Everybody wants to be famous, right? You’ve had your dreams of being known worldwide, maybe because of your singing career, that one book series or game that you published, or maybe even for being an overnight Twitter sensation. You want the fans and recognition, the money and most of all, a life in the lap of luxury. However, sometimes it’s better to be apart of the crowd, especially when that fame is garnered through the faceless voices of the internet throwing hatred and threats at you. This is what happened to indie game developer Zoe Quinn last year, which started with the release and subsequent backlash of her game, Depression Quest, and later supplemented by her ex-boyfriend wanting to irreparably tarnish her reputation.
After reviewing three articles around the “Gamergate Scandal,” I discovered the whole story about what happened to Zoe, as well as a few other female game developers who were attacked by misogynistic creeps on the internet for no reason other than because they wanted to harass these poor women. The three articles, “Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest” from The New Yorker, “Game of Fear: The Story Behind GamerGate” from Boston Magazine and “5 Things I Learned as the Internet’s Most Hated Person” by Zoe Quinn herself posted to Cracked.com, have used varying degrees of persuasive techniques to shed light on this scandalous ordeal.
All three articles make a point to get Zoe’s direct words to explain what she was put through. The New Yorker article speaks on how the “reason Quinn was targeted varies, depending on whom you ask, but most explanations lead to Depression Quest”, which was a game she made to help people who were diagnosed with depression. However, this game received much negative feedback from different sources of the gaming community, saying it ” offers too simplistic a solution to depression” and “that the game tells too individual of a story, that its protagonist is over-privileged and, therefore, better equipped to deal with the illness than real-world sufferers”. Quinn refutes both of these points, saying that the game isn’t supposed to be a solution, it’s just a method to put out awareness that depression is a very real sickness that many people suffer through, and that it is something that can affect anyone, regardless of their status or quality of life. Sadly, according to the Boston Magazine, it only got worse as Erin Gjoni, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend prior to the incident, started to post rants on online forums, “to make certain that his blog about Quinn would connect with a large base of people in the gaming community, some of whom he already knew were passionately predisposed to attacking women in the industry.”
It was from there that people from internet communities such as 4chan and reddit began making posts and personal attacks on Quinn, even getting to the point where they were doxing her personal information and posting it for the public to see.there that people from internet communities such as 4chan and reddit began making posts and personal attacks on Quinn, even getting to the point where they were doxing her personal information and posting it for the public to see.
The New Yorker details a lot about Quinn’s life growing up and her struggles with depression and A.D.H.D. At the tender age of twelve, she attempted to commit suicide and wasn’t able to get any proper therapy, so she had to talk to school officials who didn’t understand or have any sympathy with depressed teens. After dealing with a break up and moving to Canada at the age of 24, she discovered a six week game making course, where she met Patrick Lindsey, a writer and co-creator of Depression Quest who also suffers from depression. Quinn explained how game making provided her with a community she didn’t have before.
The Boston Magazine also takes a jab at appealing with pathos, but they do it by giving us a history on Gjoni’s life and what he went through prior to going through with sparking the flame that burned Quinn’s life last year. It’s nice to know what caused him to do this, but I’d rather not psycho-analyze and understand what it takes for someone to do something so cruel to another person.
The article that gave the most logical appeal was the one written by Quinn, where she delivers images, charts, sources, and posts made to her and about her on different sectors of the internet to show people what happened to her and what she learned from it. She explains that she isn’t the first person to be attacked by the likes of 4chan, saying that a few months before “they organized a fake campaign to end Father’s Day and harass black feminists. In January, a hoax was created to make women feel crappy about their bodies, and in February they went on the warpath against feminists by creating a hoax about tampons. Or, the target may be a specific woman — like the time they found a feminist on YouTube criticizing video games and unleashed a tsunami of death threats.”
Those same points that Quinn uses to prove how corrupt 4chan can be to make a logical appeal also created a kairotic moment; I hadn’t heard much about any of those events until I read further into her story. The entire story of “GamerGate” is drenched in kairos, because the need for feminism and injustice of misogyny is a very prominent topic right now, and this event happened at the forefront of the current feminist movement that started sometime within recent years. This is just further proof that gender inequality is a major problem that is seen is all facets of life and it’s something that we as a society need to deal with in a way that benefits all.