The computer community's had its fair share
    Of stuff that we'd rather forget
The rocket destroyed by a bug in mid-air,
    The worm that demolished the Net,
There's hype all the time; there's Internet crime
    There's malware and phishing and lies
But for sexist, contemptible, slanderous slime,
    The Gamergate case takes the prize.

A designer of video games, Zoe Quinn,
    Built "Depression Quest" four years ago.
The point of the game was not so much to win
    But to teach you some things you should know
If your psychic foundations are starting to tip
    And you feel like a fool if you smile
And chronic depression gets you in its grip
    And nothing in life seems worthwhile.

Now, no one imagined that D-Quest appealed
    If your only idea of a game
Is slaying a boss with a spell that you wield
    That you learned from a lightly-clad dame.
But who could have expected the anger insane
    This innocuous pastime would spark?
And who could foresee all the terror and pain
    Caused by malice so vile and dark?

When Quinn put Depression Quest out on the net,
    It got positive press here and there.
The gaming community hardly could let
    Stand an outcome so grossly unfair.
A review likes a game that true gamers do not?
    This must be a nefarious ruse!
It's a cheat! It's corrupt! It's a dastardly plot!
    Zoe Quinn got some glowing reviews!

And, inevitably, the false rumor was raised,
    Inflamed by a post from her ex,
That the journalist who Zoe's labors had praised
    Had been amply rewarded with sex.
This daughter of Circe, Delilah, and Eve
    Got her way through seductive caresses.
How else could a weak-minded woman achieve,
    In a sphere meant for males, such successes?

The lunatics dubbed the affair "Gamergate".
    They shrieked in demented alarm.
Quinn was threatened, in tones of maniacal hate,
    With unspeakable physical harm.
She fled from her home. And any who tried
    To speak out in Zoe's defense
Were threatened and doxed, attacked, vilified
    With malice extreme and intense.

For the last twenty years, we're accustomed to see
    How cruel is an internet crowd,
And the hatred of women, particularly,
    Makes these scum voice their venom aloud.
The spirit that drove Gamergate, all too soon,
    (I feel certain that there's a connection)
Became part of what gave us that vicious buffoon
    In the two-thousand sixteen election.


This is part of the collection Verses for the Information Age by Ernest Davis