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Gamergate, Wikipedia, and ArbCom

 I have some (probably-unpopular) thoughts on the Wikipedia ArbCom ruling.

First, read the proposed decision.
Now read this excellent Gawker article on the subject.

Still with me? Good. Read on.

 So first off let me be clear: I think GamerGate is a sewer.
With very few exceptions the "gaters" I've interacted have been utterly reprehensible misogynists, racists, serial harassers, or otherwise  quite simply undesirables. In addition the endless torrent of harassment I've witnessed lately against women in tech, and in gaming-tech in particular is appalling, and GamerGate (as a loose association of people) has not yet managed to come together to cohesively denounce that kind of shit, so as far as I'm concerned they can all go fuck themselves with a Garden Weasel until they can get their shit together enough to agree that harassment of any kind, especially death/rape threats and "SWATting" are beyond unacceptable, downright criminal, and not to be tolerated.

So it should be clear that I've got a bit of a bias here, but with that clearly established I actually AGREE with the ArbCom ruling - at least from a 10,000 foot view.

ArbCom's duty here isn't to protect "feminism", or to stop "gamergate" - it is to enforce Wikipedia's conduct standards: Civility on Talk/Discussion pages, refraining from "edit warring" (changing articles back and forth to sway the viewpoint), and neutral tone in the articles themselves.
There is ample evidence in the ArbCom records that shows the users sanctioned engaged in behaviors that violate those standards of conduct. As much as I may think the "Gaters" are cockwaffles that deserve sanctioning and should be prohibited from turning Wikipedia into their personal soapbox, and as much as I may agree with many of the edits the "feminists" made to restore neutral tone or correct other issues introduced into the articles in question, both sides unquestionably behaved badly.

For Wikipedia's ArbCom, or for that matter ANY system of "justice", to function it must function impartially. If the law (rules) are not applied uniformly to each act. Yes, mitigating circumstances should be considered (and presumably ArbCom did so), but mitigation does not automaticlly absolve: Just because Gaters are acting provocatively (to put it mildly) doesn't mean their opponents may behave badly in response.

So since I know this is likely to be an unpopular opinion, and because I'm mentioning GamerGate I know it's going to attract their maddening hordes, and likely some less-reasonable members of their opposition to post virtiol, I've decided to disable comments on this post.

Please feel free to hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts, and if they're too long to post then by all means write a blog post of your own.


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