SXSW Removed That Gamergate-Affiliated Panel From Their Anti-Harassment Summit—But It’s Still on the Schedule

It's all about ethics in panel programming.
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SXSW Interactive has faced a lot of criticism about their decision to cancel an anti-harassment panel in the wake of violent threats (as well as their decision to simultaneously cancel a panel featuring multiple Gamergate-affiliated speakers), and so the conference has since decided to host an all-day anti-harassment summit.

The programming approved to appear in the new summit includes the formerly-cancelled anti-harassment panel, which has been officially reinstated. Several other speakers have been added to the summit’s planned programming as well, including Congresswoman Katherine Clark, a vocal advocate against online harassment.

The other panel that got cancelled, which was titled “Save Point: A Discussion on the Gaming Community” and which featured multiple vocal Gamergate supporters, has also been reinstated. Originally, it was slated to appear as part of the anti-harassment summit as well, in spite of the fact that its speakers did not mention anti-harassment initiatives in their submitted panel description. As of today, “Save Point” has been removed from the anti-harassment summit schedule, but it will still appear as part of SXSW Interactive’s panel programming.

Perry Jones, the planned moderator for the “Save Point” panel, wrote in a statement: “we’ve been at odds with the idea of our panel being included” as part of the anti-harassment summit. Still, the panelists were “more than happy to make adjustments to the panel’s topics to help fit in with the broader topic at hand, but we understood that it didn’t quite belong.” Jones went on, “With this move we will be able to discuss the topics and issues we’d originally set out to, all of our original speakers will be in attendance, and it will continue to be free and open to the public.”

And what, exactly, are those topics and issues? Ethics in games journalism, of course! Jones told Motherboard that the panel would cover “the current social-political [sic] climate of the gaming community, the importance of journalistic ethics in video game journalism, and the future of the gaming community and the industry.”

Okay. I just need to grab my time machine and go back to a couple years ago, when none of those phrases had any other coded connotation within the culture of gaming and games journalism. Oh, and I’ll leave behind this educational and helpful article about the difference between enthusiast press and investigative reporting. Just in case anyone actually reads it.

Anyway, are any of you planning to go to SXSW this year? Which of these panels do you think you might check out? How do you feel about the approved speakers?

(via Engadget, image via SXSW)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).