So there are leaked logs in Gamergate and everyone is abuzz and losing their shit. Everyone has an opinion. To some it is a chance to sink the toe into Ralph – to settle some score, to some it is a chance to see who is associated or connected to him and hurt them, to others it is something is just good gossip, to others still it is a rallying point. I think most people see it as needless drama and hope it just resolves.
But everyone is talking about them so, Hell, why not?
Someone leaked private chat logs from a group of people including Ralph and from a chat site he set up, and released some of these the day after people from Gamergate chose to defend Sarah Nyberg and get Adsense taken down.
There is a bit above which may ring a few alarm bells. If not I will explain.
Who: The type of person that would side with Sarah bloody Nyberg to take away Ralph’s livelihood. The type too who would see no problem in releasing privately discussed information.
When: The day after Ralph’s Adsense was taken down? (I think so maybe the day after). Convenient timing.
Okay so what about the records themselves? Were they real? Were they fabricated? Were they complete? Were they out of context? Were they damning?
What: You will no doubt have people enthusiastically tell you like the street gossip that “They are all real. They were verified as real by people that were there”.
So there you go. They were verified as real by people in the group so THEREFORE they not fake and can be counted on. Right? Not really.
Unfortunately human nature is such that we want nice easy and simple. We want to join the dots and have everything black and white and handed to us neat and tidy, and unfortunately sometimes you just don’t get that.
Firstly, the two people who have said the logs were real. Who were they and what exactly did they say? The first was Guitar Anthony. Dan Mappplethorpe showed him an alleged chat snippet showing Guitar Anthony saying that he thought Dan was not to be trusted. (Words to that effect – but ask Dan, he will gladly present this himself) and Dan’s quoted response back was “It’s true isn’t it?”. So WHAT was true? The log was a true representation of the chat logs or that Dan was untrustworthy or something else? The second was Jennetic Anomaly saying that the chats looked right but the headers were not a part of the chat channel and the chat seems out of context.
So where the Hell does that leave us with “real”? There WAS a chat and the chats presented on initial inspection, by someone who was there, “seemed right”? Bit airy-fairy. Not a lot to hang one’s hat on:
That is like saying, “Is this definitely the man that robbed you?”
“Yeah, I guess so. The guy was about 6 foot average build, black haired and white. So sure, why not? Not like there is likely to be any other guys matching that description”
But let’s be charitable. IF we can presume they were leaked from a private chat log into the public and the log is not complete (more coming soon – why not all together?…I will get there) and verified – as it looks on initial inspection – like the real deal. Then what is that small detail about the headers? The headers were not part of the log.
Here is where, at best case, it gets a little murky and now into areas of grey rather than black and white, and at worse an absolute wash.
The Headers were added, for effect and for easier categorising. If we accept that they were added after the fact, then the LEAST we know is that the Chat logs WERE altered. If you look at the chat logs, you WILL know that they were not the real deal. So we know the chat logs WERE altered. The question is how much?
If you say that this was the ONLY alteration. Okay. Sure. How do you know? You trust the person releasing this is going to not alter the logs….except that they did. You trust them because they dislike Ralph, but doesn’t that raise an antenna at least a little? It is not some impartial third party that is simply releasing documents to a higher power because they are required to but rather someone seeking to do Ralph harm and therefore biased to doing Ralph as much harm as possible? Moreover, they are precisely the same type of people that would defend Sarah Nyberg and who would leak private discussion. You would trust that what they present you would not be tampered with (and especially after KNOWING that they already tampered with the chatlogs adding by headings to an unheaded chatlog.)
Jenn notes that they were taking things out of context and that is a problem. Real becomes a weaselly word. More of a based on real. If you look through the logs and see time and date you will notice that there are “bits missing”. Why? Could be because those bits would show a particular log in better light or provide context. We don’t know. What we do know is that the person leaking them promised more to come.
Now I don’t know at this point about you, but when I heard that, I automatically thought “Why later, why did they not release it all in one fell swoop?”. The answer to me, that popped straight into my head, is that they needed to “work on it”.
I want you to imagine you are at school (Yes, this is exceedingly hard for a middle-aged man like me but when I see crap like this in Gamergate my mind is somewhat cast back) . You come across a diary of someone you hate. You take it to your friends. You look through and KNOW that what you are reading is the real deal. Now lets pretend similar situation except that your friend brings it to you. It “seems” mostly right but some of the bits look slightly different and foreign to the diary. How much of the diary are you going top believe absolutely?
Whilst the chat log was altered and headers were doctored into it, THEY were transparently obvious. But even a technological retard like my good self could change the font and size of the text. Select the right one and the leaker can change the logs?
Question is Why? Because: changing context; Changing who said something; Cutting out waffle; putting a slightly different spin, is what makes a tighter and more interesting narrative, and may paint villains as more loathesome. If only they had not done so damn badly with the header in the first instance.
Does that mean any of the chat is genuine? I would say absolutely. What is not altered is real. Were all the people in the chat logs part of the group? Maybe. Did each thing said come from that person the log said or by someone else in there? Probably for the most part. Were any bits removed? Most certainly (As said it was not in its entirety according to leaker who would be releasing more) Was most of it intellectual conversation, strident operative planning against others or rambling shit talking? Rambling shit talking. Can it be trusted in to present it in context? No.
So what exactly would be the point in altering it further? As much as it pains me that I cannot think of a better way to show a different example
So that is the visual example of something REAL but in its entirety not “trustworthy” or to be taken seriously. We are talking in textual terms but the same applies. There is good reason to what to enhance something. Unlike the above where you can tell the things said out of context and the added bits, and with it being done as a mickey take, textually done with intent to enhance to positions, it may not be as easily recognised.
You and I do not know how much of the chat logs are real or altered/doctored/tampered with. We just know they have been at least a little. Take it with a grain of salt (not uncommon in these parts lately) and a healthy amount of skepticism.
Don’t read the logs? Why not? Go for your life. Enjoy with the same abandon as opening someone else’s mail or looking through their drawer, or medicine cabinet, computer files or reading through their diary. Trawl through to see any mention of your name. Then once that desire is sated, for fuck’s sake, put it behind you and concentrate on the remnants of Gamergate.
If this seems kind of pointless and petty and juvenile and not worth pursuing, believe me I am with you. Don’t give people shit about it, just let them get it out of their system. Let them feel their cathartic rage or moral indignation of “Well, I never” and exhaust their gossip. It will pass. At least people are engaged.
If we could harness that motivation that exists to hurt Ralph and anyone who is associated with him and channel that against Progressive media, we would move closer to the cohesive arse kicking watchdogs we want to be and less the squabbling clown show Gamergate has been lately. I reckon that would be unreal.