The problem with GamerGate

The problem with GamerGate - Bent CornerI’ve been following the GamerGate controversy for a couple of months now and to be perfectly honest, my opinion about the movement has swung back and forth. GamerGate is supposed to be a leaderless consumer revolt against unethical video game journalism. That’s something I can support. The problem is that too many people in the GamerGate movement seem fixated on things that have nothing to do with unethical video game journalism. A whole lot of calories are being burned in the name of GamerGate raging against feminists and so-called “Social Justice Warriors”, not unethical video game journalists.

For example, a prominent GamerGate blogger recently had their website shut down by their hosting provider because they published an article written by someone else that contained photos of someone’s home, a female game developer who has been a vocal GamerGate critic, and according to her, someone forced to flee her home because of death threats from supporters of GamerGate.

The article called into question the claim that she ever fled her home.

The article’s author obtained the address of the game developer from one of the death threat posted on Twitter. The person posting the threat included the game developer’s home address. The author then used the address to search Google Maps for photo’s of the game developer’s house, published those photos, and attempted to compare them to photos pulled from a YouTube video posted earlier by the game designer herself. Then, the author tried to compare these photos to photos from interviews with the game designer, interviews where she stated that she was forced to flee her home because of death threats.

The implication from the article was that the game designer was lying about fleeing her home.

Personally, I could care less if she lied. Not really. It doesn’t matter to me. I fail to see how she is important to GamerGate. She’s not a journalist. She doesn’t work for a gaming website accusing of unethical behavior. None of the interviews where she claimed to have left her home in fear were even done by gaming journalists. She created a terrible looking video game and she tweets derogatory comments about GamerGate and the people who support it. I fail to see how posting photos of her home does anything to further the cause of eradicating unethical behavior from gaming journalism.

To most people, when you publish photos of someone’s home, especially someone who has received death threats, you look like a stalker. When you engage in things like this in the name of your movement, and the rest of your movement fails to condemn your actions, the entire movement looks bad.

As long as things like this happen in the name of GamerGate, the movement will never be taken seriously.

WordPress 4.1 released

WordPress 4.1 released • Bent Corner

Dinah Washington

There’s a new version of WordPress in town. It’s version 4.1 and it’s called “Dinah” after Dinah Washington, another jazz musician nobody has ever heard of.

Why do they always name WordPress releases after jazz musicians? What does jazz have to do with WordPress? People like WordPress. It’s the world’s most popular web publishing software. People don’t like jazz. It’s one of most least popular types of music. It’s why all the jazz “greats” are shown in black and white pictures, because they’re old photos.

WordPress is relevant. Jazz is irrelevant.

The practice of naming WordPress releases after jazz musicians seems unnecessarily pretentious.

The biggest change to WordPress 4.1 seems to be a new default theme, Twenty Fifteen. Unlike last year’s new default theme, this one doesn’t look that bad. It has two columns. The sidebar is on the left and the main content is on the right. It doesn’t look as though that can be customized without modifying the code. The one thing I like about Twenty Fifteen is that the sidebar content stays fixed on the screen when scrolling down the main column.

I may have to give the new default theme a try.

Sony cancels release of ‘The Interview’

Sony cancels release of 'The Interview' - Bent Corner
Whatever your plans are for next Thursday, Christmas Day, they wont include going to the movies to watch a silly Seth Rogen movie. That’s because Sony Pictures Entertainment decided late yesterday to cave to threats form Guardians of Peace, a hacker group believed to be responsible for the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack that took place four weeks ago. Guardians of Peace did not want The Interview, a comedy staring Seth Rogen and James Franco, to be shown in theaters. The Guardians of Peace, or someone claiming to be Guardians of Peace, published a threat invoking the terror attacks of September 11.

According to NBC News, unnamed U.S. officials have concluded that the North Korean government ordered the hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Not that I’m surprised. The attack sees too large-scale for a typical criminal hacking group. The size of it suggests that it was state sponsored. What state would have motive to go after Sony over a movie depicting the assassination of North Korea’s Dear Leader in the name of comedy? North Korea, that’s who.

So now nobody will see The Interview, not because they don’t want to, but because North Korea doesn’t anyone to. That bothers me.

I don’t want the government telling me what movies I can or cannot see, not my government, not any government. I especially don’t want North Korea telling me what movies I can or cannot watch. I don’t want even the illusion that North Korea has any control over me or what I do. By canceling the release of this movie, Sony Pictures Entertainment has done just that.

Congratulations Sony Pictures Entertainment. Way to make us look like a bunch of cowards.

Photo: David Goldman/Associated Press

Theaters cancel showings of ‘The Interview’

In response to threats by a hacker group known as Guardians of Peace, movie theater chains have begun canceling showings of The Interview, a Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy slated to open on Christmas day. In the movie, Rogen and Franco are journalists who travel to North Korea to interview North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. They are also on a secret CIA mission to assassinate the North Korean Dear Leader. Hilarity ensues.

Evidently North Korea has a problem with the movie. It’s believed that they are behind the Guardians of Peace hacker group and are directly responsible for the giant Sony Pictures Entertainment hack that took place four weeks ago. Sony Pictures is the studio behind The Interview.

It’s hard to really understand how North Korea, or more specifically, Kim Jong Un, could have a problem with The Interview. I realize his assassination is the focus of the movie’s plot, but it’s just a silly Seth Rogen movie. Then again, it’s North Korea. They aren’t known for rational behavior.

If I were in charge at Sony Pictures, I wouldn’t have made The Interview. North Korea is a hornet’s nest that I don’t think is worth kicking, at least not for the sake of a goofy movie. I would no sooner make a comedy involving the assassination of Kim Jong Un then I would make a comedy focusing on destroying Mecca.

Not that I have any love for North Korea or Kim Jong Un. I hate communism and the people who practice it. For me, the Cold War still burns hot. Part of me now wants to go see this movie on Christmas day, if for no other reason than North Korea doesn’t want me to.

Then again, if theaters aren’t showing it, I really can’t go see it.

Update: Sony has decided to scrap the release of The Interview.

Posting an IP address obtained in WordPress is not doxing

9781118383346_p0_v3_s600Doxing, the Internet-based practice of posting personal information about someone like or agree with, has gotten a lot of attention lately. People involved in #GamerGate, the leaderless consumer revolt against unethical video game journalism, both sides of the movement, both pro and con, have found themselves the victims of doxing. Some people have had their home address published. Some people have had their employer identified. Some people, who choose to operate on the Internet anonymously, have had their real name published. All these things are examples of doxing.

You know what isn’t doxing? Publicly posting an IP address belonging to a person who left a rude message on your website.

Anita Sarkeesian is the host of Feminist Frequency, a video series that, “explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives.” It says that right on her website, so it must be true. Some people compare her to this generation’s Jack Thompson. Bloomberg Businessweek claims she is the gaming industry’s greatest adversary.

To say that Anita Sarkeesian is a polarizing figure is probably an understatement. Lots of people seem to really like her and her opinions, lots of other people, not so much.

Anita Sarkeesian has come under fire recently for “doxing” people who send her messages via her website’s contact page. For example:

Some are claiming to be upset because this person, TypicalWhiteMan, had their IP address publicly displayed by Anita Sarkeesian on her Twitter feed. Some are saying to display someone’s IP address, no matter how it was obtained, is doxing.

No it’s not. Don’t be silly.

Sorry, but if you’re stupid enough to go to someone’s WordPress powered website and use the contact form or comment section to leave a crude message and you thought your identity was going to be some sort of state secret, that’s on you. If you want to be an anonymous coward who slings rude, obnoxious comments towards someone, maybe you should first educate yourself on how WordPress works.

WordPress records your IP address when you leave a comment or fill out a contact form. If you embrace the anonymous coward lifestyle, you should probably know this. Don’t be stupid and then whine about being the victim of doxing.