The Twitterverse has been alight with scandal the past couple of days; the focus of ire has fallen on Zoe Quinn, developer of Depression Quest, who has been accused of receiving favourable coverage of her game in exchange for sexual relations with games journalists. The accusations came as the result of a blog by an ex-boyfriend, which in itself slants his story as coming from someone with an axe to grind.
As a result, Quinn has been the target of increasing levels of abuse and there’ve been further accusations that some of the drama — such as Quinn being doxxed, which is the term used for publicly airing personal information, and an altercation with The Fine Young Capitalists in a disagreement over a game jam — has been orchestrated by herself for added publicity. Reddit and other media sites have seen widespread thread deletions and bannings with anything related to the topic, which is seen by the mob as a clear indication of industry corruption.
So obviously, when the flames are burning, the best thing to do is to fry a Fish. Phil Fish — developer of spatial-perspective platformer Fez — is not known for his measured response to the gaming community in general, and now his rather vocal support of Quinn has resulted in the Polytron site being hacked and his personal information being doxxed.
While currently down, a cached version of the site shows a headline, “Five Guys: Burgers and Fries”; Five Guys is a fast-food chain in the US, and in this instance is a reference to the original blog post made by Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, who lists five men with whom she was supposedly unfaithful during her relationship with him. The message was apparently left by, “/V/’s mod and leader of 4chan.org and Anonymous,” with a link to supposed proof of corruption within the game.
Those with a passing understanding of the board will realise how odd this declaration is — it’s highly unlikely that an easily identifiable individual would simply out themselves as being responsible for a hacking attempt. There’s also a lot of misappropriated 4chan lingo, such as the capitalised “/V/”, and, “We do not forgive. At All,” which is a slightly different rendering of the popular Anonymous slogan, “We do not forgive. We do not forget.” Of course, this could be a cunning ruse. You can never tell with 4chan.
Polytron’s Twitter account was also compromised, which started retweeting – well, let’s just say it wasn’t complimentary — stories about Fez and Fish.
It’s all rather juvenile, but the kind of juvenility that has the potential to ruin lives. Hacking, posting one’s personal and financial details online and spreading some frankly misogynistic bile is completely unacceptable. I don’t like Fish (“At All.”) and didn’t enjoy Depression Quest (preferring Actual Sunlight‘s take on the subject matter), but while participating in the public space means you’ll occasionally be the focal point for criticism and abuse, it does NOT mean you should expect or condone this level of attacks.