VERSION 2: I’ve been thinking, and I’ve noticed two ways you might find this interesting, now that I thought of it. Inspiration came from the screencap from someone on the /baphomet/ board on 8chan
While Transphobia, Racism, misogyny/misandry, SJW/MRA etc is a significant portion of the various factions and clusterfucks which Gamergate is - a large portion of it seems to be class struggle. Or more specifically - Gamergate is a class struggle over who “owns” the gaming/geek industry (Regionalism/family ties), and a symptom of the “gentrification” of the internet. A /baphomet/ poster noticed this analogy hilariously given his experience with “SJW” scene – the screencap noted above.
A. The Struggle over the industry. The original “creators” of geek culture were science fiction fans. science fiction was cheap, easy to get to/read, etc. Comics were similar. It was “democratized” (minus race and gender constraints in the US scene). My main focus though is gaming industry/culture, and perhaps “Tech” fields and american comic-cons. The original innovators were mainly middle class white males, with a few blacks and asians, etc. They worked pretty much “from the ground”. They weren’t exactly ghetto poor (at least not the white ones, there were black hackers like John Threat who were), but they weren’t privileged bourgoeise either.
Pretty much, they built the internet. They developed it. The internet culture ‘originally’ was pretty formal, but as the internet democratized it adopted the wild west/BBS mentality which you attach to the “old school” internet (Which itself was only one part of the internet). The dial-up BBSes with hacking information which is now horribly outdated (TOTSE.com was the last remnant of that culture which was somewhat active with a forum; textfiles.com is a static mirror of that era)
The “Eternal September” was a democratization of the internet. There were problems with aspect of culture, but it was not exactly a sense of ‘our culture will be wiped out’ as internet culture, or what we consider as internet culture did not develop yet (absent alt.tasteless and trolling which prompted the meow wars on usenet). Some administrators of forums managed to get rich. Lowtax might have been one of the first forum owners/admins to have made money. The admin of newgrounds did as well. They were still ‘attached’ to forum culture, so there was not as much of a problem, even though there was say rumbles that (in the case of newgrounds) ‘it’s not as good as it “used to” be.’
By this time, it is I guess 2006-08. This is when web 2.0 becomes popular. The first “popular” (as opposed to internet liberation front hackers) aspects of perhaps some resistance to commercialization comes up. Mainly people saying web 2.0 is shit and hype. People are ‘meh’ and “transition” over seamlessly, and arguably there was no ‘real’ difference between web 1.0 and 2.0 other than perhaps graphics.
However, the social capital and social status of “geeks” has risen since I guess the 1980s, and arguably always has been high. Due to historical revisionism of the concept of ‘geek culture’ being oppressed (for truth or not, there may have been that oppression, but on the other hand you had Carl Sagan and Issac Asimov in 1970s on national television, and american politician Newt Gingrich brags/bragged about liking science fiction and going to sci-fi cons)
As the social status of this scene rises, it attaches attention and networks, often with individuals from other ‘scenes.’ Note this has historically happened in the US. Nouveau Riche Oil Barons and Industrialists/”Captains of Industry” intermarried with European nobility, or old money from “back east.” Speculators who did some sketchy shit also intermarried into old money (see: Great Gatsby)/ And this is not an “old” thing either. Hollywood does the same thing, Schwarzenegger’s ex-wife is an extended member of the Kennedy family and her parents were Chicago politicians.
Enter Zoe Quinn. Zoe Quinn, aka Chelsea Van Valkenburg is from said old money, her family name guarantees a scholarship to a university in New York State. Van Valkenburg is not the only case. There’s some drama with “Alternate literature” with some Taiwanese guy accused of being a shitty boyfriend from stuff years ago (his father or grandfather patented a bunch of stuff; not ‘old money’ but not ‘self made’ either; upon further research it is Tao Lin). The point with Tao Lin was more of ‘rich person takes over a movement for personal usage’, and how there apparently is a lot of bourgoeise grifters and whatnot in that scene. Furthermore, Brianna Wu also had 100k USD sent from her parents to pay for her game development company. So there’s a class aspect to that too in her case.
Pretty much, the tech scene in the West Coast developed and people from the East began to intermingle with the new industry. They may have different values than the original anarchic internet denizens have. At least somewhat (After all, some of the antigamergate people are internet natives – Zoe Quinn is a somethingawful forum member dating from the days when they ‘Helldumped’ – i.e. doxxed and humiliated unpopular people on the forum). Gamergate is in essence, a struggle over who controls the internet. Which cultures will run it. The so-called “SJWs” are in effect, one group of internet natives fighting against another group of internet natives. SomethingAwful goons helped o popularize “weird twitter”, form Goonswarm on EVE Online, etc. But they “matured” as well. Due to various factors, which I cannot speculate with much certainty, ‘old school’ internet forums such as SomethingAwful and the remnants of the LUE GameFAQs forum (endoftheinternet) have became “SJW”. This is not natives vs foreigners, it is natives vs natives – a domestic civil war between forums and belief systems. SomethingAwful forum members, some apparently with some influence have defended and backed up Zoe Quinn. The channers, due to the past incident with Wizardchan have sided with their fellow chan siblings in a knee-jerk reaction.
Due to the previously stated revisionism of history, the old internet has been considered an anarchist free fire zone with no morality or niceness, and the new internet is supposed to be an authoritarian dictatorship of “miss manners” mentality. The more accurate aspects of this (i.e. some many usenet forums were polite) were paved over for the sake of building a historical narrative.
These sides have crystallized. The struggles of calling out ‘fake geek girls’ (people taking advantage of the new privilege of these scenes and trying to ‘steal it’ from the original people) and hipsters (blatant status stealers from a different ‘scene’ which might be able to afford going to art school, or whatnot). That would make some sense from this perspective, of struggle over the internet’s history. And from this I move to point B:
B. “Gentrification of the Internet”. In a way this makes sense, and this is pretty much A - but there is some differences. Gentrification is more of the sense of “the internet is changing in ways we do not like.” This is a bit different than the “trust fund/hipster kids from out east and SJW are hijacking our culture” but it’s related. As the guy from /baphomet/ said (in the screencap above), it’s more of a group of people are changing things about in a different manner. People who like rickrolling and LOLcats, but probably don’t want to be “goatsed” or be linked to child porn. In this case, as the person states, there is a sense of “Wanting people who spend more money.” Note that SomethigAwful still has a $10 registration fee, and apparently a bunch of them have privileged positions (one of the people killed in the attack on US Embassy in Benghazi was a SA mod who helped the users with passports and travel bureaucracy). Furthermore, several SomethingAwful users are apparently connected with “new media”/are influential parts of certain departments. Again, Zoe Quinn was (is?) a SomethingAwful forum member. The $10 fee preselects some people for having money (arguably; again this is vague). Due to the increasing trends of middle and upper class people using the internet for more than just ‘work’, you see this gentrification of the internet. So you see the rise of websites like quora which have a privileged userbase as its’ members (check it out; it’s a good site but it does have a high amount of engineers, well-off programmers, people connected to silicon valley, people who went to U of Chicago and Ivy League and Tsinghua, etc). So some sites might have pressure to dump the old fanbase for a “new” one which isn’t so controversial. After all, apparently a lot of Moot’s privileged friends from ROFLcon and TED don’t like parts of his site, and he wishes to monetize it and not be known for running “The asshole of the internet” as /b/ was (still is?) known as. The attempts to purge 4chan /pol/ of the fascists, white nationalists and “randroid” libertarian can be one such example, expel them to 8chan and “clean up” the board. Furthermore, Moot’s passing of non-disclosure agreements to mod an imageboard is another example of attempts to monetization. And, the “Gold Pass” which was a joke but became serious also is a good example of monetization of the site. His recent resignation might be a sign that the site will be sold.
Note that “trust fund hipster” and similar class/identity based insults are used by gamergate against anti gamergate - which seems to further the claim of gamergate being perhaps a reaction to “internet gentrification” You can likely tie this clique of new media hipsters with trends like TED and how TED has pretty much been used to promote liberal free-market, end-of-history “Everything will be better” strain of thought.
I wonder how people will look at this decades from now. Will it look like the “Disco sucks” people where race/regionalism/class/etc of disco hate and whatnot were ignored in favor of conflict of scenes as to why shit went bad/blew up at this specific case? The person who ran Disco Demolition Night in Chicago has stated so. Here is information on the anti-disco movement, at least Disco Demoliton Night in Chicago. Compare this to hate for Emos in late 1990s/early 2000s and hate for Hipsters in late 200s/early 2010s.
- Source: 8chan /leftypol/ - Social Aspects of Gamergate
- Source: Reddit /r/KotakuInAction - Is GamerGate a Class War?