The Original Battlefield: Gamergate, Shadowbans, and Baldur’s Gate
The first troops to rise up against the SJW advance were the gamers, and much of the ire of the enemy forces is still focused in that direction. And, since Gamergate was so successful at using Twitter to their advantage, Twitter has become the “high ground” in the war.
To counter the gamers’ advance, Twitter has installed a “Trust and Safety Council.” And, hot on the heels of this announcement, the use of the Shadowban became obvious.
The function of Twitter is to follow people. When you spot a personality you wish to read, you “follow” that person, and his “tweets” then show up in your “timeline”–unless, of course, the Trust and Safety Council has determined that you really didn’t mean to follow that person after all. A “shadowban” blocks a person’s posts from his followers; it effectively breaks the follow, forcing readers to go to the original tweet to read what was posted.
While various people have tried to deny that shadowbanning is occurring, multiple Gamergate and alt-right personalities have observed it in action. Adam Baldwin (the actor who coined the word “Gamergate”), Larry Correia (the science fiction writer who began the Sad Puppies Hugo campaign), and several others have abandoned Twitter because of the shadowban. Larry Correia had this to say:
Recently they created a Trust and Safety Council, to protect people from being triggered with hurtful dissenting ideas. Of course, the council is made up of people like Anita Sarkesian, so you know how it is going to swing.
They’ve been unverifying conservatives, and outright banning conservative journalists. Then there were rumors of “shadow banning” where people would post, but their followers wouldn’t see it in their timelines. So it’s like you’re talking to a room that you think has 9,000 people in it, but when the lights come on you’ve been wasting time talking to an empty room…Then today they disappeared all of my friend Adam Baldwin’s tweets. Ironically, his only visible post (out of 8,000) was a link to an article about how Twitter is banning conservatives. That was the last straw.
So I’m done there. Twitter can take it’s Orwellian “Trust and Safety Council” and stick it.
This appears, on the surface, to be an SJW victory, but it is a pyrrhic one. Twitter’s stock price has continued on a steady decline–which is to be expected when the tenets of Political Correctness are allowed to trump the mission statement. While the Trust and Safety Council may win the battle, Twitter is likely to lose the war.
Baldur’s Gate was a very popular 1998 RPG video game based on Dungeons and Dragons. Nostalgic fans hold it in very high regard, and expectations were high when a sequel was announced. Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear was developed to bridge the gap between Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2. Unfortunately, Beamdog–the company hired to design the sequel–decided to shoehorn political correctness into the game, and players were not happy.
One reviewer of the game describes it this way:
While the mechanics of the game are in line with the originals, the story falls short. It sacrifices the narrative and world building of the original Baldur’s Gate in order to break the 4th wall and beat players over the head with messages about social issues with the grace and subtlety of a Saturday morning cartoon from the 90’s.
There is no problem with having messages about social issues in a game. The problem comes when one hijacks another franchise, gut out its soul and fill it with vapid maxims and fables in its place. That is one of the surest ways to kill off a franchise, and it is especially odious when it happens to a well-loved franchise.
Want social justice? Sure, but stop hijacking the industry and make your own games. You’re not going to improve the industry, you’re just going to kill it from the inside out.
The Idea Battleground: Science Fiction, The Hugo Awards, and Goodreads
The second major front against SJWs has been in the realm of fiction. It’s been smoldering for several years, but last year it exploded into an open battle over the Hugo Awards, the “best of the best” of science fiction. The Sad and Rabid Puppies campaigns effectively took control of the nomination process, and the Hugo voters refused to give awards in five categories.
This year, a Rabid Puppy team formed a group on Goodreads, a book review site owned by Amazon, and in a matter of days, the group was disbanded and the members banned from using Goodreads permanently. In fact, some people have been ejected from the site for doing nothing more than down-voting a review that started with the words “I haven’t read this book, but…”
Hugo nominations are complete, and the finalists will be announced on April 26th.
Coincidentally, other observers have noticed the size and scale of the Hugo awards–where 300 or so “Puppies” were able to sweep multiple nominations, and 2500 “die-hard fans” were able to completely lock out five categories and prevent any winners at all. Science fiction and fantasy fans number in the millions. Perhaps a new award system is needed, one that polls a much larger collection of fans?
DragonCon has announced the Dragon awards, open to all fans:
All voting will be done electronically and only on the Dragon Awards site. No memberships or other qualifiers are required, making the voting open to all of the fans of all forms of science fiction.
The Tech Battleground: GitHub’s Goals, Open Source Codes of Conduct, and the Return of Eich
GitHub is an online programmer’s tool, a “code repository” for thousands of projects. It allows programmers from anywhere in the world to contribute code while seamlessly tracking changes and updates. It is also undergoing massive changes at the hands of the new Social Impact Team. The team’s leader, Nicole Sanchez, is committed to very specific goals:
In February 2015, Sanchez wrote an article for USA Today entitled “a white women does not equal tech diversity,” and during a diversity training talk, Sanchez even stated that technology was “not work for white folks to lead” and that “some of the biggest barriers to progress are white women.”
GitHub is not alone in seeing SJW invasions in the technology world; the entire Open Source community is under attack. Open Source is a term for software projects that allow anyone to contribute–there is no organizational structure or profit margin, just a goal of improving the project, whatever it might be. Open Source is a meritocracy–coding skill counts far more than inter-personal skills.
SJWs believe that a person should be fired from his job for making politically incorrect statements. With Open Source, however, there is no “job” to be fired from, and generally, no rules by which someone can be ejected from the project. Yet.
Enter the Code of Conduct.
Dozens of projects have already incorporated Codes of Conduct into their structures, and many–PHP and Linux, for example–have rejected them.
On the surface, the various proposed codes of conduct being added to Open Source projects seem reasonable enough. However, in the hands of a proficient SJW, they can be used as a weapon. PHP programmer Paul M. Jones explains:
The Code of Conduct as presented enables its enforcers to stand in judgment of every aspect of your public, private, professional, and political expression…one must read the Contributor Covenant as a political document, with political means and political ends. Specifically, it is a tool for Social Justice.
As a tool for Social Justice, it recognizes no boundaries between project, person, and politics. This attitude is written into the Contributor Covenant with the text, “This Code of Conduct applies both within project spaces and in public spaces when an individual is representing the project or its community.” So, when is a project participant not representing the project? The answer appears to be “never.”
That is, a project participant is always representative of the project. We can see one example of this from the “Opalgate” incident. In reference to a Twitter conversation where Opal is not the subject, Ehmke opens an Opal project issue, and then attempts (with a Social Justice mob of backers) to intimidate the project managers into removing one of the Twitter conversants from the project because of his non-project-related speech.
This is Social Justice in action. Remember, it is the author of the Contributor Covenant acting this way. To look at this incident, and simultaneously opine that the Covenant as a tool of Social Justice is somehow not political, or that it does not intend to police speech unrelated to the project, reveals that opinion as obviously incorrect. This kind of behavior is not “abuse” of the Contributor Covenant; it is the intended application of the Covenant. The Covenant is designed specifically to enable that behavior under cover of “safety” and “welcoming” and “respect”.
But “safety” and “welcoming” and “respect” are the primary goals of the Covenant, aren’t they? I assert they are the curtain behind which the true goal is veiled: power over persons who are not sufficiently supportive of Social Justice.
As an added note, Coraline Ehmke, referred to above as the author of the Contributor Covenant, was a member of the Ruby community for only two days before proposing a Code of Conduct there, and has recently been hired by GitHub.
The majority of coders working on open source projects are unpaid volunteers, deriving no reward from their efforts other than the joy of the craft. Much of the software we use today, from Linux-based mobile phones to ATM machines, was made possible by the unpaid labor of open source contributors. How long will they stick around when they’re expected to submit a code that governs their behavior across the entire web?
Early in 2014, Brendan Eich was the CEO of Mozilla Corporation. Disgruntled employees leaked information that Eich had donated to California’s Proposition 8 opposing gay marriage years earlier, and a political-correctness firestorm erupted, which led to Eich’s resignation.
Brandon Eich has returned, MacArthur-like, to the browser world. Brave is a new browser designed to both speed up and secure online activity:
We’ve added these features because browsing the Web should be fast AND safe, and because users deserve to be in control of their data. Users are increasingly reacting to being treated like products, weary of being analyzed, surveyed, and monetized for the profit of third parties. Being a customer should not be equated to being a product. The problem is not with advertising per se (users want to support their favorite sites and agree with ads done right), but rather with tracking, profile building, and general overload. They especially don’t like it when large companies map together their online behavior and offline behavior.
The war against Political Correctness is an ongoing one, but it is expanding into new fronts. The backlash against ham-handed social justice messages in video games, weaponized Codes of Conduct for programming, and politicized censorship of Twitter and the Internet, are all hopeful signs.
More and more people are starting to see the thought-police totalitarian nature of Political Correctness and are rising up in righteous indignation against it.