Female Game Developers Can’t Even Submit A Game To Greenlight Without Receiving Harassment

Depression Quest

Zoe Quinn resubmitted her game, Depression Quest, to Greenlight recently so that it may be considered for distribution on Steam. It seems that the mere idea that a female developer could hope to have her game on Steam was enough for a bunch of online users, mostly from online bulletin board Wizardchan [Note: This wrongfully stated it was 4chan previously], to launch a harassment campaign against her.

The abuse has got so bad that Zoe has had to change her phone number after she received several sexually harassing phone calls.

Plain text: “The fact that I can't do something simple like put a game on Greenlight without shit like this (1/2)”

Image reads: “she is the one responsible. Of course a woman would never relate to anyone here. She would never be with a truly depressed person. Can someone mail her a rant or a link to this thread? God i hate that cunt.”

Plain text: “(2/2) happening while people say, ‘It’s not REALLY sexist here,’ makes me sick with rage.”

Image reads: “All females are sluts and have no right to be depressed. They can just go out onto the street, lie down with their hole open and have any man come and solve all their problems. But they would still be depressed because they’re all stupid whores.”

“The whole ‘game’ is without substance and is nothing more than an exercise in attention whoring. This is clear because the game is about a controversial subject and took no skill to make. Feel free to contact the author here [redacted] and tell her what you think of the game.”

Apparently, a similar torrent of abuse was directed towards Zoe when she first put Depression Quest on Greenlight earlier this year. She took it down not long after in the hopes that it would stop the abuse.

Rather than have to pull Depression Quest from Greenlight once again due to the harassment she has received, this time Zoe has decided to speak out against it in order to make people aware of what she has to put up with. But do note that the abuse directed towards Zoe is both personal, as well as being directed towards her due to her gender.

It’s been made clear on the Wizardchan boards that the specific reason Zoe has been targeted for the abuse is because she’s a female developer with a game on Greenlight. If she was a male developer, then this harassment campaign would likely not exist.

Plain text: “Don’t feed the trolls” How about don’t harass people or tolerate harassment as though it’s accepted/inevitable & yr weird for speaking out

Obviously, the result of these “raids,” or harassment campaigns, is that female developers don’t feel safe in merely doing their work because they can’t do it without being abused on multiple fronts. Let’s be clear about it; the abuse that Zoe has received is a criminal offence. Chris Whitman outlines in his Storify of Zoe’s tweets that in Canada, “indecent communications and harassing communications would both become criminal offences under bill C-13.”

It’s clear that this is a much wider issue that people still need to be made aware of so that we can work towards resolving it. If a female game developer is receiving abuse from people just because she has made a game and put it online, then we have a huge problem. And that is exactly what is happening, as Zoe is trying to make people aware of, admirably.

Plain text: “I’m not alone in dealing with this shit, and neither should anyone else be.”

Plain text: “This is predictable. Unless we call this shit out & fight it when we can, this will continue to be the cost for me to stay in games.”

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