Alum Bo Ruberg on GamerGate Culture in The Verge

15 Oct, 2019

Alum Bo Ruberg on GamerGate Culture in The Verge

Alum Bo Ruberg was featured in The Verge article, "GamerGate comes to the classroom" by Megan Farokhmanesh. The article, which focused on Ruberg's experience teaching the course "Games and Society" at UC Irvine in 2017, discusses new issues facing those teaching videogames. Coordinated harassment techniques honed during GamerGate have shifted classroom dynamics, as our alumni are discovering.

From the article:

Now educators face new challenges: teaching responsibly, while also safeguarding themselves from the very kids they hope to help. “You develop this self-preservation intuition,” Ruberg tells The Verge. “You have to know what’s happening so that you know how to protect yourself.” As misinformation and hate continues to radicalize young people online, teachers are also grappling with helping their students unlearn incorrect, dangerous information. “It has made a lot of us teachers more cautious,” they say. “We want to challenge our students to explore new ways of thinking, to see the cultural meaning and power of video games, but we’re understandably anxious and even scared about the possible results.”

After the gender lecture, Ruberg and their three TAs spent the next few days patrolling local campus Reddit communities for the material. To Ruberg and their TAs’ collective relief, nothing ever appeared — in their opinion, because there was nothing salacious: women in games have a hard time, and masculinity is constructed through gaming. But the experience left a mark on Ruberg, who says they’ve become more hesitant to include material about gender, sexuality, and race on their syllabuses. They’ve become wary, in some ways, of their students.

Read the article here.