bit-gamer.net

Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

Posted on 2nd Sep 2016 at 09:18 by Rick Lane with 59 comments

Rick Lane
Allegations of corruption have dogged games journalism for almost as long as games journalism has existed. Where exactly this belief stems from isn’t entirely certain. But if you went by the average comments section on a game review, you’d think the entirety of games journalism was more corrupt than Silvio Berlusconi’s hard-drive.

Like any form of journalism, games media isn’t short of examples of shoddy work. Evidence of that goes as far back as dodgy reviews of games like Nemesis for the ZX Spectrum, where Sinclair User appear to have reviewed a beta version of the game in order to get ahead of the competition. But the vast majority of complaints and conspiracy theories about games writing aren’t concerned with laziness or cutting corners. Instead, they revolve around a very specific and far more serious subject – the idea that critics are routinely paid-off by publishers to artificially inflate review scores.

This particular accusation has a number of roots, where general grumbling over review scores online and in magazines merge with individual incidents of games critics simply calling it wrong, such as the infamous 'Driver3gate', where a number of high-profile magazines gave lofty scores to a game that quickly proved itself to be terrible. Over time, the pressure has built to the point where a substantial portion of the gaming community believe that entire websites are in the pockets of EA, Ubisoft et al.

Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

It isn’t possible to prove categorically that games journalism is entirely free of corruption, in the same way it isn’t possible to prove that the Universe doesn’t exist inside a giant snowglobe. But the community’s perception of corruption is massively out of whack. The majority of corruption accusations are entirely unwarranted, and the few examples that do raise an eyebrow usually conflate unethical behaviour with a critic making a simple mistake (such as when I overscored Rome II a couple of years ago. It happens to everyone!). Nevertheless, the relentlessness of the accusations, which came to a head during the malicious, veiled hate-campaign that was GamerGate, have done untold damage to the reputation of games journalism, criticism and reporting.

The general mistrust of traditional media by the games community has, in part, helped pave the way for a new wave of gaming commentators – YouTubers. Viewed as a refreshing alternative voice that grew up independently of the corrupting influence of games journalism, YouTubers have become the new darlings of gaming coverage. Some YouTubers have a following and resulting power that the largest gaming websites – never mind individual journalists – could only dream of.

Whether or not the perception of YouTubers as an 'alternative' is accurate, the rise of YouTube stars nonetheless offered an exciting new opportunity for gaming coverage, a chance for commentators to stand toe-to-toe with the larger publishers, able to stand apart from the rigorous marketing campaigns and PR-controlled messages that have stifled traditional journalism in recent years. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened. Instead, YouTubers have become embroiled in levels of corruption that traditional games journalism has never come close to.

Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

Only last month, two jaw-dropping stories about dodgy practices by YouTubers emerged. The Counter Strike: Global Offensive community has been rocked by an astounding story about several CS:GO gambling sites – where players can bet on matches to win skins – being owned by YouTubers who promoted the sites in their videos. One such YouTuber, who goes by the monicker TmarTn, posted a video of himself allegedly winning $13,000 on a gambling site that he himself had founded. Since then, other YouTubers like the CS:GO team FaZe have been implicated in similar unethical practice, while several class-action lawsuits have been filed against the perpetrators and even Valve themselves, for letting what is essentially an illegal gambling den (many of the individuals putting money down on these sites were children) emerge right under their noses.

About a week later, a second story appeared in which the American Federal Trade Commission had reached a settlement with Warner Bros after the publisher failed to disclose that it had paid several prominent YouTubers, such as PewDiePie, specifically for positive coverage of their game. As part of the settlement, the FTC also banned Warner Bros from further pretending that paid-for coverage was the work of independent producers.

Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

While the first story is undoubtedly the more remarkable of the two, it’s the second story I want to focus on here. This is because the likes of TmarTn and the FaZe team have been almost universally condemned for their repulsively unethical and exploitative behaviour (incidentally, it should be pointed out that it was a YouTuber by the name of HonorTheCall who blew the lid off the CS:GO gambling fiasco, demonstrating that the medium is capable of well-researched and effective journalism).

Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

Meanwhile, the latter story has all-but been shrugged off. PewDiePie’s response to the journalists who ran the Warner Bros story was that he is an 'entertainer' rather than a professional critic and 'doesn’t need' games journalism, while Warner Bros were the bad guys as far as the FTC was concerned, and not the YouTubers in question.

It’s true that PewDiePie has been made a bit of a scapegoat in this story. He in fact was one of the only YouTubers to disclose he had been paid by Warner Bros for his positive coverage, although said disclosure was hardly overt for the video in question. But this doesn’t excuse the other YouTubers who didn’t make the same disclosure, or just how incredibly shady such practice is anyway. What’s more, the FTC later ruled that the disclosures made by PewDiePie and other YouTubers were inadequate anyway.

Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

What’s particularly galling and worrisome about this story is that the YouTubers in question are doing the exact thing that traditional games journalism has been baselessly accused of for literally decades - taking money in exchange for positive coverage. It’s the very collusion that GamerGate attempted to legitimise itself upon. Had a traditional journalist been caught embarking upon the same course of action, it would have cost them their career.

Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

YouTubers appear to be shielded from criticism by two things: transparency, and the label of 'entertainer'. Personally, I find the label of entertainer a dubious one. YouTubers are still offering their opinions on games to (often massive) audiences, who will base their own purchases upon the conclusions drawn by their chosen channel. What’s more, most games journalists are not truly journalists either, instead practising a mixture of reporting, criticism and entertainment writing in a similar vein to most YouTubers. Yet games journalists are still held, or hold themselves, to ethical standards. Regardless, here we have a clear-cut case of a serious breach of ethics by YouTubers, and not only have there been no repercussions, the perception of YouTubers as a haven of independent, unsullied games coverage seemingly remains intact.

Games journalism isn't corrupt, but Youtube has a problem.

If you’re reading this and thinking it’s a case of sour grapes, I won’t lie, the situation absolutely infuriates me. I’ve seen friends harassed and the careers of some colleagues almost destroyed through accusations over perceived corruption of the exact kind that YouTubers do both openly and surreptitiously on a daily basis. But I also have genuine concerns about the future of gaming coverage. Because of the conflation of advertising and entertainment, an entire generation of children are growing up believing that paid-for opinions are the standard for gaming coverage, and that’s assuming they are aware these opinions have been paid for in the first place.

Most of all, though, I find it desperately sad that so many YouTubers have the opportunity to work as an entirely independent authority on games, supported by the trust and goodwill of their audiences, and use that opportunity to line their pockets with money from major publishers. Even if you believe such an action isn’t unethical, it’s horrendously crass and tacky.

This is not to say that all YouTubers are corrupt; far from it. Much as I dislike current YouTube culture, I would hate for the medium to be tarred with the same brush that games journalism has been so unjustly. But there are undoubtedly problems within YouTube culture that need addressing, problems which exist to an extent that they never did in traditional games media. How exactly these problems can be addressed is difficult to say, given the independent nature of many YouTubers which lends them such power and potential as voices within the industry. The work of more upstanding individuals like HonorTheCall is a good start, but these more rigorous investigative practices and attention to potential corruption need to become the rule rather than the exception.

59 Comments

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greigaitken 2nd September 2016, 10:10 Quote
I've generally thought the biggest issue with bias in games journailsm is bowing to public pressure rather than from the publisher. Such as - Game gets hyped to max before release, public are salivating like crazy, can't wait for the first reviews.... game site wants to please it's readers and the game doesnt live up to hype or reviews.
Generally though when someone gets a consistent salary to write about a medium, they'll tend to have less of an alternative agenda than just give their honest views.
I don't watch youtube reviews mostly because i doubt what does it for the youtube reviewers will be what does it for me.
One day we'll be able to upload our brain network and have the optimal multimedia experience customised for our individual peak enjoyment. Good luck reviewing that experience to cater for a million different readers.
edzieba 2nd September 2016, 10:25 Quote
Quote:
The majority of corruption accusations are entirely unwarranted, and the few examples that do raise an eyebrow usually conflate unethical behaviour with a critic making a simple mistake (such as when I overscored Rome II a couple of years ago. It happens to everyone!).
Not that there isn't also systematic pressure on review sites not to piss off publishers that are also advertisers. Doesn't make the average Youtube reviewer any less awful, but the main takeaway is that ANY review source funded by advertisers who also sell the product being reviewed (regardless of if the payment is directly for the review, or just paid to the publication) should be treated as a not completely unbiased source.
Gareth Halfacree 2nd September 2016, 10:38 Quote
Quote:
I'm pleased to say that with only very mild exceptions I have never even *known* what adverts are currently running in the publications for which I write. The only exceptions: a couple of times, but not within the last few years, an editor has approached me to say adverts on the theme of Topic X are running so could I find some Topic X stuff to write about? It's never been "Company X is running adverts, so write nice things about Company X" - just topic-related stuff to boost the relevancy of the adverts. An example would be when a car company - I forget which - bought two week's worth of advertising on a site for which I used to write daily news stories, and the editor asked if I could make sure each day's stories had at least one about cars or car-related technology. It was fine if the stories were about the company's competitors, or even bad things about the company itself - relevancy was the key goal.

Since then, though, nobody's ever bothered me about such things. I never have the faintest idea what ads are going to be running in Custom PC, for example. There was once a discussion with another client where I'd referred to a company which shall remain nameless's financial troubles in an otherwise positive article and a PR got a bit shirty, but the article ended up standing as-is.

What I can tell you is that if a client did try to tell me that I had to be nice to a company 'cos they were an advertiser, they wouldn't be a client for long. I'm here to tell the truth, not act as a corporate mouthpiece; if companies want me to say nice things they should either do nice things or hire me as a PR. Simple as that.
Byron C 2nd September 2016, 10:50 Quote
I'm really starting to dislike the "clickbait" tone that the some of the headlines have started to take. I thought bit-tech was beyond those sorts of shenanigans.

In the article you (somewhat mockingly) say that you can't definitively prove that games journalism is not corrupt, yet the headline makes that assertion emphatically. Furthermore you can't argue in a closing paragraph that not all YouTubers are paid shills and yet insist in the headline that "YouTube has a problem", heavily implying YouTube games coverage has serious corruption issues.

I'm not going to debate specific points in the article. I would argue that, given the headline, there is in general far too much emphasis on dodgy YouTubers and not enough robust defence of "traditional" games media. You can't say that the lack of evidence of corruption proves that there is no corruption; it's a logically invalid statement, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

I don't necessarily disagree with the article; I'm not trying to question anyone's integrity here (except maybe PewDiePie, purely on the basis that he pisses me off so much) and FWIW the GamerGate crowd can go take a long walk off a short pier. But what I do disagree with the clickbait-style headline, because we're better than that.
greigaitken 2nd September 2016, 11:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC


In the article you (somewhat mockingly) say that you can't definitively prove that games journalism is not corrupt, yet the headline makes that assertion emphatically.

If you were expecting definitive proof, but are now disapointed it wasn't there, you may have overestimated Ricks capabilities a little.

I'm dissapointed that whilehe was writing this he didnt even take the time to just fix all the problems in the first place
Byron C 2nd September 2016, 12:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by greigaitken
If you were expecting definitive proof, but are now disapointed it wasn't there, you may have overestimated Ricks capabilities a little.

I'm dissapointed that whilehe was writing this he didnt even take the time to just fix all the problems in the first place

Hi

My name is Byron. I'd like to introduce you to an idea. Now this might sound quite radical, but there are only two simple steps:
  1. read and understand the whole post; and
  2. debate the argument I'm actually making, not the argument you think I'm making

I know, I know; it sounds like I've just turned the world upside-down, but bear with me on this because it makes environments like these forums just that little bit better for all of us.

My argument was that the headline isn't supported by the points raised/evidence offered in the article, and feels like clickbait (as do some other recent headlines, such as "The 50 Best PC Games of All Time"). Your argument however was a straw man.
.//TuNdRa 2nd September 2016, 15:16 Quote
I still maintain that games media is a bit muddy at the second, just look at all the grief Kotaku has taken over the years for their reviews of games where the creators are close friends of the writer of said reviews.

To say nothing of the whole "Gamers are Dead" thing.

But it's not a case of "Everyone is corrupt, everyone is being bribed, everything is sexist, everything is racist" yadda yadda that some people seem to claim.
PaulC2K 2nd September 2016, 16:10 Quote
As edzieba said, its the managements integrity which is what i'd question, and then whether their journalists are willing to work with those conditions. There may be journalists who are independent who are easily influenced, whether they figure on these larger news sites i dont know (my thought would be its unlikely) and i dont suppose they're getting the same audience impact as these larger sites who frequently get levelled with claims of bias. Doesnt make it right, they're just smaller fish.

Not sure where i'd stand on youtube channels, i suppose it'd depend on how i view their content. There are people i watch for no reason than they're funny and entertaining, others im watching to hear their opinions, but for the most part if i was parting with cash i'd still want to watch a variety of footage to see the gameplay. Its somewhat easier with Early Access titles, cos many of them are released and have gameplay footage to view, when it comes to preorders i suppose it gets murky. I was excited for BF1 from what i'd seen from multiple sources & raw footage, but having played the beta i've cancelled. I dont doubt their opinions (and they've always said in the opening 10sec 'this content is sponsored by EA' or something to that effect) and theres no doubting their sponsored content is feature promotion stuff, but then a day or 2 later on you'll hear opinion videos on things that could be better.
Im not sure i'd take Pewdepie as a journalist though, but would still expect to be made aware of the nature & purpose of the content, just as the FTC have repeatedly warned youtubers about withholding this information.

I dont actually have an issue with a site like Bit-Tech being asked to do stories on particular products by the manufacturer, as long as its still being done to the same standard any other article would. *I* wouldnt be particularly fussed if it wasnt labelled as 'paid for' content - provided its honest. Can understand why its best for it to be stated though.
jrs77 2nd September 2016, 17:45 Quote
Allmost all game-reviews I've read within the last 10 years looked like they were written by the game-publishers themselves and the same could be said about the most YT-reviews.

The biggest problem is, that if you would write more honestly about the game in question, you might not get access to the next game for a review. Notice, that most reviewers get their games for free by the publisher for the reason of writing a review, preferably a positive one.

The best reviews usually come from independent reviewers, who buy the game on release-date with their own money and there's a couple of YT-channels that do a great job this way, getting funded by their viewers.

In general I'd say, never trust any reviews that are being made prior to or on release-date of a game, as these are nmost likely paid for by the publisher in the form of early-access. Look out for the independent sites and channels that are funded by their readers and viewers.
Maki role 2nd September 2016, 19:42 Quote
Tbh if there's one thing that youtube does have it's let's plays from random unknowns. For every silly, massive personality like Pewdiepie, there are 100 unknown people just silently playing through the game on camera, similar deal with Twitch.

I find those to be the best reviews tbh. You just watch some guy playing the game for a bit, and if it then interests you maybe take the plunge. By no means is it foolproof, but there are pretty much no opinions present anyhow, so you can form your own.

Nothing like an edgy-Rick-bait article eh?
Cheapskate 2nd September 2016, 21:58 Quote
I've never felt the Bit staff's integrity was questionable. I think I've read more negative game reviews than positive ones here. All seem honest and balanced. Even when Bit was under Dennis, you guys were like, "Yeah... F Dennis."
law99 2nd September 2016, 22:07 Quote
I find playthroughs more helpful than reviews. I see as much bias in all reviews, for various reasons, whether Youtube or mags/websites. They are subjective after all; if the game is hopelessly broken, I'd say that is an exception to the rule.

Overall, I'd give your blog entry an F. I think it was a little dump of nonsense into the noise of the internet. To be forever lost amongst all the other BS. Keep it up though, we want your opinions. The day you don't offer your opinions anymore is the day the internet has failed, for more than just gaming.
Elledan 3rd September 2016, 11:43 Quote
I stopped reading the article when it insisted that gaming journalism isn't corrupted and that GamerGate was just an excuse for a hate campaign.

Heck, back in the 90s it was already known that sites like IGN were largely bought-and-paid for, with no one with a clue paying much sense to what they said, preferring to listen to friends and acquaintances what they said about these games.

GamerGate did manage to change this to at least some extent, with many gaming sites now requiring paid-and-bought-for articles as well as any connections the author may have with the gaming studio/publisher/etc. to be listed in the article.

On a personal note, I tried to ignore the whole GG thing until scammers like Sarkeesian began to abuse female gamers like yours truly for their purposes. Then the founder of IGDA called me a 'sock puppet' on Twitter because I disagreed with his assessment on female gamers.

Anti-GG defenders can go take a hike, which sadly seems to include the author of this article. I expected better of this site :(
Byron C 3rd September 2016, 11:53 Quote
Whatever concerns were originally brought about by GamerGate were soon washed away by legions of ****wits who used - and continue to use - the "movement" (or whatever it is) to be extremely crappy to people. It's no better than the toxic bile spewed across forums, comments sections, or YouTube comments.

Sarkeesian is a bit of an idiot (not the word I want to use, but... swear filter) IMO, but so are many other people. I don't care what colour your skin is, what language you speak, what gender you identify with, where your sexual organs (if you have any at all), etc: none of those things makes you an idiot, the fact that you're an idiot makes you an idiot.
Nexxo 3rd September 2016, 12:06 Quote
GamerGate is a bar brawl started with a pathetic slut-shame by a jilted boyfriend and going downhill from there.

Seriously, since when is my hobby a political cause? I just want to play computer games.
Elledan 3rd September 2016, 13:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
GamerGate is a bar brawl started with a pathetic slut-shame by a jilted boyfriend and going downhill from there.

Seriously, since when is my hobby a political cause? I just want to play computer games.

Well, Sarkeesian made a cool half million of it by pretending along with others that the gaming community is infested with 'toxic masculinity' and that us female gamers are constantly suffering harassment by white, male gamers. Then something about videogames being a vehicle for training boys to harass and rape women, and then suddenly they were at the UN, asking for the death penalty for anyone who dares to go in against Sarkeesian and kin.

Also, the thing with Zoe Quinn wasn't so much a jilted ex-boyfriend, but rather that the bloke who reviewed her 'game' didn't disclose his special relationship with her. That aspect kinda blew up this anger that had been brewing ever since the 90s with the commercialisation of video games (instead of being a pastime for children and nerds) leading to video game reviews being more and more gamed (har).

It wasn't 'GamerGate' which turned it into a brawl, it were mostly third-wave feminists who saw a chance to get into the limelight by playing the victim card against those 'horrible, toxic gamers'. Since feminism is a 'get out of jail free' card, nobody dared to suggest that 'us gamers' weren't all white, overweight, women-hating men.

I'm a woman. I have been gaming since the late 80s. I love the (video) gaming community and have always felt welcome there. What Sarkeesian et al. said about us therefore was a personal attack. Ergo I and many others with me are still very much pissed about it.

What we want is journalists to be bloody honest for a change. Not accept money from publishers to write a positive fluff piece. Not be friends (or more) with a developer and write a positive fluff piece. Not just write positive fluff about feminists because they are 'feminists'.

A piece of journalistic offal such as being displayed on this site currently is therefore rather unwelcome. It does diminish the quality of articles on Bit-Tech in general as a result.

Anyway, rant over. I'll go back to being a happy little sock puppet, playing video games like the non-existent female gamer I am. Yay.
.//TuNdRa 3rd September 2016, 13:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
GamerGate is a bar brawl started with a pathetic slut-shame by a jilted boyfriend and going downhill from there.

Seriously, since when is my hobby a political cause? I just want to play computer games.

The whole Eron Gjoni incident was something of a FusterCluck, but it was just the straw that broke the Camel's back, the fact of the matter is; GG exists, and for good or ill, they are seemingly succeeding in some of their goals of "Journalistic Ethics". Whether they're going about it the right way isn't for me to Judge, but they care enough to perform that much work for a goal.

Personally I first heard about all this malarky due to the chaos surrounding The Fine Young Capitalists and everything they had thrown at them for attempting to make games, which was frankly absurd, and the resulting funds coming from 4Chan of all places, Everyone decrying them for accepting it, their IndieGoGo Page being taken over, and all the other fun incidents they had simply trying to make games.
rollo 3rd September 2016, 16:27 Quote
Reviews in general are there to spin positive light, or you do not get the next product to review.

Game reviewers are paid to review the game they are playing and are giving it for free in 90% of cases. My friend used to review games and has a steam account with virtually every game made up to the end of 2015, He did not pay for any of them.

There is 1 or 2 you tubers who actually buy the game for there own cash. They are about a honest a review as you will recieve.
Pliqu3011 3rd September 2016, 20:02 Quote
Nice article.
I remember a similar one about corruption allegations from a few years back from a different bit-tech writer, I think (though I can't seem to find it). Reactions now seem a lot more hostile than what I remember though.

---
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elledan

Also, the thing with Zoe Quinn wasn't so much a jilted ex-boyfriend, but rather that the bloke who reviewed her 'game' didn't disclose his special relationship with her.
I've stopped giving elaborate replies to Gamergate conspiracies a long time ago, but this particular piece of bullshit irritates me so incredibly much. I'm sorry if my reaction is a bit aggressive for just a single sentence, but the repetition of this claim - ad nauseam - has become more than just a pet peeve for me.

The fact is: Nathan Grayson never reviewed Depression Quest.
It's been disproven since day 1, yet people keep repeating and spreading this lie.

I repeat: No review of Depression Quest was ever written by Nathan Grayson.
The whole foundation of the Gamergate "actually it's about ethics in games journalism" movement is based on a complete fabrication. They have made no attempt whatsoever to clear this up.

<Depression Quest, a Review by Nathan Grayson> ∉ [Things that exist in this universe]
I highly advice you to do the research and see it yourself if you don't believe me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elledan

I tried to ignore the whole GG thing until scammers like Sarkeesian began to abuse female gamers like yours truly for their purposes.
The whole Sarkeesian Kickstarter kerfuffle happened 2 years before GG, she had literally nothing to do with it.
(I also disagree with the notion that she's a scam artist, but let's not have that discussion here.)

---
Quote:
Originally Posted by .//TuNdRa

To say nothing of the whole "Gamers are Dead" thing.
Have you read those articles?
First of all the first one was called: "'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over.", not "Gamers are Dead" (which is easier to misinterpret if you only read the title).

They were basically about how the current stereotype of a "gamer" is no longer accurate, and how a much broader audience is enjoying video games right now.
Also a reminder that Gamasutra is a website aimed at the gaming industry, not the video game players. The implicit aim was for industry and marketing people to realize that a lot more people are interested in great video games than just the young adult male audience most publishers specifically cater to right now.
Byron C 3rd September 2016, 20:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliqu3011
Nice article.
I remember a similar one about corruption allegations from a few years back from a different bit-tech writer, I think (though I can't seem to find it). Reactions now seem a lot more hostile than what I remember though.

---


I've stopped giving elaborate replies to Gamergate conspiracies a long time ago, but this particular piece of bullshit irritates me so incredibly much. I'm sorry if my reaction is a bit aggressive for just a single sentence, but the repetition of this claim - ad nauseam - has become more than just a pet peeve for me.

The fact is: Nathan Grayson never reviewed Depression Quest.
It's been disproven since day 1, yet people keep repeating and spreading this lie.

I repeat: No review of Depression Quest was ever written by Nathan Grayson.
The whole foundation of the Gamergate "actually it's about ethics in games journalism" movement is based on a complete fabrication. They have made no attempt whatsoever to clear this up.

<Depression Quest, a Review by Nathan Grayson> ∉ [Things that exist in this universe]
I highly advice you to do the research and see it yourself if you don't believe me.


The whole Sarkeesian Kickstarter kerfuffle happened 2 years before GG, she had literally nothing to do with it.
(I also disagree with the notion that she's a scam artist, but let's not have that discussion here.)

---


Have you read those articles?
First of all the first one was called: "'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over.", not "Gamers are Dead" (which is easier to misinterpret if you only read the title).

They were basically about how the current stereotype of a "gamer" is no longer accurate, and how a much broader audience is enjoying video games right now.
Also a reminder that Gamasutra is a website aimed at the gaming industry, not the video game players. The implicit aim was for industry and marketing people to realize that a lot more people are interested in great video games than just the young adult male audience most publishers specifically cater to right now.



More patience than I had :).
Yadda 3rd September 2016, 22:04 Quote
I must be the only person on the planet that hasn't got a clue what Gamersgate is all about. I tried to read a bit about it once but it left me even more confused so I left it at that. :)
Nexxo 3rd September 2016, 22:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliqu3011
Nice article.
I remember a similar one about corruption allegations from a few years back from a different bit-tech writer, I think (though I can't seem to find it). Reactions now seem a lot more hostile than what I remember though.

---


I've stopped giving elaborate replies to Gamergate conspiracies a long time ago, but this particular piece of bullshit irritates me so incredibly much. I'm sorry if my reaction is a bit aggressive for just a single sentence, but the repetition of this claim - ad nauseam - has become more than just a pet peeve for me.

The fact is: Nathan Grayson never reviewed Depression Quest.
It's been disproven since day 1, yet people keep repeating and spreading this lie.

I repeat: No review of Depression Quest was ever written by Nathan Grayson.
The whole foundation of the Gamergate "actually it's about ethics in games journalism" movement is based on a complete fabrication. They have made no attempt whatsoever to clear this up.

<Depression Quest, a Review by Nathan Grayson> ∉ [Things that exist in this universe]
I highly advice you to do the research and see it yourself if you don't believe me.


The whole Sarkeesian Kickstarter kerfuffle happened 2 years before GG, she had literally nothing to do with it.
(I also disagree with the notion that she's a scam artist, but let's not have that discussion here.)

---


Have you read those articles?
First of all the first one was called: "'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over.", not "Gamers are Dead" (which is easier to misinterpret if you only read the title).

They were basically about how the current stereotype of a "gamer" is no longer accurate, and how a much broader audience is enjoying video games right now.
Also a reminder that Gamasutra is a website aimed at the gaming industry, not the video game players. The implicit aim was for industry and marketing people to realize that a lot more people are interested in great video games than just the young adult male audience most publishers specifically cater to right now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC


More patience than I had :).

Seconded.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yadda
I must be the only person on the planet that hasn't got a clue what Gamersgate is all about. I tried to read a bit about it once but it left me even more confused so I left it at that. :)

Trust me, you're better off not knowing and not bothering.
Yadda 3rd September 2016, 22:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Trust me, you're better off not knowing and not bothering.

:)

Yes, I did get that impression.
Nexxo 3rd September 2016, 23:19 Quote
Yeah, you'll be washing your brain in bleach for days. That is after you ritually burnt whatever unfortunate internet device you used to read up about the subject inside a protective pentagram, buried the ashes in a lead-lined box under a big slab of concrete and salted the earth around it so nothing will ever grow there again.
Corky42 4th September 2016, 10:14 Quote
For me the following video from 2012 summed up the "problems" if they can be called that, between gaming journalism, commentators, and personalities.

S2keHyS_Ooo
Cthippo 4th September 2016, 11:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elledan


It wasn't 'GamerGate' which turned it into a brawl, it were mostly third-wave feminists who saw a chance to get into the limelight by playing the victim card against those 'horrible, toxic gamers'. Since feminism is a 'get out of jail free' card, nobody dared to suggest that 'us gamers' weren't all white, overweight, women-hating men.
.

I don't want to refght Gamergate, but the Internet generally and gaming specifically has a problem with testosterone fueled douchbaggery. Huge swaths of the net are massively toxic and so is a lot of online gaming. I'm certainly not suggesting that all gamers are "white, overweight, women-hating men", or at least as often early teen boys unsupervised on the internet, but enough of them are that it creates an an violent where no sane person wants to tread. Not everywhere online needs to be a safe place or "family friendly", but likewise a lot of what goes on every day in terms of rape and murder threats, cyber stalking, posting personal information and even SWATting is never acceptable in any context.

I would say that while games journalism may have some problems, gaming has bigger problems overall with the behavior of the players and the willingness of the community to tolerate and even encourage that behavior.
JakeTucker 5th September 2016, 00:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elledan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
GamerGate is a bar brawl started with a pathetic slut-shame by a jilted boyfriend and going downhill from there.

Seriously, since when is my hobby a political cause? I just want to play computer games.

Well, Sarkeesian made a cool half million of it by pretending along with others that the gaming community is infested with 'toxic masculinity' and that us female gamers are constantly suffering harassment by white, male gamers. Then something about videogames being a vehicle for training boys to harass and rape women, and then suddenly they were at the UN, asking for the death penalty for anyone who dares to go in against Sarkeesian and kin.

Also, the thing with Zoe Quinn wasn't so much a jilted ex-boyfriend, but rather that the bloke who reviewed her 'game' didn't disclose his special relationship with her. That aspect kinda blew up this anger that had been brewing ever since the 90s with the commercialisation of video games (instead of being a pastime for children and nerds) leading to video game reviews being more and more gamed (har).

It wasn't 'GamerGate' which turned it into a brawl, it were mostly third-wave feminists who saw a chance to get into the limelight by playing the victim card against those 'horrible, toxic gamers'. Since feminism is a 'get out of jail free' card, nobody dared to suggest that 'us gamers' weren't all white, overweight, women-hating men.

I'm a woman. I have been gaming since the late 80s. I love the (video) gaming community and have always felt welcome there. What Sarkeesian et al. said about us therefore was a personal attack. Ergo I and many others with me are still very much pissed about it.

What we want is journalists to be bloody honest for a change. Not accept money from publishers to write a positive fluff piece. Not be friends (or more) with a developer and write a positive fluff piece. Not just write positive fluff about feminists because they are 'feminists'.

A piece of journalistic offal such as being displayed on this site currently is therefore rather unwelcome. It does diminish the quality of articles on Bit-Tech in general as a result.

Anyway, rant over. I'll go back to being a happy little sock puppet, playing video games like the non-existent female gamer I am. Yay.

Nathan Grayson never wrote a review on Zoe Quinn's game Depression Quest.

I'm using all of the names so you can google it and check it if you want. Gamergate is/was/always will be an excuse to harass women on the internet.

Sorry, I understand that this is something you feel strongly about, but I was there when this all kicked off, and it was born out of a desire to punish a woman for cheating on someone (I wouldn't condone cheating on people. It's a shitty thing to do.) which honestly, isn't really any of our business.

Sarkeesian didn't scam anyone out of half a million pounds either. She ran a Kickstarter. It's fine to not contribute to a kickstarter if you don't like what's going on. She ran the Kickstarter two years before all the GG nonsense kicked off to make a video series.

it's tiresome to have to argue this out with people, I know. But all of the facts are available online. I just want to get back to enthusing about rad video games without people yelling about publishers are paying for coverage.I write about games because I like games, I'm less keen on people being dicks to each other and I feel if there's one thing that Gamergate really did for gaming, its reenforced the fact that, at least for games, several people aren't welcome in a crowd that I used to feel like I belonged to.
Bindibadgi 5th September 2016, 02:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheapskate
Even when Bit was under Dennis, you guys were like, "Yeah... F Dennis."

Still am (about online) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dennis only knows print.

Unless a YouTuber is backed by an actual website I wouldn't trust them. That's my rule of thumb. There's so so sooo many ethical shades of grey though
Corky42 5th September 2016, 06:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeTucker
Nathan Grayson never wrote a review on Zoe Quinn's game Depression Quest.

True but if I'm not mistaken he did give it what some would consider favorable coverage, the video i posted goes into how the blurring of lines between journalism, commentating, and personalities can and does happen all to easily.

Not that i agree with how people reacted to the whole GG thing, it's the Internet and as usual people made a mountain out of a molehill and overreacted, however in this situation particularly they took it to quite frankly frightening extremes.
Pliqu3011 5th September 2016, 09:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
True but if I'm not mistaken he did give it what some would consider favorable coverage

"Favorable coverage" was how some GGers tried to backpedal and rationalize their actions when it became clear that Nathan Grayson's supposed review had never existed. There are continuous attempts at rewriting history by some in GG, claiming it was about "favorable coverage" from the very beginning, but that's simply not true. Some even go so far as to say no one at all thinks or ever claimed it's about a review.
I read the infamous Zoe Post 2 days after it came out and have been following the resulting internet shitstorm of unseen proportions since. The bit about the review has been quietly removed.

The "favorable coverage" in question was this article on Rock Paper Shotgun:
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/08/admission-quest-valve-greenlights-50-more-games/

The "favorable coverage" consists out of 3 words:
"powerful Twine darling Depression Quest"

The "favorable coverage" was given in january 2014, a time when even Eron Gjoni admits there's no proof of a possible conflict of interest:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eron Gjoni, The Zoe Post
There was a typo up for a while that made it seem like Zoe and I were on break between March and June. This has apparently led some people to infer that her infidelity with Nathan Grayson began in early March. I want to clarify that I have no reason to believe or evidence to imply she was sleeping with him prior to late March or early April (though I believe they’d been friends for a while before that). This typo has since been corrected to make it clear we were on break between May and June. To be clear, if there was any conflict of interest between Zoe and Nathan regarding coverage of Depression Quest prior to April, I have no evidence to imply that it was sexual in nature.
http://thezoepost.wordpress.com/

This takes "making a mountain out of a molehill" to new unholy proportions.

Those 3 words are somehow supposed to justify years of harassement of him and his friends, death threats, very specific physical threats, driving him out of his home and leaving him homeless for 6 months, doxxing, coordinated attempts to drive him to suicide, sending private pictures to friends, relatives and employers, continuously harassing their partner's employer until they got fired, etc. And all of this together with a whole bunch of other non-journalist women in video ga-
Wait a minute, those are all things that happened to Zoe Quinn, not Nathan Grayson, the guy who supposedly committed the ethical violations GG is "actually all about". Grayson didn't get harassed in any significant way and was able to just lay low for a few weeks and pick up his life again. Quinn is still in hiding.
Hmm. Almost makes you think GG actually isn't about ethics in games journalism, doesn't it? ...Food for thought.

(Just to be clear, the part above isn't directly aimed at you Corky, just a rant at no one in particular I had to get out of my system :p)

I'm going to try to stop replying now. Gamergate awakens frustrations in me I thought I had buried. Anyone with questions or remarks I'll refer to these 4 massive pages:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_controversy
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gamergate
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/List_of_Gamergate_claims
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Gamergate
.//TuNdRa 5th September 2016, 11:26 Quote
It all started revolving around Ms Quinn because people took it to be the first solid proof that there was collusion in Games Journalism, and to be fair; there has been some merit since, as there have been clear ethical violations found Since.

As a note; Ms Quinn is doing very well for herself still, going to the UN to talk about online harassment for example.

I don't even want to list all my complaints about the Gamergate wikipedia page. Safe to say; Long time editor Mark Bernstien banned from editing any page relating to Gamegate or "Any gender related dispute or controversy" over the continual edit warring that was occurring on that page.

I could rant for an incredibly long time on the topic, as I've seen some seriously shady things going on, not least of which is the recent Sinking of Gawker by Hulk Hogan after they clearly violated a Judge's order to remove a video, then proceeded to gloat about how they refused to do so.
Corky42 5th September 2016, 11:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliqu3011
The "favorable coverage" in question was this article on Rock Paper Shotgun:.....

My Googlefu told me it's probably this one,
https://archive.is/QCtQm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliqu3011
This takes "making a mountain out of a molehill" to new unholy proportions.

Understatement of the year. :)
Byron C 5th September 2016, 15:04 Quote
Oh man, I thought I'd totally buried and moved on from GamerGate, but I've had an absolute riot re-reading about that hate fest :). It also reminded me why I decided that TotalBiscuit was a complete tool; I'd watched one or two of his videos recently and found myself to be in agreement with him, but had a nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me that I'd decided to put very little trust in that man's opinion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliqu3011
"Favorable coverage" was how some GGers tried to backpedal and rationalize their actions when it became clear that Nathan Grayson's supposed review had never existed. There are continuous attempts at rewriting history by some in GG, claiming it was about "favorable coverage" from the very beginning, but that's simply not true. Some even go so far as to say no one at all thinks or ever claimed it's about a review.
I read the infamous Zoe Post 2 days after it came out and have been following the resulting internet shitstorm of unseen proportions since. The bit about the review has been quietly removed.

The "favorable coverage" in question was this article on Rock Paper Shotgun:
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/08/admission-quest-valve-greenlights-50-more-games/

The "favorable coverage" consists out of 3 words:
"powerful Twine darling Depression Quest"

The "favorable coverage" was given in january 2014, a time when even Eron Gjoni admits there's no proof of a possible conflict of interest:

http://thezoepost.wordpress.com/

This takes "making a mountain out of a molehill" to new unholy proportions.

Those 3 words are somehow supposed to justify years of harassement of him and his friends, death threats, very specific physical threats, driving him out of his home and leaving him homeless for 6 months, doxxing, coordinated attempts to drive him to suicide, sending private pictures to friends, relatives and employers, continuously harassing their partner's employer until they got fired, etc. And all of this together with a whole bunch of other non-journalist women in video ga-
Wait a minute, those are all things that happened to Zoe Quinn, not Nathan Grayson, the guy who supposedly committed the ethical violations GG is "actually all about". Grayson didn't get harassed in any significant way and was able to just lay low for a few weeks and pick up his life again. Quinn is still in hiding.
Hmm. Almost makes you think GG actually isn't about ethics in games journalism, doesn't it? ...Food for thought.

(Just to be clear, the part above isn't directly aimed at you Corky, just a rant at no one in particular I had to get out of my system :p)

I'm going to try to stop replying now. Gamergate awakens frustrations in me I thought I had buried. Anyone with questions or remarks I'll refer to these 4 massive pages:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_controversy
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gamergate
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/List_of_Gamergate_claims
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Gamergate

Excellent reply, and those rationalwiki pages are exceptional. I didn't read the timeline though, that one really was too long.

Your posts in this thread go a long way to making up for all the envy you've caused me, thanks to your seemingly endless camera-porn posts in Recent Purchases :D.
Quote:
Originally Posted by .//TuNdRa
It all started revolving around Ms Quinn because people took it to be the first solid proof that there was collusion in Games Journalism, and to be fair; there has been some merit since, as there have been clear ethical violations found Since.

As a note; Ms Quinn is doing very well for herself still, going to the UN to talk about online harassment for example.

I don't even want to list all my complaints about the Gamergate wikipedia page. Safe to say; Long time editor Mark Bernstien banned from editing any page relating to Gamegate or "Any gender related dispute or controversy" over the continual edit warring that was occurring on that page.

I could rant for an incredibly long time on the topic, as I've seen some seriously shady things going on, not least of which is the recent Sinking of Gawker by Hulk Hogan after they clearly violated a Judge's order to remove a video, then proceeded to gloat about how they refused to do so.

That's almost perfect; the only way you could have made that reply any better is if you'd added "So it really is about ethics in video games journalism" ;).

There was no proof in the ZoePost, it was a rant from an ex. As was shown at the time, there was no positive coverage or review of her game. And you can't claim "clear ethical violations" or "shady things going on" without citing sources or evidence.

Speaking about your experience of harassment, abuse, doxxing, being hounded out of your home, being publicly humiliated, etc, etc, does not equate to "doing well".

Gaters were challenged by Jimmy Wales to propose a non-biased entry for GamerGate. They failed, spectacularly.

Hulk Hogan vs Gawker had literally nothing to do with GamerGate or video games, other than the fact that the two sites had the same parent company. Yet still, as demonstrated here, it's claimed as a GamerGate "win".
Pliqu3011 5th September 2016, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by .//TuNdRa

As a note; Ms Quinn is doing very well for herself still, going to the UN to talk about online harassment for example.

In what parallel universe is being harassed so badly the UN invites you to talk about it as an authority on the subject "doing very well for yourself"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by .//TuNdRa

I could rant for an incredibly long time on the topic, as I've seen some seriously shady things going on, not least of which is the recent Sinking of Gawker by Hulk Hogan after they clearly violated a Judge's order to remove a video, then proceeded to gloat about how they refused to do so.

(how is this relevant to ethics in video game journalism?)
Gawker is ****. I think no one but Gawker itself will deny that.

---
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
My Googlefu told me it's probably this one,
https://archive.is/QCtQm
Yes, I've also seen that article thrown around. Not sure how interviewing someone who played an important role in the reality show which is the subject of the article counts as "favorable coverage" though. It doesn't provide any details on Depression Quest or whether it's good, it just mentions it as the game Quinn made.
Also it was written and published before april.

---
EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliqu3011
I'm going to try to stop replying now.
I failed.
Corky42 5th September 2016, 15:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
Oh man, I thought I'd totally buried and moved on from GamerGate, but I've had an absolute riot re-reading about that hate fest :). It also reminded me why I decided that TotalBiscuit was a complete tool; I'd watched one or two of his videos recently and found myself to be in agreement with him, but had a nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me that I'd decided to put very little trust in that man's opinion.

Was that based on his view of GG? Not being deliberately obtuse or anything it's just I've found most of his videos to be alright, although I've not watched more than a dozen of his that happen to cover things of interest to me, however, and without being aware of the timeline, that video about the blurring of the lines between journalism, commenting, and personalities did seem to hit the nail on the head, at least for me it did.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliqu3011
Yes, I've also seen that article thrown around. Not sure how interviewing someone who played an important role in the reality show which is the subject of the article counts as "favorable coverage" though. It doesn't provide any details on Depression Quest or whether it's good, it just mentions it as the game Quinn made.
Also it was written and published before april.

Yea don't ask me, i have neither the patience or fortitude go down the rabbit hole, especially when it's little more than a he said, she said situation.
Mister_Tad 5th September 2016, 15:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yadda
I must be the only person on the planet that hasn't got a clue what Gamersgate is all about. I tried to read a bit about it once but it left me even more confused so I left it at that. :)

I'm right here with you.

I find it best to keep a general rule to ignore any "scandal" which is popularly referred to as "<whatever>gate"

Other than Watergate, that one gets a pass.

Having had the misfortune of taking in what I imagine is the tip of the iceberg in this thread, dear lord I'm glad I have this rule.
Byron C 5th September 2016, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Tad
Other than Watergate, that one gets a pass.

Watergate gets a pass because it is literally the origin of the "<scandal>-gate" trope :D.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Was that based on his view of GG? Not being deliberately obtuse or anything it's just I've found most of his videos to be alright, although I've not watched more than a dozen of his that happen to cover things of interest to me, however, and without being aware of the timeline, that video about the blurring of the lines between journalism, commenting, and personalities did seem to hit the nail on the head, at least for me it did.

Pretty much that, yeah. TBF I do agree with a lot of the stuff that he talks about, but he really missed the mark on GamerGate. He still tries to claim it's about ethics, and he was doing it at the start of this year (abridged):
Quote:
Publications covered their own asses because they stood accused of corruption. That was the literal start of it, Grayson was accused of favourable coverage of Quinns game while they were in a romatic relationship which he had not disclosed. The narrative was changed to portray any discussion as misogynist, the facts twisted in an effort to discredit and smear further investigation (apparently won't someone PLEEASSEEE think of the women is the new THINK OF THE CHILDREN, which is weird because I've always thought women should be treated like adults not children... like a ****ing sane person would) and anyone even remotely assocated with it was branded a heretic.

...

I've been keeping an eye on this whole thing since it started and my conclusion is pretty simple. Those involved lied and lied and lied until they got the media on their side (which wasn't hard because most of the liars were the media to begin with). A lot of the people with audiences stopped talking about it because you put a target on your back whenever you did and a bunch of people on the anti side have tried to make opposing this boogeyman their career path, raising money through Patreon, getting writing jobs, promoting their games, receiving paid public speaking gigs and enjoying publicit all under the guise of fighting something that doesn't exist in the form that they claim it to. Did harassment happen? Absolutely. Could anyone have controlled that? No, because a hashtag isn't a club. There are no rules, you dont have to apply for membership, nobody can control the actions of a random guy on the internet who decides to use a hashtag. A hashtag is not a group, it is a communication channel with no oversight.

...

Etc.

Basically the same old tired argument: "Actually it's about ethics in video games" and the Quinnspiracy.

He's missing the point. Have the "ethics discussion" sure, but you damn well distance yourself from any of the GamerGate shenanigans or any of the utterly false allegations which spewed forth from it. YouTube is a far more powerful medium now than "traditional" games media was and there is conclusive evidence that some (and I stress some) YouTube figures have engaged in practices that are less than ethical. So yes, let's have that discussion about the shady crap that does actually go on; but let's talk about actual real things that actually happened and can actually be proven. Let's talk about the crap like skin gambling fraud and undisclosed paid content, and let's critically examine both "traditional" media and "new" media alike.

He's also missing the fact that there were targeted campaigns against specific people who had been branded "feminists", "feminazis", "SJWs", and the like. There were organised actions against specific people and publications. You're not guilty by association simply because you use the same hashtag as these shiteheads, but after learning of some of the truly awful things that are going on under that banner why wouldn't you want to distance yourself from it?
Corky42 5th September 2016, 16:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
....why wouldn't you want to distance yourself from it?

Probably because the core problems don't go away, eventually they have to be addressed and normally that involves talking with people you neither like or agree with, wars eventually give way to diplomacy, maybe one day we'll skip the wars altogether although I'm not going to hold my breath on that one. :)

If everyone distanced themselves the "problems" never get resolved.
theshadow2001 5th September 2016, 16:52 Quote
Isn't calling games media "journalism" over stating it's importance a little? I like games, I watch some games media on you tube. But games media is essentially coverage of an industry that provides a luxury entrainment product. A product that is very much inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
Watergate gets a pass because it is literally the origin of the "-gate" trope :D.
vB9JgxhXW5w
Hex 5th September 2016, 17:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maki role
Tbh if there's one thing that youtube does have it's let's plays from random unknowns. For every silly, massive personality like Pewdiepie, there are 100 unknown people just silently playing through the game on camera, similar deal with Twitch.

I find those to be the best reviews tbh. You just watch some guy playing the game for a bit, and if it then interests you maybe take the plunge. By no means is it foolproof, but there are pretty much no opinions present anyhow, so you can form your own.
This.

Even if I don't agree with the streamer about a game, I am witnessing it myself. Whilst it's not exactly the same as playing it myself, it gives me a pretty good idea of if I will like it or not. Companies with faith in their games often let streamers show off games a day or so before they're out, so you can still get any pre-order incentives even after watching some gameplay if you so wish.
Corky42 5th September 2016, 18:21 Quote
Quick question: Being a lazy bugger I've not looked into it but do mainstream journalists signup to some sort of rules, ethics standards or whatever, i know nothing about it but what's to stop a TV or newspaper journalists from having a conflicts of interest?
Yadda 5th September 2016, 19:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Tad
I'm right here with you.

I find it best to keep a general rule to ignore any "scandal" which is popularly referred to as "<whatever>gate"

Other than Watergate, that one gets a pass.

Having had the misfortune of taking in what I imagine is the tip of the iceberg in this thread, dear lord I'm glad I have this rule.

Damn right. In my mind it's about Duke Nukem and Lara Croft arguing over who's turn it is to clean the bathroom, and that's what I'm sticking with.
Byron C 5th September 2016, 19:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Probably because the core problems don't go away, eventually they have to be addressed and normally that involves talking with people you neither like or agree with, wars eventually give way to diplomacy, maybe one day we'll skip the wars altogether although I'm not going to hold my breath on that one. :)

If everyone distanced themselves the "problems" never get resolved.

Sure, this is what I'm saying: if there are specific examples and specific evidence of dodgy/unethical practices going on then lets talk about those. But let's not do it under the banner of, or on the coat-tails of, a thinly-veiled hate campaign.

I'm not saying that we should distance ourselves from concerns over unethical behaviour, I'm saying that we should distance ourselves from a hate campaign. Any shred of legitimacy that anyone under the banner of "gamergate" might have once had has been drowned out in an angry sea of abuse and hate; and for TB to continue to trot out the GG party line as if it's well established fact does a massive disservice to his own credibility and undermines his objectivity.
.//TuNdRa 5th September 2016, 22:57 Quote
Okay, fine. I give up. Lets start from the point I mentioned: Operation Disrespectful Nod, as it was coined by 8Chan (Seriously, who comes up with this crap?!)was an Email Campaign targetting advertisers of sites that those within GG believed to be guilty of hate speech and shoddy journalistic ethics, one of the sites hit hardest by this was actually Gawker Media, as they beat the living daylights out of Kotaku by extension doing it, costing them an alleged "Six figure sum" In advertising revenue as advertisers pulled out of the site. (Other sites hit included: Gamastura, Polygon and Rock Paper Shotgun. ) - It was later stated that part of the reason Hulk Hogan was able to win his case was because Gawker Media was already hurting from the financial losses that act had upon the company.

GG, or at least the large thread I witnessed on /r/KotakuInAction, is also partially responsible for the new FTC rules regarding disclosure of sponsorships within Videos and similar mediums, as they were one of the parties pushing to make it so that sponsored content was clearly visible as being such, to prevent paid videos being passed off as reviews on YouTube and similar sites.

I won't say GG isn't a fustercluck, the flaw of any movement that is decentralised and operates purely through a hashtag and self identity is that anyone can state that they are a part of it (See; Anonymous, Who is this Heisenberg) but on the whole; they have altered Games Journalism, for good or ill.

With regards to TotalBiscuit; he actually is attempting to remain fairly neutral on the topic, he's leaning GG just because his goal is similar to their purported one; Ethical disclosure at all times - This is also why TB has zero videos where he's critical of Planetside 2, anything coming from Blizzard Entertainment or anything from CD Projekt (As he's sponsered by GOG, IIRC) as they have all employed/sponsored him in the past and he doesn't feel he can be impartial enough in his opinions to critique the content.
Cthippo 6th September 2016, 10:16 Quote
The course this thread is taking brings up an interesting issue. Can we talk about ethics in games journalism without it turning into a re-hash of GG? Has the topic been so poisoned by that toxic episode that it has become radioactive?

It seems like GG has become almost a corollary for Godwin's law. As soon as someone mentions journalistic ethics sooner or later someone else is going to say "yeah, that's what GamerGate was all about" and then rational discussion on the topic ends.
Corky42 6th September 2016, 11:04 Quote
It certainly seems that way, maybe give it another 5-10 years and ethics in computing media can be discussed without GG being mentioned.
Byron C 6th September 2016, 16:53 Quote
EDIT: Longpost is longer than I'd planned it to be...!
Quote:
Originally Posted by .//TuNdRa
Okay, fine. I give up. Lets start from the point I mentioned: Operation Disrespectful Nod, as it was coined by 8Chan (Seriously, who comes up with this crap?!)was an Email Campaign targetting advertisers of sites that those within GG believed to be guilty of hate speech and shoddy journalistic ethics, one of the sites hit hardest by this was actually Gawker Media, as they beat the living daylights out of Kotaku by extension doing it, costing them an alleged "Six figure sum" In advertising revenue as advertisers pulled out of the site. (Other sites hit included: Gamastura, Polygon and Rock Paper Shotgun. ) - It was later stated that part of the reason Hulk Hogan was able to win his case was because Gawker Media was already hurting from the financial losses that act had upon the company.

GG, or at least the large thread I witnessed on /r/KotakuInAction, is also partially responsible for the new FTC rules regarding disclosure of sponsorships within Videos and similar mediums, as they were one of the parties pushing to make it so that sponsored content was clearly visible as being such, to prevent paid videos being passed off as reviews on YouTube and similar sites.

I won't say GG isn't a fustercluck, the flaw of any movement that is decentralised and operates purely through a hashtag and self identity is that anyone can state that they are a part of it (See; Anonymous, Who is this Heisenberg) but on the whole; they have altered Games Journalism, for good or ill.

With regards to TotalBiscuit; he actually is attempting to remain fairly neutral on the topic, he's leaning GG just because his goal is similar to their purported one; Ethical disclosure at all times - This is also why TB has zero videos where he's critical of Planetside 2, anything coming from Blizzard Entertainment or anything from CD Projekt (As he's sponsered by GOG, IIRC) as they have all employed/sponsored him in the past and he doesn't feel he can be impartial enough in his opinions to critique the content.

Forgive the late reply, I can't access the forums in work.

Let’s break down your post into the actual allegations/claims that you’re citing:
  1. Advertisers being targeted for hate speech and shoddy journalism, causing Gawker Media loss of income and subsequent bankruptcy
  2. GG was responsible - even if in part - for the revised FTC disclosure guidelines.

I'll start with #2 first. From what I can see, the FTC issued revised guidelines for social & "new" media in 2009, 2013, and 2014. It's pretty clear that these guidelines are regularly reviewed, so without evidence you cannot attribute the actions of GG to this change in rules; I can't deny that GG may have influenced the rule change but there's no direct evidence that any of us can cite one way or another. FWIW, the FTC have had guidelines since the 80s to say that sponsored/paid content must be properly disclosed; it's only logical to assume that these things would be under constant review as technology changes and evolves. There is evidence of people not properly disclosing paid content, and most of these are more recent instances on YouTube: EA & Warner Bros sponsorship, skin gambling fraud, little/no attempt to disclose sponsorships or paid endorsements, etc. All of those examples happened after GG kicked off, the rules still weren't being followed despite GG having supposedly brought about a change to the rules. Would there have been as much scrutiny had GG not happened? Maybe, maybe not - we can only speculate, which doesn't really help the discussion.

As for #1, there is no evidence to say that the organised and specific action against advertisers supplying Gawker Media by GG was the reason that they were unable to afford to pay subsequent lawsuits. "Six figure sum" - even if true, and not speculative/estimated - can mean anything between $100,000 and $999,999. Hulk Hogan was awarded $115,000,000 in damages. Even if the loss of advertising did cost Gawker Media a million dollars that's only 0.9% of the total amount they had to pay. Around the same time Gawker (that's Gawker the website, not Gawker Media) also published other libellous material as well as Donald Trump's mobile phone number; it's not a stretch to think that Hogan's lawsuit was the only one that was going to hit them. But leaving aside the "what" of Gawker Media for a moment, let's talk about the "why". Why would you target your critics' very means of survival if you wanted a discussion about ethics? When you're trying to have their revenue source removed you're not discussing or debating with your opponents, you're silencing them. For a "movement" that is supposedly concerned with ethics, silencing your critics/opponents instead of engaging with them strikes me as pretty unethical behaviour. And we're not even talking about Kotaku, the main target, we're talking about their parent company.

TB is certainly trying to take the high ground and I do respect that - he's at least practicing what he preaches - but as I've explained before that's missing the point. The GamerGate "movement" did not come from a deep desire to expose what they thought were shoddy practices in games media/journalism, and it did not start with claims that someone didn't properly disclose a personal relationship when he wrote a positive review or positive coverage. What we know as "GamerGate" came about because someone wrote a nasty spiteful blog post about his ex, an ex who happened to be a game developer. Others may have latched on and cried foul over coverage of her games but those accusations were very soon proved false - as Pliqu3011 eloquently pointed out: "<Depression Quest, a Review by Nathan Grayson> ∉ [Things that exist in this universe]", and that was discovered very quickly. That is not something that TB should be associating himself with. GG was never about what he claims it was about and perpetuating that myth does not help to move the discussion forward in a positive way; clinging to that particular myth only serves to remind people of all the horrible things that were done under the banner of GG. FWIW there was already a lot of bad feeling bubbling away in the background since Sarkeesian did her kickstarter campaign; claims that the "gamer" identity was under threat, that "feminazis and SJWs" wanted to censor games they didn't like, and other nonsense like that. The Zoe Post was just a flashpoint.

Why should we still give credence to GamerGate when it has repeatedly shown itself to be nothing more than a hate campaign? Ignoring it clearly isn't going to make it go away, so, like I've said, let's have the discussion around standards and ethics in video game journalism that many under that banner were (and still are) crying out for. But let's talk about actual real things that actually happen and cite credible evidence and credible sources, without all the accusations, the "slut-shaming", the doxxing, the abuse campaigns, the targeted attacks, and everything else that has poisoned the very idea of talking about this stuff. Reasonable concerns should not be dismissed but let's talk about it properly, let's talk without pre-conceived notions - i.e. the a priori assumption that games media is corrupt and not to be trusted - and evaluate each argument/situation on the evidence presented.

TmarTn and Syndicate Project are still making videos, despite being caught red handed in a gambling scam. No guideline reviews have taken place since that happened and no calls to action have been issued; 8chan, /baphomet/, /r/KotakuInAction, or wherever haven't come up with a clever operation name under which their members should direct their efforts. Even after the guidelines were made explicitly clear, other YouTubers are still making videos despite the fact that they were caught not properly disclosing their sponsored content. Why does Gawker Media "get taken down" when YouTube and its advertisers are still allowed to operate? Valve created the very systems that enabled skin gambling in the first place, and Valve are also responsible for the dirge of mediocrity and cynical asset-flips that their "Greenlight" platform has enabled. Valve seemingly couldn't give the tiniest speck of a f- about the impact of all the people making money by doing little more than cobbling together assets, and the practices that such "developers" engage in. But GG isn't yelling and shouting at Valve; they're not doxxing Gabe Newell or his employees; they're not illegally obtaining personal information and using it against them. Heaven forbid that we should ever criticise such an enshrined sacred cow as Valve.

Despite his somewhat clickbaity headline (I still stand by my first post in this thread), Rick is right: YouTube is an incredibly accessible platform that makes it very easy for one person to influence the opinion - and buying power - of many. YouTube provides a platform which gives you: unlimited storage, unlimited retention, unlimited video length, on-the-fly transcoding, a revenue stream, automated algorithms to promote your content, and a chance to get a share of the audience on the single largest video platform on the web. You can call yourself an "entertainer" as much as you like but if you have millions of people watching your videos about games then that kind of power over public opinion carries a moral and ethical responsibility.

Why aren't we pressuring YouTube to enforce more stringent rules? Why aren't we calling for a mandatory code of practice for commentary/journalism/criticism on YouTube? If that happened then you can guarantee that people would cry foul over free speech. Here's the thing about free speech though: you can cry about free speech and censorship all you like but the fact is that those concepts simply do not exist on a commercial platform like YouTube. You do have the right to have your voice heard, but others have the right to ignore you and to deny you a voice on their platform. When it comes to YouTube you are only entitled to the rights that are set out in the terms of use; if you don't like it then find your own video platform and your own advertisers. This is almost exactly the same situation that's happening now with YouTube "advertising censorship": people are wailing over censorship, or "having their voice taken away", but no one is censoring anyone. What's actually happening is that YouTube are getting better at enforcing the terms of service that have been in place for a while. YouTube has always had the right to "de-monetise" your video if their advertisers do not wish to be associated with your content, and they have actually been doing that in the past. Admittedly whatever they've changed recently means that they're now doing it in a uniquely "YouTube" way: using a very large sledgehammer-shaped automated algorithm to crack a few nuts, and bugger everyone who gets caught in the crossfire. Much like they still do with ContentID. But it is their platform and it is their right. The fact that you can't make money on your "Jet fuel can't melt steel beams" video doesn't mean that you're being censored, it means that people don't want to pay you to have their products advertised in your crackpot video.

The fact is that we should be tougher on people who call themselves "critics" or "journalists", especially when they're doing it on an essentially open platform which has a huge potential audience. We shouldn't have a situation where people with a large audience are basically allowed to say/do whatever they want. There should be standards and there should be proper ways to disclose things that need to be disclosed. "Old/traditional" media has codes of practice and "journalism" is a field that can be academically studied. None of that stuff goes away simply because we now have platforms where I can use my phone to record a video saying how much I dislike a particular game and have it uploaded, in seconds, to an audience of millions. If I want to call myself a critic or a journalist or talk about games in a critical or journalistic way then I should adhere the standards that those titles carry. Perhaps it's now time for platforms like YouTube to start enforcing this.

But what we shouldn't be doing is: throwing around baseless accusations, doxxing people, carrying out targeted hate campaigns, sending people waves and waves of abuse, silencing your critics/opponents instead of debating them, breaking in to someone's website and financial account records, or attacking someone because they said something you disagree with or criticised you. That is what GamerGate is, that is what GamerGate does, and that is what GamerGate has always been.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
The course this thread is taking brings up an interesting issue. Can we talk about ethics in games journalism without it turning into a re-hash of GG? Has the topic been so poisoned by that toxic episode that it has become radioactive?

It seems like GG has become almost a corollary for Godwin's law. As soon as someone mentions journalistic ethics sooner or later someone else is going to say "yeah, that's what GamerGate was all about" and then rational discussion on the topic ends.

I don't think that we shouldn't talk about GG, but simply acknowledge what it was: a hate campaign. It wasn't the events that started GG which made people question the integrity of games journalism, but we shouldn't simply ignore the concerns that people have. Let's address the concerns in a rational way, based on the evidence, and if it turns out that there are shady things going on then let's talk about how we can stop it going forward. If we're going to talk about this let's not pretend that GG was a good thing, and let's not proceed under the assumption that all - most, whatever - games media is corrupt.

But "GamerGating a thread" does have a nice ring to it :D
JakeTucker 7th September 2016, 12:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC

I agree with a lot of this, just dropping in to say that Rick wrote it , not me. I'm just here squabbling because it's an important thing, personally.

ED: as an addition, I totally think there are some dodgy games practices. Lots in youtube, and some others at other sites I won't name for legal repercussions. Mostly it's not the journalists, but ad sales people promising what a site can't deliver.
Byron C 7th September 2016, 12:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeTucker
I agree with a lot of this, just dropping in to say that Rick wrote it , not me. I'm just here squabbling because it's an important thing, personally.

Bugger, sorry!
Shirty 7th September 2016, 13:15 Quote
I don't know what any of you are talking about (except Yadda, maybe)...

In fact I don't any longer play games, buy PC hardware, or do any modding. Nor do I have much desire to. Stuff like this doesn't help, probably.
Frickit 7th September 2016, 16:00 Quote
I don't play games anymore so....
lacuna 7th September 2016, 16:11 Quote
I don't view media journalism in any form to be any more than just entertainment and as such I consider the authors to be 'entertainers'. I don't base my purchases on the subjective opinion of a single, or small number of people that I have never met. I generally don't even read or watch reviews until after I have finished the game in question because its more interesting that way. If people are giving weight to a critics opinion and then finding themselves disappointed then that's their own stupid fault.
Byron C 7th September 2016, 20:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lacuna
I don't view media journalism in any form to be any more than just entertainment and as such I consider the authors to be 'entertainers'. I don't base my purchases on the subjective opinion of a single, or small number of people that I have never met. I generally don't even read or watch reviews until after I have finished the game in question because its more interesting that way. If people are giving weight to a critics opinion and then finding themselves disappointed then that's their own stupid fault.

I don't particularly enjoy throwing £40-£50 away on a game I might not like or enjoy. If I'm paying full price I have to get *some* sort of idea whether I'll enjoy it or not.
lacuna 8th September 2016, 09:13 Quote
Absolutely, and the last time I spent that much money on a game was Ecco the Dolphin for the megadrive. Definately a lesson learnt there!

There are far better ways to determine whether you will like a game than reading a review. Demos, gameplay videos, even sales figures are pretty telling of the quality. Obviously if you find a reviewers opinion typically aligns with your own then go with it.
Gareth Halfacree 8th September 2016, 09:15 Quote
Bring back shareware, I say. Play the first chunk of the game, enjoy it, buy the rest; don't enjoy it, move on to the next title. A golden age, I tells you, a golden age!
theshadow2001 8th September 2016, 09:21 Quote
That's basically what steam refunds are, although at the cost of a time limit but at the benefit of working for almost every game you would like to own.
Gareth Halfacree 8th September 2016, 09:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001
That's basically what steam refunds are, although at the cost of a time limit but at the benefit of working for almost every game you would like to own.
True, but I've heard tell of people getting slapped upside the head for taking the Michael when it comes to Steam Refunds. Shareware, I could play a dozen games in one night and buy only one; if I bought a dozen games in one night and refunded all but one, I think Valve might have something to say about that.
bawjaws 8th September 2016, 09:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
I don't particularly enjoy throwing £40-£50 away on a game I might not like or enjoy. If I'm paying full price I have to get *some* sort of idea whether I'll enjoy it or not.

The last game that I bought for full price was Shadows of Mordor, and that was only £25 iirc. I point-blank refuse to pay £40 or £50 for a game - mainly because my gaming time is pretty severely limited these days, I have a huge backlog of games that I've never installed (let alone played) and because I'm happy to wait six or twelve months until the game is reduced to nearer a tenner.

I know "value" is a very subjective thing, but to me £50 for a game at launch vs say £15 for the same game six months later is a bit of a no-brainer.
ModSquid 15th September 2016, 13:44 Quote
Slightly off-topic, but to illustrate that it's not just YouTube/gaming that's suffering, I went to buy something from Amazon the other day and of course went for the item with the best reviews.

However, looking at the reviews in detail, there were something like 25 5-star reviews and a scattering of 3 and 4-star ones. Of the 25, about 20 or so had a disclaimer at the bottom stating that the item had been provided for free, supposedly "in return for an honest and unbiased review". So those were immediately discounted, which skewed the rating of the product massively.

It seems this culture of online "bribery" is proliferating these days.

I don't understand the ire directed at Gamers Gate though - they have some good deals on quite often ;-)
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