Quick Update: Mattie Brice and IGF

Background Information

IGF = “UBM Tech (producer of Gamasutra.com and the Game Developers Conference) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.”

Mattie Brice = Game developer and critic. Supposedly left the video game industry in early September due to Gamergate harassment.

Facts

There has been some recent drama involving the IGF, specifically with one of their judges, Mattie Brice.

Brice was already being criticized after a tweet on Nov.4th

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Yesterday, Nov. 9th, Brice made many more tweets in regards to judging the IGF. (Click to enlarge)

mattiebrice_1 mattiebrice_2

Her tweets garnered much attention among Gamergate and were quickly publicized.

When brought to IGF’s attention, they responded with “Mattie is trolling you (There’s not even any concept of downvotes!), but her comments aren’t helpful.” [1]
Quickly followed by – “We’ve asked her not to reference IGF like this – even in jest/goading- in the future.” [2]

About 3.5 hours later they announced “The 1st-round judge in question (1 of many 100s this year) has asked to be removed from any duties now/going fwd.” [3] Although IGF seems to be saying that Brice stepped down from judging the competition, there are speculations that she was removed. [4]

Brice’s response a couple hours later = “thanks to the @igfnews for throwing me under the bus with those comments. glad to have that line drawn in the sand”

IGF was heavily criticized and they eventually released an apology “An apology and a statement on IGF inclusivity.”

FAQs

Were Brice’s comments serious or joking?
I believe it is safe to say that her comments were not serious. However, it is hard to tell exactly what her intentions were.

Did Brice step down or was she fired?
As of this moment, I do not have enough evidence to confidently say which. The IGF apology seems to imply that she is free to come back to judge so it is possible that she will return to judging in the future.

Why are people criticizing IGF?
People are criticizing IGF for-
Pro – Apologizing and inviting Brice back to judge despite her unprofessional comments
Con – Giving in to “Gamergate.” [Supposedly] removing Brice from the judging panel. Announcing Brice’s removal from the judging panel in public. Not condemning Gamergate in the apology letter.

Isn’t she also sexist/hate gamers?
I have seen many accusations along these lines. However, I do not believe they have enough relevance to the situation at hand to be very important. Also, I highly doubt she’d agree to judge at IGF if she really hated gamers. People should not stoop to unnecessary character assassinations to try and back their side.

Personal Thoughts
On one hand, I do believe that Brice’s comments were made out of jest rather than malice. On the other hand, some comments just should not be made, especially on a social media platform. When accepting a judging position for ANY competition, that person also assumes some level of responsibility with a promise of professionalism. Her comments, even in jest, crossed the line. IGF was right to ask her to stop making those comments in relation to their brand. They were also within their right to remove her (if they did). A person does not need to support Gamergate to have taken offense at her comments and to see IGF in a negative light because of it.
There is no excuse for harassment, but there was cause for [within reason] criticism and repercussions from IGF for her comments. To be 100% clear: Criticism =/= harassment.

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2 Comments

  1. This whole thing just solidifies my assertion that Twitter as a communication medium is poor at best. Its 140 characters and super public. Perhaps its my age, but there’s no way I would ever try to converse about complex and important political issues there. How many times have we seen, corporations, politicians and celebs get in trouble on Twitter?

    Like

    • Agreed. I asked a couple gamergate supporters on their thoughts for using Twitter as the social media platform for their movement. The overall response was that they do not enjoy Twitter, and many only made an account specifically for Gamergate. They flocked to Twitter after many of the usual platforms had been banned/censored.

      Like

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