This site collects work by Aram Zucker-Scharff from all over the web.

“Isn’t home ownership a crucial cog to any healthy economy? Well, as Germany shows—and Gershwin…”

September 19 Comments Off

“Isn’t home ownership a crucial cog to any healthy economy? Well, as Germany shows—and Gershwin wrote—it ain’t necessarily so.”

Most Germans don’t buy their homes, they rent. Here’s why.

“Isn’t home ownership a crucial cog to any healthy economy? Well, as Germany shows—and Gershwin…”

September 19 Comments Off

“Isn’t home ownership a crucial cog to any healthy economy? Well, as Germany shows—and Gershwin wrote—it ain’t necessarily so.”

Most Germans don’t buy their homes, they rent. Here’s why.

Gaming and Ethics

September 19 Comments Off

As long as women gamers and game developers are living under a cloud of virtual terrorism, I don’t give a shit about your cause.”

It doesn’t matter what the ‘journalism ethics’ issue IS, there is a larger issue that has to be addressed first. If you want to argue ethics — ideal standards of behavior, morality, right and wrong — what is more wrong? What is more deserving of attention? I don’t understand why one would choose now to talk about journalistic ethics when there is a huge ethical problem right in front of you.

I don’t know about the people ‘attacked for standing up for gamergate’ that defenders constantly mention. I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume that they exist and if they are being attacked, that’s no good. But I don’t see them being pushed out of their jobs. I don’t see them dealing with threats of sexual assault.

This is a problem that plagues *the entire industry*. The IGDA (which is hardly the most forward thinking organization) has to work with the FBI. I don’t care if the people who are doing it are “gamers” or not. That all of this effort and concern about ethical behavior is not directed towards removing power and attention from these abusive people who have infiltrated our community automatically nulls the argument. One can’t have a conversation about ethics while standing on the sidelines and seeing this happen to people in a community you claim to be a member and not focusing on this issue.

And it is an issue. Far larger than any other currently plaguing our community. By chasing people out of games, by removing their voices we drive our entire field backwards.

Ethics is also about understanding relative morality, that some bad things are worse than other bad things and that sometimes we only have so much power to address one out of many wrongs. You’re choosing the wrong thing to address, actively choosing, and that’s a real problem, because we cannot advance ethics anywhere else in our community as long as we handwave the abuse of our members. It’s as simple as that.

Let me put it this way:
If you’re standing on the corner and someone tears up a piece of sidewalk and starts throwing it at another person; that is NOT the appropriate time to have a discussion about the quality of sidewalks today. It doesn’t matter if it is one person nattering to themselves on the sidelines while watching 100 people abuse another person or the entire city council sitting there while one person abuses another. It doesn’t even matter if the next day they come back and poor better concrete. It is fundamentally wrong to be standing there and not do anything and instead choose to have a chat about cement. There’s a time, there’s a place, and that *isn’t* it.

Here’s what it comes down to: I’m passionate about games and games journalism and our community. But I would gladly see it all blown to bits if it meant never having to see someone’s life threatened, their friends sent abusive messages, or people threatening anyone with sexual assault online. 

Journalism, at its core, is about witnessing, recording, understanding, and reporting. At its’ best, the most any journalist could want out of their own work, good journalism is about pushing people to understand the wrongs around them and take action. It’s why no one in the big media outlets are inclined to take the side of these people arguing about ‘gaming culture conspiracy’. For that conversation to be happening along-side what is occurring to members of our community at this moment is to fiddle while Rome burns. It’s to pervert the very reasons many journalists got into the business to begin with, especially those most heavily under attack.

Honestly, There is a TON I can say about gaming journalism and its ethics. I’ve been writing about it for two years, talking about it even longer, I don’t know where everyone else was all that time. But I’m not going to. It’s a distraction from the issue that we actually need to address, the fundamental violence and hate within our community (perhaps a majority, perhaps not, but absolutely there), our play, and our culture of games. That issue is the far more serious one and to say, ‘sure, that happens, but what about this other thing?’ is to implicitly approve actions that have people living in so much fear that they quit working on the things they love.

Sorry, that’s unacceptable.

Gaming and Ethics

September 19 Comments Off

As long as women gamers and game developers are living under a cloud of virtual terrorism, I don’t give a shit about your cause.”

It doesn’t matter what the ‘journalism ethics’ issue IS, there is a larger issue that has to be addressed first. If you want to argue ethics — ideal standards of behavior, morality, right and wrong — what is more wrong? What is more deserving of attention? I don’t understand why one would choose now to talk about journalistic ethics when there is a huge ethical problem right in front of you.

I don’t know about the people ‘attacked for standing up for gamergate’ that defenders constantly mention. I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume that they exist and if they are being attacked, that’s no good. But I don’t see them being pushed out of their jobs. I don’t see them dealing with threats of sexual assault.

This is a problem that plagues *the entire industry*. The IGDA (which is hardly the most forward thinking organization) has to work with the FBI. I don’t care if the people who are doing it are “gamers” or not. That all of this effort and concern about ethical behavior is not directed towards removing power and attention from these abusive people who have infiltrated our community automatically nulls the argument. One can’t have a conversation about ethics while standing on the sidelines and seeing this happen to people in a community you claim to be a member and not focusing on this issue.

And it is an issue. Far larger than any other currently plaguing our community. By chasing people out of games, by removing their voices we drive our entire field backwards.

Ethics is also about understanding relative morality, that some bad things are worse than other bad things and that sometimes we only have so much power to address one out of many wrongs. You’re choosing the wrong thing to address, actively choosing, and that’s a real problem, because we cannot advance ethics anywhere else in our community as long as we handwave the abuse of our members. It’s as simple as that.

Let me put it this way:
If you’re standing on the corner and someone tears up a piece of sidewalk and starts throwing it at another person; that is NOT the appropriate time to have a discussion about the quality of sidewalks today. It doesn’t matter if it is one person nattering to themselves on the sidelines while watching 100 people abuse another person or the entire city council sitting there while one person abuses another. It doesn’t even matter if the next day they come back and poor better concrete. It is fundamentally wrong to be standing there and not do anything and instead choose to have a chat about cement. There’s a time, there’s a place, and that *isn’t* it.

Here’s what it comes down to: I’m passionate about games and games journalism and our community. But I would gladly see it all blown to bits if it meant never having to see someone’s life threatened, their friends sent abusive messages, or people threatening anyone with sexual assault online. 

Journalism, at its core, is about witnessing, recording, understanding, and reporting. At its’ best, the most any journalist could want out of their own work, good journalism is about pushing people to understand the wrongs around them and take action. It’s why no one in the big media outlets are inclined to take the side of these people arguing about ‘gaming culture conspiracy’. For that conversation to be happening along-side what is occurring to members of our community at this moment is to fiddle while Rome burns. It’s to pervert the very reasons many journalists got into the business to begin with, especially those most heavily under attack.

Honestly, There is a TON I can say about gaming journalism and its ethics. I’ve been writing about it for two years, talking about it even longer, I don’t know where everyone else was all that time. But I’m not going to. It’s a distraction from the issue that we actually need to address, the fundamental violence and hate within our community (perhaps a majority, perhaps not, but absolutely there), our play, and our culture of games. That issue is the far more serious one and to say, ‘sure, that happens, but what about this other thing?’ is to implicitly approve actions that have people living in so much fear that they quit working on the things they love.

Sorry, that’s unacceptable.

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