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

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Combatus, 2 Sep 2016.

  1. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Quick question: Being a lazy bugger I've not looked into it but do mainstream journalists signup to some sort of rules, ethics standards or whatever, i know nothing about it but what's to stop a TV or newspaper journalists from having a conflicts of interest?
     
  2. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    Damn right. In my mind it's about Duke Nukem and Lara Croft arguing over who's turn it is to clean the bathroom, and that's what I'm sticking with.
     
  3. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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

    I'm not saying that we should distance ourselves from concerns over unethical behaviour, I'm saying that we should distance ourselves from a hate campaign. Any shred of legitimacy that anyone under the banner of "gamergate" might have once had has been drowned out in an angry sea of abuse and hate; and for TB to continue to trot out the GG party line as if it's well established fact does a massive disservice to his own credibility and undermines his objectivity.
     
  4. .//TuNdRa

    .//TuNdRa Resident Bulldozer Guru

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    Okay, fine. I give up. Lets start from the point I mentioned: Operation Disrespectful Nod, as it was coined by 8Chan (Seriously, who comes up with this crap?!)was an Email Campaign targetting advertisers of sites that those within GG believed to be guilty of hate speech and shoddy journalistic ethics, one of the sites hit hardest by this was actually Gawker Media, as they beat the living daylights out of Kotaku by extension doing it, costing them an alleged "Six figure sum" In advertising revenue as advertisers pulled out of the site. (Other sites hit included: Gamastura, Polygon and Rock Paper Shotgun. ) - It was later stated that part of the reason Hulk Hogan was able to win his case was because Gawker Media was already hurting from the financial losses that act had upon the company.

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

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

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

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    The course this thread is taking brings up an interesting issue. Can we talk about ethics in games journalism without it turning into a re-hash of GG? Has the topic been so poisoned by that toxic episode that it has become radioactive?

    It seems like GG has become almost a corollary for Godwin's law. As soon as someone mentions journalistic ethics sooner or later someone else is going to say "yeah, that's what GamerGate was all about" and then rational discussion on the topic ends.
     
  6. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    It certainly seems that way, maybe give it another 5-10 years and ethics in computing media can be discussed without GG being mentioned.
     
  7. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    EDIT: Longpost is longer than I'd planned it to be...!

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

    Let’s break down your post into the actual allegations/claims that you’re citing:

    1. Advertisers being targeted for hate speech and shoddy journalism, causing Gawker Media loss of income and subsequent bankruptcy
    2. GG was responsible - even if in part - for the revised FTC disclosure guidelines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    But what we shouldn't be doing is: throwing around baseless accusations, doxxing people, carrying out targeted hate campaigns, sending people waves and waves of abuse, silencing your critics/opponents instead of debating them, breaking in to someone's website and financial account records, or attacking someone because they said something you disagree with or criticised you. That is what GamerGate is, that is what GamerGate does, and that is what GamerGate has always been.

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

    But "GamerGating a thread" does have a nice ring to it :D
     
    Last edited: 7 Sep 2016
    Corky42 likes this.
  8. JakeTucker

    JakeTucker Member

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

    ED: as an addition, I totally think there are some dodgy games practices. Lots in youtube, and some others at other sites I won't name for legal repercussions. Mostly it's not the journalists, but ad sales people promising what a site can't deliver.
     
    Last edited: 7 Sep 2016
  9. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    Bugger, sorry!
     
  10. Shirty

    Shirty Time travelling rogue Super Moderator

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    I don't know what any of you are talking about (except Yadda, maybe)...

    In fact I don't any longer play games, buy PC hardware, or do any modding. Nor do I have much desire to. Stuff like this doesn't help, probably.
     
  11. Frickit

    Frickit New Member

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    I don't play games anymore so....
     
  12. lacuna

    lacuna Member

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    I don't view media journalism in any form to be any more than just entertainment and as such I consider the authors to be 'entertainers'. I don't base my purchases on the subjective opinion of a single, or small number of people that I have never met. I generally don't even read or watch reviews until after I have finished the game in question because its more interesting that way. If people are giving weight to a critics opinion and then finding themselves disappointed then that's their own stupid fault.
     
  13. Byron C

    Byron C No liability accepted as a result of this post

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    I don't particularly enjoy throwing £40-£50 away on a game I might not like or enjoy. If I'm paying full price I have to get *some* sort of idea whether I'll enjoy it or not.
     
  14. lacuna

    lacuna Member

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    Absolutely, and the last time I spent that much money on a game was Ecco the Dolphin for the megadrive. Definately a lesson learnt there!

    There are far better ways to determine whether you will like a game than reading a review. Demos, gameplay videos, even sales figures are pretty telling of the quality. Obviously if you find a reviewers opinion typically aligns with your own then go with it.
     
  15. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Bring back shareware, I say. Play the first chunk of the game, enjoy it, buy the rest; don't enjoy it, move on to the next title. A golden age, I tells you, a golden age!
     
  16. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    That's basically what steam refunds are, although at the cost of a time limit but at the benefit of working for almost every game you would like to own.
     
  17. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    True, but I've heard tell of people getting slapped upside the head for taking the Michael when it comes to Steam Refunds. Shareware, I could play a dozen games in one night and buy only one; if I bought a dozen games in one night and refunded all but one, I think Valve might have something to say about that.
     
  18. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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

    I know "value" is a very subjective thing, but to me £50 for a game at launch vs say £15 for the same game six months later is a bit of a no-brainer.
     
  19. ModSquid

    ModSquid Member

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    Slightly off-topic, but to illustrate that it's not just YouTube/gaming that's suffering, I went to buy something from Amazon the other day and of course went for the item with the best reviews.

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

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

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