And so it came to pass. When the Newbie Blogger Initiative first crawled out of the fetid muck back in 2012 I wrote that this idea was rooted in “…the desire to partake in the imposition of new rules concerning bloggers in an attempt to “raise the bar” and “clean up their act”…”

In 2013 when it came around again I wrote that “…By doing this NBI thing they are slowly pulling in more like-minded people who might well suck as bloggers, (and hey, if you need special help to work out how the fuck to put up a blog and write words then I reckon the suck factor is going to be up there with my pal Linda L), but they will all be on the same team…”

In 2014 I ignored it because I had said my piece and that was that. But then something happened in the gaming community, something controversial … GamerGate.

This year my predictions have come to pass. The NBI has gone full George Orwell. You shall not go against the group think. You shall have the correct opinions. All those who do not have the correct opinions shall be cast out and shunned. For we have the numbers and all agree with us.

Don’t believe me? Of course you shouldn’t! Readers of this blog are encouraged to think for themselves, to challenge their view-points. So let me present you with the evidence and then you can go and make up your own minds.

The first NBI challenge that they must write about this year is … GamerGate. They didn’t even waste any time. While some bloggers were so outraged at this topic of conversation that all they could do was protest at the very thought of even having to consider writing about such a horrible topic, the subject matter makes perfect sense in the context of things. They are making sure that everybody has the correct opinions. Those that don’t will be educated to change, but if that is not successful then they will be expelled. The blogger at Dacheng Diaries participated correctly. They have demonstrated that they have the correct opinion by protesting at having such a topic in the first place. Job done. Let’s go to the rest who wrote about this and see what transpired.

Over at Me vs Myself and I, (Holy cow, narcissist much?), the writer is quite happy with it. “… I want everyone to just get along, and I want to play video games with members of any and all communities. I’ve curbed my language, I’ve changed my attitude, and being a part of the community that has sprung up around the NBI has done more to broaden my horizons than any group I’ve been a part of prior to it …”

Isn’t that nice? They had the wrong opinions but now they have changed so everyone can get along and they can all play their games and be nice to each other in a nice world where those bad people with other views don’t exist any more. The comments, (from other bloggers, how about that), all congratulate the writer on having the correct opinions now. Phew, close shave that.

Example number 2. Over at Game by Night there is a short post where the writer laments at the injustice of being a man whose opinions wouldn’t even be considered by Gamergaters, (hint, you have that the wrong way around). But even though he thinks this has put gaming back years, (?), it’s okay because “… I’d rather be a Social Justice Warrior than that kind of gamer…” Correct opinions? Tick.

Example number 3. At Starshadow, the writer says that she wanted to hide because she is female and she almost hid but then she didn’t but then she almost didn’t publish the post but then she did in the end thank god for that. Perhaps she should be given a ‘safe zone’ where she won’t feel threatened by all these horrible people. Correct opinions all good here.

Example Number 4. Murf Versus has written a whole lot of blather, (honestly, wading through these posts has made me understand why these people needed encouragement in order to blog), about how horrible it all is even though “… I most certainly have enjoyed a privilege in this whole GamerGate debacle because I have a penis, it is vaguely a shade of white corresponding with my race, and I enjoy using it on women …” Here, the writer is pointing out that he is of an unacceptable group but by pointing it out in a self-depreciating manner he is hoping that it won’t be held against him. Move along, no wrong opinions here at all.

Example Number 5. Contains Moderate Peril is shocked, shocked I tell you, shocked, that “… Some gamers have been shocked to find that many of the bloggers, internet personalities and friends that they thought they were on “the same hymn sheet” are actually not…” But even though the writer has been gaming for some time, “… GamerGate did make me pause and possibly take a step away from the term “gamer”. The reality of politics and moral crusades is that if you lie with dogs, you get fleas and GamerGate is far from a healthy pedigree. That’s one stink I don’t want on me…” All good here, nobody willing to hold on to a long held label in the face of group think.

Example Number 6. (If you guys think this is tough, spare a thought for me). I started reading scream monkey’s very long post and half way down I had the fleeting hope that finally, finally someone was going to buck the trend and stick their head above the parapet, (even though they had prefaced their post with “… I will be breaking a lot of my own rules about blogging, namely to not engage in issues in which I feel I have no real say and issues which are virtual landmines fields. I will likely offend people with this post and I do apologize for it …” Honestly, why these people blog I have no idea. Anyway, the blogger moved fairly quickly to a fence sitting position and then rounded out with “… I’m a privileged white boy who has no idea of what women really go through so instead I’ll share my passion about gaming and leave it at that…” Dear oh dear. If you have to apologise for your gender and your race then you ain’t privileged no more.

Example no 7. Mr Luvva came the closest to having the wrong opinion. He didn’t come out on the side of GamerGate, (are you mad?), but he did take a swipe at good old Anita Sarkeesian, so 5 points there. But, “… Videos were posted online, and if I’m being honest I took several measures to ensure that I wasn’t watching anything to do with that, nor did I read any posts/articles/ramblings either condemning or condoning it. I wasn’t a part of the problem, nor did it seem there was any real solution, I have made it my mission in life to take no active part in cyclical arguments, nor engage in any debate about it…” Stick your head in the sand, sing la-la-la-la, and hope the nasty forces on both sides will go away and let you play your games. Almost correct group think here but they’ll probably need to work on him a bit.

Example no 8. Hokage managed to express an opinion without actually having any opinion at all. But that’s okay, she’s female so she’ll get a pass.

Example no 9. Herding Cats used a bunch of memes to blather on about the fact that she no longer posts you tube videos and is suspicious of people who follow her on twitter with ‘gamer’ on their profile. So there you go.

Example no 10, and this is the last one I can find or stomach. Star Fired Beef refers to Gamergate as “The Terror” so we all know her opinions there. Then she says, “… Directly, I have been lucky enough to not be personally affected by this abomination. None of the hate has been aimed my way, despite me participating in some pretty heated discussions on various blogs. But I have realised, after reading a few of the other posts in this Talkback Challenge, that I have been affected, and that I continue to be affected, on a personal level…”

This is brilliant. So she didn’t get any hate alhtough she had some heated discussions, but then she’s just going to be effected anyway because … well, fuck knows. It’s emotional stuff, man!

So there you go. That was my Sunday morning. And that is the blogging community in the gaming world for you. Perfectly under control, and exactly where the group think wants them.

Thank god for Wolfshead who came out with this brilliant post this week. May the forces of light long rail against the forces of group think and darkness.