Vinny's forum posts

#1 Posted by Vinny (2111 posts) -

By 'journalists and developers' I'm referring mostly to the figures/targets (whichever term you'd prefer) at the center of the last two months. I'm referring to the people who built narratives around this group of people who had a problem with them, who called them ugly white men until notyourshield made that impossible, who claimed that anyone who had a problem with mass deletions, DMCAs, and any actual case of possible injustice doesn't actually care about injustice and are really just misogynists.

Thanks for taking the time to write the response. Not sure I'll be able to stick around much longer. I have to put the kids to bed (literally, not a metaphor). So don't think I'm ignoring you if I don't respond.

As far as I can tell those people also love games. If they are dismissive of an audience then that audience will leave, right? They don't represent games anymore than you or I do. Sure, they might have larger voices because of a platform, but that's because an audience is listening to them. If they still have a large audience then "Go with God", right? If they lose their audience they won't have a voice anymore. If it's really a few individuals, this should be achievable.

If it's not a few individuals, and there's a real call for something different, someone or some new publication will fill the gap. They will put ads on it, and they will monetize it.

I think using countries in (what was already a stretch of a metaphor on my part) is not really the same. But if you dive into the groups trying to settle those conflicts by various means you immediately touch some of the problems in discussing these things objectively.

Staff
#2 Posted by Vinny (2111 posts) -

I understand the staff's sentiment regarding harassment and death threats, etc. I feel anyone who engages in this kind of mean spirited behavior is doing a disservice to the ethics debate. I also think that the fact this entire ordeal was started by a biased and angry (even if justifiably angry) ex-boyfriend who, by most accounts, was cheated on in a very nasty way, is reason enough for people to take everything he presented with a grain of salt. However, much like often happens in political scandals, this entire thing became relevant when the media outlets who had staff member involved, directly or indirectly, started actively trying to dismiss the whole discussion without actually demonstrating any transparency or accountability.

I read the story about the failed Game Jam TV show that Zoe Quinn participated in when it first was covered by the gaming press. Not a single one of the pieces I read gave a chance for the producer, who was accused of being offensive towards women, a chance to defend himself. Most of them immediately jumped at his throat with a level of aggressiveness uncommon in proper journalism. As a journalist myself, having worked in actual politics coverage for years, I am aware that you should never take sides when covering a story, even when it's apparently obvious that one side is right and the other is wrong. When a journalist does take sides while reporting, he or she is failing at their job.

Gaming journalism used to be an arm of PR. In the last decade, it's been moving from being a marketing tool to being a proper type of coverage, akin to what has existed for a long time in the field of arts and culture. However, the people who work at and lead gaming media outlets seem mostly unprepared to deal with the reality of their changing position. It is no longer acceptable for gaming journalism to be completely irresponsible about what they write. This is not a choice to be taken, it's a fact to be recognized.

When an outlet like Kotaku writes a click-bait piece about the art style in Dragon's Crown, associating the art direction with misogyny and gender discrimination, they are making a disservice to anyone who truly believes that gender equality is something we should all work to achieve. It was irresponsible and ignorant, much like it would be irresponsible and ignorant to slant a film as racist after seeing only a still frame. "Look, that film has a burning cross in it, so it must be racist. Oh, wait. It's Mississippi Burning. My bad!"

Once a media coverage becomes relevant, it has to uphold itself to standards. Otherwise, the audience will revolt. Remember the story about the NYT writer Judith Miller, who wrote many pieces about the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq leading up to the invasion? She has since left the NYT and went on to work for a Republican think tank. Her work was so biased and irresponsible, the NYT had to issue a public apology. You are probably thinking this stuff is way more serious than videogames will ever be. Well, guess again!

Why did the NYT issue that apology? Why did they fire Judith Miller? To save face, one might say. But that is exactly what gaming media should have done in face of the ethics accusations. Publishing a series of articles about the death of the gamer identity simultaneously in many different outlets, all in the same week, as a response to the #GamerGate arise, was the stupidest thing they could have done. The message sent was "Yes, there is bias and we stand by it" I understand you might not think this is the case and that those articles had the best of intentions, but it is how it's perceived from the outside looking in. If Kotaku and all the other involved media outlets had instead addressed the story in a journalistic way, made a mea culpa and possibly even fired someone for truly behaving inappropriately towards a source, there would likely be no movement at all. The nut cases would be screaming alone, like they already did before this whole mess started.

This is the last paragraph, I swear. What are game developers to gaming journalists? Friends? Co-workers? Colleagues? Nope. They are sources. Every journalist has a relationship with his or her sources. Some sources become friends, some become acquaintances, some just stay sources forever. A young journalist/blogger has a romantic, possibly extramarital relationship with a young indie developer. Is this allowed? Sure it is. It's their life, they can do whatever they want with it, including cheating. However, when their lives are exposed in the internet, and bias in his coverage of her work is implied, the gaming media can't pretend nothing is happening. There is a story to be covered, questions to be answered. Ignoring the story will produce a reaction. Giving an unsatisfying response will produce a reaction. We live in internet times, where nothing goes away and nothing can be hidden for too long unless it's too complicated to be screamed out in 140 characters. I think most gaming websites have not really spent much time thinking about crisis management and general PR stuff. They should start now, because if anything positive can be taken away from this mess, it's the realization that gaming journalism has become relevant, and it needs to deal with it's relevancy with maturity and rationality.

PS: I'm not a native English speaker, so I apologize if anything written here sounds offensive to someone or excessive in any way. It is not my intention. I'm a big fan of the website, although I'm not a subscriber, and I wish you all the best of luck.

Didn't agree with all of it, but a lot of it. This is a good read.

Staff
#3 Edited by Vinny (2111 posts) -

@vinny said:

@karlpilkington said:

@vinny Yo Vinny, I've heard some people hating on journalists for taking free swag at events. I don't see the problem with journalists getting free stuff at events, free stuff is great and I know I could trust myself to not be bias just because I got a t-shirt from the developer.

Do you think the problem here is that if people see you taking the free stuff then they won't trust you if you ever write about the game? Wondering what you'd think if you saw a journalist friend receive free stuff.

I definitely think "free stuff" is an issue. People receive free crap all the time. Most people that have been in this long enough have piles of it they regret ever accruing. Most larger companies have peer review systems. That mean even if that awesome camo USB drive you got from Shooter: The Big Shooter got through your defenses, than someone is going to call you on it. We are also hyperaware of it. A lot of it backfires. It can look desperate. But when I go to E3 and see the gigantic lines at an industry event for a pair of Mickey Mouse ears I worry. I see people go into a frenzy to catch a t-shirt and then see that a person from it is sitting at a press event for The Witcher. It's disturbing.

We get games from publishers and devs all the time. At some point you just have to either trust us or not. I do think, even within our organization, keeping perspective about how much games cost and that we have more access than most is important.

Overall, use your nose. If something smells rotten, it probably is.

Hey Vinny, is this becoming a bigger issue as more people turn to Youtube personalities over traditional journalist sites? Even if we look at Giant Bomb, one could argue much of the content is equivocal to most popular 'Let's Play' videos on the internet these days - I sometimes wonder if there is any structural divide left between the guy doing a Let's Play of a new game by himself and a Quick Look Solo with Patrick.

Maybe that's pertinent to a different discussion, but as a viewer I see these articles about people on Youtube organising questionable deals with publishers and then I see the similarity in content style between Giant Bomb and those Youtube personalities and I begin to wonder how people new to all of this style of content will even be able to identify a difference between the two without the context of having followed a site like this for a few years while the Let's Play bubble was still small.

In short: are we even talking about journalist ethics any more, or just the ethics of content creators with a large following and influence?

"In short: are we even talking about journalist ethics any more, or just the ethics of content creators with a large following and influence?"

You nailed it. I think this is the issue. I know like 6 people I would call journalists in this industry. The rest are critics and entertainers. It doesn't make their work any less relevant.

I think we all have to been on the lookout for behavior that makes us (the gaming community) look rotten.

Staff
#4 Posted by Vinny (2111 posts) -

I wasn't sure about this letter to the editor, despite it being very well written and the fact that I love when "Jeff gets real." I am one of those "both sides" assholes who like to point out that there has been some extreme terribleness coming from both directions. Plus, Giant Bomb being called out to say something felt to me like those who constantly call out Muslims to say something against ISIS to prove they are "good Muslims" or some crap. I didn't see what difference it would make.

The comments made by @vinny in this thread have changed my mind. This may sound cliched, but I love Vinny. I have read hundreds of comments about this whole situation over the last month, but he put things in a way that really helped me to understand the situation. GamerGate is crap. You may agree with what it is saying, but it was literally founded on gossip and scandal, not on a quest for journalistic integrity. The accusations from the very beginning against Zoe Quin read like something from TMZ. That is the foundation of GamerGate: a personal issue that no one should be concerned with. From there, some Frankenstein idea of ethics emerged, but the ground was tainted from the beginning. "You can't build something off a pile of corpses" is exactly right. Now, ISIS and GG are NOWHERE in the same league and I would never suggest that, but if members of ISIS were to come out and say "nah, that the people decapitating heads in my ISIS are crazy, but us over here actually want to talk about our problems with America," my suggestion to them would be just to start a whole new group completely divorced from the crazy people.

GamerGate is like some blob from a horror movie. It has no head, no body, or really know driving force. It just kind of flops about, destroying things. To those of you pointing out how the aggression and death threats from the anti-GG is being overlooked, THAT is the difference. They are human beings who are scared and have coherent points who are super scared of this blob tumbling towards them. Now, I'm not saying aggressive threats should be excused, but GG has been so formless and toxic that there isn't much to do to fight against it. Some one claiming to be from GG could attack some one else at any time for any reason and then just scream "ETHICS!"

I may be biased. I love Zoe Quinn and am still flabbergasted on how she ended up as patient zero for this whole thing. Still, I have a lot of problems with the way the progressive criticism has been conducted on gaming sites for the last year. I don't think it is corrupt, but rather very human. The critics (rightfully) point out that they can't be silenced because you don't want to read it, see it, or agree with it, but then they turn around doing the same things, acting like criticism and their perspective is infallible. Plus, there is problematic group think that I see in both ideologies.

But guess what? One side is writing editorials, making videos, and speaking in public. They may be aggressive and rough and perhaps even hyperbolic, but at least they are being constructive. The blob known as GamerGate just screams on twitter and sends death threats to people. I haven't even seen a well constructed article from that side even on a tumblr.

This whole thing is a mess and GG people do not deserve harassment, but your cause is too mutated and vindictive to be effective. Cut yourself free and escape the blob is what I say.

I found your thoughts to be extremely interesting. This might sound pandering, but it's one of the best posts I've read on this about seeing a different perspective.

Staff
#5 Posted by Vinny (2111 posts) -

@vinny: Theres been a few huffington post live with the two groups going at it. While it ends up turning into #shotsfired from both sides at least they are trying.

When will it be intelligent? Depends who you get to talk

There are anti-gg and gg people who want to talk, you guys doing this shows you want to too. Try TB, sommers, milo, boogie just to name a few. They want to talk. They might seem really right-winged to you but that's what gaming culture has evolved into. It's now mainstream enough to have a ton of opinions from everyone.

Yeah, I've watched some of those. I find Milo tough to listen to. Seems like he's got some other motives in there. I just have not seen anything actionable come out of the gamergate requests. Not being dismissive, but saying "we want ethics" is like me saying I "I want the internet to be fair". The thing I have heard the most from both sides is "It's not us! Stop making up or associating actions with us!" and if everybody is a victim how can you have an aggressor?

Staff
#6 Posted by Vinny (2111 posts) -

Wow. GB staff, can you not see the consumer revolt behind this? I want for nothing more than an open an unpoliticised, non agenda driven, gaming media. That is why I support gamergate. To imply that I tacitly support bomb threats or harassment or am being led by puppet masters is insulting, Jeff.

Why have so many publications thrown themselves in front of the gamergate bus? Supporting antiGG has made so many places look bad, now we have to add GB to that list, why??? Why support Alex giving 5 star reviews to his friends (Jazzpunk) or Patrick preaching honesty and justice and reporting one side? I don't.

If Jeff can insinuate so many things about my character, if he see the odd in everything and misses the even, I feel I have to burn my half of the bridge too. I'd like a refund on the time of my subscription not used, please, but hey if that's not possible don't worry. Any GB advertisers I buy products from I shall email letting them know how I feel too. Might be a drop in the bucket, but that's how consumers fight in capitalism.

Sounds like you might have your mind made up here but if you're open to talking we're here. We obviously were not targeting you specifically chimpchamp. Well, we might have been, but that would mean you should probably be arrested.

Games are pretty good now. The bar is pretty high. A lot of games just aren't that bad. Honestly, I think we're past "GAME X HAS THIS GUN" "THE JUMPING FEELS REALLY GOOD" and more into what some games add to our lives beyond graphics and mechanics. It's a great time. Games are reaching, and coming from, an amazing, and diverse group of people. We won't agree with everything, but that's good. It's why people have made challenging games of their own. When people say it's wrong to cover games in a certain way and that's a sign of the corruption instead of a sign of... well, coverage. Well, that argument feels a bit defensive. Like someone is trying to take away your toys, or Patrick shouldn't talk write a story about a gay man unless he gets in a story about a straight man too. It's only fair, right? Come on. Let's hear some stories coming from new places. Patrick reporting on abuse and death threats is one-sided? Gamergate press should be reporting on that stuff too. Everyone should be. There's only one side.

Also, Alex doesn't know the JazzPunk guys. I just double-checked with him. But then again... that's exactly what he WOULD say... isn't it?

Staff
#7 Posted by Vinny (2111 posts) -

Jeff, Brad, Vinny...since you guys are all around the same age as me, doesn't all this feel like the horrible nightmares our parents and the news said would happen thanks to the Internet back when we were kids and crap like the anarchist cookbook was floating around online. Not saying they were right or not, but now that we are seeing a generational shift on the other side of things, the memory of those times comes popping back into my head. The key difference as I remember it is that we just used all the info we got from the Internet for dumb harmless stuff, while this generation has done weird things to the moral and social norms thanks to some of these kids growing up exposed to anonymous internet trolls from a young age.

It's a weird time and I just want to shake the kids who aren't filled with hate and just got roped into this mess because they are looking for something to rebel against, and tell them good on you for being passionate about things like ethics in journalism and our industry, but there are better ways to do it. Based on your letter I imagine you feel kind of the same way.

ha, the anarchist cookbook. Yup. Pretty much. MY DAD WAS RIGHT! Crap.

Staff
#8 Edited by Vinny (2111 posts) -

@hassun said:
@vinny said:

I agree that questions are great. Ask me anything! Ask me about ethics.

Hmm, how about...

With crowdfunding in all its forms (kickstarter, patreon, etc.) becoming more commonplace, where do you draw the in terms of coverage? Does Giant Bomb have a policy on these new systems yet? I ask because crwodfunding support has been a been a big factor in a lot of the gamergate upheaval.

I also often get reminded by others about the article @alex wrote about the Amplitude kicstarter and how people saw a conflict of interest there and that the article was subsequently removed. (Having followed Alex's career for many years now I saw no ill-will behind this article but of course others might not know him that well.)

We've talked about it a lot. Especially, in the context of setting official policy for the site. Right now, it seems like items that are relevant to a news cycle get coverage. Like, the huge surprises, big returns of old games, etc. We try to cover things we and the majority of our audience would want to know about.

So, that's the coverage. Can an individual contribute to crowdfunding? My personal feeling at this juncture is yes. But people, even within here, disagree with me. Would you have to recluse yourself from reviews. DEFINITELY! Should everything that person does relating to that product be suspect? Maybe. Can you write an article about a person that you once supported through kickstarter? I mean, yes. Yes you can. I have bought so many video games in the past. If you had to tell me I couldn't mention any dev or publisher I helped financially I would have nothing to do all day.

All that said, there is discussion to be had for sure. We have been having it, even publicly. I think we've talked about a bunch of this on the Bombcast and... if I remember correctly, even during an EX for the Broken Age.

Staff
#9 Edited by Vinny (2111 posts) -

What is more likely? That a group of people of various ethnicities, genders, orientations and backgrounds collectively have a bone to pick with a small group of people over their behavior, and comport themselves with different standards of behavior, some being sensible and others engaging in negative and sometimes criminal behavior.... or that a clever group of a few incredibly evil people have managed to dupe thousands upon thousands of people into being mad at a small group of people that none of them would have disagreed with before? How can you promote the second idea and claim that other people are engaging in conspiracy theory?

Also, before anyone tries; the existence of reasonable people who dislike this person or that person's behavior or whatever in no way prevents legal authorities from arresting people who actually engage in criminal harassment and death threats. The idea that reasonable people holding opinions are "covering up" actual crime by holding those opinions is something I wouldn't expect to hear outside of a totalitarian state. I don't care if you're pro or anti, if you think smart people arguing smartly along with stupid people arguing stupidly in some way 'legitimizes' a stupid argument, then you're probably stupid yourself.

If people critical of the professional and/or personal behavior of video game journalists or video game developers abandon the term 'GamerGate', use some new term in order to discuss their issues, and absolutely anyone anywhere on the internet receives harrassment associated with the new term, the video game journalists and developers will say the new term is a hate campaign and thus anyone associated with it should be condemned.

I think everyone should deplug from group identity and identity politics and stick to cases.

I hear what you're saying but you're also doing it yourself.

"...the video game journalists and developers will say the new term is a hate campaign and thus anyone associated with it should be condemned."

Who are the video game journalists? Hell, am I a video game journalist? Is PewDiePie? Who is committing all this evil?

The industry is at a really weird place. A lot of people are feeling frustrated and disenfranchised. Flying the GamerGate flag right now is just a call to argue about who is being harassed more. Often from people that either side is disavowing! I've had people pull out a knife because they misunderstood me on both sides. It's impossible to have a dialogue out there in this environment. It's so charged. I wouldn't introduce myself as being from the NRA to talk to someone about reasonable gun control. It's immediately going to color the conversation. You know?

Staff
#10 Edited by Vinny (2111 posts) -

@vinny Yo Vinny, I've heard some people hating on journalists for taking free swag at events. I don't see the problem with journalists getting free stuff at events, free stuff is great and I know I could trust myself to not be bias just because I got a t-shirt from the developer.

Do you think the problem here is that if people see you taking the free stuff then they won't trust you if you ever write about the game? Wondering what you'd think if you saw a journalist friend receive free stuff.

I definitely think "free stuff" is an issue. People receive free crap all the time. Most people that have been in this long enough have piles of it they regret ever accruing. Most larger companies have peer review systems. That mean even if that awesome camo USB drive you got from Shooter: The Big Shooter got through your defenses, than someone is going to call you on it. We are also hyperaware of it. A lot of it backfires. It can look desperate. But when I go to E3 and see the gigantic lines at an industry event for a pair of Mickey Mouse ears I worry. I see people go into a frenzy to catch a t-shirt and then see that a person from it is sitting at a press event for The Witcher. It's disturbing.

We get games from publishers and devs all the time. At some point you just have to either trust us or not. I do think, even within our organization, keeping perspective about how much games cost and that we have more access than most is important.

Overall, use your nose. If something smells rotten, it probably is.

Staff