An Open Letter to Gamergate

One of the most important skills for a software engineer is the ability to examine your assumptions and verify that they are correct. I believe Gamergate’s underlying assumption that attacking me has tactical value for your cause is outdated and incorrect.

Why are you continuing to harangue me on Twitter, through email, though doxxing me, through spreading malicious rumors about me, and through hostile threads on KiA? What’s the point? What does this accomplish for you? 

It's a question worth thinking about, because it seems completely at odds with the things you state that you believe - such as developers should be free to ship games without censorship. It doesn’t seem logically consistent to rally to defend games like Dead or Alive from a few stray feminist Tweets, while organizing efforts to harass me and my employees.

I would probably use the word “hypocrisy”.

I’d like to tell you what my current career objectives and intentions are in regards to Gamergate. 

If you look at what I Tweet and speak on publicly, the vast majority of it is about working conditions within the tech industry. I believe there is obvious rampant sexual discrimination and unconscious bias. Generally speaking, Anita focuses on the output of our field, and I am more concerned with the input side.

A while back, I realized the futility of using my public presence to discuss Gamergate. It seemed to follow a pattern: I would post a terrible example of Gamergate behavior, and you would strike back at me. It became an endless war of attrition, where the cost was dignity, mental effort and happiness.

Plainly stated, discrediting Gamergate is a currently a tertiary mission objective at best. Building my company and improving diversity in the industry are my primary mission objectives. When I made my list of career objectives for 2016, none of them had anything to do with Gamergate.

I do not spend time attacking Gamergate figures, because it would have no tactical value. Mercades, Oliver, C.H. Summers, Ralph - I think they are spectacularly wrong, but it makes more sense to focus on other things. Yesterday, I saw a KiA thread I thought was spectacularly racist, but rather than drum up public anger about it - I spent the day doing engineering instead. 

Everyone at my company is terrified of the Gamergate harassment we know is inevitable when we release Revolution 60 in the coming weeks. When the game is reviewed, I expect lots of Gamergate personal attacks in the comments. I expect to be doxxed. I expect to have more malicious rumors happen. I expect a new wave of death and rape threats.

But what would the value be in doing this? Maybe you think my game sucks, maybe you don’t like the graphics, but what does it have to do with Gamergate? If you really believe that censorship is a problem, it’s time to demonstrate it with your actions. 

I have no wish to continue to be the Batman to your Joker.

I would love to spend the next month doing press for Revolution 60’s release like any developer releasing a game would. I fear that dealing with Gamergate attacks is going to derail that effort, and will become the story - rather than my game. This is not an outcome I desire. In fact, one of my biggest career fears is I will continue to be primarily known as a feminist and not a game developer.

Even if you don’t like me or my politics, my employees have nothing to do with any of that. I hope you'll leave them out of your actions in the coming weeks. 

Brianna Wu

PS: I’m not going to discuss this with you on Twitter. I will tentatively leave the comments open here.