On Friday, Porpentine’s piece disappeared and the re-edited version appeared on her site. (For those of you who are coming in late, my other articles on the subject are here and here.) As of the time of this writing–about 2 PM EST on Monday the 13th of May–no explanation has appeared on either her site nor on re/Action. My articles, which focused on the ethical breaches and the poor quality of Porpentine’s work have been interpreted to be a vicious personal attack. Any actual criticisms or points I’ve made were ignored. At no point did I ask for her article to be removed, nor did I make any critique of the content of the article in question beyond her edits. Any decision to remove the article was made between her and the staff of re/Action.
I have not seen anyone defending her actions at stealthily editing her article in order to recharacterize herself. To claim that this is not a problem is ridiculous, and there’s a reason I don’t think we’ve seen anybody defending her ethical breach. I have not seen her attempt to justify the stealth change–while she has explained her reasons behind making the edit, that’s not the issue.
I am curious as to why she made that edit without disclosing it on re/Action.
I am curious as to how she had the access rights to change her own article without letting the editorial staff know.
I am curious about why my problems with this, which were solely on the level of an ethical breach, have been interpreted as a sexist attack. It’s true: I dislike Porpentine’s work. I find it bigoted and hostile, and while I agree with her general aims, I don’t think she’s looking for equality and I don’t find much of what she says to be profound. That is my right. A quick look through my backlog will show that while I have been hostile to several female writers, I’ve done the same to several male writers. Frankly, the only time I’ve ever addressed Porpentine’s work, prior to this weekend, was a post about Richard Hofmeier’s promotion of howling dogs at the IGF. (Said piece mostly focused on Hofmeier, largely because I’d been meaning to write up something about Cart Life but could never find a particularly good angle prior to then.)
Porpentine’s credibility is key. She even mentions it herself in the very first paragraph of her article. And yet, for her to cry sexism when I write an article condemning her Orwellian edit of her piece–for her to call Konstantinos Dimopolous a suicide-enabling woman hater and, when asked to prove her malicious claims, to simply repeat herself–for her to focus on an imagined personal attack and not address the actual wrongs she’s committed–that’s for her to completely ruin her own credibility.
The role of women–all minorities–in the videogame scene is a liminal one. Having more women in the scene is a wonderful way to get more diverse voices in the scene. Porpentine is attempting to be a voice for women. Whether or not Porpentine is a good one or not is not up to me to decide. I’m just here to point out that her claims are outlandish, her views often unsupportable, and her methods underhanded. The likes of Rock Paper Shotgun can do with that information whatever they see fit.
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