One Thought On re/Action’s Response To “One Thought On Porpentine’s Revisions to ’7 Thoughts on Women in Games’”

Since writing this piece this morning, the original article has been restored. Managing editor Andrea Shubert has posted an apology on her Twitter, as has EIC Mattie Brice. As of the time of this writing, Porpentine has not responded, although she’s made several clever arty tweets since.

Brice wrote the following tweet as explanation:

Hi, seeing that @reActionZine isn’t a funded venture with many people staffing it, no one has been awake to deal with what’s brought up.

This brings up a very interesting question: If none of the editorial staff was awake, how were the changes made?
The obvious answer is that Porpentine has been given editorial access to the site. Seeing as it’s “Posted by Porpentine”, that seems the most likely: Second Quest is on a WordPress site, as is re/Action, and therefore she has been able to edit her own writing. In this case, she was able to edit her own writing to make herself look better. Since Shubert and Brice claim that this was not their editorial intent, one thing is clear: An ethical breach, by Porpentine, occurred under the noses of Shubert and Brice while they were sleeping. Had I not written my article, this would have gone unnoticed. One wonders what other breaches of integrity have been performed by re/Actions staffers.

re/Action positions itself as a certain community voice. It is a new publication; that such a scandal is plaguing it before it’s even been out two weeks speaks extremely badly for it. For re/Action to carry itself in this way is for it to be a complete joke. For Porpentine to commit this breach of ethics and integrity is to sully re/Action’s already questionable name. For Brice and Shubert to not censure Porpentine for this act–for going against their editorial wishes, for acting out of their control, for the misrepresentation of the IF community–is for them to condone it.

To this end, a simple couple of tweets and a vague note from the editors are not enough. In order for re/Action to make good with the community, I would ask a more extensive apology, on their site. I would also ask that “7 Thoughts on Women in Games” be the last published piece by Porpentine on this site.

re/Action is a Zinester arm. I have never found the Zinesters to have much worthwhile to say. I have not found their techniques to be professional or their thoughts cogent or meaningful. I applaud the re/Action staff for eventually getting to the correction; and yet, I would urge every one of us to think twice before trusting the site again. Much as the staff of re/Action might not like rules, might not like structure, might not like accountability, it must have that in order to give the public the perception that their words can be believed. As it were, Porpentine’s actions, and the lack of urgency on the part of the community around re/Action, must sour any relationship that we, the readers, have with re/Action, and we must treat them with the arms’-length distance they deserve until they learn the meaning of integrity.

re/Action is going to be asking us for money soon.

Decide for yourself whether or not the site’s writers deserve it.

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Comments (6)

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  1. n/a says:

    thought you’d like to know, they took out the revision disclaimer and put porpentine’s edits back in.

  2. Christopher Whitman says:

    This comes across like you’re so desperate to create an exposĂ© to justify your hatred of so-called zinesters that you’re willing to position two people who are basically friends as enemies attacking each other’s core beliefs.

    Reporting on a point of contention is fine; filling that report with bile and personal attacks is just weak. Your call to arms is bullshit, and I’m afraid you’ll find that no one’s going to back you on this—not because you’re being persecuted by some “queer twitter mafia,” but because it’s some seriously tedious, spiteful journlolism.

    • Richard says:

      I can never figure out my own site’s comments section, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve blocked me on Twitter–that’s a very, very popular option these days–so I don’t know if you noticed that I replied to yours. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on my reply!

  3. Richard says:

    1) If you can find a personal attack I’ve done, please, let me know. I’ve been extremely careful to talk about the work and the persona. I have never met Porpentine nor Brice, and my only experience is with their work, which I find bland, trite, and infantile.

    2) I have indeed found people to back me on this. Were my claims about the blow to the reputation of re/Action without merit, they would have been dismissed. I am, after all, simply a small “sexist blog” as many people have said; if I’m just starting shit, then why were my claims taken seriously?

    3) “Queer twitter mafia” is your phrasing, not mine. I just wanted to state that for the record.

    Thank you for your comment.

  4. s says:

    What is “the community” which the re/action site must make good with if I may ask. Do the members have names, are they communicable with, have they authorised you to speak for them in this demand and if so what was the means of this authorisation. Are they catholic or protestant in nature ie may they be directly conferred with or does this require an intermediary avatar. Did the community exist before you wrote this post or did it have a prior opinion on the subject? Is it possible for members of the community to have a different opinion from your own or does this de facto exclude them from it. Would a non-fluff argument require the invocation of an innumerable and featureless grassroots multitude standing in lockstep behind the author in order to justify the request or create the semblance of more interest in whatever a “criticism war” is and your input to same than anything which has been demonstrated to date. Is there someone higher up in the organisation that I could speak with.

    • Richard says:

      Essentially what you’re saying is that you disagree with my authority to speak for a community, correct?

      Porpentine and Brice have attempted to make their careers on speaking about the experience of groups. I have found their work so self-focused, so self-absorbed, so meaningless, so talentless, so frankly goddamn idiotic that as serious as the issues they are talking about, neither of them have managed to impress upon me that they have any perspective, any wisdom, any talent.

      The issues they speak about are extremely, extremely important. Are you suggesting that the issues are so important that issues of ethics and the publication’s integrity can be thrown out the window? Do Brice and Porpentine and yourself not need to follow any rules? Is that what’s happening? I didn’t get the memo. Here I’m believing in equality, when the rules must be fairly applied to everyone, but I guess an oppressed group doesn’t need to follow rules, doesn’t need to believe in accountability.

      You’re thecatamites right? Man, your work is…special.

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