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  1. #1

    Depression Quest And How We Deal With Controversy As A Community

    Apparently there doesn't seem to be a topic about this weird controversy that set the indie gaming scene ablaze. So apologies if this has been posted before already, but I thought that it was interesting talking about this since it touches a very serious issue about how, as an interconnected community, we gamers deal with controversy and how we perceive feminism in gaming today. An issue that seems to be very close to the heart of RPS.

    I'm sorry for the wall of text, but it's a very complicated controversy that needs some explaining.

    A good friend of mine who has been dealing with depression because he got mobbed out of his work due to his homosexual orientation recently started playing "Depression Quest", a game that is freely available on steam. Intrigued by the nature of this game an because I was a bit worried that my friend started playing a game with such a peculiar name, I did a little research and stumbled upon the blog of the creator, Zoe Quinn. I was promptly greeted by a very confusing blog entry called "Once again, I will not deal with terrorists."

    At first I thought that the internet was throwing another tantrum because somebody dared making a text-based game about a very serious issue, similar to what happened to "gone home". But as I read further, the issue seemed to revolve around personal issues with a disgruntled ex-boyfriend.

    Confused about why a game developer feels the need to publicly defend herself for what seem to be mostly private issues, I decided to dig a little deeper. A quick google search later, I immediately regretted doing so. Apparently the whole twitter sphere is arguing about this, including well known names such as Totalbiscuit, JonTron, Phil Fish, Stephen Totilo and RPS' very own Nathan Grayson.

    Now I really don't want to go into personal and private details about what started this whole controversy. As with my personal friend, who was fired because of a very private matter that is and should not be of anyone's concern, I believe that matters of sexual nature do not belong in the public sphere. What you do beneath your very own blankets is your own problem and nobody has the right to judge your person except for the people involved.

    What does concern me though is the manner how the gaming industry is dealing with this controversy. Social-media are fine and dandy, but have we all forgotten about the risks that are involved in publicly discussing personal matters? Youtube and especially twitter are open platforms accessible to everybody! I cannot fathom why so many public figures of the gaming industry and even gaming journalists feel the need to insult each other to the detriment of other people's private lives. I understand that the whole argument was started by a broken-hearted person, we all do stupid things when we are emotionally injured, but why do public figures, that represent our gaming community, feel the need to escalate things even further by publicly throwing insults and slinging mud at each other over a public platform? I expected more professionalism.

    Secondly, I am truly worried that important issues on gender-equality are forced to take a step back, adding fuel to the raging flames sparked by those who do not see the need in equal rights for every human being. As a humanist I couldn't care less about the particular interests of feminism and masculism, since gander-equality cannot be resolved in conflict but in the insight that we are all human beings entitled to equal rights. Defining opposite genders or sexual orientations as the scape-goat does very little to further the cause. It will only result in people getting angry and closing their ears because they feel personally insulted.

    What really rubs me the wrong way though are people seeking personal (and/or) financial gains by claiming to be a public representative of a cause that is important to so many people. Even worse are people preaching one thing to the masses while practicing another. Integrity is an important thing if you don't want to harm the very cause you seek to publicly represent! It only helps to further cement prejudice. It is the reason why politics and most religions are finding themselves in such a desolate state. But I don't want to make the discussion even more complicated than it is already, so I won't delve into that now.

    Furthermore, if you truly care about your cause, you do not lose your main principle or goal out of sight. You certainly do not compete with similar causes only because they differ in minor details. And most of all, you do not try to sabotage said causes only because they do not fall in line with your own narrow definitions. In the same way, you do not denigrate similar causes only to promote your own due to the very selfish desire to remain at the center stage of said cause.

    The Fine Young Capitalists is an indie game jam seeking to promote women making video games for charity. As stated by the organizers themselves, Zoe Quinn tried to boycott their cause over the definition of what qualifies as a woman and is therefore able to participate. In the same breath Quinn promoted her own feminist game jam, accepting donations for a cause that has yet to be defined. What is even worse is that the donations seem to flow directly into Quinn's personal paypal account. I guess it's even the same paypal account that feeds into her patreon since paypal seems to be the preferred patreon payment method.

    Lastly I am worried about the tight connections between indie game developers, promoters and game journalists. It is a well known fact that game reviews cannot be, by human nature, absolutely objective. But if a game is being promoted or awarded, I'd like to know about existing relationships. For the same reason that I do not trust studies on environmental issues published by big oil companies, I do not wish to see games awarded or promoted by close friends of said developer. Depression Quest was one of many games IndieCade included at their 2013 festival as part of their "Night Games" selections. One of the jury members was Robin Arnott, with whom Quinn had an intimate relationship. The game was greenlit on steam after a second attempt a couple of months after the game received the Indiecade award.

    I know that the indie game scene is quite small and that everybody knows everybody else, but what is true for most domains is also true for indie games: don't mix professional and personal relationships!

    Finally one must admit that with great representability comes great responsibility. If you want to act as a public figure you need to hold yourself to higher standards otherwise you should not complain to find yourself amidst a massive social-media shitstorm.

    Maybe it is time that we take our responsibilities as a community and carefully choose who we want to actually represent us. I know it is a tedious thought process and certainly not an easy decision to make, but at least we avoid personal harm to those unfit to do so. I am truly sorry for Quinn in the way that we as a community deal with this on twitter and other internet-platforms. If the private and personal backlash is certainly unwarranted for and the result of a rage filled minority, certain consequences are defined by your own actions.

  2. #2
    There have been threads. They've disappeared.

    Bye bye!

  3. #3
    Really? I was not aware of that. Why did they disappear?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by strange headache View Post
    Really? I was not aware of that. Why did they disappear?
    Deleted by the Hivemind. The subject is verboten apparently.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Shhh, you'll all disappear.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    Also, people have been treating each other in most excellent fashion in those threads.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    I feel bad that you spent so long typing all that up and now it's going to get locked or more likely deleted before the morning.
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by strange headache View Post
    Really? I was not aware of that. Why did they disappear?
    I realize the layout of the forum makes it easy to skim by, but there is a pinned announcement at the top of the forums page answering this question.

  9. #9
    Oh... well that's disappointing. RPS was never afraid to talk about these issues, so why now? I kind of understand that they don't want to jump on the hate train, but we are a civilized folk and certainly able to discuss this in an equally civilized manner. Were any specific reasons given?

    EDIT:
    I realize the layout of the forum makes it easy to skim by, but there is a pinned announcement at the top of the forums page answering this question.
    I'm sorry I was not aware of this. Still, I think the statement doesn't really explain why we can't talk about this. It certainly was not my intent to "destroy a person's life" :/
    Last edited by strange headache; 25-08-2014 at 11:29 PM.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squiz View Post
    Also, people have been treating each other in most excellent fashion in those threads.
    I figure the only way we could possibly get any more excellent is by turning into a young Keanu Reeves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    I feel bad that you spent so long typing all that up.
    Me too now that you just pointed it out. Thanks a lot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    I feel bad that you spent so long typing all that up and now it's going to get locked or more likely deleted before the morning.
    Indeed. The issue of integrity of is a big one and increasingly it does seem that given the ever more cosy relationship that exists between members of the enthusiast press and developers in terms of fraternization concerns arise about the veracity of both the reporting and the reviewing of games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squiz View Post
    Also, people have been treating each other in most excellent fashion in those threads.
    I wasn't around when the deletion occurred (Divinity had my attention), but from what I understand there was nothing unexcellent about it. A few raised voices but nothing that directly breached the site rules, which makes it's complete erasure frankly baffling in terms of justification.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I realise now that the rule to be excellent is only for us peons, not the community's architects.

    Edit:The joke is, blanket censorship makes people talk about things because it creates not only hysteria (Streisandgate etc) but also because it creates an actual informational vacuum. People who know nothing substantial, not even about the censorship will post threads and such.

    Dear Hivemind,
    After you lock this thread would you please consider posting a sticky topic listing al the things we may not discuss. Not for us in the know, for all your would be new community members who will inevitably end up at the wrong end of your moderation sticks without any explanation as to why. It's only polite.
    Last edited by Heliocentric; 25-08-2014 at 11:46 PM.
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  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    I wasn't around when the deletion occurred (Divinity had my attention), but from what I understand there was nothing unexcellent about it. A few raised voices but nothing that directly breached the site rules, which makes it's complete erasure frankly baffling in terms of justification.
    Some of the ... less tasteful posts live on in quotes despite having been deleted. There was plenty of unexcellence as best I can tell from coming in and reading the thread post-closure.

    I realize the layout of the forum makes it easy to skim by, but there is a pinned announcement at the top of the forums page answering this question.
    The pinned announcement is a little vague and occupies the same place a former pinned announcement about the whole "now we're moderated differently" thing making it easy to miss in addition to being incredibly and unnecessarily vague. Christ, if we're going to delete threads becasue things are not to be talked about let's at least be explicit about it, huh? "We don't talk about the thing we don't talk about" is about as useful as a toilet plunger with holes in it.

    "PS: If nothing of this makes any sense to you, good for you."

    That attitude is complete crap.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 25-08-2014 at 11:49 PM.
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  14. #14
    Since it took me a while to reflect on this and write it up, I leave deletion to moderators scrutiny. But now I really wonder if what I wrote was disrespectful or insulting in any way?

    The issue of integrity of is a big one and increasingly it does seem that given the ever more cosy relationship that exists between members of the enthusiast press and developers in terms of fraternization concerns arise about the veracity of both the reporting and the reviewing of games.
    English is not my mother language but you expressed in a very concise manner what I wanted to say.

    The pinned announcement is a little vague and occupies the same place a former pinned announcement about the whole "now we're moderated differently" thing making it easy to miss in addition to being incredibly and unnecessarily vague. Christ, if we're going to delete threads becasue things are not to be talked about let's at least be explicit about it, huh?
    In my humble opinion the announcement is very aggressive and a bit condescending. Now that I wrote about this, I kinda feel a little bit insulted because of this:

    For the slim chance that you are one of these people and you read this: you need help. This is not healthy behavior. You're not the good guys here.
    I don't think that this is truly excellent behavior...

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strange headache View Post
    In my humble opinion the announcement is very aggressive and a bit condescending. Now that I wrote about this, I kinda feel a little bit insulted because of this:



    I don't think that this is truly excellent behavior...
    That too. It's vague and rude. Also I think I stealth edited, so I'll repost this bit that bothered me particularly much:

    "PS: If nothing of this makes any sense to you, good for you."
    Again, that attitude is complete crap. And condescending. :\

    It's hard to be a community if we're not supposed to understand what's going on.
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

    You ruined his point by putting it in context thatís cheating -bull0

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Huh. I seem to have missed the closure of the Denmark thread. How come? I thought that was moderator approved? Well, one mod at least. Last time I checked, people weren't being unexcellent to anyone.

    PS. I haven't taken part in this discussion, since I have neither the time nor the energy at the moment, but I will say that the aggressive censorship is really bothering me.
    Last edited by Fanbuoy; 25-08-2014 at 11:57 PM.

  17. #17
    intriguing, i actually have a strange headache..

    anyways,

    most triumphant (well-written)
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  18. #18
    Private website, private rules.

    When you registered with the forum you agreed to this rule:
    The owners of The Rock, Paper, Shotgun Forums reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any content item for any reason.
    Don't whine.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theclockworkrat View Post
    Don't whine.
    Where's the no whining rule?
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theclockworkrat View Post
    Private website, private rules.

    When you registered with the forum you agreed to this rule:


    Don't whine.
    Yes, they have the right to do it. That doesn't mean it doesn't suck. I know it's their house, their rules, but some of it is very unfortunate. I don't come here because it's RPS, I come here to discuss with (or just read) unusually reasonable individuals. Not being allowed to do so is not something that I approve of, and I am most definitely going to whine about it.

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