#Gamergate – Does Crowdsourcing Enable Fraud?

Again, not an academic, just a skeptic and rationalist. The next question I was asked was:

Show that Kickstarter enables and encourages fraud by game developers/abuse of the gaming press by game developers and/or those sympathetic to them in said press.

This is really a matter for the legal system, not an academic or scientific discussion per se. All I can really offer here is my opinion on the matter, but that’s a good opportunity to educate people a little on the issues surrounding crowdfunding and why they should – perhaps – be a little more wary. Consider this item usable as a future citation when building a case for or against crowdfunding.

I have run several successful crowdfunding campaigns. Including:

Crowdfunding is NOT PREORDERING. You have absolutely no guarantee that you will get anything at all when you back a project. You are making a MICROINVESTMENT not dissimilar to something like Kiva. You may get nothing at all, you may get the product or material being developed, you may get your investment back, you may not, you may get a bonanza of stretch-goal content.

DO NOT INVEST UNLESS YOU’RE PREPARED TO GET NOTHING AT ALL!

Now, obviously, no evidence required, it would be very possible to defraud people via these services and with varying degrees of evidence and court/investigative involvement this appears to have happened.

Buyer beware.

Keep in mind also that with the best will in the world, things can go wrong. Shipping costs can go up (often with fuel prices) partner businesses can go under (printers, component makers and so on), people can fall ill (happened to me), artists can get injured, divorces, house fires and so on. Many crowdfunders are very inexperienced in business and get carried away – especially with stretch goals (this happened to me and I’ve been making games for 15+ years). Costs can be underestimated. There’s a lot that can go wrong and if that scuppers the project you might lose out – but it’s not fraud.

Of course, what this question is really about is whether Anita Sarkeesian is a fraud.

In my opinion, yes.

Why?

She raised many times the amount required to meet her goal, yet has not delivered on even the basic promise yet, years later.

She lied about who and what she was.

She has stolen art

and video.

Lied about the veracity of threats.

And has a history of connections to dodgy businesses one step shy of pyramid schemes.

And there’s more.

This is sufficient for me – hell the ‘I’m not a gamer’ is enough for me, to consider her a fraud. Even without the rest.

She presents ideas that would be worthy of discussion (keyword: discussion), but she is the wrong person to do it and has probably tainted the conversation for at least a decade.

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2 responses to “#Gamergate – Does Crowdsourcing Enable Fraud?

  1. I think a lot of people may misunderstand what “fraud” is. Kickstarter doesn’t enable fraud so much as it provides a mechanism for incompetent individuals to get their hands on resources they don’t have the skills to properly manage that they otherwise might not. Before Kickstarter, normally those folks would end up squandering the “investment” money of immediate friends and relatives; with kickstarter, they are potentially squandering the money of strangers who are less forgiving when the ‘vision doesn’t come together’. But in Sarkeesian’s case, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment.

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