Q oh none

There is a really good opinion piece on the New York Times website by Charlie Warzel about QAnon worth a read. As someone who has spent years writing about the internet and social media and essentially most people treating the reporting as not being about “real life” I feel this paragraph viscerally:

“It’s a horrifying, humbling and depressing feeling to have seen something like this back when it was just a few forum posts, warn of its potential to infect the nation and end up right,” Paris Martineau, a technology reporter who wrote the first explainer on QAnon for a national news outlet in 2017, told me. “I feel like, over the past three years, there have been so many moments where I thought it had reached its zenith, but it was really only just getting started.”

I feel QAnon is for politics what GamerGate was for gaming and what Comicsgate is for comics and what Sad Puppies was for puppies sci-fi literature.

And I’m still totally at a loss as to what we should do with these kinds of movements. Ignore them, and they don’t go away, it just becomes “you won’t read about this in the MSM”.

Report it scornfully, and you just provide the true believers with more evidence that there’s some kind of organised conspiracy to suppress information.

Report it as if it could be a thing, and you are lending credibility to it. You’re seeing that happen in real-time right now with the racist birther Kamala Harris insinuations.

And every time you mention QAnon, you are potentially sparking curiosity in people who will then find themselves getting sucked into it all. Which I worry I am doing right now. This CNN piece by Brian Stelter posited the idea that instead of calling it a “conspiracy theory” it should be described as an “extremist ideology”.

Anyway, have a read: New York Times opinion – The Week QAnon Went Mainstream