Giant Bomb News

1554 Comments

Letter from the Editor - 07/02/2014

Hey, hi. Let's talk for a sec, OK?

In the last few days there's been a lot of talk about what Giant Bomb is and isn't. What it stands for and what it won't stand for. A lot of people have made a lot of assumptions about what we do and how we act, and what we tolerate or even condone on our message boards and live chats. Most of this isn't new, but it's well past time to come out and say what this staff and this site stands for.

Giant Bomb is, by design, an inclusionary place. When we originally built the site back in 2008, it was originally thought of as a place where our audience could contribute in meaningful ways. Or, if they like, they can just sit back and enjoy our various productions. When I say "inclusionary," I mean exactly that. No person should be excluded from our site. The fact that some people have been resistant to people based on their gender, religion, race, creed, or anything else like that is not acceptable. Even less acceptable are people who make their exclusionary beliefs known (repeatedly and often aggressively) and then attempt to say that those viewpoints are valid and, thus, must be allowed for us to remain inclusionary. That is bad logic. That is a bullying tactic, and that style of intimidation will not be tolerated.

We moderate our live chats, message boards, and comment threads. And we do it rather viciously. Some things certainly do slip through the cracks and you may see some garbage on our site before we get to it. To those of you who help by reporting things to our moderation team, you have my thanks. We're certainly not perfect. When we launched the site, we launched it with one simple rule: "don't be a dick." This may have gotten by in an age when we were a fraction of our current size. These days, we've grown to a point where small community rules aren't enough. We'll be implementing new moderation policies and adjusting a few things behind-the-scenes to enhance our ability to moderate the boards. We'll have more to say about those policy changes as they come.

We felt the need to come forward and state our position after some individuals decided to speak out about how we're conducting business and were promptly attacked and abused on Twitter and other social media platforms. Whether one agrees with our critics or not, it certainly doesn't warrant the response they've received.

I feel absolutely horrible that people have been harassed for simply expressing their views about what we do.

The people attacking our critics do not represent our views and they never have, whether they're doing it in our name or not. I appreciate that people enjoy our work and that they often care enough about it to criticize it.

I would like to apologize to everyone that has seen any bit of unpleasantness this week, whether it is directly associated with our message boards or not. We will continue to work to make the site a better place for everyone to enjoy.

Thanks for using our site. It's been a very bumpy ride over these last couple of years and it just now feels like we're getting our feet underneath us and getting to a point where we can move forward. There's still a very active, wonderful, and beloved community at the core of this site, and their reputation has been tarnished alongside ours. We simply cannot and will not allow negative elements to ruin what we've built together.

-Jeff

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
1645 Comments
Edited by AmethystRush

It really is terribly people were personally attacked (seemingly viciously, with extreme prejudice) for sharing a genuine criticism. I'm really glad you guys welcome the criticism, seemingly.

Personally I hope you guys will endeavor to continue to be inclusive with your community, and also consider adding new people from different racial, gender, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds in the future. I know there's been a lot of talk about this the past couple of days, but I really do feel it would be such a net positive for almost everyone involved.

Thanks, Jeff!

Posted by EveretteScott

@noval said:

It will never cease to amaze me what the internet will get unreasonably angry about.

I do get what you're saying but it's not the 'internet'. It's just people. Thanks to the internet those people can easily voice their opinion and be heard much quicker and almost louder. They've always been here and always will be.

Posted by defcomm

I'm glad this was said. Thanks, Jeff.

Posted by Hawkerace

I find it very tough to come back and see whats new with Giantbomb.

Edited by tamriilin

This is one of my favorite communities on the internet, because by and large it makes everybody feel welcome regardless of gender, orientation, or ethnicity. Let's keep working to weed out the assholes <3

Edited by DorkyMohr

Thanks for posting this, Jeff. I have a lot of thoughts on the whole situation but I'll spare most of them in favor of just saying to the collective GB community and the wider internet: Please get some perspective on what you're saying and how it affects others.

Posted by RobotMafia

Well said Jeff.

Edited by Rorie

@clonedzero said:

I just hope these rules dont screw over the community with overly strict rules and policies. I've seen many a forum and internet community forum because of over zealous moderation. So this sort of reaction has me a bit concerned, but if it becomes a problem, then well, hopefully people will speak up.

Making harsher and stricter rules for everyone to punish a few assholes just seems to be wasted energy with good intentions. Doesn't make it the right thing to do.

I mean you can already have your thread locked because a vaguely similar 3 year old dead thread exists, which you cant even find with the forums awful search functions. So yeah...

Bit concerned about this honestly.

We'll discuss whatever new moderation policies will be put in place when we introduce them. We're going to do our best not to punish the vast majority of the site users who are fine and unproblematic. But I have heard from multiple people in the past that they have felt intimidated and silenced when they attempt to contribute to the forums, and that shit's gotta stop.

Staff
Edited by mooncake

Hmmm, I wonder if they will continue the discussion on the actual criticisms levied against them. Though, in some ways, I don't know what more they can say, especially without inciting even more ire. I feel like Patrick will be able to eloquently lay some of the issues out once everything settles down a bit.

Also, didn't I hear that a lot of the harassment came from a men's rights subreddit or was that a rumour / moving the accusations away from GiantBomb?

Regardless, I'm glad Jeff said what he said and I hope this helps settle things down so that someday we can continue the discussion in a much more healthier way.

Posted by UnderWing

This is the right approach to handling the harassing parties; I've been a GB fan from (before) the start and I'm happy that you guys are directly calling out and working to address the hate that spews from what in my honest belief is a minority of the community. That's good, and I hope you guys keep at it.

That said, I'll admit to being a little disheartened by the (thus far) lack of directly addressing the criticism (which, as some of you have pointed out, is valid). I'm assuming it's still coming. Gaming in general has a pretty severe representation issue currently, and as Patrick explained in his post-E3-panel Tumblr post, it's something that needs to be addressed actively. More backgrounds and viewpoints would only serve to improve the site we all love so much, and I was myself a bit frustrated that we didn't get that in this recent hiring round. I'd love to hear a frank discussion from the top duders addressing the criticism that sparked all of this, and even more I'd love to see actual action.

I'll always love you guys, but as the site grows and expand, I'd love to see it grow *up* as well in a positive way. I'm not saying less stupid shenanigans, just... more diversity in the stupid shenainganers would be epic. Right now it's a boys' club, and when the industry is facing serious problems with sexism in games from all angles (Assassin's Creed girls are hard, today's segregated eSports bull, #1reasonwhy), it's hard to see that as anything but a detracting factor on the editorial viewpoint that the site can express.

Posted by Mikemcn

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Posted by poser

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Edited by Brendan

"Even less acceptable are people who make their exclusionary beliefs known (repeatedly and often aggressively) and then attempt to say that those viewpoints are valid and, thus, must be allowed for us to remain inclusionary. That is bad logic. That is a bullying tactic, and that style of intimidation will not be tolerated."

Bad. Ass.

Edited by justmy2oz

Look, I know the harassment has become the major issue in this event and needs to be addressed, but that is not the original crux of the issue. The original controversy was disappointment over the hiring of more white males in an already white male dominated site, and industry. This post does not address that issue, and that is a big problem. I can already see the next line of tweets in response to this editorial, and they read "Giant Bomb: We're committed to being inclusive, except when we are hiring" I really love this site, and I truly believe that you are the good guys. This post however, comes across as talking the talk but not walking the walk. All the best into the future.

Posted by Rorie

@kevin_cogneto: Replying sarcastically to someone I just chided for sarcasm is likewise not cool in this thread.

Staff
Posted by vorpalparasite

Good stuff. Thanks Jeff!

Posted by Gazaar

Sorry people suck~

Posted by BenderUnit22

Does that mean we can openly acknowledge our love for Yoshi's Island?

Posted by EveretteScott
Edited by IcyEyes

@oldirtybearon said:

I'm still not sure why we're going to the feel the pinch of "tighter" moderation when the fucktards who made this mess did so on other sites and social media services.

This whole thing seems like a few shitheads fucking a good thing up for everybody. I suppose if this means that people who are assholes in the chats get slapped around sooner and harder than normal, that might be a good thing.

What I'm worried about are the heated debates evaporating because only one viewpoint, one opinion, and one set of ideals/beliefs will be tolerated on the forums. I've seen it happen before and I am really, really hoping it won't happen here.

Better moderation does not mean censorship, which seems to be what you're afraid of. These community problems do not come from the topics being discussed, but the behavior of the people involved in them. As long as you're respectful and treat other people like actual human beings, you can discuss anything you want.

The problem with the "don't be a dick" rule is that it is far too open to interpretation for a community of this size. Many also only view the rule as applying to others and not themselves or that they are somehow justified in their actions and therefore exempt.

Posted by WuTangKillaBee

GiantBomb 4 Life!

Posted by AmethystRush

This is the right approach to handling the harassing parties; I've been a GB fan from (before) the start and I'm happy that you guys are directly calling out and working to address the hate that spews from what in my honest belief is a minority of the community. That's good, and I hope you guys keep at it.

That said, I'll admit to being a little disheartened by the (thus far) lack of directly addressing the criticism (which, as some of you have pointed out, is valid). I'm assuming it's still coming. Gaming in general has a pretty severe representation issue currently, and as Patrick explained in his post-E3-panel Tumblr post, it's something that needs to be addressed actively. More backgrounds and viewpoints would only serve to improve the site we all love so much, and I was myself a bit frustrated that we didn't get that in this recent hiring round. I'd love to hear a frank discussion from the top duders addressing the criticism that sparked all of this, and even more I'd love to see actual action.

I'll always love you guys, but as the site grows and expand, I'd love to see it grow *up* as well in a positive way. I'm not saying less stupid shenanigans, just... more diversity in the stupid shenainganers would be epic. Right now it's a boys' club, and when the industry is facing serious problems with sexism in games from all angles (Assassin's Creed girls are hard, today's segregated eSports bull, #1reasonwhy), it's hard to see that as anything but a detracting factor on the editorial viewpoint that the site can express.

I would like to high-five you in solidarity!

Edited by remixrunixlp

I hope those who are concerned about the future of moderation on the site consider the following: There's a not-so-fine line between constructive criticism and belligerently using hurtful language to "prove a point." I have no doubt that Giant Bomb will continue to allow and strongly encourage the former. After all, concise, carefully thought out, constructive criticism is what helps us all grow and improve. The latter serves no purpose other than to cause people to hate one another over political, ethical, racial, religious, or - worse by far - superfluous differences.

@sharkman said:

i had a shit week, and haven't been on here, what the fuck did i miss?

A bunch of unfortunate posts which led to the trolls of the internet starting an all out flame war with those who criticized Giant Bomb for the lack of diversity in their new hires. It became quite insulting and uncomfortable for many willingly or unwillingly involved, spilled over into all manner of social media, and led to the need for this post.

In other news, I misread this post as "i had a shark week" which made me very concerned for you. Thanks dyslexia :)

Online
Posted by ripelivejam

thank you for this jeff, and thanks to the entire crew for striving to make this an inclusive, open, and FUN place to be. i may not agree with some opinions, but it's important that people can express them without fear of attack (i admit i can work on being more accomadating and taking things a little less personally). i hope we can learn from these mistakes and move on to greener pastures.

Posted by Hailinel

I just hope these rules dont screw over the community with overly strict rules and policies. I've seen many a forum and internet community forum because of over zealous moderation. So this sort of reaction has me a bit concerned, but if it becomes a problem, then well, hopefully people will speak up.

Making harsher and stricter rules for everyone to punish a few assholes just seems to be wasted energy with good intentions. Doesn't make it the right thing to do.

I mean you can already have your thread locked because a vaguely similar 3 year old dead thread exists, which you cant even find with the forums awful search functions. So yeah...

Bit concerned about this honestly.

I don't think that this will come to necessarily harsher or stricter rules, but more explicit rules on what won't be tolerated. The focus here is obviously on ensuring that the site is more inclusive, and I expect any new rules implemented to be geared toward weeding out behaviors that are counter to that goal.

Edited by Veovisjohn

Great words, Jeff! If the game plan is to moderate more strictly against harassers and jerks, then count me ALL IN.

Posted by Duffyside

@brendan said:

"Even less acceptable are people who make their exclusionary beliefs known (repeatedly and often aggressively) and then attempt to say that those viewpoints are valid and, thus, must be allowed for us to remain inclusionary. That is bad logic. That is a bullying tactic, and that style of intimidation will not be tolerated."

Bad. Ass.

Sure, but I haven't really seen anything that resembles this. Have there been people saying "women shouldn't come to this site" or things like it? I guess they could be deleted before I ever see them...

Posted by BarkingGoose

Very glad to see this, thanks.

Posted by Kevin_Cogneto

@rorie: My bad, I regretted it immediately after I posted it. You just beat me to the punch deleting it, you're 100% right.

Posted by Rorie

I'm going to say something here that I'll probably copy-paste as it continues to be brought up: it's perfectly valid to be concerned when we say that moderation policies are going to be updated. No one wants this place to turn into a no-fun zone, and that's not at all the intent. We haven't gone very far down the road of discussing specifics, so please don't freak out just yet. We'll have more to say on that stuff when the time comes.

Staff
Posted by Kbohls

"The fact that some people have been resistant to people based on their gender, religion, race, creed, or anything else like that is not acceptable."

This line really erks me. I agree that people should not give a damn about who a person is, but I can't help but feel that people who resisted Dan and Jason joining GB are breaking this. They (Dan and Jason) were told they weren't good enough simply because they were white males, what kind of bullshit is that? I have a hard time standing up for the equality segment of the community when they turn around and are rude simply because the new hires weren't women, Jewish, black or gay.

Maybe I am misunderstanding something in this whole drama but some of the things said about Giant Bomb, by both outside voices and the staff itself, are very unprofessional and in my opinion inexcusable for a work place.

Edited by Jacobian360

Powerful Gerstmann! Haven't been a subscriber long and didn't get to see what's been happening with these abusive users, but nice job putting a line in the sand!

Love me some Giantbomb, and I want another Powerbombcast brother!

Posted by Fonzinator

@mooncake said:

Also, didn't I hear that a lot of the harassment came from a men's rights subreddit or was that a rumour / moving the accusations away from GiantBomb?

That was very much the truth. You can find the reddit thread in Patrick's Twitter if you want, I wont link it here. There might be more, but that one had over 500 posts.

Posted by Mister_Snig

@brendan said:

"Even less acceptable are people who make their exclusionary beliefs known (repeatedly and often aggressively) and then attempt to say that those viewpoints are valid and, thus, must be allowed for us to remain inclusionary. That is bad logic. That is a bullying tactic, and that style of intimidation will not be tolerated."

Bad. Ass.

Sure, but I haven't really seen anything that resembles this. Have there been people saying "women shouldn't come to this site" or things like it? I guess they could be deleted before I ever see them...

It's been less outright discrimination against certain groups and more dismissal and harassment of people who hold certain opinions.

Online
Posted by MrSlapHappy

Thanks for the post Jeff.

As one who does not regularly visit the forums or engage with Twitter I often see much of the aftermath of big events like these without ever seeing the events themselves. Each time I sigh and think "Great, now what did the internet explode about because they can?" "This is why we can't have nice things" also usually comes to mind, but that is not the point here. Well actually, maybe it is the point, but I don't feel qualified to explore it further.

Edited by HelloDanni

@clonedzero said:

I just hope these rules dont screw over the community with overly strict rules and policies. I've seen many a forum and internet community forum because of over zealous moderation. So this sort of reaction has me a bit concerned, but if it becomes a problem, then well, hopefully people will speak up.

Making harsher and stricter rules for everyone to punish a few assholes just seems to be wasted energy with good intentions. Doesn't make it the right thing to do.

I mean you can already have your thread locked because a vaguely similar 3 year old dead thread exists, which you cant even find with the forums awful search functions. So yeah...

Bit concerned about this honestly.

I am honestly a little baffled by this stance. You're in someone else's space. Is it really that unreasonable that you would have to play by their rules or go play somewhere else? People who act sensibly should have nothing to worry about. I don't think anyone at GiantBomb is trying to censor opinions they don't agree with. This is about people being assholes, pure and simple. You can debate without being an asshole.

Forum posters tend to form deep attachments with their boards and start thinking of it as a thing that is *theirs* where they can say and do whatever they want and react harshly when they're told "no" and there becomes this "users vs mods" divide. This is not a good thing.

Posted by Nutmeg365

Hear hear Jeff. Well said.

Posted by CabbageSensei
@kbohls said:

...

This line really erks me. I agree that people should not give a damn about who a person is, but I can't help but feel that people who resisted Dan and Jason joining GB are breaking this. They (Dan and Jason) were told they weren't good enough simply because they were white males, what kind of bullshit is that? I have a hard time standing up for the equality segment of the community when they turn around and are rude simply because the new hires weren't women, Jewish, black or gay.

...

For the millionth time, no one is saying this.

Edited by GiantLizardKing

Giant Bomb, ride or die.

Posted by nickux

Well fucking said, mate.

Posted by monkeystick

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Posted by EveretteScott

@kbohls said:

I can't help but feel that people who resisted Dan and Jason joining GB are breaking this. They (Dan and Jason) were told they weren't good enough simply because they were white males, what kind of bullshit is that? I have a hard time standing up for the equality segment of the community when they turn around and are rude simply because the new hires weren't women, Jewish, black or gay.

Don't worry, you're just normal.

Edited by Trilogy

While I'm glad you got out there and actually said something yourself, Jeff, I can't say that I'm not at a little taken back by the lack of acknowledgement that this whole thing is a lot bigger than some shitheads on twitter. Look, I'm not exactly the biggest proponent of the whole diversity argument, but that argument has its validity, and the people making that argument really care about it. I've read a lot of their thoughts in last night's thread, and while I disagree with some of the fundamentals, its still something that should be properly addressed by the staff, in my opinion. Look, I personally don't care how you run your business or who you hire. If I'm not happy with the content on the site, I can always walk away. I'm not everyone, though, and I do feel that those people deserve something more than just, "hey those jerks don't represent us and we're gonna tighten down the hatches with moderation." It just sort of ignores the other part of the discussion. Please don't read this as trying to dwindle the impact that harassment can have, but it's not the only issue here.

I guess it just sort of comes off as tone deaf to me. I mean, of course you guys are inclusionary to all groups of people, and of course you're intolerant of dirtbags who aren't. I wouldn't want anything to do with the site if you weren't that way, and I've never once felt that you stood for anything other than the things you've stated here. The only reason I'm bringing this up is because nobody else has yet (that I've noticed). I'm probably asking for a shitstorm of people yelling at me, but whatever. I just expected something more, is all.

I still love you guys.

Posted by JustKamToo

Thanks Jeff, thanks to all the GB crew. I found this site just after it started I had no idea who Jeff or Ryan were but I saw the dumb shit they did and it was good. Please keep up this great site and please never stop doing dumb shit.

Posted by manbot47

@mister_snig: thanks for clearing that up, i don't keep up with the forums so this was really outta left field for me.

Posted by flakmunkey

Thanks for coming out and letting your feelings be know, Jeff. This is why I continue to renew my membership. You guys are best in class when it comes to keeping games, and game journalism, fun and inclusive. I'm proud to be a part of this amazing community (even if it has a few jerks).

Posted by AmethystRush

@duffyside said:

@brendan said:

"Even less acceptable are people who make their exclusionary beliefs known (repeatedly and often aggressively) and then attempt to say that those viewpoints are valid and, thus, must be allowed for us to remain inclusionary. That is bad logic. That is a bullying tactic, and that style of intimidation will not be tolerated."

Bad. Ass.

Sure, but I haven't really seen anything that resembles this. Have there been people saying "women shouldn't come to this site" or things like it? I guess they could be deleted before I ever see them...

It's been less outright discrimination against certain groups and more dismissal and harassment of people who hold certain opinions.

Personally I find the apathy many hold on the issue of diversity to be frustrating, and the dismissal that comes with it borderline offensive, but what is 100% unacceptable are personal attacks of any nature. Which have most certainly been levied at individuals in the name of Giant Bomb.

Posted by Drale

@underwing said:

This is the right approach to handling the harassing parties; I've been a GB fan from (before) the start and I'm happy that you guys are directly calling out and working to address the hate that spews from what in my honest belief is a minority of the community. That's good, and I hope you guys keep at it.

That said, I'll admit to being a little disheartened by the (thus far) lack of directly addressing the criticism (which, as some of you have pointed out, is valid). I'm assuming it's still coming. Gaming in general has a pretty severe representation issue currently, and as Patrick explained in his post-E3-panel Tumblr post, it's something that needs to be addressed actively. More backgrounds and viewpoints would only serve to improve the site we all love so much, and I was myself a bit frustrated that we didn't get that in this recent hiring round. I'd love to hear a frank discussion from the top duders addressing the criticism that sparked all of this, and even more I'd love to see actual action.

I'll always love you guys, but as the site grows and expand, I'd love to see it grow *up* as well in a positive way. I'm not saying less stupid shenanigans, just... more diversity in the stupid shenainganers would be epic. Right now it's a boys' club, and when the industry is facing serious problems with sexism in games from all angles (Assassin's Creed girls are hard, today's segregated eSports bull, #1reasonwhy), it's hard to see that as anything but a detracting factor on the editorial viewpoint that the site can express.

I would like to high-five you in solidarity!

I'll see your high-five and raise you a fist-bump!

Posted by forteexe21

@sparklykiss said:

There is nothin' wrong with a little mushroom on a pizza pie, good sir.

(Right on, thanks for this, Jeff!)

Fine, thats the borderline of allowed stuff on a pizza.

I'm going to come out and say this...I like anchovy on my pizza. I also enjoy clams on a nice New Haven style pizza.

I dont like anchovies so thats that. I once had a pizza with clams (and other seafood) and didnt enjoy it, maybe its the pizza place but it surely put me out of seafood pizza.

Anyway, dont want to get more off-topic and hopefully this means the end of the current drama cause it sucks going to other places and they are also talking about this.