If you've stepped away from the "real" video games media for a moment recently then you will have surely seen the furore surrounding Zoe Quinn and the alleged "harassment" she is now on the receiving end of. Anyone with a discerning eye that doesn't think the people that are allegedly "harassing" Zoe are "shitlords" would realise that the attention she's garnered is just.
The main concern that I have with this whole story is that the people defending Zoe's actions are doing the exact things she claims not to advocate. Not only that but they are denying that the things in this blog even happened. How are they doing it you ask? By using one word, that word is "Allegedly".
So, let me quote the title of this article, "When is an allegation not an allegation?" The answer to that would be when it's proven to be true. Dictionary.com's definition of the word "allegation" is as follows;
the act of alleging; affirmation.
an assertion made with little or no proof.
an assertion made by a party in a legal proceeding, which the party then undertakes to prove.
a statement offered as a plea, excuse, or justification.
Now, take a look at number two there (Trust me I feel like I've been looking at number two since this story broke) "An assertion made with little or no proof" Now surely that means that the whole story from Eron Gjoni's wordpress blog is not an allegation since it has sources that are cited and proven to be un-doctored. All of the so called "allegations" are proven straight from the horses mouth. In fact, she hasn't even come out to deny that these things are true. But I digress, we all know that this isn't the point of these articles.
So once we get that part out of the way and the person you're talking to decides they don't believe that's what an allegation is, we get on to the "Her personal life is not news" argument. And I agree, for the most part. Typically I will be at the forefront of any article I see in mainstream media about some celebrity or sports star being at a club or seen with this person and claiming "This isn't news" Because it isn't, it just isn't. It's not important. However, if anything comes out to say that one of these celebrities or sports stars is in bed with the media, you're goddamn right I'm gonna call them out on this and make sure it's addressed. So therein lies the flaw with the "Personal life =/= News" argument, her personal life would remain not news if it hadn't turned out she was fucking her boss, a Kotaku/Rock Paper Shotgun writer that had promoted her and the night games chair of Indiecade by whom she was awarded for her "game". So, to deny this as being not news worthy is misguided at best.
The biggest issue here is Nathan Grayson, obviously. If you want anyone to take you as you are as a journalist then you should recuse yourself from reporting on someone that you are involved with in any way other than professionally. I'm not telling you not to network with people, that is just part of being a journalist, a content provider or an entertainer, you need to network to get exposure, that is the world we live in. When it goes beyond a professional level you need to take a step back and you especially need to not lie about the situation to your boss to keep your job.
Now onto some allegations. First and foremost, a brief review of "Depression Quest". Yes, I took an hour out of my day and played Zoe's "game". As someone that plays a lot of video games I can see why this was not initially greenlit by Steam's community. "Depression Quest" is a multiple choice text adventure that, were it not for the subject matter, would most definitely not be being talked about, why? Because it's not even really a game, I've played games like this before, when I used to read CYOA books as a child. So, to say it's not a game is warranted by the Steam Community who want to play games and not read books. Maybe she could have added a random encounter mechanic where you fight with your inner demons in a turn based combat kind of deal, maybe people would have accepted it as a game. The glaringly obvious thing in this game is that the writer has never really experienced true depression, how can I say this? Because, I have experienced some of the situations depicted within this game and I do not consider myself to be depressed and I never have done.
Now onto some allegations regarding the greenlighting of "Depression Quest". First, let's look at a fact, "Depression Quest" was denied by the Steam Community on it's first entry into Steam Greenlight, and rightly so, the community has a right to it's opinion and if their opinion is that your game isn't very good and doesn't belong here then that's not because of who you are, it's because your game isn't very good and doesn't belong on Steam. Following this, Zoe was "harassed" by WizardChan and rode this controversy to a greenlight from the "Steam Community" Now, I'm sure you're wondering the kind of people that post on WizardChan, well, it's an image board for male virgins. Granted, these are the kind of people that are probably not the biggest fans of women and that's understandable, they're typically shunned by women. But, let's take a closer look at the kind of people that are actually posting on these boards. Well, they have social anxiety, they're introverts, they're athiest and most of all, they're depressed. Now, that last one is key to the whole argument about her "allegedly" being "harassed" by the people of Wizardchan. Why would someone that is trying to publish a game through Steam Greenlight, about depression, claim to be "harassed" by a group of people that, if you dig past the surface of the two posts that were derogatory towards Zoe, are typically depressed? It's morally reprehensible to claim a group of depressed introverts would harass you just as you are putting your game back on Steam Greenlight. I'm sure the same people that denied her game before continued to deny her game but the sudden interest from the multitude of articles denouncing her attackers and the social justice crowd saw the game get a boost not only in the media but on Steam's Greenlight.
There is still an awful lot of information emerging in this whole situation and it's so difficult to comment on every little thing as and when it appears. The most important thing is that this is bigger than just Zoe Quinn as shown by MundaneMatt and Internet Aristocrat. If the video games media is in bed with one another then we all lose.