An Open Letter to The Escapist Community

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Exley97:

The Lunatic:

Saelune:
And people wonder why the vocal right are called bigoted and authoritarian.
Even a whiff of power has them contemplating purging people for wrongthink and not being white.

To be fair, that doesn't really work. The site was under Macris for a while, and there's really not been any purging.

A distinct lack, I'd say.

Well, it hasn't been because of a lack of trying now, has it? It seems pretty clear what's going on in this Reddit KiA thread.
https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/31uqi5/the_escapist_forums_are_kill/

I remember that thread actually scared a few users away from the this site permanently. They didn't feel comfortable having hostile strangers on another site smack talking them. The fear of being doxxed back then was real.

I wasn't around to see what The Escapist was like prior to GamerGate, but from what I have seen since it is not accurate to say allowing GamerGate a presence caused the site's decline. Traffic is how any site lives or dies and the traffic improved after GamerGate, including after the major departures. What really changed things was the creation of the Game Industry Discussion board. That is not something I would say is due to people supporting GamerGate being present and more due to those who did not want people supporting GamerGate to have a presence going into overdrive to try and make it happen.

When there was just a mega thread, people could leave well enough alone, but once there was an entire board that popped up regularly in the sidebar on the front page it was harder for opponents to ignore it. Unfortunately, many site staff were on the same side as those wanting to deny GamerGate a presence, so it caused a lot of supporters to depart in frustration with moderation or get forced out. I believe some people also probably got driven away just by all the conflict that was occurring on the site between both sides. Site staff did drive away one group of people with changes, but it made up for it with another group who themselves were then driven away by the forum staff. The result is only the diehards remained and the site couldn't sustain itself in that environment.

Fappy:

Exley97:

The Lunatic:

To be fair, that doesn't really work. The site was under Macris for a while, and there's really not been any purging.

A distinct lack, I'd say.

Well, it hasn't been because of a lack of trying now, has it? It seems pretty clear what's going on in this Reddit KiA thread.
https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/31uqi5/the_escapist_forums_are_kill/

I remember that thread actually scared a few users away from the this site permanently. They didn't feel comfortable having hostile strangers on another site smack talking them. The fear of being doxxed back then was real.

Yeah...I won't lie -- I was a little concerned about being on that thread, and others like it. And I think that was by design, frankly.

But I'm happy to report I never got any strange phone calls or emails, let alone Swatted. Still here, arguing insincerely as ever.

n0e:

The Lunatic:
The problem is that the rules are pretty illogical.

For example, if you refer to people vague enough, you can say whatever you want about them, and get away with it.

If you use "OP" instead of the User's name, according to the PMs I've had with mods, that means it's perfectly fine, as they're not talking about an individual, but a persona. Even though, we both know that saying "The OP is a scumbag" means you're saying "Jake724 is a scumbag".

The problem is that there's simply not enough common sense employed, rather than removing people because all they do is make vague personal insults and constantly ad hominem to derail threads, the rules are only enforced whenever somebody directly says something, and directly at a specific person. Which just leads to the rules being incredibly easy to work around.

It's very possible to derail a thread by constantly attacking the people making the posts, rather than the points they're arguing, and that's nonsensical, it wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else, but, for some reason we accept it here. And if people don't tolerate it, and tell people to stop being a dick, they're the ones that get in trouble.

It's a bit difficult to write a set of rules for this community because you have "users" like Epic Whine, Iceforce and others constantly looking for ways to skirt that line to post their bullshit and get away with it. If it wasn't for them ruining everything, the place would be vastly different. We cannot refine a lot of what is said because they would be used as the _only_ type of posts not allowed. Rules have to be somewhat broad for the "human" factor that takes into account more than the text written. It's why "Rule 0" was created, and if you look at the Code of Conduct, there's a spot about being against passive-aggressive posts. While it's impossible to go full on enforcement against passive-aggressive posts, it does allow the moderators a bit of leeway in dealing with the troublemakers by pointing out their asshole posts are against CoC and their appeals get denied.

-Author of the Escapist's current Code of Conduct

I thought your changes to the current CoC (except for including the nebulous and vague "hate speech") were done with the best of intentions and could have gone well.
The only problem was that it was far too late, since most users had come up against those same passive-aggressive rule-skirters and either fled, were silenced, or fought back with the same means.
A careful selection of mods to uphold said rules together with transparency of their internal actions and/or being beholden to other rule-abiding mods would also be needed or corruption and favoritism could run rampant or be implied to regular users.
Even before Gamergate this place was known as an elitist place sadly.

scotth266:
SNIP
EDIT: Oh, and don't forget to actually promote the good shit you make. Kind of important to put that front-and-center instead of hiding it.

I've been a looong time lurker of escapist magazine, and I don't see one damn thing to disagree with here, so I made an account to tell you, good fuckin' show.

Escapist has been a regular visit for me, usually a tab open right when I turn on my PC. But in general, I came for gaming news and occasional reviews and opinion articles. tabletop gaming was a welcome addition for me.

I stayed away from the forums and comments, though. It has always been seething with passive-aggressivenes, filled with bickering pedants looking to jump down your throat with a gleeful spelling correction and a snide dismissal. I despise the community the surrounded this website, and I am certain I am not the only lurker here who agrees. This is really inevitable though, when you get a bunch of awkward social rejects and pony fetishists into one place. It's not a healthy atmosphere when everyone thinks they are the most intelligent person on the forum, and I couldn't begin to tell you how to keep that attitude from emerging on here or on similar boards and subreddits. Gamers are an arrogant, vicious lot. I play a lot of games, and I refuse to let anyone call me a "gamer."

TDA WP:
I wasn't around to see what The Escapist was like prior to GamerGate, but from what I have seen since it is not accurate to say allowing GamerGate a presence caused the site's decline. Traffic is how any site lives or dies and the traffic improved after GamerGate, including after the major departures. What really changed things was the creation of the Game Industry Discussion board. That is not something I would say is due to people supporting GamerGate being present and more due to those who did not want people supporting GamerGate to have a presence going into overdrive to try and make it happen.

When there was just a mega thread, people could leave well enough alone, but once there was an entire board that popped up regularly in the sidebar on the front page it was harder for opponents to ignore it. Unfortunately, many site staff were on the same side as those wanting to deny GamerGate a presence, so it caused a lot of supporters to depart in frustration with moderation or get forced out. I believe some people also probably got driven away just by all the conflict that was occurring on the site between both sides. Site staff did drive away one group of people with changes, but it made up for it with another group who themselves were then driven away by the forum staff. The result is only the diehards remained and the site couldn't sustain itself in that environment.

I'm not sure what site you were on but it doesn't sound like the (DeepFreeze approved!) Escapist. This is, after all, the site that had articles on GG with slimes like Roguestar and that replaced existing contributors that were critical of GG with vocal GG supporters, including PressFarttoContinue. Basically, this site did as much as any established, mainstream gaming site to embrace GG. And also, you're basically arguing that GG caused a huge spike in traffic and brought in tons of folks, and then in the next breath arguing that a small, vocal group of "aGG" critics who argued against GG made life SO MISERABLE for the majority that most of them left. That's ridiculous. I'd consider the possibility that 1) GG was never as big as a lot of supporters claimed it was, and 2) it was never big enough to sustain a major site like the Escapist.

remnant_phoenix:

JoJo:
/snip

Is there anything set aside for freelance fees? Or are any submitted articles done for exposure only? This isn't a deal-breaker, per se. But I will be more more likely to make the time to write something up if there is some form of financial compensation, no matter how small.

As much as I wish otherwise, we haven't been given two pennies to rub together. It's small comfort I know, but if you have a Patreon or a blog, you may link them at the bottom of an article.

Exley97:

TDA WP:
I wasn't around to see what The Escapist was like prior to GamerGate, but from what I have seen since it is not accurate to say allowing GamerGate a presence caused the site's decline. Traffic is how any site lives or dies and the traffic improved after GamerGate, including after the major departures. What really changed things was the creation of the Game Industry Discussion board. That is not something I would say is due to people supporting GamerGate being present and more due to those who did not want people supporting GamerGate to have a presence going into overdrive to try and make it happen.

When there was just a mega thread, people could leave well enough alone, but once there was an entire board that popped up regularly in the sidebar on the front page it was harder for opponents to ignore it. Unfortunately, many site staff were on the same side as those wanting to deny GamerGate a presence, so it caused a lot of supporters to depart in frustration with moderation or get forced out. I believe some people also probably got driven away just by all the conflict that was occurring on the site between both sides. Site staff did drive away one group of people with changes, but it made up for it with another group who themselves were then driven away by the forum staff. The result is only the diehards remained and the site couldn't sustain itself in that environment.

I'm not sure what site you were on but it doesn't sound like the (DeepFreeze approved!) Escapist. This is, after all, the site that had articles on GG with slimes like Roguestar and that replaced existing contributors that were critical of GG with vocal GG supporters, including PressFarttoContinue. Basically, this site did as much as any established, mainstream gaming site to embrace GG. And also, you're basically arguing that GG caused a huge spike in traffic and brought in tons of folks, and then in the next breath arguing that a small, vocal group of "aGG" critics who argued against GG made life SO MISERABLE for the majority that most of them left. That's ridiculous. I'd consider the possibility that 1) GG was never as big as a lot of supporters claimed it was, and 2) it was never big enough to sustain a major site like the Escapist.

The old staff confirmed a long time ago that the forums only brought in a meager amount of traffic compared to the video content. Even if the GG debate increased forum traffic by 200% for a couple months there it likely had a very small impact on site revenue.

Savryc:

n0e:

The Lunatic:
The problem is that the rules are pretty illogical.

For example, if you refer to people vague enough, you can say whatever you want about them, and get away with it.

If you use "OP" instead of the User's name, according to the PMs I've had with mods, that means it's perfectly fine, as they're not talking about an individual, but a persona. Even though, we both know that saying "The OP is a scumbag" means you're saying "Jake724 is a scumbag".

The problem is that there's simply not enough common sense employed, rather than removing people because all they do is make vague personal insults and constantly ad hominem to derail threads, the rules are only enforced whenever somebody directly says something, and directly at a specific person. Which just leads to the rules being incredibly easy to work around.

It's very possible to derail a thread by constantly attacking the people making the posts, rather than the points they're arguing, and that's nonsensical, it wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else, but, for some reason we accept it here. And if people don't tolerate it, and tell people to stop being a dick, they're the ones that get in trouble.

It's a bit difficult to write a set of rules for this community because you have "users" like Epic Whine, Iceforce and others constantly looking for ways to skirt that line to post their bullshit and get away with it. If it wasn't for them ruining everything, the place would be vastly different. We cannot refine a lot of what is said because they would be used as the _only_ type of posts not allowed. Rules have to be somewhat broad for the "human" factor that takes into account more than the text written. It's why "Rule 0" was created, and if you look at the Code of Conduct, there's a spot about being against passive-aggressive posts. While it's impossible to go full on enforcement against passive-aggressive posts, it does allow the moderators a bit of leeway in dealing with the troublemakers by pointing out their asshole posts are against CoC and their appeals get denied.

-Author of the Escapist's current Code of Conduct

"This community" my fucking arse. There's always going to be people skirting the rules just like there was back in the "glory days". Just like there is in every single other online community, past, present and future. The only thing your proving with that bitchy little attitude is that you probably had no business writing the CoC in the first place.

Seriously, what a bullshit cop out.

First off, I wasn't here for the "glory days". I didn't join the team until shortly after GamerGate happened.

Second, The fact that I've spent more time in a role that administrated an online community than you've probably been alive tells me I may know a little something about them.

An online community is a dynamic beast. Rules must be dynamic as well on an online forum to adjust with them. While there is a basic structure that all follow (don't be a dick rules), there are always a few fine-tuned rules specific to each community (e.x. passive aggressive bs), based on what their atmosphere is like. The rules that are designed to be a broadsword are specifically done so in order to ensure that any variation of each rule is followed. To translate for your simple mind, it means that you can't just rephrase a hate-filled post to appear different enough to avoid a specific rule as it would still be caught by it.

Try again, troll.

Vendor-Lazarus:
Snip.

I can understand your point of view and why you feel this way. To be fair, There were a lot of moderators listed when I started, but only 2-3 of them were actually active on the site. To help assist me, I brought over a few friends that volunteered on my old site, GameFront.com, to help out.

They not only wanted to help me with handling forum issues here but actively wanted to help the community and ensure that people were treated fairly. They lasted a few months before they quit, namely due to how toxic the trolls are here and how much of a moral killer it was to constantly have to deal with their petty whining.

I really cannot speak for what went on before my tenure here, I only tried to figure a way to loosen the place up a bit. I planned on revisiting the rules once a year to make any little adjustments as needed, but they ran out of money to pay me, so... yeah. :/

Fappy:
The old staff confirmed a long time ago that the forums only brought in a meager amount of traffic compared to the video content. Even if the GG debate increased forum traffic by 200% for a couple months there it likely had a very small impact on site revenue.

Well, path's been layed out then. Get new content*, nuke the forums, keep the discussion threads for content only.
This hasn't been a "community" (as in people who have something in common) for years. It's just a jousting field for a few opposing worldviews and anyone not in one of those groups is collateral. And if even the revenue isn't worth it, just nuke 'em.

In all the years I've been here, my involvement with the boards was miniscule, although I check the site multiple times per day. I've only skirted the boards - mostly from the topics that popped up in the sidebar - and even from that I've seen what a shithole these forums are. Have been since (slightly, IIRC) before the whole GG fiasco, too. The more popular the site became, the worse the forums got.

*Yes, I know, "getting content" is the problem. The point stands, though. I just don't have an idea how to achieve that.

shrekfan246:
snip

You know, I find it really funny that pretty much everyone's complaints about the way the forum used to be could very simply be solved by infracting others when they're derailing threads to deface other users. Boom. Problem solved.

Making overly oppressive rules about what can and can't be talked about would be suffocating and just as detrimental to the community as allowing the derailing with intent to harass.

Oppressive rules and moderation also attract trolls like crazy, making accounts to tick everyone off just because they can. Because such rules pretty much declare a community as easily provoked.

Moderate better. Not harder.

And the reason I'm equating running a forum community with running a country is because they're obviously very similar. What really works in countries can oftentimes be carried over to the forum. Thus, free speech (with common sense moderation) should be encouraged. Not shit on.

Whoracle:
nuke the forums

I swear, if I lose my badges, I'm gonna slap somebody.

Exley97:
I'm not sure what site you were on but it doesn't sound like the (DeepFreeze approved!) Escapist. This is, after all, the site that had articles on GG with slimes like Roguestar and that replaced existing contributors that were critical of GG with vocal GG supporters, including PressFarttoContinue. Basically, this site did as much as any established, mainstream gaming site to embrace GG. And also, you're basically arguing that GG caused a huge spike in traffic and brought in tons of folks, and then in the next breath arguing that a small, vocal group of "aGG" critics who argued against GG made life SO MISERABLE for the majority that most of them left. That's ridiculous. I'd consider the possibility that 1) GG was never as big as a lot of supporters claimed it was, and 2) it was never big enough to sustain a major site like the Escapist.

I was talking about the forum staff specifically in that respect and I note that in the post. Perhaps I should have been clearer in separating the two throughout my post. The regular anti-GamerGate posters would not have been enough to drive away supporters on their own, but moderators generally favored the anti-GamerGate side and that contributed to driving many supporters away. Other factors are in play, but I do think the decline really began when the Game Industry Discussion board widened the area of conflict over GamerGate. The Brovengers debacle and the Discordian group both played a role in driving home the impression to GamerGate supporters at the time that the mods were in the tank against them. I don't think they were wrong to have that impression either. At least a couple mods did get removed over their conduct, as I recall.

n0e:

Vendor-Lazarus:
Snip.

I can understand your point of view and why you feel this way. To be fair, There were a lot of moderators listed when I started, but only 2-3 of them were actually active on the site. To help assist me, I brought over a few friends that volunteered on my old site, GameFront.com, to help out.

They not only wanted to help me with handling forum issues here but actively wanted to help the community and ensure that people were treated fairly. They lasted a few months before they quit, namely due to how toxic the trolls are here and how much of a moral killer it was to constantly have to deal with their petty whining.

I really cannot speak for what went on before my tenure here, I only tried to figure a way to loosen the place up a bit. I planned on revisiting the rules once a year to make any little adjustments as needed, but they ran out of money to pay me, so... yeah. :/

Though brief, I thank you for your time and willingness to try (and the Wild West, right?).
I think you could have done a good job, if not for the money drying up..or rather, rescinded, refused and redistributed!

TDA WP:

Exley97:
I'm not sure what site you were on but it doesn't sound like the (DeepFreeze approved!) Escapist. This is, after all, the site that had articles on GG with slimes like Roguestar and that replaced existing contributors that were critical of GG with vocal GG supporters, including PressFarttoContinue. Basically, this site did as much as any established, mainstream gaming site to embrace GG. And also, you're basically arguing that GG caused a huge spike in traffic and brought in tons of folks, and then in the next breath arguing that a small, vocal group of "aGG" critics who argued against GG made life SO MISERABLE for the majority that most of them left. That's ridiculous. I'd consider the possibility that 1) GG was never as big as a lot of supporters claimed it was, and 2) it was never big enough to sustain a major site like the Escapist.

I was talking about the forum staff specifically in that respect and I note that in the post. Perhaps I should have been clearer in separating the two throughout my post. The regular anti-GamerGate posters would not have been enough to drive away supporters on their own, but moderators generally favored the anti-GamerGate side and that contributed to driving many supporters away. Other factors are in play, but I do think the decline really began when the Game Industry Discussion board widened the area of conflict over GamerGate. The Brovengers debacle and the Discordian group both played a role in driving home the impression to GamerGate supporters at the time that the mods were in the tank against them. I don't think they were wrong to have that impression either. At least a couple mods did get removed over their conduct, as I recall.

Okay. It sounds like you're saying GGers left in droves because they were triggered by aGGers and mods didn't come to their rescue.

This has me wondering how hard the truly hardcore GGers were working behind the scenes to get folks like myself banned from the site. Can you break the "Flag for Review" button with overuse?

Arnoxthe1:

shrekfan246:
snip

You know, I find it really funny that pretty much everyone's complaints about the way the forum used to be could very simply be solved by infracting others when they're derailing threads to deface other users. Boom. Problem solved.

I'm glad you've completely ignored the actual content of my post, even to the point of opening with a non-sequitur and snipping it so that nobody else would see it.

Making overly oppressive rules about what can and can't be talked about would be suffocating and just as detrimental to the community as allowing the derailing with intent to harass.

"No racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia" are "overly oppressive rules" now? Here I thought that was just "being a decent human being".

Oppressive rules and moderation also attract trolls like crazy, making accounts to tick everyone off just because they can. Because such rules pretty much declare a community as easily provoked.

There's never going to be a way to stop trolls who are actually intent on trolling a site for whatever reason. Oh well. You deal with it as it comes. You don't say fuck it and open the floodgates. In fact, we saw exactly what happens when a website does that. You're looking at it right now.

It didn't get better.

Moderate better. Not harder.

I would say that in many situations, the two go hand-in-hand.

Thus, free speech (with common sense moderation) should be encouraged. Not shit on.

I really shouldn't need to keep repeating this: free speech does not apply to privately-owned websites. Free speech does not entitle somebody to a platform to say whatever they wish. Free speech does not prevent people from being held accountable for what they have said. A website is not required to allow people to post. In point of fact, I am not entitled to continue posting on this website right now. The moderators here at the Escapist would be completely within their rights if they banned me, because despite whatever code of conduct they've resolved to abide by, they have no actual obligation to abide by it. They do not need a reason to ban anyone. Obviously users do not just get banned willy-nilly because that would be hostile to the idea of fostering discussion, but I would argue that allowing bigotry to run rampant across your website is also hostile to any semblance of healthy discussion. You don't build a healthy community by allowing in people who don't see women or minorities as human.

Vendor-Lazarus:

n0e:

Vendor-Lazarus:
Snip.

I can understand your point of view and why you feel this way. To be fair, There were a lot of moderators listed when I started, but only 2-3 of them were actually active on the site. To help assist me, I brought over a few friends that volunteered on my old site, GameFront.com, to help out.

They not only wanted to help me with handling forum issues here but actively wanted to help the community and ensure that people were treated fairly. They lasted a few months before they quit, namely due to how toxic the trolls are here and how much of a moral killer it was to constantly have to deal with their petty whining.

I really cannot speak for what went on before my tenure here, I only tried to figure a way to loosen the place up a bit. I planned on revisiting the rules once a year to make any little adjustments as needed, but they ran out of money to pay me, so... yeah. :/

Though brief, I thank you for your time and willingness to try (and the Wild West, right?).
I think you could have done a good job, if not for the money drying up..or rather, rescinded, refused and redistributed!

Just to clarify, the Wild West was not my doing, nor was it anything that the moderators wanted. A 'higher power' ordered that it be implemented.

n0e:

Vendor-Lazarus:

n0e:

I can understand your point of view and why you feel this way. To be fair, There were a lot of moderators listed when I started, but only 2-3 of them were actually active on the site. To help assist me, I brought over a few friends that volunteered on my old site, GameFront.com, to help out.

They not only wanted to help me with handling forum issues here but actively wanted to help the community and ensure that people were treated fairly. They lasted a few months before they quit, namely due to how toxic the trolls are here and how much of a moral killer it was to constantly have to deal with their petty whining.

I really cannot speak for what went on before my tenure here, I only tried to figure a way to loosen the place up a bit. I planned on revisiting the rules once a year to make any little adjustments as needed, but they ran out of money to pay me, so... yeah. :/

Though brief, I thank you for your time and willingness to try (and the Wild West, right?).
I think you could have done a good job, if not for the money drying up..or rather, rescinded, refused and redistributed!

Just to clarify, the Wild West was not my doing, nor was it anything that the moderators wanted. A 'higher power' ordered that it be implemented.

Well...uhm...*awkward silence* - Thanks for everything else?!...!?...Interrobang

n0e:

Savryc:

n0e:

It's a bit difficult to write a set of rules for this community because you have "users" like Epic Whine, Iceforce and others constantly looking for ways to skirt that line to post their bullshit and get away with it. If it wasn't for them ruining everything, the place would be vastly different. We cannot refine a lot of what is said because they would be used as the _only_ type of posts not allowed. Rules have to be somewhat broad for the "human" factor that takes into account more than the text written. It's why "Rule 0" was created, and if you look at the Code of Conduct, there's a spot about being against passive-aggressive posts. While it's impossible to go full on enforcement against passive-aggressive posts, it does allow the moderators a bit of leeway in dealing with the troublemakers by pointing out their asshole posts are against CoC and their appeals get denied.

-Author of the Escapist's current Code of Conduct

"This community" my fucking arse. There's always going to be people skirting the rules just like there was back in the "glory days". Just like there is in every single other online community, past, present and future. The only thing your proving with that bitchy little attitude is that you probably had no business writing the CoC in the first place.

Seriously, what a bullshit cop out.

First off, I wasn't here for the "glory days". I didn't join the team until shortly after GamerGate happened.

Second, The fact that I've spent more time in a role that administrated an online community than you've probably been alive tells me I may know a little something about them.

An online community is a dynamic beast. Rules must be dynamic as well on an online forum to adjust with them. While there is a basic structure that all follow (don't be a dick rules), there are always a few fine-tuned rules specific to each community (e.x. passive aggressive bs), based on what their atmosphere is like. The rules that are designed to be a broadsword are specifically done so in order to ensure that any variation of each rule is followed. To translate for your simple mind, it means that you can't just rephrase a hate-filled post to appear different enough to avoid a specific rule as it would still be caught by it.

Try again, troll.

Yeah I'm sure that bullshit spiel sounded good in you're head and had all the other admins of the world banging their dicks on the table in pure, unadulterated ecstasy, but what in the scuttering fuck did it have to do with anything I said?

Let me break it down into small parts so your oh so superior intellect can process it more efficiently.

1) Why is this community in particular so damn hard to make rules for? Seeing as...
2) Literally every single community on the internet, big or small, has users that like to push their luck in regards to the rules and the skirting thereof.
3) Why is this community in particular "ruined" because of behaviors ubiquitous of all online interactions?

But hey, I guess it's easier to foist the blame on to the community rather than take responsibility for your own failings. It's understandable. Must really sting to be the one and only CoC author on the entire god damn internet to have the community they administered "ruined" by a few cheeky scamps skirting the rules. (Skirting! Not even breaking! Seriously man.)

But hey, personal responsibility? Pffft. Only a simple-minded troll like me could conceive of such a thing right?

Savryc:
[sniiiiiiip /]

But hey, personal responsibility? Pffft. Only a simple-minded troll like me could conceive of such a thing right?

Talking about "personal responsibility" while at the same time saying "some people are always just going to be assholes, nothing anyone can do about it"...

image

I haven't been active on the site in a long time, but reading the news made me want to share a couple of quick thoughts.

First, I don't see the point of continuing to contribute to the site at this point. I understand the desire to keep it alive, but community contributions are never going to make it sustainable, so as soon as somebody upstairs decides the Yahtzee numbers don't justify the server costs anymore, all your work is gonna disappear from one second to the next (it doesn't sound like mods were given advance warning this time around and I doubt they will next time). And in the meantime, all you're really doing is helping to line the pockets of some really shitty people. Sooner or later, this site is going to go offline, you might as well get yourself a head-start on settling in somewhere else.

Second, I've seen a lot of people here and elsewhere wonder why Yahtzee is still sticking with the site. For me, the real question is: "Where else can he go?" Yahtzee is a relic from a different era, the snarky, angry games criticism of the mid 2000s. He has not really evolved or improved his craft over the last ten years, and while he still has a sizable audience, I doubt many editors are going to leap at the opportunity to pick him up when they could get similar results by partnering up with any number of mid-level Youtubers who are less set in their ways. The point is you want to some growth, and Yahtzee's been in decline for a while now. I doubt you'll see him at another major outlet, probably a personal Youtube channel instead.

Third, looking back, it seems clear to me that the site's popularity with Gamergaters was not some radical shift in the community but the logical culmination of its long-standing problems. Younger me wasn't attuned to these issues, but they were definitely noticeable back when I was still around. The infraction system as well as a code of conduct focused mainly on polite disagreement created a forum culture of rules-lawyering and tone policing, perfectly exemplified by gems like this one:

Arnoxthe1:
Who cares if someone's a self-professed nazi supporter? If he's not breaking any rules then I don't see a problem.

Hateful ideology based around genocide? Perfectly fine, as long as you espouse it politely, thank you very much. This kind of focus on tone over content encourages users to argue in bad faith, trying to get a rise out of other people so they'll be reprimanded. Passion becomes a liability in such an environment, so people who genuinely care about these issues pack up and leave, only to be replaced with the kind of objectionable characters who are drawn to this lack of specific moral and political boundaries.

I say this mainly because it's overly simple to pin the Escapist's problems on a single person. The site's issues go beyond Macris, or those working below him (Have you seen these excerpts from Russ Pitts' game journalism memoirs, because they are WILD). This site catered to our lowest impulse on many levels, from the irreverent jokes of its edgy superstar to the self-styled elitism of the forums and their hyper-rational discourse, which really translated to cynicism and devil's advocacy more often than not. I liked this place a lot when I was a bitter teenager, but I'm glad to have outgrown it.

Savryc:
-snip-

No joke are you trying to bait a ban now? Or is this the now accepted way we talk to other users here.

Tone down and chill out. You look like a major ass right now.

Slanzinger:

Savryc:
[sniiiiiiip /]

But hey, personal responsibility? Pffft. Only a simple-minded troll like me could conceive of such a thing right?

Talking about "personal responsibility" while at the same time saying "some people are always just going to be assholes, nothing anyone can do about it"...

image

That's funny because I specifically remember asking why the Escapist community in particular is ruined because of behavior present literally everywhere on the internet. Why specifically us yet not elsewhere?

But it's open to interpretation I suppose, death of the author and all that jazz. Have fun! :D

shrekfan246:
I'm glad you've completely ignored the actual content of my post, even to the point of opening with a non-sequitur and snipping it so that nobody else would see it.

OK so first of all, calm down. Second, I will admit, I should have said I was addressing a lot of people with that first paragraph and not just you. Third, I didn't ignore anything. I addressed your points later on. Fourth, "so that nobody else would see it." Really? They can just click the post link in the quote. Don't be silly. Your post was utterly massive.

shrekfan246:
"No racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia" are "overly oppressive rules" now? Here I thought that was just "being a decent human being".

On the surface, they look pretty darn reasonable, but they're redundant to and worse than just saying that harassment in threads is not allowed. Someone says, "I hate black people." Who cares? No matter if you ban him or not, he's still gonna hate black people, and even further, he's probably gonna get ticked off and start making more accounts to troll with, thus creating more headache for the moderators than if they'd just left it alone.

Even further, it can easily allow bogus bans to start happening. Now other people can just say to one moderator or another "Oh, they're racist. Ban them." Or how about this. A user posts that she's against gay marriage but then another user sees that as homophobia and reports it to the mods. So then the user gets banned for simply stating their views. And even further, making biggoted views against CoC isn't gonna stop actual supporters and trolls coming in anyway.

If someone really feels that just because some people post a view, no matter how bad it is, that it automatically "hurts" the person that the view would otherwise condemn. But it doesn't hurt anything. It's just a view. A stated opinion. And stated or not, that bias will still be there. You say that things are different online than IRL. I would argue that in a sense, you're right, but not in the way you think.

IRL, there's a possibility of actual violence. Actual actions being taken against the person. Almost unavoidable harassment. But online, as I said before, it's just a bunch of words from some rando of literally no consequence that can EASILY be ignored entirely, and if that is really still too much for that person to deal with when there's no harassment or spamming or anything, then I don't think I want to be sharing the same message board as that person.

Oh and BTW, I'm trans.

shrekfan246:
There's never going to be a way to stop trolls who are actually intent on trolling a site for whatever reason. Oh well. You deal with it as it comes. You don't say fuck it and open the floodgates. In fact, we saw exactly what happens when a website does that. You're looking at it right now.

Sure, you deal with it but you don't get too crazy. And in any case, what the hell is so wrong with the community as it is? One or two people say they support the nazis in a thread and all of a sudden, people act like this place is going to hell. Why don't you tell me specific examples of things that, in your opinion, should have been moderated.

shrekfan246:
I would argue that allowing bigotry to run rampant across your website is also hostile to any semblance of healthy discussion. You don't build a healthy community by allowing in people who don't see women or minorities as human.

It isn't hostile. It's just there. And it's always been there. And if you never take the opportunity to have a dialogue with these people, and you never give them a chance, you'll never convince them that what they believe is wrong. If anything, you'll just solidify their views of the opposing side being stubborn and arrogant by banning them and shoving them off into a corner just because they stated something. Nevertheless, for the third time, I am NOT advocating harassment. That's way different. But if someone's just stating a view, I don't think they should be banned, no matter how bad that view may be.

Arnoxthe1:

It isn't hostile. It's just there. And it's always been there. And if you never take the opportunity to have a dialogue with these people, and you never give them a chance, you'll never convince them that what they believe is wrong. If anything, you'll just solidify their views of the opposing side being stubborn and arrogant by banning them and shoving them off into a corner just because they stated something.

Okay, yes, having a dialogue with people you disagree with and giving them a chance is important. I agree.

That said, I've been active in Games Industry/GG-related threads here for three-plus years, almost since the very beginning. I went in with an open mind and gave folks the benefit of the doubt. And you're right -- it isn't entirely hostile. I wouldn't continue to post here if it was. But *A LOT* of it still is. While I made connections and had meaningful dialogues with a number of GG supporters here (hey Dunam), I also received quite a bit of hostility from folks who, in no particular order, accused me of being: a liar, a plagiarist, transphobic, a gaslighter, and a serial abuser. Oh, and they accused me of driving a forum member to attempt suicide, as if I'm Hannibal fucking Lecter tormenting Multiple Miggs. So that was awesome.

My point is, you can reach some folks and find common ground. And others you simply can't. And you never will.

Savryc:

Yeah I'm sure that bullshit spiel sounded good in you're head and had all the other admins of the world banging their dicks on the table in pure, unadulterated ecstasy, but what in the scuttering fuck did it have to do with anything I said?

Let me break it down into small parts so your oh so superior intellect can process it more efficiently.

1) Why is this community in particular so damn hard to make rules for? Seeing as...
2) Literally every single community on the internet, big or small, has users that like to push their luck in regards to the rules and the skirting thereof.
3) Why is this community in particular "ruined" because of behaviors ubiquitous of all online interactions?

But hey, I guess it's easier to foist the blame on to the community rather than take responsibility for your own failings. It's understandable. Must really sting to be the one and only CoC author on the entire god damn internet to have the community they administered "ruined" by a few cheeky scamps skirting the rules. (Skirting! Not even breaking! Seriously man.)

But hey, personal responsibility? Pffft. Only a simple-minded troll like me could conceive of such a thing right?

As we say in the south to folks like you, "Bless your heart".

1) Each community is different, some are easy to make rules for, some aren't. Why? Because of how obsessed they can be with them. This community is on the high level of obsessive with rules compared to others that I've encoutered. Most folks want to talk about the actual reason for being here; games; tech; etc.. However, Escapist has a lot of folks that would rather worry about "I wonder how I can post this without breaking the rules?". While that sounds like someone a typical person would worry about on a site with draconian rules, those who say this phrase here are doing their damnedest to say something that people won't like to read, but they say it anyway and hope it's as close to the rulebreaking line as possible without getting into trouble. So that's why it's difficult to make a set of rules for this community.

2) Every.community.is.different. How can you not understand that? Do you really think that we can apply the same set of rules here compared to, say 4chan or reddit? How about the other end of that spectrum being a corporate website with very strict rules about how you can say something to others and language is strictly enforced? Communities are different, get that through your skull.

3) I never said it was ruined. I said, in other words, that this community has elements of idiocy that cause issues and require an exasting amount of time having to explain how the rules work, when common sense should have told them already. But, just like you, common sense seems to be completely gone with them. Hence why I have to explain this shit yet again to someone who just doesn't get it.

But hey, I guess it's easier to foist the blame on to those that volunteer their time to try and make this place as nice of a place as possible instead of their own failings. It's understandable. Must really sting to know that someone has to explain things to you over and over again because you're just too damned stupid to understand it the first time it was explained to you.

In any event. I'm done. I'm just feeding a troll here, and not a very good one. So, enjoy writing any response you have. I simply don't have the effort anymore to really care about what you have to say. I have better things to do, like watch paint dry.

Peace!

Arnoxthe1:

shrekfan246:
"No racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia" are "overly oppressive rules" now? Here I thought that was just "being a decent human being".

On the surface, they look pretty darn reasonable, but they're redundant to and worse than just saying that harassment in threads is not allowed. Someone says, "I hate black people." Who cares? No matter if you ban him or not, he's still gonna hate black people, and even further, he's probably gonna get ticked off and start making more accounts to troll with, thus creating more headache for the moderators than if they'd just left it alone.

That's their problem, not the website's. Also, IP bans are a thing, and if a person is really that intent on trolling a website just because they got banned, the people in charge of said website can contact their ISP to report them for harassment.

Again, you don't just say "fuck it" and let people do whatever they want.

Even further, it can easily allow bogus bans to start happening. Now other people can just say to one moderator or another "Oh, they're racist. Ban them." Or how about this. A user posts that she's against gay marriage but then another user sees that as homophobia and reports it to the mods. So then the user gets banned for simply stating their views. And even further, making biggoted views against CoC isn't gonna stop actual supporters and trolls coming in anyway.

Are you really going to argue that moderators are too stupid to be able to read posts themselves to see context and whether or not someone is just being reported because another user has a personal grudge? Really? That's what you're going to go with? The moderators just won't know better?

If someone really feels that just because some people post a view, no matter how bad it is, that it automatically "hurts" the person that the view would otherwise condemn. But it doesn't hurt anything. It's just a view. A stated opinion. You say that things are different online than IRL. I would argue that in a sense, you're right, but not in the way you think. IRL, there's a possibility of actual violence. Actual actions being taken against the person. But online, as I said before, it's just a bunch of words from some rando of literally no consequence, and if that is really too much for that person to deal with when there's no harassment or spamming or anything, then I don't think I want to be sharing the same message board as that person.

No. They're not "just a bunch of words". They are words which embolden people. They are words which reinforce negative societal structures. They are words which make bigots feel like they are the majority. They are words which allow bigots to feel comfortable openly marching through a city in America, to the point that a young woman was run over and killed by one of them. To the point that three white supremacists in Florida were just arrested for firing into a crowd following a speech by one of their "leaders".

They are words which make people feel alone. They are words which make people feel like they are hated. They are words which make people feel like they will never belong in the country in which they were born and raised. They are words which will push forth the harmful ideas that men and women are defined entirely by their genitalia. They are words which will make black people feel like the majority of people around them consider them to be subhuman. They are words which will make women fear that any man is a potential danger to them.

Words hold power. They always have, and they always will. Words posted on the internet are no different from words posted in a newspaper. Do not diminish their impact by stating that words on the internet are completely incapable of inciting actions taken in meatspace.

Sure, you deal with it but you don't get too crazy. And in any case, what the hell is so wrong with the community as it is? One or two people say they support the nazis in a thread and all of a sudden, people act like this place is going to hell. Why don't you tell me specific examples of things that, in your opinion, should have been moderated.

It has in no way been "all of a sudden", nor was it just following the Charlottesville thread. I have been watching this shift happen for the past five years, ever since this website began talking about Anita Sarkeesian. I could provide many, many examples of things which I believe shouldn't be allowed, but frankly, I have other things that I need to do with my time.

It isn't hostile. It's just there. And it's always been there.

And that's the problem. How can you state that casual bigotry is so widespread that you can unironically type those three sentences, and then claim it's not an issue?

And if you never take the opportunity to have a dialogue with these people, and you never give them a chance, you'll never convince them that what they believe is wrong.

I'm sorry, but this is just straight incorrect. I've had plenty of "dialogues" with people who hold bigoted views over the past few years. Universally, they have not been interested in actually changing their views. They reject scientific facts which refute their opinions. They do not care, and the few who have the potential to change are not worth wading through the mire of the ones who are already so deeply entrenched that they will never accept anything you say.

I mean, look at this conversation we have been having all day. You are utterly incapable of accepting my perspective, and I am firmly set in my belief that bigots are just as equally dangerous online as they are off. Why do you think that attempting to convince a bigot to no longer be a bigot would work?

I honestly do have other things that I need to do, though, so I'm dipping out of this thread now.

Exley97:
Okay. It sounds like you're saying GGers left in droves because they were triggered by aGGers and mods didn't come to their rescue.

This has me wondering how hard the truly hardcore GGers were working behind the scenes to get folks like myself banned from the site. Can you break the "Flag for Review" button with overuse?

It wasn't that mods didn't come to their rescue, but that mods took action against them instead. A perception set in that mods were being more lenient with the side they supported and stricter with the side they opposed. Given the mods here have generally always been opposed to GamerGate and some were openly members of anti-GamerGate groups on this site, it is not hard to see where that perception originated. People might insist the mods have always been unbiased, but my experience is that when a group is primarily of the same mind on an issue they are always going to be biased in how they handle it.

Fappy:
The old staff confirmed a long time ago that the forums only brought in a meager amount of traffic compared to the video content. Even if the GG debate increased forum traffic by 200% for a couple months there it likely had a very small impact on site revenue.

It was longer than a couple months that there was a significant increase in traffic. One site showing historical Alexa rankings suggests Escapist only fell below its pre-GamerGate rankings after the GID forum was created. Maybe the forums themselves aren't a great source of independent revenue, but a site usually needs loyal return visitors in order to keep itself going financially and having a sustainable forum community is part of that for a site such as this one.

Wait, The Escapist is in trouble?

n0e:
It's a bit difficult to write a set of rules for this community because you have "users" like Epic Whine, Iceforce and others constantly looking for ways to skirt that line to post their bullshit and get away with it. If it wasn't for them ruining everything, the place would be vastly different. We cannot refine a lot of what is said because they would be used as the _only_ type of posts not allowed. Rules have to be somewhat broad for the "human" factor that takes into account more than the text written. It's why "Rule 0" was created, and if you look at the Code of Conduct, there's a spot about being against passive-aggressive posts. While it's impossible to go full on enforcement against passive-aggressive posts, it does allow the moderators a bit of leeway in dealing with the troublemakers by pointing out their asshole posts are against CoC and their appeals get denied.

-Author of the Escapist's current Code of Conduct

Yeah, I know. I know you've seen me complain about this stuff a few times and I'm imperfect in my own actions, but, I do do it out of care, I assure you.

This stuff is very hard. Especially for The Escapist, as we have a somewhat unique community. Most internet forums really aren't like The Escapist. They don't tolerate conflicting beliefs and come down very hard on it. I honestly think The Escapist probably needed unique rules to deal with the political discussions that go on in these threads, as far too often it gets personal.

We have rules which make sense in general conversation about video games. But, completely fall apart in debate threads, and I guess that's kinda the crux of the issue, the political divide we have being as strong as it is. I guess my frustration comes from how, I can see how the CoC can be applied in R&P to really bring down the bad behavior used by certain people and create a better community. But, it just isn't, because the rules aren't suited for that environment.

I do appreciate your effort in writing them. But, you have to accept in terms of stopping people being assholes, it hasn't really worked. Or, if it has, it's taken... A very long time, just due to the nature of how long it actually takes to get banned on this website and that's before we even get to the long list of people who're on their second or third account at this point.

shrekfan246:
No. They're not "just a bunch of words". They are words which embolden people. They are words which reinforce negative societal structures. They are words which make bigots feel like they are the majority. They are words which allow bigots to feel comfortable openly marching through a city in America, to the point that a young woman was run over and killed by one of them. To the point that three white supremacists in Florida were just arrested for firing into a crowd following a speech by one of their "leaders".

They are words which make people feel alone. They are words which make people feel like they are hated. They are words which make people feel like they will never belong in the country in which they were born and raised. They are words which will push forth the harmful ideas that men and women are defined entirely by their genitalia. They are words which will make black people feel like the majority of people around them consider them to be subhuman. They are words which will make women fear that any man is a potential danger to them.

Words hold power. They always have, and they always will. Words posted on the internet are no different from words posted in a newspaper. Do not diminish their impact by stating that words on the internet are completely incapable of inciting actions taken in meatspace.

This is straying way too far into the "I'm offended by this, therefore you should be banned" area than "You were being a dick, so, you're banned".

If somebody is raising a point in a polite way without the intention of offending anyone, if you get offended by that, it's your own fault. That's kinda all there is to it. The world is made of a great many cultures, and trying to understand them is a noble task. But, you'll never achieve it if you actively want to ban anyone who voices a view you disagree with.

Added to that, we're on the internet, you can just go somewhere else. If somebody has a line of argument that offends you, you can just ignore it. You're not required to engage with people. I know it's The Escapist, and just getting bored and walking away from an argument is somehow a shameful defeat, but, it's seriously not worth getting so worked up about words on the internet.

Also, how even would you go about enforcing these rules? How can you possible enforce "This person was offended, therefore you did a bad" in a way that's even an uniform? Especially on The Escapist, you'd have to shut down R&P, most off-topic threads and well probably a bunch of other stuff really.

Don't get me wrong, I get the idea. Nobody should be made to feel shitty by words somebody else said. But, the key part of that statement is "Made", and if it's yourself making you feel that way, you've only got yourself to blame.

Exley97:

Well, it hasn't been because of a lack of trying now, has it? It seems pretty clear what's going on in this Reddit KiA thread.
https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/31uqi5/the_escapist_forums_are_kill/

There's obviously a significant difference between a bunch of random people on Reddit doing it, and somebody who may end up owning the site proclaiming they're going to purge people.

I disagree with both, but, they're not really comparable are they?

TDA WP:

Exley97:
Okay. It sounds like you're saying GGers left in droves because they were triggered by aGGers and mods didn't come to their rescue.

This has me wondering how hard the truly hardcore GGers were working behind the scenes to get folks like myself banned from the site. Can you break the "Flag for Review" button with overuse?

It wasn't that mods didn't come to their rescue, but that mods took action against them instead. A perception set in that mods were being more lenient with the side they supported and stricter with the side they opposed. Given the mods here have generally always been opposed to GamerGate and some were openly members of anti-GamerGate groups on this site, it is not hard to see where that perception originated. People might insist the mods have always been unbiased, but my experience is that when a group is primarily of the same mind on an issue they are always going to be biased in how they handle it.

Again, I'm not sure what site you were on, but I don't think it was this one. Although if you're arguing that mods didn't ban me for, for example, telling GG supporters repeatedly that you cannot (legally-speaking) slander "gamers" and they complained a lot and when I didn't get a warning or suspension for said posts, some responded by calling me a piece of sh*t and then THEY got suspended, then yes, that definitely DID happen. On several occasions.

TDA WP:

Fappy:
The old staff confirmed a long time ago that the forums only brought in a meager amount of traffic compared to the video content. Even if the GG debate increased forum traffic by 200% for a couple months there it likely had a very small impact on site revenue.

It was longer than a couple months that there was a significant increase in traffic. One site showing historical Alexa rankings suggests Escapist only fell below its pre-GamerGate rankings after the GID forum was created. Maybe the forums themselves aren't a great source of independent revenue, but a site usually needs loyal return visitors in order to keep itself going financially and having a sustainable forum community is part of that for a site such as this one.

What the hell is "Rank2traffic"? How does a third-party website collect historical Alexa rankings that only Alexa itself has? How does an algorithm extract proprietary Alex data? Sounds shady...

Has anyone else heard of this site or am I crazy?

I won't lie I do hope one of the old guard takes control of the site and ban hammers the remaining gaters.
image

DeadpanLunatic:
Third, looking back, it seems clear to me that the site's popularity with Gamergaters was not some radical shift in the community but the logical culmination of its long-standing problems. Younger me wasn't attuned to these issues, but they were definitely noticeable back when I was still around. The infraction system as well as a code of conduct focused mainly on polite disagreement created a forum culture of rules-lawyering and tone policing, perfectly exemplified by gems like this one:

Arnoxthe1:
Who cares if someone's a self-professed nazi supporter? If he's not breaking any rules then I don't see a problem.

Hateful ideology based around genocide? Perfectly fine, as long as you espouse it politely, thank you very much. This kind of focus on tone over content encourages users to argue in bad faith, trying to get a rise out of other people so they'll be reprimanded. Passion becomes a liability in such an environment, so people who genuinely care about these issues pack up and leave, only to be replaced with the kind of objectionable characters who are drawn to this lack of specific moral and political boundaries.

I wasn't really around for this, because I'd always stuck to the threads for articles and videos, but I did get a glimpse of some of the topics that came up in the Recent Posts sidebar during this period and... yeah, it got bad. It's not just that people were allowed to argue in defense of Gamergate in the abstract -- I've seen plenty of decent, well-meaning people get suckered into believing that it could be a legitimate label for people who are just sick of game industry bullshit, most notably Totalbiscuit (who eventually conceded that it was unsalvageable and has since become one of gaming's more vocal opponents of the alt right). There were specific topics of discussion that, just from the titles, probably would have gotten locked with a warning if I'd been in charge.

Hell, even before the Gamergate debacle, I remember how toxic discussions about people like Anita Sarkeesian got whenever she came up in the news. It was clear that any rules about attacking individuals only applied to the people in the thread itself. Anyone else was fair game. Probably because nobody wanted to be the one to pick and choose which outside individuals were acceptable targets on a site known for giving no quarter to some of the scummier people in the industry.

n0e:
snip

You are pretty much thinking exactly what I thought when I stepped down from modding here. The same few users again and again making asinine questions, they know the answer to, they just wanna put the CoC and mods to the test. Or those that just looked for things to complain about.

User: "There's two threads on the same topic."

Okay, merge them.

Same User: "Well now my threads a mess!"

What do you want from me, dude?

Or the all time favorite serial ban jumper. Lovely chap he was.

Fappy:

Exley97:

The Lunatic:

To be fair, that doesn't really work. The site was under Macris for a while, and there's really not been any purging.

A distinct lack, I'd say.

Well, it hasn't been because of a lack of trying now, has it? It seems pretty clear what's going on in this Reddit KiA thread.
https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/31uqi5/the_escapist_forums_are_kill/

I remember that thread actually scared a few users away from the this site permanently. They didn't feel comfortable having hostile strangers on another site smack talking them. The fear of being doxxed back then was real.

The guy who made that thread wasn't necessarily a stranger. He was a member of these forums, for a spell, who got banned. A banned, a butt-hurt user who couldn't grasp the community.

I remember when the last big influx of users came and why they got "scared away". They tried to interact with the community but they were met by a certain group who would derail and mock any thread. The first page of new topics would be full of posts from a similar group of users all agreeing with each other that the topic put forward, and by extension the proposer, were stupid and not worth discussion. And if a discussion did develop well women's experiences would be dismissed, people's identities denied as they were not conforming to stereotypes demanded by those who were acting for their own good. With this site's already dubious reputation for moderation and apparent elitism, as people experienced this whilst the culprits were favoured, it's no wonder new users were driven off.

And don't try to pretend for a moment that the people opposed to the group in your link were nice or wouldn't do such a thing. I had the dubious privilege of standing next to the people who received the abuse from the "good guys" in the wider world, and all those "good guys" taught me were racial slurs. People were experiencing this across the internet and allegedly well moderated forums provided them no relief.

You think the fear of doxxing still isn't real?

We have someone in this very thread suggesting a takeover which would purge a proportion of the user base. A games journalist who, despite reporting in a field that is very much in touch with internet culture, who ran sites with forums so should readily recognise trolls, decided that because a minority of a group that was tagged with the same label for convenience was being rude on the internet, and yes admittedly worse in even more limited numbers (whilst we're at it let's admit Team B were doing the same), decided to sit by and do nothing whilst thousands of people were insulted, harassed or doxxed. People who were very much once their audience. How convenient for someone in this field to suddenly forget what a troll is.

Some journalists may like to pretend that it didn't happen to the women and minorities that were on "the wrong side of history" as may you, but these journalists were people who were trusted, who had a platform to speak out against it. And I can't believe they weren't aware of it, the people who were attacked were being watched constantly, not only that but their associates shouted for help. And the response was to shrug and ignore it. Sure, if it fit a narrative, front page news, if not, who cares - after all it was deserved as they dared to question whether journalists could still be trusted.

"The blueprints of my house have been widely shared with locations of my children's bedrooms and private family photos, is anyone watching who would condemn this?" "Yeah but this anonymous egg guy told me to kill myself, you're on your own and deserve it."

Then the apparent "old guard" come out of hiding, pretending we don't all have a date under our names, and encourage the people who would prefer to watch others rot.

And on the proposed team of those who stood by as the people who trusted them were abused is someone who would consider those who disagree with them sub-human and deserve everything they get. You think people are looking forward to a future where an individual who prefer to spit on them than acknowledge their existence gets ownership of their email address, and those who signed up for publishers club, credit card details? We've already moved to an appeals system that requires giving an email address, you think those who "deserve it" are looking forward to that after their perceptions of bias?

I can take the fact that every other week responsibility for whatever new insulting meme the internet spits out, or whatever millionaire celebrity criticism gets rebranded as abuse, or Russian hacking operation leading to Brexit or Trump or whatever democratic decision is wrong, is thrust in the direction it is. I like to laugh at the ridiculousness, even though the accusers seem to take it seriously. I can even take the personal insults and attempted doxxing. But I'm tired of throwing all that the thousands of people went through, and will go through, down the memory hole to appease simple narratives.

You think the fear was real? Whatever gets done to us will either be ignored or those who do it held up as heroes. The fear is very much real.

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