Just recently I got the chance to do an interview with Bonegolem (his the founder of DeepFreeze.it, is also a graphic designer and a freelance writer). So we talked about everything from #GamerGate, games journalism, the crash override network leaks to the corrupt state of the games industry. So without any further ado, please enjoy my interview with Bonegolem =)
I think a proper introduction of yourself would be at place here, so would you mind? Furthermore, could you also tell our readers what DeepFreeze.it is all about? And how did it all start really?
I’m an aging Italian grape farmer, juggling a couple of freelance jobs on top of that. Used to work primarily as a copywriter/graphic designer. I’ve been criticizing the corruption in the press since the nineties and Berlusconi’s takeover of Italian papers and tv channels, so when the series of articles that came to be known as the “Gamers are Dead” media blitz hit, it kind of struck a nerve.
Since the corrupt journalists and their cronies were attempting to derail discussion of their misdeeds—a tactic very dear to Berlusconi, who was very fond of calling judges and DAs going after his many crimes “communists” who only hated his political leanings—I chose to make some infographs on the scandals, old and new, involving the gaming press, to show that corruption in the gaming press had been a widespread phenomenon much before the cherry picked examples around which journalists were twisting the narrative. The format eventually grew stale for me, and I was kind of phasing out of this activism, when I made a casual post about a possible site indexing journalists and their misdeeds (https://twitter.com/GamingAndPandas/status/570716205289496576).
This post got a lot of attention, and I decided to go through with creating the site. It was a fairly though gestation (I’m a graphic designer, not too skilled with web, and it shows) but the site came out and was successful enough. I still think DeepFreeze does a lot of things wrong, but it’s been improving. I should roll out a new way of filing (by outlet rather than by journalist) fairly soon. I’ve discussed DeepFreeze’s history and motivations in more detail in this interview (http://archive.is/ooJNo) that a friend of mine did back when the site was launched.
Not so long ago you wrote a post called “The conflicts of interest of the journalists covering Zoe Quinn”, did you get a lot heat due to that post? And what has the response been like since then?
Actually? No heat at all. I got very positive reactions about both the investigation and the article when I posted them, but no attacks directed to me or DF. Got my share back in the day—people posting false info, bombarding my mentions with crap, trolling on DeepFreeze’s 8chan board, even some fairly lame attempts to dox me and DDoS the site (I have one of the world’s cheapest hosting services, and still today I can’t for the life of me figure out how they never managed to put it down), but this has triggered nothing new. Which is weird, because some friends who have been tweeting about the CON leaks have been attacked—probably the trolls don’t consider me enough of a target, or, also very possible, they realize that any attacks on me would make my work more visible. Or they’re so stupid that they only check Twitter.
Did you hear that Wikipedia removed mention that Crash Override was a part of the Doxing fiasco? If so, what´s your take on that situation?
Journalism, both game journalism and mainstream media, is ruining its reputation more every day, and is already being replaced by crowdsourced stuff like forum posts, user reviews etc.
Wikipedia’s rules about following reliable sources were certainly drafted with good intentions in mind, but they’re increasingly shackling it—and this situation is a good example. The truth is denied to Wikipedia readers, and people who get to know it from elsewhere will also learn that Wikipedia’s not reliable, and Jimmy Wales will put his site’s reputation on the same chopping block that journalists put their own on. If Wikipedia’s rules don’t prevent these abuses that we’ve been seeing for the past years, and we keep seeing situations where a couple of zealot editors with huge personal investment in a situation can take a page hostage and drive off honest contributors, we might risk losing an irreplaceable resource like Wikipedia forever.
Won’t happen overnight, but it will happen at this rate. I’ve been an early adapter and early promoter of the site, even contributing to Italian Wikipedia back when it had less than 40.000 articles, and I really hope they can manage to turn this around.
What´s your take on gethn7 “Trello Leaks Reveal More Corruption And Cruelty From Zoe Quinn and Friends” post? On a personal level, I just feel like the ride never ends. I mean, the rabbit whole seems to be never-ending.
I think gethn7’s post is barely scratching the surface. The CON leaks, although they cover a fairly small timespan, contain a very large amount of stuff, which is why, after writing a context (https://bonegolem.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/contextualizing-the-crash-override-network-logs/) I took forever to finish my own article on the subject (https://bonegolem.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/a-digest-of-the-crash-override-network-logs/).
Even what little conversation there was about CON barely scratches the surface. The allegedly-nonexistent Anti-GamerGate was proven to be very much real, all working together. All public endorsements of CON were shown to be coming from people who were members (like Izzy Galvez) or heavily involved (like journalist Andrew Todd, a friend of Quinn’s and, according to a source that evidence seems to confirm, boyfriend of another member of CON). The alleged anti-harassment resource was staffed with doxers, harassers and—jewel of the crown—a pedophile who shared pics of an 8-years old relative.
I think the one that struck to mind for me is the case of the girl (http://archive.is/TSuFu) who wrote CON when she was being harassed online, and was very poorly treated—turns out, out of three people she was being harassed by were members of CON, and the third was the main Trello contributor.
Even though the Con leaks, and tons of posts and videos debunking claims made by Zoe Quinn and the media, some people have ignored or won’t believe this evidence. So what do you think that it will take to make people acknowledge these facts? Especially since it´s now said that Quinn and CON associates planned to attack Milo Yiannopoulos with libel lawsuits as well…
Problem is, as with a lot of things, inertia. I think the people—especially journalists or other public figures—who have endorsed this before can’t back down or admit they are wrong. If they did it soon after the whole debacle started, it wouldn’t have been hard, but if they do now they will show they’ve been lying / fooled this whole time, big disaster. I think we can’t expect these people to admit wrongdoing, the reaction I expect more — at least, from the smarter parties — is quietly backing down, silently stopping their support… that’s what we’re seeing, too.
Good example is Kotaku — think what you want of them, but their EiC is certainly no idiot — which did not publish any article on the CON leaks despite being in the loop (http://www.oneangrygamer.net/2016/08/con-chat-leaks-were-sent-to-kotaku-polygon-vice-ign-and-eurogamer/10612/), but actually also hadn’t written about CON when it launched (http://pastebin.com/d45k2NvP). Those people who will not back down and will still continue clawing their way up this mirror… well, I think they’re making themselves look ridiculous more than anything.
Didn’t know about the Milo thing, thanks for the heads-up. Suing Milo sounds like the thing that would make him laugh at you and use it for publicity, so if Quinn wants to do something nice for him she should totally sue.
Disclosure: I met Milo at GGinParis, he was very pleasant to me—I, on the other hand, made some pretty heavy jokes that I still fear may have offended him. Feels bad, man.
What´s your thoughts on the #ZachAttack dox crew and everything that followed with it?
Never cross master troll Mombot.
Serious answer: I’m more impressed by the skillful deceit and excellent performance on Mom’s part. The fact that Goon Twitter is composed of “it’s ok when we do it” harassers and morons was not news to me.
I was in on the troll as it was developing, I was laughing my ass off. As Mom herself noticed, those cretins didn’t even find the boatload of clues she had left over, and the ruse risked being discovered because #GamerGate people were fact checking the stuff that was being poured out. So humiliating for all involved, especially for those journos who used people like Izzy Galvez as sources.
Since Deepfreeze´s slogan is “Corruption is never forgotten” I´m curious to know how much your site has grown since the birth of Deepfreeze? Because when I checked the Journalists today (2016-09-14), the list had grown quite a lot since the list time I checked it. Bonus question: Do the people on the list even know that they are on the Deepfreeze list? (as in did they receive an e-mail notifying the person in question that he or she has ended up on Deepfreeze) And do people get a fair chance to clean up their act?
DeepFreeze’s slogan is actually “Your trust should be earned”, the other one is more of a leftover I never get around to changing (also: the whole homepage, which is ugly as hell). DF had less than 300 entries at launch, around 150 of which were GJP stuff. Now we’re almost at 540, so quite a bit of growth. My backlog is also pretty huge.
Do journos know they’re on DF? OH HELL YEAH THEY DO. And they’re really angry about it, from what I can see. DF ranks pretty well on Google, fairly sure they can find themselves. Back when DF started, I didn’t contact journalists at all because, the way I envision it, DF is an archive, so it normally covers very old stuff (e.g. last update covers the Rapp media blitz against Nintendo, which was in March), and if a journo was going to change / add to his work it would’ve happened already.
Now I do contact journos most of the time — especially so since now a lot of conflicts of interest are published on DF first — but not always. A journalist using the GoodGame Autoblocker is never contacted (I figure I would bother them, and either way they wouldn’t care), and I also normally don’t contact journos for Dishonesty, Sensationalism or Intimidation emblems.
Anyone can contact me with corrections, and I’ve gone out of my way to be as polite and professional as possible to those people. You’d be surprised at how few actually contacted me.
I just found out that the Crash Override Network used Doxing tactics to identify targets which they didn´t like or agree with. What´s your thoughts on that? And what´s your take on Crash Override Network in general?
CON was simply a PR move. Nothing more, nothing less.
Quinn was, and still is, pulling about four grand from Patreon each month. Until CON was started, these were for “all her projects”, but chiefly her games—last of which had been released in 2013. She anticipated that the stream would dry up unless she kept getting coverage, or if people started questioning what she was actually doing with such a large revenue stream, so she did something else — something that she could use to “concretize” her actual product, which is her victim status.
Everyone with even a passing familiarity with Quinn already was pretty sure CON was a scam the moment it was announced. The leaks are more relevant as proof to use than as a revelation.
And no, not surprised at all at those people using doxing. I’ve been in spats before, but never in one where one side so thoroughly dehumanized the other. I feel they actually consider their opposition to be monsters, I literally couldn’t find one that would talk to me when I was looking for one to interview for an article—fittingly titled The Monster to silence (http://www.deepfreeze.it/article.php?a=monster). The person that I eventually interviewed (http://pastebin.com/yq4wxrkG) was a neutral, and what they said really puts into focus the difference in frame of mind.
When I finished Quinn’s Depression Quest, I went to her account to suggest her a game I thought she would like—I discovered I was blocked despite never writing her, because she was using the GoodGame Autoblocker. It’s my feeling that none of those people would do something like that for me, I don’t see myself going to Moviebob to talk about horror movies or to Kluwe to talk about fitness and getting anything except insults.
Try reading a few hundred lines of CON leaks in a row. I found the experience outright chilling, and I assure you I have pretty strong stomach.
I don´t know if you heard about this yet, but it appears as if Sam Yam (founder and CEO of Patreon) lied about not ever talking to Zoé Quinn (he tweeted that out back in December, 2014). Why do you think he would lie about such a thing? And furthermore, why are there so many big companies and key people who have ties to Quinn in one way or another? (especially from San Francisco).
I hadn’t heard about this, thanks for the heads-up. I added it to my article, let me know if you want to be credited.
Not clear if Yam lied. Quinn could’ve lied (gee, imagine that!) or neither—Quinn’s call may not have gone up to the CEO.
Either way, yeah, Quinn’s absurd number of connections has always puzzled me as well. I mean, at some point she became an official “victim”, and from that came momentum, but it all must’ve started somewhere. Very curious.
I/we have been covering the events of #GamerGate, corruption and everything in between since the summer of 2014. Even so, I have to say that I couldn´t even in my wildest fantasy imagine that the games industry, the media and the world at large would be in this kind of state in the year 2016. I also think that it´s rather frustrating that #GG has been labeled as the bad guys even though the recent CON Chat Leaks…
So my question to you would be if you share similar thoughts on that subject?
I have no idea either, to be honest. I mean, back in the day Italian media shilled Berlusconi pretty hard — but old man Silvio owned half the media and had the financial power to sue the opposition into oblivion. Makes no sense to do this shit for nobodies. As I said multiple times, the media is committing suicide. Unless the grip on social media — Facebook / Twitter censorship, the /r/Politics subreddit sold to a pro-Hillary PR firm — is strong enough to delay the inevitable, I think this will just sink trust in the media even further.
I see some improvements. Gawker’s no longer, and that was a big blow, plus I think we’ll see a lot less Quinn coverage now that the CON leaks are out. A lot of actors are becoming unpresentable, or stepping back.
What was your reaction when (if) you heard that it´s said that Zoé Quinn sabotaged the Polaris game jam?
Smugness. Polaris is the infamous jam that Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson wrote about back in the day, turning the article in a hagiography of Quinn. Then it turned out he was on friendly terms with her when he wrote that, and started an affair with her almost immediately after writing.
Quinn used the publicity from the Kotaku article to launch her own jam, Rebel Jam—which is a very blatant scam that immediately started collecting funds directly to her Paypal. Now it turns out she had even sabotaged the previous jam. I swear Nate, you should have dated the Correggio soapmaker (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonarda_Cianciulli), would’ve been a less suicidal move.
When I wrote about Google ideas back in September last year. I felt a lot of bad vibes when I found out that Randi Harper was a part of that group (for more than one reason), and with the recent Conleaks most of my fears and suspicions became clear. As it indeed appears as if Harper (with friends, aka “Crash override network”) has doxed and gone after people online. More so, it also seems like Harper has been paid by big gaming studios for her GGautoblocker services. It´s even said that Harper (or some of her allies) doxxed a US war hero (Foxigon).
So my question to you would be the following, isn´t there enough available evidence to take the folks behind Crash override network to court?
https://twitter.com/nuckable/status/770222048589312001 – http://archive.is/8Ex0Z
https://twitter.com/tamlin69/status/769248361966862336 – http://archive.is/3rMAp
https://twitter.com/I_AM_IRON_VAN/status/769271995368402944 – http://archive.is/aYX4G
https://twitter.com/kukuruyo/status/771028095327473665 – http://archive.is/daJeM
https://twitter.com/mombot/status/770518248769007616 – http://archive.is/Puwe0
Wrong person for these questions, mate. I’m not familiar with US courts and law system. I don’t even read Grisham. My reference is Phoenix Wright. Want me to spew ignorance.
As you might have heard already, the DNC leak is now trending on Twitter. So I would love to hear your thoughts on it?
Bonus question: What was your reaction when (if) you heard that FTC Used #GamerGate And Kotaku In Action Operations For Gawker Investigation?
Here, I’m again a bit less than a good subject for the question. I don’t follow American politics a lot. So grain of salt.
I think WikiLeaks are heroes that have done some of the most important actual journalism in recent history. My opinion of journalists, instead, is so low that I consider the word “journalist”, gaming or otherwise, to an outright insult — and, low as my opinion is the fact that there are journalists criticizing WikiLeaks for doing their job is still managing to disappoint me.
The way I see it, journalists failed for Trump’s bait and propped him up until he was the Republican candidate, whereas on the other hand they did as much as possible to help the unpresentable disaster Clinton against the much more acceptable candidate Sanders. That, right now, all the world is facing four years of either one is a disaster, and it’s a disaster entirely imputable to the media. Someone should be held accountable for this.
What´s your plans for 2016 and 2017? And where do you think #GamerGate and DeepFreeze will be in one year from now?
I never planned to live past 28. It’s all a surprise, mate. DeepFreeze, as it stands, is kind of niche. Game journalism is dying either way. I want to do MSM, and that requires a lot of development work. If we manage to hit that, I think it could be in a good place.
Jack Davis – He made this interview happen.
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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