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Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

Behold, a picture posted somewhere by some anonymous person over a decade ago. "The Internet is Serious Business" is a meme so old that it is classified in the Know Your Meme Graveyard for Formerly Funny Jokes, and it's also a joke that wouldn't work nearly as well today. Why? Because the internet is serious business for many who partake in it these days. People invest their souls into their online personae. Users of forums, and social media develop friendships online, and they deal with real-life issues by posting online. People get so invested in the culture of the internet that arguments online don't have the majority of the participants saying "Calm down, it's the internet!" anymore, and yet that is the most salient thing anyone could say in the conversation. The internet is only serious if we let it be, and it is becoming more and more apparent that we should not.

The internet is only as powerful as we allow it to be. "I won't concede something so powerful to such a vocal minority that doesn't deserve it," says Patrick Klepek in the wrap-up of his PAX East talk on internet bullying alongside Zoe Quinn. In the talk, Klepek spoke of how we should vocalize our approval of friendly posters and also vocalize our disapproval of unkind posters, something that one could find is already happening in most comment sections. Klepek concludes that this tactic could help make online bullying "socially unacceptable," which misses the point. First, bullying people online is already socially unacceptable -- it's certainly not something you would speak of to a family member or a prospective mate or even a stranger. Also, the conversations on social topics that Patrick himself likes to talk about, and that generate a lot of bullying, are also broadly socially unacceptable. Would you chew out a stranger who said something that doesn't agree with the current state of internet-gender-politics issues? I mean, maybe you would, but the other party involved would not be very receptive, and it would be very easy to see it as socially unacceptable.

It's doubtful that actual philosophers, such as Monsieur Voltaire in all his curly-wigged glory to the right, were thinking "if only I could have to immediately defend my writings the moment I publish them from people who don't necessarily have any idea what they're talking about." The problem is that online communities aren't capable of serious discussion, because the person whose point gets heard is the person who is loudest for the longest. If people "vocalize" their feelings about the loud people, that only makes more loud people. Therefore this action only further drowns out well-reasoned conversation, which has the unfortunate property of taking a long time to think about, type out, and then have people read it.

All of this is acutely relevant to Giant Bomb at this time. Giant Bomb hired two new staff members who were both white men (and who got "heterosexual" thrown on there too, which either means people know a lot more about them than I've heard or people like making ugly assumptions to aide their cries of injustice), which caused some people in the comments to get loud about how this wasn't fair and showed that something was wrong with the site. Other people then tried to shut them up by getting even louder and involving other forums to harass them, and Jeff Gerstmann had to write up a big article about how this wasn't acceptable. Jeff targeted those who harassed the original loud people, but the question is, why was any of it acceptable? Is the comment section on a video game website the place for an in-depth discussion of hiring equality? People are banned all the time for being off-topic because it hurts the discussion of the actual topic, and this was a mighty big tangent from "Hey guys, we hired some people who were really qualified and people already liked."

Now there has been another incident where a podcast was released with socially-focused discussion on it that hadn't heard before on a Giant Bombcast, and the outrage that occurred is mostly due to the previous incident. Is Giant Bomb succumbing to criticism that they shouldn't care about? Would this have happened anyway? Does it really matter? Because people were allowed for so long to take the internet so seriously in the comments section of the last incident, now Giant Bomb is the subject of conversation that a under-10-employee company that talks about video games should never have to be. It's not socially acceptable to break into someone's place of comfort and try to disrupt it while being unkind to the people there, and that's exactly what Samantha Allen did. She had a good point, but it was already on her blog and posting it on Giant Bomb did not create useful discussion, it just opened wounds that weren't there before.

None of this would have happened if we disapproved of people who took the internet so goddamn serious. The company's image and entertainment value have been altered by third parties that were a click away from being banned and erased. Of course, it would be hard for moderators to know what was going to happen, but if they followed the rule of "ban or warn anyone who is talking about matters too serious for a video game website discussion, regardless of message" instead of "select who is being a jerk and ban or warn them," it would be extremely easy to stop anything like this from happening.

There is a post in the comments of Patrick's "Internet Jerks" video that was mentioned above that truly takes the "not taking things too seriously and trying to start fights" mentality and makes an excellent point at the same time. From @wolfgame:

Too true, Wolfgame.

If you have noticed the irony of this blog post ranting on and on, then you should know that I must have as well. So I'm going to stop now, but here's what I'm saying: the "discussion" is only hurting people. There are plenty of universities, academic publications, and other reputable venues for discussion, and the discussion is already happening there all the time. Even if you identify with one side or the other, a video game or other hobbyist community doesn't need to be the place for serious discussion.

Can we just go back to funny pictures and video games?

#1 Posted by Milkman (17351 posts) -

Can we just go back to funny pictures and video games?

No.

No one's forcing you to participate in the discussion. But it's going to happen and it's going to happen on this site.

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#2 Edited by Marokai (3155 posts) -

The biggest problem with the discussion is that, for a great many people involved, no one's really talking to each other.

#3 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@milkman said:

Can we just go back to funny pictures and video games?

No.

No one's forcing you to participate in the discussion. But it's going to happen and it's going to happen on this site.

But what if I wanted to speak in the comments of an article that is tangentially relevant to social issues? It's not as easy to get away from this discussion as you say it is. Even subjects that aren't supposed to be related to social issues are criticized for NOT keeping social issues in mind and doing something to change them, and then there's a whole new discussion.

Pretty much anything can become one of these internet-serious discussions at a moment's notice.

#4 Edited by Julius (112 posts) -

@marokai said:

The biggest problem with the discussion is that, for a great many people involved, no one's really talking to each other.

RIght, in these arguments it is almost like people are trying to appropriate a part of this website as an extension of their discussions that WOULD be well-received by most members elsewhere. It's not much of a discussion when it is treated as a soapbox.

#5 Edited by wemibelec90 (1839 posts) -

While we definitely need better ways to have these discussions, people who really care about them should absolutely NOT stop having them. Video games may often be seen as a form of entertainment, but they can put forth social ideas and changes just like any other form of media. Saying that these things don't belong in video game forums is immature and close-minded. If anything, games are positioned to be infinitely more influential in these ways due to their interactive nature; therefore, these issues are going to inevitably come around much more frequently. In my mind, the only way we can reach a normative place where these discussion don't bring out the worst scum of humanity is to keep having them. Once they become the norm, these people will be the outliers instead of the majority.

#6 Edited by Milkman (17351 posts) -

@julius: Well, I disagree with your premise that the discussion is impossible to get away from. Most of the comment sections/forum threads on this site have nothing to do with any kind of social issue so if you're really concerned with keeping the internet fun, there are plenty of places to do so.

But more importantly, I don't think it's too much to ask for people to be aware. You don't need to actively seek the conversation out but if you do find yourself either accidentally or purposely in the conversation, you should be expected to be understanding and respect of other viewpoints. "I'm just here to have fun" can't be your defense mechanism every time.

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#7 Posted by Marokai (3155 posts) -

@milkman: And there's plenty of fun to be had here despite them, anyway. These things only ruin the fun if you let them!

#8 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@wemibelec90 said:

While we definitely need better ways to have these discussions, people who really care about them should absolutely NOT stop having them. Video games may often be seen as a form of entertainment, but they can put forth social ideas and changes just like any other form of media. Saying that these things don't belong in video game forums is immature close-minded. If anything, games are positioned to be infinitely more influential in these ways due to their interactive nature; therefore, these issues are going to inevitably come around much more frequently. In my mind, the only way we can reach a normative place where these discussion don't bring out the worst scum of humanity is to keep having them. Once they become the norm, these people will be the outliers instead of the majority.

You act like there are only two groups, the "just" and the "scum of humanity," what about "people who like Street Fighter" or "people who like to watch Vinny shoot his teammates in multiplayer" or all kinds of other interests? MOST people aren't defined by this discussion, but they're having their thoughts muted because this is such a loud discussion. No one is going to talk about sports or the weather while their Aunt and Uncle are discussing their divorce and how they cheated on each other at the same dinner table.

#9 Edited by Stonyman65 (2877 posts) -

Fuckin' A.

The big problem that I see is that while not everything on this site pertains to social issues, it seems now that more often somebody is turning those things into social issues regardless of the context. That is what's bothering me with discussions like these - not the fact that we are having them, but they fact that they are engulfing the site. You can choose to stay out of the conversation, but that is getting harder and harder to do when the conversation is constantly popping up everywhere.

There are plenty of sites and blogs where all they do is have discussions and debates on social issues in video games. That's not what Giant Bomb is, nor ever was, about. I'm not saying don't have the discussions, I'm saying cool down a bit. Not everything has to devolve into a he-said she-said battle about social issues.

#10 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@marokai said:

@milkman: And there's plenty of fun to be had here despite them, anyway. These things only ruin the fun if you let them!

There is, but there are negatives that weren't there before that are impacting users' experiences. I love this site and now I have a hard time looking at the content when I'm stressed from work or something when I used to use the site to relax.

Giant Bomb's image is being changed because there is this idea that just because a discussion is valid it HAS to be had on a website that is primarily about entertainment (see the amount of videos vs. the amount of longform posts). Hell, the Bombcast discussion had to be closed because moderation couldn't keep up with it, which shows that Giant Bomb isn't even made to bear this kind of discussion.

#11 Posted by wemibelec90 (1839 posts) -

@julius: I didn't mean to generalize. Of course, you're absolutely right that it can be hard to talk about anything else once the discussion gets stolen by a particular topic. It's unfortunate when this happens on, for example, comments for a particular piece of content that deals with a lot of different things (like an episode of the Bombcast) because one topic can overwhelm the others. It's still possible, however, to take that discussion you want to have to a new thread on the forums and find like-minded people to talk about it there. Most of the time, the vocal element will not follow you and you can have your conversation in peace.

#12 Posted by Milkman (17351 posts) -

@marokai said:

@milkman: And there's plenty of fun to be had here despite them, anyway. These things only ruin the fun if you let them!

Right. I've never understood why it has to be either/or situation.

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#13 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@julius said:

Can we just go back to funny pictures and video games?

Never been a fan of this kind of rhetoric. It's essentially telling us to shut off our brains and just ignore the problems that could very well exist.

#14 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@julius: I didn't mean to generalize. Of course, you're absolutely right that it can be hard to talk about anything else once the discussion gets stolen by a particular topic. It's unfortunate when this happens on, for example, comments for a particular piece of content that deals with a lot of different things (like an episode of the Bombcast) because one topic can overwhelm the others. It's still possible, however, to take that discussion you want to have to a new thread on the forums and find like-minded people to talk about it there. Most of the time, the vocal element will not follow you and you can have your conversation in peace.

Why would the onus to relocate not be on the large, problematic, ban/deletion-heavy discussion that usually involves a small minority of users? Rorie specified at the end of the Bombcast discussion that users should take their conversations to PM or elsewhere, why not just have this be how it is to begin with? There is so much in that Bombcast that wasn't given any discussion because of how users are allowed to dominate spaces on the site. That's hours of work for the staff that is boiled down to a conversation that can easily hurt the communities attitudes, as I believe it already has.

#16 Posted by Milkman (17351 posts) -

@julius said:

Giant Bomb's image is being changed because there is this idea that just because a discussion is valid it HAS to be had on a website that is primarily about entertainment (see the amount of videos vs. the amount of longform posts). Hell, the Bombcast discussion had to be closed because moderation couldn't keep up with it, which shows that Giant Bomb isn't even made to bear this kind of discussion.

The answer to this is not "don't have this discussion here." It's "we need to find a way to better have this discussion here." The staff has made it clear that they're concerned with getting better, not getting rid of the conversation.

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#17 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@julius said:

Can we just go back to funny pictures and video games?

Never been a fan of this kind of rhetoric. It's essentially telling us to shut off our brains and just ignore the problems that could very well exist.

This is a site that people pay a solid amount of money to subscribe to due to its content, and these conversations have more and more changed the content of the site and shut out discussions that may have been the reason people paid that money. This is a site that was comfortable and non-inflammatory and made me feel good, and it was about video games and funny pictures and stuff that didn't make people angry. It was a place of happiness for when I didn't have many friends in high school and took classes above my grade level where I knew no one. I could come home and watch the P4 Endurance Run and feel good. I love this site, why does it have to allow itself be host to all this aggression?

#18 Posted by GiantLizardKing (570 posts) -

@milkman: Give me a break. People trying to shoehorn "the discussion" into threads it doesn't belong in should have their comments deleted by moderators as off topic. You can't even comment on bomb cast or half the threads anymore without these heavy social issues needlessly spilling in. This all started because Dan and Jason were the wrong gender/complexion or something, which thus far seems pretty fucking dumb as those two have been great and nothing short of being the best for the job.

I agree with OP, people have been taking this shit way too seriously. That is the opposite of what the bombcast and giantbomb as a whole have always been about.

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#19 Posted by Stonyman65 (2877 posts) -
#20 Edited by JasonR86 (9729 posts) -
@milkman said:

@marokai said:

@milkman: And there's plenty of fun to be had here despite them, anyway. These things only ruin the fun if you let them!

Right. I've never understood why it has to be either/or situation.

The podcast this week spent maybe 15-30 minutes describing a convention. It was as harmless as describing a Pride festival. They used words to describe the atmosphere at an event and somehow, some way, people got upset. All the while there's been about two-four pieces of video content per day full of dumb, silly nonsense people seem so desperate to have. This website is almost entirely silly nonsense. To say that it's going down some dark path by spending a half hour of content describing an event and then nearly ten hours a week on silly nonsense-based content is insane.

But even more pressing is the idea that people can't handle hearing differing views. Just because Samantha may have been disappointed by the hires doesn't mean we all need to jump to GB's defense. GB will be fine. Samantha was reacting emotionally and immediately as people are want to do on Twitter. In person I'm sure there could have been a reasonable discussion to be had. But I'm flabbergasted by the responses opinions get on this site and elsewhere. It just looks so juvenile.

In my work, or in any work for that matter, employees are going to be held accountable by their co-workers and their bosses. In my work, if I seem to be making mistakes considering my relationship with my clients or with my judgement as a mental health therapist or anything else if I don't notice it I'm positive a co-worker or supervisor will and will talk to me about it. It's my responsibility to take their opinion, consider it, discuss it with them, and see what I need to do address an issue if there is one. I'd expect that from every employee at any job. So it floors me when on the internet when some people are challenged they become so defensive and angry about the very concept that maybe there's another view to a matter. That they take things so personally. It makes me wonder if we should teach the concept of discourse in schools so that people get the idea that a conversation isn't about winning some argument that may not even exist. It's about being open-minded and broaden one's perspective.

#21 Posted by wemibelec90 (1839 posts) -

@julius: So, your solution is to just give up and get rid of all discussion instead of having to deal with issues like this? That seems like a poor answer to the problem. Taking away easy, accessible means for users to communicate with each other would likely just eliminate that conversation entirely. The open ease of a forum, where anyone can sign up and post, is both the best and worst element of that concept. Without some freedoms, there would be no point to even having the forums. I know it isn't fair to ask the people who aren't part of the "problem" to move their discussion, but good luck getting those who dominate the discussion to go somewhere else.

Still, I don't think a few bad topics every now and again mean we should give up entirely. I have seen, and participated in, some fantastic forum topics here on Giant Bomb and value what I have gotten from them. Giving up those moments of joy and camaraderie for a bit of peaceful--yet empty--quiet doesn't sound like a good trade to me.

#22 Posted by Clonedzero (4196 posts) -

The reality is, if you're going to talk about touchy subjects. Shits gonna get touchy. That's just a reality, a shitty reality but still it's gonna happen. Sorry to be the one to break the news.

I'm also kinda disappointed with how serious shit has gotten here. I'd prefer to get into passionate arguments on the merits of a bat over a knife in a fight. Or would you eat that sealed hotdog at the top of the trash pile? That sorta shit. Alas, shits getting real and people wanna talk about this stuff.

If it were up to me, i'd let people just say whatever as long as it didnt get personal. If someones being a bigoted prick then let the community let him now he's a bigoted prick and its not cool. Merely deleting comments and locking shit isn't going to do a damn thing. People clearly want to get into these heated debates and thats fine as long as it doesn't get personal, at least in my opinion.

Kinda funny that now that contents being pushed out at a good pace, everything else about the site is going to shit really fast.

#23 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@video_game_king: See my comment above, post #9.

It's a lot more than that, though. I've seen it applied more broadly to video games, too. "Remember when games used to be fun, and people weren't arguing over the ideas in them? What happened to those halcyon days?"

#24 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@jasonr86 said:
@milkman said:

@marokai said:

@milkman: And there's plenty of fun to be had here despite them, anyway. These things only ruin the fun if you let them!

Right. I've never understood why it has to be either/or situation.

The podcast this week spent maybe 15-30 minutes describing a convention. It was as harmless as describing a Pride festival. They used words to describe the atmosphere at an event and somehow, some way, people got upset. All the while there's been about two-four pieces of video content per day full of dumb, silly nonsense people seem so desperate to have. This website is almost entirely silly nonsense. To say that it's going down some dark path by spending a half hour of content describing an event and then nearly ten hours a week on silly nonsense-based content is insane.

But even more pressing is the idea that people can't handle hearing differing views. Just because Samantha may have been disappointed by the hires doesn't mean we all need to jump to GB's defense. GB will be fine. Samantha was reacting emotionally and immediately as people are want to do on Twitter. In person I'm sure there could have been a reasonable discussion to be had. But I'm flabbergasted by the responses opinions get on this site and elsewhere. It just looks so juvenile.

In my work, or in any work for that matter, employees are going to be held accountable by their co-workers and their bosses. In my work, if I seem to be making mistakes considering my relationship with my clients or with my judgement as a mental health therapist or anything else if I don't notice it I'm positive a co-worker or supervisor will and will talk to me about it. It's my responsibility to take their opinion, consider it, discuss it with them, and see what I need to do address an issue if there is one. I'd expect that from every employee at any job. So it floors me when on the internet when some people are challenged they become so defensive and angry about the very concept that maybe there's another view to a matter. That they take things so personally. It makes me wonder if we should teach the concept of discourse in schools so that people get the idea that a conversation isn't about winning some argument that may not even exist. It's about being open-minded and broaden one's perspective.

The first paragraph is amazing to me, because you completely bag on the people who had opinions about the content on the Bombcast but then go on to say how you're surprised people get so crazy about opinions. Can't you see that to some people ALL of this discussion is upsetting? Wouldn't you rather that you didn't have to see the original comments that made you mad? Just because opinions are valid doesn't mean they have to feature in all places.

And I don't get your last point, this is the OPPOSITE of my job, it's where I don't want to be forced to have conversations or hear a bunch of bickering. This is where I retreat to, because it has been a huge source of entertainment and fun!

#26 Posted by Milkman (17351 posts) -

@stonyman65: @giantlizardking: I see the "this isn't what Giant Bomb is about" defense a lot. Well, says who? Did I miss the mandate on what Giant Bomb is or isn't about? Because your Giant Bomb and Jeff's Giant Bomb sound very different.

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#27 Edited by csl316 (9523 posts) -

There's plenty of fun to be had on the site. That won't change.

Serious discussions are usually welcome, but lately things have been getting heated really quickly and people talk at each other. It's why the mods are reevaluating policies at the moment.

It's a shame, really. I like puppy pictures and cool user videos, but this site also gives me opportunities to hear perspectives from around the world. The international aspect of this site is fucking awesome for that reason. But when things get mean, it just pushes me away.

#28 Posted by Brodehouse (10138 posts) -

My new catchphrase is I DON'T GIVE A FUUUUUUCK

But for real. I do remember when the only thing I would get into arguments on this site were about busted zombie apocalypse tropes and Dragon Age 2.

I don't like seeing smart people stop thinking rigorously. It's not just hypocrisy in most cases, it's casual hypocrisy. And it's usually tied up in stereotype and suspicion.

I didn't get to see Samantha Allen gettin mad about Giant Bomb hiring white guys (how dare they). But I had already written her off for her 'these games are boys games and boys games are immature and gross' article.

#29 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@julius: So, your solution is to just give up and get rid of all discussion instead of having to deal with issues like this? That seems like a poor answer to the problem. Taking away easy, accessible means for users to communicate with each other would likely just eliminate that conversation entirely. The open ease of a forum, where anyone can sign up and post, is both the best and worst element of that concept. Without some freedoms, there would be no point to even having the forums. I know it isn't fair to ask the people who aren't part of the "problem" to move their discussion, but good luck getting those who dominate the discussion to go somewhere else.

Still, I don't think a few bad topics every now and again mean we should give up entirely. I have seen, and participated in, some fantastic forum topics here on Giant Bomb and value what I have gotten from them. Giving up those moments of joy and camaraderie for a bit of peaceful--yet empty--quiet doesn't sound like a good trade to me.

Things don't have to be laissez-faire, there are already plenty of types of "conversation" that would get users instantly banned, why not include discussions that tarnish the community and the site's enjoyability even despite the potentially valid points being made?

#30 Posted by Stonyman65 (2877 posts) -

@stonyman65 said:

@video_game_king: See my comment above, post #9.

It's a lot more than that, though. I've seen it applied more broadly to video games, too. "Remember when games used to be fun, and people weren't arguing over the ideas in them? What happened to those halcyon days?"

I get what you are saying, but I see no problem with that. If people just want to turn of their brains (as you said) and be entertained, that is their prerogative. Things become a problem when other people start shoving things in their face. One of the big criticisms of the whole social justice thing is that a lot of people aren't so much having a discussion as much as they are going "this is what's happening and this is how you should feel about it" It's not a discussion as much as it is telling someone else what to do, how to feel, and what to think. That's not acceptable. A discussion is fine, trying to force your opinions on someone else isn't. Like someone else mentioned above, there is a lot of talking at, not talking to.

And that is why people are so on edge over it and just want to turn off their brains because they are so sick of everything surrounding it, regardless of what their personal views on the subject are.

#31 Posted by wemibelec90 (1839 posts) -

@julius: I feel just as strongly about this, in regards to the community. It really breaks my heart knowing that some people will forever view GB as a site for scum after these "debacles" in the last few weeks. At those times when I am at my most infuriated, I can absolutely agree that I would probably just prefer that anyone who starts/participates such a conversation gets banned.

My only real fear is that the mods may become a bit too trigger-happy on things, for fear of offending anyone. There are logical and well thought-out conversations that can be had about topics like this (such as this thread, for instance), but they can sometimes tread pretty close to that line of going too far. If the mods were too jumpy and just deleted something like this just because it even mentioned a sensitive topic, that would be going too far. It's a very delicate balance, one that I don't envy the mods or the staff for having to keep.

#32 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@video_game_king said:

@stonyman65 said:

@video_game_king: See my comment above, post #9.

It's a lot more than that, though. I've seen it applied more broadly to video games, too. "Remember when games used to be fun, and people weren't arguing over the ideas in them? What happened to those halcyon days?"

I get what you are saying, but I see no problem with that. If people just want to turn of their brains (as you said) and be entertained, that is their prerogative. Things become a problem when other people start shoving things in their face. One of the big criticisms of the whole social justice thing is that a lot of people aren't so much having a discussion as much as they are going "this is what's happening and this is how you should feel about it" It's not a discussion as much as it is telling someone else what to do, how to feel, and what to think. That's not acceptable. A discussion is fine, trying to force your opinions on someone else isn't. Like someone else mentioned above, there is a lot of talking at, not talking to.

And that is why people are so on edge over it and just want to turn off their brains because they are so sick of everything surrounding it, regardless of what their personal views on the subject are.

This is totally how I feel. My job this summer is to make a 3D browser for hundreds of thousands of pieces of DICOM data for my university, I would really like to have the ability to shut off my brain when I'm home. And Giant Bomb was always great at that, they always found a way to have complex conversations about simple things like Doritos, high school memories or energy drinks. They would make things interesting, but nothing would require or warrant an opinion.

#33 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

One of the big criticisms of the whole social justice thing is that a lot of people aren't so much having a discussion as much as they are going "this is what's happening and this is how you should feel about it" It's not a discussion as much as it is telling someone else what to do, how to feel, and what to think. That's not acceptable. A discussion is fine, trying to force your opinions on someone else isn't. Like someone else mentioned above, there is a lot of talking at, not talking to.

Then the issue isn't so much the level of thought put into video games and more the expression of that thought. In this case, it's hard to tell if people are just asking for better communication (and doing so very poorly), or if they genuinely want less thought put into games and discussing them. I mean, yea, there are games where it's OK to shut off your brain and just roll with it, but then there are games where doing so would be deeply troubling.

#34 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@julius: I feel just as strongly about this, in regards to the community. It really breaks my heart knowing that some people will forever view GB as a site for scum after these "debacles" in the last few weeks. At those times when I am at my most infuriated, I can absolutely agree that I would probably just prefer that anyone who starts/participates such a conversation gets banned.

My only real fear is that the mods may become a bit too trigger-happy on things, for fear of offending anyone. There are logical and well thought-out conversations that can be had about topics like this (such as this thread, for instance), but they can sometimes tread pretty close to that line of going too far. If the mods were too jumpy and just deleted something like this just because it even mentioned a sensitive topic, that would be going too far. It's a very delicate balance, one that I don't envy the mods or the staff for having to keep.

Can't you see that the people who think Giant Bomb is "scum" don't matter? With all its history and the awesome things that have happened, why do we need to get louder than people trying to tear it down either way?

I'm not saying that things need to be instantly bannable, but I mean they're already being deleted so why not make it a policy that the scope of discussion on these parts of the site is limited to things that aren't going to tarnish its image or create a rift in the community that consumes its content? It could even be that it only applies to popular places like the Bombcast comments and such.

#35 Posted by Stonyman65 (2877 posts) -

@milkman said:

@stonyman65: @giantlizardking: I see the "this isn't what Giant Bomb is about" defense a lot. Well, says who? Did I miss the mandate on what Giant Bomb is or isn't about? Because your Giant Bomb and Jeff's Giant Bomb sound very different.

I seem to remember Jeff and Ryan specifically saying "It's a site about video games!" and that the main purpose of the site was based around video content and news about video games. Go back and listen to a lot of the early podcasts and watch a lot of the earlier videos where Jeff and Ryan talk specifically about what their intentions for the are. Things haven't changed much since then.

Nobody has said anything about the site not being inclusionary - everyone is welcome here and all opinions are welcome here - the point that we were making is that site is, first a foremost, and entertainment site. They produce videos, audio, reviews, news stories, and the occasional staff editorial and community contributions. That's it.

I have no problem with the commentary on social issues, but I do have a problem that there are certain people who make it their mission in life to interject that into everything on the site and shout as loud as they can about it. That shit is getting OLD.

#36 Posted by JasonR86 (9729 posts) -

@stonyman65:

Well, the content that is so upsetting would still fit that definition because it covers social issues within the context of video games and video game news.

Am I really arguing semantics?

What the hell are we doing?!?!?

#37 Posted by l4wd0g (2016 posts) -

The right framework here is one of pluralism: the ability of many different kinds of people to live out their beliefs in public with and among those who deeply disagree with them. This is no easy challenge; it's painful and ugly and hard. But the alternative to is a thin, univocal culture, one in which the only disagreements we have are trivial. And that would be a shame. ( I changed faith to beliefs from the conclusion of an article Alan Nobel wrote to make it more applicable)

I'm glad you brought up Voltaire. He's one of my heroes. He did have critics in his time as evidenced in his Letter to Étienne Noël Damilaville, May 16, 1767, "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it."One of my favorite quotes which is often misattributed to Voltaire but was Evelyn Beatrice Hall is, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." And that's how we should live. You don't have to agree with or listen to anyone but they have the right to say it (of course not violating the ToS of GiantBomb).

There is still a ton of room for silly pictures. Someone has to add Dan and Jason to staff Photoshop image thread.

#38 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@milkman said:

@stonyman65: @giantlizardking: I see the "this isn't what Giant Bomb is about" defense a lot. Well, says who? Did I miss the mandate on what Giant Bomb is or isn't about? Because your Giant Bomb and Jeff's Giant Bomb sound very different.

I seem to remember Jeff and Ryan specifically saying "It's a site about video games!" and that the main purpose of the site was based around video content and news about video games. Go back and listen to a lot of the early podcasts and watch a lot of the earlier videos where Jeff and Ryan talk specifically about what their intentions for the are. Things haven't changed much since then.

Nobody has said anything about the site not being inclusionary - everyone is welcome here and all opinions are welcome here - the point that we were making is that site is, first a foremost, and entertainment site. They produce videos, audio, reviews, news stories, and the occasional staff editorial and community contributions. That's it.

I have no problem with the commentary on social issues, but I do have a problem that there are certain people who make it their mission in life to interject that into everything on the site and shout as loud as they can about it. That shit is getting OLD.

"It's a web site! About video games! Giant Bomb, dot com!"

And Ryan was always so diligent about avoiding social/political issues on the podcast, it's clearly something they thought wasn't a part of the site. People would bring up Republicans/Democrats or recent news and he would turn it into a joke and make it entertaining.

#39 Posted by Stonyman65 (2877 posts) -

@video_game_king: I agree with that and I'm always for a good discussion and I want others to challenge my views and make me think deep, but I also realize that there are a lot of people who just like to bitch and argue about every little thing because they have nothing better to do and have a tendency to overthink everything and somehow find a way to make everything offensive to them...

Like I said before... Sometimes you just need to cool down, take a step back and reevaluate things. Just yelling louder and kicking harder isn't going to solve the problem - that's why threads like these always devolve into shitstorms.

#40 Posted by Stonyman65 (2877 posts) -

@julius said:

@stonyman65 said:

@milkman said:

@stonyman65: @giantlizardking: I see the "this isn't what Giant Bomb is about" defense a lot. Well, says who? Did I miss the mandate on what Giant Bomb is or isn't about? Because your Giant Bomb and Jeff's Giant Bomb sound very different.

I seem to remember Jeff and Ryan specifically saying "It's a site about video games!" and that the main purpose of the site was based around video content and news about video games. Go back and listen to a lot of the early podcasts and watch a lot of the earlier videos where Jeff and Ryan talk specifically about what their intentions for the are. Things haven't changed much since then.

Nobody has said anything about the site not being inclusionary - everyone is welcome here and all opinions are welcome here - the point that we were making is that site is, first a foremost, and entertainment site. They produce videos, audio, reviews, news stories, and the occasional staff editorial and community contributions. That's it.

I have no problem with the commentary on social issues, but I do have a problem that there are certain people who make it their mission in life to interject that into everything on the site and shout as loud as they can about it. That shit is getting OLD.

"It's a web site! About video games! Giant Bomb, dot com!"

And Ryan was always so diligent about avoiding social/political issues on the podcast, it's clearly something they thought wasn't a part of the site. People would bring up Republicans/Democrats or recent news and he would turn it into a joke and make it entertaining.

Exactly. They wouldn't concern themselves with things like that because they knew this wasn't the proper outlet for it. That doesn't mean they didn't care or didn't think it was important, they just decided to let that stuff be discussed elsewhere. It wasn't until the last few years when that stuff really started to take hold of the site, and the community has been at each other's throats ever since.

#41 Posted by Xanadu (430 posts) -

Ya I wish giantbomb could go back to its silly days of just being raondom stupid fun. But I guess the burrito/sandwich thread getting locked in about an hour after its creation is proof that those days are gone. Also this thread will probably be locked soon.

#42 Posted by wemibelec90 (1839 posts) -

@julius said:

Can't you see that the people who think Giant Bomb is "scum" don't matter? With all its history and the awesome things that have happened, why do we need to get louder than people trying to tear it down either way?

I'm not saying that things need to be instantly bannable, but I mean they're already being deleted so why not make it a policy that the scope of discussion on these parts of the site is limited to things that aren't going to tarnish its image or create a rift in the community that consumes its content? It could even be that it only applies to popular places like the Bombcast comments and such.

I don't see where I said anything about the "scum" of GB mattering, so I'll just move on to your second paragraph.

I'm sure that this policy is already in place or at least something similar to it. Those of us who wish to have a deeper discussion often do take things to the actual forums and have those conversations there, instead of taking up space in a popular space like the Bombcast comments. Of course, this doesn't always happen and sometimes areas like these can become "polluted" in a sense. As nice as it would be to keep a tighter leash on these particular comment sections, so to speak, it would be an awful lot of work for the moderation staff. Just saying that certain conversations are off-limits doesn't mean that users aren't still going to try to have them, meaning that the mods have to stay busy and keep on top of things.

What it seems like you are trying to get at is that more "serious" discussions like these need their own place on the website, a place that keeps them segmented away from those people who don't want to see it. I could see something like that possibly working, maybe a special forum just for posts like these, but I still think it is a bit close-minded to want to only experience the content you want at the cost of content other people may want. As hurtful as some comments and discussions can be, I love see users like yourself coming out and speaking their mind about something logically in response to those harmful users. Would you have made this post if these comments had never happened? I'm not saying that the ends justify the means, but there is something to be said for complete freedom. With this freedom, we get unfortunate and vitriolic discussions but we also get ridiculous threads like "Ketchup vs Mayo" too. I don't know if you can have one without the other, as this openness naturally supports all kinds of crazy.

#43 Posted by Stonyman65 (2877 posts) -

@jasonr86: Yeah I guess it is, but at the same time I do remember a day when subjects like that were specifically avoided on the site. As Julius just said, Ryan and Jeff would go out their way to not be so serious and try to make everything a joke. I really miss that. Not that I didn't want the discussion because I did and always found that type of stuff interesting, but because I always admired how they were always able to keep everything fun and on the lighter side of life. Y'know, we see so much horrible shit and injustice going on in the world today and in the news... It was just nice being able to go to Giant Bomb and be able to forget about all of that shit for a while and just have fun. It's getting harder and harder to do that these days......

#44 Posted by Julius (112 posts) -

@julius said:

Can't you see that the people who think Giant Bomb is "scum" don't matter? With all its history and the awesome things that have happened, why do we need to get louder than people trying to tear it down either way?

I'm not saying that things need to be instantly bannable, but I mean they're already being deleted so why not make it a policy that the scope of discussion on these parts of the site is limited to things that aren't going to tarnish its image or create a rift in the community that consumes its content? It could even be that it only applies to popular places like the Bombcast comments and such.

I don't see where I said anything about the "scum" of GB mattering, so I'll just move on to your second paragraph.

I'm sure that this policy is already in place or at least something similar to it. Those of us who wish to have a deeper discussion often do take things to the actual forums and have those conversations there, instead of taking up space in a popular space like the Bombcast comments. Of course, this doesn't always happen and sometimes areas like these can become "polluted" in a sense. As nice as it would be to keep a tighter leash on these particular comment sections, so to speak, it would be an awful lot of work for the moderation staff. Just saying that certain conversations are off-limits doesn't mean that users aren't still going to try to have them, meaning that the mods have to stay busy and keep on top of things.

What it seems like you are trying to get at is that more "serious" discussions like these need their own place on the website, a place that keeps them segmented away from those people who don't want to see it. I could see something like that possibly working, maybe a special forum just for posts like these, but I still think it is a bit close-minded to want to only experience the content you want at the cost of content other people may want. As hurtful as some comments and discussions can be, I love see users like yourself coming out and speaking their mind about something logically in response to those harmful users. Would you have made this post if these comments had never happened? I'm not saying that the ends justify the means, but there is something to be said for complete freedom. With this freedom, we get unfortunate and vitriolic discussions but we also get ridiculous threads like "Ketchup vs Mayo" too. I don't know if you can have one without the other, as this openness naturally supports all kinds of crazy.

I think you misread what I said, you had said that you didn't like that people thought of Giant Bomb as the place for "scum," I said that who cares about people who would think about Giant Bomb like that.

I really don't like the "I think it is close-minded" line of argumentation because as long as I am not being actively close-minded towards the inclusion of other members, I should be able to have the opinion that this content shouldn't be shown to me, and if a large amount of users agree, then Giant Bomb should care about that. This site makes content that is primarily entertainment that is being distracted from by angry discussion, and affecting the experiences of customers paying to experience that content.

#45 Posted by flippyandnod (423 posts) -

I shut this week's podcast off early, so I can't comment on all of it.

But putting on the guest and then slicing and dicing sex and gender issues for 15 minutes is a huge turn off to me. It isn't what I tune into the podcast for and furthermore I think spending that much time dividing everyone into buckets and talking about their differences that don't really have anything to do with gaming does nothing to unite a community, if anything it just reinforces how different everyone is.

I welcome guests such as the Bombcast had on this week. Please bring on more guests of all diverse backgrounds in the future to contribute to the discussion of gaming. But if you're going to bring them on to bang on about gender issues instead, please don't bother.

#46 Edited by Irvandus (2900 posts) -

For me the issue is not at all that the conversations are happening, hell it's a good thing, the issue is that it's not a discussion at all. For the most part it's people yelling and talking over eachother for ever and ever in a cycle going over the same topics while having the same opinions. It's annoying and I don't want to participate in that which is totally fine. This thread is actually a decent one where I feel fine participating at the moment. My issue is when this leaks into places it shouldn't that damage the general vibe of things. The podcast thing spreading into the Unpopular Opinions thread is super dumb don't do it. Make a good thread like this, don't behave like assholes, listen, and don't give the mods are hard time. Maybe you'll prove me wrong and show that a real discussion can happen in a way that does good instead of just becoming a mess.

Edit: I should really stop posting from my phone.

#48 Posted by wemibelec90 (1839 posts) -

@julius: You are right, I did misread what you had said. I just don't like the idea of people seeing GB as only a place of evil, completely missing all the good this site does on a regular basis in the community. That misrepresentation really bums me out.

I shouldn't have played the "close-minded" card, yes. If I'm allowed to say I want something, so are you obviously. I apologize for that. I still stick by my opinion, however, that I like the freedom that GB offers. While I don't like the recent trends of conversations on GB, I still want conversations in general to be had, even if they are about more "serious" topics. I feel that the mods here do a good job, but it's still a tight line to walk--banning people left and right to ensure no one is "offended" can stifle all creativity and discussion. Still, a way to maybe put those deeper conversations off in their own area, and discouraging them from appearing in areas like comments, may be the answer.

#49 Posted by Xanadu (430 posts) -

@clonedzero: I'm with you but I will always support giant bomb as long as Jeff and Brad are here.

#50 Edited by Roboculus92 (534 posts) -

@flippyandnod said:

I shut this week's podcast off early, so I can't comment on all of it.

But putting on the guest and then slicing and dicing sex and gender issues for 15 minutes is a huge turn off to me. It isn't what I tune into the podcast for and furthermore I think spending that much time dividing everyone into buckets and talking about their differences that don't really have anything to do with gaming does nothing to unite a community, if anything it just reinforces how different everyone is.

I welcome guests such as the Bombcast had on this week. Please bring on more guests of all diverse backgrounds in the future to contribute to the discussion of gaming. But if you're going to bring them on to bang on about gender issues instead, please don't bother.

They did bring on a guest who discussed gaming. In fact, they spent the vast majority of this week's podcast talking about gaming. It was only the first 10 minutes where they happened to talk about Gaymer X. Samantha only briefly talked about going there, since Brad asked about what she had been up to and why she was in town (which is something they usually ask their guests) and then they moved on.

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