The 5 Rules for Talking About Anita Sarkeesian

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So lately there's been a deluge of huge threads about Anita Sarkeesian, whether she's Good or Bad, interesting or the worst thing ever, etc. Personally I find these threads endlessly fascinating, but the conversation is always full of so much extra, unhelpful stuff that it ends up being 100 people screaming into the void. I'd love to have a real, honest discussion about her videos, so I came up with some rules that I think would help facilitate that. These are the rules for talking about Anita Sarkessian, and by following them I think we can all have a better, more interesting discussion.

1. For every point you make, you must have three (3) examples.

For instance, if you want to say "Anita is dumb lol," you need to also post at least three examples of her doing or saying something that comes off as unintelligent. If you want to say "Anita is a liar," you need three examples of her saying something that she knows to be untrue. If you want to say "Anita's videos are interesting," you need three examples of something new that you learned.

2. If you want to say something mean about her (or anyone else), you must also say three (3) nice things.

If you want to say "Anita is a dunderhead," you must also say something like "but she also seems like a nice person, I like her hoop earrings, and the graphics in her videos are well done." If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

3. You aren't allowed to use the word "censorship."

It's not relevant to the conversation at all. Trust me. Using it will only make you look bad.

4. If you don't have an opinion, don't post.

Maybe you're tired of these threads, because you don't care one way or the other. Great! Then don't make a comment. You don't have to have an opinion on everything, and you definitely don't have to respond to everything.

5. You aren't allowed to try to prove anyone wrong.

This one is tough, but it's arguably the most important. These threads will almost always devolve into two people yelling at each other, totally missing what the other person is saying. That doesn't help anybody. What I want you to do is to try and understand the other person. Figure out why they think like they do.

Basically instead of responding "You're wrong, and here's why," respond instead with "Hmm, I don't understand why you think that. I think X. Can you help me to understand why you think Y?" It's hard, I know, but I guarantee it's better for everyone.

5.2 Be prepared to explain why you think what you do.

This isn't about the examples in Rule 1, this is about your motivations. Be prepared and willing to examine them.

That's not so hard, is it? If anyone has any other rules, let's hear them! Otherwise, I'll start the conversation:

I think Sarkeesian's Video Game Tropes Against Women series is interesting and informative. I never realized before that 1)so many games have strip club levels 2) So many games kill off women characters so the male character has a reason for killing 3) So many games to pretty awful things to their female characters.

These rules are obviously flawed and stupid, nobody likes her hoop earrings.

But why should posting about Anita Sarkeesian be any different then posting about anything else?

Your rules are nothing more then suggestions to making a valid argument over the internet, which isn't a bad thing, but you undermine them by aiming them at a particular topic, especially when implied to be targeted at one group.

Despite what many people think, Ol' Anita ain't special, on way or another. And I don't need to provide examples to make that true.

EDIT: Just read the rules more carefully. I take back what I said. They're pretty bad ones.

Only rule 1 seems reasonable in any way. Rule 2 is counter to the whole point of these arguments, 3 is trying to censor the whole problem of her being a proponent of censorship (irony), 4 isn't really given any justification, 5 goes against the very concept of debate and 5b has no reason to exist (though I'll fully admit that it's a case of not wanting someone who knows nothing about the medium, admits to neither knowing nor caring for it, wanting it censored and getting around the issue by promoting "self censorship", which is in some ways one of the worst forms of it due to its insidious and hidden nature).

Anita Sarkeesian isn't some deity deigned to be treated differently from anyone else on the internet, nor is she different than anyone else. Yes, if you want to make a point you should have evidence to back it up. No, if you say something mean you don't have to say three times as many nice things. This isn't a hippy love-in or kindergarten.

If you apply that standard to Sarkeesian then I deem you must also apply it to Hitler, since apparently this thread is about just handing down Moses style commandments and declaring all must follow for no reason. Also when talking about Hitler you can't use the word "Jew" because it's not relevant to the conversation at all. Using it will only make you look bad.

Aw Christ, it's spreading! Containment has failed! It's breached Gaming Discussion and article comments and now it's encroaching on Off-Topic!

Quick, everyone board the User Groups! If we cast off quickly and burn everything behind us we may yet be saved!

I like how we have to have rules for ONE PERSON

Seriously people, this isn't hard to do...

Oh well, I don't comment on the threads about her so it really doesn't apply for me

I'll be on the sidelines as usual :3

Weaver:
If you apply that standard to Sarkeesian then I deem you must also apply it to Hitler, since apparently this thread is about just handing down Moses style commandments and declaring all must follow for no reason.

The reason we should be following these rules is because someone thought it would be grand to invoke Godwin's Law in the fourth fucking reply.

This is why we can't have nice things.

lacktheknack:

Weaver:
If you apply that standard to Sarkeesian then I deem you must also apply it to Hitler, since apparently this thread is about just handing down Moses style commandments and declaring all must follow for no reason.

The reason we should be following these rules is because someone thought it would be grand to invoke Godwin's Law in the fourth fucking reply.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Did I say anything incorrect? Godwin's law - which by the way, isn't meant to be taken seriously - simply stipulates the argument tends toward Nazis. It doesn't state any argument invoking it is magically invalid.

Replace Hitler with Stalin, or Ben Kingsley, or Madonna, or Deadmau5, or Keanu Reeves, Rupert Murdoch, the Pope; I don't care. No one person deserves special, magical treatment over all others when talking about them.

Better yet, let's narrow that list down to a single guideline:

1. Don't be a disrespectful ass.

A lot of discussions (not just those regarding Ms. Sarkeesian) would be vastly improved if everyone thought about that before hitting the Reply button.

Weaver:

lacktheknack:

Weaver:
If you apply that standard to Sarkeesian then I deem you must also apply it to Hitler, since apparently this thread is about just handing down Moses style commandments and declaring all must follow for no reason.

The reason we should be following these rules is because someone thought it would be grand to invoke Godwin's Law in the fourth fucking reply.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Did I say anything incorrect? Godwin's law - which by the way, isn't meant to be taken seriously - simply stipulates the argument tends toward Nazis. It doesn't state any argument invoking it is magically invalid.

Replace Hitler with Stalin, or Ben Kingsley, or Madonna, or Deadmau5, or Keanu Reeves; I don't care.

It may not be incorrect, but it beautifully explains the general problem with these fucking threads in one line.

After all, why did you select Hitler in the first place, rather than Deadmau5?

lacktheknack:

Weaver:

lacktheknack:

The reason we should be following these rules is because someone thought it would be grand to invoke Godwin's Law in the fourth fucking reply.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Did I say anything incorrect? Godwin's law - which by the way, isn't meant to be taken seriously - simply stipulates the argument tends toward Nazis. It doesn't state any argument invoking it is magically invalid.

Replace Hitler with Stalin, or Ben Kingsley, or Madonna, or Deadmau5, or Keanu Reeves; I don't care.

It may not be incorrect, but it beautifully explains the general problem with these fucking threads in one line.

And what would that be? I'm merely upset someone is claiming they have the right to control how we discuss a particular person so I used an extreme example to demonstrate why I think that's absurd.

bobleponge:

2. If you want to say something mean about her (or anyone else), you must also say three (3) nice things.

If you want to say "Anita is a dunderhead," you must also say something like "but she also seems like a nice person, I like her hoop earrings, and the graphics in her videos are well done." If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

[

So pure dislike is not ok but pure worship is? I demand a rule 2 bis: if you want to say something nice about her you have to say 3 mean things about her. Until than these rules are clearly made to bias the discussion in her favor. And there would be nothing "honest" about such a biased discussion.

Weaver:

lacktheknack:

Weaver:

Did I say anything incorrect? Godwin's law - which by the way, isn't meant to be taken seriously - simply stipulates the argument tends toward Nazis. It doesn't state any argument invoking it is magically invalid.

Replace Hitler with Stalin, or Ben Kingsley, or Madonna, or Deadmau5, or Keanu Reeves; I don't care.

It may not be incorrect, but it beautifully explains the general problem with these fucking threads in one line.

And what would that be? I'm merely upset someone is claiming they have the right to control how we discuss a particular person so I used an extreme example to demonstrate why I think that's absurd.

Why did you select Hitler in the first place instead of a more appropriate comparison, like Kim Kardashian?

The fact that people compare her constantly to the absolute worst things they can come up with shows a lack of perspective that runs rampant through these threads, elevating arguments that should crease your eyebrow at worst into shriekfests with people getting mod-wrathed left and right.

(And I imagine that you'll say that you're not doing that here, and you're right. But it's too obvious of a potential microcosm for me to ignore.)

i don't see how those "rules" will help anything
i don't have to say anything about her she shoots off her foot without anyone's help

Are we still talking about this girl? Damn i think this is the longest the escapists talks about one topic before shifting to a new thing to hate. If shes so much trouble why doesn't someone... * checks health bar *... Damn never mind , i'm not risking it. Anyways, we don't need rules about talkin about someone , espcially not her . Let's just let sleepin dogs lie and agree she has a right to an opinion and ignore her already.

#firstworldproblems

am i cool yet?

Zhukov:
Aw Christ, it's spreading! Containment has failed! It's breached Gaming Discussion and article comments and now it's encroaching on Off-Topic!

Quick, everyone board the User Groups! If we cast off quickly and burn everything behind us we may yet be saved!

Good idea.

Quick, follow me to safety.

bobleponge:
Personally I find these threads endlessly fascinating, but the conversation is always full of so much extra, unhelpful stuff that it ends up being 100 people screaming into the void. I'd love to have a real, honest discussion

Erm, you don't appear new to the Internet, so this is kind of surprising. You should be used to this by now.

Simple reason I lost all respect for her was shutting off feedback on her YT videos. No, it really was necessary, in as much as feminism (or any social issue) demands something resembling a discussion. There are infinitely varied opinions and, well, the whole point of her project is to criticize the status quo and advance new perspectives.

Oh, but, this is an "educational" project. Ever have those days where the regular teacher is gone and they get someone to come in and start a video that takes up the class time because a real teacher can't be there? Apparently she had that idea, but she just films herself giving every lecture and doesn't ever come to class. Real educators actually engage with intellectual people and wouldn't walk out because of a few troublemakers.

lacktheknack:

Weaver:

lacktheknack:

It may not be incorrect, but it beautifully explains the general problem with these fucking threads in one line.

And what would that be? I'm merely upset someone is claiming they have the right to control how we discuss a particular person so I used an extreme example to demonstrate why I think that's absurd.

Why did you select Hitler in the first place instead of a more appropriate comparison, like Kim Kardashian?

The fact that people compare her constantly to the absolute worst things they can come up with shows a lack of perspective that runs rampant through these threads, elevating arguments that should crease your eyebrow at worst into shriekfests with people getting mod-wrathed left and right.

(And I imagine that you'll say that you're not doing that here, and you're right. But it's too obvious of a microcosm for me to ignore.)

I guess the disassociation here is my intent behind the statement. I wasn't - or rather didn't intend - to directly compare her to Hitler. If I may speak frankly: I sincerely think there are a lot of gender representation issues in games. I don't watch many of Anita's videos. With the few I saw I think sometimes she makes very good points, I think other times she misunderstands things. But, truth be told, I really don't watch them or pay her a lot of mind.

What I intended was to take the intentionally and obviously ludicrous stance that I demand these discussion restraints also be applied to Hitler, simply because I want them to be and everyone has to obey my whims. Just as the OP claims they should be applied to Anita, simply because they deem it so.

I chose Hitler because I presumed almost everyone - OP included - would agree these rules shouldn't apply to Hitler. I didn't choose Kim Kardiashian as, if the OP truly believes Anita should be subject to these protections I have no way of knowing he wouldn't think Kim Kardashian does as well. So I had to take the nuclear approach and go as bad as I could.

As such, I was hoping to the OP would accept that there is a case in which neutering critical discussion is wrong/unhelpful. And if there is such a case, it could help them appreciate the perspective that neutering discussion in the proposed manner is a terrible idea in other cases as well. Even if people are speaking out against something or someone you believe in, asking them to foam pad their words makes the "defense" in whatever situation seem quite insecure.

I wish conversations could remain civil, but "Say three nice things for every bad thing" is way beyond civility and, in my opinion, falls into a childlike form of idealism.

Really I thought they would go something like this.

[Activate Tyler Durden Mode]

The First Rule of Anita Sarkeesian is that you do not talk about Anita Sarkeesian

The Second Rule of Anita Sarkeesian is that YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT ANITA SARKEESIAN

The Third Rule of Anita Sarkeesian is if you see a thread about Anita Sarkeesian you don't read or post in it

The Fourth Rule of Anita Sarkeesian if a topic is barely related to her you still don't talk about Anita Sarkeesian

The Fifth Rule of Anita Sarkeesian if you absolutely must talk about Anita Sarkeesian wait till she has posted a new vid at least FFS

<Deactivate Tyler Durden Mode>

Seriously though there are not rules to follow in any discussion except the escapist forum rules. Setting up special rule for the discussion of one individual is silly and you have no ability to enforce these rules so no will follow them anyway.

Weaver:

lacktheknack:

Weaver:

And what would that be? I'm merely upset someone is claiming they have the right to control how we discuss a particular person so I used an extreme example to demonstrate why I think that's absurd.

Why did you select Hitler in the first place instead of a more appropriate comparison, like Kim Kardashian?

The fact that people compare her constantly to the absolute worst things they can come up with shows a lack of perspective that runs rampant through these threads, elevating arguments that should crease your eyebrow at worst into shriekfests with people getting mod-wrathed left and right.

(And I imagine that you'll say that you're not doing that here, and you're right. But it's too obvious of a microcosm for me to ignore.)

I guess the disassociation here is my intent behind the statement. I wasn't - or rather didn't intend - to directly compare her to Hitler. If I may speak frankly: I sincerely think there are a lot of gender representation issues in games. I don't watch many of Anita's videos. With the few I saw I think sometimes she makes very good points, I think other times she misunderstands things. But, truth be told, I really don't watch them or pay her a lot of mind.

What I intended was to take the intentionally and obviously ludicrous stance that I demand these discussion restraints also be applied to Hitler, simply because I want them to be and everyone has to obey my whims. Just as the OP claims they should be applied to Anita, simply because they deem it so.

I chose Hitler because I presumed almost everyone - OP included - would agree these rules shouldn't apply to Hitler. I didn't choose Kim Kardiashian as, if the OP truly believes Anita should be subject to these protections I have no way of knowing he wouldn't think Kim Kardashian does as well. So I had to take the nuclear approach and go as bad as I could.

As such, I was hoping to the OP would accept that there is a case in which neutering critical discussion is wrong/unhelpful. And if there is such a case, it could help them appreciate the perspective that neutering discussion in the proposed manner is a terrible idea in other cases as well. Even if people are speaking out against something or someone you believe in, asking them to foam pad their words makes the "defense" in whatever situation seem quite insecure.

I wish conversations could remain civil, but "Say three nice things for every bad thing" is way beyond civility and, in my opinion, falls into a childlike form of idealism.

Yeah, I can see that reading it back again, and it's a valid enough point.

I just leapt at it to demonstrate a different point because, well, Godwin's law in five posts. How often does that happen? xD

Weaver:

If you apply that standard to Sarkeesian then I deem you must also apply it to Hitler, since apparently this thread is about just handing down Moses style commandments and declaring all must follow for no reason. Also when talking about Hitler you can't use the word "Jew" because it's not relevant to the conversation at all. Using it will only make you look bad.

Hitler was a genocidal scumbag, but damn did that man know how to rock a mustache and dress his troops for success. And his oratory skills? Incredible.

Dirty Hipsters:

Weaver:

If you apply that standard to Sarkeesian then I deem you must also apply it to Hitler, since apparently this thread is about just handing down Moses style commandments and declaring all must follow for no reason. Also when talking about Hitler you can't use the word "Jew" because it's not relevant to the conversation at all. Using it will only make you look bad.

Hitler was a genocidal scumbag, but damn did that man know how to rock a mustache and dress his troops for success. And his oratory skills? Incredible.

That's pretty impressive, but let's kick it up a notch:

Say 3 positive things about... Celine Dion.

Check mate my friend.

Or, or, and bear with me now, how about this: Let's discuss her in whatever manner we please, as long as it stays within the forum guidelines.

Hero in a half shell:

Dirty Hipsters:

Weaver:

If you apply that standard to Sarkeesian then I deem you must also apply it to Hitler, since apparently this thread is about just handing down Moses style commandments and declaring all must follow for no reason. Also when talking about Hitler you can't use the word "Jew" because it's not relevant to the conversation at all. Using it will only make you look bad.

Hitler was a genocidal scumbag, but damn did that man know how to rock a mustache and dress his troops for success. And his oratory skills? Incredible.

That's pretty impressive, but let's kick it up a notch:

Say 3 positive things about... Celine Dion.

Check mate my friend.

1) She sang the Iraqi national anthem in that South Park movie

2) She's Canadian

3) ....yeah....I got nothin'

It would appear you win this one.

i suggest just two rules and they're broadly similar to those for Fight Club...

You know what? I just wish that the genuine criticisms actually saw some light in these forums when it comes to her videos. But sadly, all the good comments get swallowed up and ignored because everyone else is going mental.

generals3:

bobleponge:

2. If you want to say something mean about her (or anyone else), you must also say three (3) nice things.

If you want to say "Anita is a dunderhead," you must also say something like "but she also seems like a nice person, I like her hoop earrings, and the graphics in her videos are well done." If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

[

So pure dislike is not ok but pure worship is? I demand a rule 2 bis: if you want to say something nice about her you have to say 3 mean things about her. Until than these rules are clearly made to bias the discussion in her favor. And there would be nothing "honest" about such a biased discussion.

That rule is only there because saying mean things isn't helpful, and turns the tone of the discussion in a really sour direction. It doesn't prove your point, and it's not interesting to read or talk about. It's also like 90% of all discussions of the video. If these discussions become overloaded with people saying really nice things about Sarkeesian, then maybe we'll think about your rule. You can critique her all you want, but if you wanna be mean, you gotta offset that with extra niceness. There's enough meanness in the world already.

AccursedTheory:
But why should posting about Anita Sarkeesian be any different then posting about anything else?

Your rules are nothing more then suggestions to making a valid argument over the internet, which isn't a bad thing, but you undermine them by aiming them at a particular topic, especially when implied to be targeted at one group.

Despite what many people think, Ol' Anita ain't special, on way or another. And I don't need to provide examples to make that true.

EDIT: Just read the rules more carefully. I take back what I said. They're pretty bad ones.

I like to think these rules could apply to a lot of things. I just picked Anita because it's a good testing ground. Also:

"I take back what I said. They're pretty bad ones."

Looks like you broke rule #1!

Tony2077:
i don't see how those "rules" will help anything
i don't have to say anything about her she shoots off her foot without anyone's help

And you already broke Rule #4. C'mon people, this isn't that hard.

bobleponge:
C'mon people, this isn't that hard.

Doesn't matter how hard it is, you've made a list of "rules" that no one cares for. Hell, Rule 3 makes it so a legitimate part of why people criticise her is cut out of the conversation entirely.

These rules are pointless and no one will follow them, and with good reason.

bobleponge:
So lately there's been a deluge of huge threads about Anita Sarkeesian...

"Lately".

They could change this website's name to the Anita Sarkeesianist and no one would bat an eye.

And I didn't break rule 4 because I do have an opinion, and my opinion is that you're misusing the word "lately" to such an incredible extent criminal charges should be levied.

So...nyah.

I have a better idea, how about people who don't want to discuss Anita Sarkeesian avoid those threads like minefields, and everybody can live their life.

Alternatively, we could implement a filter system that utilizes key words that won't show threads with those words in them (i.e. I could enter "Tumblr", and all threads with that word in the title would be hidden from the user). Actually that seems like too much work.

Zontar:

bobleponge:
C'mon people, this isn't that hard.

Doesn't matter how hard it is, you've made a list of "rules" that no one cares for. Hell, Rule 3 makes it so a legitimate part of why people criticise her is cut out of the conversation entirely.

These rules are pointless and no one will follow them, and with good reason.

Okay, I'm gonna try to respond to you without breaking any of the rules.

You seem to think that Anita supports government regulations effectively banning the criticism of her videos? Or, in a more general way, you believe that she has taken steps to completely prevent people from expressing their thoughts of her videos? Am I correct? If not, can you explain what you think she's doing? (It would be great, too, if you didn't use the banned word, because I think you need to go into more detail than that). I don't see it that way, and I'd like to understand where you're coming from.

lax4life:
I have a better idea, how about people who don't want to discuss Anita Sarkeesian avoid those threads like minefields, and everybody can live their life.

Yep, that's rule #4!

bobleponge:

Zontar:

bobleponge:
C'mon people, this isn't that hard.

Doesn't matter how hard it is, you've made a list of "rules" that no one cares for. Hell, Rule 3 makes it so a legitimate part of why people criticise her is cut out of the conversation entirely.

These rules are pointless and no one will follow them, and with good reason.

Okay, I'm gonna try to respond to you without breaking any of the rules.

You seem to think that Anita supports government regulations effectively banning the criticism of her videos? Or, in a more general way, you believe that she has taken steps to completely prevent people from expressing their thoughts of her videos? Am I correct? If not, can you explain what you think she's doing? (It would be great, too, if you didn't use the banned word, because I think you need to go into more detail than that). I don't see it that way, and I'd like to understand where you're coming from.

The censorship issue isn't in the form of her deflecting criticism (though she is trying to avoid it at all cost), the issue at hand is that with her videos she is trying to promote censorship of an industry whose entertainment products she neither has an elementary knowledge of nor an interest in (this is by her own admission, no less).

That's actually a funny thing about the rule you place about not mentioning censorship, you've inadvertently tried to ban one of the largest things her critics hold against her that is an actual legitimate complaint: she is trying to have the video game industry censored despite not caring for the industry at all.

bobleponge:

generals3:

bobleponge:

2. If you want to say something mean about her (or anyone else), you must also say three (3) nice things.

If you want to say "Anita is a dunderhead," you must also say something like "but she also seems like a nice person, I like her hoop earrings, and the graphics in her videos are well done." If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

[

So pure dislike is not ok but pure worship is? I demand a rule 2 bis: if you want to say something nice about her you have to say 3 mean things about her. Until than these rules are clearly made to bias the discussion in her favor. And there would be nothing "honest" about such a biased discussion.

That rule is only there because saying mean things isn't helpful, and turns the tone of the discussion in a really sour direction. It doesn't prove your point, and it's not interesting to read or talk about. It's also like 90% of all discussions of the video. If these discussions become overloaded with people saying really nice things about Sarkeesian, then maybe we'll think about your rule. You can critique her all you want, but if you wanna be mean, you gotta offset that with extra niceness. There's enough meanness in the world already.

AccursedTheory:
But why should posting about Anita Sarkeesian be any different then posting about anything else?

Your rules are nothing more then suggestions to making a valid argument over the internet, which isn't a bad thing, but you undermine them by aiming them at a particular topic, especially when implied to be targeted at one group.

Despite what many people think, Ol' Anita ain't special, on way or another. And I don't need to provide examples to make that true.

EDIT: Just read the rules more carefully. I take back what I said. They're pretty bad ones.

I like to think these rules could apply to a lot of things. I just picked Anita because it's a good testing ground. Also:

"I take back what I said. They're pretty bad ones."

Looks like you broke rule #1!

Tony2077:
i don't see how those "rules" will help anything
i don't have to say anything about her she shoots off her foot without anyone's help

And you already broke Rule #4. C'mon people, this isn't that hard.

hiding behind your so called rules won't change reality

Wasnt alot of her artwork stolen from Deviant art and other places and edited and used without permission.
along with video content stolen from Youtubers.
Should i praise anyone for this. the answer is a big fat NO

Captcha - neckbeard lol

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