In yet another more topical episode, Rila and Riley talk GamerGate, ComicsGate, and the recent social media policy changes implemented by Alterna Comics. Stay Toon’d!
Our Take: This is a particularly complex topic. As the video suggests, I’m not particularly up on all the details surrounding GamerGate or ComicsGate. In the case of the former, I took a little more time to research it while waiting for today’s episode to upload. I managed to stumble across This Article which did explain things a bit more thoroughly than anything I’d been able to find so far. But. The article does appear to still have an evident slant towards the side of GamerGate. And that’s the nature of the beast. In subjects like this, it can be difficult to find information from a truly objective source. Bias is part of human nature.
From what I can gather, GamerGate didn’t actually start with having anything to do with SJW Culture or anything of that nature, and it was actually a movement about ethics in Gaming Journalism. But as we all know, the battle on the frontlines between the internet trolls (and idiots just missing the point) on one side, and the extremists on the other, wound up swerving the narrative in a completely different direction. And because that was the part of the controversy that made the most noise, mainstream media picked up on it and it wound up being circulated as what GamerGate was all about. That that’s to say absolutely nothing of certain individuals and their talent for manipulating the system through what we’ll call “professional victimhood.” Because that played a part.
The only reason I don’t support anything here is that I’m still murky on the details and want to take my time. The same goes for the current issue with ComicsGate. Now, I’ve made no secret of my support for diversity in Comicbooks. But. I’ve also very openly criticized a lot of the evident pushes the Big Two (especially Marvel) have made in that direction. Largely because a lot of the time these things feel less like genuine attempts at embracing diversity, and more like outright pandering. Which is always a bad mark on characters like Riri Williams, who certainly has potential in her own right, but is just mired by the laziness of her conception. A few triumphs, here or there, but that’s about it. And usually they’re kicked whenever either company decides to go for another of their signature relaunches.
From what I’ve seen, ComicsGate is just the part of GamerGate that “missed the point.” It’s people who don’t want comics to change. But that’s a surface-level observation because I haven’t had the chance to research the topic. And that’s the same mistake I almost made with GamerGate while writing the video. Riley’s bit there was autobiographical. I did write a decent chunk of that script without really having enough information to be objective and fair. And while I still lack that information, I got enough to simmer down and back up a bit. As I don’t want to make that error again, I’m waiting.
But as to the main topic at hand, which is actually the story surrounding Alterna Comics, I genuinely don’t know how to deal with this situation. On paper, one might think that allowing creators to individually block people is a perfectly acceptable compromise in this scenario. But as Micah Myers pointed out, harassment is a very real issue. And we’ve taken every opportunity to condemn harassment where we see it. I get that we, as creators, need to just harden ourselves so we don’t take things personally (or get bothered by those who do mean to be hurtful). But that’s a completely different animal from constant harassment. And the latter can have a lasting, negative impact on a person’s mental health.
Still, Chain Blocks seem like they’d be really stifling to the very concept of discussion. You could wind up blocking people who have very intelligent, valid talking points. Ones that may even help you, as a creator, develop your stories with new eyes and potentially tell better ones. I genuinely do not know how to handle this. But I think Alterna Comics did slip up a bit by just taking a sledgehammer to the issue. What do you think?