Wednesday, May 20, 2015

DiGRA 2015 aftermath, the hashtag anger

Edit May 22nd: Tonight, at 20.00 Central European Time, I will close the comments on this blogpost. The discussion has been interesting, and it has provided more data on the opinions and viewpoints of Gamergate. For that I thank those who have participated and who may participate over the next 12 hours.

DiGRA 2015 was a great event for those who participated. The keynote speakers were great, even the ones I disagree with. Actually, I find that disagreeing with well informed and thoughtful keynotes is at least as useful as finding my inner fan girl.

I was part of a panel that has been described by Frans Mäyrä, with a fantastic lineup of researchers. I always feel like it's an out of body experience when I find myself with these people whose books I buy, read and obsess over, and this was no different. The transgressive aesthetics workshop was incredibly useful, to open up for new angles and discuss and challenge old ideas about what "transgressive" means, and how it can be a useful tool to gain a deeper understanding of games and game strategies.

During the event the twitter hashtag #Digra2015 was in use, although with the very clear knowledge that it would be watched and very likely flooded by the movement Gamergate, which has been targeting DiGRA for several months. Their main argument was that radical feminists run DiGRA, that DiGRA is a think tank that does not operate by regular academic standards, that it has an agenda of making gamers politically correct, a plan which is financed by DARPA (summary of claims here), and they have been blaming DiGRA for being the source of the many articles they claim are all about "the death of the gamers". We have seen a lot of examples of charts that "prove" how DiGRA is connected to and influence the game industry, and they have been using the informal notes from a fishbowl at DiGRA 2014 to "prove" their claims. Through the months since then there have been a few eager twitter accounts arguing that DiGRA should be burned to the ground, combined with several doxings and threats to game scholars on 8chans boards, both on the Gamergate boards and the related boards.  So most researchers took to Twitter very carefully, with a strong awareness of the public nature of the feed.

Oddly, the hashtag remained civil until Saturday afternoon, the third day of the conference. Then one account started spamming it with memes, mainly funny and humorous images ridiculing the readers. That night, as the researchers went out to party, the Gamergate members decided to flood the hashtag. Obviously, the people who flooded the hashtag were not in the same time zone as the conference, because next morning the tag was again fairly calm. But over the night it had been flooded with anime, porn, and retweets of the tweets from DiGRA ridiculing the discussions over the previous three days. The main theme of the people flooding it, beyond general "fuck academia", "leave gamers alone" and "raze DiGRA to the ground" was a sense of glee that they had managed to turn the hashtag toxic. This was, apparently, a victory.

Over the next few days, Gamergate kept up the flooding. A few scholars, me among those, invited the more reasonable of the spammers to conversation. Very few wanted to engage beyond defending their actions. This was mainly a defense based on the assumption that DiGRA articles are  judgmental of gamers and game culture. Disregarding the very strong bias of DiGRA academia in favour of research being conducted by people who are also players and gamers, Gamergate was claiming the right to control research on games, censoring the topics and dictating the results, while also accusing DiGRA of being unethical and dictating research results.

After a few days of flooding the hashtag, a game developer got heavily engaged. Mark Kern, who has worked on the team creating World of Warcraft, decided to join the mob flooding the #digra hashtag. World of Warcraft is a solidly studied game, to the point that we can almost talk about World of Warcraft studies as a genre of its own. I was part of the process of writing the first anthology on WoW, and have both played and studied the game since. This book was published after Kern left WoW, as is most of the later WoW research. Digital Culture, Play and Identity is still perhaps the book that most closely addresses the game as it was when Kern knew it.

As far as I know though, Mark Kern has not read this book, nor any other articles on game research, until he started tweeting about the stupidity of game research.

Not only does he not like the research DiGRA does, he also claims that the tweets are libelous. Now, if a research association, or members of a research association, actually circulated libelous slides, that would be a bad thing. However, if they happen to be making slides with a funny, ironic or even quite correct text that somehow responds to a campaign heavy with  misrepresentation, lies, harassment and threats, that isn't libel. Claiming they are libel, if they aren't - now that can be libel, if the speaker has credibility to the point of being able to harm the person or organization being attacked. Which leads us into a very funny little paradox, and if we go too far down that path, lawyers will take over the world.

The important part is how Mark Kern feels that he, like many other performers or creators of cultural objects, knows better than the critics. This is a very common position to take. Nobody likes to hear anything but praise, so when faced with criticism, no matter how good or well grounded, film-makers, authors, actors, painters, sculptors, journalists, and just about every other person who has dared to create something which then is criticized, respond with the same knee-jerk response: let's see you do it better. Which is why, when Gamergate wanted to "peer-review" the DiGRA articles, the scholars - me among them - responding were consciously suppressing that response and offered support for the process. Kern does not suppress the knee-jerk response though, as one researcher responds to his criticism of DiGRA by asking what Kern actually knows of the research.

Mark Kern is an example of the type of push-back against criticism which is both expected and common when anybody, scholars, amateurs or professional critics, start looking systematically at any cultural expression and ask more of it than just superficial entertainment. This reaction proves, just as the entire Gamergate affair does, that game criticism and research is growing up. It is no longer simply scratching at the surfaces of description, as we did in the first few years, at which time we tried to understand what was actually going on, creating a language of academic discourse, and fighting for the value of a thrashed and disrespected medium. The anger, the shouts of "don't criticize if you can't do the same as me", the misunderstandings and the deep fear that Gamergate expresses, demonstrates that the research has touched a nerve, has come too close for comfort.

I am not going to say game research is "winning", as that is Gamergate terminology. There is no victory to be had here. Reacting too much to the aggression will skew research, and make it certain that we start having a bias against a subgroup of people who claim the tag "gamer" for themselves. It will give Gamergate influence in a detrimental manner, as they are working very hard to make game researchers hate "gamers". However, it proves the relevance of game research. Games are deeply entrenched in modern culture, and understanding game culture combined with the social media ecology may be more important now than it has ever been. It also forces researchers to reflect on terminology, on user models and pre-conceptions, and on the value of games, which we so far have mainly taken for granted. Perhaps it is time, after years of thinking of games as an almost universally good thing and a medium to be defended, to question that truth. Perhaps games, design and gamers aren't so special after all, and need to be studied more as hostile objects resulting from a hostile culture, than as the labour of love it has been to so many of us.

Edit: I found the tweet that pronounced the twitter feed toxic, and added it above.
Note: I have always moderated the comments on this blog heavily, and I will keep doing that.


Talarian said...

Respectfully, Mr. Kern has jumped the shark. He led the charge on a similar hashtag flood for GDC recently as well, and the attention he garnered from that isn't precisely favourable from those folks who were attempting to use GDC on Twitter to get information and, you know, improve our craft of developing video games.

That being said, I think game research might do well to challenge a few of the assumptions around games as a medium to be defended. Regardless of the result, they're not going to go away, any more than television, comics, or pop culture music have "disappeared". To truly understand the impacts our medium of choice can have should be a good thing long-term, even if unpopular.

Though, given the apparent "unpopularity" of academia in some circles *eyeroll*, further unpopularity probably doesn't matter much, perhaps outside of securing more funding I suppose.

Good post, and sorry to hear Twitter was ruined for yet another game conference.

Torill said...

Thanks, I appreciate the comment!

And yes, I think you are right. I have spent too many years with journalists immediately asking "but aren't games dangerous"? Saying "no, games will not make you more stupid or a mass murderer, games are fun and interesting and gamers are just regular people" has become a kind of reflex.

But that is also why I led the work on an anthology that explores the dark side of gameplay, to be published at Routledge very, very soon! Sadly, it will be so expensive I want to cry at the thought. Make sure to recommend it strongly to a library near you! :)

bienia said...

Do I sense a Nietzsche level in your last paragraph? The beast has to kill and crack bones to make dice.

I think that the alliance between the words game and fun is soon over, when fun is still reduced to something positive. Hurting, harrassing, etc. can be fun to many people, as the sociologist Jan P. Reemtsma has spoken about.

As someone mentioned at the conference, look around these halls, we all might be the same age group as gg, or might have been ggs at a different age and time. In my humanist heart, I hope that some of the people will ride their critical sensibility and become dissatisfied over time with the repeating arguments that harvest on the same emotional grounds without providing further nurishment for the critical soul. Oh, wow. This escalated quickly. The beast should throw some bone dice at me now.

Torill said...

Rafael, a poetic image. But who owns the bones the beast is cracking?

Torill said...

Generaallucas left a link to 8chan. Considering the content of that website, I am not going to approve of any posts with links there. This is however the rest of the post, with the names of individuals being attacked in the 8chan thread redacted. Even without the names the comment is interesting for an example of GG's argument:

"(link to 8chan deleted) I'm just going to leave this here. Have a read if you want to; it discredits two people under the names of XXX XXXX and YYY YYYY.

No Talarian, academia is not unpopular within GamerGate circles. I'm a gamedev academic myself. What we hate though is people openly lying to serve their agenda by using faulty research methods and cherry-picked sources for their argument. (Which in this case is the political extreme-left agenda) These kinds of practices damage gamedev studies as a whole. When you try to confirm your conclusions rather than to test a hypothesis, or/and EVEN alter lecture material to spread lies just for your agenda, well, that's just academic dishonesty. And that is exactly what we want an end to put too."

Torill said...

Generaallucas, my response to you:

You are not doing yourself or the university a favour by taking a specific case to 8chan and Gamergate. If there is a genuine issue with the research and teaching, you should take it to staff at the university in question, and ask that it be investigated. This happens, I know at least two professors who have been fired because of bad practice.

But if this is just a matter of difference in opinions, then you are not doing anybody a favour. All you do is confirm the general opinion that Gamergate is an aggressive backlash against people the members subjectively dislike.

tl,dr: If you have proof, take it to the right authorities.

The Raven said...

The fact gamers disagree with DiGRA's subversive political agendas doesn't make us a hostile culture. We are only hostile to attempts to enforce political homogenization on our demographics.
52 million copies of GTA5, 4th most sold game ever, are clear indicator that gamers like games about freedom.
And it says a lot that GTA5 is the pinnacle of what people with your agenda hate and are trying to demonize.

Torill said...

The Raven

You make an excellent point. Disliking subversive agendas does not create a hostile culture.

But you don't really know DiGRA well if you believe this is the organisation that resists games such as GTA. Quite the opposite: DiGRA members have fought for games as a cultural expression - that's an important freedom of speech issue. We have also protested game addiction as a diagnosis, as well as the flawed claim that games lead to violence. Game researchers who have been to DiGRA have also done longitudinal studies that have found no evidence of sexist games leading to increasingly sexist views.

I realise that you won't believe me without a source. Please google torill elvira mortensen GTA . One of the hits should take you to a page in my book "perceiving play" where I talk about GTA. AS you will notice, I am only talking about the game structure and fiction, I am not demonizing or condemning it. I do mention that some of the actions you can engage in are less than politically correct, but I do hope it comes off matter-of-fact, and not condemning.

But despite this, people such as you assume that I hate GTA - without looking at what I actually say. Isn't that a tad hostile?

Talarian said...


Gaming has weathered far worse "hostile research" in the past 2 decades. We went through years of, "Do video games cause violence?" from researchers and lawyers (Oh, Jack Thompson, what amazing entertainment value you were), only to find in the end that science had shown time and time again the answer was "no" or "inconclusive". Increased aggression, certainly, but violence? No direct causation, or even correlation.

So if these studies are as bad as you claim them to be, then fight science with more science! You have their work in the form of papers and talks. Get a grant, challenge their hypotheses, perform research, and find the contradiction in their philosophy.

So yeah, bring on the hostile research! Let's see an honest-to-god research war on these subjects. I want more data from all sides! Gaming has become stronger as a hobby and form of entertainment due to that kind of scrutiny in the past, and will only continue to do so in the future.

Ae Wahr said...

The community you have chosen to label and malign has provided a rational if critical response to your writeup on reddit which I will link below, but given your response to other attempts to post rebuttals (rejection on not only genetic fallacy, but unsubstantiated genetic fallacy), I wonder if you have the courage to approve it and allow it to stand in your comment section:

When you and those like you march into a community in which you do not participate or have a passion, intolerantly and self-righteously flinging accusations of bigotry and hostility while demanding "changes", it should be no surprise you receive backlash, and it does not make those telling busybodies to take a hike "intolerant", especially when gaming avatars have, for decades, and by their very nature, been anonymous and completely free of constraints like race and gender.

Generaallucas left a link to 8chan. Considering the content of that website, I am not going to approve of any posts with links there.

8chan does not allow any illegal content, so what you're saying is you don't like what people on 8chan have to say about your political faction and are choosing to silence them.

Chan boards are anonymous by nature, thus denying people the capacity to discriminate based on race, sex, or even online notoriety (the epithets, while colorful, are an obvious running joke with this in mind). Arguments posted there must be defended based on merit of those ideas only.

Unlike the spaces tone-policed by the politically correct, real dialogues on race and gender are actually held occasionally, in which real data is links to studies are exchanged and actual racists speak up to be challenged and potentially swayed rather than suppressed and allowed to grow slowly in darkness.

Torill said...

Ae Wahr

I have no problem with letting your link to reddit stand in my comment section. I also don't find that it disproves my point.

When it comes to 8chan: It might be that 8chan has no illegal content, but it has a lot of material which I do not want to link to. I don't know if there are doxes there right now, but there have been in the near past. The same goes for extremely aggressively sexual content and language.

I also don't agree that chan boards are ruled by merit only. My experience with chan boards is well in line with the work of Gabrielle Coleman and Whitney Phillips, both of whom point out that the tone on chans work as a very strong socialising factor, silencing voices that do not thrive in that particular environment.

Torill said...

Nick wrote a long, well considered post about another researcher. Since I am not that researcher, I am neither going to post it here, nor try to answer. I will focus on the last part of that post:

"That is why we take issue with DiGRA's advocacy research and "diversity" agenda. What it's doing is anti-diversity, it's divisive, and more to the point it's nefarious in that its sole purpose is to appease the PC sensibilities of "feminist gaming academics". This is absurd and unreasonable. Who are you to demand change from an entire industry and the people paying for its products with their own money? Who are you to thought-police others and enforce PC orthodoxy?

If you should ever wonder why there is a huge lack of respect or consideration for your brand of academia or why people like me don't even consider it to be legitimate academia, here is your answer: your studies are doing as much agenda pushing as researching. Your conclusions aren't sound (and in my opinion, in large part fabricated whole-cloth) and your motivations are far from objective and unbiased. And it seems very little has changed since the 90s: it would be generous to say it lacks rigor (let alone scientific rigor)."

Torill said...

Nick, if I was doing strong identity politics research, if I was maligning gamers and attacking games, I would try to respond to your argument. Instead I want to point out what most people who have criticised DiGRA forget: That is not a large part of DiGRA research, and it is certainly not my research.

Let me be quick and say that the research by the few gender and identity scholars in DiGRA is as good as any other I have seen, and I respect their work and their choices.

When that is said: I do qualitative studies of what gamers enjoy. My work has always looked at games as challenging, positive spaces for growth and development. I do participatory observation and textual studies of MMORPGs, and the main point of criticism from others to my research has been that I am too positive when it comes to gaming. In order to deal with that I have consistently been able to find examples of great player communities, good games and challenging, interesting mechanisms.

I have, however, ignored some truths while doing that. To take some quick examples: I have not for instance looked actively at things like griefing or other types of non-social play. I have not studied the mechanisms in MMORPGs that makes people yell at and harass other players if they are not conforming to a certain player style, or at how some games invite this kind of less social and more hostile styles of playing through a design that rewards it. I have also not looked at how social media are used for public shaming and social discipline.

The recent events have driven home that I have been a bit naive in the desire to find the good things in gaming (and digital culture in general). I think it is time for me and others to not romance the game and the gamers, but start looking at other aspects of gaming.

smoggy cat said...

I find it extremely irritating that people would immediately react to completely benign academic language with incendiary comments such as: "you are a bunch of good-for-nothings trying to tear down the hard work of people."

Torill said...

Thank you for your opinion, smoggy cat. I can't fault people for having problems with academic language though. I'd be happy to explain in different language if they ask for that.

To others who might want to post similar sentiments: please don't repeat what has already been said, bring something new to the discussion.

Andy Bax said...


You provide as evidence one tweet (linked below) to demonstrate GamerGate's 'glee they turned the hashtag toxic' but it hardly does even that.

"Hey, psst, hey #digra2015 you should change your hashtag because it has now become toxic.


First, this proof of motive shows few markers for endorsement by other twitter users. Four favorites and one retweet as of writing this is astonishingly small when you consider the numbers active on #GamerGate. (Even if you callously assume it is only 300 people.) A cursory glace over the hashtag shows tweets receiving hundreds of favorites and retweets. Now these metrics do not exactly correlate to support or agreement but given the limited ways to interact on twitter they provide decent indications.

Secondly, the meaning of this tweet can be interpreted quite differently. This comment that you 'need' to change your hashtag seems like a joke about the critics of GamerGate who have constantly called for us to leave or change the hashtag (and thus remove the bad elements) and then they will talk about the concerns about ethics (and the other concerns). This inside joke mocks this idea because no matter how, where or by whom discussion about such topics arose, the critics always responded the same. Mark Kern (@Grummz), whom you deride in you blog here, joined the discussion after the atrocious Law and Order episode cite his concerns which mirrored GamerGates but the critics did not care. He was just "using GamerGate talking points" they declared despite his constant statements that he was not a part of GamerGate. It didn't matter if the hashtag changed where ever GamerGate or its ideas went was toxic and thus the joke that with GamerGate talking on #digra2015 the hashtag is toxic and must be changed.

Now I have written much about this single tweet but let me relay my on sentiments and wishes. I want to see honest straight forward discussion ethics, behaviors, and thinking that cultivated games writers to dismiss part of their audience and proclaim they most certainly knew best for gaming. Many believe it stemmed from academia through programs such as DiGRA and you and some of you colleagues wholeheartedly dispute that. So instead of disengaging from discussion on your hashtag meant to facilitate public discussion, participating in the word sniping that Twitter often becomes, or even such sniping here on your blog or in the comments, carefully present your argument with regards to the audience. We do not care for the usually obtuse jargon of academia so come to us plainly and we can be often quick to (stupid) reactions from the many months of people looking down on us so bring some patience.

Torill said...

First, to those whose comments I do not post. The points are somewhat repetitive, and do not bring the discussion forwards. This is my opinion, yes.

Next: Andy Bax
Thank you for your write-up of the "toxic" statement. It was thorough and interesting. However, "gleeful" also describes how the people flooding that hashtag chose to revel in the act. Gleeful means that something is a bit wicked, has a sense of humour, but definitely communicates a level of "schadenfreude". Your description of the meaning of that comment, particularly in the context of how Gamergate has been asked to leave their hashtag, fits all those meanings of gleeful, and the enthusiasm and wicked creativity of the spammers also fit the term.

I understand that you feel my language is obtuse. I apologize for that. However, there is always a trade-off between the compact precision of jargon and the desire to reach other groups. I will try to reframe the last few sentences in a different blogpost, in order to meet that point of criticism. If there is a good platform that all can agree on, I am happy to take the discussion there. It would, however, have to be in a space with heavy moderation. If there is a community with moderators we could all trust, I'd be happy to discuss it.

And last, to the many who have sent me links to rebuttals: I have followed the links, and they are still using the same arguments against DiGRA which were not correct at the time, and have not become more so. I am aware that you disagree with my opinion on this, but I have seen no evidence to change my mind, only a lot of your opinion.

mike Can said...

Why is it more important to abolish what you don't like then teach the tools to ignore and move on from it? No, really. Explain it to me. I see this direction your headed and I'm honestly curious, cause in my mind I feel like your establishing that gaming is a threat because the reaction you have gotten is not part how it was expected to steer stuff.

I'm hardcore gamer, im gay. There is not a lot on that side of social interaction I don't see or get.
This is what i learned, and i pass it on to you.

#1 never believe people say what they honestly think. - people say crazy shit to 1up, and to embarass and provoke. This does not mean me calling you a faggot means Im a homophobe or have internalized homophobia. This means I chose a caustic and defaming word to throw at you cause I figure it will fuck your day up. Why did I do it? cause Im bord, and i like to stress you out, and am looking for some aggressive banter. Maybe it's to take your arrogant ass down a peg to make me feel better. Its no more complex then a child testing a parent in motive. Because you can.

#2 Stop rising to the occasion. This is the whole reason you even have an issue. Honestly it is.
Everytime some random in World of Warcraft says fag, I MUST make a comment? No. It instantly identifies me as gay number one. Number 2 thats the point, reaction..
"there are no women who play wow" 100% of the time a women is going to say, "bullshit I am" or "My wife plays"

#3 Gamings critics are often just as bad as who they complain about. The same tools and behaviors are used, the difference is people are trained to only like hating people when its approved. Kinda like how murder is wrong, unless its the US Army. ^_-

The dark side of the internet is people emotionally disturbed over how they read text, how they add personal issues into words and their inability to not fight with random people clearly trying to piss them off, on the web.
Is it me? Do we actually try to give people the tools to not behave that way? All I ever see is the symptom being attacked. Maybe people just can't handle it being their behavior reactions, not the stimuli?

Is it to hard to train people to ignore what they don't like about a person without totally rejecting the person? lol I don't think it is. I think thats how we get things done without hurting ourselves.

Torill said...

Thank you Mike, you asked some really nice question. Can I just start with saying again that I have never been in favour of abolishing games? I don't think you can find that conclusion anywhere in my publications.

Do we try to give people tools online to be nicer to each other?

That is the question I think you are asking, and I think that is a brilliant question. That is exactly why I added "hostile" to that sentence. If I study games as if they are only enabling the nice part of human interaction, then I am ignoring the kind of negativity that can be activated by a wrong response. I want to understand how the existing systems we use to communicate online and in games are so easily turned to unpleasantness.

Can we teach people to ignore the negative sides of the Internet?

That is also a very good point. The internet, and games, is still a new thing. We all need to learn how to behave there. But if I walk around thinking that everybody are nice and it's all good, I don't learn what I need to learn in order to teach others to be safe online. This is why I have to look at the people who act aggressively and are hostile, to be able to help others to get around online without too much unease.

William Eaton's Last Stand said...

"I also don't agree that chan boards are ruled by merit only. My experience with chan boards is well in line with the work of Gabrielle Coleman and Whitney Phillips, both of whom point out that the tone on chans work as a very strong socialising factor, silencing voices that do not thrive in that particular environment."
Okay, and what do you think happens to people who speak directly or 'have no filter' in a tone-policed environment? Same exact thing.

Why not let people find their voice where they may?

"Nick, if I was doing strong identity politics research, if I was maligning gamers and attacking games, I would try to respond to your argument. Instead I want to point out what most people who have criticised DiGRA forget: That is not a large part of DiGRA research, and it is certainly not my research...

...The recent events have driven home that I have been a bit naive in the desire to find the good things in gaming (and digital culture in general). I think it is time for me and others to not romance the game and the gamers, but start looking at other aspects of gaming."

This is the language of Holocaust denial – explaining that it never happened in one breath and then rationalizing why Jews must be done away with in the next.

Look, I don't know you from anybody and for all I know you're a perfectly reasonable person. However when you say the likes of the above it indicates to me that you're dishonest and that you have something to hide. If you'd simply said "A, B, and C are issues that deserve academic attention and X, Y, and Z are the reasons why" I might still disagree with you but I would at least regard you as an honest and forthright person who's opinion is worth considering.

Finally, while I don't consider myself a gamer (much less a developer), merely someone who's been watching GamerGate from the sidelines, I think your characterization of Mark Kern as someone who can't take criticism is unfair. He seems more than willing to examine ideas that are not his own or differ fundamentally from his when the criticism is constructive. While I can't speak from the perspective of the games industry, I've worked for a number of years in both commercial printing and as a military Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician and I can tell you from those perspectives that "Academia" has an extremely unfavorable track record in both fields. From consistently turning out Graphic Artists who don't understand color separations or how to set margins on a document that's intended to be folded in thirds to inventing robots which don't work in field conditions, conspiracy theories which are downright laughable (google "nanothermite" for a fantastic example), or constructing social theories (I am using the non-scientific definition of this word here) that seemingly ignore every single fact evident to those present on the ground, Academia from my perspective (with a few notable exceptions) seems to be an institution unto itself with little relevance to the "real world."

Maybe it would be more fruitful for you to examine the criticisms that you're receiving from that perspective?

Torill said...

Dear William Eaton

Thank you for your comments. As you might guess, I still don't agree with you. I don't see my lack of linking to 8chan as a problem for 8chan, nor for people who enjoy the site. The people who are there will still find their own voice in the environment that suits them.

I take from your response that you feel anything which might be less than favourable about gamers equals wanting to silence and destroy them. Trust me, that is not true. Questioning my previously very positive view on gamers does not mean I now want to do away with them, and I am not saying that should happen. Comparing the possible shift of a research methodology to the holocaust is perhaps a bit much of an exaggeration, isn't it?

I also can't take responsibility for your experiences with graphic artists. I can only try to improve my own research and teaching.

I hope your day brightens up, and that you don't keep worrying so much about what will happen if I start being a little more critical about games and gamers.

As for me looking at research from the angle of the real world - I am currently receiving a lot of material about how a subgroup of gamers and a subgroup of people who do not identify as gamers but share certain values react to questions and points they do not like or share. I consider this to be "messages from the real world", and I want to thank you all for taking the time to educate me. It is very useful.