If Everyone Hates You: Phil Fish fighting to help Zoe Quinn

Close your eyes. Imagine we lived in a world where everything happened in a vacuum, sortof. So, you release a game you made, make some posts about it, but are not able to see the responses to them. You are not able to see other people’s opinions of your or your game. What a world this could be. If only. 

But, you take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life. Developers need to see responses, sometimes they’re constructive, most of the time they’re not. But, for that small fraction, you must see it. 

Now what does that have to do with the title? Nothing. So let’s move forward into the crux. 

If you were a lobbyist for Gay Marriage, you’d want all the support you can get, you’d want to make sure that this injustice is gone, that there is no more issues with regards the rights of Gay Couples as opposed to straight couples. Right? Everyone is welcome to help you fight your battle. Really? Everyone? 

“KKK supports gay marriages, burns a cross on the lawn of anti-gay marriage lobbyists”. Not everyone should voice their opinions, especially if they truly care about the outcome. This has been touched upon in a South Park Episode before. Sometimes it’s not just about the amount of voices, but the voices themselves. A Hated Group or person can ruin a valid cause, unbeknownst to it. They’re trying to help. They want to help fight the injustice in the world, especially on such a controversial subject. 

But here’s the problem, people hate you. You may have the most valid opinions in the world, the most unique insight into a situation, the best arguments against the injustice, and be an all around voice for the downtrodden. But none of that matters when everyone hates you.  

If everyone hates you, or a vast majority hate you, no matter what you say, you have harmed the discussion. I know you don’t mean to, but you do. 

Of course, I’m not talking about the KKK in this scenario. In the South Park episode previously mentioned, the town is arguing about how their Flag is racist or not racist. Some say it should be changed because it’s racist, and others say it’s apart of culture. This is not a cut and dry issue. Cultural Significance over Offence or Offence over Cultural Significance isn’t an easy choice. It’s easy to just say change the flag. But, that flag has existed a long time, if you acknowledge that it’s racist and everyone does that then it ceases to have it’s original meaning and instead becomes an old idea. If you get rid of the flag, you’re destroying a part of history in order to be politically correcct. Tricky Shit guys. But, then the shit hits the fan when the KKK come out as being pro keeping the flag under the pretense that it is culturally significant. The original group don’t want to be associated with the KKK as it diminishes their argument. It is foolish for a group people hates to come out on a stance they believe in for this reason. It diminishes the entire argument. 

Now let’s move off South Park and the KKK. The reason I bring this up, is because Phil Fish diminish things by speaking out. No offence to Phil Fish, but a hell of a lot of people hate him. Holy shit do a lot of people hate him. And with this, a lot of people like to argue with him, spite him, troll him, threaten him, and all around fuck with him. This is fine ( well not really, because it’s just caustic internet bullshit drama). The issue occurs not when Phil says something arbitrary, or innocuous, but when Phil says something with great meaning. The issue is, though what Phil said on a subject or stance is entirely valid, the fact that he was the one who said it can ruin the sentiment. This happened with his post about Youtubers using his Gameplay Footage. Fuck Phil Fish, he has no right to money because we’re using his game without his permission. Except, he has a valid point. It’s a valid point, but sort of a hot topic still. Who owns the gameplay? The Player or the Game Creator? But, because Phil said it, it get’s shit on. And that’s the issue.

I mention this, because of Zoe Quinn. Zoe Quinn is the creator of Depression Quest (an interactive choose your own adventure style website about depression and it’s effects, outcomes and a message about how it’s not too late for people). It’s fairly innocuous, it’s free. It’s arguably not a game. It’s on Steam. Here’s where the shit hits the fan. A Woman has the audacity to make a not-game and get it on Steam and put it up for free? She must be taken down a peg. So, of course she gets rape threats, death threats, hacked on social media, the whole shebang. Because gurlz don’t make games and shouldn’t be on the internet. They should be making sandwiches and being subservient to guys. Then a bunch of posts from an ex boyfriend saying that she screwed around with prominent names in Gaming Journalism, with the implication being made by the internet that she did this for special favours, good reviews and promotion of her game. The internet paints the picture of a manipulative harlot who’s not afraid to do what she has to to get to the top. Except, this isn’t House Of Cards, where Zoe is Frank Underwood. This isn’t a world of naive people who instantly see sex as a transaction like money for goods and can be tricked into doing their bidding, where only Zoe has an agenda, and everyone else is just there to be manipulated. That’s not how the world is. Everyone has an agenda. Fucking EVERYONE.  This isn’t someone plugging their game for profit. This is a free game, these are just names in gaming journalism. Things just happen. This is a jilted ex, a prominent name in feminism in gaming, and the anonymous people of the internet who wanted chaos, saw conspiracy and screamed and pissed and moaned about censorship.  

The stance which Zoe firmly stands on (and rightly so, though I guess in some ways I’m being a bit hypocritical, apologies for that) is that she is entitled to her privacy. Which is true. Her private life is her private life. This is all valid. She shouldn’t have to be the only one accountable for the accused actions, also true. She is being targeted because she is female, arguably true. As far as I’m concerned  her entire stance is solid. In fact many game developers have came out to back up her stance, to help fight the trolls, etc. Alot of great names, trying to help out a fellow gamedev. Rami of Vlambeer, Adam Saltzman of Flixel/Canabalt and … Phil Fish. 

They’re all right, don’t get me wrong. They’re all doing what is right. They are fighting for privacy, for feminism, for equality and for the hypocrisy and sheer sexism within the games industry.

But, one of these things is not like the other. Sadly, I must harken back to South Park and the KKK (and by all means I don’t mean to actively compare Phil Fish to the KKK in terms of anything but how much people hate them both). Phil Fish diminishes the argument. Phil Fish feeds the trolls. He gives them reason to keep fighting. To Keep Arguing. To Keep abusing him and Zoe. He is a fuel to a fire. 

That is the issue. You can’t fight trolls with something they hate. They’ll just keep coming. They’ll be angrier.

The only way for Phil Fish to help Zoe Quinn is to completely derail the trolls. He must be the Dark Knight. He must draw them back to him. He can take it, he must take it. He must derail them, or go silent. Those are his two best options. Because, what he’s doing now isn’t helping. 

PS:

I like Phil Fish. He represents a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and his voice on the internet. That is compelling to me. I don’t hate him. But many people do. You can’t change someones mind about hate. As seen in the video “This is Phil Fish”: if Phil Fish isn’t an asshole then I’m the asshole, and that just can’t be true. There’s the problem. 

I have no problem with Zoe Quinn. Her Game was free, no problem. Her game helped people understand an issue. She is a strong voice for feminism in gaming, and a strong bringer together of Indie Devs (she set up a huge Google Doc full of Devs and their Expertise and what they’ve worked on and it’s a really cool project). Her private life is not my business. She in no way brings women in gaming back with any of these scandals and gossip. Women in gaming are a group, she is a member. She is an active member, her private life has no impact. Slut-shaming is abhorrent(as close as to what I think is going on, unless there’s another word) and bears no relevance to her impact in gaming. She’s not going away any time soon. 

I have a problem with mob mentality, witchhunts,doxing, bitching about someone who has no impact on your life except in the most insignificant way possible and alot of other things. Nepotism is everywhere, don’t delude yourself to thinking that is a valid point for anything. Most people have jobs because of nepotism. Most people you probably like were in some way favoured and brought to the fore in front of more “worthy” people because they knew the right people. 

There is no mass conspiracy. Occam’s Razor dudes.

Special Favours for Sex sounds incredibly messy and unreliable. Most people can separate work them for private them (ProJared’s review of the AVGN game does not mince words even though he is good friends with AVGN for example). 

Peace.

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