Block Chains and The Mary Sue’s Ethical Quagmire

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Eyes Covered

ComicsGate and GamerGate. The boogeymen that allow the geek and nerd communities to partake in outrage culture continues to be the gift that keeps on giving in that regard, despite the fact that most of the world has forgotten what GamerGate was about (for which Zoe Quinn is no doubt grateful) and ComicsGate exists now largely as a hashtag to market the ideology behind the comics they produce and, yes, deliver.

Not that this stops Anthony Gramuglia, writer at large. In a recent piece for The Mary Sue, Gramuglia conducts “interviews” with a handful of people with axes to grind. The Spectre of Hate is raised more than once, and the fearmongering goes into high gear in order to gin up the clicks. He expands his reach from ComicsGate to the more recent AnimeGate, spun out of accusations against DragonballZ: Broly actor, Vic Mignogna, and the resulting defamation suit that followed.

With the AnimeGate reach, Gramuglia performs something almost but not quite attributable to real journalism, insofar as the person he pulls quotes from, Kaylyn Saucedo, does not seem to be one of his regular pals. Because the rest of the interviews are the equivalent of sitting around the bar with your friends and deciding your conversation is so charming you should write it down and pass it off as work.

At issue is the threat of doxxing of those who stand in opposition to these threats against baseball, motherhood, and apple pie, threats such as doxxing (the act of making personal information available, or easily found, by others), apparently with the goal or intent of hoping harm comes to the person; for instance, a SWATting attempt.

It is, of course, fine to interview people who know for a news article. When you write within an industry for any length of time, you develop relationships with your sources as a natural course. But there’s news reporting, and then there’s self-serving.

And it gets particularly egregious when, as the acting agent for one reporting site, you give instructions to your readers to block their own access to other reporting sites.

Unquestionably, the sites referenced — Bleeding Fool and Bounding into Comics — take a specific stance on issues. In that way, they’re very unlike The Mary Sue. But running a blockchain as described by Gramuglia, only serves to create an echo chamber, insulating those inside from information.

And to have a source of information directing its readers to block other sources of information, combined with the already insular agitprop nature of the interviewed subjects, makes this article Into much more than a self-serving editorial; it turns it into an ethical quagmire for The Mary Sue.