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  1. Work Done By:
  2. @codeGrit
  3. @Blake_The_Foxx
  4. @Synthovine
  5. @KainYusanagi
  6. @GamerIrrelevant
  8. Before going into the details of what was discovered, a few points need to be addressed. The researchers of this information believe that all individuals named below have the right to defend themselves publicly and address any issues raised. It is very likely that some individuals connected to this are not necessarily guilty, but are simply trying to pay the bills and doing as they are told by their employers. We are not looking for people to lose jobs over this. We are simply looking for an explanation. All information contained below is easily viewable by any person who cared to look.
  10. SilverString Media was in the limelight over the last few weeks regarding the GamerGate movement over Twitter, within the gaming community, and across the media sphere. SilverString has come out and defended themselves as they have the right to do, but with some hard work and late nights there has been discovered very close links between SilverString, DiGRA, Gamasutra, and numerous other individuals and corporations which exist in academia and the gaming press.
  12. By looking at publicly available information across a variety of websites we have found information which indicates a rather intricate network of crooss-connections within the Indie Gaming world and its press. All citations are at the bottom of this document with links to the appropriate pages. In the event that the pages are taken offline, screencaps of those websites and the relevant information have been saved.
  14. The biggest player we found in all of this was Gamasutra, but let’s start at the top with SilverString Media and work our way down.
  16. The first discrepancy is the date of SilverString Media’s founding. Their website states that they were founded on January 1, 2013 (or this may just be the foundation of the website), but the LinkedIn page of SilverString notes that the company has existed since 2011 [1] [2]. The key players at SilverString while making these links are Lucas JW Johnson (Founder, CEO, Director of Narrative), Maya Kramer (PR,Programming,Art), Zoya Street (Game Design Historian, Industry Consultant), and a person who is not on their staff page, Andrew Grant Wilson, whose linked profile shows that he has, in some capacity, worked for or with SilverString Media in the past as a partner (Writer, Narrative Designer, Experimental Game Artist, Architect) [3].
  18. While not of terrible importance, it should be noted that Andrew Wilson and Lucas Johnson both attended the University of British Colombia, though no connection has been made beyond that.
  20. The next issue to address is a rather notable DiGRA panel from a conference in 2014. The notable names at this panel at DiGRA 2014 are Mia Consalvo, Adrienne Shaw, Zoya Street, and Andrew Grant Wilson [4]. Mia Consalvo has been the President of DiGRA’s executive board since 2012 [27a,b].The DiGRA panel addresses the movement of the DiGRA ideology from simply existing within academia to within the industry itself, that industry being video games. Zoya Street and Andrew Grant Wilson were on this panel to offer suggestions on the appropriate way to do this and are directly related to SilverString Media [5]. However, it’s important to note these connections and remember these names. Adrienne Shaw will show up again later along with Mia Consalvo.
  22. We’ll slightly diverge here with a link that seems relatively benign at first glance. This connection will lead to more as we progress.
  24. SilverString Media is a backer of the Patreon “Critical Distance”, started on March 5, 2014 by Kris Ligman, the News editor at Notable backers of Critical Distance’s Patreon [6] are:
  25. - SilverString Media – since June 13, 2014
  26. -Jenn Frank – of Guardian fame
  27. -Akira Thompson – Indiecade Gamemaker Relations
  28. -Vlambeer – of which one member is Rami Ismail, a writer whose work has been republished on Polygon from his blog
  29. -Ben Kuchera – writer at Polygon
  30. -Brenden Keogh – writer at Polygon, Gamasutra, Ars Techina and Critical Damage (blog for Critical Distance)
  32. Now we’re going to take a look at the list of important names found who back Mattie Brice’s Patreon campaign for “Death to Video Games” [7]:
  33. -Maya Kramer – SilverString Media PR
  34. -Jenn Frank – Of the Guardian
  35. -Akira Thompson – Indiecade Gamemaker Relations
  36. -Anthony Burch – Borderlands Writer
  37. -Anna Anthropy – Indie Game Developer who has lived with Patricia Hernandez (writer at Kotaku) in the past
  38. -Ben Kuchera – writer at Polygon
  39. -Brendan Keogh -- writer at Polygon, Gamasutra, Ars Techina and ritical Damage
  40. -Phillip Kollar – Reviews editor at Polygon
  42. Alright, now that we’ve got those names and connections out of the way, we get to get to the interesting bits and begin connecting the dots. The information already listed shows an intricate web of fund raising between staff at various gaming media sites across the web.
  44. The next piece of evidence is Kris Ligman’s (News editor and blogger at Gamasutra) Google+ page where upon we found a chat log dating back to December 2011 [8].
  46. Kris Ligman
  47. Shared publicly - Dec 9, 2011
  49. We're here! We're queer! We play games!
  51. So yeah. Over on The Twitters we (as in yours truly, +Ian Miles Cheong, +Brendan Keogh, +Rowan Kaiser, +Mattie Brice and +Annie Dennisdóttir Wright) started discussing our various attempts to undermine the heteronormative hegemony. And now we continue it where we don't have wordcaps.
  53. The people mentioned who initially participated in the conversation are:
  54. -Ian Miles Cheong – ex-moderator at Reddit outed for promoting his own websites and various others
  55. -Mattie Brice – who has her own Patreon “Death to Video Games”
  56. -Brendan Keogh
  57. -Rowan Kaiser
  58. -Annie Dennisdóttir Wright
  60. Later participants in the chat are:
  61. -Patricia Hernandez
  62. -Ben Abraham
  63. -Karl Parakenings
  64. -Craig Bamford
  65. -Nick Lalone
  66. -William Huber
  67. -Tiffany Nevin
  69. The entirety of the conversation can be found at the attached file [9]. When comparing the leading message posted by Kris Ligman and the “Intent and Ideology” page (written on September 1, 2014 by Lucas JW Johnson in response to the accustions), which is linked to from the SilverString Media homepage [26], it appears clear that the individuals in the Google+ log and SilverString Media have the same motives for making a presence in the Indie Gaming world.
  71. We attempted to look further back to the origination of the conversation on Twitter, but Kris Ligman’s Twitter page has all information blocked to non-confirmed followers [10].
  73. Another interesting connection to make is that Kris Ligman, the creator of Critical Distance’s Patreon, has spoken at Critical Proximity [11], which is an informal conference put together by Zoya Street, who works at SilverString Media. Mattie Brice (Moderator, Critical Distance Confab) also works with Critical Distance. Remember that SilverString media financially supports Critical Distance through Patreon since June 13, 2014.
  75. The important person here outside of Kris Ligman is Zoya Street, who will lead us into our next bit. Zoya Street, as mentioned at the top of this piece spoke at the DiGRA conference on a panel with Adrienne Shaw and Mia Consalvo. As a quick aside, Mattie Brice, Adrienne Shaw, and Anna Anthropy have spoken at QGCon 2013, with Mattie Brice leading in with the keynote [12a,b].
  77. At the DiGRA panel, many different words were used in approaching what the panel was actually about. It’s difficult to put into layman’s terms, so here is a single except from the transcript spoken by Adrienne Shaw which explains the main topic of the panel rather clearly:
  79. Line 64 of the file:
  80. Adrienne: Why do we see such tension between academics and game designers? less of an issue with indies, but there are always some people in industry that have similar questions until industrial logic takes over later and how can we better intervene in industrial logics to disturb that process. How can academics bridge the gap to the industry audience to help them do different work? How can we disrupt the capitalist norms that facilitate this?
  82. And to explain the difficulties this ideology is having in academia, Line 80 from the same file:
  83. Aaron: Peer review and publishing models. The corruption of the peer review system is problematic. The reliance of peer review to get tenure and a job impacts us and slows us down.
  85. At this point it seems as though the individuals speaking on this panel are having difficulties with the “corrupted peer review” (as stated by “Aaron”) system used within academia and wish to move into the industry itself.
  87. We're concerned due to the content of the transcript and the evidence pointing to possible collusion within the peer review system that grants given to papers published under this process, though not this paper specifically as it is merely being used as an example to show that their papers are recieving grants for funding, might be improperly used, and perhaps should be looked into. Here is an article written for DiGRA by Emma Westecott which explicitly states that the project was funded by a research grant [28a,b].
  89. So let’s look at how academia’s peer review system functions:
  91. First Person Scholar is a peer-review site which offers timely constructive feedback on the articles they publish. On their site is a page where a Board of Discussants is listed [13a,b]. The notable names on that list are Mia Consalvo, Adrienne Shaw, and Gerald Voorhees.
  93. Gerald Voorhees wrote an article titled Identification or Desire: Taking the Player-Avatar Relationship to the Next Level [14a]. The contents of this article are not important, however at the bottom of this article, Adrienne Shaw is listed as a Discussant [14b]. Below the Discussant comments, a series of articles cited are listed. Amongst these articles are writings by Mia Consalvo, Adrienne Shaw, and the author of the article, Gerald Voorhees [14c].
  95. With this we see that the author and the discussant of the articles noted are citing each other to establish a justification for the publication of the article. With this we can infer that the authors of these papers are probably colluding together to legitimize the content of their published papers within academia as discussed at the DiGRA panel.
  97. It’s important to remember that Mia Consalvo spoke on the DiGRA panel alongside Adrienne Shaw and Zoya Street, and Street founded Critical Proximity, an informal discussion panel about games. We already know about Zoya’s link to Silverstring and their support of Critical Distance through Patreon.
  99. There are a few more connections to be made that are interesting related to First Person Scholar. First Person Scholar is a program founded by the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo [15]. By navigating to their page we can find that they have also founded the program GIJanes (Games Institute Janes). The interesting link here is that by browsing through their articles, one by writer elisevist in June of 2013, we can see a screencap of a twitter conversation between Lucas JW Johnson of SilverString Media [16].
  101. Let’s take a step back after making this connection and look again at Critical Distance and their mission statement page, where they list numerous contributors of content and associates. We’ve already stated that Mattie Brice and Kris Ligman are contributors to Critical Distance. In addition to this there are some more important names: Alan Williamson, Ben Abraham, and Ian Mills Cheong [17].
  103. There are two people of note here since Ian Mills Cheong has already been briefly spoken upon, Alan Williamson, and Ben Abraham.
  105. Why is Ben Abraham important? Well, Ben Abraham was involved on the Google+ chat on Kris Lignam’s page which is benign enough. However, on Ben Abraham’s blog, he makes note that he attended and spoke during a panel at DiGRA’s Australian chapter hosted by Dan Golding [23]. Another speaker during the panel was Ben Keogh.
  106. At 2:08 in the recording, Golding admits that there are, “some juicy conflicts of interests, which I guess I’ll admit to as we go through them.” [24]
  107. It is also worth noting that Benjamin Abraham is the registrar of Critical Distance [29].
  109. We’ve already addressed who Ben Keogh has written articles for, so we’ll quickly mention that Ben Abraham has also blogged at Gamasutra in the past [25].
  111. Why is Alan Williamson important? Well, in the about page he is associated with 5 out of 10 Magazine, where we find even more links in this whole debacle.
  113. Alan Williamson is Editor-in-Chief at 5 out of 10 Magazine. [18a]
  114. Leigh Alexander is a contributor, and also the editor-at-large of Gamasutra [18b]
  115. Brendan Keogh is a contributor [18e]
  116. Kris Ligman is a contributor [18d]
  117. Zoya Street is a contributor [18c]
  119. So let’s get to the wrapping up of all of this. It goes back to Kris Ligman, the News editor at Gamasutra, who is supported directly by SilverString, but the links to Gamasutra and their involvement do not quite end there [19].
  121. I promise we’re almost done.
  123. We’re going to quickly look at a few articles from Gamasutra surrounding GDC that we believe are worth nothing. The first article written on March 14, 2014 by Simon Carless talks about press-related things at GDC [20]. The first thing to note here is that Simon states that GDC is owned and ran by Gamasutra’s parent company, UBM Tech Game Network, but the important thing is in the third paragraph where Simon states that press access at GDC is invite only.
  125. They have complete control over the press.
  127. The second article of note is audio coverage of a gathering at GDC 2014 on the night of March 17, 2014 titled One Life Left [21]. The two people of note who are involved in this production are Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra and FiveOutOfTen and Rami Ismail, part of Vlambeer who is donating to Kris Ligman’s Critical Distance Patreon, and also has had his writing republished on Polygon from his blog. The closest article of note that Rami authored, which was republished on Polygon from his blog, was two weeks after this audio recording, where the topic of the failed Game Jam was covered [22].
  129. The connections found in this research run deep, but it is likely we have only scratched the surface. There are many more connections that we have made, but simply are too tired to pursue because we believe that what is contained within this document is more than enough. We are tired and we would like an explanation.
  131. Links and Citations
  133. [1] SilverString Media Foundation on their website
  136. [2] SilverString Media LinkedIn
  139. [3] Andrew Grant Wilson LinkedIn
  143. [4] The Playful is Political Panel at DiGRA 2014 w/ Shaw, Street, Consalvo
  146. [5] Text File of Panel Transcript (original gdoc missing, pastebin in link with line number differences – normally 2 lines behind)
  150. [6] SilverString Media and other pledges to Critical Distance Patreon
  153. [7] Pledges to Mattie Brice’s Patreon
  156. [8] Kris Ligman’s Public Google+ Page Chat
  159. [9] Text File of all of the obtainable transcript
  160. [10] Kris Ligman’s Twitter Page
  163. [11] Kris Ligman speaks at Critical Proximity “Curators Are Class Enemies”
  166. [12a,b] QGCon Panel List – Mattie Brice, Adrienne Shaw, Anna Anthropy
  169. [13a,b] First Person Scholar Board of Discussants
  172. [14a,b,c]-Identification or Desire by Gerald Voorhees, Discussant’s Reply, and Citations
  175. [15] The Games Institute and Founded Projects
  178. [16] elisevist’s Article on GI Janes and Lucas JW Johnson’s Twitter Exchange On the Page
  181. [17] Critical Distance’s Mission Statement Page
  184. [18a,b,c,d] FiveOutOfTen’s About Page and some contributors
  187. [19] Kris Ligman’s page at Gamasutra
  190. [20] Gamasutra article about GDC 2014 Press
  193. [21] One Life Left audio recording with Leigh Alexander and Rami Ismail
  196. [22] Rami Ismail’s Article Republished on Polygon from his blog about Game Jam
  199. [23] Ben Abraham’s DiGRA Blog Post
  202. [24] SoundCloud hosted recording of the DiGRAA Panel
  205. [25] Ben Abraham’s blog at Gamasutra: Opinion: Games Criticism, Women Critics, And Challenging Sexism on August 23, 2011
  208. [26] SilverString Media’s updated blog on September 1, 2014: Intent and Ideology
  211. [27a,b] DiGRA Executive Board List over the years
  214. [28a]Feminist Art Game Praxis by Emma Westecott
  216. [28b] Downloaded hard copy of citation 28a.
  217. [29] Ben Abraham -- WhoIs Registrar of Critical Distance
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