports sites such as ESPN get.
    I think by making a big deal of this, they are hurting the cause of women in games journalism more than helping it. It’s like RPS is saying “everyone be nice to Cara, she is different from all our other writers” when I think most of the commenters here (myself included) have no problem with a woman writing here. All the bad comments seem to be properly treated with scorn and derision as they should be and if anything was really out of line, RPS could just delete it. Anyone who had read her What Gaming Means to Me piece on Tomb Raider would have known she was a woman already, not to mention I think Cara is a feminine name so it’s not like it was a secret.

    • Reapy says:

      I don’t read sports articles, so interesting to know women get crap over there, which is interesting because women are in my experience the craziest of crazy sports lovers. Day to days see a lot more female sports fans than game fans, wouldn’t think it would be out of the norm.

  33. The Hip Priest says:

    There are women writing about video games, the Pope resigned and both My Bloody Valentine and David Bowie have released new albums.

    We live in extraordinary times.

  34. Suits says:

    Apology accepted.

  35. namad says:

    I don’t actually read most interviews, or gaming made me’s or any comments, but I did read this and enjoy it.

  36. Arkh says:

    No, I will not accept this. Burn the witch! Cara turned me into a newt!

  37. Rian Snuff says:

    I find this all very unnecessary and I actually feel bad for her.
    But probably not for the reason one would first assume..

    You guys realize the people who were saying crude things were trolling right?
    Have you heard of it? And you could of known that’d happen since she posted a photograph.
    And yes, you also probably also knew that would happen.
    (And I understand maybe that was your POINT.) So did you troll the trolls? Lol, I’m really not sure if it works this way.
    It’s sort of a huge bastardization really and I find it terrible.

    Theres always going to be people who will abuse any opportunity they can online to get a laugh.
    Welcome to planet Earth mother fuckers..
    In DOTA 2 last night I was called a “n_gger”.
    I was called a “f_ggot”.
    I was singled out for “oh, he’s a Canadian, I get it.”
    I was called a “noob” an “idiot and a “loser”.
    I was told I was a “fat neckbeard living with his mommy.”
    And a few other things that I’m sure were even less notable.

    But you know what? I won, and I had fun.
    With the realization that a strangers pathetic words only hold value if I allow them to.
    And when they do not, they are left unsatisfied and belittled.

    BUT THIS, is just a huge fucking bastardization and I feel genuinely sorry for her and everyone involved. Just grow a fucking pair (yea’ that’s right) and just keep on keeping on man..

    Theres a truly huge difference between truly harmful or amoral words and something some bastard says just so he can watch everyone flip out after. The problem isn’t sexism in many of these situations. It’s people giving too much power to otherwise powerless feeling people.
    Do you think you can win by -fighting- better?
    Sorry, but sexism ISN’T A GAME.

    And again, I’m still amazed this is so much of an issue..
    Oddly enough even after what I said about DOTA last night..
    The ladies in our clan have never even been harassed in any game I can recall for being female.
    Even though we all use our real photos for avatars.. And one of them is proudly displaying her perfectly shaped breasts in hers.. Intentionally.. LOL. (Trolling? A distracting game winning ploy? We’re not sure yet..) But I dunno, even if someone were to.. Like what happens in our chat from time to time.. They WOULDN’T TAKE IT SERIOUSLY, and simply continue talking to the people with an actual sense of humor and treat them equally.

    Yea, I dunno..
    This isn’t how you bring positive change to an isolated issue.
    It’s mockery, it’s bastardization, it’s juvenile through and through on both sides.

    Dude, guys got fucking fired the other day for making a “dongle” joke and were publicly shamed.
    OVER A FUCKING DONGLE JOKE.. How many times have we all giggled mentioning FLOPPY DISKS? OKAY? People are allowed to joke around, that’s a right. No you don’t have to fucking like it. But the more this kind of shit happens, the more THAT kind of shit is going to happen.
    (And it’s not like a girl has never done the exact same fucking thing)

    Should we be fucking scared to talk now? I don’t get it.. It’s pathetic and it’s not how to make positive change. It’s going to make it worse, and it seems to be..

    As your comment disclaimer reads..
    ” Complaining about it won’t change anything.”
    But leading by example does.
    Being a female in this community IS NOT A BIG DEAL.
    It’s no different than being a male in this community.
    It’s no different than being black, white, gay, short, tall, thin, thick..

    People are always going to try to insult and hurt others with words online. That’s just how it is.. Don’t feel bad for the people through their sights.. Feel bad that they are doing that to themselves..

    So yea, sorry for my rant..
    That’s how I feel, yea. Okay.
    Bye.

    • dmastri says:

      Pipe down Canada.

    • Tagiri says:

      “It’s no different than being a male in this community.”

      I think you need to maybe lurk more, bro.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I’d guess you’re a straight white male? Because, yeah, it does make a difference. I’ve never had any abusive terms hurled at me for being male or white or straight. Being called faggot is OK if you’re not gay. It’s less fun if a huge number of people genuinely hate you for who you are. And yeah, people who use homophobic, sexist or racist language online should be banned, and investigated by the police if they make public threats. Would someone who shouted faggot at you on the bus be allowed to ride it? The internet is a public space like any other.

      • Rian Snuff says:

        “straight white male”. *Golf claps* Assume whatever you want I suppose, ha.
        The point is, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as you’re happy with yourself.
        Yes there is situations where a word can mean a lot more to one person then another.
        Do you think she went off balling her eyes out after that Tomb Raider review? No. No she did not.
        And well if you think that, I suppose you’re no better than the other guilty in this situation.

        And if she truly was hurt or threatened chances are we’d of heard about it.
        She could of written an article about this herself in a more respectful and meaningful way.
        But no, instead we got a huge bastardization from someone who ALSO wasn’t even effected by the few troll comments by any notable means..

        I’m beat beat to a bloody pulp while being called a f_ggot. (Notice how I don’t even like to use those words when I’m trying to be serious? It’s out of respect for that community and very people who get hurt those words.. Again, leading by example.. When anyone calls me that anywhere, street bus, bar.. Anywhere. What should I think happens? I think everyone should look at them with shame and that nature should take it’s course, as in. Continue living my life unaffected as possible by it and allow their negative and pathetic ways destroy their life without them even knowing it.

        People have the right to say whatever they want. (In theory right?)
        And we have the right to starve it of value and be the better person.
        They will be judged by it, and if that’s how they want people to view them.
        Who am I to pretend I can stop that?

        How have I led by example in the LGBT community?
        By treating them like any other one of my friends or family whom’ are gay, transgendered or whatever.
        BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THEY DESERVE. But that doesn’t change the fact that trolls will troll. You don’t give them what they want, you simply smirk at them and shake your head with pity.
        Go ahead, scream at em.. Try to debate them.. You can’t do it.
        All you can do is ignore/remove them, yes… And that’s what I’m saying!
        Ignore them, move on.. Delete the shit if it’s that bad, they have that right and ability.
        But don’t make the fire worse by pouring gasoline all over the situation.
        You can’t make positive change with knowingly creating more negativity.

      • Bhazor says:

        @ Gapgen

        Except none of that happened in the Rhianna Pratchett interview.

    • Supahewok says:

      Oh look at that, a moderate voice. Here’s a hint: even though moderation is generally a better approach than polarization, all it really gets is both sides screaming you down. I know, I’ve tried. It saddens me everyday that both sides of any dispute refuse to give any ground or look for any other way than THEIR way.

      Anyway, keep on trucking, brother. Those who are ruled by good sense (ever the smallest and most persecuted minority) rather than extremism are with ya.

  38. ruaidhri.k says:

    Cara was the brand of matches used in my house when I was a kid. That was the only thing i noticed about her other than my normal jealousy that someone clearly a lot younger than me is by far and away better than I am at something (this is a function of increasing age, nothing to do with gender).*

    So please please please for the love of God can RPS just stop employing young people.

    Either that or force all commenters to use their real names. Seriously look up and down the comments (dont even read them) and tell me that it wouldn’t be more civilised if the true shitheads had to put a real name against the deranged bollocks that gets posted.

    * i.e. Writing in a coherent entertaining fashion. If I could manage that I wouldn’t have spent the last ten years redrafting every email I’ve written 5 times. and still having to make a call the next day to explain what i had written.

  39. Serenegoose says:

    I made a ridiculously hilarious post but it got lost in the ether, so I’ll summarise it. RPS is great and Cara is a welcome addition to the site. I hate that all the horde of internet assholes have to do is shout loudly enough and they can shit in the waters of wherever they go, because they’ve got nothing better to do than be toxic individuals. It’s especially disheartening when it feels that being an opposing voice to their nonsense is always too little, too late. Just please don’t think they’re the only ones out there.

    • RobF says:

      Here here.

      • almostDead says:

        Wait, isn’t it hear, hear.

        Don’t you write for a living, amongst other things. How can you not care that you don’t know this?

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          Maybe he does care, maybe when he reads your comment he’ll be mortified and post to that effect. But he never had a chance to express himself either way, you asked the question in the same comment that you corrected him.

          How can you not care about chronology!?

          (This is utterly tongue in cheek I assure you)

        • RobF says:

          Oh god, before you know it I’ll be typing “their their”. I am suitably shamed.

          And tired.

  40. Stupoider says:

    Can we expect one of these articles every time arsey individuals get mouthy in a comment section? Does Cara -need- defending like this?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think it’s useful not to remain silent on this when conservative views of gender are so prevalent in our culture. To remain silent might suggest that RPS is accepting of that kind of viewpoint.

      • Stupoider says:

        Is YouTube a sexist, racist website just because some of the people using it are?

        Trying to “combat” an individuals views, shouting them down and trying to erase their view from the general populace is completely unnecessary. Comment moderation is enough, each controversial comment made ever doesn’t deserve a social justice editorial.

        Perhaps you think that there’s a war that needs waging on immature views, but you’ll be surprised how resilient those immature views are to reactionary responses.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Sure, everyone abuses the internet when they’re young to some extent. But I’d rather that gaming as a culture was inclusive and took a dim view of sexist, racist or homophobic abuse than that the industry just strugged its shoulders and assumed it wasn’t important. If you have young people coming into the community, I’d rather they joined an inclusive, welcoming culture rather than one that tells you implicitly that bigotry is a tolerated, even accepted norm.

      • DiamondDog says:

        I’m not entirely sure what’s useful about a sarcastic article whose tone will mean it’s easily dismissed by the very people it’s addressing.

        If you’re going to tackle this, do it seriously.

  41. breakfastcereal says:

    2sarcastic4me

  42. sharkh20 says:

    In all seriousness, and not to insult the other writers, Cara’s articles have been the most entertaining I have read on this site in years.

  43. IMadeAnAccountJustToPostThis says:

    It’s not women or these elusive misogynistic readers you are afraid of, that are lowering the quality of this site.

    It’s you, John Walker. It has always been you. Week after week you never fail to provide some useless article or terrible article like this one. You scream “bigot” and “misogynist” at shadows when they startle you. You’re an enemy of free speech and rationality.

    • IMadeAnAccountJustToPostThis says:

      I forgot to add that White-knighting is sexist as hell. You think she needs defending? You think she can’t tell us her own concerns?
      Well done John Walker, you win the biggest hypocrite of 2013 award. You want to stamp out misogyny? Start by removing yourself from this site.

      • Cockles says:

        You will never get back the time you spent making your account just to post these comments

      • maddog79 says:

        agreed

      • Gap Gen says:

        I suppose white people who supported the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s were racists, too.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I never understood the idea that a publication setting an editorial stance and filtering its content is against the notion of free speech. Surely that’s precisely RPS exercising its right to free speech? Having a comment deleted is not the same as being dragged away by the secret police.

      I was mildly surprised that John decided to respond to the comments (it’s possible some were deleted comments or emails were worse) but I see nothing wrong with one of the founding members of the site taking an editorial stance based on comments made about a freelancer.

    • Nogo says:

      John is a founding member of RPS, so I’m really confused how he could be responsible for its decline.

  44. dsch says:

    What is this about? Have all the relevant comments been deleted from the other article? All I see is Jaffa cakes.

  45. Goldenspork99 says:

    There is no Y chromosome missing, men just have the better code written on smaller space, step it up women.

  46. Roboito says:

    I’d rather hear/read what Cara has to say about the comments, not Sir Walker of the White Knight’s Table.

    All this article does is single her out more.

  47. Droopy The Dog says:

    I damn well demand a full blown article addressing John’s stance on Jaffa’s place on the cake/biscuit continuum, since there were literally more heated comments about that than Cara’s gender in that article.

    This passive-agressive grandstanding is reaching self parody levels. Yeah be annoyed about this stuff and bring it up, but at least try and walk the middle ground between “meh” and “HULK SARCASTIC!!!” so you can give the proper amount of gravitas to each transgression.

  48. kibble-n-bullets says:

    How much does RPS dislike sexism? I don’t know. They write coy responses and get all passive aggressive about it. I read this site all the time and I like it a lot but this article is well below the bar you’ve set for yourselves.

  49. der_baer_fm says:

    So. Much. Hate.
    It saddens me.
    I remember when i was looking forward to read the comments on RPS.
    Some day, maybe, people will stop to either salivate or rage when they notice women “out of their place”.
    What year is it? 1950 it feels like.

    Keep at it RPS