2011 - 2023

FUoS has served its purpose. Its time is at an end.

It was created as an in-joke among friends in January 2011, when exposing private harassment was not so commonplace. If you're someone who, today, somehow still needs to see hundreds of examples of commonplace sexism in video games, the site is still "available" via archive.org.

Speaking only for myself (gtz) I've agonized for a long time about how to write The Perfect Epitaph. It's not going to happen. I've heard from others how FUoS was helpful, cathartic, informative. I made some mistakes. I hope, overall, that what we did was good. But if there's anything I can do here and now to connect the past with the present, it is this:

Part of FUoS was about exposure of a systemic problem. I don't know the secret formula for convincing everyone of any particular position. But for a lot of people, seeing a large quantity of unfiltered harassment evidence gathered together in one collection was enough to spur them re-think their beliefs. I became obsessed with these "lightbulb" moments in people. Moments of clarity. Beliefs shaken. Cognitive dissonances resolving. A person's foundational worldview breaking down, to make way for something new.

To be fair, I had the rhetorical luxury of shock value. Asking an "it's just trash talk" person how many penis pictures are appropriate to receive in the spirit of video game competition is not really about finding common ground on the socially acceptable rate of dick pics. But it sure shut them up pretty fast.

I remember when "mute other players" was a really "new" idea that I explained to journalists who were writing about harassment in video games. (I also remember once having to explain what a headset is, first.) It sounds archaic today, but this was honestly a source of "lightbulb" moments for some people. Today, we still have arguments around the "free speech" of muting or blocking other users.

The biggest part of FUoS that I carry with me today -- including within my actual day job -- is communicating to people about complex systems and the worldviews that designed & maintain those systems. On social networks, we are connected, but only in ways that the software allows us to be. Everything is designed to maximize your attention to The Feed. Developers and designers work hard to ensure that we lose track of our time in these apps, so that they can sell it to others. More content. More ads. More time. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Please share. Please like. Please subscribe. Please pray with us for the blessings of The Feed.

We are all part of a complex sociotechnical system. We are not separated from it. The technology we use is only part of the system. We are also functional components within it. We have roles, permissions, identities, defined behaviours, and undefined exceptions.

The purpose of a system is what it does. Currently, one of the outputs of this complex sociotechnical system is: increasing fascism and hatred.

Black lives matter. Trans lives matter. Marginalized lives, experiences, and voices matter. The only way out of this is through, and the only way through this is together.

- gtz, likeOMGitsFEDAY, rosed, & jaspir